Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Carnaval in Tenerife, Robert Fisk, Abu Ghraib, Playlists

Ear Conditioning Words / Playlists 6/13 Feb. 2007

Carnaval kicked off here last week, and did it ever hit the fan.

You can deprive Canarians of health centres, introduce the euro and instantly charge double for life´s essentials, privatize the electricity, water, destroy natural protected area´s, construct a million hotels on the beachfront, no problem....but if you mess with the carnaval, then you are in big deep do-do-smelling trouble.

The choreographer they chose had no idea of what carnaval means to Canarians, so when he decided that murgas,
(local bands based on clown imagery, who take popular songs and then change the words to comment on politics and social runnings) would not be allowed to play as tradition dictates, the winner of the murgas competition refused to perform again, staging a silent protest at the treatment they and their collegues suffered at the hands of the organizers.

The choreographer also decided he didn´t want any ´fat´or ´ugly´people participating in his televised gala event, so once again he pissed off loads...that size zero shit don´t work down here. Several people later mentioned the television coverage, or lack of it. The televised event was apparently dominated by relatives of celebrities talking about themselves instead of having the camera´s trained on the event at hand.

The city of
Santa Cruz paid the choreographer in the region of one million euro´s for his work, then the next day, Zerolo, the mayor tried to make out that he was on the side of the people that made a fuss about the choreographers lack of class and feel. "We are going to sue the choreographer!"
Sue, for what?, I wondered. Apply the spin cycle, here comes a statement to make the people think he too is shocked and on the side of the people...Zerolo most propably went to the George W. Bush school of political studies. Surely he had an idea what was gonna be presented, he attended the press photo-call with all the slim, pretty thing beauty queen types of the carnaval, three weeks previously.

Zerolo could lose his job because of the carnaval fiasco, but with that Tony Blair like teflon coating, he´ll most probably survive the elections which are due in May.

And just to give you a flavour of the politics in Tenerife, Zerolo is being investigated for financial irregularities regarding a local beach and the developer who bought, from the city council, the land adjacent to the beach, which suddenly has changed status from protected and therefore not allowed to be subject to cement coverage, to voila.... it´s open season for the cement-heads,
permission to build has been granted and the land was sold for a penny.

I wish they would do something about the mayor where I live....he has been in charge for like twenty years, he´s also sits at the head of the regional party, and holds a place in the Spanish senate. What exactly he has done in twenty years of mayorship, I am not sure. You´d think a health centre in the town would be a priority. Nope, we have to go to the next town, which serves it´s own population, plus that of the surrounding pueblos. The population has grown immensely in the last ten years, but the size of the health centre hasn´t. Four hours waiting for an appointment is not unheard of. Doctors have told us they are supposed to give two minutes per patient/visitor. It takes some senior citizens one minute to get to the chair.

We don´t have a health centre, but they have just opened a home for dogs. Maybe I should go around smelling.....
"No, don´t!"
"Okay I won´t say that." But you get my point.

Anyway, back to carnaval...so it´s my first carnaval, and so there we are watching the parade containing floats, costumed bands, folkloric music groups, the young, the not so young, Charlie Chaplin, Fidel Castro, unlikely bullfighters, pushing decorated shopping trolleys (with the beers), when I spot two, three, four, five, shit....ten people, blackfaced up with massive red lips, topped with afro wigs in the procession!
Are these people serious?
Are these people stuck in the days of lynchings, Roberton´s marmalade, and the Black and White Minstrels. WTF?
Maybe I should not be too suprised since a golliwog servant features as the logo for a popular coffee here.
I kept my thoughts to myself, though Beatriz, my partner, knew my blood was not clotting. Then a group of psuedo-negro´s approached me, I think to show that they could be ´like me´(?!), or that they were cool, I dunno, I didn´t ask. One of the group reached out to touch me.....Bam, my right fist connected with his nose.

¿Que pasa? or the Spanish version of WDF? he must of said in shock. I think I was as much suprised as he. It could´ve handled it differently, but I didn´t. He backed up, mouth open, holding his nose, then looking for blood on his hand. Luckily for me, his friends took him away. I say lucky for me ´cos Beatriz said that he probably had about ten friends with him, and they could have easily done away with me. It´s true, we are basically on our own down here, just me and Beatriz. Sure this is where Beatriz is from, but we don´t hang with loads of people, so we could be fucked later, it´s an island, and everybody knows everybody. We´ll see how things turns out. Better get back to practising my kalerippiyattu.

Seriously though, a lot of people here just don´t have any sense of what racism is, how it works and manifests itself. The excuse of ignorance of other cultures is presented. Maybe so, but fercrissakes, this is two thousand and some, Africa is next door, 100 miles from here, and you wouldn´t know it.

I have spent forty-five years on this earth, and practically every day I am reminded that I am a Black person. Do ´whites´ think about their ´whiteness´ every day in the same context? No, and why should they? And why should Black people? Because we can be called into question everyday, and it´s boring, it´s so last century.....we´ve been saying that for two, four, five hundread years...yes, hun-dread, I can spell, years.

Where have these people been? Is there no education about the struggle that Black people have had to go through? About the injustice, inhumane acts etc. that have been heaped upon the darker of the world´s population. Please bring another reason that this one. Uh...Martin, Malcolm, Jesse Owen, Public Enemy, Richard Pryor, Black Panther, Huey, Elridge, Mumia, KRS-One, Spike, Farrakhan, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul, Muhammad Ali, Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Oprah, Nelson? Helfuckinglo, wakey, wakey!

How are Black issues dealt with in Spanish educational facilties? Is it up to me now to present some kind of Black-awareness program to the councils, schools, businesses throughout this island? (Actually, a sister of a friend makes stupid amounts of money presenting ´Anti-racism enlightenment courses´ to such establishments. This touches on another issue itself, earning a living from misery. I´ll deal with that at another time, plenty on this plate at the moment.)

Fucksakes, this is a small sliver of what my parents, the Windrush generation, went through....well, they had it worse,
London in the late fifties, early sixties, jeez! It´s something we never really discussed, my parents just got on with it, and tackled it in their own way.
When ever we went on holiday when living in the
UK or in Canada, we went to places where we´d be the only black people there.

Fellow Caribbean...that is Black, nurses would ask my Mum why we went to such and such a place, where there weren´t any other Black people, and the response would be, "You think I´m going to not go somewhere or deprive myself and my children of seeing something because somebody may have an issue with our skin colour?" The sound of Kissing of teeth would follow...

I don´tknow, I just thought for some reason that through time we would get beyond these stupid, but real issues.

Ear Conditioning Playlist / Feb. 13 2007
David Shire / Main title from Taking of Pelham 123 (Retrograde)
Elixir / Dark Spheres (Language)
Armenie 1 / Mere de dieu (Ocora)
Al Kassam / Al filistini
Untitled Sitar and Flamenco track
David Toop and Max Eastley / City of night (Beyond)
Filastine / Judas Goat (Soot)
Dr. Das / The Alchemist (VU)
Punjab MC / Sharabi
Duseletso Seema and Tau Ea Linare / Kesete Mahlomoleno
Kocani Orkestar / Ibraim odja (Crammed)
Cut Chemist / ...the brazilian track (Warner)
King L Man / Arando (EarCon)
Moody Boyz / Dubland
The Bug feat. Warrior Queen / Bomb we (Ladybug/Soul Jazz)
Kode 9 and the Spaceape / Nine / Curious feat. Ms. Haptic (Hyperdub)
Earthling / Accident at Injured Springs (Cooltempo)
The Bees / Who cares what the question is (Virgin)
The Shins / Sealegs (SubPop)
Captain Beefheart / Obeah man / Here i am I always am (Xeric)
Frank Zappa / Catholic girls (CBS)
Cannibal Ox / Return of the Ox (DefJux)
El-P / Smithereens / Everything must go (DefJux)
The Perceptionists / Love Letter (DefJux)
Colourbox / Baby I love you so (4AD)

Ear Conditioning 6 Feb. 2007
I am almost finished the epic book by journalist Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilization / The Conquest of the Middle East...nearly 1300 pages of in-depth reporting, analysis, interviews, observations, eyewitness accounts, stories of grief and outrage. Chronicles of the powerful and misery of the innocent. The scurge of policitians and their soldiers, devoid of humanity. Some of the same soldiers are then abandoned by their government when infected with the same depleted uranium they used on Iraqi civilians.
Robert Fisk makes effort to get the names of those that would otherwise remain nameless victims of the US/UK/ Israeli assault on the
Middle East world.

So with this in mind, much of the program featured soundbites from luminaries such as Howard Zinn, Angela Y. Davis, Mumia Abu Jamal, Chomsky, Greg Palast, Chavez and Marcos. Much of the spoken word material was sourced from Jello Biafra´s Alternative Tentacles label (
They have a great catalogue of music and spoken word....if your into that kinda thing of course.

I also found a video clip at Alternet that was taken off youtube.com because it ´violated´ the youtube terms of agreement. The clip featured a former US soldier/guard at Abu Ghraib talking with his mates over a few beers about some of the things they got up to at the prison.

One of his collegues "pimped out" a fifteen year old Iraqi girl.
"He made about 500 bucks before she hung herself."
"Why´d she kill herself man?" somebody off camera asks.
Something along the lines of "She´d be stoned to death by her people, that kinda thing is shameful to them kinda folks." Nuff said.

This week also featured a bit of a French flavour, as I recieved a promo Cd of French music....which was good, however, I thought it a bit strange that five of the first six songs were in English.

Ear Conditioning Playlist / 6 Feb. 2007
Dr. Who Dat / Track 2 from the Beat Journey album (Lex)
Fila Brazilia / Rustic Bellyflop (Pork)
Angela Davis /Making a difference (AT)
Elixir / Ballad for Lisa and Richard (Language)
Meat Beat Manifesto / Nuclear Bomb (PIAS)
Howard Zinn / Corporate Welfare (AT)
Emily Laizeau / L´Autre du monde (Fargo)
Mano Negra / Mad man´s read / Sr. Matanza (Virgin)
Muslimgauze / Adu Nidal
Christian Parenti / War on Terror (AT)
Greg Palast / Bringing democracy to Iraq (AT)
Le Volume Courbe / Papillon de nuit (Honest Jons)
TV on the radio / Let the devil in (4AD/Everlasting)
Funkadelic / Brettino´s bounce (Warner Bros.)
Subcomandante Marcos / Europa
Hugo Chavez / Democracia
Jimi Hendrix / Message to the universe (MCA)
Mark Stewart and the Maffia / Just Jammin´ - Live
Robert Fisk / Hizbollah
Creation Rebel / Space Movements 3 (On-U)
La Taubita Criolle de Mongo Rives (Sonora Cubana)
Rachid Taha / Econte moi comarade (Wrasse)
Heatwave Mix
Federation Sound / Notorious (Ghetto Arc)
Mumia Abu Jamal interviews Bob Marley (AT)
Morgan Heritage / Wall of Babylon
US Soldier and Abu Ghraib guard talks of the treatment of Iraqi prisoners.

Chrome / Melody (Language)
Tackhead / Hard Left (World)
Greg Palast / Who´se winning? (AT)
Public Enemy / Public emeny No.1 (DefJam)
Leroy Young / For a few dollars more (Stonetree)
King Jammy / Shining dub (Jammy´s)
Howard Zinn / The Artist and Society (AT)

Radio Pimienta is located frequency wise at 100.3FM

Sorry not available in the south of the island or on the web yet.

The Ear Conditioning program goes out on Tuesday´s 20h00-22h00,

repeated on Saturday nights, 24h00-02h00, ´cos once ain´t good enough!

1 comment:

ripley said...

was gonna comment on your next post but I don't want to let too much time pass. I like what I'm reading here.

Also, thanks for the words on my blog. After reading that article i felt some despair.. gotta regenerate before I go there this summer.

And how can I hear your sets? Your music choice is choice! When it goes on the web I'll be blessed indeed.