“To play it safe is not to play.” R. Altman Do yo…

“To play it safe is not to play.”
R. Altman

Do you know why sometimes I totally enjoy complaining about things like having my xth cold this year? Or like what happened today: Being a total PMS wreck aching for a hot bath as it’s one of the few things that soothes the tension and pain away for a while … to listen to the sound of the water slowly filling the tub … the pleasant anticipation … the smell of the bath scent filling the room … and then to step in and to realise the water is lukewarm at best cause something with the boiler is wrong … and then – not wanting to waste so much water – to still try to stay in there as long as possible … brrrr … soaking up every hint of warmth that’s left in the water… damn.
What was my point?
Oh, yes: I love to complain about such little inconveniences cause the subtext of such is: I’m happy. I have no real worries. Full stop. It is kind of purring between the lines: I’m so fucking glad and lucky to be where and what I am today.

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If you take pleasure in slightly out of tune mash ups, check out my new one on this page.

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I’ve taken part in a little project about mash up culture, THE CONFERENCE, hosted by SIMON IDOLL. In it some bootleggers from all over the world share their opinions on a weekly picked subject.
Find it here: mashupconference.blogspot.com

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SUPERSYSTEM split. Thanks for doing so a week or two before you play here. Damn, you were supposed to console me for the cancelled CHARIOTS and GET HUSTLE tours! You were supposed to be my friend Kerstin’s birthday band!
Well, we’ll have a party called NOT SO SUPER SYSTEM instead and dance on your grave then.

(Soz, I wouldn’t be that angry if it wasn’t at least the sixth show that got cancelled at our venue this autumn.)

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I recommend reading the JUSTIN PEARSON blog. Or bio.
“You’re Not Dead Yet, Faggot”. Or go to the THREE ONE G site.

It is a good read. No matter if you are or are not a fan of one of his wonderful, intense bands SWING KIDS or THE LOCUST or SOME GIRLS. Actually some parts of it really tightened my throat. They brought back some memories that I had stored away safely.
It’s good if people share such stories. Especially if they have the writing skills to make it more than a soppy diary.

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I have finally put up a myspace for my old band, the wonderful FLAMINGO MASSACRES. Nostalgia is nice, be our friend. Add us before I add you!
www.myspace.com/theflamingomassacres

*cough cough*
I still have some FLAMINGO MASSACRES albums to sell that would make your record collection look mighty cool! Ca. 40 or 50 vinyls. Really, you miss out if you don’t have one! Drop me a line if you’d like to be the proud owner of one of those last available copies.

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Rest In Peace, Mr. ROBERT ALTMAN and thanks for making such great movies as ‘Short Cuts’.

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Tomorrow THE WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY and USA IS A MONSTER will play in Munich at Kafe Kult and we will be there. We have some space left, so drop me a line if you want to drive with us from Nuremberg. I wouldn’t complain as gas is damn expensive.

Do you want the DJ to save your life or do you wan…

Do you want the DJ to save your life or do you want to be the DJ?

“I was sitting there bored to death
and in just one breath he said
You gotta get up you gotta get on you gotta get down girl”
Indeep

About a week ago on a messageboard someone asked what I think is the reason for there being less female DJs than male ones. Others on that board had already brought up the usual nonsense that women’s interest in music simply isn’t big enough. It’s not simple. It’s not ‘natural’ or ‘biological’. Why do you guys never ask why? (For those to lazy to read the answer is in the last paragraph of this rant.)

The rather obvious answer that came to my mind is that it starts when you’re a teenager and want to be desired. When you’re still a girl you learn pretty fast that it’s not attractive to have nerdy music knowledge that goes beyond “oh their singer is so cute”. It also isn’t attractive if you’re successfully playing in a band or djing. You are attractive as an accesoire that watches the band or the dj. Like in most male-dominated areas being strong and successful turns you at best into a pal, at worst into an un-welcome competitor. In each case you’re no longer perceived as sexually attractive. It’s quite understandable that that’s not exactly a path a young girl who still searches her way would pick if it’s not a really deep urge that helps her to cope with the negative sides. Natural selection, uh?! For boys on the other hand it is considered cool and encouraged to play in a band and or DJ.

“When I turn the corner
I can’t believe
It’s still the same old movie
That’s haunting me”
Roxy Music

I wonder why there’s such a backlash in the dance music scene today. Back in the 80s and back in the rave days the dance music scene had taken in a lot of the 70s disco queerness and people on the dancefloors played with crossdressing and androgynity and thus the scene seemed to loosen and maybe even lose gender stereotypes. It would have been a good starting point for changing something about the gender ratio behind the decks. Instead it went from “when I’m dancing I can feel so free” back to female dancing as sexual stimulation for the guys. Of course there’s exceptions but they are … erm… exceptions.

For some time electronic music even had been considered as gender neutral as it was less about a ‘body’ or a ‘show’ or about ‘identification’ than rock/punk/hardcore music and thus it wasn’t important to know who made the music. The artists’ names often didn’t give away if the person behind it was male or female. For a while it seemed to me as if that could open doors for more equality. Well, all it did was help hiding the fact that there still was the same male-dominated shit going on behind those nice gender-neutral curtains.

Today we even have that classic role game back in front of the curtain with all those (of course only ‘ironic’ *insert eye-roll*) plays at a porn scenery that is so hip at so many club events. That whole porn thang also brought back the hetero normativity to the dance music scene. Oh no, sorry, there’s one place left for queerness: straight girls posing as lesbians. Else it’s the usual hierarchy: Men are behind the decks playing music to get chicks on the dancefloor. Women’s places are: as pin ups on flyers, on the dancefloor adoring the male dj, or working at the bar. The whole scene is just as dominated by a male perspective as the rock / punk / hardcore scene is.

Of course you get some parties with female djs but most female djs I know don’t get asked to spin but rather get together with other people (not just other women) and start putting up their own nights.
The professional and underground clubs in town hardly ever hire female djs with two exceptions: if they spin in a team with male djs (so there’s a safety net in case she might fail) or if the female djs have a huge cuteness / animation factor so that if they can’t spin (male) people at least will feel entertained otherwise.
Those gender prejudices even seem to be rooted in how people talk about music: a couple of days ago there was this boy who told me about a dj night he had been to and he said the music was a bit “female”. I asked him what he meant. He described it as less beat oriented, more about the vocals and harmonies, not so good for dancing.

All this sucks big time, gentlemen. And yes, it is your fault too. It’s not just up to women to make the decision to get active. It’s not as simple as “hey, they are free to do whatever they want to do”. It is up to you to encourage them. You should be aware that it is tougher for them – they usually are alone in a shark pool when they start djing. They usually don’t like competition but have to compete twice as much as boys. They usually aren’t taken as serious as a male DJ. If they have a different way of picking their tunes or of dealing with techniques you can instantly tag that as ‘wrong’ or you can listen and watch how people on the dancefloor react. Music can be played in so many different great ways and just because 90% do it in the same way doesn’t mean that is the best and only possible way to get people dancing. You should make female djs feel welcome and comfortable and not treat them as weird competitors to whom you have to prove something. Please also don’t like some super exotic exception: you could be aware that it does not feel good if people constantly make you aware that you are different.

Of course first of all it’s up to you, gentlemen, to feel that there is something wrong at all with the DJ scene having “a gender ratio about as well-balanced as in the motor mechanic guild or in the astronauts scene.” (Chr. Rösinger) That’s the point at which we have got stuck, isn’t it?

Why should you feel like questioning anything or changing anything as long as you got them chicks dancing and looking up to you and you got all those nice tits on your flyers? Yeah, why?

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For my German readers, here’s an extract from a really good interview dear Martin Büsser did with THE THERMALS. Have I mentioned that I really love the new THERMALS album? Best heartfelt heartwarming political indie punk album in years. Ach, what do I say: Ever! 🙂

“Nenne es ja nicht Konzeptalbum”, warnt Hutch Harris halb scherzhaft, halb bestimmt. “Das klingt mir zu sehr nach 1970er-Prog-Rock. Als Punkband haben wir einen Ruf zu verlieren!” Wie soll man aber ein Album sonst bezeichnen, auf dem alle Songs aufeinander Bezug nehmen und sich um ein einziges Thema drehen: Christliche Fundamentalisten haben in den USA die Macht übernommen und ein faschistisches Regime errichtet? Die Thermals haben ein politisches Album aufgenommen, gehen allerdings den subtilen Weg: “Uns geht es nicht um einen Angriff gegen Bush oder eine bestimmte Regierung, denn damit würden wir uns ja auf die Seite der Demokraten schlagen. Wir haben uns deshalb für einen Science-Fiction-Plot entschieden, der relativ abstrakt bleibt, aber auf konkreten Ängsten basiert.”

Die Angst macht Harris nicht an einem bestimmten Präsidenten fest, sondern an einer Geisteshaltung: “Überall auf diesem Planeten findet gerade eine Renaissance des religiösen Fundamentalismus statt, eine lebens- und lustfeindliche, eine frauen- und schwulenfeindliche Welle der verbalen oder sogar physischen Gewalt. Für jemanden wie mich, der mit Punk sozialisiert ist und jegliche Form von Autorität ablehnt, stellt dies eine Bedrohung dar. Und ich maße mir an, diesen Leuten faschistische Züge zu unterstellen. Die USA können sich nicht glaubwürdig gegen den Terrorismus aussprechen, wenn sie dies nicht auf der Basis von Freiheit, sondern auf der Basis von religiösen Kreuzzugs-Fantasien tun.”

Obwohl Harris mehrfach den Punk-Background der Thermals betont, ist “The Body, The Blood, The Machine” keine Slogan-Platte im Stil von Anti-Flag geworden. Und hat auch musikalisch zum Glück nichts mit konventionellem Punkrock zu tun. “Es ist schwierig geworden, mit dem Punk-Begriff zu operieren, deshalb bezeichne ich uns in Gesprächen eigentlich ungern als Punkband, denn das kann leicht missverstanden werden. Punk als Stil und als Mode finde ich furchtbar. Meine Punk-Sozialisation geht auf Leute wie Ian McKaye von Dischord oder Calvin Johnson von K Records zurück, meint also eine politische Haltung und eine Do-it-yourself-Ethik, nicht Nietenband und Irokesenschnitt. In den USA musst du das inzwischen ausdrücklich betonen, denn die meisten Kids, die heute aufwachsen, kennen Punk nur als Mode und verbinden damit nicht mehr Fugazi, Beat Happening … und uns schon gar nicht. In deren Augen sind wir stilistisch nicht rein genug und gelten wohl eher als schräge Indie-Band.”

Aber auch Indie ist zu einem schwammigen Begriff geworden, den viele nicht mehr als Ausdruck einer Haltung, sondern nur noch als Stilbezeichnung benutzen. “Es gibt keine Verbindlichkeiten mehr”, klagt Harris, “es ist leider nicht mehr so, dass du mit einem bestimmten Sound und einem bestimmten Auftreten automatisch die Leute erreichst, die dir politisch in den Kram passen. Nirvana waren das berühmteste Beispiel dafür, dass der Community-Gedanke nicht mehr funktioniert. Kurt Cobain ist an den ganzen Rednecks im Publikum zugrunde gegangen. Er hat sie mit allen nur denkbaren Mitteln vergraulen wollen, aber sie sind geblieben. Um solche Vereinnahmungen zu vermeiden, sind wir auf unserer neuen Platte etwas deutlicher geworden.”

Dass Indie mehr als ein Musikstil bedeuten kann, haben die Thermals zu Beginn des Jahres deutlich gemacht, als mitten auf der Tour das Telefon klingelte und Sub Pop fragte, ob sie ihren Song “It’s Trivia” für einen Werbespot der Autofirma Hummer hergeben wollten. “Da war viel Geld im Spiel, aber es war für uns keine Frage, dass unsere Musik nicht zu einem Konzern von General Motors passt, der für die Umweltverschmutzung verantwortlich ist und mit der Rüstungsindustrie zusammen arbeitet. Unsere Musik passt zu gar keinem Konzern und zu gar keiner Partei – das ist es, was ich mit Unabhängigkeit meine.” Als ich Harris erzähle, dass The Notwist vor einiger Zeit einen ähnlichen Vertrag mit Vodafone ablehnten, bei dem noch viel höhere Summen im Gespräch waren, ruft er begeistert aus: “Siehst du, The Notwist klingen zwar nicht nach konventionellem Punk, sind aber viel mehr Punks im Geiste als all diese tätowierten und gepiercten Typen, die jeden Pakt mit dem Teufel unterzeichnen würden.”

Entertainment / Distraction / Subtle vs World Infe…

Entertainment / Distraction / Subtle vs World Inferno / Second Life and more

“I think that more than ever the entertainment industry is trying to serve as a distraction, to keep people from thinking too hard.”
Guy Picciotto

You clearly can’t say that about a SUBTLE show. I’ll keep my review short this time: It was great again, and they have some extra respect from my side as it wasn’t a repetition of the show that I’ve seen half a year ago. I love how close laughter and seriousness are in their show. Dose One really makes you choke on your laughter sometimes with the clever twists in his stories.
Without ever speaking out an actual ‘message’ their show sill had one: “question everything”. They reminded me of THE WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY because they have – though a totally different musical approach – this very same slightly disturbing effect on the their audience and still don’t make people feel uncomfortable but at the end of both bands’ shows you usually see a lot of pleased faces. The WIFS’ message maybe goes a bit further: Go out and spread confusion so that people start questioning things.
Another element those bands have in common is that their shows have a narrator as an integral element. You feel personally taken by the hand and led through the songs as if the whole show was a coherent piece in which the last words of the story often are the first line of the song in which the bands sets in precisely. It’s more than a concert, those bands’ live appearences really deserves the term “show”.

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If you ever get tired of your first life try SECOND LIFE for distraction and you will really get to know what boredom means. Maybe I simply haven’t found the interesting or meaningful parts yet. If someone wants to enlighten me, please tell me about what’s so great about SECOND LIFE. In the meantime I’ll stick to the down sides one of which I find hard to believe is: There are already sweatshop workers suffering from something like this.
Read this.

I find such effects of a virtual world on a real world a bit scary but then: What’s ‘real’anyway? Isn’t everything oh-so-relative anyway?

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“Once upon a time I had a name and a way
But to you I’m nothing but a number”
Fugazi

Every year 68.000 women die of abortions. (W.H.O.)
Every year more than 50.000 children die from acts of violence. (UNICEF)

“Wait a minute honey
I’m gonna add it up”
Violent Femmes

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I have a late but nice recommendation for going out tonight: THE ELECTRIC DOG, one of the finest club nights of electronic music in this town celebrate their birthday at the DESI. They invited cool guests: MATIAS AGUAYO (one half of CLOSER MUSIK / Kompakt) will be there, supported by his colleague ROCNESS. I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful night there!

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Tomorrow, Sunday, I’d like to invite you to the KAFE KULT KUNSTFEST in Munich. It starts at 3 in the afternoon and I’ll contribute a little sound installation. Check out the KUNSTFEST MYSPACE to see what else is going on.

Here’s one of the tracks I’ve made for this for those who can’t come:
“Penthesilea” mp3
It’s in German.
It’s a rather personal prose poetry thing I have written a couple of years ago.
(Here‘s some information about the Penthesilea character.)