Saturday, April 14, 2007

Napalm Death

After a search on YouTube I found some excellent Napalm Death material. Fortunately there are tons of Napalm videos out there (here's the link) so I kind of had l'embarras de choix:) First a short documentary from the late eighties about Napalm Death and the history of Grindcore. Afterwards there's a much earlier interview with the band from the pre Barney Greenway era where they speak about the subjects of their songs, mainly social ones. It also contains 3 live tracks. Then there's a studio footage from the recording of their last album, Smear Campaign, introduced by the long lasting bass player Shane Embury who "is the closest person to be called as an 'original member' of the band". They guys are following a Arsenal London soccer game in the studio:) A moment of genuine British humour is the recording of Napalm Death's live performance on Britain's "TFI Friday" TV show on February 1999 where they play 3 songs of variable length : 30 seconds, 22 seconds and 5 seconds:) I've found also a trailer of the "Scum" documentary celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of the groundbreaking Napalm Death Scum album.

For the end, here are my favourite Napalm Death song videos : When all is Said and Done from the excellent Smear Campaign (2006), Greed Killing from their punk-ish Diatribes (1996), and Plague Rages from Fear Emptyness Despair (1994), their best album up to date from a strictly personal perspective.

No Mercy Afterparty (II)

As a follow-up to my previous post, here are a few more thoughts about the No Mercy Festival I attended this Thursday.

In France smoking has been officially banned from public spaces in February this year. Bars, pubs and restaurants have one more year until they will be forced to do the same. Therefore smoking was not allowed in the concert hall. Well, during the entire evening I haven't seen a single person smoking inside. Everybody was going outside to smoke in a special area which was heavily overcrowded during the pauses between two bands, but the law is the law. Or better, The Saw is the Law:)))

During one of the intermezzos I caught a discussion among four Metalheads. Guess what was the topic. To my great surprise it was politics, since the French presidential elections are due in 8 days. Now that I'm thinking about it it's absolutely natural, but I must confess I wasn't expecting such a topic among Metalheads. They were actually discussing interesting stuff and I would have gladly joined them. Maybe next time I'll even try to:)

Needless to say that I'm proud of calling myself a Metalhead after this evening:)

No Mercy Afterparty

As I said yesterday, Thursday was a big Metal day in Lyon. I woke up the next day with a slight headache, very annoying, but also with a slight neck ache, very fulfilling:) I'll skip the opener bands, Root and Dew-Scented, with a big kudos and a sign of respect for these guys whose tough job was to warm-up the crowd. After them came the corpse painted Behemoth. I'm not exactly a fan of Blackened Death Metal but these Poles definitely know what putting up a good show means. And they have an excellent double-pedal drummer.

And there they were, the guys I've been waiting for the entire evening, Napalm Death. This is the band you MUST see on stage if you're into Metal. Even if you like Manowar and nothing else but Manowar:) They have been around for 25 years now and they're still highly underrated, but the Metal world owes them a lot since they're one of those highly influential bands who stayed true to the roots all along their career. The lead singer, Barney Greenway, is definitely the guy capturing all the attention of the crowd, even if the other band members are some of the finest Metal musicians out there, like the drummer Danny Herrera. You either love Barney Greenway or hate him instantly. With the haircut of a 10 years old and the physical constitution of a 40 years old man he fills by himself all the available space on the scene jumping like a kid on the school playground. His headbanging is also very special, it goes along with his jumping. To understand better, here's a live footage from a Napalm Death concert in Vienna in 2007 and a slightly older one with Barney featuring Dream Theater playing Metallica's Damage inc. Barney was once long haired:) Guys, next time you're in town I promise I'll be in the pit:)

Last, there was Moonspell. I've heard this from my mother and also from a good friend, have low expectations and you'll be surprised. I had quite low expectations regarding Moonspell. In high school, something like 10 years ago, I was like everybody, madly in love with Moonspell tunes like Opium, Alma Mater and Mephisto. But during the years I lost track of their albums, Gothic Metal stopped interesting me at some point and today I wasn't so sure that Moonspell might arouse some interest in my technical-death-metal-riffing-searching persona. Well lads, yesterday I finished the evening in the front line, just next to the stage in front of the moshpit, headbanging on Alma Mater and Mephisto. Great Moonspell that was! And at the end of the show Fernando Ribeiro came down for a round of generous high five's with the fans and I kind of got a quarter of a high five myself:) Now I'm proud of my neck ache.

Dan C. Mihailescu si Lack of Exposure

Cum are Sebi un post excelent despre un exemplu textbook de lack of exposure din filmul Good Will Hunting in forma unui monolog minunat al lui Robin Williams, ma pomenesc si eu sa mai vin cu inca unul, descoperit astazi citind Cotidianul.

Citeam schimbul de replici intre Costi Rogozanu si Huidu&Gainusa pe subiectul amenzii primite de Carcotasi de la CNA pentru niste propos-uri homofobe. Nu ma dau cu parerea pentru ca nu am vazut emisiunea Carcotasilor in cauza, dar mi-e foarte familiar argumentul "corectitudinea politica a unora impiedica libertatea de exprimare a altora", care nu spun ca nu ar avea validitate, dar e scos la inaintare cand trebuie, cand nu trebuie. In unele cazuri e un scapegoat perfect, dar denota o intelegere denaturata a propos-urilor. Repet, despre cazul de fata nu ma pronunt. Ceea ce m-a interpelat insa mult mai tare au fost opiniile exprimate de Dan C. Mihailescu. Reiau doua pasaje care m-au dat peste cap de-a dreptul.

Primul :

"Protestul lui Huidu si Gainusa este sustinut si de criticul literar Dan C. Mihailescu, care crede ca nu este deloc echitabil sa pui calus ironiilor homofobe. „Daca eu le dau dreptul minoritarilor sa se exprime, si ei trebuie sa accepte dreptul majoritarilor de a-si exprima mai mult sau mai putin ironic antipatia fata de homosexuali“, argumenteaza omul de litere."
Punerea problemei e fundamental gresita si invalideaza tot restul. "Daca eu le dau dreptul minoritatilor sa se exprime"? Adica dreptul la libera exprimare al unei minoritati este acordat de catre majoritate? Credeam ca e un drept fundamental garantat pentru toti indiferent de culoarea sireturilor de la pantofi, drept pe care nu mai ai de ce sa-l castigi. Si daca totusi inca mai trebuie sa-l castigi suntem intr-o societatea disfunctionala. Ce majoritate e aceea care acorda - si implicit refuza, pentru ca daca la momentul t0 il acorda atunci la un moment t1 sau t-1 l-a refuzat sau l-ar putea refuza - dreptul la libera exprimare al unei minoritati? In virtutea lui 50% plus 1? Aceea se numeste dictatura majoritatii si cand e vorba de drepturi fundamentale e ceva condamnabil. Si daca acum e vorba de dreptul la libera exprimare, maine despre ce alt drept fundamental va fi vorba?

Al doilea :
"In plus, amendarea exprimarii publice a orientarii homosexuale este cit se poate de indreptatita, de vreme ce aceasta poate avea influente sociale negative, intareste Dan C. Mihailescu. „Recunosc ca jumatate din arta lumii pleaca de la homosexuali, dar ii blamez in momentul in care ies pe strada si vor sa faca prozelitism. Au ajuns sa sustina ca e timpul sa explicam adolescentilor, aflati la virsta in care au o sexualitate incerta, ca nu este ceva patologic ca un barbat sa opteze pentru homosexualitate. Homosexualii pot sa sminteasca adolescentii, dar daca este pus Iisus pe perete, toti incep sa urle ca trebuie scoase insemnele religioase“, precizeaza Mihailescu."
Homosexualitatea nu mai este considerata drept parafilie (comportament sexual atipic, cf. lista comportamentelor considerate drept parafilii) din 1974 (cf. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), cu atat mai putin o parafilie patologica. Eventual un comportament inacceptabil pentru o parte a societatii, ca sa punem punctul pe i, acolo unde-i buba. Si sentimentul de a-l considera inacceptabil este perfect legitim si normal, problema grava apare in momentul in care iti construiesti pe el un sistem de acordat/refuzat drepturi fundamentale in virtutea legii majoritatii perfect aberanta in cazuri de acest fel.

Later edit : Sebi are un post despre un articol pe tema sexualitatii din New York Times in care se vorbeste si despre homosexualitatea masculina si cea feminina.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Interesul scandalului

Intr-un articol recent din Cotidianul, Cristian Parvulescu face o constatare simpla : atunci cand politica se face pe fata - sau mai precis cand jocurile politice se fac pe fata - interesul electoratului pentru politica creste. Calitatea debat-ului "cetatenesc" poate fi slaba, dar e exact la nivelul spectacolului pe care il ofera actorii principali, liderii politici. De unde se poate deduce faptul ca in momentul in care dezbaterea politica "la varf" va creste in calitate, atunci si debat-ul "cetatenesc" va avea aceeasi tendinta. Cu alte cuvinte, oamenii poti fi mobilizati in politica in mod benefic in momentul in care li se ofera material de calitate. Aviz liderilor politici. Ramane totusi o problema esentiala, cresterea calitatii dezbaterii politice "la varf" de care inca nu sunt deloc convins, dar lucrurile nu pot decat sa se amelioreze conform principiului simplu ca pe oameni nu poti sa-i iei de prosti la infinit:) Si pe masura ce ei devin mai impicati, pe masura ce exigentele lor cresc, nu poti ca om politic sa-i ignori, deci e o presiune care functioneaza in ambele sensuri. Constatarea lui Cristian Parvulescu imi confirma intr-un fel intuitia ca tot scandalul politic (il puteti inlocui cu un alt termen mai potrivit) care a marcat viata politica romaneasca in acest prim trimestru 2007 este pana la urma benefic si in acelasi timp inevitabil pentru ca ceva sa se schimbe. Cateva citate :

"Pe acest fundal, nici dezgustul nu mai e ce era. In octombrie 2004, in Barometrul de Opinie Publica al Fundatiei pentru o Societate Deschisa, 81% dintre cei chestionati se declarau neinteresati de politica, 6% nu stiau ce sa raspunda si doar 13% erau preocupati de „treburile tarii“. Or, un sondaj de la inceputul lunii martie estima interesul fata de politica la aproximativ 60%.

Unii erau coplesiti de constatare. In realitate, efectul pervers al scandalului politic in serial - perfect adaptat gustului unui public traditional „abonat“ al telenovelelor -, departe de a fi trezit dezgustul, a marit apetitul. Politica se comenteaza, si daca nivelul e cel din Poiana lui Iocan, vina nu e a publicului. El preia ce i se da.

Si oricum, chiar si cind dezgustul generalizat era obiectiv electoral al taberei ce dorea sa relativizeze tema coruptiei, peste 60% dintre romani au participat totusi la alegerile parlamentare din 28 noiembrie si vreo 58% peste doua saptamini, la cel de-al doilea tur al alegerilor prezidentiale."

MiB reloaded

Via Bernard Salanié, here are the few good and sane reasons which determined the French economist Olivier Blanchard to give his vote to Nicolas Sarkozy in the upcoming French presidential elections. In 10 days, on the 22nd of April, the world will stop here in France and two weeks later we'll get to know the one credited by the people to restart it:)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No Mercy

Tomorrow night will be a big Metal night. The 2007 No Mercy Festival makes a stop at Lyon in the Transbordeur concert hall, this year's headliners being Moonspell, Behemoth and my favourite, Napalm Death. I've been a Napalm Death fan for 12 or 13 years and it's now that I get the chance of seeing them live. Cool:)


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Das Leben der Anderen

Das Leben der Anderen (2006) e un film absolut de vazut pentru oricine vrea un insight despre cum functionau lucrurile in statele de dupa cortina de fier inainte de 1989. In centrul povestii : fosta politia secreta a DDR-ului, STASI, si un intelectual in Germania de Est in 1985. E primul film pe care l-am vazut despre perioada aceea in care realitatea gri si apasatoare a vremii este reconstituita cu seriozitate si forta. Si sper doar ca un astfel de film va deschide apetitul si altor regizori europeni pentru a trata subiectul.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

La Roumanie sur Arte

Le dessous des cartes (Mit offenen Karten) e un exemplu stralucit de emisiune TV interesanta, instructiva, scurta si la obiect. Emisiunea are in jur de 10 minute si prezinta saptamanal cate o situatie geopolitica dintr-o regiune a lumii cu sprijinul hartii regiunii. Cum este o emisiune de vulgarizare, lucrurile sunt explicate absolut pe intelesul tuturor iar efortul cerut spectatorului este minim. Este difuzata de canalul franco-german Arte, prezentata de antropologul si geopoliticianul Jean-Christophe Victor - fiul exploratorului francez Paul-Emile Victor - si realizata in colaborare cu Laboratorul de studii politice si cartografice (Lepac). Am facut aceasta lunga introducere ca sa va spun de fapt ca am dat peste inregistrarea editiei despre Romania facuta in 2006. Pe Dailymotion gasiti chiar o gramada de inregistrari ale emisiunii (link) asa ca distractie placuta:)

Si Paste Fericit!