Saturday, January 20, 2007


'Big Brother is you watching'. I've seen the YouTube clips. Another hypermediated reminder of the provincial, xenophobic and class-ridden society that is dear old Blighty. The domestic war in the BB house (in our house 'BB' is shorthand for bad breath, of which there's been a lot on Celebrity Big Brother) almost makes you forget wars being fought by Brits in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's some good commentary on the spectacle from K-Punk, drawing attention to silence about class while people amplify the race/racism issue. Point taken, but that class system also perpetuates racist ignorance and hostility. One of the modalities of class resentment is racial/ethnic difference. In any case, the TV execs have used the class issue (and the vague 'cultural difference') as an alibi to deflect criticism. While it's hardly unique to the proles, let's not brush working-class racism under the carpet. Don't forget the aggro. More than 33,000 viewers complained about the programme. It's a shame they couldn't muster the same energy for a protest against the war, but their messages bring to the surface the experience of many British Asians who have had to put up with years of racist violence whether it comes from the gob, the gaze, the boot, the knife or the firebomb. Some of the press and voxpop has tended to separate 'bullying' from racism, as if scapegoating happens in a vacuum. K-Punk doesn't really say much about gender either. There's a proud British tradition of shitting all over uppity working-class women. Channel Four live at the witch trials! Angela McRobbie wrote this about female celebrities last June. I hope this media event means less surveillance trash and a shake-up at ratings-driven Channel Four. Seems a long way for the network to have come since the 1980s when its brief included representin' minority perspectives. Though I'm sure the racists will say that 'white Little Englanders have the status of a powerless minority now. They constitute the beleagured white majority since the country has been taken over by immigrants and the politically correct middle class wankers who defend them'. Why do the bloggers trying to reclaim class warfare want to separate it from race, make it more fundamental? Aren't class, gender, and race all bound together in a knot.

Anyhow, I had to make a playlist to commemorate the Goody Shetty match-up:

1. LAUB--Wake Up (Gonzales Remix)
2. COCO SOLID--Supastar
4. M.I.A.--XR2 (Turbo)
5. PANJABI HIT SQUAD--Get Crunked Up
6. LADY SOVEREIGN--Love Me Or Leave Me (Curtis Vodka Remix)
7. ARMANDO--100% of Disin' U
8. LILY ALLEN--LDN (South Rakkas Crack Whore Riddim)
9. AKABU & THE CIRCUIT--Watch Yourself
10. ELECTROSONIC--Computermatic
11. OJOS DE BRUJO--Feedback (Nitin Sawhney Remix)
12. ROD TAYLOR--Lonely Girl
13. ROD TAYLOR--Lonely Girl (Version)
14. NIGHTMARES ON WAX--Da Mess Sticks
15. TYCOON TO$H--Economic Animal In Concrete Jungle
16. TORTOISE--Why We Fight
17. JOMI MASSAGE--Undressing Aloud
18. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND--Femme Fatale (different mix on acetate)
19. CHIM KOTHARI--You Don't Have To Say You Love Me


The clubs I frequented in Leeds, Nottingham and London during the 80s had very loud sound systems but often several rooms, at least one of which had music playing quietly enough to actually listen and talk to friends without getting saliva splashed inside your ear or go hoarse drenching your mate's lugs. If you were lucky, more than two people could have a conversation with each other. Music venue design in Auckland is horrible, even if Moroccan lamps hang from the ceiling. Why do the secondary rooms in biggish Auckland clubs still have such loud music even if they've laid out the sofas, tables and chairs for that loungy vibe? Clubgoers are still treated like sheep filling up a pen, crude treatment compared to that offered to consumers of other media entertainments.

Saw Diplo last night at one of the worst venues in town for sound quality: Galatos. Fortunately I could sit down through most of the two hour set and the bods that stood or dance in front of me acted as a sound barrier. I danced on my ass. There were times the treble was remarkably high, but that may be just the quality of today's compressed digital music on mp3 and played off a laptop. The show was a really good upbeat, get em on the floor and keep em there at a sustained pitch kind of set. The MC didn't do much except shout out Aucklan' some hundred times, but he wasn't annoying. People were into the mix and showed it with a handsome variety of dance moves. Some had stepped out of a Go-Go's video from the 80s. Diplo likes dirty funky beats across genres. I've known about him since the excellent M.I.A. Piracy-Terrorism mixtape and his sundry remixes of classics and obscurities, many under the collective Hollertronix moniker. But he's also a terrific party DJ. No track goes on for more than about two minutes. He drops one out and goes into another and then returns to the first one after you think it's gone for the night. There are Jamaican style rewinds but not too many flashy EQ manipulations that wear out their welcome. He went through hip hop, 80s electro, hyphy, crunk, neo-rave punkish stuff (not sure what the generic tag is these days), baile funk, James Brown funk, dancehall. There's something democratic about his love of working-class dance music that's local but also transnationally viral and hacked to new life in different locations. However, ethical questions about ghetto chic are circulating online. On his blog Mudd Up!, DJ /Rupture, who has a less populist sound but is broadly speaking a propagandist for viral sonic culture, linked to an interesting article by Anna Dezeuze about the contemporary artists representing slums. In that respect, Diplo does have the anthropological imperative like David Byrne and others. A documentary on Baile Funk is in the works. I don't know enough about Diplo's work and position on these issues yet, though I'm sure he's a smart cookie. I haven't heard the many Baile funk mix CDs that he's released either. So I'm not presuming that young Diplodocus is in 'the wrong'. But his work does force us to pose some critical questions about the political economy of music right now. For example, he has brought the music of the favelas to the attention of consumers in the global market. Take a Brazilian producer in Rio who samples global hit music from North America or the UK for her or his own dubiously legal computer productions of local funk to play at the ball. Is he on the same ethical and financial ground as an American producer who then takes those sounds and circulates them in an overlapping but more lucrative economy? That economy will likely give the American producer greater financial opportunities as an emerging name/brand in the US-Europe-Japan-Australasia market network? How do the various musicians and mediators of this music negotiate an ethical way to work with these unbalanced power relations? For a start, you might look at this excellent collection of essays by Georgina Born and David Hesmondhalgh.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Waiter, There's a Surge In My Soup

1. BRAND NUBIAN--Allah U Akbar
2. ERMIT STANCIL--Tobacco Auctioneer In Hi-Fi
3. MED--Don't Sleep (Instrumental, produced by Madlib)
4. J DILLA--Pandemonium (Featuring Roc 'C' & Oh No)
5. KALYANJI ANANDJI--Title Music (Dharmatma)
6. THE FALL--Powderkex (D.O.S.E. Remix of Powderkeg)
7. WILEY--I'm A Sinner (Kiss FM)
8. JME--African Zulu Warrior (Instrumental)
9. AMY WINEHOUSE--Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)
10. KING HANNIBAL--The Truth Shall Make You Free (St. John 8:32)
11. K.M.D.--Boogie Man!
12. THE UHURU DANCE BAND--Olufeme (Natural Self Remix)
13. CRISTINA--What's A Girl To Do? (Remix)
14. LUPE FIASCO W/ JILL SCOTT--Daydreamin'
16. LINVAL THOMPSON--Rastafari Is My Religion 12"
17. FLYING LOTUS--Pet Monster Shotglass
18. SEKOUBA 'BAMBINO' DIABETE--It's a Man's Man's Man's World
19. ALLEN TOUSSAINT--Worldwide


Executive power
Execution power

1. THE SMITHS--A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
2. RUFUS HARLEY--Bagpipe Blues
3. JAMES BROWN--September Song
6. OS MUTANTES--Ave, Gengis Khan
7. CAROLE KING--The Sheik [Unknown Male Voice]
8. THE SOUND OFFS--The Angry Desert
9. BUSINESS MAN--Dubby Games
10. GO HOME PRODUCTIONS--GHP Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Space Invaders
11. AKIRA IFUKUBE--Main Title-Mothra vs. Godzilla
12. THE BUG--World War 3 (Featuring Warrior Queen)
13. OMNI TRIO--Renegade Snares (Foul Play V.I.P. Mix)
14. NINA SIMONE--Funkier than A Mosquito's Tweeter (Jazzeems All Styles Remix)
15. ASWATT VS. BOIKUTT--Dameer Mustater 73
16. KODE9 & THE SPACEAPE--Nine Samurai
17. T.J. CHESSER--Field Holler
18. JAMES BROWN--Talkin' Loud & Saying Nothin' (Part 1)
19. BLIND WILLIE MCTELL--The Dying Crapshooter's Blues


oh little town of Bethlehem...

1. TBC POUNDSYSTEM--Losing My Sledge
2. THE KNIFE--Christmas Reindeer
3. MATMOS--Steam And Sequins For Larry Levan
4. 2 BAD MICE--2 Bad Mice (Original)
5. THE HUMAN BEINZ--Nobody But Me (Pilooski Edit)
6. MEKON FEATURING ROXANNE SHANTE--Yes Yes Yall (Sinden Baile Funk Mix)
7. YAZ--Don't Go (Diplo Master Mix)
8. CURTIS VODKA--Thriller
9. DEPECHE MODE--The Sinner In Me (Ricardo Villalobos Conclave Remix)
10. ELIAS RAHBANI--Dance Of Maria
11. SDP--Santastic Mix
12. VINCE GUARALDI TRIO--Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal)
13. PANDA BEAR--Bro's (Edit)
14. THE GOSPEL STARS--Have You Any Time For Jesus
15. TERRIFIED KID--On Santa's Lap



2. GEORGE JACKSON--My Desires Are Getting The Best Of Me
3. THE EQUALS--Police On My Back
5. TAMI LYNN--Mojo Hannah
6. ESG--Dance
7. BETTY BOTOX--Voodoo 3
8. BUNJI GARLIN--Kingdom of Heaven (March Out Riddim)
9. DJ MAD--Wah Dem A Do Refix
10. LADY STUSH--Chromedollar
11. MAHMOUD FADL--Jibal Al Nuba
13. OMFO--Money Boney
14. LADY SOVEREIGN--Love Me Or Hate Me
15. RHANY--Chan Chan
16. SWEET CHERRIES--Don't Give It Away
17. WOLFMAN JACK--Free Shots
18. BETTY HARRIS--I'm Gonna Git Ya
19. IKE & TINA TURNER--Dust My Broom
20. BRAVE COMBO--Crazy Serbian Butcher's Dance
21. THE AFRICAN MESSENGERS--Highlife Piccadilly
22. RIAA--Reach Out For The Queen


Lee & Annamarie left for a half year in Baltimore, MD.

1. FAT FREDDY'S DROP--Cay's Crays (Digital Mystikz Remix)
2. NINA SIMONE--Baltimore
3. EMILIANA TORRINI--Sunnyroad (Manasseh Mix)
4. TIPSY--Tuatara
5. AMY WINEHOUSE--Love Is A Losing Game
6. JEANETTE--Porque Te Vas (DreamTime Mix)
7. JAHCOOZI--Black Barbie (Modeselektor Remix)
8. CIARA--Goodies (Richard X Remix featuring M.I.A.)
9. THE HUMAN LEAGUE--Don't You Want Me (Eric Prydz Remix)
10. STEVE COOGAN--Criticizing DJs
11. THE FIELD--Over The Ice
12. TOM TOM CLUB--Who Feelin' It (Mista Sinista Full Remix)
13. TONY ALLEN--Moyege (Mark's Disco Dub)
14. BARRY BROWN--Nice Up The Session (Version)
15. RIAA--Kick Bob Marley In The Head


Us and Them

1. FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS--Beggin' (Pilooski Edit)
2. ANANDA SHANKAR--Streets Of Calcutta
4. AMERICAN FOUR--Luci Baines
5. DIPLO--Shhake It Up
6. MANNY DURAN & HIS SEXTET--Johnny Comes Marching Home Mambo
7. LOVE--A House is Not A Motel (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Edit)
8. KOUSHIK--None In Mind
9. THE BEATLES--All You Need (Banzai Republic Remix)
11. LE MANS--Mi Novella Autobiografica
13. THE FREE DESIGN--Michelle
14. THE BEACHLES--God Only Knows What I'd Be Within You
15. SACHIKO KENONUBU--Look Up, The Sky Is Beautiful
16. CAROLE KING--I Didn't Have A Summer Romance
17. JOE BATAAN--This Boy
18. THE BEATLES--He Said, He Said (She Said, She Said)
19. THE BIRDS--Femme Fatale

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Haven't posted for over a month. In December we had two visits from friends in the US. I'm busy with a backlog of writing assignments, though still on annual leave from the university until early February. Just completed and sent off the first draft of a piece about The Smiths' 1987 album Strangeways, Here We Come for a collection of essays on the group to be published by Manchester University Press later this year. I'm full of trepidation since it's a departure from strictly 'academic' prose to more 'creative' writing. Here's the first paragraph:

When I was thinking about the best way to revisit the Smiths for this collection of essays, I couldn’t help returning to a particular setting: a bedroom somewhere in the north of England with a copy of Strangeways, Here We Come lying in a closet. The last Smiths album is caught for a freeze-frame instant in the grainy footage of one of those mosque terrorist cell exposés. The LP could belong to the Muslim male subject but may be a hand-me-down from an older brother or sister. A pamphlet of local prayer times sits on the bedside table next to the clock with its automated muezzin. The hidden cameras earlier revealed that this was where the subject listened to music, worked with computers, and shared information with friends and associates, unbeknownst to other family members. The British-born youth of Pakistani descent had groomed his beard and prayed shortly before leaving his home to make the journey to Londonistan and beyond.