Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Freddie King: Ain`t No Sunshine (When She`s Gone).

Freddie King. Deep, deep soul blues! I believe this song was written by Bill Withers.

Freddie is too often overlooked, commercially; but he had 'it'. His feel was amazing. I'll pick up my jaw, now!

He also wrote 'Hideaway'-- which a young Eric Clapton covered and recorded, in 1966, with The Bluesbreakers. King passed away, in 1976. You are missed!


(Some raw facts came from Wikipedia, but I write my own stuff!)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Funky Christmas

I want to wish my readers a happy, safe and funky holiday period... before I forget.

Put a little funk in your Christmas, y'all. The song is 'Back Door Santa' by Clarence Carter. From the album Testifyin' in 1969.



Merry Christmas, or happy holidays!

Mitch.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Harmonica Slim with Boogie Bill Webb

I don't know much about these musicians, but this deserves to seen by more people.

Full credit to these guys!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Mitch's Playlist: 0.2

  • Astral Weeks -- Van Morrison. From the year 1968. It is sprawling and beautiful release. Astral Weeks is unlike any other album in Van's discography. The tracks are more like paintings, than songs.
  • Have a good time -- Big Walter Horton and Carey Bell. A unique collaboration, from two giants of the blues harmonica. Sadly, Bell passed away relatively recently. Both are now gone, but the music is still here.
  • The Band -- The Band. This is the second, self-titled album; from a group of legendary and talented musicians. Timeless and honest songs. At a time when everybody else who was making music seemed to be wearing flowers in their hair -- The Band played for themselves, and wrote tunes with country, blues and blue grass influences. It's just great!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Big John Wrencher: tribute

From previous posts, you might know that I have a passion for playing harmonica. I am also enthralled by the blues, and its various musical offshoots.

I take what I am doing fairly seriously; but I also have a lot of fun. I have been playing every day -- whenever I possibly can -- for roughly 3 years.

As with everything, there are challenges. For example, I can't hold the harmonica in the standard way. I can only use one hand. It can be difficult; because I have seen the majority of players hold their harp, in a certain, accepted way. I started to wonder if my physical differences would prevent me from becoming the harmonica player I wanted to be.

Then, I saw Big John Wrencher!

Wrencher was born in Sunflower County, MS, in 1924 on a plantation. His youthful interest in music -- particularly the harmonica -- kept him on the move as a traveling musician, playing throughout Tennessee and neighboring Arkansas from the late '40s to the early '50s. In 1958, Big John lost his left arm in a car crash in Memphis. By the early '60s, he had moved North to Chicago and quickly became a regular fixture on Maxwell Street, always working on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to nearly 3:00 in the afternnon virtually non-stop, as Sundays were the big payday for most busking musicians working the area.

(from Answers.com)


'How many more years', Big John Wrencher.

Big John passed away in 1977. I am using this material, only with the greatest of respect. This post is a tribute to possibilities. I feel re-energised!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Blindman's Blues Forum

If you are one of those people, who thinks they know a little something about blues, folk, gospel, jazz, or rock music -- then you will want to check this message board out!

If you are a musician (aspiring or otherwise), whose music falls into one of the aforementioned categories, you will also want to check this forum out. The depth of knowledge is amazing!

The community is close and loving, as well. As an aspiring harmonica player, I have learnt so much. If your question happens to be within those broad fields, you will almost certainly receive a detailed response. I've been posting for a while.

Link:
Blindmans Blues Forum

It is a great community!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Mitch's Playlist: Edition 0.1

As you may have been able to deduce, this is the second edition of Mitch's Playlist. I believe in keeping things interesting; so each new edition of the Playlist won't necessarily follow the same template. I could talk about artists in general, videos I am watching.

At the moment, I am feeling a sweet relief of having just been released from hospital. Every time this happens, I 'rediscover' music!
  • Kansas City Powerhouse -- Count Basie. Hot, big band jazz.
  • New Orleans Piano -- Professor Longhair. A fantastic pianist, with an uncanny sense of time!
  • Hard Again -- Muddy Waters. Muddy's comeback album; featuring James Cotton and Johnny Winter.
  • His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) -- Little Walter. This man changed blues forever.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Folkstreams » The Best of American Folklore Films

Folkstreams » The Best of American Folklore Films

Folkstreams
is really interesting. There's so much to discover on this site! You can see films about culture, folk music, traditions, people and history. It is practically bursting at the seams with amazing content!

I have been visiting this website quite a bit, and I have seen some really interesting films. It mostly centres around music history and the preservation of culture. Folkstreams is not about everyday music and history. The emphasis seems to be on preserving and highlighting music and communities that have been forgotten -- it is important work! Transcripts and biographies can also be viewed. It is vital that attempts are made to archive, and also highlight, these human stories. They are part of our collective history.

I have found many interesting musicians, there. Although the emphasis is on America, everyone can find something that is worth seeing. Movies about everything; from medicine shows, to communities living in the Appalachian Mountian country.

An important point: it is possible to actually view the films, in streaming format; which is a huge plus! Although, they are not intended for personal use (which is understandable).

In short, check it out! I think you will be glad you did.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Mitch's Playlist: Edition 0.0

I thought it would be fun, every so often, to take some time to talk about the music that I have been listening to. I'll try to comment on each entry, as well.

It is a study, unto itself but it's also an interesting way to talk about newly-discovered CDs, or old favourites. It's almost always in CD format; but I have been using iTunes more often, lately.

So, the first edition of Mitch's Playlist:
  • The Essential Leonard Cohen -- Leonard Cohen. From what I can gather, it was supposed to be a double-disc set. It was loaned to me by a friend. I found out later that there may have been a second disc. It doesn't matter; Cohen is great!
  • 03 -- Son of Dave. I have reported on this album, before. It is so much fun! It is always interesting to hear musicians, who combine such diverse elements.
  • King Biscuit Time -- Sonny Boy Williamson II. The album has its roots in radio show, on which Williamson and his band were regular guests. I think they even did the advertisements! The second 'Sonny Boy' (aka Aleck Miller) was an harmonica legend.
See you next time.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Some reasons to love Mitch Mitchell

I have been thinking about this, since yesterday's post. Invariably, he will be billed as 'Hendrix's drummer'. Many other articles that covered the story, speak about Mitch, as though he were only some kind of skilled side man. Although playing with Jimi Hendrix is an incredible accomplishment, I think it is only fair to consider Mitchell as a talent on his own terms.

Here are some reasons, to love John 'Mitch' Mitchell:
  • His apparent ability to hit everything on his drum kit -- at once; whilst being soulful.
  • He played Woodstock.
  • His commitment to keeping Hendrix's legacy alive.
  • The drum part on 'Manic Depression'.
  • He played on each of Jimi's studio albums.
  • For being considered as a potential member of The Who (before Moon).
  • For never trying to exploit his resume.
  • His drumming (in general)!
  • For using my given name!
If you think of more, always comment!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Drummer Mitch Mitchell found dead

Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell found dead - CNN.com

It is my sad duty to report the news that John 'Mitch' Mitchell, the pioneering drummer for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, has passed away. As the name of the group suggests, The Experience was a huge part of Hendrix's initial explosion onto the music scene. He was also a child-actor.

Some have suggested that the musicians with whom Hendrix surrounded himself provided only a backdrop for his musical creativity, that is a dubious statement to make. Jimi had an ability to surround himself with fantastic musicians. Mitch was no exception! He was jazz-influenced drummer, inspired by Elvin Jones with an aggressive, poly-rhythmic style. they think I am correct in saying, that Mitch played with Hendrix more consistently than any other musician. from the formation of the Experience in 1966, until the original lineup parted company in 1969; then, with the reformation of The Experience (with bassist Billy Cox) in 1970.

Of course, Hendrix died in September of 1970. You may notice that I speak about Hendrix's career, and those around him, with relative ease. I write about this because I want to.

Mitch played in an extended lineup with Hendrix, at the Woodstock festival. He had a really intense approach to his instrument and contributed a jazz flavour to the music of Hendrix, and others.

Following Hendrix's death, Mitch has been keeping a much lower profile. Although, he has worked with numerous other musicians, after 1970. Mitchell sometimes worked in production capacity, as well. He had done much to keep the legacy of his friend, Jimi, alive. He participated in many tours, along with other musicians who had worked with Hendrix, during his lifetime. In fact, that's what he had been doing, around the time of his death. He was found dead in his hotel room, at the age of 62.

Mitchell was the last surviving member of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience; bassist Noel Redding died in 2003. The second lineup is sometimes referred to as the 'Cry of Love' band.

There is much that could be said about Mitch, and his contribution to music... but the music speaks for itself. You will be sorely missed, Mitch!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Looking into Wolfgang's Vault

The link below leads to a site that is known as 'Wolfgang's Vault':

Free streaming live music, Live concert recordings, Live music downloads, Classic rock concerts

So, what is so special about it? It offers rare and interesting concert recordings, for just about every influential musician you can think of. What's more, it's legal (and that is the real revelation). For once, it is possible to register for a free account and listen to your fill of hard-to-come-by music; without having to worry about going to jail for copyright infringement!

It seems far too good to be true! The website works because the artists are paid or compensated, every time the music is streamed. Also, I think the website buys the legal rights to use the music. Still more of the content can be bought by individuals and used.

The music that is offered not the usual mainstream, popular stuff, either. These were significant and historic (or just plain good) gigs. Everyone, from Jimi Hendrix to The Grateful Dead; to Van Morrison to Muddy Waters, to Neil Young; is listed. Each artist seems to have several shows to their name, at least.

I can only hope that it is, indeed, as good as it seems to be.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Follow by E-mail

I am happy to say that some of you have shown interest in what I am doing, with this blog. If that's the case, thank you.

So, I want to make it as easy as possible for you to follow what I'm doing. In that vein, I have come across some innovations. They serve to increase my readership, and to make it generally easier for my readers. Recently, I installed 'subscribe' buttons, and some services to do with StumbleUpon. Today, I have improved things just a little bit more. Now, anyone can enter their e-mail address, directly into the field to the right of the post -- and they will be notified of new content, via e-mail. Some of you are already receiving notifications, so this feature will work for those of you who aren't. There will be no more need to fiddle around with feeds and readers, if you do not want to.

There might be more that I have forgotten about; so stay tuned.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Barack Obama: elected!

I made this video, after the election of Barack Obama. I am very pleased. He will soon be the 44th President of The United States.




Change has arrived, in a most eloquent form. One of the things that strikes me, is that Mr Obama does not speak to the public as if they were children.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Hound Dog Taylor

Theodore Roosevelt 'Hound Dog' Taylor and The HouseRockers were not musically flashy, but they were fun. Also, they had no bass player. Hound Dog wasn't technical or smooth, but that's why it was cool!

An album link.

The music is mean-sounding, but really fun! it is not possible to talk about the music, without saying a little bit about the man. It's almost as though he was destined to be larger than life. He played electric slide guitar and sang. I don't care what anyone says; Hound had a fantastic style of playing and a real sense of humour, within his music! He was born in Mississippi, with six fingers on each hand! Later, he would use a straight razor to cut off one of his extra digits.

One of his influences, was fellow slide guitarist, Elmore James. I would recommend both men highly.



Like many blues musicians, Taylor was active musically for most of his life; from the 1950s, until his death in 1975.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Son of Dave: '03'. A review!


I just bought (from iTunes) the album 03 by Son of Dave. I'm listening to it right now, as I write this.

It's amazing -- this guy is one cool dude! As the video would suggest, he operates as a one-man band.

Although, in the coolest possible sense.

This is how it works:
  • Amplified harmonica
  • Rattle in the other hand
  • Vocals, mixed with beat-boxing
  • A machine, that can handle digital loops
He does it all, at once!

(I don't want to shortchange the guy, by adding the video to this post; I just wanted to show how good it really is.) His blog and MySpace are worth looking at, also.

The music on this album really has the spirit of the blues -- but with some noteworthy twists. I have never heard it done quite like this, before. There is a lot of wry humour in the lyrics and presentation, too. It won't be a kind of blues that you are used to hearing; but that's what makes it exciting. The shadow of the old blues tradition can be heard, but something truly original, too.

I suppose that's what makes an artist: to take one's influences, honour them, but take it somewhere else!

Give this album a go. There is real musicianship and originality, here. Besides, it's just so juicy!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

All music is current and important

For most of my life, the music that I listen to has been consigned to the 'classic rock' or, 'oldies' sections. For some reason, others seem to find this amusing. I have been told, for most of my life, that I like 'old' music. The posters in my room -- depicting Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors -- suggest to others that it is impossible for me to move beyond 1975.

It has always annoyed me greatly, although I am aware that it should not. Many people have no idea how to relate to my musical tastes. I don't believe that there is any relationship between the music's age, and its validity. Music that is older, seems also to be less relevant, in the eyes of many others. With the exception of, perhaps, classical music -- other music that is older, is viewed as an antiquated novelty. What's more, it loses its cultural and social significance. That is, in itself, a great loss.

Now, it is most important of all to be contemporary; to have one's finger on the pulse. Much of what is popular, musically, has no soul, or social conscience. We are losing much, in the act of discarding music that is older. In fact, I have done everything possible to move against the grain. I like to find music that was made because something needed to be said. Maybe, it was made just because it could be made!

I know that labels and categories, in record stores, exist so that albums can be sold. Sometimes,
Though, those labels can imply other things. That less importance is given to the music in that category, for example; that it is no longer relevant or current... and so on.

Next time, find the music which has been discarded, forgotten, or ridiculed -- it may surprise you.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Feel so good: the blues

Some videos, that are worth seeing. The blues is not necessarily associated with feeling upset.

Feel so good -- Dr Isaiah Ross


Poor boy long way from home -- Booker White

(I'm pretty sure this is actually Bukka White, using another name.)


Terraplane blues -- Michael Pickett (cover)


I just had to put these out there... Enjoy!

All credit and respect to the musicians. This is incredible footage. Obviously, it is not my own. I would encourage everyone to go out, and try listening to the blues.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Selective journalism

Recently, I was watching a documentary about the private ownership of our news media; specifically, how it can (and does) affect the material that the consumer is able to access.

The example used in this case was Fox News. Its ownership by Rupert Murdoch, quite obviously influences its content -- and how it is presented. In recent times, it has become, rather than being objective, a proponent of a particular political viewpoint. Murdoch's views become those of the network, too. This is not necessarily surprising, and he is entitled to do whatever he wishes with his money and political clout. However, the problem arises because this particular viewpoint is not presented as being opinion, or even a report that may have particular leanings; it is presented as unadorned fact. Obviously, this is misleading. I'm not saying that the particular political conservatism is negative, but it should be presented for what it is.

I would have no problem, if someone were to admit that something was closer to an editorial, than to the news. If this is the case, it must be admitted to. Bias is not the issue, here. What's going down, is going down covertly!

I'm sure that somebody with liberal political views could make a very liberal news outlet, with the same results. Either way, it would not be news. The big problem occurs when something that is not news, is presented as if it were completely unbiased.

We are getting to the point now, in this western world, where news can be heavily embellished or pushed solely in the direction of a particular viewpoint, solely because the person who owns the station has money. And nobody knows any differently. The way I understand it, news something that is presented to the reader or viewer, with a little bias as possible.

News was once something objective. Maybe journalism can still be saved.

Friday, 10 October 2008

2008 campaign trail. American politics... McCain

The Republican bid for the 2008 US election, is rather frightening. At least, in my opinion. I am not an American, and I am happy to say that I don't know as much about American politics, as those who study it. Although I am not a political expert, I have been following it quite closely.

So far, I am a staunch Obama supporter. He seems to have the attitude, the youth, and the policies to bring about some very positive changes. He is an eloquent speaker, a seemingly likeable person, and an intelligent man. Some of his speeches have been amazing!

I have nothing but respect for John McCain, as a person. He is tough, a war hero, intelligent; and someone who stands up for what he believes is right. From policy standpoint, however, we disagree. I don't think I could ever stand behind someone so politically conservative. I have a feeling that, if John McCain were to succeed in his presidential bid -- it would be George W. Bush's policies, all over again. Even for someone who doesn't live in America, that is a big deal! Change is important!


Also, there is John McCain's Vice President candidate, Governor Sarah Palin. Staunchly right wing, she is fiercely pro-life and an avid game hunter. I'm presenting this, so that you can make of it what you will. I don't intend to be overly critical of politically-conservative America. Sarah Palin certainly seems to be attracting a lot of public attention, though. Every political issue is approached with the same kind of benign, folksy charm... It is a little scary. The Governor from Alaska is against abortion, even in cases of rape, or incest. That is more than a little frightening.

Then, there is the fact that a great deal of what she says does not make sense, in a political context. It would be perfectly okay, if Palin weren't running for the second-highest office in the United States. The amusing thing is that she seems to be stealing, inadvertently, much of the spotlight from McCain. What's more, she cannot recall one single newspaper, which she reads on a regular basis. It is one of many examples of these kinds of occurrences.

There is more to be said... maybe next time.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Charlie Patton: From 78s, to iTunes!



This record used to be the only way that anyone had a chance of being exposed to a musician such as Charlie (or Charley) Patton, or Blind Willie Johnson -- that is, unless you had been lucky enough to see them in person.

Then again, in the time of pre-war blues, the musicians were incredibly obscure. There was no powerful or instantaneous media to spread the word about your music; no national tours; very few, if any, music magazines, to give your record a good review... you get the idea. It must have been tough, to say the very least. In fact, it was very difficult for musicians of that time period to achieve any recognition, at all -- beyond the area in which they lived. In fact, most of the frame that musicians such as Patton achieved, occurred posthumously.

Now, we find ourselves in the age of digital music. It had brought about a really strange phenomenon -- which was helped along by the blues revival, in the 1960s. Through services like iTunes and Amazon.com, it's now possible to gain almost instant access to music. Along with the obvious addition of what is in the charts at the time, it is possible to find some very good (and in some cases obscure) music.

Also, it's possible for music fans to communicate on a much larger scale; by virtue of the Internet. So, all of a sudden, I have the opportunity to listen to Charlie Patton , Robert Johnson, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, and so many others.

Further info:

http://charleypatton.com/

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Why Martin Luther King's opposition to Vietnam is relevant today.



Many would agree with me, in my belief that the wisdom of Dr Martin Luther King is just as relevant today, as it ever was. There are people, whose views, actions, and causes -- are always worth hearing about and studying -- here is one such person. Dr King's actions and words remain an inspiration to many people, including myself. The war in Vietnam has long been over, and Dr King is sadly no longer with us. However the life that this man lived and his beliefs about recurrent issues -- such as war, peace, the building of human relationships, and standing up for what you believe in -- these issues always need to be spoken about and acknowledged.

The war in Iraq has once again brought to light the fact of widespread public opposition to a foreign conflict. As a Christian, and as a human being, King felt morally and theologically opposed to the war. Many other people felt they could not support the war in Vietnam; for a multitude of reasons. Obviously, it led to widespread protests and resistance of other kinds.

As is attested to, in the speech above, Martin Luther King felt that he could no longer remain quiet about the war. The opposition was delivered in typical style: eloquently, passionately, and humanely. This is, perhaps, the most effective and commendable form of protest. Upon engaging in the very act of protest, Dr King was putting his reputation as a much admired public figure, on the line.

I am talking so much about King and Vietnam, because attitudes to that conflict very much echo the attitudes of some areas of the population, to the war in Iraq. There is widespread public protest to what is going on, it is misunderstood on many levels, and many don't support the troop deployment or occupation.

I believe Dr King's attitude to Vietnam was admirable. Also, it can teach us a lot about morality, in the face of war. It is possible to be opposed to something, without being hostile.

Actually, it's just about how to get along. I think it is amazing that this man can still teach us so much.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Richard Wright: 1943 - 2008

What you read in this link, is one of the official articles about Rick's death. It's more than likely, that other Pink Floyd fans have already heard the news. However, I only found out today. Of course, it came as a shock; especially as I did not know that Rick had been suffering from a serious illness. This is very sad news for me; I have been following the band, since I was quite young.

For those who don't know, Richard was a gifted keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist -- and a founding member of the world-famous rock band, Pink Floyd. Much like many other people, I first came across the band, through the album Dark Side of the Moon. It was a part of my Dad's record collection. Little did I know that the LP would change my life.

With albums such as Dark Side of the Moon, I began to realise that music can be very deep. It did not necessarily need to be a passive experience -- something that was enjoyable, but ultimately inconsequential. This was not the case with Pink Floyd, however. Their music was always interesting, because it spoke to my mind, as well as my heart. It was a life-changing album for me.

The structure of the music, as well as the lyrics, was intellectually challenging. Rick 's musicianship and lyrical contributions were immensely important; but they were often forgotten by fans and journalists. Perhaps it's because he never sought the limelight much, I don't know. Anyhow, during his time with Pink Floyd, and when he was working on a solo career, the music was always great.

So many examples of Rick Wright's music are coming to mind. Obviously most people will think of Dark Side Of the Moon, when they hear Floyd; but there were so many other musical high points. This is taking a while to write, because I have so much I wanted to say. It may even be necessary to write another post!

From my perspective, I feel this loss deeply; even though we had never met. You will be missed, Richard.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Jill Bolte Taylor's powerful stroke of insight

Jill Bolte Taylor's powerful stroke of insight | Video on TED.com

As somebody else said, this is an idea worth spreading. I saw this a while ago, and I've been meaning to talk about it.

I see this as a really incredible opportunity to discuss how the human animal perceives its own consciousness. I like the fact that these lectures have been made public; because they are really interesting food for thought. My illness has allowed me to experience different states of consciousness, even though it is completely involuntary. I have had many out-of-body experiences; and it has led me to question the nature of consciousness and reality. Perhaps, our brain is able to mediate between several different states of reality, or states of consciousness. Maybe it is the ability to combine those experiences, into something that makes sense, that allows us to function properly within our environment.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Diogenes, the cynic

TEACHINGS OF DIOGENES

All information is from the link.

(c. 412- c. 323 B.C )

A student of philosophy, eager to display his powers of argument, approached Diogenes, introduced himself and said, "If it pleases you, sir, let me prove to you that there is no such thing as motion." Whereupon Diogenes immediately got up and left.


Fantastic stuff. He may have been the first 'cynic'.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Shamen and healers

I am posting this, fully cognizant that today is 11 September. I could say so many things -- the horrific nature of the attacks, the number of lives lost, the number of families, altered forever. However, nothing I say, no matter how heartfelt, can make it better. Nothing I say can turn back time, or reunite families. I can be sorry, though. Reality is sometimes cruel; but, I suppose we must move forward.

I would like to talk about my interest in Shamanic cultures, such as those that exist within the Native American community, and in other populations, throughout the world. I shall readily admit that I don't know as much about this, as I would like to. Also, there are many others, who are far more knowledgeable than myself. However, I have read quite a bit about Shamen; and their role as healers within their own tribes. In many cases, they have an intricate knowledge of the healing properties of various plants and substances. They are sometimes called 'medicine men', too.

The Shaman could be anyone in their community, providing they had the mental toughness and the knowledge required. Often, the Shaman someone who had inside into the frailty of the human spirit. Certain powers and abilities were attributed to them exclusively.

Only they were allowed to use and give access to the vision-inducing plants, such as Peyote. Only spiritual healers were permitted to have knowledge of the spirit world. In some communities, those who were considered to be spiritually or physically hyper aware, abnormal, more sensitive were better candidates for the position of spiritual healer.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Waking Life: review

Yesterday, I was able to see (or maybe to participate in, is a more accurate way to describe it -- I don't feel as though it was an entirely passive experience) the film 'Waking Life'.

The film 'Waking Life'. It is directed by Richard Linklater. I am not sure if the fallibility of human words will be enough to describe the powerful nature of this experience. I shall try.

It deals with many different concepts, points of view, and schools of philosophical thought. Sometimes, the ideas are quite complex -- but they are always presented in an interesting way. It is quite artful and captivating.

From my perspective, the film deals with the many ways in which human beings must be awakened, every so often. Far too frequently, will find that we have been asleep, all this time.

'Waking Life' deals with the nature of reality, consciousness, dreaming, existentialism and enlightenment. It is quite incredible.

I will attach some links, that deal with the ideas in the movie; when I can get the Link function to work.

I'll also buy the DVD.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Friday, 22 August 2008

Kurt Vonnegut

15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will | The A.V. Club

I still find it difficult to believe that he is no longer with us. Of course, being a fan, I know that he is perfectly alive in plenty of other moments. So it goes. Slaughterhouse Five had a revolutionary impact on me; and the way I thought about life and time as an entity. I would say that the discovery of Vonnegut's many and varied literary contributions was a life changing experience.

He thought, and wrote, like no one else, in my experience. I don't know -- he had a way of ridiculing the truth, while still maintaining its validity. Kurt's writing gave me the feeling of being on the edge of some kind of epiphany.

It is the kind of peculiar, edgy and dangerous prose, which inspires me to write. Very few people seemed to have the ability to see what is really going on in the given situation -- I think Vonnegut was one of those people. Seemingly every Vonnegut book I read, contains some kind of mind-bending truth or observation. (I should point out that this was not meant to be hero worship or a sycophancy; only observation and respect.)

He has made a great contribution to this world. I see things differently, now. I discovered Vonnegut's fairly late; I wish that I had caught on earlier.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Olympics in Beijing

I wish China, and her people, all the best of luck in the Olympic Games. While the excitement of the sports will remain the same, no matter where it is held, the location does seen to be bringing out very strong feelings with some people. In everything I read, there seems to be one controversy or another.

China seems to want to prove something to the rest of the world; and that is coming across in a rather pointed way. Everything needs to be strong, perfect, spotless and unblemished. I thought the Olympics was supposed to be about competition and acceptance, not intimidation and social unrest. Rather than saying what a good job China has done, people were talking about Tibet, Internet censorship, or the opening ceremony miming incident. It is unfortunate; because, even though I am a casual observer at best -- I find myself thinking about the political and social issues, as opposed to The Games. I cannot remember the actual Olympic Games being turned into a propaganda opportunity. I have only read about this kind of thing in history books. It's quite strange -- everywhere I turn, China wants to flex its proverbial muscle.

Aren't there sports in the picture, at some point? Sure, there are, if one wishes to focus on that, but they seemed to be running a poor second, to everything else that's going on. It's quite bizarre.

Even with everything else, I'm sure China will make a good job of this year's Olympic Games. Hopefully, everybody will remember that the sports and culture are the main reasons everybody travelled to Beijing.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Sometimes, I have no idea what to do.

It can be rough, when my own brain gives me a sense of all-pervasive confusion. I just sit in my room, and my mind goes completely blank. With all my CDs, and DVDs, and a computer, and a television to watch; I feel completely incapable of forming even the simplest of ideas.

The fog in my brain can be awful. (It's a symptom of my illness, dysautonomia. It makes me feel a bit useless -- as though I could not produce my own last name, if I were pressured to do so. It turns all the ideas in my head into misty nothingness; too insubstantial to grab a hold of. Sometimes, when anything is possible, that very promise could almost be perceived as a threat. Far too much is possible, for me to handle.

I need to clear my brain of these unproductive notions. Divest it of the sheer weight of ideas and possibilities. As if it is unwanted clutter on a computer hard drive. The feeling is one of the physical weight, sometimes. That I only have so much space in my head for ideas. I certainly can't write my book, if I feel in a state of intellectual disorder -- chaos, even. The best thing to do, is to make a conscientious attempt to retain only the good ideas. This even works, from time to time. This post is an act of catharsis.

I can move on to good ideas, now.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Plato, and his cave

Yesterday, I decided to look at Plato on iTunes. Admittedly, I didn't expect to find much. Instead, I found many of Plato's works; in their entirety.

I settled on The Allegory of the Cave, from The Republic. The piece, itself, is quite brief but powerful. It only takes up about nine pages of The Republic; however, those nine pages or so, deal with the very nature of reality and how we perceive it. What do we find to be real, and how do we express the findings? Are we too comfortable, within our own, little shell. Perhaps we are too content, to accept the shadows we see on the metaphorical cave wall -- rather than seeking the objects, themselves.

If we were to see life, as it really is, would that revelation be painful? This is where a lot of the philosophy from the trilogy of Matrix Movies comes from. I have not done the theory justice here. I cannot convey the enormity and the brilliance of Plato's thinking. I simply implore you to read Plato for yourselves. It changed my life, and will continue to stimulate my thoughts.

My video about it:

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Anthology: 1947-1972... Muddy

allmusic ((( The Anthology: 1947-1972 > Overview )))

This is a fantastic album. Anyone who has an interest in the blues, and loves the music, should own this! This will hopefully be the first in a long line of album reviews. I am pretty sure this was the first Muddy Waters album that I ever owned. It is very difficult to overstate the importance of Muddy's music, within the landscape of popular culture. The figure of the man is immense. His body of work is so good, it's intimidating.

It is difficult to find weak spots in this anthology, or to say bad words about it. There have been many compilations made of Muddy's music -- this may be the best.

If I have not convinced you yet, there are the many equally talented musicians, to were featured on this album, to back Waters; like Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Little Walter... etc.

Monday, 30 June 2008

The age of the Internet

 There are many people who have criticised the Internet, and its worth, very harshly. They say that it will draw you will way from other people, and put it within reach of perverts  and social malcontents. I am sure that is true. Yes, there is pornography, and a lot of undesirable material -- but it can be avoided!

However, there are people, for whom that kind of thing is not an issue. The Internet is responsible, in no small measure, for saving my sanity during his illness. I have been able to keep in touch with people, express myself creatively, and have fun. It has been an outlet in, and the means for discovering things, which I never thought possible. YouTube is a good example of that. Now, blogging has become possible, too. It is very achievable, to explain one's horizons, without ever leaving the house.  Amazing people are just a click away.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

What's going on with the Olympics?

 So, it seems that people are talking about the 2008 Olympics for all the wrong reasons.

It is definitely the most politicised Olympics, that I can remember.  When there is discussion about the Olympics, that is unrelated to the sports themselves; it's usually about some kind of drugs scandal, or which nations will be competing. In other words, it's pretty boring. 

 Usually, I find the games themselves boring, as well. Unless I want Australia to win really badly, of course!

But now that China is running the show this time around, it is from most politicised Olympic Games that I can remember. This seems to be a lot of talk about who is boycotting these games, and who isn't. It is possible that the lead-up to the games will be more interesting than the games, themselves.

I am thankful that these Olympic Games have brought the Chinese occupation of Tibet for a discussion, again. I would not have known about the situation in Tibet, at all; if not for the publicity surrounding the Olympic Games. It is a horrible business, I am glad that people are speaking out about it.

But it is a situation that has happened in history, on many previous occasions. Australia was thought to be unoccupied, when it was taken over by the British. Of course, it wasn't. Indigenous Australians had been occupying the land for hundreds of thousands of years. I can see some parallels.

Nobody can arbitrarily declare that they have the right to take over a particular piece of land. It happened with the pilgrims, who colonised America. It's a double standard, really. If that had not happened in Australia, I would not be here. Still, it's not right.

I don't believe it's right, or peaceful, to impose democracy on another country. I think that's what happened in the  recent conflict with Iraq. I don't know what the real reasons for the conflict in Iraq are.

I still fully support the job that the troops over there have been assigned to do. I am proud of the bravery of the armed forces.

That's all, for now.  (It took me ages to finish.)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Bible and blues

I have to say, I love the MacBook Pro experience, so far! I have never owned any kind of Mac, before.  It has wonderful learning experience.

I get pretty depressed, sometimes (and I don't mean in it in the colloquial sense). Although I have my family around me, I am not always up to seeing people, that can be difficult. It is contradictory, really; I am lonely, but I don't all ways want company. Sometimes, the company can be hard work. It can be rewarding, too.


The constant cycle of new drugs, seems to leave me in somewhat of a  daze.    So, what am I getting at? There are some fairly major and complicated things going on in my life. I no longer have control of my bowels, and my digestive system has stopped working. But, it's necessary to find something in any situation, that makes one's life worth living.


In other words, something that makes you happy. I have found many things that bring about joy in my life. Usually, people say they have found religion -- I would say that religion found me. I bought an unabridged version of the King James Bible on audio CD. I had just decided that it was something I would like to read. It turned out to be a life-changing experience. Not long after I became ill, I began my journey towards becoming a Christian. I did not know that was where it would end up, but that's the point. It has taken many more than two years for me to fully accept, to know, God's word. I quickly came to love the four Gospels; along with many other books of the Bible.


I also learnt to play the harmonica (started to learn, at least). That has been great fun. I love the blues!


There have been many other things, which I will talk about later.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The Beatles can make all the difference

 Well, my life rolls on. I have managed to survive the latest medications (I am kind of joking).

In the course of the last few years, my half-developed belief in God, has blossomed into a commitment. I would consider myself a Christian now. I have always loved the reading and writing of poetry; and I consider the various holy scriptures of the world to be poetry of the highest form. It was naturally the message of Christ, and not just the style of language, that sealed the deal.

Now that I'm set up properly, I'll continue to pen my autobiography. It has been an arduous, but rewarding, process. I should point out that I'm not finished yet. Writing, in almost any form, as many joys. I have been writing poetry and short stories for as long as I can remember. Lyricists and song writers were my first source of inspiration. Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles, and many others. I was also saturated with the radio of the 90s; Pearl Jam, Nirvana, even Matchbox Twenty.

Later on (around puberty), I was exposed to the rock music of the 1960s and 70s. I devoured what I heard: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix.

Even later, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker... and others. I need to finish this, early. I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Certainly a thrill

I was unsure what to write; this being my first blog entry, and all.  I am excited to have another creative outlet.  I am in need of as many new experiences, as possible. Mostly because I'm bed-bound and I have been for over two years. The disorder I have called is dysautonomia .  

Most people don't know what it is, let alone how to fix it! This makes it quite difficult!  Basically, my autonomic nervous system's shot.  I was also born with cerebral palsy.

Anyway, I love poetry, music and creative writing. I post on YouTube, as Ledvolta.  I love Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Beat Poets, and so much more.  I hope to write better blogs when I have voice dictation.