anaïs nin on lou andreas-salomé and other remarkably rebellious women

Nin talks fondly about some of her favourite rebellious women, including psychoanalyst Lou Andreas-Salomé (who could hold her own with Rilke, Freud and Nietzsche) and Caresse Crosby, the infamous libertine, anti-war crusader and publisher, about being an artist and exploring psychological worlds, beyond judgement.

nick cave on love songs

Though the love song comes in many guises – songs of exultation and praise, songs of rage and of despair, erotic songs, songs of abandonment and loss – they all address God, for it is the haunted premises of longing that the true love song inhabits. It is a howl in the void, for Love and for comfort and it lives on the lips of the child crying for his mother. It is the song of the lover in need of her loved one, the raving of the lunatic supplicant petitioning his God. It is the cry of one chained to the earth, to the ordinary and to the mundane, craving flight; a flight into inspiration and imagination and divinity. The love song is the sound of our endeavours to become God-like, to rise up and above the earthbound and the mediocre.

~ Nick Cave

it’s only a paper moon

Here are three very different versions out of the countless recordings of this whimsical old standard written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose.

The same year it was published (1933), Cliff Edwards, also known as “Ukulele Ike” (and later the voice of Disney’s Jiminy Cricket!), recorded this rendition, with his charming tenor and the sweetest little mouth trumpet solo:

Killer a cappella harmonies from Fiona Apple and Maude Maggart (the pseudonym of Fiona’s elder sister, Amber, a cabaret singer)… Fiona can draw melancholia out of any pretty ditty without being mawkish – I love this about her: 

The Miles Davis Sextet, recorded at Apex Studios, New York City, on October 5, 1951.
Miles Davis – Trumpet
Jackie McLean – Alto Sax (sits out)
Sonny Rollins – Tenor Sax
Walter Bishop Jr. – Piano
Tommy Potter – Bass
Art Blakey – Drums

what about mind enlargement? #genderfreesa #dicktatorfreejozi #takingbackourcity

what about mind enlargement? #genderfreesa #dicktatorfreejozi #takingbackourcity

I don’t just live my life, I create my life. And after almost a year of creating images reflecting my vision of the city and its inhabitants, I no longer just want to reflect the city, but create it. Just as I need to be an activist in my own life and my own identity to fully be alive, as an artist, I need to be an artivist, actively participating in the creation of the city I want to live in. Joburg is not just a city, it is my city; it is my home. And as an artivist it is not just a place I want to live in, but a place I actively want to participate in creating.The idea for #takingbackourcity was born out of my return to Joburg from my first real visit to Cape Town. My return to Jozi from CT shocked me with the everyday messages and symbols we Joburgers take for granted; the messages and symbols that shape the collective unconscious of our city and our people. The ‘Penis Enlargement’ posters that adorn every robot, electrical box and street pole were the most glaring example. I asked myself: what does this say about Joburg? what does this say about Joburgers?
We are a city obsessed with the power of the phallus; a presidency obsessed with the symbol and virility and representation of the phallus; a people whose penis size reflects its masculinity, whose masculinity reflects its identity. The effect of this overtly embodied and gendered mantra on our collective unconscious plays itself out in our lives daily.

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thundersqueak on the edge of wrong (2009)

Thundersqueak —  the noise trio of Gareth Dawson, Righard Kapp and Mark van Niekerk — performing live at Cape Town’s 4th annual festival of improvised music, ‘On The Edge of Wrong’  2009. Filmed by Jaco Minnaar.

Righard and Gareth will be playing together tonight at this year’s EDGE OF WRONG.

the edge of wrong festival starts this friday

It’s a festival kindred in spirit to Fleurmach! Don’t miss EDGE OF WRONG. From this Friday, 22 February until 2 March 2013 in Cape Town, explore the thresholds of what music can be…

edge of wrong 2013
EDGE OF WRONG is premised on the productive opportunities vested in chance, in uncertainty, in the pursuit of the unknown. It welcomes mistakes and challenge, diversity and collaboration.

As such, the festival brings together a community of like-minded musicians and artists from South Africa and Europe to share skills and visions with each other and the SA audience. Artists are invited based on their commitment to experimentation; to find, test and exceed the limits of their creative potential.

Find out more about the performers and line-up of events at the official EDGE OF WRONG site.

excerpts from suketu metha’s ‘maximum city’

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, by Suketu Metha, is the most mind-blowing book I have read for quite some time. Metha left Mumbai then returned from New York, and began documenting his hood.

Here are some little snippets:

‘Many wars begin with an act of rape, real or imagined. It is always the men who are disturbed enough by the rape to go to war.’

‘Bombay survives on the scam. We are all complicit. A man who has made his money through a scam is more respected than a man who has made his money through hard work, because the ethic of Bombay is quick upward mobility and a scam is a short-cut. A scam shows good business sense and a quick mind. Anyone can work and make money. What’s to admire about that? But a well-executed scam? Now, there’s a thing of beauty!’

‘When a man touches his killer’s feet and begs for his life, saying, “Please don’t kill me, I have children,” it is the worst argument he can offer. Thinking the killer will let you off because you have kids assumes that you can locate a hidden source of sympathy in your killer based on something shared, something in common. But very few killers are fathers. Very few of them have had good experiences with their own fathers. So that bond between father and son, which for you and me is the most convincing argument against your death – don’t kill me because it will break that sacred bond – means nothing to them. It is a bond, in fact, that the hit-men have consciously been trying to break all their lives. As far as they’re concerned, ridding your children of their father is the greatest favour they can do them.’

‘ [Bal Thackeray’s] vandals are young men, who, after working 12hour days as peons in some office where they endure humiliation and even a slap or two from men who are richer … than they are, take the train home. Inside the train, they bathe in perspiration; the air is fetid with sweat and farts. When they get home to the slum, their mother and fathers and grandmothers will ask them what they have bought home. Such a man lives with a constant sense of his own powerlessness, except when he is part of a mob, part of a contingent of 70 patriots fighting for the country’s honour, walking unmolested into movie theatres, posh apartments, and the offices of the cricket lords of the country, smashing trophies, beating up important people who drive fine cars. All the accumulated insults, rebukes and disappointments of life in a decaying megalopolis come out in a cathartic release of anger. It’s okay to be angry in a crowd; the crowd feeds on your anger, digests it, nourishes it, nourishes your rage as your rage nourishes it. All of a sudden you feel powerful. You can take on anybody. It is not their city any more, it is your city.
You own this city by the right of your anger.’

joan didion on connecting the dots

“We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”
— Joan Didion, The White Album

billy bragg – valentine’s day is over (peel sessions)

Recorded live on 30 August 1988 for the John Peel Show.

“God didn’t make you an angel; the devil made you a man
That brutality and economy are related now I understand
When will you realise that as above so below there is no love?
For the girl with the hour glass figure
Time runs out very fast
We used to want the same things but that’s all in the past
And lately it seems that as it all gets tougher
Your ideal of justice just becomes rougher and rougher…”

jaime sabines – the lovers

The lovers say nothing.
Love is the finest of the silences,
the one that trembles most and is hardest to bear.
The lovers are looking for something.
The lovers are the ones who abandon,
the ones who change, who forget.
Their hearts tell them that they will never find.
They don’t find, they’re looking.

The lovers wander around like crazy people
because they’re alone, alone,
surrendering, giving themselves to each moment,
crying because they don’t save love.
They worry about love. The lovers
live for the day, it’s the best they can do, it’s all they know.
They’re going away all the time,
all the time, going somewhere else.
They hope,
not for anything in particular, they just hope.
They know that whatever it is they will not find it.
Love is the perpetual deferment,
always the next step, the other, the other.
The lovers are the insatiable ones,
the ones who must always, fortunately, be alone.

The lovers are the serpent in the story.
They have snakes instead of arms.
The veins in their necks swell
like snakes too, suffocating them.
The lovers can’t sleep
because if they do the worms eat them.

They open their eyes in the dark
and terror falls into them.

They find scorpions under the sheet
and their bed floats as though on a lake.

The lovers are crazy, only crazy
with no God and no devil.

The lovers come out of their caves
trembling, starving,
chasing phantoms.
They laugh at those who know all about it,
who love forever, truly,
at those who believe in love as an inexhaustible lamp.

The lovers play at picking up water,
tattooing smoke, at staying where they are.
They play the long sad game of love.
None of them will give up.
The lovers are ashamed to reach any agreement.

Empty, but empty from one rib to another,
death ferments them behind the eyes,
and on they go, they weep toward morning
in the trains, and the roosters wake into sorrow.

Sometimes a scent of newborn earth reaches them,
of women sleeping with a hand on their sex, contented,
of gentle streams, and kitchens.

The lovers start singing between their lips
a song that is not learned.
And they go on crying, crying
for beautiful life.

Translated by W.S. Merwin

be my valentine

"Persephone" - Image copyright Joshua Hoffine, 2003.

“Persephone” – Image copyright Joshua Hoffine, 2013.

More of Joshua Hoffine’s horror photography can be found HERE.

The Garden of Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne, written in 1866

Here, where the world is quiet,
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Here life has death for neighbour,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labour,
Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
And no such things grow here.

No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine,
But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine,
Pale beds of blowing rushes
Where no leaf blooms or blushes,
Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.

Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.

Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell,
Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell;
Though one were fair as roses,
His beauty clouds and closes;
And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.

Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love’s who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure;
To-day will die to-morrow;
Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.

the rape of persephone (homeric hymn)

The Rape of Proserpina – Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1622)

Homeric Hymn ii to Demeter (abridged) (trans. Evelyn White) (Greek epic circa 7th or 6th B.C.)

“[Demeter’s] trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus [Haides] rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer. Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits, she was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters of Okeanos and gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus, which Gaia made to grow at the will of Zeus and to please Polydektor (the Host of Many), to be a snare for the bloom-like girl – a marvellous, radiant flower. It was a thing of awe whether for deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred blooms and it smelled most sweetly, so that all wide heaven (Ouranos) above and the whole earth (Gaia) and the sea’s (Thalassa’s) salt swell laughed for joy.

And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy: but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Polydegmon (Host of Many), with his immortal horses sprang out upon her — the Son of Kronos, Polynomos (He who has many names). He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting.

Then she cried out shrilly with her voice, calling upon her father, [Zeus] the Son of Kronos, who is most high and excellent. But no one, either of the deathless gods or mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tender-hearted Hekate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaios, heard the girl from her cave, and the lord Helios (the Sun), Hyperion’s bright son, as she cried to her father, the Son of Kronos. But he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods, in his temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal men. So he [Haides], that Son of Kronos, Polynomos (of Many Names), Polysemantor (Ruler of Many) and Polydegmon (Host of Many), was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on his immortal chariot – his brother’s child and all unwilling.

And so long as she, the goddess, yet beheld earth and starry heaven and the strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal, and the rays of the sun, and still hoped to see her dear mother and the tribes of the eternal gods, so long hope claimed her great heart for all her trouble… and the heights of the mountains and the depths of the sea ran with her immortal voice: and her queenly mother heard her.

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the boswell sisters – shout sister, shout (1931)

Recorded in New York, April 23, 1931

House Orchestra: Mannie Klein or Jack Purvis (tpt) Tommy Dorsey (tbn) Jimmy Dorsey (cl, as) Joe Venuti (vln) Arthur Schutt (p) Eddie Lang (g) Joe Tarto (sb) Chauncey Morehouse (d, vib) Victor Young (cond)


E-36655-A Shout, Sister, Shout (Williams-Hill-Brynan) 3:13 Brunswick 6109, Brunswick 6847, Brunswick 6783, [BSC1], [NWST], [IY], [ELMB], [ITG], [TOOMA]

Composed by J. Tim Brymn, Alexander Hill and Clarence Williams

The Boswell Sisters were a close harmony singing group, consisting of sisters Martha Boswell (June 9, 1905 – July 2, 1958), Connee Boswell (original name Connie) (December 3, 1907 – October 11, 1976), and Helvetia “Vet” Boswell (May 20, 1911 – November 12, 1988), noted for intricate harmonies and rhythmic experimentation.

heavens to betsy – my red self/my secret (demo tape, 1992)

Heavens to Betsy was an American indie-punk band formed in Olympia, Washington in 1991. They were part of the DIY riot grrrl movement in the punk rock underground in the early 1990s, and were the first band of Sleater-Kinney vocalist/guitarist Corine Tucker. These two demos are intimate and powerful.

silent vigil this wednesday in cape town

Via Malika Ndlovu:

Stand Up! Be still. Join the Tower of Silence in reflection and protest against the silencing, a pillar of honouring and mourning. Wear white  (a symbol of spirit, light, cleansing, unity beyond gender, language, political or religious agenda) and join this 1 hour vigil against the violence epitomized by the death and brutalisation of Anene Booysen… and too many of our daughters and sisters like her. This Wednesday, 13th February 2013, on the steps of St George’s Cathedral, from 12 pm to 1 pm.

Bring a photograph on a placard of anyone you think we need to remember in this way too. We will not be sloganeering or shouting retaliations against our lost sons, brothers who have perpetuated this crime against their own and her humanity. Our collective presence and solidarity speaks volumes and calls for multiple responses to this complex situation, affecting an entire nation. We make this physical visual statement on the eve of global campaign and the president’s “State of the Nation” address. For us, these faces, these stories, these discarded bodies and all the reasons why this continues to happen in the world and all over South Africa – THIS is OUR ‘State of our Nation’ call to address!