Misfits Night Club-Chicago, Illinois-September 1981
mardi 29 novembre 2022
dimanche 27 novembre 2022
Even when a man stands upright on the tallest mountain and perceives all there is to perceive, comprehends all there is to comprehend, achieves the ultimate realization of the Oneness that lies behind all things, and the nothingness of his own self—
In the end, he is still stuck on the ground where his feet have brought him. His eyes have not seen beyond his own eyeballs; his mind has grasped only that which a mind can grasp and touched that which it can reach. He has remained within his own self.
And the proof:
he has remained with a Creator who is above
and an earth which is below, and the two cannot meet.
His only liberation, and the only liberation of the entire world, is when the One Above reaches down and tells us,
“Do this. With this deed you are betrothed to Me.”
And then there is no above and below.
Then there is only One.
MC Tzvi Freeman
And then there is no above and below.
Then there is only One.
MC Tzvi Freeman
Very few faces possess perfect symmetry. Mine certainly isn’t one of them. I was told at a very young age that my features had a Fellini-esque quality. This gave some comfort to my tortured teenage self image until I actually saw a Fellini film. It featured a cow that had eight sets of udders.
What the hell, in this business you learn to compensate; stretch the neck, tilt the chin, raise the eyes heavenwards. God blessed me with showbiz looks. The funhouse mirror of the camera lens turns the exaggerated into the correct. Yes, this face was made for the stage, unfortunately it wasn’t made for Cleopatra’s, a club in Huddersfield, England, where in the early 80s I was there as part of a bill put together by anarchopunk band CRASS. As soon as I cat-slinked my way across the footlights to center stage the audience made it all too clear that they weren’t fans of my big Fellini face or the rest of my barely 18 year old self. Maybe it was the shouts of ‘fuck off back to New York, ya weird ass yank slut, we hate you’ that gave me a clue.
Whatever, it was clear that the majority of CRASS’s audience didn’t get me; well, that’s not entirely true – they got me and got me good. Anything that could be thrown, spat and hurled, was thrown, spat and hurled. That’s no exaggeration: sometimes the barrage was so thick that I couldn’t even see. I knew that I was part of CRASS’s admirable attempt to create an evening that went beyond the same old ‘rock’ gig genre; still that knowledge didn’t stop the sense of dread that filled me many a night as I walked out to face the crowd. Man, it was like I was taking the long walk to my execution – but despite my tender age I had already tap danced on the hot coals of Eighth Avenue clip joints. I wasn’t about to let nobody intimidate me. Not even if it killed me.
So on stage I marched at Cleopatra’s in Huddersfield, a lone Yank with an industrial cut-up mutated disco pumping from a cassette player, yipping lyrics about Jim Jones in Guyana and Coco Rico soda, augmented with my vocal artillery of animal howls, rapid fire machine guns, drum kits, baby it was seven shades of shriek. The stronger the antipathy of the audience, the larger and louder I behaved. It wasn’t just stubbornness that held me up – it was territorial. I had found my place and just as you don’t interrupt a dog while he’s eating, nothing short of God can move me off a stage while I’m singing. I danced, I spun, I conjured and channeled my lesser spirits and let them spin till they became a tornado of wildebeasts, I twisted my vocal chords into pretzels. I grew a skin as thick as elephant hide and balls as big as China. I learned to eat rejection for breakfast and live on a diet of hope. I pretended that ‘no’ meant ‘later’ and that Cleopatra’s in Huddersfield was Carnegie Hall in New York. I hung on as if my very life depended on it. Because as it turned out it did, but more about that later.
I don’t know how I ended up on that stage in West Yorkshire dodging debris in the first place, and I do know it wasn’t red roses being thrown at this Magdelene, but it was exactly where I was meant to be. As with most things in life, this was not planned. I jumped in at the deep end and learned my craft. Those gigs taught me much (mind you if anyone spat at me now, I’d kill ’em, and then kill them a second time).
I have been asked when did I decide to have a career in the arts, and the answer is I didn’t. I had a vague fantasy of becoming a Bonnie Parker type criminal, but as you’ll see I sucked at it. Besides, my feelings of guilt are so endemic that I carry remorse over things that other people do. A degree in sociopathic behavior is a job requirement for even minor success in that field. I just tended to drift – usually down the more dangerous option that presented itself – and waited to be discovered.
The verb ‘plan’ hasn’t figured much in my path. Hard work yes, but for the most part, where I have found myself in this life is a matter of survival, in life and in spirit. Kinda like doing the Merengue in a minefield, it’s where one doesn’t step that dictates the dance. I just know that I can only survive in Technicolor. Those land mines are monochromatic and will amputate your spirit so quickly that you won’t even know it’s happened. You just look down and notice everything’s been painted varying shades of ‘If Only’ . . .
Then you either stay in your wooly regret – or ya limp back to the dance floor, incorporating your injuries, and create some new steps. This book covers a few of those dances. God knows I’ve crossed into the realm of Isadora Duncan free expression, making it up as I went along, and when necessary diverting attention from my dyslexic feet with dazzling jazz hands.
Isn’t that the same for everyone? We stumble around getting blisters and bunions and all kind of funky foot problems, till we stop wearing the shoes others want us to and slip into something soft and wonderful, finally finding the right size. Then we fly. Lord know I’ve worn some shoes that have damn near crippled me, trying to force on a glass slipper xx in order to win the heart of Prince Charming. No, Cinderella, you ain’t going to the ball. Sometimes this life forces you into wearing some shoes that hurt so bad, you can only crawl – but oh, the relief when they come off.
This book covers up until the year 2000. Like just about everyone else I could not in my wildest dreams nor most lurid nightmares imagine what was lurking around the corner. In the time since there has been enormous flux, not just in my life but the world in general. Things so immense and surreal that it will take years to comprehend the ramifications of what we have borne witness too.
I am continually shocked at the ingenuity of humanity’s imagination when it come finding new ways to inflict horror upon one another, and I am as equally dazzled by acts of such profound compassion, beauty and generosity of spirit. I have seen kindness that awes. I came to find a commonality with people who I thought I would have nothing in common with. I had to confront some of my own barriers that I hadn’t realized I had, until I crashed into them. On the flip side I discovered that with all my street smarts, I have the ability to be as naïve as a dandelion making friends with a lawn mower.
The vulnerable are truly at the mercy of some shady motherfuckers, and they come with smiles and diplomas. No country for old men is right, nor old women either. And Lord protect me from the divorced middle-aged angry Casanovas from the outer Tri-State area, who come wielding golf clubs and red roses. They will cut out your still beating heart and put it on a stick to use as a lawn decoration. This is after they’ve drained your blood to wash down their cholesterol meds and viagra. That is not cabernet they’re drinking. The grown ups play real rough.
I guess the biggest lesson to have penetrated my psyche over this last decade is I don’t know Skippy. I thought I could never experience emotions any more profoundly than I already had, or experience ones I didn’t know existed. Nor did I believe I could be shocked or delighted into realms yet imagined. I had ridden some pretty bumpy roller coasters by the time I had finished this book. But I had only seen a tiny corner of the big picture; how was I to know I was in the kiddy park? In 2000 I believed myself to be on a pretty even keel and had every intention of staying that way. After all, you can’t get knocked out if you stay outta the boxing ring. I wasn’t smug but I played one in a movie once. The temptation to go and edit my younger days armed with the advantage of hindsight is very attractive, but to do so would not only be disingenuous, but it would also make for some bad art. My truth was true at the time and is unchanged. In the writing of this I did not hang out all my dirty laundry – just a peek of my slip. But it was my slip.
There are some tales that have no redeeming value, be it spiritually or artistically. Some things are mine alone, be they a wound or a gift, and some things that are just plain ugly. What I included I believe to be as honest as possible. This is not out of saintly goodness: the truth reads better, at least I hope so. And truth is not to be confused with reality . . . reality is a genre.
Many of the people I mentioned in these pages have since gone home to God. I had started to list them and, after a paragraph of names and more waiting in the wings, it read like a death knell. These friends whom I love so dearly are so much more than their demise that they each could be a book, so I’ve deleted that page and keep it in my heart instead, till the day we are all reunited.
Amongst these names were those of my family, having lost my little sister in 2005 and my parents seven months apart last year. It is far too raw to even begin to express.
To say it’s been a painful and bewildering time is a ridiculous understatement – I take it day by day; some days I can’t take it, and sit tight till I can stand again. I am blessed with a family of friends and my canine son, and though many a day I couldn’t bring myself to speak to them, knowing they were there if I did need them brought much comfort. My heart breaks when I think of those with no one to call – how on earth do they get by? God only knows, no one should be that alone, no one. To the many reading this who have have been to this place, I don’t have to tell you that words cannot begin to convey any of it. I hold on tight to God’s hand and on days that my faith is thin I have faith in my faith, till it returns. Looking for some redemption in the darkness, I was suddenly struck by the obvious. It is so basic that I don’t know why I didn’t see it; no matter how different we are from one another we all go through this sort of tunnel eventually. Just like no one can exercise for you, or brush your teeth (well actually someone can, so scratch that last example), even the obscenely rich can’t hire someone to go through this passage of time for them. Knowing the shoes they have been in, are in, or will one day be in I know that sorrow and the quest for comfort, for joy, comes from hurt so deep .We are united by that commonality – and in that empathy there is love, even if I don’t like them, even if they think I’m an asshole. Even if I’m being an ass – I can rest in that love and in there lies the redemption- God is in the details.
A man I knew was talking about being wounded in Vietnam: the story touched my heart so, that I got a vision of him thirty years younger and I felt like I could feel his wounds, xxiii his fears and moral dilemmas. I blurted out how I wished I could crawl back through his past and remove every bit of hurt he ever experienced; he answered it was OK, ‘because we are defined by our pain.’ He should know, as he he proved to the source of much of it for me . . . but he’s right. We are defined by our pain, but we are made incandescent by our love.
May you have much of it.
New York 2012
You Can't Sing The Blues While Drinking milk
samedi 26 novembre 2022
Outlandish diva of post-punkdub Annie Anxiety (aka Little Annie) put together a fierce lineup of On-U Sound stars, including Tackhead's Doug Wimbish on bass, remixer Skip McDonald, and African Head Charge percussionist Bonjo I. Kishi Yamamoto provided a bed of keyboards and sequenced rhythm tracks, resulting in an unprecedented modern dub album. (source)
vendredi 25 novembre 2022
In our country, about 30,000 people die in road accidents (per year). About the same number die from alcohol," he said. "We are all mortal, and someday all of us will leave this world. It is inevitable.
NB: The makeup of attendees to the televised meeting suggested it was orchestrated to avoid any outbursts of public anger in Putin’s presence, as women in the room were primarily functionaries from pro-government movements, mid-level officials, and members of the ruling United Russia party set up by Putin himself. (source)