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3 Jun

I’m listening to something, calls itself: Bomrani. Is that a man’s name? A man’s voice piped thru the wire into the cushioned speakers against my ears, making the air vibrate thru holes in my head, straight to my brain. The sound of someone I’ve never met on the other side of globe sometime in the past.

The words are in Farsi, I don’t know what they mean. But the melody and the mood give the meaning away. It’s the soundtrack of the march thru this life. To be born, to grow, to flower, to fall apart and fold back into the stream of matter that makes up the cosmos. My people are famous for them and our music shares an ancestor with this Persian minstrel.

Another song, in English, not the singer’s first language. But it’s one of those sugar-flavoured pop songs that go all the way back to Detroit in the days when my parents were courting. A tune that has the house go a quiet, dark mass of human silhouettes. A scattered costellation of handheld flames. In Pittsburgh and Miami, in Sydney and Perth, In Seoul and Shanghai, Prague, Dublin, Rome and Bucharest. Buenos Aires, Sao Pualo, Mexico City. Alice Springs. The world over shares a ritual. From here back thru the historical bracken to Africa. All of us.

I was in a room last night listening to a sage, his German face reminded me of The Picture of Dorian Grey; Lord Henry’s observation that intelligence distorts beauty. That all beautiful people therefore must be dim. But no, this is refuted by the story. Its moral contribution is to give those with understanding the key to Beauty’s true nature. Our sensai’s ugliness belied true beauty of this kind. His tie was piquant, his manners sublime. His thought and metaphors always as deft as a cellist who plays Beethoven’s music in perfect temperance: technique and expression. Just so.

I knew well (mostly) his philosophy. Tho’ what he’d call it and its extent I know not. He referred both to Jesus and Bhudda, drew upon them. But also said that to join the official creeds of religious instition is to be a slave and to miss the point. He mentions Apollonius, sundry pre-Soctratic philosopers. But he’s not dazzling us with his classical scholarship esoterica. He’s saying something that can be used by the people of the street. His central maxim’s a balance: love and reason.

Aurelius wouldn’t’ve put that way. Epictitus had it too hard to be so Beatle-esque. But it sounds familiar to me. Naturally those gentlemen were more concerned with secular matters than metaphysical ones. Still they’d agree. The self is an illusion; a car driven by the Soul: the Light within. As the address was introductory, he did not elaborate, but perchance later will he proceed to the view that ‘my soul’ is simply that within that is part of the spiritual whole the way the body’s atoms will one day become something else, something that is not a human animal but perhaps a tree, a blade of glass or a musical instrument? That we are all… God?

It is simple to understand that desire brings misery and enlightenment obtains when one can forget the self, the mundane seeking after pleasure: food, sex, substances that bring about temporary joys. In response to a remark about LSD, the speaker nails it, first because there here was no prohibitionary judgement in his response. He did not express or, indeed, feel disapproval. It’s a short-cut, he says, a preview. I paraphrase. It is a tour of the realms beyond to a place where minds are free. But you must come back. To live there, the journey is long and arduous. The drug will take you to a place where you can see the City of Light but to walk its streets takes work. It cannot be purchased for $25.

Outside, afterwards, my little crew are (mostly) impressed. One of the party is Catholic and’s not really into it. Religion see. It puts fences about you and guides you down this path. It stops you getting lost, certainly. But if you want to get past the Devil and his chains well you gotta climb over the fence that St Paul built.

So sayeth me. And what do I know? We usually go to this one place Thursday nights (my one night out). And here down the street after agreeing with the Man’s jive viz: enlightement comes from leaving behind instant euphoria Priority #1 is to score weed. Not me, I’m piking out, early night. But sure I like the stuff, gets me in the mode, comes in real handy. But it’s not necessary. Caffeine, adrenaline, sugar, THC, LSD, fluxetine, nicotine, phenethylamine. Faster faster faster more more more. We’re, all of us, on the chemical monorail waiting for Godot.

Still sometimes it is necessary. Today I’m taking a shortcut to the Beyond. Fortune put in the ground infront of me, instinct had me stop to pluck it. I can do this because I know the stuff isn’t for playing with so I haven’t done it to death and I’m not now looking for the meaning of life in a store that sells magic powders and crystal pyramids. It’s sacred! Do not fuck with it for an empty Sunday morning screw with a stranger. But right here, right now – Yes.

The Almighty Whatever points the way. Jupiter enters my sign today. Scoff if you want. I’m not recommending astrology for anything but fun but I’ll slap a tome o’ forgotten lore on the table if you try and purge the uncanny omens from all consideration. The history of the world is punctuated with them, they are among the myriad, melodic hooks that keep the endless symphony of human comedy fresh.

If you’re asking yourself what the fuck I’m on about, the answer is: How the Hell should I know. I don’t actually think about this stuff. I just write it. It’s the only way to the truth. Mine, anyways.



1 Jun

Iran Rave

From: The Guardian, UK.

I sit here in a postmodern annex of a neoclassical building listening to a compilated playlist of the musical underground of a country that is, technically, the enemy of mine. The newspapers in my city tell me these people are all backward savages but they are heirs of once-great multiple market-place a culture of long standing. And they are young raised in the shadows of a theocratic revolution that brought back the rule of old men with beards.

They are so sick of it.

So behind closed doors they are modern people who listen to modern music, write it and play it. The styles are a dialectic blend of commercial pop music (European mostly) and the multifarious musical tradition of the Levant from a viewpoint centred on what we have long-called Persia. It’s quite… commercial.

What a piece of work is a human monkey, how noble in faculty and not quite infinite in reason. How quickly the spoilt, fat, lazy rat it becomes. How base and venal and sometimes gracefully sublime in the face of hardship. What folly in these craven beasts who remember and yet fail time and again to learn.

Today I am in love with my fellow species, what rare fun we are. The sky is blue and I feel like smiling.

But let’s be serious for five minutes. Last week the US President, a man that ‘liberals’ admire, ordered an elite group of his soldiers into the territory of another country. A nation that is technically an ally. Sorta. And without its permissision taken human life and retrieved information thereby. Yet it is the smaller nation that has been publically shamed in the discourse of geopolitical theatre. Well the human life taken was that of a man who has precipitated the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. He challenged the world’s hyper-power.

According to the law of the-way-things-are, he had it coming. Interesting finale, stranded in an Islamabad fortress, jaded and regretful. Yet another man who’s realized too late that he’ll never know his children. An isolated false Messiah, catching up on a lifetime’s worth of masturbation.

Never stop making you laugh these monkeys. Rare fun amidst the grim smoking corpses.

As usual, only the radical Left can call it like is: an explicit act that extends and consolidates the American Empire. And it was carried out by a man who stood against this expedition way back when it was most unpopular to do so. He had no choice. The true Machiavels amidst the dreaming neocon crew saw that. They understood that future ‘American interests’ (which Americans?) lay in securing certain territories and resources. They got the States into a war it could not extricate itself from. And somewhere today they are smiling to themselves. At the ranch maybe, sipping a tumbler o’ the Macallan perhaps, awaiting a phone conversation that will change lives. Smug in a truth that is never spoken aloud.

There’s a Punisher graphic novel by Garth Ennis. I won’t summarize but one of characters is a much-feared Russian general who commanded in the Afghanistan theatre. At one point we see him ordering his men to behead a ponytailed journalist on the tarmac of Khabul airport. The dude had written a book that wasn’t appreciated. Anyway, this guy has a bit where he philsophizes about the American Cold war victory. His take on their strategy was that they’d bomb places flat and build McDonalds amongst the rubble. Some over-simplification, but apt. Mostly America rains fire down on people by remote control. Domestic casualties have, since Vietnam, become increasingly unacceptable. Bombing Usama bin Laden’s house was an option available to Obama. He chose a helicopter drop instead. He sent in human individuals, an act that required personal courage (on the part of the soldiers) in a way that remote explosion does not.

This is the first time I’ve approved of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

I knew he would not withdraw the troops. That to do so would be so detrimental to American interests – increased terrorism, oil price spikes and shortages – it would be electoral suicide. Considering the economic situation the States was in when he took office, considering the solutions he’s chosen, his second term is already far from assured. To withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan would create a Jihadist power base. Possibly Pakistan would fall and then we would be dealing with a nuclear-powered enemy that prefers the herafter to this life. Dig it, you boho free spirits o’ the world. When that happens the party is over. These are the facts. I don’t like ’em, but, like, so what?

I knew Obama was basically a highly skilled technocrat. I just hoped he wasn’t as much of a creep as Tony Blair. And no he ain’t. (Hard call that.) But when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize whatever skreck of ‘hope’ I may have harboured was dispensed with. Obama got the prize essentially for not being a Texas good ol’ crony-capitalist cracker. For actually knowing how to be internationally polite. He had done nothing to earn a peace prize (even the Nobel which, after Kissinger, is a joke). But if he hadn’t accepted, if he’d said thanks but no thanks, I don’t deserve it just now. Well then I would’ve been impressed. But he calculated: another paragraph on his WikiBio? Why not? He’s just another player just like the rest of them, go figure.

But, if he had to raid a Pakistani house without permission (and yes he did) then it was noble to send in American individuals to face their public enemy #1, to demonstrate personal, physical courage. He showed that he understood the military message of 9/11. A message that has been receieved with obtuse denial in Western public discourse. Point out that it takes physical courage to go wilfully go your death in furtherance of a cause, that furthermore such courage is in short supply domestically… do that and you get demonized by people who don’t understand why the Romans really fell.

If you’re going to do Empire you might as well get it right.

Ah! enough let us stop making sense. The song’s in Farsi but it’s a classic rock song. Funny when you realize that the rock song’s structure derives from the tradition music of the region. He really likes the Rolling Stones this guy.

Next an indigenous style, I wouldn’t know what it’s called. It’s like hip-hop, chants and beats, but it ain’t hip-hop. It’s derived from antiquity. And sure, there’s hip-hop on the disc, electronica too. And punk rock! The playlist veers East and West. It lurches into the past and back to the future. Some of it is MOR schlock that’d make fills you with the urge to find Celine Dion and vomit on her dress. But some it makes you move man. It’s funky, get you right down in your belly and balls. The lyrics are sometimes Farsi, sometimes English. Cultural imperialism o’ course. But the English songs decry the Military-Industrial complex bullshit in a form that’s straight outta Detroit! All you flag wavers out there, do you get that? All you post-structuralist pseudo-radical demonizers of the Evil socio-economic demographic, do you understand?

Arrghh! Again, forget about it! Be stupid, be a child. Persian metal is really beautiful, a style that really suits the Farsi tongue.

Now it’s Euro-Soul like Sade or Grace Jones. I’m warm again. There’s an empire, there’s a lot of them. And who knows what evil lies in the human heart. But, today, forget about it. The sun is shining and we should be making hay. I wanna party with these guys. Now!

What time is it in Tehran?


26 May

They’re on about solar power. They say the revolution begins here. Of their sincerity I have no doubts. But what I want to know is, what I want to know is what happens after the revolution? Who will be in charge? And how do we stop them from grinding us into the ground.

In one corner the Left who after two centuries of rapid change propelled by a cycle of constant change made possible courtesy of the perpetual innovations of capitalist technology that make manifest this form of writing and publishing, this style of music. That produces the liquor we drink and the food we eat and the spliffs we blow… that makes all this possible – in that corner are the avatars of those who would change it without understanding that this is change. In the other the Right who just keep singing the same old tune, indifferent to those who get crushed, who are left out, who lose.

Congo slum

The music goes back to the beginning. It’s a new global style harking way back to the fractured tribes of pre-history. A stomp, a clap and a chant: words that testify. Full circle we’ve come and now the tribes are transcontinental associations connected by the internet, the phone and the camera.

Outside on the street the scents of an ancient and most useful herb blend in with the familiar braggadoccio jive viz slicin’ and dicin’. An impro freestyle rap session. But no-one stomps. There’s no machine to tell them what to do. The revolution starts here? I sense the same old instincts, the same aggression that took centuries to control and channel constructively enough to get here to this point where the different tribes can blend in peace and harmony. Inside on the dance floor there’s a greenhair’d heavy metal dude who likes to push people around on the dance floor. To my left a couple of sophistos you’ll never see anywhere near the floor dismissing an acquaintance: he’s a junkie.

You can smash the state, it’s been done. Tho’ these days methinks it a might more difficult than once it used to be. You can put the oil barons and media lords and mainstream party politicians up ‘gainst the wall. You can murder the tax department, the cops, the soldiers and anyone who works in a human resources department. You can make laws of peace but you can’t change the monkey…

After the revolution – what?


26 May

Combat Wombat

I’m here. It’s Thursday the guy tells me, start of the weekend. I’m broke but a regular so they let me in half price. Friends too. Connections, dedication. Haven’t had any sleep 24 hours, 30. I missed yesterday’s post a single slip-up in the best chunk of a year of posts and I feel gritty. Not much change jangling in my pockets, not much electricity, not much to be heard over the throb of a wheelchair-bound MC.

People say this is a fake form, they say it ain’t even music. I’ve done Beethoven, I’ve done house and techno and rock and vairous unclassifiable but I’ve never seen anyone move to anything like. I’ve never seen such cameraderie, I’ve never felt the throb of the 21st century like have in here. So to those who’d disrespect the tribal beat of a finally and (almost) united human race I say here’s the middle and the index served.

Oh and Dylan turned 70 the other day. Goodnight.


13 Mar


What can I say, it’s all French today.


19 Feb


Souls keeps burning and the sky keeps plummeting


13 Dec


“Cancelled Sketch of Pauline McCarthy”, 1945
Joy Hester (1920-1960)

Fall brings brown leaves
Brown matches how shitty I feel-
Love didn’t work

From: The Dream Words, s’all you need to say, innit?

This guy’s from San Francisco. Frisco?

No it’s San Francisco.

Who gives a fuck?

Well it teaches you to say something that’s more n’ one syllable long doesn’t it. Like my addlepated rifling the grammatical riffs of c.1600; all those apostrophes. It’s a different way to be lazy.

Shortening stuff. Jennifer Lopez = J.Lo yo. Gerard become Gez. Then Gezza so then it’s Gez-aaahhhRRRGGG mate! on a Saturday night wi’ da ‘ boiz. All the kids use the African-American patois. Goes down well locally, we like shortening things down here.

It’s the Australian, sorry, ‘Strayan, way.