Monday, April 24, 2006

John Scott in Hawkes Bay

Still there is talk and it seems that BW is certain he will make it sometime in July. Apparently his parents live (in fact) round the corner from me and so Hawkes Bay is possibly the easiest place for him to travel to in the entire world. http://www.johnscottashtanga.co.uk/ is the site for a flavour of what he does. He has written one of the best books I have come across by a westerner on the whole astanga thing, along with Matthew Sweeney.

Anyway, from the sound of the flyers for his Auckland session it sounds really interesting - mainly because it all sounds quite new.

Perhaps something to look forward to then!

Autumn has been fab so far, really warm and sunny, although I am now in trousers most of the time it is still t-shirt weather.

Have been downloading some awesome tunes recently - favourites include grooups like Zap Mama, Hil St Soul, a couple of songs by Aya and also some great stuff by producers such as Nightmares on Wax and Naked Music NYC. Obviously on a RnB vibe these days. It has to be said though that this is the Gill Scott-Heron/Herbie Hancock influenced end of RnB rather than the Whitney end of things. So, RnB with a huge funk influence and turning into House a lot of the time. Great fun - long live the iPod.

Quiet Sunday yesterday, went to the library in the afternoon and picked out the latest home reading selection - so am now looking at part autobio stuff by Charles Bukowski, who had a pretty fucked up childhood to say the least, and was a lifetime alcoholic. Reminds me of Tobias Woolf's writing but it is even more brutal and lyrical. Also reading Uncle Tom's Cabin too - which is predictably depressing in its examination of slavery and all its horrors. Also looking forward to other novels by Robert Olen Butler (to satisfy my Vietnam story craving) and Philip Roth (about a fascist US president who sides with Hitler).

Saw Crash the other day (it has finally reached Hawkes Bay cinemas, although it is also available on DVD already). It was enjoyable enough but predictably, for US films, too clean, to convenient and way too devoid of ambiguity. Amazing that it won any oscars to be honest. Short Cuts, Robert Altman's adaptation of Raymond Carver, which is years old and much better, deserves far more attention. Also watched Remember me - an Italian film - about middle class Roman family and their trials. Like a couple of other Italian films I have seen over recent months (particularly Catherina in the City) it exposes beautifully from within domestic contexts the awfully schizoid character of daily Italian life and culture - an over-the-top obsession with glitz and supeficiality, total submission to individual needs and wants without thought for the collective from the Right and from the Left total paralysis and self doubt resulting in despair and desperate measures. The obsession with celebrity and TV, and public performance in general, as the single most important validation of individual worth is constantly fallen upon. It's as if these directors are looking to find the essential, single, problem with this aspect of contemporary Italy but once into an examination of the phenomenon they themselves are almost swamped by the vacuity and dazzling lights of the TV studio, the semi naked dancers and the crooning , perma tanned presenters.

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