j.m:thinks>

Joshua Mostafa's tumblelog.
On visiting Denmark, I understood for the first time why the English are the way they are: the reserve, the dry self-deprecating humour, the prosaic-ness. By why I mean in what context rather than by what cause. It is like meeting the family of a friend you have only known on his own, as an individual. What you had taken to be aspects of his character are suddenly divided into family traits, and his own personal idiosyncrasies; even those are better understood in contrast with the other family members.It seems to me that everything I like about England, I like more about Denmark. Certain uglier aspects of Englishness—the boorishness, the sense of entitlement and insularity, a national self-regard of absurd proportions relative to the significance of the British isles—that appear to be absent, or at any rate not emphasised to anything like a similar degree, among the Danes. There are no doubt many reasons for the differences, among two sister nations sprung so many centuries ago from the same Germanic mother. But I cannot help but ascribe some share of the blame for England’s vices on the experience of having an empire, the effects of which are not to any degree cancelled out by losing it. Rather, a shrill note of defensiveness has come to accentuate them.Look at the difference between Shakespeare’s outlook on the world, and our own. His England was an upstart on the borders of Europe, looking in, emulating the Italians. England today is isolated in the region, incurious and petulant; its gaze is fixed on America, with a mixture of chagrin and admiration at that part of the empire that unhitched itself from the British wagon, and installed its own imperium across the world: the sun never sets on US army bases.What would the English be like if the empire had never been? Would they be more like the Danes? 

On visiting Denmark, I understood for the first time why the English are the way they are: the reserve, the dry self-deprecating humour, the prosaic-ness. By why I mean in what context rather than by what cause. It is like meeting the family of a friend you have only known on his own, as an individual. What you had taken to be aspects of his character are suddenly divided into family traits, and his own personal idiosyncrasies; even those are better understood in contrast with the other family members.

It seems to me that everything I like about England, I like more about Denmark. Certain uglier aspects of Englishness—the boorishness, the sense of entitlement and insularity, a national self-regard of absurd proportions relative to the significance of the British isles—that appear to be absent, or at any rate not emphasised to anything like a similar degree, among the Danes. 

There are no doubt many reasons for the differences, among two sister nations sprung so many centuries ago from the same Germanic mother. But I cannot help but ascribe some share of the blame for England’s vices on the experience of having an empire, the effects of which are not to any degree cancelled out by losing it. Rather, a shrill note of defensiveness has come to accentuate them.

Look at the difference between Shakespeare’s outlook on the world, and our own. His England was an upstart on the borders of Europe, looking in, emulating the Italians. England today is isolated in the region, incurious and petulant; its gaze is fixed on America, with a mixture of chagrin and admiration at that part of the empire that unhitched itself from the British wagon, and installed its own imperium across the world: the sun never sets on US army bases.

What would the English be like if the empire had never been? Would they be more like the Danes? 

To face that visa card exhibit is to miss oneself terribly. There is an urge to leave the exhibition and its unpalatable implications, to quit the museum altogether, and go back to the department store, where we can buy ourselves back, a self selected and assembled from a smorgasbord of choice: a self that may not last longer than this season, but at least comes with a receipt, and affords us a chance to prove that our credit cards have life in them yet, for a little while.

The dead want most of all to be forgotten. By those flickers and wisps of their lives that still animate the thoughts of the living, the dead are denied their ultimate peace. Poor old Achilles is exhausted. Every schoolboy with toy sword and the gate of Troy burning before his mind’s eye; every thin-lipped professor of the classics; every casual reader of the Iliad, even the readers of comic books and watchers of DVDs, sends another ghostly pulse through his incorporeal veins. Homer, the sado-masochist beside him in the limbo of imperishable fame, chuckles with a self-satisfied rasp that echoes in the great tombs of the remembered.

In a recent New Yorker article by Nathan Heller on the tech boom’s effect on residents of the Bay Area (do read the whole article, it’s pretty interesting), this section struck me as bizarre:

What’s going on in San Francisco has been called a “culture war,” and yet the values each side espouses can sound strikingly similar. Protesters like those outside Davies Hall have fought for open and eclectic urban life. They want broader social-support systems; they’re angry about the Man’s systemic abuses. These are, at least in theory, values on which tech’s pursuits rest. Techies tend to have strong feelings about immigration barriers (they’re against them), universal health care (for that), and environmentalism (a big deal). In their minds, there’s no industry more closely aligned with the quirky culture of San Francisco—so why now, after decades in the region, are they being attacked as interlopers from the wrong side of the ideological divide? The difference appears to be less one of substance than of style: tech, with its young billionaires and arcane skill sets, does stand apart from the culture of the city.

That highlighted phrase (emphasis mine) seems to get it exactly backwards. The conflict emerges between Silicon Valley interlopers who are using their wealth to buy up houses in San Francisco, from whence they catch the Google bus to commute to work, and longstanding San Francisco residents whose rents are being jacked up, or turfed out in ‘no-fault’ evictions, as a result.

What do these two sides have in common? Heller is correct to point out that their values are aligned in certain ways; and he’s correct to be wary of calling it a ‘culture war’.

But how does he conclude that it’s a question of style over substance, when the material circumstances of the two groups are polar opposite? 

It’s a wrong-headedness one encounters too often in American media to be simply a failing of the individual writer (whose article is perceptive and intelligent in many other ways). It’s a remarkable category error: to subsume a political & economic problem into a cultural divide, to confuse a difference of interests with a clash of values or cultural signifiers. Cultural ‘substance’ is values, ideology, lifestyle; so in this framing, it’s puzzling that the techies, with their liberal values, should be in conflict with the longstanding residents, who also have liberal values. Most absurdly, the wealth and specialised skills of the techies - the economic power that is spoiling the lives of San Francisco locals - are then designated a difference of ‘style’.

Of course, there’s nothing puzzling about the conflict at all. Being a billionaire, or a network engineer able to sell one’s labour for a rate of pay vastly higher than the average worker, has nothing to do with ‘style’. It’s the real political substance of class conflict. This, I think, is the blind spot of liberalism.

heartbeatsathome:

Slice

Sebastien “Slice” Fava-Verde is an original raver at heart; back in the day you could find him dancing on top of speaker stacks with a whistle in his mouth. A walkman saw him through most of his younger years and it all started with a primitive Goa Trance / Gabba tape in 1996. At college in Reading (UK) he found his feet in the local free party scene (Junktion 10, Ooops, Lost The Plot) where he was spoon-fed Acid Techno by the likes of Dave The Drummer and Chris Liberator.

In 2003 Slice moved to Sydney, met partner-in-crime Micapam and fell in love with Reggae/Dancehall; together they founded online music magazine Inna Riddim and have been a driving force in the local scene since. Inna Riddim is also a record label and sound system bringing the ruckus from Brighton to Bondi. They love music that pushes boundaries across the full spectrum of bass music: techno, 2step, house & funky, garage, reggae, dancehall, underground hiphop, dubstep, jungle, drum n’ bass, grime, soul, funk, jazz and whatever else they’re feeling so long as it’s got bass, soul and grit.

Having developed a passion for wordplay and narrative as a journalist, Slice turned his hand to MCing, which led him to join live Drum & Bass band Kobra Kai in 2005. Together they’ve released several LPs, EPs, singles, toured Australia and played the festival circuit. Over the years Slice has collaborated with a variety of other producers, recording and performing vocals for Pablo Calamari, The Potbelleez and Mailer Daemon. Having dabbled in production for close to 10 years, it’s now a focus – releasing under his pseudonym Slice and his other alias After Dark.

As for the band Kobra Kai, they are Sydney’s live drum n bass, hip hop and dubstep pioneers. Since being heralded Triple J’s state by state Unearthed winners in 2007, Kobra Kai have continued to lead the future of live dance music in Australia. They have filled dance floors for The Big Day Out, Futuremusic, Space Ibiza, Stereosonic, Creamfields, Peats Ridge Festival, and have shared the stage with Roni Size & Dynamite MC, Killa Kella, DJ Marky & Stamina, Concord Dawn, The Upbeats, High Contrast, Andy C, and Skrillex. Their second LP Insession is out now through Foreign Dub.

I’ve known Sebastien from meeting him at many of parties way back in the day. Through mutual friends, interest and associations we’ve kept in touch and have wanted to do a shoot together for some time. So it was great to finally get together to catch up and take his photo. His records were stored in the UK where he grew up and it was only recently that they were shipped to Australia to be reunited with his collection. His vinyl choice is a pop classic, which to him reflected nicely as it reminded him of a period in his younger days living in New York when this was released in the late 80s. Who’s Bad?!

Location: Artist’s Studio

Vinyl: Michael Jackson - Bad [Epic]

dontsleepnyc:

Out last week, Tape2Tape has bestowed a wonderful pair of funky joints on the Australian Innariddim label. Hit Em comes in strong with a tight 808 kit rapid firing rim-shots into the lopping breakbeat rhythm, occasionally opening up to reveal a rumbling subbed-out core. Ya Know upends what initially sounds of tribal house with its offset snare and wonderfully disorienting cinematic sample. Some of Tape2Tape’s drum & bass roots come through in the drum programming and sampling on both tracks yet the results in each case are marvelously different. Grab this release over at beatport and visit the soundcloud for upcoming flavors from Innariddim. BG UP