Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Things We Throw Away

"We climbed a ridge of brown sludge to reach the summit. Looking down from there was like staring into a crater of the moon, except that the colossal indentation was filled with rubbish. The sky was very blue above the ridge of sludge and the carrier bags strewn in the mud. The crater was 60 metres deep and a murder of crows swooped above us, followed by seagulls. At the near edge it seemed there were Tesco bags as far as the horizon; I looked down and saw a bottle of children’s bubble mixture, a squashed box of Typhoo tea, a tin of Dulux paint, a Capri Sun fruit drink carton: the recent detritus of an average life, and in the distance there were more plastic bags trapped in the branches of a copse of trees and blowing in and out like struggling lungs. Something in the scale of the rubbish and the size of the canyon dizzied one’s nervous system: a metaphysical smack came with the sight of the layers of used-up stuff, like the feeling that comes when sixty thousand people shout at a football match or a when a million supplicants crowd into Mecca. April walked off and I stood on the ridge of the landfill surveying the scene. A dumped bath, a heap of carpet, a thousand empty bottles of orange squash, a hundred thousand legs of lamb, a million bottles of shampoo: it was all the stuff of life and it was all evidence of death..."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Josephine K's Garden Spiral on Protection Island...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

more Bucharest images from Peter Cummings

hopefully new doc on Alexander Hamilton (I wish I had an image of one of Tim Davis' agit-prop ten-spots with "IMMIGRANT" scrawled across them) won't have too many lame "re-creations". Longtime readers of this blog will remember my pilgrimage to the site of his fatal duel on the palisades of Weehawken...

"Before he died a notorious death--in a duel with Aaron Burr--Hamilton had been the most powerful man in America next to George Washington. He was a Revolutionary War hero and, after the war, a leading force behind the Constitution. As the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton built the American economy from the ground up, saving the nation's credit, creating the first national bank and laying the groundwork for Wall Street. More than any other founder, he championed the idea of a strong, centralized government. Under his watch, the newborn country quickly developed into one of the strongest economies in the world.

In many ways, Hamilton was the embodiment and prototype of the American dream. Born illegitimate on the Caribbean island of Nevis and orphaned when young, Hamilton was an immigrant and self-made man. Unlike his rival, Thomas Jefferson, he was an abolitionist, and he championed the idea that anyone should be able to rise on the basis of their talent, regardless of their birth.

"It's nearly impossible to overestimate the importance of Alexander Hamilton," says Alexander Hamilton's producer, Muffie Meyer. "Today we live in the political, social, and economic world that he created. But Hamilton's weaknesses prevented him from fully getting recognition for his achievements."

"Hamilton was filled with contradictions--he was both a political genius and a political disaster," says tpt executive producer Catherine Allan. On the one hand, Hamilton was a tireless champion of America's welfare, scrupulously honest and capable of great charm and persuasiveness. But he could also be vain, arrogant and uncompromising with his enemies. These qualities, in addition to a scandalous and well-publicized extramarital affair, dashed his hopes of ever leading the nation..."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Greg Tate on Björk--

"A lifetime of loving Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman prepares you to love Björk and the way she worries the notes, stresses tonality until it cracks not because she can't help it but because she lives to crucify a pretty melody with her own brand of wounded, buck-wild, Middle Earth dissonance. She has become this century's zeitgeist artist for that reason, that alarming sonic tongue she uses to zap her diversity-conference audience's sense of emergency, fragility, and pure animal panic. She also operatically exalts and exudes that most elusive and fanciful of human desires: untrammeled, untamable freedom, laid out to the pomo techno-tribalist beat all you earthbound E.T.'s now call home..."