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September 04, 2006

Moussu T e lei jouvents

Writing about web page

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This is my find of the week: Moussu T e lei jouvents (Moussu T and the Yougsters). I first heard about them from the independent arts and books review, susequently found them on myspace music (wherein I became their first, and only, fan – but let that not be a reflection of their talent by any means), and am now particularly taken with the last track of the album, ‘Soulumi’.
The band are a meeting ground for the cultural diversity and vivacity of Marseille port, and their music sees the integration of Brazillian, Jamaican, African, French, and the “Mississippi Delta” to a wonderfully colourful, blusey effect. The album is categorised as blues, and most of the songs fit that mould in rhythm and melodic prominance of the blues guitar, but there are pleantly of reggae beats and barimba twangs in there to add multinational spice to the flavour of Moussu’s music.
What does this music sound like? Why, like Marseille of course! Literally…the cosmopolitain sounds of its many co-existing people, the creak of ships, the rough friction of ropes, the strumming repetetiveness of waves crashing. Simple, raw and laid back, yet exciting music…kind of like a curry – full of different flavours that blend perfectly together.
Have a listen to the full version of Soulumi, or get a broader perspective on the whole album here.

December 28, 2005

Birds Without Wings

3 out of 5 stars

A historic novel which considers the fall of the Ottoman empire from various persepctives. It begins in the village of Iskibance and captures the rustic life of the rural peoples, their beliefs and traditions, and particularly the inter-religious relationship of the Christans and Muslims that lived along side each other before the forced mass rehabilitation that came at the beginning of the 20th century. The picturesque village life is pieced together by De Bernieres' 3rd person narrative and the first person voices of various characters looking back on the time that De Berniers writes about, recounting the events in a past tense, relying on their memory and emotional anecdotes to give life to the story. At the centre of the village's narrative it the story of Pilothei, the village beauty who, as hinted from the start, is in some way doomed.
De Bernieres then provides the military and political perspective of the Ottoman wars through the character of Mustafa Kemal, a determined revolutionary general who works his way into a position of crucial importance in the wars. De Bernieres uses Kemal's life story as a springboard for the statistics of horrendous genocides that occured and are forgotten today. Genocides that were as devistating to the muslims as the holocaust was to the jews, carried out on the basis of religious belief, but are barely acknowledged today.
The result is a novel which invites the reader to develop an emotional relationship with the inhabitants of Iskibance, accepting their religious harmony, a relationship which is then heartbroken by the devistation of war and the destruction of Iskibance as a result.
The novel gives a fairly comprehensive introduction to the later stages of the Ottoman Empire and how life changed with the wars and the reformation of the Middle East after the Empire's destruction. It is a great read, a bit slow to work through, but a beautiful work that would especially appeal to historic novel lovers, or anyone with an interest in the history of the Middle East.

This isn't a comprehensive review because what I really intended to do was post my favourite quotes from the book. De Bernieres writes with such eloquence and some of his politically charged paragraphs are wonderfully poetic. Here are some of my favourite bits which I remembered to make note of:

…history is finally nothing but a sorry edifice contructed from flesh in the name of great ideas

This next quote is in reference to the Russian Christian massacres of hunderds of thousands of Muslims in Eastern Europe. Could be the start of an interesting debate…feel free to comment:

Christians throughout history, took no notice of the key parable of Jesus Christ himself which taught that you should love your neighbour as yourself…This has never made any difference to Christians since the primary epiphenomena of any religious foundation are the production and flourishment of hypocrisy, megalomania and psycholpathy, and the first casulaty of a religious establishment are the intentions of its founder…
…they played abstractly at backgammon, that game which mirrors life by being composed half of calculation and half of luck…

December 13, 2005

What the Bleep DO we know?

4 out of 5 stars
This is a must-see documentary for absolutely everyone. It explores the groundbreaking discoveries that have come from the study of quantom physics and the resulting implications/possibilities for human life.
The documentary begins with an introduction to quantom physics, and then goes on to show how quantom physics can shed light on the way we function: our bodies, our emotions, the way in which we percieve the world around us, and then goes on to consider wider themes such as the notion of God through the science of quantom physics.
'What the Bleep do we know?' will be of interest to anyone of any interest: scientific, biological, spiritual, philosophical. I reccommend that everyone gives it a shot!

January 02, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night–Time

I just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and thought I'd share some nice extracts. Incase you didn't know, the book's about a 15yr old autistic boy who tries to solve the murder mystery of a dead dog he discovers. The book is a real insight into his observations and logic that he uses to explain his perspective on life. Here are some of my favourite bits:

"Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them."

"The word metaphor means carrying something from one place to another…and it is when you describe something by using a word for something that it isn't. This means that the word metaphor is a metaphor. I think it should be called a lie because a pig is not like day and people don't have skeletons in their cupboards."

"Mother used to say that Christopher was a nice name because it was a story about being kind and helpful, but I do not want my name to mean a story…I want my name to mean me."

"...there aren't any lines in space, so you could join bits of Orion to bits of Lepus* or Taurus or Gemini and say that they were a constellation called The Bunch of Grapes or Jesus or The Bicycle...And anyway, Orion is not a hunter or a coffee maker or a dinosaur. It is just Betelguese and Bellatrix and Alnilam and Rigel an 17 other stars I don't know the names of. And they are nuclear explosions billions of miles away. And that is the truth."

"My memory is like a film. That is why I am really good at remembering things, like the conversations I have written down in this book, and what people were wearing, and what they smelled like because my memory has a smelltrack which is like a soundtrack. And when people ask me to remember something I can simply press Rewaind and Fast Forward and Pause like on a video recorder…"

"And I am going to finish this chapter with some interesting facts about Sherlock Holmes:

1. Sherlock Holmes is never described as wearing a deerstalker hat…The deerstalker hat was invented by a man called Sidney Paget who did the illustrations for the original book.

2. In the riginal Sherlock Holmes stories Sherlock Holmes never says, 'Elementary my dear Watson." He only says this in films and on the television."

If you want to see the world from a new perspective check the book out!

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