Category Archives: War

recent disappointments

Overheard students discussing a speech about coalition building by Bernice Johnson Reagon (of Sweet Honey in the Rock). On the value of risking the involvement of people you do not necessarily identify with or even dislike. The survival advantage of that vs. collecting people similar only to yourself. After realizing the speech was from 1981, they agreed the material was too old to take seriously in 2018.

Sat on the subway and talked about 60s jazz with two musicians, who aren’t Jewish and one told a story about saxophonist Dave Liebman and how listening to him, it is like he’s trying to avenge the holocaust every time he plays.

Read that Elton John is on a farewell tour but it will take 3 years.


secret target

There was a woman who lived in a neighbourhood where there was a lot of prejudice and corruption. She learned to play guitar and started writing songs about what was unfair. People noticed and invited her to sing the songs at performance places. It was interesting and meaningful for some. They wrote about her, put her picture on the cover of magazines. Before long, lots of people wanted to be there when she performed. Soon she had a following but many also attended just because she was becoming famous. The content became secondary to the event of seeing someone who was in the news. The reviews were about what she was wearing, how she styled her hair, about the difference in the sound of her voice between recordings. Occasionally they also wrote what her songs were about but mostly, now, that was far from the main issue and many journalists also tried to find out who she had sex with, photographers spied on her hoping to obtain embarrassing pictures.
She started taking a correspondence course on phenomenology and soon after, she started to wear Christmas lights on her shoes and everyone became animated and wrote about it. Sometimes she used solid colours, sometimes multiple, sometimes she operated a strobe effect with remote wireless technology. Rolling Stone placed a close up shot of her shoes on the cover of their back to school issue. Pitchfork designed a Trump hairpiece on top of her shoes for their disappointments issue. The Economist made a triptych of three famous shoes, Her, Emelda Marcos & Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and measured the financial impact of each. When she started to sell her own brand of Christmas Shoelights at her performances and in fashion stores, people started to call her a crass capitalist, they wrote articles about what a sell out she was and Erroll Morris approached her with the desire to film a documentary. Everyone wanted her to explain but she wouldn’t. She did however, complete her certificate in phenomenology and directed all her profits to supporting community groups that made a difference in the neighbourhood that originally inspired her songwriting.


Sometimes, on the road, when she was telling the same story for the 90th time, to whatever audience was in front of her, this one artist used to also think, this situation has nothing to do with why I started writing music in the first place.