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Life Elsewhere

Life Elsewhere

By Norman B
About Art, Culture, and Media hosted by Norman B
www.lifeelsewhere.co
info@lifeelsewhere.co
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A Conversation With King Hannah - Show 424

Life Elsewhere

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A Conversation With Kristin Hersh - Show 451
“You need to know…perhaps forewarned if you can’t take the raw honesty of her emotions she expresses so readily.” Says Life Elsewhere host, Norman B. Adding, “Listen carefully, you’ll be captivated, but be prepared to be moved.” He is referring to Kristin Hersh, most recognized as the front person for the influential art-punk band, Throwing Muses and power trio, 50FOOTWAVE. In the early ’80s, Throwing Muses gained traction playing alongside bands like The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. Kristin's solo career spun off in 1994 with the widely acclaimed ‘Hips and Makers’, featuring 'Your Ghost', a duet with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. Kristin has since released a steady stream of distinct solo albums with 2010’s ‘Crooked’ the first release in the inventive book/CD format she is now known for. In addition to a series of frighteningly intense mini-albums via 50FOOTWAVE, Kristin’s writing career has also flourished with the highly acclaimed ‘Rat Girl’ and the award-winning 'Don’t Suck, Don’t Die', a personal account of her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt. Kristin’s tenth studio, Possible Dust Clouds was released a short while ago and she is soon to embark on tour with Throwing Muses. Often known as the Queen of Alternative Releases, Kristin’s latest album showcases her extraordinary talent, a powerful, yet at times vulnerable voice and writing talent that reaches deep into her psyche. ‘We talk about, Possible Dust Clouds, but we also talk about so much more.” Norman B says. “I could chat with Kristin for hours and hours. Her smile comes through the airwaves. And, she delivers memorable quotes instead of searching for a perfect answer.”
59:00
December 6, 2021
A Conversation With David J - LEM Vol 95
David J modestly says on his Facebook page, “Founding member of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets now flying solo with the help of talented friends.” In conversation with Norman B, the man who wrote the lyrics for Bela Lugosi’s Dead is equally humble. “He graciously chatted openly, and shared his thoughts on all manner of topics without hesitation.” Says the Life Elsewhere host. David recalls how he and the other members of Bauhaus began to have their doubts about the length of the song until the forward-thinking boss of Small Wonder records insisted they release the track in all its original glory. He goes on to talk about how the band was frustrated by the Goth moniker, how he would often initiate a track by taking the lead with his bass. David tells of the musicians he has worked with and who he has always wanted to work with. A poignant story about buying his first David Bowie album leads David J to remember being mocked for liking the gender-bending star and getting beat up in the process. He doesn’t flinch from talking about the hoary old rock ’n’ roll prerequisites of sex and drugs, nor does he shy away from mentioning the personality difficulties all bands seem to have at one time or another. It’s a one-of-a-kind conversation, typical of Norman B’s ability to move beyond the interviewer role by inviting us to eavesdrop on a private dialogue between friends.
59:00
November 30, 2021
The QAnon Question? Show 429
In January 2021, thousands descended on the U.S. Capitol to aid President Donald Trump in combating a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Two women were among those who died that day. They, like millions of Americans, believed that a mysterious insider known as "Q" is exposing a vast deep-state conspiracy. The QAnon conspiracy theory has ensnared many women, who identify as members of "pastel QAnon," answering the call to "save the children." In Pastels and Pedophiles, Mia Bloom and Sophia Moskalenko explain why the rise of QAnon should not surprise us: believers have been manipulated to follow the baseless conspiracy. The authors track QAnon's unexpected leap from the darkest corners of the Internet to the filtered glow of yogi-mama Instagram, a frenzy fed by the COVID-19 pandemic that supercharged conspiracy theories and spurred a fresh wave of Q-inspired violence. Bloom and Moskalenko showing how a conspiracy theory with its roots in centuries-old anti-Semitic hate has adapted to encompass local grievances and has metastasized around the globe—appealing to a wide range of alienated people who feel that something is not quite right in the world around them. While QAnon claims to hate Hollywood, the book demonstrates how much of Q's mythology is ripped from movie and television plot lines. Ms. Bloom is such an engaging guest we suggested she make a return visit to Life Elsewhere so we can explore more of her studies and research. Continue reading
59:01
November 29, 2021
Binoy Kampmark on Assange, Bannon, COP26 & Guns. Heather Greene on Whisk(e)y. Show 460
The Julian Assange story has become muddled in part because so many other news stories have jumped to the fore. The reason the founder of Wikileaks is being held in Belmarsh prison, the UK’s equivalent of Guantanamo Bay detention camp, after being forcibly dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was almost overlooked by the mainstream media until recently. Assange’s partner Stella Morris drew much-needed attention to his case as the US Government made further moves to extradite him. The Assange case has far-reaching implications which cannot be ignored. Dr. Binoy Kampmark once again joins Life Elsewhere to share his insights into the Assange case. Plus, Binoy suggests the indictment of Stephen Bannon should be viewed soberly because his designs on democracy in America are far more than crazy-talk. Dr. Kampmark also has opinions on the absence of China and Russia’s leaders at COP 26 - the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. And, we pose this question to Dr. Kampmark, “Are white males with guns an American problem?” His answer, as with all Binoy Kampmark says is articulate, well-considered, and thought-provoking. Dr. Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban, and Social Studies, at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Whisk(e)y is in the midst of a huge renaissance. Ten years ago, the United States housed sixty-nine craft distillers; today, there are more than four hundred. Exports of Scotch whisky grew 12 percent just last year. Sales are skyrocketing, and specialty bars are popping up around the country, from New York City to Chicago to Houston. Whisk(e)y expert Heather Greene, author of Whisk(e)y Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life will explain to Norman B, (who admits to being a novice) the mysteries of Whisk(e)y, the crucial importance of “nosing” Whisk(e)y and the spelling.
59:00
November 23, 2021
Index Funds Explained. Drug God’s Ruse - Show 449
Trillions: How a Band of Wall Street Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever by Robin Wigglesworth Fifty years ago, the Manhattan Project of money management was quietly assembled in the financial industry's backwaters, unified by the heretical idea that even many of the world's finest investors couldn't beat the market in the long run. The motley crew of nerds—including economist wunderkind Gene Fama, humiliated industry executive Jack Bogle, bull-headed and computer-obsessive John McQuown, and avuncular former WWII submariner Nate Most—succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Passive investing now accounts for more than $20 trillion, equal to the entire gross domestic product of the US, and is today a force reshaping markets, finance, and even capitalism itself in myriad subtle but pivotal ways. Yet even some fans of index funds and ETFs are growing perturbed that their swelling heft is destabilizing markets, wrecking the investment industry, and leading to an unwelcome concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands. In Trillions, Financial Times journalist Robin Wigglesworth unveils the vivid secret history of an invention Wall Street wishes was never created, bringing to life the characters behind its birth, growth, and evolution into a world-conquering phenomenon. This engrossing narrative is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand modern finance—and one of the most pressing financial uncertainties of our time. Roxy by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman The freeway is coming. It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the fifth house on the left, fighting for your life. The victim of the bet between two manufactured gods: the seductive and lethal Roxy (Oxycontin), who is at the top of her game, and the smart, high-achieving Addison (Adderall), who is tired of being the helpful one and longs for a more dangerous, less wholesome image. The wager - a contest to see who can bring their mark to “the Party” first - is a race to the bottom of a rave that has raged since the beginning of time. And you are only human, dazzled by the lights and music. Drawn by what the drugs offer - tempted to take that step past helpful to harmful…and the troubled places that lie beyond. But there are two I Rameys - Isaac, a soccer player thrown into Roxy’s orbit by a bad fall and a bad doctor, and Ivy, his older sister, whose increasing frustration with her untreated ADHD leads her to renew her acquaintance with Addy. Which one are you? Roxy is authored by the best-selling father and son team, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman.
59:00
November 15, 2021
Chris Connelly. An Ongoing Conversation Part 3 - LEM Vol 258
“I admit it!” Asserts Chris Connelly, “I’m addicted to collecting records!” We were deep into part three of our ongoing conversation, the topic of drugs couldn’t be avoided. Chris had recalled his early days in Chicago, hanging with Al Jourgensen and cohorts. The craziness surrounding the young lad from Scotland was fun at first, but there was a limit he soon discovered. “When it was time to stop, I did and went to bed.” Chris says, adding, “I didn’t get addicted, except for cigarettes.” Then, he admits to his addiction to records. It’s obvious from our conversations and Chris’s music selections his knowledge is immense. And, Connelly’s appreciation of so many genres of music prompts unabashed enthusiasm as we veer off on yet another tangent. This is why chatting with Chris Connelly is so rewarding, the man does not hesitate to share his opinions on whatever topic we are discussing. In part three, we cover Sex and Drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll, but not in the same order as Ian Dury’s legendary song. Again, here is another reason to enjoy listening to Chris as he can comfortably move from one topic to another. For this edition, Chris picked music from Killing Joke, Durutti Column, and Roxy Music. Enjoy.
59:00
November 7, 2021
A Shocking Experiment, Examined - Show 447
Stephen G. Bloom - Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes: A Cautionary Tale of Race and Brutality The day after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, Jane Elliott, a schoolteacher in rural Iowa, introduced to her all-white third-grade class a shocking experiment to demonstrate the scorching impact of racism. Elliott separated students into two groups. She instructed the brown-eyed children to heckle and berate the blue-eyed students, even to start fights with them. Without telling the children the experiment’s purpose, Elliott demonstrated how easy it was to create abhorrent racist behavior based on students’ eye color, not skin color. As a result, Elliott would go on to appear on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, followed by a stormy White House conference, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and thousands of media events and diversity-training sessions worldwide, during which she employed the provocative experiment to induce racism. Was the experiment benign? Or was it a cruel, self-serving exercise in sadism? Did it work? Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes is a meticulously researched book that details for the first time Jane Elliott’s jagged rise to stardom. It is an unflinching assessment of the incendiary experiment forever associated with Elliott, even though she was not the first to try it out. Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes offers an intimate portrait of the insular community where Elliott grew up and conducted the experiment on the town’s children for more than a decade. The searing story is a cautionary tale that examines power and privilege in and out of the classroom. It also documents small-town White America’s reflex reaction to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the subsequent meteoric rise of diversity training that flourishes today. All the while, Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes reveals the struggles that tormented a determined and righteous woman, today referred to as the “Mother of Diversity Training,” who was driven against all odds to succeed. Stephen G. Bloom is an award-winning journalist and author of five nonfiction books: The Audacity of Inez Burns, Tears of Mermaids, The Oxford Project, Inside the Writer’s Mind, and Postville. He is Professor of Journalism at the University of Iowa. To close this edition of Life Elsewhere, we have selected a cut from a compilation album on 1631 Recordings out of Sweden. Piano Cloud Series - Vol Six is a beautiful selection of piano works, by a wide range of artists. Bruno Bavota’s  What’s Left is a charming short piece, we hope will encourage you to search out more intimate piano music. For more info go here
59:01
November 2, 2021
Chris Connelly. An Ongoing Conversation Part 2 - Show 456
Arriving in Chicago, Chris Connelly was greeted at the airport by Dannie Fletcher and Al Jourgensen who was preoccupied at the time with getting his new Walkman to work. When every attempt failed, the founder of Ministry did the only thing he reckoned would work, he smashed the much-sought-after gadget repeatedly against a concrete pillar in the airport’s baggage claim area. Chris doesn’t say if Jourgensen vented his frustration with a torrent of expletives and ear-piercing yelps, but he does recall that Al’s antics did arouse the attention of security so the trio hi-tailed it to Dannie's gold-painted Jaguar. It wasn’t much later that night when Al introduced his Scottish guest to bars that were the hang for Chicago’s black-clad, pierced, and tattooed alternative crowd. This was the beginning of a new life for the lad from Edinburgh. In part 2 of our ongoing conversation with Chris Connelly, he recalls more stories and anecdotes from his early years in America. Plus, Chris selects and talks about music from Mark Stewart and the Mafia, Swanns, and Wire.
59:01
October 25, 2021
Behind The Glitz, The Glamour, & The Factory - Show 445
Laurence Leamer - Capote’s Women - A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for An Era  “There are certain women,” Truman Capote wrote, “who, though perhaps not born rich, are born to be rich.” Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister)—they were the toast of midcentury New York, each beautiful and distinguished in her own way. Capote befriended them, received their deepest confidences, and ingratiated himself into their lives. Then, in one fell swoop, he betrayed them in the most surprising and startling way possible. Following the acclaimed publication of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1958 and In Cold Blood in 1966, when Capote struggled with a crippling case of writer’s block. While en­joying all the fruits of his success, he was struck with an idea for what he was sure would be his most celebrated novel…one based on the re­markable, racy lives of his very, very rich friends. For years, Capote attempted to write An­swered Prayers, what he believed would have been his magnum opus. But when he eventually published a few chapters in Esquire, the thinly fictionalized lives (and scandals) of his closest fe­male confidantes were laid bare for all to see, and he was banished from their high-society world forever. Laurence Leamer joins Norman B to talk about, Capote’s Women. Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni - After Andy – Adventures In Warhol Land She was the last person to be hired at Andy Warhol’s Factory and she has written a book about her experiences. Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni doesn’t mind divulging she had an affair with Mick Jagger when she was a seventeen-year-old school girl. Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni isn’t one to hold back, in her new book, After Andy – Adventures In Warhol Land, she tells all. Continue reading
59:01
October 18, 2021
A Conversation With Jez Ryan of Mammal Sounds. Josh Idehen's Latest - LEM Vol 253
Located about 4 miles east of downtown Sydney, Australia you find the beautiful (and celebrated) Bondi Beach, where you’ll also find the home of Mammal Sounds and Jez Ryan the charming chap who runs the label. Mammal Sounds a self-proclaimed boutique label caught my attention because a number of their releases and artists have become frequent additions to the LEM playlists., including, Benji Lewis, Lemonade Baby, Golden Vessel, Hotel Decor, and George Gretton. Our ongoing series of chats with indie labels meant we had to learn more about Mammal Sounds and the indie scene in Australia. With the convoluted fourteen-hour-time difference in effect, a Zoom meeting with Jez was scheduled. At nine am, Sydney time, Mr. Ryan was bright and alert with the morning sun beaming through his window, while the night was settling in - the day before on the east coast of America, an engaging conversation began. You’ll hear Jez Ryan’s insights into the Australian music scene and his selections for the show from Lemonade Baby, Daste, Golden Vessel, and Slouch Online. Thank you, Jez and Mammal Sounds. Our dear friend, the very talented Joshua Idehen sent us his latest release. “It’s a new side project”, says Josh, “with celebrated producer Daedelus and composer Miguel Atwood Ferguson it’s called Standing In My Own Way (Part One)”. Josh recently became a very proud father and he has taken to posting gorgeous photos of himself smothering his young child with love. And, I do believe, Standing In My Own Way (Part One) is in part a reflection on the knowledge Josh has garnered from people like me who have congratulated him on becoming a father but have also cautioned him to enjoy every teeny tiny precious moment of his new life as a parent. Much love, Josh.
59:00
October 4, 2021
The Mysterious Mr. Thiel. Questions About The News. New Piano Music. - Show 443
What do you know about the billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Peter Thiel? He has been a behind-the-scenes operator, influencing countless aspects of our contemporary way of life, from the technologies we use every day to the delicate power balance between Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Washington. Yet despite Thiel’s power and ubiquity, no public figure is quite so mysterious - until now. In The Contrarian - Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power, the first major biography of Thiel, Max Chafkin traces the trajectory of the innovator's singular life and worldview, from his upbringing as the child of immigrant parents and years at Stanford as a burgeoning conservative thought leader to his founding of PayPal and Palantir, early investment in Facebook and SpaceX, and relationships with fellow tech titans Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Eric Schmidt. The Contrarian illuminates the extent to which Thiel has sought to export his values to the corridors of power beyond Silicon Valley, including funding the lawsuit that destroyed the blog Gawker and strenuously backing far-right political candidates, notably Donald Trump for president in 2016. Max Chafkin joins Norman B to discuss The Contrarian. When we have questions about the news headlines we call Dr. Binoy Kampmark for his scholarly insight. 1. What does the recent German election mean for the rest of the world? 2. Canada grants asylum to refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden? 3. UK's gas crisis? Real or a test? 4. The new James Bond movie with Daniel Craig - are we desperate to relive a time that never really existed? 5. Russia threatens to ban Youtube after it shuts pro-Kremlin channels? As always, Binoy unfalteringly tackles each question with expert knowledge and a soupçon of wit. Dr. Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Also in the show, new piano music from Brighton-based, Poppy Ackroyd. Pause is her fourth, full-length album. A collection of ten solo piano works written during the pandemic and shortly after the birth of her first child, the title refers to the feeling of normal life being temporarily put on hold. Poppy says, “For previous albums, almost as much of the creative process was spent editing and manipulating recordings as it was composing at the piano, however after having my son, I struggled to spend time sitting in front of a computer. The only thing I wanted to do while he was still small, if I wasn't with him, was to play the piano. In fact, much of the album was written with him asleep on me in a sling as I used any quiet moment to compose. It made sense that this should be a solo piano album, it was important to me that every track on the album could be entirely performed with just two hands on the piano. Read more here
59:00
October 3, 2021
A Conversation With Cathal Coughlan On The State Of Our World Part One - Show 425
On the release of his much-lauded solo album, Songs Of Co-Aklan, we invited Cathal Coughlan onto Life Elsewhere. It quickly became clear that 60 minutes was not going to be enough time to enjoy what this adventurous musician had to say. Another Zoom session was arranged. Two hours later we had covered a wide variety of subjects, with Mr. Coughlan offering his well-considered opinions. Plus, we ventured to ask the Irish-born musician to select some of his favorite recordings to include in the show. His choices are as eclectic and fascinating as the man himself. Cathal’s passion for music and the artists he talks about is compelling and inspiring. Born and raised in Cork, Ireland Cathal began singing in the late 70s and by 1980 he had met Sean O’Hagan and formed Microdisney. A band that was hard to (thankfully) slot into a nice neat genre. On Discogs Cathal is described rather aptly, as an anti-Bono. His music and lyrics some may call challenging, I on the other hand was fascinated and loved playing Microdisney alongside the plethora of post-punk-one-hit-wonders that cursed new music in the early 80s. The temptation to slide easily into a lovable New Wave outfit was enough for Mr. Coughlan to see Microdisney dwindle down to a two-piece with O’Hagen and eventually reassemble as The Fatima Mansions, making, splendid yet hard to categorize music. The eventual demise of The Fatima Mansions in the mid-90s led to Cathal stepping away from being in a band to releasing solo albums, taking part in collaborations, and making guest appearances. For a while, he was involved in musical theatre, mostly in France. In 2006 he was described in The Irish Times as the 'genius of Irish rock'.
59:00
September 28, 2021
A Conversation With James Meija on Hand Drawn Dracula - LEM Vol 251
Try to probe James Meija just a little about what he does and you’ll get a limited and not exactly enthusiastic response. But, ask the fellow about music, especially the music he likes, and all of a sudden, you have the man waxing lyrical about My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive of any of the fabulous bands on his amazing record label. You see the unassuming Mr. Meija is a fan, a true fan of the music he likes. And, he likes a lot of different music. After all, James founded and runs the amazing record label, Hand Drawn Dracula. As proud as he must be of the torrent of incredible releases by his Toronto-based imprint and the stellar artwork he creates, James Meija is almost stoic when it comes to acknowledging his keen ear for remarkable talent. Instead, James sings the praises of the different folks he works with, his love of the community, and his joy in being able to do what he loves so much. All of this adds up to why we have been constantly impressed with the new releases from Hand Drawn Dracula. As each new cut came out and we eagerly slotted it into a new show, we arrived at the conclusion that we had two know more about this curious and innovative label. Contact was made, James agreed to a Zoom conversation. The result is enlightening and entertaining. You’ll hear cuts selected by James, including Breeze, Vallens, Michael Peter Olsen, and Tallies. We are confirmed fans of HDD and if you are not already, you will be after you hear this show!
59:01
September 20, 2021
Survival of the City. My Sweet Girl. - Show 441
Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation - Edward Glaeser & David Cutler Cities can make us sick. They always have - diseases spread more easily when more people are close to one another. And disease is hardly the only ill that accompanies urban density. Cities have been demonized as breeding grounds for vice and crime from Sodom and Gomorrah on. But cities have flourished nonetheless because they are humanity’s greatest invention, indispensable engines for creativity, innovation, wealth, and connection, the loom on which the fabric of civilization is woven. But cities now stand at a crossroads. During the global COVID crisis, cities grew silent as people worked from home - if they could work at all. The normal forms of socializing ground to a halt. My Sweet Girl - Amanda Jayatissa Dark thriller. Psychological whodunit. Chilling and shocking. Witty and wicked. These are just some of the descriptions that have been used to describe My Sweet Girl the new novel by Sri Lanka-based author, Amanda Jayatissa. Her delightfully charming and smiley demeanor is at odds with Amanda’s deliciously scary, compelling, and original book. In our Zoom conversation, she breaks into fits of laughter, gesticulating madly as if it’s only by chance she has penned such a stunning read. My Sweet Girl is centered on the meaning of identity and all the layers it can have. This is the story of Paloma who thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage and made it to America. But, she finds out no matter how far you run, your past catches up with you. At thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Continue reading
59:00
September 20, 2021
Barry Snaith On The A2K. Remembering The Upsetter - Show 440
Barry Snaith originally hails from Yorkshire, these days he calls Derbyshire home, yet that distinctive brogue remains potently identifiable. A conversation with Barry means he is likely to sound astonished, perplexed, or downright indigent at any given moment because of his heritage’s fondness for a purposefully dry sense of humor. Barry has a new project, not unusual for him, after all, his other ongoing projects are The Inconsistent Jukebox and m1nk, plus the sound design work he gets involved with. The A2K is Barry Snaith’s latest venture. He was contacted by one, Martin Lucas who put Barry in touch with Carl Malamud, also known as the Open Access Ninja. As a result, Barry was asked to get involved by conjuring up music for an upcoming documentary. Instead of going into detail here, we ask that you listen to this edition of Life Elsewhere with Barry Snaith in conversation with Norman B on The A2K project. Open Access Ninja: The Brew Of Law As the last edition of Life Elsewhere was going out, news came in of the death of reggae legend Lee Scratch Perry. It is almost impossible to recount how important Lee Perry was not only in reggae music but all of popular music. There is so much to relate about Mr. Perry. Quite simply, the man made over many years, ground-breaking music, he was and will remain more influential than perhaps we can assess at this time. Continue reading
58:18
September 12, 2021
Remembering Ian Lowery - The Wall Years - Show 427
David Lowery is proud of his brother. He wishes he hadn’t lost touch with him in the early 90s. “I didn’t get to see him perform live with Ski Patrol” David recalls. The siblings had grown up in Hartlepool in the northeast of England. Once a thriving, industrial area with shipyards, steel mills, and coal mines, after the Second World War, by the late ’60s and early ’70s, unemployment was omnipresent with drastic changes to the British and global economies. For David’s brother Ian, his surroundings didn’t offer much opportunity or escape. So, he veered off the beaten path and began an Art Foundation course at Sunderland Polytechnic. By 1978, Ian Lowery had formed The Prefabs, this was the first of many bands he created and fronted during a prolific musical career, gaining critical acclaim both within and outside the music industry. A well-honed gutter poet since the early days of Punk, Ian developed an idiosyncratic style, fusing a natural gift for sly wordplay and often a snarky phrase for embellishment. Ian’s poignant lyrics were channeled through an explosive if not studied onstage performance. The Prefabs soon disbanded and in late 78, Ian formed The Wall with friends from Art School, John “Joe” Hammond on lead guitar, Andy Griffith on bass with drums bashed by Bruce Archibald. London indie label, Small Wonder impressed Ian with their roster of bands including, The Cure, Bauhaus, Angelic Upstarts, Crass, and more. Demo tracks were sent to the label, a deal was made, a 7” EP was released, and a few appearances on John Peel’s radio show were arranged. Eventually, The Wall fell apart and Ski Patrol came into being, followed by Folk Devils, and eventually Ian Lowery set up The Ian Lowery Group. There were a few more bands and collaborations in between, but it’s The Wall years we are going to concentrate on with David Lowery. He is going to tell the story in a conversation with Norman B and you’ll hear exclusively, previously unreleased tracks from the band. Plus, a very rare recording of Ian Lowery talking about his influences. Sadly, Ian Lowery died way too young on July 14, 2001. His influence reached so many musicians over the years, in particular the aspiring lads in Seattle and beyond who were part of the so-called, Grunge years. This is essential listening for music aficionados of all stripes. To round out the program, I have chosen new, current music I think Ian Lowery would approve of. Enjoy!
01:00:53
September 8, 2021
Tales Retold From A Remarkable Culture - Show 433
They are rich, extraordinary tales from ancient Inuit culture that tell of remarkable northern vistas, unfamiliar narratives, strange gods, and unforgettable characters where women can marry dogs, birds beat their wings so hard they create a storm, an old woman turns into a man, and a woman kills her daughter to take her place for a man’s affections and wears her daughter’s skin as a disguise. Poet, Richard Price has respectfully, (lovingly perhaps) taken three Inuit stories and retold them with a sensitive, yet earnest approach in his new book, The Owner Of The Sea. The London-based Price, also the lyricist and vocalist for The Loss Adjusters has embarked on what he considers a formidable endeavor by interpreting venerated tales from a remarkable culture. Richard is proud of his work, the time, and the effort he has spent in creating this book, but he admits to being apprehensive of the Inuit people’s response. “I hope I get their approval and know I’m in awe of their stories”, he says. During our conversation with Richard Price, he reads from his book, this is a treat. His original Scottish rouge comes to the fore in full effect. He brings the characters to life, they become believable, even though they engage in mystical and un-human-like behavior. These are strange stories, originally told as lessons or guidance, not unlike the more obvious religious books. Richard explains his love of poetry was inspired by music, “Sam Cooke and Bob Dylan” he announces spiritedly. The Owner Of The Sea is a perfect example of the man’s love of words, of language, of the enchanting stories of the Inuit people.
59:00
September 7, 2021
A Conversation With David Bowie - Edits
Norman B's conversation with David Bowie from the mid-1990s, recorded in Seattle
07:46
September 3, 2021
Streetlight Harmonies - Show 379
“The main thing was all the girls used to come to the best group. And we were the best group … they used to come and crowd and load up our corner.” The Drifters’ Charlie Thomas on the motivation for starting a vocal group, then he pauses and looks off-screen and says, “Excuse me, wife, those were my younger days.” This is just one of the many evocative scenes in the new independent documentary, Streetlight Harmonies. Director, Brent Wilson talked to Norman B about the making of a film which surprisingly, is the first to seriously explore the origins of Doo-Wop. The music is so very familiar, yet few people know the artists. Streetlight Harmonies traces the history of the genre from its street-corner origins through to 60s girl groups and beyond. The film is masterfully put together featuring interviews with Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, “Little” Anthony Gourdine, Lance Bass, and the Crystals’ La La Brooks, among others, as well as restored archival footage. The documentary also touches on the problems the vocal harmony groups faced performing in the segregated South, an issue so pertinent today. During our conversation with Brent Wilson, you’ll hear clips from Streetlight Harmonies and the director’s high regard for the artists and enthusiasm for their influential music.
59:00
September 3, 2021
A Conversation With King Hannah - Show 424
They look like they just stepped out of a photoshoot for ID magazine circa 1979 or it could be 2025. Their potent music, like their striking image, is an alluring reverent homage to a past they could have invented, perfectly and seamlessly blended into a brilliant foretaste of the future. Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle are King Hannah. Their moniker is clever, a deadpan kick in the shins of conformity and gender identity. Yet, Hannah nonchalantly says, “Oh, it’s me I came up with ages ago, I thought it sounded good. So we used it”. That’s the thing about these two, everything is all matter-of-fact. There’s no pretensions, no deliberate persona they are eager to get across. When they are told that Crème Brûlée is an incredibly sexy song, they both sound surprised. Craig, between a chuckle or two, says, “Just look at us!” We did and we like what we see. The authenticity of King Hannah is right up front, their music does not mess about. “We’re determined to get it right”, says Hannah They genuinely enjoy making music together “We know when to finish a song without even looking at each other,” Hannah shares. There is so much going on in their debut EP, Tell Me You Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine, it’s almost impossible to grasp the depth of pure rock ’n’ roll spirituality that shines through on every track. There are so many ghosts channeling their voices through Hannah and Craig, they are harvesting the fruits to create vital music. Listen carefully to our conversation, then indulge in their music. Because of time constraints and we wanted you to hear everything Hannah and Craig had to say, we edited a couple of their songs. You are advised to make sure you get your own copy of Tell Me You Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine.
59:00
September 1, 2021
The Passing Of Charlie Watts And The Art Of Drumming - Show 438
“Sometime, somewhere in the not too distant future, the Stones will be on stage, in the middle of the show when Mick will turn around and see Charlie is not there. It will be like a punch in the gut!” That’s Martin Atkins on the devastating blow the passing of Charlie Watts will have on the band he joined in 1963. For Martin, losing a friend, a bandmate, and the pillar-of-strength that held the Stones together for over half a century has to be unimaginable. Unlike Mr. Watts, Mr. Atkins is widely known for his crazy antics behind his kit. Yet, although Martin has pounded out the beat for a litany of raucous bands including, Brian Brain, PiL, Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke, and more, his appreciation for the understated style of Watts is almost devotional. Atkins, a drummer since the age of nine, knows what the art of drumming means, “Charlie was as close as you could want to a drum machine, for precision. And, as far away from a drum machine for organic engagement and appeal.” On the thought that the death of Charlie Watts also signals the end of an era, Martin Atkins has a lot to say about the importance of legacy. For a moment, he takes a slight tangent to report he faces this head-on with the determination to not leave the memories (legacy) of his participation in rock and roll for anyone else to interpret, including his children. “I’ve created The Museum Of Post Punk & Industrial Music”, he says. Martin’s unbridled enthusiasm for everything he does, always shines through, as does his obvious sadness that a giant in the art of drumming has passed. Life Elsewhere 
59:00
August 31, 2021
A Conversation With Chris Connelly About The Birthday Poems - Show 430
Alternative music legend, Chris Connelly joins Life Elsewhere host Norman B for an in-depth conversation about his latest musical project, The Birthday Poems. An album created to celebrate the centenary of Orkney-born poet, George Mackay Brown. For this remarkable enterprise, Chris collaborated with the incomparable, Scottish chanteuse, Monica Queen. Together with a line-up of stellar musicians, they deftly interpret Chris’s music into a fictionalized account of the romance between celebrated Mackay Brown and his muse Stella Cartwright, as well as Stella’s friendship with Edinburgh born poet Stanley Roger Green, spanning three decades (from the mid-1950s until Stella’s tragic and untimely death in 1985). Known as the Muse of Rose Street, Stella had a unique upbringing, which contributed to her love of literature. As a young girl attending Mary Erskine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Stella would ravenously devour literature, art, and music. Her father would often take her to bars, parties, the theatre, and other social and cultural events, where she would meet and charm Scotland’s cultural elite. Continue reading
59:34
August 23, 2021
Dr. Kampmark Diagnoses The News - Show 437
Dr. Binoy Kampmark is always ahead. 14 hours ahead in Melbourne. Yet, even if the learned professor were in the same dateline, you can be assured his perspective on global events would be considerably ahead of the battalions of pundits scrambling to have their voices heard on every media outlet available. Binoy Kampmark has a gift of not only being able to get to the heart of any news item, he also manages to enlighten with his capacity to share crucial, but often overlooked details. Dr. Kampmark is a senior lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, an acclaimed writer on legal and historical matters, including terrorism, international history, and politics. His work can be found in various publications. Including CounterPunch, and Binoy is a frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere. In our latest edition, we asked Dr. Kampmark to share his opinions on the unfolding scenario in Afghanistan. Continue reading
59:00
August 23, 2021
Not Just Another Book About #$%@&. An Untold American Story. Plus New Music - Show 434
When the PR people from Penguin invited us to talk about a new book, I Alone Can Fix It - Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year our first reaction was, Oh no! Not another book about him. After five years, haven’t we exhausted the conversation? Then, the authors of A Very Stable Genius, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker were included. That was more than enough information to confirm this was a book we had to talk about. The acclaimed  Washington Post reporters pull back the curtain on the handling of Covid-19, the re-election bid, and its chaotic and violent aftermath. This is the true story of what took place in Donald Trump's White House during a disastrous 2020. What was really going on around the president, as the government failed to contain the coronavirus and over half a million Americans perished? Who was influencing Trump after he refused to concede an election he had clearly lost and spread lies about election fraud? Carol Leonnig reveals to Norman B a dysfunctional and bumbling presidency's inner workings in unprecedented, stunning detail. continue reading
59:03
August 18, 2021
A Blueprint For Global Action - Show 435
Robin Broad and John Cavanagh are passionate about their cause. The story they tell in The Water Defenders - How Ordinary People Saved A Country From Corporate Greed tells the inspirational story of a community that took on an international mining corporation at seemingly insurmountable odds and won not one but two historic victories. In the early 2000s, many people in El Salvador were at first excited by the prospect of jobs, progress, and prosperity that the Pacific Rim mining company promised. However, farmer Vidalina Morales, brothers Marcelo and Miguel Rivera, and others soon discovered that the river system supplying water to the majority of Salvadorans was in danger of catastrophic contamination. continue reading 
59:00
August 18, 2021
A Comic Writer’s Funny Obsession - Show 436
Mark Haskell Smith Rude Talk In Athens: Ancient Rivals, the Birth of Comedy, and a Writer's Journey through Greece In ancient Athens, thousands would attend theatre festivals that turned writing into a fierce battle for fame, money, and laughably large trophies. While the tragedies earned artistic respect, it was the comedies—the raunchy jokes, vulgar innuendo, outrageous invention, and barbed political commentary—that captured the imagination of the city. The writers of these comedic plays feuded openly, insulting one another from the stage, each production more inventive and outlandish than the last, as they tried to win first prize. Of these writers, only the work of Aristophanes has survived and it’s only through his plays that we know about his peers: Cratinus, the great lush; Eupolis, the copycat; and Ariphrades, the sexual deviant. continue reading 
59:00
August 18, 2021
Dr. Binoy Kampmark on The Taliban 8.16.21
Dr. Binoy Kampmark, senior lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. He writes and researches extensively on legal and historical matters, including terrorism, international history, and politics.  In these two clips, recorded on August 16, 2021, Kampmark answers the questions, 1) Are we viewing selected images of the scenes at Kabul airport? 2) Who are the Taliban   The full interview with Binoy Kampmark will air on Life Elsewhere. Details at www.lifeelsewhere.co The image is based on the Taliban flag (1997 - 2021)
07:20
August 17, 2021