mr. zilla goes to town

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

tune in to trade justice

Generation Why sez:

Whether you're in London listening on 104.4fm or via the internet worldwide, tune in to Resonance FM from 7.00 pm tomorrow (Thursday) night to catch Oxfam festival DJ Cynan and our London campaigners Rajinder and Claire on air. They'll be talking about the upcoming Mass Lobby for Trade Justice, Claire's recent visit to some fair trade projects in Honduras, not to mention dropping some choice tunes!

Yep, little old me is going out live in London at 7pm GMT, so tune in... *ulp*

order in the court

The absolutely cracking afrobeat outfit Antibalas released a bold as brass, dragnet-flavoured tune in 2004 by the name of 'Indictment', in which the first line is:

Order in the court!

Karl G. Rove! Indictment!

Last time I got a belt of this it was in a crowd of people screaming along to the band live in the Black Cat in DC in the fevered days of the 04 campaign.

Tonight it's time to take it slow, settle back in your chair, set the mood by getting an earful of this gorgeous discordant monster yourself, (Indictment by Antibalas), and get your fitzmas on.

Today's the day, so they say. My trousers are damp and BOY I'm excited.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

earthquake benefit

Last night's earthquake benefit raked in over 350 quid (or about AUD 850) for the DEC appeal, with more to come. Hooray!

Update. Right, so the gross was a round £360 and less the costs to make the CDs, net donations came to £340. Now special thanks must go to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, who with the merest tick box on a donation receipt, allow the underlying income tax to be instantly and conveniently folded back in to increase the pot by about 28%. So we're up to 435 Sterling, or over a thousand redbacks. God save the Queen!

Sober reflection (which was quite an impossibility on Saturday night) says that given the scale of the disaster it's not much in the grand scheme of things. Nonetheless its very satisfying that at least we've been able to drum up much more than Ms Z and I could afford to put in personally, and great to be able to transform good tunes and good times into a small part of something necessary and worthwhile.

Big ups to the Honeypot owners who dropped a big whack of the night's gross in, to fellow Oxford DJ Dan Ofer from Bossaphonik who dropped in with some killer latin & nu-jazz tunes, but most of all to the tireless efforts of my most wonderful Ms Z. Between slaving over a hot laptop for many hours designing the posters and CD artwork, and bouncing around the bar collecting the cover charge and enticing CD sales, I'm quite sure she put in the lion's share of the effort over the last week.

Now stay tuned for the online leg of the appeal... once I figure out exactly how to run it!

Friday, October 21, 2005

the price of failure

Back in August, I said:

The ethnic and religious factions in Iraq might be about to kick off one of the worst civil wars we’ve seen in a decade... and with such instability (and likely loss of two million barrels at day to the world’s oil supply) within two to five years the US will have to be right back where it has been since 1991: with a huge military garrison presence in Saudi Arabia. To our eyes this is the ultimate guarantor of Saudi stability and with it global oil supply. To other eyes, it’s an infidel military presence in the land of two shrines that, along with the Palestinian issue, gave fuckers like Bin Laden and his associates the blinding fury to carry them across the world and into the lives and bodies of innocent people at six hundred miles an hour.

Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell as Secretary of State, thinks it's worse than that:

We can’t leave Iraq. We simply can’t. I can make that case. No one in this administration has made that case. They have simply pontificated. That’s all they’ve done. Now, I’m not evaluating the decision to go to war. That’s a different matter. But we’re there, we’ve done it, and we cannot leave. I would submit to you that if we leave precipitously or we leave in a way that doesn’t leave something there we can trust, if we do that, we will mobilize the nation, put 5 million men and women under arms and go back and take the Middle East within a decade. That’s what we’ll have to do.

If you've got a few minutes, the transcript of his speech on Wednesday makes for very interesting reading. Even beyond the very deliberate comments about the US government being in the hands of a dysfunctional cabal, which we've heard before from folks like Sy Hersh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

autumn oxfotography

The season is turning here in our corner of the English countryside, and we've been out amidst the fields and streams today to enjoy the changing colours. Come and see.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

you go to war with the army you have

"As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want."

You may recall these choice words used by US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld in December 2004, when publicly questioned by a US soldier in Kuwait about why his battalion was heading into Iraq in vehicles they were being forced to up-armour with scrap metal from landfills.

It came immediately to mind -- along with a deep chill down my spine -- as I read quotes from Shiite soliders serving in the US-supported Iraqi Army this week:

"There are two Iraqs; it's something that we can no longer deny," [Major Swadi] Ghilan said. "The army should execute the Sunnis in their neighborhoods so that all of them can see what happens, so that all of them learn their lesson."

"In Amariyah last week, a car bomb hit a U.S. Humvee and their soldiers began to shoot randomly. They killed a lot of innocent civilians. I was there; I saw it," said Sgt. Fadhal Yahan. "This happens all the time. If they keep doing this, the people will attack them. And we are part of the people."

Sgt. Jawad Majid chimed in: "We have our marja'iya and we are waiting for them to decide when the time to fight (the Americans) is, when it is no longer time to be silent."

"The people of Hurriyah deserve to be doused with gasoline and set on fire," said 1st Sgt. Khalid Jabar, while driving through a local Sunni neighborhood last week. "When they kill Shiites no one asks why. But when they found out it was their turn to be killed they ask the whole world to help them."

Last week, as Sgt. Hussein Jabar manned a checkpoint underneath a bridge, a sniper's bullet pierced his left side, tore through his organs and flew out his right side. Iraqi troops carried him away, his body limp and pouring red onto the sidewalk. Two days after the shooting, Sgt. Ahmed Sabri stood outside the Umm al Qura mosque, home to the militant Sunni Muslim Scholars Association. The mosque is just down the road from where Jabar was shot.

"Every man we've had killed and wounded is because of that mosque. Thousands and thousands of Shiites are being killed, which is why they're joining the army," Sabri said. "Just let us have our constitution and elections in December and then we will do what Saddam did - start with five people from each neighborhood and kill them in the streets and then go from there."

With the army you have, you go to war.

Friday, October 14, 2005

the poor man is so money

and here is the money quote:

The Bush administration is pretty much freeze-dried fuck-up - hurricane Katrina just showed what happens when you add water.

Nice. Share it with a friend today.

Monday, October 10, 2005

freshers week finale

Lest the tail end of Tuesday's post not leave you completely disabused of notions about my glamorous lifestyle, or at least lack of willingness to sell out for some easy squid, may I now have a Jamie Oliver moment and present...

Mr. Zilla's recipe for an Oxford freshers’ week bop

  • 14 lb. cheese

  • 3 cups school disco

  • 2 cups summer festival hit parade

  • 1 cup butter (of the "Build Me Up" kind)

  • 34 tbsp. of dancefloor 80s tunes, last put to thorough use playing an 80s party in a club in DC in July 2004 while wearing a tight-fitting US Navy flight suit with the nametag "DJ Maverick"... but the less said about that and the ensuing sunburn, the better

  • 6 pints of stella

  • 1 dollop of top tips from your workmates who get a load of BBC Radio 1 during the day

  • 0. Play half an hour of cool tunes for a couple of mates who've dropped in early.
    1. Take the poncy part of your brain that likes a fine remix of 1970s West German jazz, and drop it into the first pint of Stella. Blip! Leave it happily swimming around in there and get stuck into the other five.
    2. Combine funk and hiphop until party simmering.
    3. Throw all other ingredients in, inadvertently making noises like the Swedish chef. Could be that was half a pint too many back in step 1. Shh, ok, no one noticed.
    4. Mix well* and watch the room go crazy. (* -- ie, whenever deciding which of 2 tracks to play next, go with the one you can sing to better. Albeit not like the Swedish chef.)
    5. Sorry miss, I forgot the Britney Spears.
    6. See step 5.
    7. Shout out to Rick who requested the B-52s! Sure he requested it at work around lunchtime Friday, but you've got to get in early at these things. And yes, ok, technically he's not here. What do you think it is, a school raffle?
    8. See step 5.
    9. Play that funky music, white boy. Play that funky music right.
    10. Groove is in the heart, always unstoppable!
    11. See step 5... gah.
    12. Up comes a construction worker, motorcycle cop, an indian, an cowboy and a sailor. You want some UB40? Just kidding!
    13. Bloc Party! Woo!
    14. See step 5. Bloody seppos...
    15. Does it look like this turntable can play your CD? Umm... no. No it doesn't. Kudos to you for asking though.
    16. Yes, the song goes "are you gonna be my girl", but no, you're not meant to take it personally. Just do me a favour and don't pick a fight with anyone this time?
    17. Michael Jackson? Mmmm, well I guess he was acquitted wasn’t he... so yeah, hell yeah!
    18. An American girl approaches at pace, screeching "I'm on the college entz committee! And if you don't play [some shithouse R&B track] RIGHT NOW you're never playing here againnn!!" Friends lead her gently away. Absolutely officially the funniest shit like EVAR.
    19. Close out with Coldplay, and some AC/DC, and, er, stuff, etcetera.
    20. College bar guy & social steward offers seemingly heartfelt but utterly damning praise: "that was great, here's my email address, give me your card, I get requests for weddings all the time here and I can pass them on to you". Cry into your beer. What have I done? Count the cash, still feel icky, but better. Pack up and go home.

    Serves 301.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    now listen here

    Go listen to this very tidy mix by Ryota Nozaki (aka Jazztronik) on milk audio.

    Then pop over to Sonar Kollektiv and pick up the second last track, Wahoo's Take Over Me, for less than a Euro. Bargain at twice the price. Which, er, is exactly what I paid cos I stuffed up the one-shot download the first time, and just paid the 60p for it again instead of emailing the SK staff to give me another go at it, on the off chance they'd be slow getting back to me and I wouldn't have it on hand to play tonight. See? It's that groovy.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    have your cake, and drive it too.

    The Governor of Montana outlines the way forward to a back-to-the-future technology wherein the American lifestyle and urban planning become insulated from the current costs and geostrategic risk of oil. Further comments by the Governor here.

    Still I hope the synfuel technology is as mature as he says it is; it might be a decades-long dodge of the peak oil problem. I'm more interested in the possibilities of hot-rock energy though. In Australia alone, the energy reserves in the Cooper Basin in South Australia has been pegged at the equivalent of 50 billion barrels of oil. Scaling up operation of this source could conceivably switch off every coal fired power station in the country for a very, very long time:

    About 11% of these [hot rock] energy resources, or 2.5 million petajoules, or more than 800 times the current annual demand for electricity in Australia, are thought to be in granite rock which is the most favoured host rock for heat extraction.

    Mmmm, cake. It's renewable, it's cheap, its CO2-free, it's perfect for baseload generation unlike solar and wind, and best of all, it isn't yellow.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    around the grounds

    Barista links us to an ably captured and absolutely gutting post-Katrina photoblog & personal narrative. Start from the bottom and scroll upwards, I'm still working my way through it.

    Tom 'the hammer' DeLay scores another two indictments, this time for money laundering. Man, I hope he gets the full perp-walk treatment.

    On the same day, Bush demonstrates once again how the wafting stench from the rot of corruption in the GOP is the only oxygen he knows. With the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, Bush shows a passionate regard for the equality of the human rights of all people in his close personal orbit, regardless of gender, race, or demonstrated experience and ability in a role. (Come on, I'm sure poor Brownie is just a persecuted Incompetent-American!) Following through on his policy of abject cronyism at the highest levels, nominee Miers has in the past been Bush's personal lawyer, has spent most of her career hitched to the Bush family wagon, and has never been a judge. He's like a rat in a sewer. No, that's not right. He's like a turd in a sewer. Fortunately (?), hardline conservatives are also up in arms about the proposed appointment, albeit for different reasons.

    Closer to home, former Tory MP, British diplomat and current Oxford University Chancellor Chris Patten has just released his memoir in which he reveals that Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende "really does look like Harry Potter" and that US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is "the Pavarotti of neo-conservatism". This delightfully slanderous prattle will no doubt make for amusing dinner conversation around town, but it must be juxtaposed with the brutal crushing of democratic counter-dissent on the streets of Oxford. The Pavarotti of pikey-bashing and Oxford University Not-chancellor Phil Mosley copped a caution for visually retorting to the recent Oxford bunny huggers' march:

    In other Oxford news, Blind Freddie can tell the academic year is just beginning and its freshers' week. How's that you ask? Well the overpowering stench of vomit that pervaded the dancefloor at my Monday night gig would be an indication. Curiously, the smell disappeared unbidden about 10 minutes later - despite the bar staff searching high and low and failing to find anything to apply a mop to. It was like a Miss Marple mystery, the Strange Case of the Intermittent Dancefloor Whoopsie. I mean, WTF? Was it some plastered young fresher lass who felt that upholding Oxbridge etiquette required her to insert the contents of her stomach neatly into her handbag, and that decorum dictated a period of no less than 10 minutes to linger and finish her drink before heading out? If so, who was this girl, and did someone get her number to pass on to her college rowing squad captain?

    Freddie might not have seen the fight that broke out between a couple of guys ten minutes before close though. I can't help feeling slightly responsible; I think the gents involved took me dropping Jet's 'Are you gonna be my girl' as the signal to decide who was going home with the two lasses in the corner, who had spent the preceding few hours grinding against each other, the walls, passers-by, and probably even the Dutch Prime Minister had he popped in. (The answer, of course, is neither.)

    Fortunately there are salves out there for such late night shenanigans. Jazz Picante in Lisbon is my favourite new radiostream discovery. The 30 Sep show is true quality. Check it out.

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    third bush twin revealed

    ... and she's got her sights set on a music career. Flora Bush, take a bow.