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urban zulu

One more South African discovery: Busi Mhlongo's awesome album 'Urban Zulu'. As producer Will Mowat said: "This is maskanda for the millennium. Listen and be humbled."


South African pop band Klopjag is as cool as their name, and their lyrics in Afrikaans are both clever and endearing (to Dutch speakers). This is 'Rol van die dice', from 'Album Drie':

Hy bly in Proesstraat, daar's 'n Metro, straatkafees en freelance wapenhandelaars. Hy staan lewenddood voor 'n garagedeur sy sigaret en rook en drink by hom self.

As die skerwe van die spieëls om hom dans. Dan wens hy, hy kan een keer, net een keer, die dice self rol.

Hier is iets van alles. Regters, straatverkopers, staatsamptenare en karwagte loop flink verby. Hy erken skielik 'n man en bedel skaamteloos 'n sigaret by hom. Die man frons en gee, hy glimlag en vat.

As die skerwe van die spieëls om hom dans. Dan wens hy, hy kan een keer, net een keer, die dice self rol.

Hy sien alles, hoor alles, glo alles, maar vertrou niemand. En in die aande as Proesstraat leegloop los hy die illusie van keuses vir nog 'n dag.

As die skerwe van die spieëls om hom dans. Dan wens hy, maar weet hij, hy sal nie een keer, die dice self rol.

bush of ghosts

Cool remix site for 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts', the 1981 album by David Byrne and Brian Eno.

Update: For some old-school remixing, check out Bruce Connor's found-footage video for 'Mea Culpa'.

not i

Finally saw some of the 'Beckett on Film' pieces at the Beckett Centenary Festival in Dublin. The short (45 sec) 'Breath' by Damien Hirst, 'Act Without Words I' by Karel Reisz, and 'Not I' by Neil Jordan.

Beckett - Not I

'Not I' is a monologue showing only a mouth ("Stage in darkness but for Mouth"), breathtakingly performed by Julianne Moore. A hypnotizing stream of consciousness by an aging woman who desperately tries to make sense of her life, isolated inside her body, alone with her thoughts - and compulsively avoiding to say 'I':

...begging the mouth to stop...pause a moment...if only for a moment...and no response...as if it hadn't heard...or couldn't...couldn't pause a second...like maddened...

...not catching the half of it...not the quarter...no idea...what she was saying...imagine!..no idea what she was saying..till she began trying to...delude herself...it was not hers at all...not her voice at all...

In her memories of involuntary outbursts of revealing her inner self, she reminds of Joy Division's 'She's Lost Control':

...sudden urge to...tell...then rush out stop the first she saw...nearest lavatory...start pouring it out...steady stream...mad stuff...half the vowels wrong...no one could follow...till she saw the stare she was getting...then die of shame...crawl back in...

It also seems to be the female counterpart of 'A Piece of Monologue' (awesome audio version by Ronald Pickup and Scanner here!), where a man, alone in a room, examines his life. These two pieces really evoke Beckett's utterly bleak, existential view of life in almost inescapably minute form.

...begging it all to stop...unanswered...prayer unanswered...or unheard...too faint...so on...keep on...trying...not knowing what...what she was trying...what to try...whole body like gone...just the mouth...like maddened...so on...

Or as 'A Piece of Monologue' sums it up: "Birth was the death of him. Ghastly grinning ever since." - but with the faintest, ironical hint of redemption: "Pictures... he all but said of loved ones."