A few more thoughts…

Is this the clos­est I’ve been to a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter? I guess it is and I’m not real­ly that close. But its hit me far more than I’ve ever been hit before, because I know the city so very well. I think Jog­ja is about 1000 km or so from here, west­ways across this immense arch­i­pel­ago, but its close in spir­it; its in the same coun­try and I know quite a few souls there, all of whom, it seems, are thank­ful­ly ok unlike so many. At least the dead are dead, it’s the injured and home­less you real­ly have to feel for. But of course to so many, in real­i­ty most, out­side Indone­sia it’s just anoth­er dis­as­ter with a few thou­sand face­less third world vic­tims.

As we all know the west­ern world in par­tic­u­lar pays lip ser­vice to these seem­ing­ly reg­u­lar but remote events, unlike, say, Kat­ri­na, which dom­i­nat­ed the wires and pages for months and months. The Tsuna­mi was of glob­al inter­est par­tial­ly because so many west­ern tourists died, and also because of what it was, a mon­ster wave direct­ly from the pages of sci­ence fic­tion and so beloved by Hol­ly­wood. The world shed a brief tear for all those in the likes of Aceh and Sri Lan­ka, promised funds, then moved on to the Super­bowl or what­ev­er. A quick google is evi­dence that updat­ed infor­ma­tion on Tsuna­mi relief is sparse on the net – the west lost inter­est fast after it left CNN.

A friend who was recent­ly in Aceh says the place is still a mess, boats sit on build­ings and whole sec­tors of Ban­deh Aceh and the sur­round­ing lands remain dev­as­tat­ed, untouched since the wave, par­tial­ly because there is no-one to go back there and par­tial­ly because the mon­ey has long since dried up, com­pli­cat­ed by the fact that so much of the mon­eys and aid promised sim­ply didn’t mate­ri­alise or was side­lined before it reached there.

A doc­tor I spoke to yes­ter­day, just back from a field hos­pi­tal in Ban­tul, told me that med­ical sup­plies are rea­son­ably plen­ti­ful but food and blan­kets are very sparse. I guess ban­dages and splints are hard­er to get ready cash for in the mar­kets. Cyn­i­cal? Maybe … prob­a­bly real­is­tic is clos­er to the truth.

In the case of this recent quake, the online edi­tion of The New Zealand Her­ald (which is the ver­sion I see when I look at it) had it at sec­ond billing to some bloody provin­cial rug­by game. I have to be hon­est with myself and admit that I hadn’t real­ly heard of Yogyakar­ta until I came to Bali a few times, and I’m, I hope or at least, like to tell myself, rea­son­ably well read and a lit­tle glob­al­ly lit­er­ate so what hope is there that Dick or Doreen from Dan­nevirke has any idea, or real­ly, for that mat­ter cares. So I sup­pose the rug­by might be more imme­di­ate­ly impor­tant. Cer­tain­ly down the booz­er the game is going to take prece­dence to the human cat­a­stro­phe in Cen­tral Java.

I don’t despair as much about that as I do about those I’ve found online in recent days try­ing to jus­ti­fy the Habitha mas­sacre. Lines such as, a few bad apples, or they were under pres­sure after three tours and the like, sick­en me. If this war in Iraq has seen one thing it’s been the rise of those try­ing to jus­ti­fy the unjus­ti­fi­able.

From the moment the cruise mis­sile slammed into the restau­rant in an attempt to take out Sad­dam but took out unknown din­ers out for the evening instead this inva­sion has bla­tant­ly car­ried the mes­sage that the life of an Iraqi is worth­less to the coali­tion of the will­ing. I guess it goes back fur­ther, to the thou­sands of bombs dropped over the pre­vi­ous decade to enforce the “no-fly-zone’ and the sanc­tions that took the lives of so many inno­cents. And it has been glar­ing­ly rein­forced by the fail­ure of the invaders to make any attempt to count those Iraqis they’ve killed or whom have died as a result of their actions. So why are we sur­prised…

The Euro­pean, Arab and Asian media have car­ried sto­ries like this relent­less­ly since the inva­sion, large­ly ignored unless there were “pho­tos’ by the, so named, MSM, in the USA. British news­pa­pers have report­ed UK mil­i­tary sources as being aghast and appalled by the gung-ho trig­ger hap­py atti­tude of their US com­rades in the field, and the casu­al way its been cov­ered up by those above them.


On an alto­geth­er more pleas­ant note, I’m intrigued by the idea that Bri­an Eno is mak­ing records with Roxy Music again. The two albums they made togeth­er back in the dim past are still tow­er­ing achieve­ments. I’m intrigued but not antic­i­pat­ing though. Re-unions are not some­thing I hold in high regard and I fear their best work was thir­ty some­thing years back. Damn, was it that long? Sim­i­lar­ly I have no great hopes for a re-unit­ed New York Dolls album, due this July. I say re-unit­ed, but, for god’s sake, there re only two left. I think the best Dolls stuff was prob­a­bly to be heard whilst lying in a semi comatose state at a sleazy bar in New York City cir­ca 1972.

What I can’t quite believe is that The Rock’n’Roll hall of Fame has not induct­ed the New York Dolls. There are all sorts of sad shit­ty US rawk acts in there but the sin­gu­lar­ly most influ­en­tial white rock act to come out of the US in the ear­ly sev­en­ties ain’t there. No won­der John­ny told them to fuck off …

These songs make it all worth­while:

Radio Slave-My Bleep…both mix­es: sexy tech­noid noise ….

The Mighty Dia­mondsTonight. Pro­duced by Allen Tou­s­saint in New Orleans about 78. As much La as JA and exquis­ite

Heav­en 17-Lets all Make a Bomb (album ver­sion). Most of H17’s out­put was pompous but this was dif­fer­ent and head and shoul­ders above the remade sin­gle ver­sion.

Glen Camp­bell-Guess I’m Dumb. Oh, pro­duced by Bri­an Wil­son. I like the word Guess in song titles (I Guess the Lord Must be in NYC / Guess God Thinks I’m Abel etc). I guess what I real­ly like about this is that it only par­tial­ly sounds like a BB record with Glen on top, there is so much more to the melee.

Bryan Fer­ryRiv­er of Salt. He wasn’t always a toss­er, quite the oppo­site and once or twice I’ve won­dered how he got to that lat­ter space. Fer­ry was so sil­ly cool at one time, and nowhere was he slick cool more than on this very brief track found on his much loved These Fool­ish Things debut solo.

Sam Dees-Signed Miss Hero­in. Why are so many songs about smack so cool?  Drugs might fuck you up in the end but along the way they pro­duce some decent noise. Ear­ly 70s Atlantic clas­sic.

Trou­ble Funk- Trou­ble Funk Express. I can’t for the life of me fig­ure out why this DC Go-Go band decid­ed to do this cov­er of Kraftwerk’s train trav­el anthem but I’m glad they did. Odd but rather neat.

Delia Gon­za­lez & Gavin Rus­somRev­elee (Carl Craig mix). The best track off one of last year’s best albums remixed by the best pro­duc­er on the plan­et right now

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