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It was Java’s idea – this whole trip that got me using those words to tell the tale of Winston and his adventure in the ‘Bazooka Bar’. I didn’t think much of the idea at first, as folk may have to refer to that earlier post  or the definitions, and that is sure to be a drag. But then on second thoughts – oh what the hell!

There they were – the salad dodger and the swamp donkey, two unfortunate looking folk, who were sinbads at the best of times. The cube farm they worked in possessed an adminisphere that had to be seen to be believed and the administrivia that they had been inundated with during the course of the day could only be eased by a monkey bath, counted on to take their minds off that accursed seagull manager and his aeroplane blonde, who did little other than testiculate all day – when she wasn’t involved in assmosis.

Earlier it was Maude (the salad dodger) who had been blamestorming with a bunch of her co-workers in the cube farm that let the cat out of the bag about the deadline that had been indefinitely postponed. This of course reached the ears of the seagull manager who proceeded to do everything in his power to make it a salmon day for Maude, as he wanted all those involved in the project to quickly get him the outlines and main points to be dealt with before he flew away. And now that the salad dodger had successfully screwed up his intentions, he would have to hang around this dump putting up with all the prairie dogging and probably remain a sitcom for the rest of his life. To make matters worse, his gizmo had crapped out and all the percussive maintenance he could administer to it couldn’t put it right.

Now that the cube farm had closed for the day, Maude and Myrtle (the swamp donkey) thought that they should head for ‘The Bazooka Bar’ where their favourite tart fuel was mixed by this Johnny-No-Stars, who looked like an underaged pimple factory, but sure fixed a mean drink. On the way, however, Myrtle got a sudden urge to defecate and fortunately for her there was this BurgerKing around the corner. With no hesitation whatsoever, she ploughed right through the door with all the intentions of getting a McShit. Maude, being the good sport she was, ordered herself some fries and pretended to be 404 when the manager asked about where her friend was. It wasn’t too long after, however, that Myrtle, having done her thing, joined her and together they walked on out.

‘The Bazooka Bar’ was virtually empty when they got there, which was not so surprising considering that it was just closing on six in the pm – which is where this story started. ‘There they were…’

The bar was pretty crowded – it was now around 8.30 – and the skinny dude with the bad complexion had worked his way over from the other side of the bar and snagged the stool next to Maude, who although a bit on the plump side, had pleasing features and an attractive smile. He flashed her a grin and asked if he could get her a drink. She smiled back and asked for some more tart fuel – one for her and one for Myrtle. The skinny dude – Winston by name – stuck out a skinny paw and shook their hands as they introduced themselves. The juke box was playing a blues tune by Billy Markham and ‘The Bazooka’ was buzzin, when up came this chick in a greyhound – right up to where Winston sat on his barstool with his skinny legs in those worn out levis spread-eagled in front of him – and proceeded to rub her millennium domes on his arm as she asked the bartender for a shot of mescal. Winston, who was by nature the sort of cat that preferred a more substantial relationship to one of empty promises, eased his arm away and leaned closer to Maude. How he longed to give her one of those Aussie kisses and bounce on her ample frame. A few more drinks and Winston, Maude and Myrtle were nicely high and in great spirits. The blues tune by Billy Markham had long gone and now it was one of those dirgey Leonard Cohen numbers on the box.

Winston excused himself – all that beer had his bladder close to busting point and he had to go break the seal. It took him a few minutes to do his thing, slosh some cool water on his face to clear his head and saunter on back to his stool by the bar, and imagine his surprise to find that the proverbial mystery bus had done its number and there, in place of Maude and Myrtle were two stunners – both wearing greyhounds that left hardly anything to the imagination. He could just taste them Aussie kisses as he wended his way back to his stool and ordered another brew. The two peaches next to him were both blondes and he couldn’t help but wonder if those Aussie kisses would reveal if they were real – all the way down under.

Now it was getting close to 3.00 am and Winston flashed that if he wanted to score, he better do it quick, or there would be nothing left of the night, and so he made his play. To his great surprise the stunner right next to him took him up on his suggestion that they move on out and find some action elsewhere. She just whispered to her friend (they could have been sisters) and took Winston’s hand as they left ‘The Bazooka’, with B.B.King doing his thaang, got them beer coats on and walked out into the chilly darkness. Winston managed to find his wheels and as they set off his beer compass came into play, so finding his way home was a cinch. And then they had fun – boy did they have fun! Winston couldn’t believe his luck.

It was only the next morning that Winston, all bleary-eyed and foggy-headed returned from the loo that he realized in an oh-no second that the mystery taxi had come by – for there on the bed was Maude, her Picasso bum dominating the scene.

Java couldn’t get over it – the definition cracked him up.

Sheeet maan, reminds me of dat chick dat da Sandman be talkin bout. Remember dat story I be tellin yo bout dat Abstruse Teatre number we be seein down dere on Santa Monica Boulevard? Weelll, when we com outta dat place, Chloe, da Sandman and me, we walk on over to dis small Turkish restaurant on da corner to check out some of dat dolma, kofte an doner kabab we be hearin so much bout. So we sit our asses down an dis platinum blonde chick com over to take our order fo drinks. She be lookin nice – not drop-dead gorgy or nuttin like dat, but she be okay and be reeal pleasant like. Aannyways, we look at dat list an tink we try som of dat tradishunal Turkish beverage an Chloe, she order som apple tea, Sandman and me, we go fo dat raki, caus we hear it be like our arrack, but made from anise.

Da chick – her name be Almas – was Turkish and com over to LA when she be jus ten. Her parents be runnin da place an she be goin to college, studyin law. Da Sandman be lookin interested and after she bring us dem drinks, he be tryin to engage her in conversashun like. Lucky fo his ass dere be jus two odders in da place, so she not be so busy. Chloe be blowin her mind over dat apple tea and I don mind dat raki so much – tho it not be a patch on our own local  brew, but da Sandman already finish his in no time and aks fo one more. Meanwhile, we order som dolma, kofte and donner kabab wit pilaf, while watchin ol Sandman make his play.

Almas bring us da food an maaan, let me tell yo ass, it jus melt in da mouth. Dose stuffed grape leaves – three different types – wit mince lamb, wit aubergine and wit peppers, all mixed wit nuts, rice and odder stuff. Dere be a creamy sauce an yoghurt to go wit dem dolmas. Den dat kofte – sheeet man, yo had to be dere! An dose doner kababs – I don even wan to start! So we stuff ourselves an den have som of dat outta sight baklava for desert an follow dat up wit som of dat Turkish coffee. Don miss dis place when yo get yo butt down to dat city, hear? Yo won regret it maaan, let me tell yo.

We get ready to split, so Almas bring us dat check an we settle. As we walk to dat door, da Sandman tell us to wait jus a minit and scurry his ass back in dere. So Chloe an I, we walk slowly down dat boulevard until Sandman catches up, his eyes bright an gleamin like he has scored. We move on down to Chloe’s apartment an get dat music on an get ready fo som nice relaxin after dat scrumpshus grub. Sandman lights up da incense and I get dose Zig Zags out. Chloe’s got som Turkish music on – mandolins an dat sheet, so I aks her to get ‘Birdland’ on caus I know she has dat Zawinul classic done by a bunch of greats conducted by Quincy on his ‘Back on da Block’ album. An so we trip on out.

To make a long story short, Java told me how Sandman had organized to pick Almas up the next evening, how they’d had dinner, checked out ‘Bandidos’ for some nightlife and ended up in Sandman’s pad.

So like da Sandman say, one ting be leadin to anodder an in da course of conversashun he be aksing Almas bout her blonde hair. Almas say dat dere be som pure blonde Turks, whose ancestors com down from nort Europe an dat her mom’s folks originated somewhere in Scandinavia. So dey be havin som wine and sheet an when he get ready fo dat nitty-gritty and slowly be tryin to get her clothes off, she tell him to put off dat light. He tink dat she be shy – maybe even a virgin, so he turn off dat light an only have dat dim nite-lite wit its warm reddish glow on. An den dey be gettin on down.

Much later Sandman get up to take a leak an when he turn dat toilet light on, dat shaft of light illuminate da bed an dat bod lyin dere. She be lookin good, strech out on her stomach – her shapely buns catchin dat light jus right. An den, as he watched, she turn herself over an Sandman’s eyes pop outta his head to see a lush growth of da purest, darkest black.

Java said that after the initial surprise, it was no big deal for Sandman – it was just that he wasn’t expecting it and it blew him away to see that Almas wasn’t blonde the way she said she was. As Java put it:

Dat’s why dat definishun of ‘aeroplane blonde’ crack me up, maaan – one who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a ‘black box’ – shure as sheet fit Almas all da way down.

Know what I be sayin, maaan?

Bob Dylan had a way with words. Poet, social critic and singer who burst on the counter-culture scene in the sixties with songs that penetrated the psyche of thousands of young folk searching for alternative values to many of which their parents and the older generation held dear, but which they felt were meaningless. Dylan’s thoughts and words struck the chord that they could relate to and that stirred an awakening of consciousness that led to redefining the lives of many of them. He was a phenomenon who was able to channel his thoughts into a medium of expression that made nonsense out of many of the accepted standards and values relating to society, religion and change. He also influenced the musical trend and, along with the Beatles, Stones and others of that era, and gave his generation a richer and more meaningful means of expressing themselves through their music.

Blowin in the wind’ is a classic covered by all sorts of singers through the years and was the anthem of the anti-war segment of American society that was tireing of the war in Vietnam. Maybe it made a difference. In any event it is sure to strike a cord with many of us here who feel that war is a wasteful exercise in all respects. Just check the lyrics out and see how you feel.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before its washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before theyre allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesnt see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

An appropriate song for a lot of us, don’t you think?

Got this in the mail and had to share with those of you who are into words and appreciate definitions. I guess the site indicated at the end has to do with the origins of the effort or compilation. Just hope it isn’t old hat!

* SALAD DODGER.
An excellent phrase for an overweight person.

* SWAMP-DONKEY
A deeply unattractive person.

* TESTICULATING.
Waving your arms around and talking bollocks.

* BLAMESTORMING.
Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

* SEAGULL MANAGER.
A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and Then leaves.

* ASSMOSIS.
The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.

* SALMON DAY.
The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

* CUBE FARM.
An office filled with cubicles.

* PRAIRIE DOGGING.
When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)

* SITCOMs.
Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a “home business”.

* SINBAD.
Single working girls. Single income, no boyfriend and desperate.

* AEROPLANE BLONDE.
One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a ‘black box’.

* PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE.
The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

* ADMINISPHERE.
The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the “adminisphere” are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve. This is often affiliated with the dreaded “administrivia” – needless paperwork and processes.

* GOING FOR A McSHIT.
Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food, you’re just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you’ll buy their food afterwards is known as a McShit with Lies.

* 404.
Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error message “404 Not Found” meaning that the requested document could not be located.

* AUSSIE KISS.
Similar to a French Kiss, but given down under.

* OH – NO SECOND.
That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just Made a BIG mistake ( e.g. you’ve hit ‘reply all’).

* GREYHOUND.
A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare.

* JOHNNY-NO-STARS.
A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The ‘no-stars’ comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.

* MILLENNIUM DOMES.
The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from The outside, but there’s actually naught in there worth seeing.

* MONKEY BATH.
A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: “Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!”.

* MYSTERY BUS.
The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you’re in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

* MYSTERY TAXI.
The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10 Pinter in your bed instead.

* BEER COAT.
The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise At 3:00am.

* BEER COMPASS.
The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after booze cruise, even though you’re too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you’ve come from.

* BREAKING THE SEAL.
Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.

* TART FUEL.
Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women.

* PICASSO BUM.
A woman whose knickers are too small for her, so she looks like she’s Got 4 buttocks.

E. (Scotty) Scott.
For and on behalf of GITS.
www.gits.org.uk

It was with some degree of reticence and following a great deal of pondering on it that I decided to wade into the kind of shitty subject that only someone like Rhythmic could broach and present to all and sundry out there. Yup, it’s about derrieres and their emissions and the selective process taken by one and all with regard to ‘mopping up’, as it were.

Different stokes for different folks’ is one of Java’s standard responses that covers all sorts of stuff, but even metaphorically speaking, this would apply appropriately in a very literal way. I remember as a wee tyke, my mum would always encourage the wet wipe after the dry one – the method was simple enough – damp some folded toilet paper (one sheet would not make the trip) and clean off whatever traces remained after the initial ‘dry’ attempt. This worked very well – until boarding school.

I would imagine that most school hostels, in Sri Lanka, at any rate – from the prestigious ones, right down the line – must all have pretty shitty toilets. Ours was no different and I had a helluva time at the start just being able to enter the premises, as the smell was pretty overpowering (to put it mildly), and then there were the wet floors – not all of the wetness due to water either. Most of the walls of the individual units had all sorts of stains on them – most of it from fingers trailing shite on the surface and a lot more that had to be ejaculative impressions from kids with hormones pumping and many of them with nowhere else to deposit the accumulations.

Anyway, at the very start I couldn’t handle it and sometimes went for days without dumping my load, although I did manage to sneak into either the sick-room toilet, the one in the swimming pool premises, or the staff toilet (and woe betide getting nabbed in that one), all of which had commodes instead of the ‘squatters’ that were par for the course in the main toilet block of the school – affectionately known as ‘the lavos’. Of course there was no such ‘extra’ as toilet paper (known as ‘bromo-paper’ in those days) and the few kids that brought their own were soon cured of the habit, as all manner of appropriate nick-names would be instantly devised (of which more than a few stuck through their entire school experience – and even after!). ‘Washing’ was standard and the modus operandi would be to find one of the four or five large ‘tins’ (usually used and discarded powdered milk cans) in various states of disintegration and fill it up to take with you into your unit for washing after the job was done. If there was no ‘tin’ available, you would have to knock on one of the occupied units and tell the occupant what the number your unit was, so he could fill the tin up after doing his thing and slide it under the door for you. Some of the ‘tins’ leaked, so you would have to either act like the Dutch boy and the leaking dyke, or finish your ‘business’ before the entire contents trickled out along the floor and into the squatter that you bestrode on your haunches – which meant that you would have to do a nude walk with a shitty bum and fill it up yourself. That, or hope for some Good Samaritan to pass by and ask for the favour of replenishing the empty ‘tin’. I’m still shuddering – just from the thoughts!

Then there’s the anthropological slant on this. I’m told that Arabs and other Moslems living in desert regions shave around their anuses for two reasons. One was due to the shortage of water, so ‘wiping’ was either with sand or some other means available to them and the other is because they all have their heads just behind the asses of the guys in front of them when they do their worshipping number. Maybe someone knowledgeable about these cultural traditions (RD?) could either confirm this or diss it as a bunch of crap?

It also seems to me that Asians – particularly the poorer folk – have this weird value system when it comes to hygiene and although this is a pretty much of a generalisation (like ‘all Jews are stingy’, kinda number), it does seem that bathing and keeping clean is rather high on our cultural conditioning scale – so much so that wiping with paper to them is ‘unhygienic’, but on the other hand, the general state of their toilets is at the other extreme. Is that weird? Public toilets in Sri Lanka, or for that matter in most of South Asia, are the pits!

There is, however, hope for us, as more recently I find that most of the rest houses and smaller restaurants have upped their standards considerably – and the advent of the bidet-spray has made all the difference, which means for the most part, no more stained and yucky looking plastic bowls that one is reluctant to handle in the absence of toilet paper. Perhaps it is time for more inventive and functional design of commodes – for instance a development like a built in ass-washer that precedes the flushing operation – one that shoots a gentle spurt of water to the precise location (RD will have to have the heater built in for them chaps and chicks in the UK – so no more excuses about the weather and all that shit to avoid a decent cleanup). I’m pretty certain the successful designer of such a contraption will make a considerable fortune – and who cares if it is based on shit!

And so those are a few of my thoughts stemming from that groundbreaking post that RD, pretty as you please, dumped on us unsuspecting readers of his ‘never a dull moment’ blog. And at the risk of sounding gross and vulgar, I kinda expect more to follow suit, with maybe some insights that may just wipe those traces of ‘squeam’ off the faces (I did resist the temptation to be punny there, okay RD, DJ?) of the offended.

As Java put it:

Shheeet happens maaan – yo jus gotta know how to clean it up right.

Right?

Java’s been on this trip about papers recently – running out of his old faithful Zig-Zags a few days ago brought about a decided change in vibe. Old habits die hard, I guess!

There he was, mumbling to himself whilst rummaging in the drawer that contains his stash of paraphernalia, cussing beneath his breath and looking perturbed. It was Friday evening and I’d guessed he was getting set for the night out with his mates. I knew that The Cherry Lady was back from one of her trips abroad and had made contact and also The Sandman was visiting from LA, so anything was possible with that combination. Add Alice and Mr. Zippy to the list and the combination could well be lethal, as they had previous records of getting into all sorts of stuff – most of which were pretty interesting – looking back at the experiences, that is, but not quite so attractive at the time. He also mentioned that The Sandman had brought back with him some very interesting substances of a very high quality, so anything was possible.

Anyway, there he was, decidedly disturbed.

Heeey maaan, you see any of dose Zig-Zags lyin aroun? I be tinkin dat dere be at least a spare couple of dose packs somewhere, but godaaam maaan, it shure as sheeet ain’t here.

So I walk over and check out the drawer and there’s maybe twenty packs of assorted papers in there. Rizla Blues, Rizla Reds (British) – regular and large sizes, Bambu (French), Rass (European), E-Z-Widers and Drum (American), OCB ‘premium’ (French), aLeda – ‘king size’ and  aLedinaho – regular (both Brazilian ‘ecologicamente’ transparent paper made out of biodegradable cellulose). There were some others as well – it’s not exactly like he’s out of material – so I’m not entirely sure of what the apparent crisis is, and tell him so.

Shheeet maan, I be usin dese papers fo soo fuckin long, it feel strange to do dose rollups wit anyting else. All dat odder sheet in dere? Dat be what folk be turnin me onto and maybe I try dem a couple a times, but always go back to ma Ziggies. It be blowin ma mind how I be lettin tings slip an not be prepared wit som spare packs. Shheeet! Dat Cher or dat Sandman wouldda brought som wit dem when dey be gettin back dis time aroun and now I be havin to wait an in da meantime be havin to use som of dis odder wrappers. Fuuurr..k!

And he got right back into his mood, which just got me to thinking about how there could be famine in the middle of a feast.

We made our way over to the BMICH on Sunday evening, Java and I, to watch and listen to ‘Pradeepanjalee XII’ billed as ‘a concert by virtuoso sitarist Pradeep Ratnayake and his friends’ to launch his latest album of music ‘Sithijaya’. The concert was by invitation and with ‘passes’ that were available at Torana (the producers of the show) and some other places – no tickets were sold as the producers wanted to have as full a house as possible due to the filming of the entire concert to be edited and produced as a DVD.

The BMICH is, in my view, probably the worst venue for any theatrical production – the reasons for this being too many and too tedious to get into, but that’s how I see it. Anyway, the first bummer was that the show started nearly thirty minutes late before the first piece got going. Not an auspicious beginning.

The opening piece, ‘Standing together’ combined Pradeep’s sitar with a variety of string, wind and percussive instruments and featured the voices of Kolitha Bhanu Dissanayake and Madhavi Shilpadhipathi in solo, in duet mode and with the backing of the ‘Soul Sounds’ choir directed by Soundarie David. The voices were excellent and the choir added the vocal harmonics with a distinctly ‘western’ structure that blended adequately so as not to infringe on the main. It wasn’t too bad for the opening. And it was only later that I realised that the musicians were miming to a soundtrack – oh well…

And then (speaking of infringement) Vijaya Corea strode up to the very front of the stage and proceeded to kill the show with his spiel on Pradeep’s virtuosity, his accomplishments and a bunch of other crap that could easily been included in the programme instead of boring the shit out of the audience. It beats me why this sort of nonsense is so persistently inflicted on audiences in this country. Pradeep should have known better!

Heaving a sigh of relief as VC wrapped up his monologue, I awaited the next number ‘Kuveni’. This featured Lakshman Joseph de Saram mixing a mean violin with Pradeep’s sitar as they mixed and merged with Karunaratne Bandara on getabera and Chandralal Amarakoon on tabla in what was a pretty good effort. Lakshman Joseph’s violin emitted the warmest tones and his mastery of the instrument was a pleasure to behold.

Wine-coloured moon’ was next – more fusion, with Shiraz Noor Amith doing a slick little solo on drums (and I do mean ‘little’ – as in ‘short’), Alston Joachim on electric bass and Harsha Makalande coping on piano. Nothing special – except for Shiraz’s drumming.

A pageant in July’ – meant to be an interpretation of Esala, featured Pradeep’s sitar with  Ravibandu on getabera, Jananatha Warakagoda on thamattama and Ruwan Wickramaratne on congas, djembe and latin percussion. There were also a string section with (if I remember right) cello and violins and a wind section with flute, oboe and bassoon. Not too terribly impressive, though an admirable effort.

Next up was ‘Blue skies’, a pleasant melody with a tango-ish rhythm in which the sitar, four guitars, piano (featuring Soundarie David) violins and drums by Shiraz combined. Again – it was pleasant and interesting, but didn’t blow either Java or yours truly away.

Flight’, which Pradeep used to showcase his expertise on the sitar ended the first half of the show and received rousing applause mainly due to the excellent drumming of Jananatha Warakagoda on thammattama and Ravibandu on getabera.

The interval was unusual in that the hall outside the auditorium was crammed full of food stalls hocking burgers, hotdogs, fries and I even saw some folk with plates full of rice and stuff. There was no beer, so Java and I wandered down to the car park and did our thing.

The second half of the programme began with ‘Mountains’, a subdued paean to nature which was mellow and soulful, with Pradeep’s sitar combining nicely with Hasitha Perera’s oboe,  Nalaka Perera’s bassoon and Suresh Maliyadda on electronic keyboard. Nice.

Play with me’ had the sitar combining with violins reasonably effectively whilst Harsha’s keyboard, Alston’s bass and Shiraz’s drums took over during a break in the string section’s interpretation. The whole was disappointing to me. The music itself was one dimensional and unworthy of praise. Poor Shiraz, Alston and Harsha tried valiantly to cope, but to no avail. The piece was putrid.

Spring’ featured the virtuosity of Lakshman Joseph de Saram on violin in interplay with Pradeep’s sitar and tabla by Chandralal. This was more of a traditional classical piece and succeeded where the more fusion oriented efforts had flopped. I loved the violin parts as Lakshman Joseph’s mastery and precision were spot on

Joy’ was another of those pieces that left me cold – mainly Pradeep’s sitar with tabla and ghatam accompaniment – miles to go…

Rebirth’ was a backing track with sitar, flute and atonal harmonic vocals, and served as the vehicle for dance movements by Thaji. This was the only item that didn’t feature any musicians on stage, but unfortunately the drums and other instruments in place detracted from the beauty of the controlled movements that signified interpretation of the title. This, for me, was probably the best piece in the entire effort, although as mentioned, the lack of planning and stagecraft left much of that part to be desired. Thaji, though, was a dream in slo-mo.

The show closed with ‘Wind’ – Pradeep’s sitar and more percussion – with Upula Madushanka and Chandralal Amarakoon on tablas, Nesan Thiagarajah on mridangam and morsing, Ravibandu on pakawaj and Harsha on piano. This piece was the climactic number and the music and drums built to a crescendo that left the audience exploding in applause – obviously the piece they enjoyed most of all.

There’s no doubting Pradeep’s abundant talent and expertise on his instrument, and the attempt at fusing his own take on ‘national’ music with elements of Indian classical, jazz, blues and alternative (‘world-music’ if you will) is admirable. However, there’s a long way to go before something of real quality emerges– and that’s not surprising, given the incredible variety of similar music of extremely high standards on the international scene. But if he keeps on keeping on the way he has been, there’s very good likelihood that he will succeed – and sooner than later, we hope.

Pradeep had his training in Shantiniketan and has since performed extensively here and abroad – in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, in Geneva and Vienna – to much acclaim. I would assume that ‘Pradeepanjalee XII’ was his twelfth performance, it was, as mentioned earlier, especially done for the purpose of filming for international distribution.

On the whole and in the end – an evening well spent.

Looks like the editor of Lakbima, at the receiving end of a host of disparaging remarks and comments resulting from his ‘pilfering’ posts off kottu for publication in his paper, is in no mood to be pacific. Instead, his reaction has been (for the most part) aggressive, abusive and fist with middle finger up to all critics of his actions. So, the man is a fighter – or so it seems. Or could it be that there is a kind of schizoid personality emerging? The comment on RD’s post appeared to be a bit on the conciliatory side, with offers of paying well for posts selected off kottu together with the pathetic excuse of not being able to contact bloggers for permission – quickly ridiculed by one and all, questioning the intelligence of one who was stupid enough not to leave a comment about being contacted with regard to being published in the press, but having commented anyway to get the message across. That, in itself, laid the foundation for doubting the bona fides of the man.

Then there was the reaction to Confab’s calls – well known by now, and the mind-blowing response to Sanjana’s post. These in themselves would lead any reasonably sane individual to conclude that, for the editor of a newspaper, the response was irresponsible, out of line and probably the reaction of an ego-maniac in the throes of a defence-mechanism that resorts to abuse and intentional insults. To the credit of the bloggers concerned, most of their reactions to the pilfering of posts were presented with dignity, decorum and in civil tones and language.

So what gives with Rajpal? And with his assistant (when he was at the ‘Observer’), who bad-mouthed Theena for no apparent reason other than for being asked for an explanation as to how come his piece was published without permission? Is this some kind of new media-culture adopted by editors and their subordinates or is this a one-off to do with a rude and ill-mannered man and his assistant? The response(s) to Sanjana bordered on the ramblings of a twisted psyche rather than a dignified response from the editor of a newspaper that is halfway decent (I’ve never read Lakbima, so have no way of knowing its standards).

Be that as it may, this episode (still is the process of unravelling) started by our old mate RD (or was it Cerno?), has generated a whole lot of interesting shit, with the kottu blogosphere buzzing and many of us being ‘entertained’ by the exchanges. It also brings up interesting points to ponder on the nitty-gritty bits that are applicable to authors and their material that is out there ‘in the public domain’, whether they have ‘ownership’ of their material, how one copes with rip-off artists and plagiarists, copyright infringements and a host of other minutiae that are applicable to most of us bloggers. Perhaps Drac and others that are more into the finer points of the legalities with regard to bloggers and their material would do us the favour of posting some of their thoughts on this subject?

And what of Rajpal and his ‘in your face’ don’t give a shit about all you ‘blogistas’ crap? The exchanges are getting a bit old now, though yet a bit entertaining, if nothing else. It still blows my mind how an editor of a newspaper could descend to this level of communication in spite of acknowledging (to RD, at any rate) the misdemeanour. On the other hand, could it be an ‘all is fair’ number going down here, and ‘I’ll have my say and the hell with the readership’?

Interesting times, huh?

In an earlier post, Now’s the time, I pondered on the question of global economics being inextricably entwined with war. As I indicated then:

Many of us I’m sure are of the opinion that most wars are based on ideological differences of ethnic differences and/or religious beliefs – and the acquisition of territories that are so involved. And what usually comes in the way of a peaceful settlement is the filthy lucre that is involved – in every aspect of the conflict and attempts at its resolution. Right from the industrial complexes that process the raw materials, that in turn are used for the manufacture of all manner of ultra-complex death-machines, from supersonic flying craft, to the most sophisticated battle-tanks , to multi-barreled launchers that decimate environments and life, to the less sophisticated but equally lethal automatic and semi-automatic weapons that find their way into the hands of criminals, to the employment these actions generate, that in turn fuels economies and the stock markets. At a lesser level, we have the arms dealers and the ten-percenters and then on the lower rungs, the black-marketers and other feeders off the carrion that is left to dispose of. So, in effect, the global economy is, in a way, dependent on war. It isn’t just the industries involved in the manufacture of instruments of death and destruction that reflect on the economy, transportation by rail, road, sea and air add tremendous weight to the mass. The implications need not be detailed here, as anyone with a modicum of reasoning power could see how this stretches to encompass the very fabric of our lives.

In light of that, wouldn’t it be interesting to know who benefits most, monetarily speaking, from the war in Sri Lanka? This could well be extended to finding out the same thing about, for instance, the war in Iraq. I seem to recall during the early days of the Bush (Jr) administration, that certain deals were tracked back to Dick Cheney’s buddies’ oil and armament interests. Michael Moore’s ‘9/11’ also made references to Bush’s conflicts of interest in many of the decisions that were bulldozed through Congress. Here in Sri Lanka during the administrations that preceded the present one, the arms-dealers minted cash and fortunes were earned virtually overnight – the same with the food suppliers and other dealers in requirements for the armed forces. At present we are informed that arms deals are only permitted through Lanka Logistics and Technologies Co. Ltd.

An extract from India eNews website of June 2, 2007:
Citing exclusive access to an internal Sri Lankan cabinet document, Britain’s renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that Sri Lanka had signed a classified $37.6 million deal with China’s Poly Technologies in April to supply its defence forces with ammunition and ordnance for the army and navy in addition to varied small arms.
Jane’s declared that the China National Electronics Import Export Corp is to provide Sri Lanka a JY 11 3D radar for $5 million over the next few weeks once the site for its location near Colombo is ready.
It was Gotabaya Rajapakse, the defence secretary who concluded the contract for the radar for the Lanka Logistics and Technologies Co Ltd that he heads

On the other side, Prabhakaran, we are told, has received money from Mahinda, through Tiran Alles and the others alleged to have been involved, to enforce a boycott of the elections in order to ensure that Ranil would receive less votes. It is also alleged that the deal was carried on further and that more money changed hands under the guise of reconstruction whilst Mavil Aru was in full swing.

So what the fuck is really going on??? Are we all being played for a bunch of suckers? Some of us are opposing the government’s strategies, berating it for the state of the economy and appalled at the levels of corruption and nepotism, whilst others are dead keen on the military defeat of the Tigers, quite willing to put up with the rapidly sliding economy and rising inflation and shrugging off corruption and nepotism as necessary evils in the quest of defeating the Tigers. The ones opting for a negotiated settlement and opposing the war and all its ill-effects are branded by the pro-war contingent as ‘peaceniks’ (apparently a derogative term) who stand to gain (again monetarily) from the quest for peace, whilst the pro-war / military action lot are branded ‘chauvinists’ and ‘racists’ by those who see that war will never be the answer.

Looking at it from the perspective of the bloggers on kottu, it would appear that the views generated on the subject are equally intense on both sides of the divide and the posts and comments often get to the point of being quite aggressive, if not abusive. The few that offer comic relief (sometimes in the form of tongue in cheek extremism) are often mistaken for the real thing, creating more emotional responses and abuse.

Ultimately, it appears that the country is caught in the midst of a quandary, causing a rapidly sliding economy that doesn’t look likely to recover unless there is some change in the scenario. The abductions, evictions, paranoia and inconvenience brought about by the escalating conflict that has caused the current instability will only increase and who knows where it will end? And what is most tragic is that it appears that both protagonists want the war to continue – for their own purposes. And does it have to do with money and power – and the hell with the rest of the country?

You tell me!

Java’s back from a foray into experimental theatre somewhere in the recesses of the City of the Fallen Angels – on Santa Monica Boulevard to be precise. As he described it:

A little ol hole-in-da-wall place, maaan. No one would even begin to guess dere be som heavy sheet going down dere. I be trippin wit da Sandman an Chloe, who be turnin us onto dis place where she be doin her thang in som actin workshop. So we go in and dere be aroun fifty folk in dat audience. Dis place be dark and dere be some classical music goin an dat sweet smell of incense mix with som odder pungen aroma make it seem like our kinda place. Good vibes and dat air of spectashun be happenin, so we settle down in our seats an wait.

Pretty soon da house lights go off an at da same time dat music change to a John Cage-like waay-out piece of ‘music’ which last for maybe five minutes. I be tinkin dat dis be for getting dat audience into da mood for what be comin up, den dat curtain go up to reveal a stage dat be bare – cep for a big ol copper bathtub jus a bit left of center stage an a chair wit a towel draped over da back of it, backstage an to da right of center. Da stage lights be diffuse, wit two watery spots on dat tub an dat chair. Da music has stopped by now, but it ain’t really stopped as Allais’ Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man is playin – only dose into dat avant-garde sheet know dat ol Alphonse be a pretty far out cat and dis composition, done in da 1890s or derebouts, be consistin only of nine blank measures. So fo all intents an purposes we be watchin dis stage in ‘silence’.

Den, a few minutes (or maybe more) later – some ackshun: A head slowly emerge from dat tub an veerrry slooww like, dis man get up till he be standin in de tub. He be stark-starin nekid, but in his right hand he be carryin a big ol frog. Musta bin plastic or rubber – a big green ting dat be glintin in dat weak spotlight. Dis man climb outta dat tub in slo-mo an he walk toward dat chair. Now dose stage lights be comin up reeeal slow like an we see anodder bod emerge from dat tub. Dis time it be an ol man, follow close by a nymphet who be holdin onto his hand. Da ol guy be wearin a cravat roun his neck and da nymphet have a jewelled belt roun her waist. Dey also get out in slo-mo and walk toward dat chair, now occupied by da first dude. No sooner dey get close to dat chair anodder one emerge from dat tub – a great big black dude wearin only his socks. Now dis be gettin fascinatin – all dis goin down to Allais’ Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man, so we don be hearin nuttin. Da ol man an dat nymphet dey sit on dat first guy’s lap and dat brodder get behin dem an embrace da tree on dat chair. In da meantime a bunch of odder folk be getting out of dat tub – one at a time, all in slo-mo, all stark-starin cep fo one article somewhere on dere bods. I be countin seventeen in all – all ages, shapes an sizes (dere was even a midget an a guy dat musta bin seven an a half feet tall). Dey all end up at dat chair embracin and getting on each odder until it be one mass of writhin bods, maan. Now Allais’ Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man is done an dis odder piece of music com on. Don know what it was, but it be a series of atonal chords wit sounds of nature – like birdsong, water an sheet like dat comin on between dose chords. Now dose bods stop movin, but dey be trobbin at a steady rhydem – an damn if dat image don look like a big ol heart trobbin away in dat diffuse amber light. Blackout an silence.

An dat audience went ape-sheet – an us too.

De nex two acts be equally weird, but it take too long to describe maan, so I be savin it for anodder time. Da last piece tho be anodder trippy one. Dis time da cast bring out dere chairs to dat stage an line em up so dat even tho dere be aroun twenty in dat cast, da way dey be doin dat rrangement be creatin an illushun of a whole lot more. So dey sit dere asses down – blackout on stage an dose house lights com on. Da music be more John Cage – ‘Music for Changes’, a composishun for solo piano ol John be basin on the influence da I Ching (yo be knowin dat Chinese Book of Changes, right?) had on Cage – a pretty far out dude in his own rite. So dere we be – roles reverse, dose players be playin da audience an us folk be in da posishun of being da players. Dere be two strait lookin folk who maybe had enough of dis waaay-out sheeet dat be playin wit dere heads – dey stan up an get ready to take off – an dat stage erupt into applause. Dose two get so fuckin surprise, dey quickly sat dere asses down again. Den one dude stand up an do a Marlon Brando bit from ‘On da Waterfront’, but before he could finish he get tomatoes an sheet trown at him from dat stage, boos and hisses an sheet too, so he quickly sit his butt down. Da audience now start to enjoy dis sheet an we be seein some of dem tryin to get dere partners to participate, an gradually dere be a whole lot of ackshun in dat audience – wit dose players on stage bein all eyes on da happenins. An so it went, wit some interestin shheet comin outta it until dose house lights go off an we be sittin in da pitch black dark wit dis weired-ass music – had to be Cage or Satie – goin down. An we sat, like everyone else. Time be passin an damn if it weren’t nearly an hour later when folk start to leave da place. Da players had long gone home, I guess.

An dat, ma maaan, be Java’s inishul foray into dat Teatre of da Abstruse, an I be tankin Chloe for takin da Sandman and me along. Some reeealy wired-ass shheet, but we be digging it.

It must have been absorbing, to say the least, as Java doesn’t have much patience for the extreme abstract – be it painting, sculpture, music or theatre – but the way he got into this experience left me in no doubt that he was enthralled. John Cage leaves me pretty cold at the best of times, as does Eric Satie, but given the right ambience, who knows how I’ll feel. Java’s back to his rolling ritual and has got Alphonse Allais’ Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man going on the machine.

It’s weird how ‘silence’ means different things to different folk, isn’t it?

July 2007
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Ephemeral Ruminations by Java Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
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