Sunday, March 26, 2006

Do not be sad because of love - Ali Farka Toure gone

Word is that Ali Farka Toure died. Blues has its aspects of tradition and experimentation. For me one of the great experimentalists of blues was Toure. It is said he heard Detroit’s John Lee Hooker records coming east to Africa. And was like many smitten. Clearly, parts of the Mali griot musics that went to North America’s American South and then up to the U.S.’s northern industrialist cities had come back to Africa and gained a new set of drones and timbres and keys and fretboard runs. Yes it was conscious, but to hear Hooker in Toure, blues in Afrique, was astounding trance. And what is wrong with conscious trance? Messages like Beethoven’s across the time of foam. Bonde, ASKA, Diraby...

What is wrong my love? It is you I love.
Do not be angry, do not cry.
Do not be sad because of love. Corey Harris on Ali, CounterPunch,eyre,72469,22.html Ali Farka Toure 1939-2006, Village Voice Ali on Amazon

Saturday, March 25, 2006


For peter bochner

I awoke one morning
And I was Chuck Knobaluch
lost the ability to throw the ball to first base

I’d move from third
to shortstop
To second
My arm suspect
Some bat
Good onbase Percentage
Not a detriment
In the field
And i could handle the pepper

And was glad for the spot
and yes theyd found a spot for me

until i couldnt catch a fish
in a barrel
or drop a wad
in a urinal
or hit a giant enos side of the barn

I knew it would come
To something like this
But not

I thought I'd be a bug

but I am a knoblauch
and yet
the grounders
the fungo
wont stop.

Metal-eating bacteria seen powering fuel cells

A strain of bacteria that releases electrons as a waste product could become the secret ingredient for developing fuel cells for small robots. The idea is that colonies of Shewanella will attach themselves to anodes, and produce electrons, say researchers at Rice University and the University of Southern California.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Pogues, The Orpheum, Boston, Mar. 15, 2006

The Ides of March? As the U.S. enters year three of "The Iraqi Police Action?" The Pogues?

The Pogues. 1991. They were going to America and opening for Dylan on his tour and singer and lyricist Shane MacGowan was drunk and on hallucinogens and was disallowed to fly on the plane. So they did the tour without him. They went their separate ways. But have started doing small reunion tours. And now come to America. To Atlanta, Washington, New York, and we caught them in Boston.

They started with Rivers of Whiskey. Then they did If I should Fall from the Grace of God. Quite and assortment from the many years. Some I do believe from Shane’s solo career..some more from the Pogues career without Shane.

He always had for me a bit of the look of Charles Laughton. And trouble about to happen. Throughout the concert wrestling with the mike stand. He at first stumbles about as if just awakened, and we are watching. But when the time comes at the end of a verse he will do his trademark banshee yell: “Aaaaaaiiiiieeeeaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”

When I saw the Pogues in 1985 on Landsdown, they were the drunkest band I’d ever seen. Now Shane is the mad drunk. As with the deposed Popes on Landsdown circa 1995, fans blow air at the singer now. Dragging his foot about, and youth far behind him, like Charles Laughton in the Hunchback of Notre Dame this time. He would walk off after some numbers and another guy from the band would do a song and then Shane would come back, and each time more energized.
Someone from the audience got up and gave him a green flag that said “Pogue Mahon – Erin Gobraugh” and Shane was gentle with it, and he tried to post it on the Drum set stage, and after it fell, this looks not his forte, the crew made for sure it was displayed there.

They had a lot of songs really. Quite a variety. Seemed like they were eager to play. Pent up too long. Cause in fact these songs are just sitting around – or on electronic media -- if the Pogues arent out there. And they are quite remarkable.

Shane: Little twist and grind on Sunny Side of the Street. Probably, the biggest highlight was the Sunny Side. The band roared into the Cajun-esque opening of the song. Found it to be quite electrifying even if the all-too much pelvis swinging Shane couldn’t bring less bravado on stage. “Just dont wanta be reborn as a snail,” says Shane.

Red plastic booze cup clutched. Had the microphone chord and was ‘pretend’ strangling himself which was kind of scary. They are giving him all wide girth. For example when he is balancing a stool on his head of course to drop woodenly kerplop. It comes to a poetic climax [though many more of vast variety to follow] on Old Main Drag where old pocked Shane MacGown tosses with chagrin his ringlets as he recalls the coppers who ‘ruined his good looks for the Old Main Drag.”
The penny whistle player Spider Stacey. Chaplinesque, kind of played a counter point to Shawn. As if saying ‘Aint he a fool – but you love him’ He was the singer when Shane was away. Now he has to play straight man. But for my part [do I have a part?] I am so glad to see them together.
Shane clangs a coffee tray on his head.

“I heard a sigh, come from the docks, Saw a train set the night on fire...” Shane sings Dirty Old Town and the Orpheum [Charles Dickens, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop were here – Jack saw the latter two] becomes an English music hall. The audience [which never sits down] sings along. Some rows sway. The Pogues apply a drone that goes with the old town..which reminds one of us of lost time and Racine “... I kissed my girl by the gas works wall, dirty old town, dirty old town.”
Strange patter from Shane. Mostly too drunk and indiscernible .. “Has anyone seen ‘Brokeback Mountain?’ - a stewed Borscht Belt comedian is he, ‘Raise your hand if you saw Brokeback Mountain.’ More indiscernible but seemingly we guess concerned with natural love and catholic families, the slurred patter continues. Lot of Boston Irish her in skullies tonight.

The tale of the ship called the Irish Rover all stomp with St Patrick’s Day upon us now. The ship sinks at the end of the song.

The lineup is marvelous when they all take front. All sang save banjoist. But Finer banjoist clunkin out the changes faithful was. Drummer Ranken of constant metric. Accordionist Frearnley like an orchestra everywhere all himself. Nice suits. Chevron ? In zoot? Black suits. Nice Irish white shirts on some. A band, by golly. Including top notch show biz.

Backdrop of starry sky. Encore, encores! Dream of New York. “It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank...” The grimiest Christmas Epic to survive the flood. Joined by a songstress with red flower in her hair, the spotlight falls on Sean and her as they dance [Will he stumble?] and snow falls from the rafters “... I could have been someone, well so could anyone.”
“You took my dreams from me, when I first found you.”

When Jack first heard the Pogues he was working a November Saturday in a little reporter’s office on Commonwealth Ave. On the radio, WGBH, it had the sound of acoustic punk. Dirty Old Town. They have continued to expand right along. They range from sad to wild. From roots to elegance. At time, they approach jazz, like Charlie Mingus or Carl Stallings, with a surreal cartoon feel. With Shane there is this big unknown. With Shane on the stage with them again, we had to try and go, and are glad, Jake and Jack, that we did. We pray: Live long, Shane.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bottle of Smoke [excerpt] by Shane MacGowan

On St Patrick's Day historically we run an Irish poet.
Today, beware, it is rough old Shane MacGowan and his tale
of going to the race track.
Erin go Braugh. Pogue Mahon.

Thanks and praises
Thanks to Jesus
I bet on the Bottle of Smoke
I went to hell
And to the races
To bet on the Bottle of Smoke
The day being clear
The sky being bright
He came up on the left
Like a streak of light
Like a drunken fuckOna
Saturday night
Up came the Bottle of Smoke
Twenty fuckingfive to one
Me gambling days are done
I bet on a horse called the Bottle of Smoke
And my horse won

More...with Wav fragment

And from the past ...
St Patrick's Day 2005

When money's tight and is hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When allyou have is a heap of debt -
A pint of plain is your only man. - Flann O'Brien [seen in foto above at Flann OBrien's Pub in Mission Hill, Boston, Mass.

St Patrick's Day 2004

The Viking Terror [Translated by Kuno Meyer]

Bitter is the wind tonight,
It tosses the ocean's white hair:
Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
Coursing on the Irish Sea.

St Patrick's Day 2003
The Deer's Cry [excerpt]
Attributed as a song Patrick would sing.
Translated by Kuno

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God' s way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From the snares of evils,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who shall wish me ill,A
far and anear
Alone and in a multitude.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Dr John rides van through 9th Ward

Families pass music on. Transmission of culture needs a place. That is the message as NPR provides a ride in a van through brokedown New Orleans with Dr. John.

"This is my heart and its broke," says Dr. John, "The city is broken in a million ways."

It is like he is looking for the ghost. The landmarks are all obscured. You cant tell where Mr Google Eyes ["I'm a hen laying rooster and my feathers dont match"] or Cousin Joe ["You'll Never Get Nothing Without Trying"] was.

The Ninth Ward. "This was such a vibrant chunk of different ends of New Orleans music."
"If you look at what's left. It's all over. It's like dat," he says, passing a house lying on top of another house." He is crying.

Looking at Fats Domino's house. Looking at Dukie Chase's restaurant. Noting the line from Ray Charles' Early in the Morning.

"Went to Dukie Chase to get something to eat ..
the waitress looks at me and says 'Ray you sure look beat.'"

"This is the pathetic part about why what aint open."

"It wasn't just the muscians it was the whole guts of the city.. the characters that were the customers.. everybody was a part of the culture that made the music flourish here like no place else."

Dr. John in fact is my piano teacher -- via VCR. I agree with him that true proximity is how this stuff is real. This is sacred ground, says the NPR reporter, not some future creole disney land. "This is the musical seedbed of america." Thanks to John Hogan for pointing to this story.

I have seen the Future and it is Merle

When they find out how to burn water, And the gasoline car is gone.
When an airplane flies without any fuel, And the satellite heats our home.
One of these days when the air clears up, And the sun comes shinin' thru.
We'll all be drinkin' that free Bubble-Up, And eatin' that Rainbow Stew.

-Merle Haggard, circa 1982

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Looney lunchtime coldcut-ups

Porky falls asleep always.

In the audience, interesting gags for the nation. A pie to Bugs.

Porky chalks town. Nailing posters advertising his wanting face, while realizing that part means insanity.

Sylvester to the life hotel where, ghostly, refusing to say who, he volunteers to pie the Uncle.

“Magic All Allegiance,” Porky Pig - murderous mice to heckle. The error of plastering and magic – spending, vows revenge.

Later, at lots, magician sees from end after pledge, and Sylvester realizes this pranks.

[This derived with auto and manual intervention from synopsi of Looney Tunes. See below. Auto cut-up courtesy of The Grazullis Cut-up Machine technology.]

Porky falls asleep after refusing to say the Pledge of
Allegiance. Uncle Sam comes to him in his dreams and
explains to him what the pledge means, and how it honors
those who gave their life for the nation. Porky sees the
error of his ways.
Porky Pig doesn't realize that the old hotel where he and
Sylvester are spending the night is really part of a ghost
town. It's only Sylvester who sees the band of murderous
mice trying to do them in, while Porky chalks his fears up
to insanity.
Ala Bahma the magician is plastering and nailing posters
advertising his magic show everywhere,even on the tree which
is home to Bugs Bunny.Bugs,not wanting to have a poster
nailed over his hole in the tree,ends up getting a pie in
the face by the magician and vows revenge("Of course you
realize this means war"). Later,at the magic show,Bugs pulls
lots of interesting gags and pranks to heckle the magician
and even pretends to be a small boy from the audience who
volunteers to help with a magic trick.Bugs then finishes it
all off at the end with a pie in Ala Bahma's face and a
Hawaiian song.

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