Hello! Future Historians!


If you’re reading
this… WE MADE IT!


It is now 3.19pm. On my telly is Star Trek TNG. Outside my window is my mrs., mowing the back garden.

(Bear with me – this post will be slightly rambling)

In around 4 – 5 billion years, our sun will begin to run out of fuel. In burning the less tasty elements, it'll balloon out into a red giant. The Earth's seas will be boiled dry and eventually the Earth itself will be vapourised. Everything humanity ever did will then be lost. Every atrocity and beauty, every novel and song, every building and thought.

Unless…

We manage to get off this mudball, and spread across other solar systems, much as we've spread across the face of the Earth like a swarm of hairy locusts. Here's where a serious of major 'ifs' come into play:

IF we don't annihilate ourselves soon and learn to freely co-operate on a world scale, we may have the economic power and organisation that interstellar colonisation will need…

IF we then spread and grow across systems, the numbers of humans should magnify hugely. Imagine, say, a human diaspora consisting of 100 planets with … say 5 billion humans each (don't need to crowd too much – plenty of room!). That would be 500 billion humans. 200 planets? 1000 billion humans… well… you get my point.

IF this process carries on for a few millennia… imagine how important the 20th and 21st centuries will become to future historians? These were the centuries that contained the computer revolution and (hopefully) laid the foundation to world peace and prosperity, thus enabling interstellar colonisation. There'll be as much interest in 2003 as we have in the early humans 3 million years ago.

IF It's far enough in the future and there are billions upon billions of humans, then there will be a time when there are probably a billion future historians studying 20th/21st century history…

IF we have had world peace, rather than armageddon/rebuild, maybe there'll be a future historian reading these words from an extracted ancient MySQL database found holographically encoded on a diamond in the year 8003. She/he'll be puzzling over terms like 'mowing', wondering if Casanova Follup was related to Rudolph Valentino and studying any uploaded photos (hence stored in the database rather than linked) closely…

Do you follow me so far? Either we blow ourselves up or never co-operate enough to get off the planet. Either way, humanity is doomed. I mean, all of us posting here will be dead in 100 years, that's pretty much guaranteed but the future isn't written yet.

To leave this planet, establish perhaps Lunar and Mars colonies (or maybe on one of Jupiter's 52 moons?) and then cross the huge distances to habitable solar systems… no one nation can do that. As an entire world, we might just manage to, but we'll need the skills and talents of the entire human race, regardless of creed, gender or colour. I mean, the woman who invents a great new ion engine may be out there but, as I've said before, it doesn't do much good if she dies as a baby, shitting herself to death in some famine-stricken hellhole.

So… if anyone's reading this in the far future… we made it! We managed to overcome all the hurdles of war and bizarre economic systems. We managed to get off Earth!

…. and we managed to train enough historians that even this tiny, unimportant corner of the 21st century internet is being read… 🙂

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love and kisses,
Jyoti  

 

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Manufacturing Consent

My title is nicked from Noam Chomsky. My anger is my own.

In a totalitarian regime, there is propaganda. But, since these regimes have huge spending on state institutions to control the public, press, labour etc. they basically use The Big Stick. The propaganda is glaring and obvious. And the consequences of ignoring it are well known too. Do what your government orders or we'll send you to a gulag, lock you away in a mental hospital or send the disappearers for you one night.

In the bourgeois democracies of the West, we have comparatively much greater freedom. Indeed, countries often enact legislation precisely to guarantee freedom of speech, assembly, organisation etc. This is inherently a much better glove for capitalism because it doesn't need the huge state expenditures that brought the USSR to its knees.

But how then does the ruling class ensure the compliance of the public? With The Big Lie.

We're witnessing the Lie in action now. Every report I see on TV (the only mass media that is important in terms of numbers) is skewed to reflect and represent the interests of the ruling class of the US and UK. Even when we see pictures of civilian Iraqis dancing with guns and shouting their defiance of the invaders, we're assured that these are probably 'Saddam's Elite forces.' Even the 80-year old women and little kids? Good to see he's an equal-opportunity employer.

From before the invasion of Iraq, we were being fed The Lie. 'Iraq is evil since it openly defies UN resolutions,' we were told. What about the resolutions Israel's broken. Oh, they don't matter. Plus, the US always vetos them.

The only way I can get non-censored news is to spend hours trawling around the internet. I find news items that never make it onto mainstream television news. You can find many of them here, marginalised by the mass media.

In its unquestioning repetition of propaganda, the media is complicit in this illegal war. It is complicit in lying to the people of the aggressor countries. It is more than complicit when it picks opinions on the war from a range of sources so tiny and un-representative as to be laughable.

Here in the UK, fve weeks ago, I was on a march with around 1.5 million people who were against the invasion of Iraq. Just four days ago I was on the largest anti-war protest while British troops were already fighting in British history.

And yet, we have expert panels consisting solely of government ministers, soldiers and right-wing think-tank members. The only difference of opinion here is on how hard to hit Iraq, or tactics.

Never once on any of the TV news reports I have seen in the last week has the moral need for war ever been presented as a legitimate question.

That is never even tabled or discussed. Of course we need to be out there, bombing market stalls and civilian buses. This is a battle to liberate the Iraqi people and if we have to kill them all in the process of liberating them, well, that's the price of freedom.

Another part of The Big Lie is that we can't make a difference. This is the most insidious part. Don't bother protesting – the war's started, nothing you can do will stop it now. Hello? Vietnam?

None of the rights we have were given to us by our ancient feudal lords or latter sweatshop bosses. They were all fought and won by acts of civil disobediance, from the Chartists to the Wobblies to the Poll Tax Riots. It is our collective power that cannot be stopped. When Blair saw London brought to a halt by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people, this certainly affected him. And I believe it's subsequently affected how far the UK government feels it can be seen to toe the US line. Blair knows every civilian casualty on TV will make the anti-war sentiment in this country grow and therefore the Stop The War movement may already have saved civilian lives by reigning in the UK military.

You have to ask yourself – is this war just? You may think it is. In which case, though I disagree with you, fine.

But if you think it is unjust, do something!. Not everyone can march but everyone can play a part by speaking out against this terrible slaughter of innocents. Attacked by their own vicious leader (installed by the US & UK), starved to death by 12 years of US-backed sanctions and now blown into bits by another "smart" missile while trying to shop for food – is there no end to the misery which we visit on the Iraqi people?

Do something. Anything. March. Protest. Harrass your MP. SPEAK OUT

Iraq – Don’t Believe The Hype

I just watched a BBC News 24 report by Ben Brown and his use of language flabbergasted me with its bias. Here's a few examples:

Iraqis are part of an "insurgency against coalition forces." Not fighting to defend their country from an invading army – insurgency.

The invading army is fighting "pockets of resistance." Careful with that resistance word – I thought that the invading army was going to be welcomed with open arms by the opressed Iraqis? No resistance was predicted, this was to be a walkover. Instead, the BBC is having to show pictures of 80-year-old women dancing around singing 'Saddam, Saddam.' They probably hated Saddam until they saw Anglo-American forces bombing the crap out of their town.

Tariq Aziz is alive, Saddam Hussein is alive… despite all the reports of their death.

Apparently Baghdad was "lit up like a Christmas tree" by the kind gift of US missiles. Much as the World Trade Centre was lit up like a Christmas tree by Al Quaeda?

The bombing and killing has been called "spectacular", "stunning", "amazing"… apply any of those words to 9/11 and see how easily they sit. War porn to wank yourself off to.

Then Ben Brown said how the Iraqis fighting back against a vastly superior invading army were "fanatical zealots." Funny, that. The other way round, if it was average Americans fighting back against a superior invading army, I'm pretty sure they'd be called "heroic patriots."

There is a huge discrepancy between the way BBC TV reports the war and the reports it carries on its own website. This is because, as I've said before, the mass media is now under totalitarian control by the British government. Like the last Gulf War, anything the government doesn't like will be censored with a D12 notice. They don't particularly care about the net and print media because it's only a comparatively tiny number of people who consume them.

Blair's telling us now that the Iraqis resisting are "an elite, hated by the local population." Is this the same population that's now disappearing into the desert and mounting guerilla warfare on the invading army? The same Iraqis that are crossing the borders back into Iraq to fight and die for their country against overwhelming odds?

Don't believe the hype…

love and kisses,
Jyoti

London Anti-War (March 22, 2003)

Click here for photos of today's demo. Initial police estimates said less than 100,000 but now they've saying it's 200,000. I reckon it was more, from the amount of people streaming through the streets. Bear in mind that the empty looking shots in the gallery are just because I like seeing closed off London streets – round the corner it was rammed.

In the photo below, look at the whiteness of the placards streaming back up the road to the top left of the pic. And that road was packed like that for ages.

March 22nd Antiwar, London

love and kisses,
Jyoti

War

Forget about the news, the media is now switching over into its unquestioning propaganda mode, the same as it did in Gulf War I and the Falklands.

Instead of news, we get videos taken direct from arms manufacturer's promo packs. These show gleaming missiles faultlessly tracking and destroying targets. Or shots of our brave boys playing at bayonetting Iraqis. War porn. We won't get shown the dead children and razed schools and hospitals till it's too late to do anything about it.

Forget the mass media. If you want news that isn't un-critical hogwash, start using RSS feeder sites, like Keyvan's My AntiWar Org or similar,
love and kisses,
Jyoti

Twatty Language

“My partner loves frigging me off…”

Here’s a pet hate of mine:

partner

As in, “my partner and I have just bought this wonderful barn which we’re going to convert into stinky yuppie flats, yah?”
ARRGGHGHH!

If I ever find myself using the word partner instead of mrs, wife or girlfriend, I’ll know it’s time to kill myself.

It’s the most namby-pamby, cowardly, sex-less term I can think of… it’s an insult to your lover.

So why do people start using it when they get into their mid-20s, the same time as they start to think dinner-parties are a good idea (they’re not – THEY’RE HELL ON EARTH ).

Please, even if you are hideously middle-class, DON’T use this word – it screams greyness and mediocrity from your every pore.

I’ve got so annoyed that when people say it now, I go “Partner? As in business partner? Oh… you mean your boyfriend!”

love and kisses,
Jyoti

Factory Records And Punk

Chicken Rhythms or Chicken Shit?

(This rant is a response to a post on an online forum)

I think it’s difficult now to understand how important Factory were back then (and by this, I mean the 80s).

My fave Factory bands:
New Order
Durutti Column
OMD (started there)
The Wake
Cabaret Voltaire

Factory bands I could do without:

Northside
Adventure Babies

So that’s not a bad ratio for me!

Some of my favourite ever songs are courtesy of Factory. The 12″ of New Order’s ‘Temptation’ (one of the best love songs ever), practically everything by Vini Reilly and even some of the very early James, when they were all still militant vegans.

As for the book, I think you have to remember Tony Wilson is an over-read, playful fucker. So often he’s saying things just to annoy, partially cos he’s overdosed on Deleuze, Foucault, Marcuse and Derrida, partially cos he genuinely has tried to not be a normal label boss. Or run a normal label.

There’s no doubt that without Factory, you’d never have had the whole Madchester phenomenon. I wasn’t into it personally because it was so E-focussed but you can’t deny it changed the whole of youth culture overnight, even football terrace culture. And suddenly Factory, the artiest, most pretentious label ever, were actually fulfilling Wilson’s wank-fantasy of connecting with the masses. I mean, only depressive students ever bought Joy Division records but every fucker went out and bought ‘Step On.’

As for his comments on playing, I don’t think it’s any secret that I broadly agree with him. Technique, in itself, is totally pointless. The world is full of lads who can play their heroes widdly metal guitar solos note for note. But will they ever create any art themselves? No.

I think Wilson is just highlighting that it’s the rule-breakers that mostly advance music. The people who may be technically rubbish but have the wild creative fire in them so they don’t let that stop them. This is the exact reason I’d swap all of Fugazi’s output just for ‘Small Man, Big Mouth’ by Minor Threat. Often, when people learn how to play, they choose to play very, very dull stuff. (see Prog Rock.)

But I don’t expect you to agree with me cos that’s basically a punk aesthetic and you follow, basically, a rock aesthetic (this is why I call P&A a rock’n’roll band and you get grumpy).

The rock aesthetic is all about the role of musicians as curators. You have to learn the old songs, play the old riffs, get the old gear, be as “authentic” as possible. You have to be a real musician and your music is judged by how technically well you can play and sing. “Hey… those guys can really play!” Rock is retro. It’s a modernist, positivist schema. Oasis are rock.

The punk aesthetic is all about the unimportance of musicians and musicianship. If you have an idea, express it. If you can’t hack it out on a guitar, don’t spend years practising, grab a sampler or a synth. If you can’t work them – grab someone who can. Do It Yourself – you do not need and should not seek or wait for anyone else’s approval. Steal from anyone – theft is property. Punk is futuristic. It’s a post-modern, phenomenological schema. Hrvatski is punk.

although i really like that idea, and listen mainly to music which follows that idea, and like punk despite my ill informed rant, i dont think that people should dislike bands on the basis that they know how to play, which is essentially what wilson is trying to say.
(dave @ 15 Mar 2003, 01:01 AM)

Well, if that’s what he’s saying, then I also disagree with him!

I don’t automatically dislike a band because they’re technically proficient – that would be ridiculous! All I’m saying is that, generalising hugely, all the music I most like isn’t very technically complex and the musicians playing it aren’t the best in the world at playing/singing. I love Leonard Cohen’s vocals but he’s always been slagged-off as a technically poor singer.

OTOH, my fave band (and also one of Wilsons) is Kraftwerk. Who, when they formed, were four straight, white, classically trained (some under Stockhausen) German guys. About as unhip and unyouthful and middle-class as you could get. And they could all play very well technically. BUT they didn’t feel the need to demonstrate this on every record. In fact, they abandoned conventional instruments and moved to synthesizers (as well as inventing their own instruments and sequencers). And no-one can deny the impact these highly-educated, highly-trained musicians have had on everything from trance to hip hop to David Bowie. But Kraftwerk are the rare example of musicians who can surpass their training. Ironically, most of the classically trained people I’ve met have been robots – they can read and play but they can’t create. Kraftwerk, who often pretend to be robots, are actually the humans.

wilson says “keep musicians out of music”. that really worries me! because every fucker in every music magazine thinks like that, and that therefore renders p&a un-DIY and therefore shit.

I think by musicians he means what I call musos (this is before Nees and Follup nicked the word and changed the meaning). He means the dull blokes that’ll come into your shop and want to discuss string gauges for three hours. He means the people who are so busy worshipping their heroes that they never get round to writing anything remotely original. Basically, Paul Weller fans.

As for music magazines – they’re all rock. None of them are punk. Garage punkness may be selling a few issues now but it’s a passing fad. Next year they’ll all love U2 or Eric Clapton or something…

and then he starts off on one about the middle classes trying to make youth music, the musically educated trying to make youth music, and all this crap. the thing is, i suppose im middle class, and im vaguely musically educated, does that render all the things i create meaningless?

Of course not! And Wilson’s a huge middle-class ponce himself so that argument would be a paradox. Like the sentence “Everything I say is a lie.”

I really think you’re getting overly-worried here. Why should you care what anyone thinks of your music? Why should you care what a TV presenter in a bad suit thinks? Fuck Tony Wilson and his overblown theories – you should be flying by your own overblown theories.

In my little world, class is irrelevant artistically. All I care about is honesty. If you’re middle-class, like I am, don’t pretend you’re some working-class hero. Be yourself. Sing like you’re from Littleover not from Alabama like fucking Gomez do. As far as I can see, you don’t pretend in your music. Which is why I like it.

i still dont get the happy mondays at all.

I liked a lot of the early Mondays stuff. Like I say, they lost me on the drugs stuff but I do think Ryder has occasional flashes of brilliance. Wilson’s fascinated cos Ryder’s the real deal: a working class organic intellectual/poet. I’m not convinced he’s a rough diamond Jean Genet like Wilson thinks. But anyone who can come up with:

“Son, I’m 30
I only went with your mother ’cause she’s dirty
And I don’t have a decent bone in me
What you get is just what you see yeah
I see it so I take it freely
And all the bad piss ugly things i feed me
I never help or give to the needy
Come on and see me”

has got more than just drugs fuelling them, no matter what bad boy image they project,
love and kisses,
Jyoti

Soft Pink Truth, Sieg Uber Die Sonne, Codec

I've been severely enjoying:

SOFT PINK TRUTH
An excellent album of rump-shakeable party electronics, about as far from po-faced IDM as the Chuckle Brothers are from Christopher Walken. My fave track is probably 'Big Booty Bitches' just cos you can really shake your thang to this. Comparsions? Kid 606, DAT Politics and, of course, Blectum from Blechdom (Blevin plays synths on it).

SIEG UBER DIE SONNE
Again, a beautiful, pulsating album. I DJed this last Friday, the track that sounded like it was continuously falling over but never quite got there was off this album. I love the way the whole album is so poppy and accessible, the rhythms just grab you immediately. It's a different groove to SPT but just as insatiable. 'Beatbox' also went down very well when I DJed in Southampton.

CODEC
This one's more stark and angular but just as catchy. 'She's Transparent' is a floaty but grunty track, 'Modulation Blisters' sounds exactly like the title and 'Ism' got people coming over and asking what I was playing. What I want to emphasise is the sense of melody here, these aren't 'soundscapes' or just the sound of metallic stridulation. You can stick this album on an have it backgrounding or you can turn it up and throw mad shapes to it.
Lovely!
More mini-reviews soon,
love and kisses,
Jyoti