Saturday, March 25, 2006

Open letter to Jens Lekman

Oh, you're so spell-binding Jens, and I must apologize for still not having bought your album. I did however take the time to download all the mp3's up for grabs at your site, I did go and see your show in Rotterdam with two friends (and was stunned into glowing silence) and I did play your music so doggedly and so tactically, that my girlfriend has really started to like your music as well. Not a bad score eh? Unfortunately, I have little else to offer you, although you are more than welcome to check out the Crow Lost Tapes of course (see below, any musical accompaniment more than welcome). That, and extend you a warm invitation to the luscious little city of Leiden, next time you hit the Netherlands on tour. And please, keep that brass section, they are magic.

Work of Art in the World of Football

You should have seen it. It beggared belief.


(Joost is just as happy as I am)

Having safely navigated my way through ten posts (and one sort of disclaimer post which I am excluding from my tally), I am in a jubilant frame of mind as you can well imagine, my dear reader. So ecstatic in fact that I came very close to printing T-shirts with the following:

BRIGHTSTUFF = 10 POSTS OLD! But seriously though: I will be celebrating this occasion by going to see the infamous Infadels (no typo!) on Thursday evening in the Patronaat (Haarlem). Why not join me?

As a sign of the coming of age of this blog, I shall from this day forth dispense with the annoying habit I was in the danger of acquiring, that is of affixing a number (spelled out of course: how different, how... artistique) to every post. No, from now on, the posts will stand alone, independent of their illustrious/pathetic ancestry.

And what better party music than that of Goodtimes, a Hong Kong outfit, who are notoriously anonymous on internet, but producers of a startling and disturbing brand of pop-rock-disco. Thanks to Hylknikkop for enlightening me in the summer of 2000 (Remember the Hoegaarden Grand Cru, the quarry, the femurs and the Kung-Fu fighting Hell's Angels...).


Ten: "Checkin' out some Fromm, some Sartre, Camus"

(with apologies to Cartier-Bresson and an anonymous photographer)

Aaaaah yes... With the air now tinged with April warmth, birds' cat-calling from the trees and just the slightest promise of good times ahead, I can't help but turn to one of my favourite feel-good rap-albums, with the ridiculously presumptuous title "Reachin' A New Refutation Of Time And Space". Yes, it's the Digable Planets or DP's, heralding from an era when that acronym didn't immediately conjure up wild, triple x-rated shenanigans. From the jazzy basslines and hard drumbeats to the laidback, smooth delivery of uniquely literate lines, this music never fails to put a smile on my face. And even after ten years of listening to the album, I am still finding little nuggets of information throughout: my recent discovery of Erich Fromm's name being dropped in "NY is Red Hot" being a case in point. I must admit, the whole revolutionary, class-struggle theme underlying DP's work was entirely lost on me at the time as well, and knowing it now only serves to enhance my esteem for the music.

So, if you need a break from the tedium of whatever you should be doing at this moment, check the album below and check this page, just to find out what Fromm would think of you, were you to land on his couch one early Spring morning.

"And we out, out, out..."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Nine: Crow Lost Tapes

According to this website, Ted Hughes was a very good reader of his own work and that of others. I haven't had the opportunity of listening to recordings of Hughes reading out loud his own work, but was recently privy to a number of recitals of several Crow poems and had the good sense to record them. Here are all the important facts surrounding this momentous occasion:

Venue: De Burcht (serre)
Time: Sometime after 20
Date: Monday 13th February
Assembly: Raymond, Luc, Iris, Laura, Joost, Jimmy, Angus, Pepijn and Alistair
Poems recited and recorded: Examination at the wombdoor, Lineage, The Kill and Two Legends
Sound quality: pretty mediocre, but it will have to do

This is not the place for an elaborate discussion on Crow, if you are really interested in that or other Hughes work, you shuld really take a look here.

Now then, for your enjoyment, the Crow lost tapes:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Eight: Disillusionment

And all my admiration for people using those wonderful letter-banners just flew right out the window. Yes, I seriously believed that people were spending hours trawling the internet for photographs of letters of the alphabet, cropping them, arranging them etc. etc. But no, of course it's all bloody automated isn't it? So, just to get things off my chest, take that:

And that:

And these two for good measure:

There, bored now. God, I can hardly bear to look at the poncy things anymore.
Actually, my admiration has now shifted from the people who adopt these banner-thingies, to the people who programmed the software that assembles them. Well done!

Seven: GO LOMO!

(no homo, LOMO!)
Sorry, had to drop that, so that I could link to the explanation of a phrase that had mystified me these past months)

"What a waste of money!"
That was the pretty much identical reaction of the two most important women in my life to my new toy, the Lomo LC-A camera.

"I've got to have one of those!"
The reaction of the other 95% of my circle of acquaintances.

While I have a long way to go yet in convincing my two beloved skeptics (they know who they are), I am already thrilled with some of the results, and am inspired by the thousands of better photographs being taken by fellow LOMO-heads every day. So, assembled above, a slightly dull collage of photos taken at home and in Dusseldorf. Some of the snaps exhibit those groovy faults like blurriness, vignetting, tight focus and the effects of the colour flash I bought with the camera. I know, I know, Magnum won't be knocking on my door just yet, but give it some time...

What, you're still not convinced you need one of these gorgeous Russian works of craftsmanship? Head over to the LOMO site, then zip over to ebay, pick one up at a fraction of the price (clever Daan), lock and load and snap your heart out!

Six: Kinski and Brando in Dusseldorf

“Every grey hair on my head I call Kinski”

When Werner Herzog finished the script for 'Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes' or 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God', he immediately sent it to Klaus Kinski, with whom he had never worked before, although they had lived in the same boarding house when Herzog was a child, and Kinski a little older. Herzog said of their meeting, “At that moment I knew it was my destiny to make films, and his to act in them.” Later, Herzog said he did not know the dialogue he was going to shoot in Aguirre until almost the moment the camera rolled: “The shoot was very tough, and every day, Kinski could see the problems I was having. Yet, he continued to throw tantrums, create scandals, or simply scream if a mosquito appeared.” Herzog conceded that Kinski was “probably the most difficult actor in the world to deal with. Working with Marlon Brando must have been like kindergarten compared to Kinski.” He would shriek at the cinematographer to keep the camera only on him. “We had mutual respect for each other, even as we both planned each other’s murder.” It is rumoured that Herzog threatened to kill Kinski during the filming of Aguirre. Herzog confirmed that Kinski’s habit of walking off shoots made the threat necessary. “The press later wrote that I directed Kinski from behind the camera with a loaded gun, a beautiful image. Sure, the man was a complete pestilence and a nightmare to work with, but who cares? What is important is the films we made together.(Herzog
on Kinski, director's audio track, DVD 'Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes')

Sorry about the long intro, but it explains the significance of the otherwise rather dull photograph I took in Dusseldorf recently. Walking along, I stumbled first upon a portrait of Kinski hanging in the window, followed by one of Brando. As a fan of both, I took a quick snapshot and thought no more of it. Flash forward about a month and here I am, perusing some of my scribblings for a lecture on the film Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes, when I find to my surprise both Kinski and Brando being mentioned in one sentence by the movie's director Herzog. Isn't life just full of serendipitous coincidence?