Search This Blog


Friday, September 30, 2005

Where The Heart Is

I’m now back in Whitley Bay after several very useful and productive days in London. It was such a treat staying with Jakko and Amanda who pampered me far more than I deserve. I’m hoping to get back down once again before the year is out to take advantage of Jakko’s impressive range of industry contacts.

It was wonderful to see the children again who looked like they’d grown ten feet taller since I last saw them. Conversational highlights with Tom included thoughts on the possibility that Nikolai Tesla and Leonardo Da Vinci are either a) from the future b) aliens from another world or c) incredibly clever individuals. Needless to say the last option was the one we discarded first.

Elsewhere . . .

Love Cannot Bear by Robert Fripp received its first plays today. This isn’t what I’d expected. In fact there were a couple of places where I found myself doing a double-take and furrowing my brow in consternation. The acoustic guitar solo on Easter Sunday stopped me dead in my tracks whilst On My Mother’s Birthday (first heard on Sometimes God Smiles compilation ) meanders in a strangely disconcerting fashion.

The title track also wrong-footed me. Adrian Belew’s vocoder vocals startled and unsettled me on first play. By the second or third time around I arrived at an accommodation of their presence but I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather have had him singing naturally against what is one of the most poignant and beautiful soundscapes Fripp has produced.

It’s a Robert Fripp Soundscapes album – but not as we know it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fandom - The Jealous Lover

A London sunrise. . .

A lovely morning in gridlocked Chiswick en route to a pot of arly Grey and freshly cooked croissants with Karen Lewis. This is nothing to do with prog but an exciting book project that Karen is doing about celebs and their fans. I met up with her after Jakko suggested she and I should speak with each other as I know a thing or two about being a fan (apparently).

The three of us swapped several stories about the (sometimes) all-consuming nature of being a fan. Moving through infatuation to adulation and then inevitably rejection, it’s a tough love thing. Being a fan means feeding a voracious habit. The only thing worse than being a fan is being a fan who collects. The two things together is a deadly combination. Whilst I’ve been a fan of many things I’ve been lucky enough to avoid getting hooked as a collector. That way lies madness and its close cousin, insolvency.

After leaving Karen’s house we leave Chiswick behind and head over to meet up with Alan Cowdery. Alan has been many things in his day; guitarist with the band Gracious, a plugger, label boss at Vertigo records in the early 70s, head of international marketing at Stiff Records and a King Crimson fan since 1969. We talked about all of that over a decent meal and several bottles of spring water.

My time in London is almost up. Debbie tells me that a copy of Robert Fripp’s Love Cannot Bear along with several other aural goodies is waiting for me when I get back to Newcastle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

These Are The Days

the usual suspects. . .

Yesterday morning was spent in the company of David Jackson. David had been pulled over by the Prog-police for a bout of close questioning (i.e. Where were you on or around the Summer of Love?).

I first interviewed David when I was researching the KC book many moons ago about the recording of H To He and Pawn Hearts and Robert Fripp’s involvement on those records. Although the interview didn’t make the final edit I hadn’t forgotten how engaging and insightful David was.

Yesterday’s interview touched on VdGG but was more to do with the times in which VdGG surfaced. David acknowledged that competition was a crucial factor in the development of the music scene in general and VdGG in particular.

Later in the day we met up with Pip Pyle from Hatfield and the North to chinwag through more recollections, observations and very funny anecdotes. One of my abiding memories of seeing the Hatfields was how funny the gigs were – crockery thrown about, gnomes and sledgehammers, most useless musician competitions and Dave Stewart playing solo’s with his nose. Ah those were the days.

Getting all these interviews is great. The hard work is transcribing it all up. Had I the resources I would employ the services of a copy typist. Not having the resources means I have to get on with it. I spent this morning in Jakko’s guestroom listening to the commentary on headphones and making notes.

Seeing baby Amber and the young lad Django makes me feel incredibly homesick. Children are so precious and they don’t stay still for very long. Every day I don’t see my kids I feel like I’m losing out.

Beautiful baby Amber in mid-feed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gentle Giant Acquiring The Taste by Paul Stump

The Kenty Kimberman (formally of Leafy Highgate) used to rave on about Gentle Giant and frequently resorted to strapping me into a chair in order to make me listen to them on my visits. This was generally not a happy experience for me having seen the band in the early seventies. They may have been supporting Jethro Tull (or not). The reason I’m vague on this is because after a few opening minutes of GG I headed off to the bar.

Similarly when seeing the band on the Whistle Test I recoiled in horror at the abrasive sound, finding the thought of slamming my head in cupboard repeatedly more appealing than prolonged exposure to their sonic wares. One of the main problems I had with the band was the overt rockist vocal style and their frankly bewildering habit of swapping their instruments around. If I tell you that at the time I thought Keith Emerson’s knife throwing and organ humping act was an essential part of the music of ELP then it should give some idea of where my head preferred to be.

Whilst ELP was something I quickly grew out of GG was something I slowly grew into (with a little help from Kimber) and in more recent times I’ve come to appreciate their intricate charms and wild lurches that makes up much of their oeuvre.

In dealing with their pre-GG career as Simon Dupree and The Big Sound, Stump is somewhat dismissive of their ethereal pop hit, Kites. Although it may have been foisted on an unwilling band the song its an evocative slice of 60s mood music; glacial Mellotron and the (then) all-important dreamy spoken interlude.

A very minor carp aside though, Stump offers some excellent insights about the musical and social context that Gentle Giant had to contend with. Their unwieldy and awkward sound presented a daunting edifice which lacked the usual toe-holds of accessibility such as a charismatic frontman or an instrumental star-performer upon whom fans could hang their dreams and aspirations.

Given the choice between Rick Wakeman on caped-crusader mode knocking out his tried and tested piano-at-the talkies routine and Kerry Minnear swapping clavinet for a quick bit of medieval knockabout on a descant recorder there’s not going to be much of a contest in the prog-rock laugh stakes.

As baffling as Yes' cod-cosmology and propensity to wander off on Topographic adventures was, somehow GG appeared even more obscure if such a thing were possible and thus far too serious to take seriously. As Stump points out, the contradiction of being as genuinely progressive as Yes (and arguably more so but receiving a roasting at the hands of their fans on the suppport slot must have been especially galling for the band. What should have broken them exposure-wise only ended up losing them more friends.

The book expertly details the sheer slog of being trapped on the “tour and record” treadmill. Quite how the band found time to compose such complex and diverse material whilst engaged on such a gruelling schedule is one of the astonishing things about this prolific outfit. Tragically they received little support from a record company that with hindsight didn't have a clue how to market the band. The fact that their own record label barely knew what to do with them seems to have only promoted a sense of unease and uncertainty amongst the UK rock press of the day.

Yet if the great British public were unwilling to clasp GG to its greatcoated bosom, Europe and against all the odds, America seemed more willing to take a risk on a band that could rock out fult-tilt one minute and slip into a contrapuntal square dance the next. Fearing ossification in the face of changing tastes, Gentle Giant ended with an AOR-orientated whimper rather than a bombastic progtastic bang.

This last minute loss of nerve, dictated more by economic concerns than artistic necessity, stains an otherwise noble and worthy memory. Despite this lapse of judgement, Paul Stump has delivered a welcome eulogy to a multi-talented band banging their collective bonce (in 17/4 time) against the brick wall of indifferent critical opinion and prevailing 70s taste. A musicological analysis by Giant archivist Geir Hasnes and an extensive discography complete a useful guide to one of prog-rock's original awkward squad.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Memorable Date

I’ve been down in London since Sunday lunchtime taking a bit of time out to admire Jakko and Amanda’s lovely children and then immediately feel homesick and missing my own. Tonight whilst in Notting Hill just around the corner from Brian Eno’s studios I talked to Joe and Tom on the blower.

I innocently asked how Joe’s day had gone. He was ecstatic. Not one but TWO girls had asked him to go out on a date! Blimey. I think he’s going to just go out with the one as things might get a little bit difficult when it comes to taking them out. More news on which invitation he’s likely to take up as soon as I get it.

Tonight I’m being spoilt by Jakko as he lets me test drive a G4 powerbook. Very impressive I thought as I do some preparation for a busy round of interviews that are taking place tomorrow

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Not Just Another Sunrise

Another sunrise over the sea.

“Another sunrise” is a poor choice of phrase. It makes this remarkable event of renewal sound like a repetitive chore.

There’s not a morning goes by where I don’t get up, leave the bedroom to move through a darkened yellow room and then stand by the window to gaze out in the direction of the sea.

And every morning brings its own reward, every day new treasures waiting to be discovered.

Given the east facing position of the front of the house I only ever see the sunrise. Sunset is something that happens at the back and thus for me at least, mostly out of view.

Sometimes I look up from my desk and see it reflected in the attic windows in the houses opposite; a second-hand resolution necessarily less intense than the real thing.
Seeing one and not the other is on reflection unbalanced but in many ways an apt metaphor for things in my life; lots of beginnings but nowhere near as many completions as I’d like.

I rang my sister this morning to ask how she was after her recent fall. On the mend was her verdict but she remains shaken by the experience. Her accident has dogged my thinking for the last few days. One moment we’re fine, concerned about the trivia in our lives then the next we are pitched into crisis.

When she was here the other week, we met in the foyer of Newcastle’s central library, a modern (ie 60s) slab of architecture (designed incidentally by the father of celebrated ambient composer, Jonah Sharp) where I’d been working.

Over a cup of tea in the library café she asked what I’d been doing. As a bit of light relief from scouring over scratchy micro fiche I asked the librarian to see photographs of Newcastle’s Handyside Arcade, a splendid Victorian glass covered “mall” of its time. In the late 60s it had been colonised by little shops selling Che, Ginsberg, Crowley, Warhol, Lenin and McCartney. It was about as close to the Underground as any aspirant long-haired weekend hippie in Newcastle was likely to get.

Looking through the pictures of the arcade in its 60s heyday didn’t take long as barely a dozen decent pictures exist. There were twice that many pictures of bulldozers and the scrap metal men moving over the space where it stood. Is that all there is I asked? That’s all there is I was told. It didn’t amount to much. Rather than celebrate its life, the official archive documented its demolition in the 70s.

What looks solid and permanent is quickly gone if not quite forgotten. And when my sister’s memories of that space are no more, or mine, or the others of our generation, what then? Looking at those sparse details in the library merely confirms how little of one era survives into the next.

If it can be like that with a building, if all a civic society captures of those fallen porticos and colonnades is merely the spare rubble of its memory, then what of those we love?

Last night after cooking a meal for everyone I was keen for my visiting mother to leave. Impending house guests had rang to tell us that they were making good progress and would be with us earlier than expected. Rather than include Doreen in the event I wanted her gone. And not for the first time. In the past when my sister has been up in the region seeing friends and family I’ve often been reluctant to make time or take the trouble to engage.

How odd that I can put time in admiring the distinctiveness of a dawn but too often have missed the singular qualities of those I love, and having spent too many years keeping family at bay in this manner, I’ve substituted reminiscence for reality, mistakenly preferring a ‘then’ instead of the ‘now.’

Reflecting on this, I went online, checking email, message boards, and all the other usual ‘stuff’ of my dawn after gazing at the sunrise. In The Guardian I read Joan Didion’s moving account of losing her husband from her forthcoming book, The Year Of Magical Thinking. She begins:

“Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

Too often we drift into thinking that the people we love will always be around, like the bricks and mortar of our childhood.

Too often we don’t put the time in or appreciate what each of them has to offer. We forget though that they in their own way are fragile things and just like those lost arcades of our past, subject to the whim of change, of fashion, accident, and the gnawing entropy of neglect and age. We take them for granted.

Familiarity makes us sluggish, complacent and prone to sleepwalk, sunrise to sunset.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Alice In Ultraland by The Amorphous Androgynous

Back to the future sounds of 60s London

Having re-imagined and distilled vintage electronic music of the 60s and 70s into a 90s-friendly flavour as The Future Sounds Of London, Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans, move sideways in time via a consciousness raising pilgrimage to India, to incorporate the ephemera of the era into one swirling, stroboscopic extravaganza.

Part-pastiche, part piss-take, entering into Ultraland is akin to stepping into an alternative fantasy universe, as though someone is skimming a radio dial across a seemingly infinite number of retro radio stations dedicated to the summer of love and slightly beyond.

The spirit of Led Zeppelin, Ummagumma-style Floyd and a whole host of lesser mortals drift in and out of Cobain and Dougans paisley-patterned pantheon. Only instead of getting the actual songs we hear a jumble of intro’s, middle eights and phased drums.

The trouble is that whilst the effect is pretty and sometimes enticing, ultimately it’s got about as much substance as the industrial quantities of joss stick smoke that was undoubtedly generated during the making of this album.

In their headlong (hedonist?) rush to embrace the past they’ve ended up over-egging the amazing pudding, throwing in just about every conceivable sixties psych reference – the veritable Technicolor day-glo inevitable expanding kitchen sink if you will.

In 1992 Bob Dylan observed “People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.” Well, he was right then and on the evidence of this psychedelic-encrusted platter, he’s right now.

Street Life XV

A silence is broken
and I have a taste of
the earth and the autumn
on my tongue.

Excerpt from Earth & Autumn, 1984

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mysterious Travellers

My listening today includes Yolo by Tetsu Inoue – a forthcoming release on the DiN label and Soundscapes at New York Society for Ethical Culture 23rd June 2005 by Robert Fripp, available for download in the not too distant future.

Two very different and contrasting forms of sonic exploration going on here. This isn’t to say one is better than the other. Nor am I attempting to compare the two. It’s a case of chalk and cheese.

On Yolo, Inoue dissects a combination of synthesised sounds, instruments and field recordings into fragments and particles which he then sieves through in microscopic detail. Here the music is a series of events connecting with each other though not necessarily connected; a patchwork that constantly mutates and renews itself.

Occasional wisps of melody drift over the surface imparting a flavour of somewhere or sometime else. It’s internalised, deeply processed, a collection of fading super-8 memories moving jerkily in and out of the frame. It’s a beautifully crafted album that is impressive and substantial.

Where Inoue’s music deals in the micro, Fripp addresses the macro. Yet both pay attention to the details that count.

Fripp’s concert of June 23rd begins somewhere dark but gradually opens up to shine a light that is unforgiving in its intensity. There’s a symphonic sweep, graceful and stately that eventually collapses in on itself as though the player was unable to carry the sheer weight of the content. The paradox in this performance is that the slow unfurling of the music gives the impression of barely moving, of almost being stationary. Yet by the end one is conscious of having travelled a great distance.

Though there music is very different both albums share a mysterious quality that makes them very agreeable fellow travellers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Accidents Will Happen

Last week - Lesley, Doreen and me

Yesterday Lesley my sister rang up and began the conversation by asking how I was. I was fine and then spent the next five minutes telling her all about the minutiae that a simple word like ‘fine’ can contain.

Being as self-absorbed as I am, it never occurred to me that her ringing at an unaccustomed hour of the day probably meant she had something important to tell me. She did have something out of the ordinary to tell me but was polite enough to not only wait until I had finished babbling on, but then offered up a little side commentary after the fact to show willing.

Only then did she tell me that she’d had an accident.

Like many, if not most accidents, hers began as something almost comical. She tripped up. After putting out the rubbish for collection, she turned to go back indoors and tripped up on the step.

But whilst some accidents have a bumpy start and finish to provide the hapless victim with a funny story at their own expense this one escalated out of control. She almost laughed when her foot first caught but quickly realised as her body lurched forward that things were rapidly moving out of control. So fast was the transition from bad to worse she didn’t have time to put her hands out in front to protect herself.

Instead her head hit the brick wall full on.

The resulting crunch and thud pitched her sideways toward a relatively soft landing in the nearby shrubbery. Dazed and hurt, she lay assessing the damage. From the amount of blood on her face, she knew it wasn’t just a graze. Although conscious after the impact and fall she was too unsteady to try and get up.

Back indoors, the family assumed she must be out chatting to the neighbours and it wasn’t until Lesley heard someone running a tap that she called out for help.

As she recounts the incident I listen with growing alarm and concern, only now registering how groggy her voice sounded, as though she were struggling to connect the various parts of the story together. I butt in with pre-emptive questions about hospital, x-rays, and so on. She tells the tale of stoically enduring the wait in the casualty department (three hours or so) and getting back home at 4.00 a.m. where a couple of hours sleep is grabbed before getting the children ready for school.

Thankfully the damage to her head is superficial. Her face is cut and of course one of her eyes is badly bruised and swollen. She was due to start work in a new job next week but isn’t certain that her new employers will be too happy about their customers being greeted by someone who’s just gone ten rounds with Rocky Marciano.

Something like that shakes you up. What appears benign can also be the death of us. What starts as a simple trip suddenly exposes the chaos and hazard that exists just below the surface of our everyday life. It reminds us of how fragile or how lucky we are.

Let’s be careful out there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Suffering Cheerfully

One of the outcomes of yesterday’s online discussions is that the new DGM website isn’t going live tomorrow. Everyone in the team is obviously disappointed as will be many enthusiasts who were looking forward to delving into the archive. However the advice from Eric (who heading up the technical end of things) was that the site wasn’t green for go. I had made the suggestion that we could have opened the site so that people could take a look around and see what will be on offer. However, the consensus was that it would do more harm than good to launch before everything is in place.

When you’ve geared up for something to happen and then it doesn’t come off at the last moment there’s a sense of frustration. Although the team will be criticised for not making the deadline I guess the hoo-hah would be a lot worse if the site opened where not everything was working as it should.

In this context Eric was right to pull the plug on the countdown.

Other site news coming out from yesterday is that Alex and I have finalised the initial selection of gigs that will be available.

From a personal point of view, the choice came down to representing the body Crim with things that haven’t been previously available. Pedants will of course point out that a couple of minutes from the ProjeKct One selection have already appeared on the Jazz Café Suite or that Asbury Park and Easy Money have largely appeared before on USA. However, I think most people can allow for a bit of cross-over when they can get access to the whole gig as it sits in the archive.

Overall though I think it’s a good cross section of live Crim and ProjeKcts (not to mention Frippertronics, League of Gentlemen etc.,) from which to start with building the site up. I’m sure people won’t be shy in coming forward with their recommendations for what should be made available as we get underway.

In the post this morning a very helpful contribution from guitarist Mike Keneally for me to read later today when I’ve finished painting Joseph’s bedroom, and a new track from Jakko’s forthcoming solo album for me to listen to tonight.

Monday, September 19, 2005

On The Beach II

Yesterday morning at a little after 7.00 a.m. the sun did pour down like honey and yes, there were heroes in the sea weed

I Spy With My Little Eye Something Beginning With. . .

Hmmm...Tom in ponder mode.

Yesterday the boys and I went up to a local out of town retail park called Silverlink. On the bus going up we fell into playing I Spy.

We all laughed a lot during this as it quickly became an action replay / golden oldies’ best of I Spy when I used to take the boys on the bus to school everyday. As we walked into Borders (Joseph had birthday money he wanted to spend) the conversation was focussing on whether or not war can ever be justified.

This came about not because my two kids are lofty, cerebral types but because Tom has to answer the question as part of his school homework. In the end he felt that war could be justified if another country invaded ours but that that a pre-emptive strike wasn’t justifiable. Oddly enough he thought it was right that America and the UK were right to invade Iraq because Saddam was evil and had done nasty things to his own people.

But why don’t we invade other evil regimes who do nasty things to their own people I asked him? Well we should, he said. But don’t we run the risk of doing that very thing you thought was wrong – pre-emptive strikes against people because we don’t agree with their system? Hmmm, said Tom as we entered Borders.

A couple of hours later over a milk shake at McDonalds, Tom said hmmmm some more. Then when we got home he pondered some more. It should be said that Joseph was party to all of this and an active participant throughout. It was good hearing them argue out their world view, making sense of the many contradictions that parade before us.

Hmmm...Joe also in ponder mode

The night before I had sat listening to the war of the words between George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens on Radio 4 about the war in Iraq. There was a lot of huffing and puffing but little substance. Had I wanted to know about the cause and effect of the Iraq war this programme would not have told me much.

Of course I won’t deny that it wasn’t enjoyable but I detected little sincerity in what they had to say. This was grandstanding par excellance. Two characters who loved the sound of their own voices. I’d rather have the honest muddled pondering of a 14 year old over that kind of slick hyperbole any day.

Later in the afternoon Debbie and I spent some time in the company of two old friends who have been experiencing difficulties in their relationship in recent times. Debbie has known L thirty years this October. I will have known L’s partner, S for thirty years next June. The impromptu occasion was spent in a S’s nicely appointed back yard accompanied by wine (for them) and dandelion and burdock (for me).

After a couple of hours of pleasant conversation I left to supervise the children’s pre-school rituals – homework, ablutions, etc. It sounds awful to say but I was glad to get away. This was nothing to do with the slight reticence that one detects in their dealings with each other due to said difficulties, but rather a certain remoteness brought about through the long-term effects of their use of alcohol and cannabis.

They were there but not there. I find this very difficult to handle. Another reason for my early departure.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

On The Beach I

I've got my eyes wide open on Sunday morning a little after 7.00 a.m.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Magic Moments

I was in Newcastle the other evening after meeting up with my sister. It was just before 7.00 pm and all the main shops were shut. The emptying square of shops that stand around Grey’s Monument seemed to suck down the last light of the day.

For a few seconds there was no sound other than a brisk gust of wind and some birdsong from some starlings nesting on the art nouveau turrets and pinnacles of Emerson’s Chambers. It felt very special.

I don’t have the skills to capture the essence of such a moment with words or nail it with a camera. Yet several days after the event, the remnants of those few seconds are still with me like the memory of a scent; ephemeral yet perfectly tangible.

Today two remarkable things happened. Firstly, I detuned the radio from it’s Radio 4 setting a little after midday in order to avoid the terminally dull You and Yours (or was it Moneybox?). After skimming past Radio 3 I stumbled into Radio 2 just as the presenter announced they were about to play the new single from John Cale. Uptempo, metal put into the pop-crusher and Cale singing better than ever.

Debbie called out from the green room to ask who it was as she was loving the sound of it. John Cale. That was the second remarkable thing – me hearing a record on the radio that had me bobbing away like a fifteen year old again.

Later in the day following an excited exchange of emails about composer Andrew Poppy, it transpires that Rupery Loydell also heard the same song in the car on his way to give a poetry reading. His verdict? Knockout. My verdict? Bloody marvellous boyo. Oh, I nearly forgot. The song is called Perfect.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Prelude

It was raining through the night and it continues to rain this morning - that sizzling drizzle variety that soaks you to the soul. After loading up with fresh pancakes for breakfast, birthday boy Joe and his older brother headed off into the elements.

The perfect antidote to the grey and bleak weather outside is none other than Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues.

It’s incredible to think that this remarkable music was effectively banned in its native Soviet Union when it was completed in 1951. Inspired by Bach and Chopin, the collection is dazzling in its design and poise; each section beautifully balanced with the other. I have two copies. The first is performed by Keith Jarrett on ECM whilst the second is on the budget Naxos label performed by Konstantin Scherbakov.

There are some profound and immediate differences. Jarrett takes things at a more leisurely pace whilst Scherbakov opts for a brisk approach; Jarrett’s piano is embedded in a cushion of ambient reverberation whereas the Naxos recording is somewhat starker as far as sound goes.

It’s fascinating to hear how the same dots on the paper can be interpreted in such different ways; attack, nuance, pace – all adding to the individual colour and variation. I used to revel in the Jarrett recording but since getting the Naxos version a couple of years ago I find it’s this one (ostensibly the cheaper of the two) that I keep returning to.

Elsewhere. . .
The morning is also brightened following the arrival of some sleeve notes by Tom Redmond (amongst others) for Robert Fripp's forthcoming soundscapes album. Reading through them elicited various outbursts of laughter that went from a discrete chuckle to the out-loud belly laugh. And when it's a belly as big as mine then that's some laugh.

On a not entirely unrelated note, a bout of emails regarding the final choice of initial downloads for the DGM site is currently zipping back and forth through the ether.

My two cents goes roughly like this.

Making everything in the archive available for download all in one go, aside from being impractical, risks saturating the potential market. Instead, I’d prefer to see a small number of previously unreleased gigs made available at launch with regular additions going live every month.

Elsewhere, over on ProjeKction I read that Nisimoto, the moving force behind the excellent King Crimson Live!, is worried that the impending arrival of the DGM download service will threaten the existence of his own web site. This seems unlikely. Anyone who bought my KC book will know that the KC Live! site was name checked and publicly acknowledged as “indispensable.”

I can’t for the life of me see why his or any of the other KC-related sites would experience any difficulty whatsoever when DGM downloads goes live given that they each offer a different kind of service/experience for fans and enthusiasts.

As a regular visitor to both of the sites mentioned as well as Krimson News, Planet Crimson and Elephant Talk there’s much to be learned from all of them. All of these are in existence for different reasons and will exist as long as they are felt necessary by the people who use them. A fact of life that will apply equally (possibly more so) to the DGM site when it goes live.

On the blower, Jakko brings me up to speed with life in the fast lane of commercial television and corporate work. Jakko’s also been setting up some interviews for me with some musicians on the outer fringes of Progdom whilst I’m staying at his place in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On The Street

Having spent a couple of hours getting nowhere fast in Newcastle’s central library, I met up with my sister Lesley. It was good having a cuppa and catching up on our respective middle aged lives. Though we touched on all manner of subjects and shared history, inevitably a lot of our conversation centred upon our children.

Tomorrow Joe will be twelve years old. I worry that I mollycoddle him too much. For example I had him ringing me at strategic intervals on the way home from a friend’s house. In my defence the walk takes him through a part of town where lots of dodgy kids hang out – the local ice rink (where Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford and Howe once played) – and I wanted reassurance that he was on target.

I worry that having him ring in this way may undermine his confidence and sense of “street saavy” when he’s out at night (7.45 p.m.) but what to do? It’s a fine line between being responsible and over-protective. Needless to say when my sister and I were twelve years old there were no mobile phones for us to ring in. True, there were call boxes but it wouldn’t have mattered because my parents didn’t have a phone then.

Ian Boddy rang tonight whilst I was making flapjacks for the kids. Telephone calls and cooking flapjacks don’t mix. Burnt flapjacks and miffed kids aren’t a winning combination either. Reproachful offspring and a phone-blethering dad are not a recipe for domestic harmony. Sensing all of this, Ian who has two kids himself, sensibly cut me loose after we make tentative arrangements for me to head over to his studio in a couple of weeks.

Kapow! Take a look at the Bog Book Club

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ashes To Ashes.

The radio this morning was full of the news that England had won the test cricket series against Australia. Pundits remarked how the match had captured the imagination of the country and had even managed to push football of the back pages.

Politicians unctuously guffed on about national pride having been restored whilst commentators, now caught up in the politicians’ slime trail, predicted young people everywhere holding the national team up as worthy role models. Underlying all of this is the assumption of a national resurgence in playing cricket.

I have my doubts. And I’m not the only one. Bookseller To The Stars, nailed the fickle nature of fair-weather fans with unerring accuracy in this splendid rant.

On yesterdays entry Sandy Starr left the following comment. “What with all the archive releases on CD, the impending website featuring yet more live material, and spinoffs the 21st Century Schizoid Band and the Crimson Jazz Trio, it's such a wonderful time to be a fan.”

I’m pleased to see that for Sandy, the Crimglass is half-full. It is for me too. I know many Crimheads get frustrated when Crimson activity appears to slow. To which I say count yourself lucky you weren’t a fan the day after Red was posthumously released. Brilliant album and a band that had “ceased to exist” how frustrating is that? With only USA and YPGTKC to keep a chap happy these were bleak times.

And whilst I’m as impatient as the next fan for some new Crimson, as Sandy points out, there’s plenty to keep one occupied. Add to Sandy’s list Pat M’s various TU projects, A touring Belew, a soundscaping Fripp and an ever-active Levin gracing albums and gigs too numerous to mention then it’s not really too bad is it?

Yesterday I described in an email to various DGM folk the Exposure promo video (which they’d not seen).

“The music is the title track with Terre Roche vocal. A nattily dressed RF stands before a huge monitor with video footage of himself in close-up. At various points primitive captions flash and remind us "1981 is the year of the Fripp" "The Drive to 1981" and that "It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering."

What would be really be interesting would be to have a complimentary video of RF as he is now doing the same kind of thing though I realise there's more chance of me being hit on the head by a fridge falling from the sky than this actually happening. “

To which the guitarist in question (who’d been CC’d) this morning replied

“sid - more chance of the sky being hit by a fridge, moving upwards at 120 mph.”

Well it made me laugh into my cornflakes anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Under My Skin

This morning I talked to my sister Lesley who is up from Milton Keynes for the week. She’s here to spend a bit of time with my mother who recently lost a very close friend. When you get to my mother’s age the people you know die with alarming frequency. My mother is fairly philosophical about that. What’s made it harder for my mother to deal is that her friend for 40 years was quite a bit younger.

Lesley arrived at my mother’s flat last night and we’ve made arrangements tomorrow to meet up after I finish at the library in Newcastle – a rare treat for my sister and I to spend time together.

It’s been something of a Crim-related day for me. Prompted by some email commentary from Robert F and Hugh O' Donnell, part of this morning was spent watching an old promo video for Exposure – a crusty old piece of lo-fi video art that me thinking about long cold evenings spent in Newcastle’s Basement Group watching artists’ video.

One early piece of video art I saw called Lenny’s Documentary. A few moments Googling led me to this superb site that features many of those artists’ whose work we used to so admire.

Although this comes under the “you had to be there” category Lenny’s Documentary was written, directed and performed by Ian Bourn. Lasting 45 minutes, it features a drunk Lenny delivering a long expletive-driven monologue about life in Leytonstone. Hilariously funny observations nestle next to something darker and worrying. At the time I never knew if it was a character or Bourn himself – he had a history of inventing roles - but it was utterly gripping.

Listening to someone drunkenly ramble on for 45 minutes about Leytonstone doesn’t sound inspiring I admit, and even if you go and take a look at the online documentation of the piece I suspect you’d probably think “so what?” But it worked wonderfully well and the fact that I was able to recall so much about it despite only ever having seen it once before says something about Bourn’s work.

After over 40 minutes of close-up it ends spectacularly with a moving shot taken from inside a car driving along the Leytonstone High Road to the accompaniment of I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra with Nelson Riddle. Whenever I play that song or hear it, I always think of Leytonstone Highway.

Helpful emails regarding Crim and Exposure came from Philip Johnston and Manny Maris respectively.

Also batting backwards and forwards emails with Pat Mastelotto on the elusive nature of Crimness.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Ghost Of A Chance

Currently experiencing the dread guilt of a day when the word count is zero.

I feel out of my depth with a project I’ve taken on; vanity triumphing over ability. I’ve been here before. The anxiety will pass. Eventually.

In the meantime, the sound of my chain-rattling as I haunt myself fills the unforgiving cavernous space where skill, talent and enthusiasm should be.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Rain Stops Play

Whitley Bay was drenched today. Not driving rain but a constant drizzle and sizzle. After thirty minutes – the time it takes to walk up, grab a few vegetables and buy a new teapot and back – I was drenched.

Everyone I passed on the street had that teeth-clenched look of desperation about them. Every shop I went into, people stood about in their sodden coats, expressing relief to be out the elements, sheltering from the winds that lashed rain into your face like a cat ‘o nine-tails.

There was a palpable sense of the blitz spirit – we were getting through something and getting through it together. Audible snippets of conversation generally were along the lines of “it’s not been much of a summer has it?”

When I got back, my mother had phoned to say she wouldn’t be coming down to Whitley Bay to eat with us tonight as she didn’t want to get wet twice in one day.

So much for a bit of rain in a northern coastal town and how sorry we all felt for ourselves today. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the people of New Orleans and the surrounding area.

I read this account yesterday over at Krimson News posted by Lotus Spray. Grim reading indeed.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Songs Of Experience, Innocence And Wonder

This afternoon the yellow room thrums and hums to the sounds of ProjeKct Two, June 1st 1998 at Pittsburgh. Opening with a nebulous soundscape, the show takes a little while to build. Trey attributes this to the outdoor venue, arguing that P2 benefited from the pressure cooker environment of a club atmosphere.

Nearly twenty minutes into the gig, after cutting out of a furious Sus-Tayn-Z and into a punchy Live Groove, something quite beautiful happens. It made me shiver on the first listen. It made my jaw drop on the second. The hairs on the back of my neck are still standing to attention.

Both guitarists drop out leaving Belew momentarily on his own. A beat or two; Belew nodding and grinning, encouraging the players on.

Robert switches sounds to the bass end of the piano but almost immediately decides it’s the wrong tone.

Then he fades up the string orchestra with Gunn following with an e-bow style sustain, then widening the sound out so it’s curling at the edge of feedback, brimming with rapture.

And Robert adds to this profound moment by adding tone and colours to the descending chords; they are immense, endowed with a stark and desolate beauty.

Another gap. The piece could end here and nobody would have complained.

Glances are exchanged - it’s Adrian’s call.

In that minuscule moment, something happens, something manifests itself. Belew beefs up the beat, relighting the fire. Trey intuitively swoops down to bass and Fripp detonates a flurry of notes that shred time and space.

Less than six minutes have elapsed on the clock but it’s been a song of experience, of innocence and wonder that has taken years to sing so clearly and precisely.

Elsewhere. . .

Last night I was walking down our street having returned some dvds to the local branch of Blockbusters when one of our neighbours shouted out something about getting indoors in order to watch the match. I nodded and laughed in that vague and hopefully non-specific manner covering the fact I didn’t have a clue a clue what match he was on about.

Back indoors Debra tells me that England are playing Northern Ireland in a football match. The assumption was the England would win easily against an inferior side. I shrugged and went back to chatting with the kids about their week so far at school not giving a fig for the sporting fate of the nation.

Having missed out on the sports gene in general, my distance from the beautiful game was further exacerbated when I developed a condition called Osgood Schlatters’ Disease. Invasive injections directly into the left knee-cap and being cast in plaster from thigh to ankle were the order of the day. It was bloody painful and incredibly uncomfortable and led to me missing out on games for a year or so. This was fine by me as I got to spend games lessons in the school library.

The last few weeks Joseph has been suffering from a pain in his right knee. Kids have aches and pains all the time. It comes with the territory. With your first child you tend to go off at the deep end with each damage report.

By the time your second child comes around you’ve seen it all before. Mostly these minor complaints disappear without any intervention barring the occasional placebo subterfuge – which amounts to the same thing only with a bit of deception thrown in for shits and giggles.

However Joe’s knee wasn’t getting any better so we got him an appointment at the Docs. This morning before he went off to school I told him about the problems I had with my knees and the impressive sounding Osgood Schlatters’ Disease. What thrilled him was the news that I was off school for weeks and weeks.

So it was a crestfallen Joseph who came back from the Docs with the news that a) he does have OSD and b) with the marvellous advances in medical science he doesn’t have to have any time off school. Joe is now excitedly explaining to anyone who will listen that he’s got a disease!

Street Life XIV

This morning was warm, full of possibility
and birdsong . . .

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Mersey Sound by Adrian Henri, Roger McGough & Brian Patten

A Poem Isn't Just For Christmas...

It was 1968. Hey Jude was playing endlessly on my sister’s blue Dansette record player and memories of Yellow Submarine, which I’d seen that summer, were still fresh and vivid when into our classroom came a timid-looking student teacher carrying a copy of The Narrow Road To The Deep North.

For a while several of us were beguiled by these ancient Japanese Haiku poems; oiky working class Basho street kids lost in images of old frogs jumping into rippling pools and the like. But when we began to lose concentration, that canny student teacher pulled out a copy of The Mersey Sound and whipped us back in line.

The cover design was a psychedelic beacon flashing at the outer edge of our black and white lives. The times were polarised and solarised and this small book was impossibly exotic and esoteric. At the time, the poems by Roger McGough were the ones we all liked best. “Mother the wardrobe is full of Infantrymen” and “Icarus Allsorts” had a slightly scary Cold War / CND edge that brought with them the merest whisper of the protest that clamoured on the periphery of our youthful consciousness. More immediately perhaps, the liberal sprinkling of comic book characters mentioned by all three poets certainly helped win friends and influence people in class.

So much so that when it came to writing down a list of the books I wanted for Christmas and birthday, The Mersey Sound was on the top. At the time, although I didn’t know then, the book was something of a poetic phenomenon. Penguin had printed 20,000 but it quickly sold out, requiring a reprint. During 1969 that slim volume was as well read as any of my Marvel and DC comics, space race enclyopedia or the Dr. Who annuals that never quite lived up to the show itself.

Of course I didn’t “get” most of what The Mersey Sound was about but that didn’t matter. It made me feel somehow connected to, well, whatever it was that I thought was going on out there in that wider, long-haired world that I intuitively knew I wanted to be part of.

By the time I was in my teens Adrian Henri’s poems were my favourites and they remain so today.

Endlessly self-referential and archaically hip, they gather up the smell and feel of the period in a declamatory whirlwind; each one a glittering prize captured from the counter-culture crown. They may sound old and well-worn now but they are undeniably authentic little gems. His poem, “Me”, essentially a list of his heroes at the time, was for me a literary equivalent of trying to name the faces from the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s.

The only ones on Henri’s list I knew when I first read it were The Beatles and Manfred Mann. With each passing year I began to bump into more and more of those immortalised names like so many notches on the bedpost of my cultural awakening.

Flashing forward to the 90s and I’ve just met a woman called Debra at a party. We are introduced by a mutual friend and get talking. Somehow poetry comes into the conversation. “One of my favourite collections is The Mersey Sound” she tells me and in that moment I knew my life was going to change forever.

Morning Glory! What's The Story?

I didn’t want to mention it earlier because I wasn’t sure about the results but after a two or three days I’m cautiously optimistic that my ongoing bad back saga has improved. The reason for this optimism comes from our recent purchase of a new bed. It’s so high off the ground you almost need to pole vault to get into it.

This is a good thing because instead of hauling myself up from the pit with the aid of a strategically placed chest of drawers, all I have to do now to greet the day is to swing my legs over the side and bingo! – I’m upright. As I remarked to an impressed and eager Debra - I love being erect in the morning!

Other benefits include the novelty of being instantly mobility. Normally I move in a teetering Douglas Bader-style way for the first twenty minutes or so of every morning. Additionally, I’ve been able to return to the stretches and short exercise programme which are designed to strengthen the muscles in my back. All of which makes this Sid Smith a happy Sid Smith.

Elsewhere. . .

Tracking Down That Elusive Object Of Desire. . .

I enjoyed this account of buying a second-hand record and there’s also some King Crimson content as a bonus.

On the agenda today. . .

Writing copy for the new Tetsu Inoue album / Marshalling biographical information on the current line-up of King Crimson/ Research and reading time regarding the art of the album cover / Giving thumbs up for P2 / P3 & RF 2005 soundscapes downloads on the DGM site/ Pat Mastelotto article/ Various reviews

The Bog Book Blog. . .
For a look at the new book on the blog click here. . .

Listening To. . .
Orient And Occident by Arvo Pärt
Reclaiming Eros by Andrew Keeling

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Finger Off The Pulse

If at first you don't succeed, try. . .

. . .and try. . .

. . .and try again!

As far as I could tell everywhere else enjoyed glorious summer sun yesterday. I don't mean in foreign climes. I mean a couple of miles in-land, whilst here we were wrapped in a clammy clingfilm of seafret all day.

And that's the way it was looking this morning when I let the cats out to go and fertilise the lawns and bedding plants of our nearest and dearest neighbours.

An hour or so later the sun pressed its face up against the fog and for a while it looked as though it might never break through. Happily by mid-morning it had.

After a walk along the promenade I figured out two things. Firstly what I was going to cook for this evenings meal – leek and potato soup - and secondly, I need to hustle some more work from somewhere otherwise I’ll be in the soup myself.

And as I was seasoning the soup I listened to Shop Talk on Radio 4. This edition was about blogging. Some amazing statistics; “a new blog every second, 80,000 every day, 14 million world wide and still counting.” The show deals primarily with the growth of blogs as a marketing tool by business. As I write, the programme details refer to the previous programme but click on listen to the latest show to get the dirt on Saville Row tailors, Soap and blogging from the board rooms CEO.

On the blower today: Brian T just back from Venice and the Lucien Freud exhibition. He told me to get there and soon.

Jonathan Brainin wrote with a query about going to see Cream performing in NYC. I advised him to save his dollars and direct them towards a stay-over in Whitley Bay.

And a query from Richard Parry that had me reeling for the search button. “Hey Sid - who gets your vote for tonight’s Mercury Prize then?”

It says something about my proverbial finger on the pulse that I had no clue that the Mercury Prize was being drawn tonight. Even worse, upon checking who is up for the top slot, I confess I have not heard one piece of music by any of the bands. Not quite true I suppose since Coldplay are ubiquitous. But you get the idea.

Should you be in any doubt as to just how out of touch I am with popular music then read on. . .

Today on heavy rotation in the Yellow Room - something of a pre-release bonanza!

Yolo by Tetsu Inoue

All The Dolls In The Same Place by Jay Terrien & Pat Mastelotto

Alice In Ultraland by the Amorphous Androgynous

Lithosphere by Robert Rich and Ian Boddy

The Very Best of Chris Spedding

Defector by Steve Hackett

Soundscapes at Hartford, Conneticut 1997 by Robert Fripp

Monday, September 05, 2005

Alone Again. Naturally

Whitley Bay has been wreathed in sea-fret today. Shafts of sunshine from the outer world occasionally drifts through. There’s a light breeze coming in from the beach that carries the smell of kelp.

Tom and Joe have started back at school and Debbie starts with her new employer today. Sam is at work and Alys who has been staying at a friend’s house won’t be due back for a few hours. The house, after seven weeks of bustle and frantic activity has suddenly returned to its still self. Trying to work whilst the family has been about in force hasn’t been easy.

If I did a job from home that required me to be in an overall or move into an oily workshop (or variants thereof) then I think there would have been a different perception about what I do here in the yellow room. However, as I sit here tapping away at a computer it probably looks like I’m enjoying myself – which I suppose isn’t unreasonable. By which I mean it doesn’t look like I’m actually doing much of anything.

Once or twice the wordage has dipped perilously low with the consequent knock-on effect to my morale. At times like this I have had to be rude; shutting the door, telling errant children to come back in an hour, etc. So as the family goes back to the routine so it feels like it’s back to work for me.

Elsewhere . . .

On the left, John Prescott - hilarious.

I read at the weekend that John Humphrys, one of the presenters for Radio 4’s essential news and current affairs Today programme has been criticised for making some derogatory remarks about cabinet members at an after-dinner speech. The clamour amongst the chattering classes is that this is a grave matter. There is talk about enquiries and the like because apparently his off the cuff remarks brings into question the impartiality of the political interlocutor.

I have no idea what John Humphrys' politics are nor do I care. What I care about is that when politicians come on the radio they are challenged and vigorously questioned. The fact that Humphrys mentions that Gordon Brown is a dull interviewee, that Peter Mandelson is universally detested or that everyone laughs at the merest mention of John Prescott’s name is pretty much self-evident. I can’t really see what all the fuss is about.

Elsewhere again. . .

Also at the weekend I read that Roger Waters quit living in the UK because of the ban on hunting with hounds. Even more worrying though was the news that his new opera (spanning a double CD no less) is almost ready to be unveiled.

Elsewhere once more with your trouser leg rolled up. . .
As I was cooking the evening meal tonight I listened to the always excellent BBC radio programme, Beyond Belief. The latest edition was all about freemasonry and features an entertaining verbal punch-up between the for and against camps. Go to the site and dail up the edition for September 5th edition.

And Finally. . .

Take a look at the Bog Book Blog.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Pearl by Harold Budd & Brian Eno

After spending much of the 70s and the early 80s hurtling into the unknown, Brian Eno found time to take his foot took his foot off the gas, pausing to explore in a bit more detail those panoramas of possible music that had whizzed by on the initial journey out there.

One such return was The Pearl with American composer Harold Budd. First released in 1984 it followed on from their first collaboration four years earlier, The Plateaux Of Mirror, which in turn consolidated a relationship forged during Budd’s 1978 Obscure label and recording debut, The Pavilion Of Dreams.

Driven by the woebegone beauty of Budd’s simple compositions, lilting melodies buoyed up on a swell of sombre chords and soft-pedal reverberation, Plateaux is a stripped-back affair compared to the lush, more expansive treatments afforded the stately pieces that comprise The Pearl.

There’s a sense of unfinished business pervading this album perhaps exemplified on Their Memories. Essentially, a reprise of The Chill Air (from Plateaux) the notes on that occasion emanated from the slow drawl of a reversed piano into pin-sharp, startled silence. On The Pearl the process is turned around; notes slice through layers of shivering atmospherics, leaving long echoing trails in their frosty wake.

The credit for this extra texture can be ascribed to engineer Daniel Lanois (for which he receives front cover billing) and with whom Eno refurbished U2’s sonic signature on The Unforgettable Fire released the same year as The Pearl.

There’s a greater emphasis on the exotic fauna populating the imaginary woodlands through which Budd’s melancholic tunes seem destined to drift, but unlike the delicate elegance of their earlier outing, an implied menace underscores several of the tracks here; Dark Eyed Sister sways somewhere between a promise and a warning, alluring yet potentially dangerous, whilst the murmuring crosscurrents percolating beneath the title track suggests that though the water may look lovely, caution should be observed when diving in.

Yet for all its seductive charm this is a relatively modest work grand scheme of things. Lacking the necessity of his other ambient-orientated releases it will appeal primarily to Eno completists who may wish to note that the differences between this new version and the original CD transfer are, appropriately enough I suppose, minimal. Newcomers might be better off being directed towards The Plateaux Of Mirror and Budd’s own 1986 release, Lovely Thunder.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Window You Can Shake Hands With In The Dark

Amy and Yogi sit amongst the special bunting we had made for their arrival. . .

Today we have houseguests. Amy (Debbie’s niece from Loughborough) and her beau, Yogi. They’re staying with us one night and are then heading off up to Edinburgh on Sunday to do some sight-seeing, etc.

Figuring that we’d have to feed them, this morning Debbie and I went out shopping into the centre of Whitley Bay where we bumped into Richard and Felicity, neighbours from a bit further down the street. We’ve only met once before at Thomas and Leonie’s house but it was nice to see them again.

As we walked home we swapped stories about the vagaries of tradesmen and how rare it is to find someone who you can trust and whose work feels something like value for money. The chap who came and did our uPVC windows – or should I say the controversial uPVC windows, was excellent.

Personable neat and diligent throughout the day, Tom the window-man was great in every respect. He’s coming back to do our kitchen windows and rather than cringing in apprehension at some impending home-wrecker, we’re looking forward to seeing him again.

In the post - a couple of emails from Robert F - our respective computers can talk to each other without me having to invest in an Powerbook! Hurrah!

Listening To. . .
The Very Best of Chris Spedding

Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans: Apocalypse Now

Hesitant and barely able to keep a lid on top of the cauldron of emotions that are boiling inside, her eyes are glassy whilst her faltering voice sounds distant and clearly disturbed; were she a soldier she might be described as being shell-shocked.

governor Kathleen Blanco is struggling to cope with the enormity of what has happened in New Orleans and the surrounding area following the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In times of disaster, whether natural or man-made, the press conference is the rallying point where politicians call for calm, issue reassurances and ask for unity in the face of unreasoning adversity. Such occasions are meant to demonstrate that civic and political structures though shocked and battered nevertheless continue, and that whatever else may happen, order will prevail and the mighty ship of state sails on.

Yet as far as one can tell from the truncated soundbites here in the UK, Governor Blanco’s appearance indicates that like much of her electorate she has no real idea what’s happening or how any of this might be resolved. There’s no blame for struggling to cope in the face of such staggering devastation. Blanco reminds us that in the teeth of such colossal forces politicians are just as vulnerable as the rest of us.

Yet her numbed honesty should not obscure the grim fact that the authorities at all levels have failed to respond with anything like the vigour that their emergency planning might have suggested was possible.

On the evidence of the last few days the plan appears to have been “Well, it’s going to be bad but hurricanes have come and gone and we’re still here” with the added contingency that “it might never happen anyway.”

It’s easy to be smart after the event but in this instance the authorities we were actually smart before the event. This being the case how in a country as powerful and as wealthy as America can buses and helicopters not be commandeered and put into the service of the dispossessed in short order? How is it that enough National Guard cannot be mustered to protect the lives of a traumatised and devastated population?

Whilst many will take comfort from the fact the President Bush has cut short his vacation to take charge of the situation, his initial promise that help was on its way was still looking less than convincing in the hellish scenes around the conference centre and the Superdome.

Complacency and conceit are the enemies of common sense and the spectacular failure of the civic and military institutions to respond more effectively to this crisis should make us all whether in the USA or elsewhere, take stock.

The rapidity of the descent into chaos is chilling. We associate the scenes witnessed in New Orleans with dystopic movies such as Soylent Green or Escape From New York City and others of their ilk. Only this isn’t some future catastrophe that’s waiting to happen. This is apocalypse now.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin