Saturday, April 10, 2010

Layer 280 . . . Santana Again, Who Needs Fathers?, Politics, Shock Doctrine and Democracy

Brother B's back in the Pacific, living a life of Reilly, experiencing the odd exciting earthquake, and listening to Santana!

Today I found the following piece on Spotify, which sums up very nicely Santana's first album, and its 'Legacy' edition:

The Sony Legacy Edition of Santana's 1969 self-titled debut album is exactly the kind of deluxe treatment that the repackaging and remastering of a classic album deserves.  Fine liner notes by Hal Miller guide the listener through the historical journey of this record. First, there is a stunningly remastered version of the original album, front and center with alternate takes of "Savor" and "Soul Sacrifice" added, as well as a studio jam. Musically, Santana is the spot on the map marking the point where everything came together, mutated, and changed. Here Afro-Cuban son, blues, rock, jazz, and funk collided head on, and decided to become something else. Gregg Rolie's swirling, atmospheric organ provided the sonic root equation. Santana's guitar provided the frenzied flight, and Michael Shrieve's Elvin Jones/Roy Haynes-inspired driving kit work provided a dynamic commensurate with the visceral nature of rock. This was not aided, but made possible and furthered by the percussion work of Joe Areas and Michael Caravello, and anchored to earth only by David Brown's rock-solid, dirty-assed bassing.

Sure, "Evil Ways" was a monster single, but it doesn't begin to tell the story of the album. Interestingly, with the all the bonus material added, the album doesn't even tell the story of the album. What does offer the key is disc two, which includes the band's original studio sessions for the album -- before the addition of Shrieve and Areas to the band. These tracks, almost all of which appeared in different form on the final version, revealed a talented, original, but loosely focused and slightly timid jamming ensemble that put together some compelling riffs and ideas, but hadn't jelled in a studio setting.

Add to this Santana's complete Woodstock performance (with four previously unreleased tracks which took place before the album's release date) and the listener gets floored just contemplating the final release. That in four months, this band had gone from being green and naïve to becoming command performers. This is a remarkable, welcome, and definitive addition to the Santana catalog and raises the watermark for all reissues as well. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide


D's back home, after a parting of the ways. It's good to have him around again. His dog also arrived here yesterday. Dawg n me took a long walk around the Downs this morning, rejoicing in the Spring sun. Synchronicity moment - met up with a woman walking two Staffies on behalf of her son, D, who was still dossing in bed.


Who Needs Fathers? BBC TV, produced by Films of Record, a Ten Alps company.

This week's episode was about young men who have lost contact with their fathers, and in particular one who managed to track down and meet a father who last saw him when he was 18 months old.

According to their website,

"Films of Record specialise in tackling difficult subjects, securing access to previously impenetrable institutions and producing challenging and honest films that impact the viewer."

This seems pretty accurate. Three weeks ago, in Layer 267, Oxzen commented on another documentary made by this outfit - Requiem For Detroit. Another brilliant film. - blurb for Requiem For Detroit   -  iPlayer for current programme

The parent company, Ten Alps, have been responsible for other superb documetaries shown recently - last night's Dispatches programme on the London Marathon and its suspect management and finances; the new series that began this week on the Great Ormond Street children's hospital, The Berlusconi Show, etc. Gritty and insightful programmes which these companies can be very proud of. I seem to remember blogging recently that documentary-making is the new rock n roll. It's a lot more entertaining and rewarding than what passes for rock n roll in 2010.


Back to Politics

The one and only Malcolm Tucker, and his election briefing:

Frankly, I think you're getting the wrong advice on the debates. As you know, people who saw Nixon and Kennedy on TV thought Kennedy won, and those who heard it on the radio thought Nixon won. But, really, we don't give a flying wad of wet Daily Express about either of these groups. What we need to know is: what about the people who were sitting through JFK-Nixon on the can doodling specs on cartoon-strip pictures of Daffy Duck and making themselves laugh with the sounds of their own farts? Who did they think won? Most people are not going to see these Bestivals of bore. After all, with the 478 debate rules in place they're going to have all the drama of three middle-aged guys fencing with limp dicks. The only ones watching are going to be the pointless bastards who already know what they think.

We need to get to the people who only hear the rumours. Bottom feeders who get their views via the quotes from the models in the Daily Star. Van drivers who guard their vast ignorance with concealed Stanley knives. Businessmen who like to expose their self-aggrandising cynicism to schoolgirls on the Thameslink. These dumb motherfuckers are the battlefield. Shitheels. Dunderheads. People who when you talk to them it's like shouting through six pieces of double glazing. Potheads, cider drinkers, kids who don't know who Thatcher was and think the NHS grew on a big fucking NHS tree. Wankers. People who count to 11 using their 10 fingers and their head and still get it wrong. This is who we have to get to via the debates. So we are going to have to shout extremely fucking loud.


My vote is for mayhem

We should embrace the mystery and hilarity of a hung parliament: it may be the trigger for vital constitutional reform

by Marina Hyde

No one knows whether a hung parliament would be good or bad for the country. The cabinet secretary says he doubts the financial markets would be destabilised. Yet yesterday's Telegraph splash read: "Tory win best for economy say top bankers". (I forget precisely who are our "top bankers" these days, but perhaps they'll forgive us if we respond to their economic advice by shrieking with laughter before inviting them to run along now.)


As democracy unravels at home, the west thuggishly exports it elsewhere

While the US and Britain slide towards oligarchy, the forced elections in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought no good

by Simon Jenkins

The west's proudest export to the Islamic world this past decade has been democracy. That is, not real democracy, which is too complicated, but elections. They have been exported at the point of a gun and a missile to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died and millions been driven from their homes – including almost all Iraq's ancient population of Christians. The import of democracy has so far just inflamed local tension and fuelled fundamentalism.

At least in Iraq western troops are leaving the country to its fate. The west's guilt at the mayhem left behind will start to diminish with time.

In Afghanistan, a similar saga has been running for nine years, and is growing ever more tragic. Last year saw the deaths of more Afghans (2,412) and more western troops (520) than since the 2001 invasion.

Democracy in both America and Britain is coming under scrutiny these days. Quite apart from the antics of MPs and congressmen, it is said to be sliding towards oligarchy, with increasing overtones of autocracy. Money and its power over technology are making elections unfair. The military-industrial complex is as powerful as ever, having adopted "the menace of global terrorism" as its casus belli. Lobbying and corruption are polluting the government process. In a nutshell, democracy is not in good shape.

How strange to choose this moment to export it, least of all to countries that have never experienced it in their history. The west not only exports the stuff, it does so with massive, thuggish violence, the antithesis of how self-government should mature in any polity. The tortured justification in Iraq and Afghanistan is that elections will somehow sanctify a "war against terrorism" waged on someone else's soil. The resulting death and destruction have been appalling. Never can an end, however noble, have so failed to justify the means of achieving it.

The high-minded attacks on corruption in Muslim states from London and Washington is futile . . . Nor is the west that clean. Britain showered corruption on the Saudis to obtain arms contracts. The activities of American firms in "rebuilding" Iraq were wholly corrupt.

As Britons go the polls, they should challenge their candidates to justify what is being done in their name. A system of government that they have spent two centuries evolving and still not perfected is being rammed down the throats of poor and insecure people, who are then hectored for not handling it properly. Why should they? The invasions of their countries was not their choice. They did not ask to be a model for Britain's moral exhibitionism. They did not plead for their villages to be target practice for western special forces.

Amid this bluff the only certainty for Karzai is that, one day, Nato will get fed up and leave him to his fate, as it is now leaving Maliki in Baghdad.

Democracy has been greatly oversold.


More Disaster Capitalism and Shock Doctrine

What's becoming very clear is that whatever the outcome of the general election we're going to get an even bigger dose of what Naomi Klein calls Disaster Capitalism and the Shock Doctrine - the remedies of Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics.

Oxzen said this in Layer 188: The Shock Doctrine, Michael Moore, Friedman, Capitalism . . .

The truth is that the entire planet has been ravaged and raped by over-mighty corporations driven by crazed megalomaniacs and oligarchs that busted into countries around the world after the doors had been beaten down by armies that battered, tortured and killed on the direct orders of mad politicians and supine parliaments.

In some countries, of course, like the UK, there was no need to do any battering – Thatch willingly embraced these ideas – directly from Hayek (Friedman's guru), as it happens – and set about dismantling social democracy: selling off state assets for peanuts, cutting social spending and public services, passing anti-union legislation, deregulating capitalism and the banks, etc, etc. If anyone tried to get in their way – well Mags had no hesitation in sending in the cops to batter the miners into submission and bust their strikes. A lady with a mandate, you see.


Here are some more Klein-related Oxzens to (re)visit;


Vince Cable attacks 'nauseating' businessmen over NI letter

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman accuses Tories of 'barefaced cheek' by co-ordinating letter criticising national insurance rise

Businessmen on inflated salaries lecturing the rest of Britain on how to run the country are "utterly nauseating" and "being used" by the Conservative party, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, says today.

In an interview with the Guardian Cable said of the business leaders: "If they are going to wade into this debate, they do have an obligation to explain how this national insurance cut is going to be paid for and that is where they are failing and they are being used."

He accused the Tories of "barefaced cheek".

More than 80 businessmen, including the executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, Sir Stuart Rose, have signed a letter, co-ordinated by the Tories, saying they oppose the national insurance rise, and believe the government should fund the potential gains through cutting waste.

Cable said: "I just find it utterly nauseating all these chairmen and chief executives of FTSE companies being paid 100 times the pay of their average employees lecturing us on how we should run the country. I find it barefaced cheek."

In the Guardian interview Cable also says Gordon Brown should "hit back" at the businessmen, but is too compromised. He claims: "Brown, having kowtowed to the City for the best part of a decade, and having tried to co-opt captains of industry into the big tent, is in a very weak position."

Cable said that he does not deny national insurance is an issue for businesses, but his remark that they are being used follows claims by the prime minister that they had been deceived.

Cable, the public's current choice for chancellor, according to polls, said it was highly plausible that as many as 120,000 public sector jobs would have to be lost, and suggested that voters were "in for a nasty shock".

He accused the main two parties of spending the first week of the election campaign trying to evade the central issue of how to deal with the structural deficit and urged all three parties to come together after the election to form a "council for financial stability", to agree the timetable and scale of deficit reduction.


Pope's on the Ropes

Pope hit by fresh allegations of paedophile priests cover-up

Pope failed to defrock paedophile priest in 1985


There was a wonderful little documentary on TV this evening, telling the story of the escape from a PoW camp near Bridgend of 70 German prisoners during WW2.

As soon as the tunnel and the escape was discovered the guards activated Plan X. They went out through the main gates and looked up and down the road to see if they could spot any prisoners running away!

Some of the escapees stole cars but soon discovered they couldn't go anywhere because all the signposts had been taken down.

Some of them planned to steal boats and planes, but failed dismally.

Some of them were quite pleased to be recaptured when they realised a) they were in Wales, and b) returning to Germany might not be the smartest move they could make.

As far as the local population was concerned - "It was exciting! Bridgend wasn't exactly the centre of the universe at that time!"

At that time!

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