A Conversation With Robert Forster - LEM Vol 306
In December of 1977, Robert Forster co-founded The Go-Betweens, with fellow musician Grant McLennan in Brisbane, Australia. Since then until today, Robert has been actively involved in the business of performing and releasing records, either as a member of The Go-Betweens or with his illustrious solo career. Along the way Forster has accumulated worldwide acclaim, his songwriting often cited as being exemplary, especially among music critics. Robert Forster has now taken a different path creating his latest album, The Candle And The Flame. It reveals only part of what became a journey of creating music with family and friends, with a need to find joy and solace in the face of adversity. In early July, Karin Bäumler, Robert’s wife and musical companion for thirty-two years was diagnosed with cancer. Explaining his new album Robert says, “She’s A Fighter is the last song I wrote for The Candle And The Flame album. I wrote the music for it in June 2021. I liked the tune and the quick energy of the song, but I didn't know yet what it was going to be about. Karen began a series of chemotherapy sessions in late July, she spoke of fighting for her health and a path through chemotherapy to recovery. The phrase, ‘She’s A Fighter’ came to me. I liked it and I knew immediately that it would work with the melody I had written earlier. I needed just one other line for the lyrics. ‘Fighting for good.’ The song was finished. I had written my first two-line song. I had just out-Ramoned the Ramones! Because the song has so much meaning to us, we decided to record it as a family. The only time this happens on the album. Karin sings and plays xylophone. Our daughter Loretta plays electric guitar. Our son Louis plays guitar, bass, and percussion. And I strum an acoustic guitar fiercely and sing. And that’s ‘She’s a Fighter.” The Candle And The Flame consists of 9 songs written by Robert. Produced by Robert, Karin Bäumler, and Louis Forster. Robert explains, “The recording sessions for the album were done sporadically over six months. Sometimes just one or two days a month. As that was all Karin’s strength and condition allowed her to do. So we had to record ‘live’, catching magical moments and going for ‘feel'. And that became the sound of the album.” She’s A Fighter is available now as the first single from The Candle And The Flame. The full album will be released on February 3 of 2023. After receiving an advance copy of the new LP and playing it non-stop for many days, it was agreed, we had to arrange a conversation with Robert Forster. But, we received word that Robert was not keen on doing interviews about the new album as he felt it was too personal, he didn’t want to appear to benefit from his wife’s illness. His PR man, familiar with Norman B’s reputation for intimate and sensitive interviews, encouraged Robert to chat with the LEM host via Zoom. Robert was so pleased with the conversation, a follow-up session is being scheduled. Please listen carefully to what Robert has to say, this is a moving, heartfelt conversation.
November 15, 2022
Education & Religion With Phil Allen Jr. Backyard Birding With Joan E. Strassmann
We invited Phil Allen Jr. onto the show to talk about his new book, The Prophetic Lens - The Camera And Black Moral Agency From MLK To Darnella Frazier. Very quickly it was clear we were running out of time, yet there was much more to discuss with Phil. A second Zoom conversation was scheduled to delve into two issues he is passionate about, Education and Religion. Phil Allen Jr. explains how and why his life changed when he realized he had had a spiritual awakening. Being cognizant of the world around him, Phil doesn’t preach about his faith, instead, he has chosen to explain and educate. His observations and viewpoint are critical to how he conducts his everyday life, including taking time for a daily run with a playlist of spiritual, soul, and R & B music. Our conversation touches on today’s politics, especially the case of Hershel Walker and how his run for office is so distressing. Listen carefully to what Phil Allen Jr. has to say, he is a terrific communicator. “It has taken me 30 years to write this book.” Announced Joan E. Strassmann when asked about her process of writing, Slow Birding - The Art And Science Of Enjoying Birds In Your Own Backyard. Ms. Strassmann explains it has been a labor of love, yet there is so much more to learn and share. Slow Birding is a charming and fascinating read, packed full of details and advice on birding in your own backyard. Strassmann tells colorful stories of the most common birds to be found in the United States - birds we often see but might not have considered deeply before. For example, northern cardinals thrive in the city, where they are free from predators. White brows on a male white-throated sparrow indicate that he is likely to be a philanderer. In fact, the sometimes complicated sex lives of birds are an essential part of Slow Birding. For evolutionary biologist, Joan E. Strassmann understanding the intimate escapades of backyard birds is crucial, as is nature’s seemingly cruel lead on predatory behavior. She emphasizes this with a sharp rebuke of feeding feral cats, “Even if you don’t see them in action, I can assure you, cats will attack and eat the birds in your backyard!”
November 14, 2022
Conspiracy. Robert Forster. RIP Jerry Lee
Michael Shermer - Conspiracy: Why the Rational Believe the Irrational Nothing happens by accident, everything is connected, and there are no coincidences: that is the essence of conspiratorial thinking. Long a fringe part of the American political landscape, conspiracy theories are now mainstream: 147 members of Congress voted in favor of objections to the 2020 presidential election based on an unproven theory about a rigged electoral process promoted by the mysterious group QAnon. But this is only the latest example in a long history of ideas that include the satanic panics of the 1980s, the New World Order and Vatican conspiracy theories, fears about fluoridated water, speculations about President John F. Kennedy's assassination, and the notions that the Sandy Hook massacre was a false-flag operation and 9/11 was an inside job. In Conspiracy, Michael Shermer presents an overarching review of conspiracy theories―who believes them and why, which ones are real, and what we should do about them. Trust in conspiracy theories, he writes, cuts across gender, age, race, income, education level, occupational status―and even political affiliation. One reason that people believe these conspiracies, Shermer argues, is that enough of them are real that we should be constructively conspiratorial: elections have been rigged (LBJ's 1948 Senate race); medical professionals have intentionally harmed patients in their care (Tuskegee); your government does lie to you (Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Afghanistan); and, tragically, some adults do conspire to sexually abuse children. But Shermer reveals that other factors are also in play: anxiety and a sense of loss of control play a role in conspiratorial cognition patterns, as do certain personality traits. This engaging book will be an important read for anyone concerned about the future direction of American politics, as well as anyone who's watched friends or family fall into patterns of conspiratorial thinking. Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3ET
November 07, 2022
Chris Connelly On His Eulogy To Nico
It's a very special occasion when I have the opportunity to spend time in conversation with Chris Connelly. With every new project, he eagerly shares his passion and inspiration for his exceptional music. He was just fifteen when saw her perform live in Edinburgh, he connived his way backstage to say hello and unbelievably, the goddess reached out and touched his face. From that wondrous moment, Chris Connelly has been a devoted fan of Nico. It was after a suggestion by his friend Cosey Fanni Tutti that Chris listen to Nico’s later work, Janitor Of Lunacy that he began to conceive of paying tribute to his idol. He originally planned a 10-song tribute featuring Chris’s versions of Nico songs, at the end of the recording, Connelly decided to write a parallel album of his own compositions spanning the life of one of the most unique, tragic, and misunderstood female artists in the history of music. The result is the 24-track Eulogy To Christa: A Tribute To The Music & Mystique Of Nico. The double album sees Chris purposefully adopting the personas of Nico, Lou Reed, and John Cale – even Andy Warhol makes a cameo! Chris Connelly was also inspired by the brilliant book, You Are Beautiful And You Are Alone by author Jennifer Otter Bickerdicke, who contributed to the liner notes for the album. She writes, “This is a record to be played at full blast, all the way through, as a commemoration not just to Nico the person, the musician, but to art for art’s sake, for making something because it is important and needs to be done – an idea that is as rare and precious as Nico herself.” Make sure you pay careful attention to Chris’s details about the song and making the album - and enjoy the music. Thank you, Chris, for a beautiful conversation.
October 16, 2022
The Prophetic Lens With Phil Allen Jr. Idiosyncratic Opinions With Dr. Binoy Kampmark
In the introduction to his new book, The Prophetic Lens, Phil Allen Jr. quotes a performer who has had his share of notoriety in front of the camera, not least of all his extraordinary behavior live on TV at the Oscars, that performer is, of course, Will Smith, who when asked on a late-night talk show if racism is getting worse, Smith responds astutely with, “Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed.” Allen takes us on a critical journey, recounting how he watched the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020, “I realized how indispensable the footage on the camera phone recorded by Darnella Frazier had become - the camera is not just technology that is indispensable for documentation; it is a prophetic tool for Black moral agency. The images captured by the camera have shed light on the violence endured by African Americans as well as pictures that depict blatant and subtle images of what white supremacy may look like. The pictures of Emmett Till catalyzed the Civil Rights Movement. The images of Bloody Sunday and other events captured the creative tension of the movement.” Allen chronicles the use of the camera from J.D. Griffiths’ Birth Of A Nation to how the prophetic scene of the killing of Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s classic film Do the Right Thing was a precursor to Eric Garner and George Floyd. In our conversation, Phil Allen Jr. ponders on what would have been the outcome if smartphones or CCTV cameras had been present at the killing of Travon Martin, and the untimely death of his grandfather in 1953. Phil Allen Jr. is a pastor, poet, storyteller, filmmaker, and justice advocate. A former All-American NCAA athlete, Phil's call to ministry led him to California, where he is a full-time pastor and a Ph.D. candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary. Also in the show, regular contributor, Dr. Binoy Kampmark offers his often idiosyncratic opinions on the following questions: 1. Could these be the beginning of the last days for Putin? How much trouble is he in behind the vast cloak of secrecy that is the Kremlin? 2. Could there be a more painful start for the Conservative leadership in Britain as Prime Ministers Truss plunges the UK economy into a never-seen-before turmoil? 3. Is the West looking the other way while rumors of upheaval behind the scenes in China could affect the Communist empire’s global footprint? 4. Does Italy now have a perfect Fascist leader who happens to be a woman? 5. New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman unveils, Confidence Man, a disturbing reckoning of the 45th president, yet she doesn’t explain why she along with so many reporters failed to report what they now say they knew at the beginning? Dr Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban, and Social Studies, at RMIT University, Melbourne
October 16, 2022
The Biggest Ideas In The Universe. Elton John @ 75.
Sean Carroll - The Biggest Ideas in the Universe The most trusted explainer of the most mind-boggling concepts pulls back the veil of mystery that has too long cloaked the most valuable building blocks of modern science. Sean Carroll, with his genius for making complex notions entertaining, presents in his uniquely lucid voice the fundamental ideas informing the modern physics of reality. Physics offers deep insights into the workings of the universe but those insights come in the form of equations that often look like gobbledygook. Sean Carroll shows that they are really like meaningful poems that can help us fly over sierras to discover a miraculous multidimensional landscape alive with radiant giants, warped space-time, and bewilderingly powerful forces. High school calculus is itself a centuries-old marvel as worthy of our gaze as the Mona Lisa. And it may come as a surprise the extent to which all our most cutting-edge ideas about black holes are built on the math calculus enables. Sean Carroll guides readers toward grasping the very equation Einstein used to describe his theory of general relativity. In the tradition of the legendary Richard Feynman lectures presented sixty years ago, this book is an inspiring, dazzling introduction to a way of seeing that will resonate across cultural and generational boundaries for many years to come. Gillian Gaar - Elton John @ 75 Few rock artists continue to gather more and more adulation with age. Sir Elton Hercules John is an exception who proves the rule. In Elton John @ 75, veteran rock journalist Gillian Gaar presents a unique and beautifully produced celebration of the iconic and beloved rock star, examining Sir Elton through the lens of 75 career accomplishments and life events. Key studio albums are featured, of course, as are a curated selection of his earworm singles. But Gaar delves deeper to reveal the events that helped chart the course of Elton’s career: Beginning with his 1969 debut LP, Elton John is regarded as one of the most influential musicians and performers of the previous five decades. In examining 75 touchstones, Gaar provides a unique presentation of Elton’s career arc, from his first steps as a solo artist to the breakthrough album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to his flamboyant stage presence, and beyond. Every page is illustrated with stunning concert and candid offstage photography, including gig posters, 7-inch picture sleeves, and more. This incredible package also includes a gatefold Elton John timeline, a previously unpublished gatefold artwork, an 8×10-inch glossy print, and a pullout poster.
September 25, 2022
The Visual Chronicler Of Our Times. Royalty In Movies. New Experimental Music.
The unstoppable cacophony of Manhattan’s ambient soundtrack - police sirens, a building’s gurgling water pipes, the banging and crashing of who-knows-what fail to stymie Steve Brodner’s gentle, yet acerbic comments. We are recording via Zoom, it’s around 8.30 pm, the famed political cartoonist appears to have the windows open, with no intention of allowing the outside racket to interfere with our conversation on his new book, Living & Dying In America. This is the type of scenario that Brodner is so apt to illustrate. Getting a point across while creating the ambiance of a “situation”. Living & Dying In America is a daily graphic diary of the covid-19 years, conceived, written, and drawn by the award-winning caricaturist. It is a testament to those who died, a chronicle of the hardships and the pain suffered by those who lived through it, a grim indictment of political and civic leaders who failed us, it’s a profound moral document of our times. The passing of Queen Elizabeth 11 has enabled all and sundry who have the tiniest connection to the royals to pontificate for hours on end over every facet of media, and true to form the networks have flown legions of commentators over to Blighty for seemingly non-stop 24/7 coverage of people standing in line for a month of Sundays, hoping to get a peek at the dead monarch. The whole parade of pomp and circumstance, and common folk weeping prompted a reflection on the monarchy, but that may be better left to another time when the current episode is over. So, we selected a different look at the royals, film and media critic Bob Ross will join the show to discuss Royalty in Movies. As always, Mr. Ross has somewhat of a twinkle in his eye as he unveils a list of Royals in Movies. How about you join in by telling us your choice for Royalty in Movies? Send your selection to firstname.lastname@example.org. To close the show, new experimental music from the Absorb label out of Melbourne, Australia. The World I Want Would Be Celestial, Wet is an exceptional double album featuring acclaimed and lesser-known artists. The label says, “This is their first full-length release, that serves as a timestamp of a very special chapter of contemporary experimental music being made in Naarm (Melbourne) and its surrounds. Absorb acknowledges the Custodians of the lands on which this publication was produced. So-called Australia is stolen land, where sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” The cut we selected is I Don’t Hate You by Emily Fishpool. And, full marks for the excellent artwork. Enjoy!
September 19, 2022
Questions. And, Answers.
Carolyn Hays - A Girlhood: Letter To My Transgender Daughter One ordinary day, a caseworker from the Department of Children and Families knocked on the Hays family's door to investigate an anonymous complaint about the upbringing of their transgender child. It was this knock, this threat, that began the family's journey out of the Bible Belt but never far from the hate and fear resting at the nation's core. Self-aware and intimate, A Girlhood asks us all to love better, not just for the sake of Hays's child but for children everywhere enduring injustice and prejudice just as they begin to understand themselves. A Girlhood is a call to action, an ode to the community, a plea for empathy, and hope for a better future. A Girlhood is a love letter to a child who has always known exactly who she is--and who is waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. Carolyn Hays is an award-winning, critically acclaimed, bestselling author, who has chosen to publish to A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter under a pen name to protect the privacy of her family. Marisa G. Franco - Platonic: How The Science Of Attachment Can Help You Make And Keep Friends How do we make and keep friends in an era of distraction, burnout, and chaos, especially in a society that often prizes romantic love at the expense of other relationships? In Platonic, Dr. Marisa G. Franco unpacks the latest, often counterintuitive findings about the bonds between us—for example, why your friends aren’t texting you back (it’s not because they hate you!), and the myth of “friendships happening organically” (making friends, like cultivating any relationship, requires effort!). As Dr. Franco explains, to make and keep friends you must understand your attachment style—secure, anxious, or avoidant: it is the key to unlocking what’s working (and what’s failing) in your friendships. Making new friends, and deepening longstanding relationships, is possible at any age—in fact, it’s essential.
September 11, 2022
An Ongoing Conversation With Jah Wobble - Part One - LEM Vol 298
“I love Wobble!” Bellowed Martin Atkins, (renowned drummer for Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke and more) when he heard I was about to do an ongoing series of conversations with the legendary bass man. Martin’s sentiment has to be universal, because the mere mention of the name Jah Wobble and every music aficionado’s faced lights up. Wobble’s career stretches back to the musical Middle Ages when British Punk was just a glimmer in a Svengali’s eye, (née McLaren). John Joseph Wardle, known by the stage name, Jah Wobble became known to a wider audience as the original bass player in Public Image Ltd (PiL) in the late 1970s and early 1980s; he left the band after two albums. Following his departure from PiL, he developed a solo career. In 2012, he reunited with fellow PiL guitarist Keith Levene for Metal Box in Dub and the album Yin & Yang. Since then and up until the present day, John has been involved in numerous projects and his collaborations read like a who’s who of almost every genre of noted musicians. Along the way, Wardle despite being a lovable geezer, he has managed to run up a remarkable list of confrontations and scrapes which he unabashedly recounts in his autobiography, Memoirs Of A Geezer, published in 2009. In the very first moments of our initial conversation, John Wardle made it clear he had a lot to say and was enjoying how the chat was developing. He suggested we record an ongoing series of conversations, so without delving into more of the man’s prodigious career, we are going to proceed with as many conversations as it takes to bring you a complete understanding of who John Wardle - Jah Wobble is. This is Part One of An Ongoing Conversation with Jah Wobble. Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3CW
September 11, 2022
The Intractability Of Racism In American Politics
Barack Obama and his family have been the objects of rumors, legends, and conspiracy theories unprecedented in US politics. Outbreaks of anti-Obama lore have occurred in every national election cycle since 2004 and continue to the present day—two elections after his presidency ended. In Trash Talk, folklorist Patricia A. Turner examines how these thought patterns have grown ever more vitriolic and persistent and what this means for American political culture. Through the lens of attacks on Obama, Trash Talk explores how racist tropes circulate and gain currency. As internet communications expand in reach, rumors and conspiracy theories have become powerful political tools, and new types of lore like the hoax and fake news have taken root. The mainstream press and political establishment dismissed anti-Obama mythology for years, registering concern only when it became difficult to deny how much power those who circulated it could command. Trash Talk demonstrates that the ascendancy of Barack Obama was never a signal of a post-racial America. Patricia A. Turner is Professor of African American Studies and of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her previous books include I Heard It Through the Grapevine and Whispers on the Color Line. “I never ridiculed Obama, how could I?” Remembers Steve Brodner, highly-regarded caricaturist and political cartoonist. Steve shares his take on the cruel disparagement of Barack Obama and his family. And, he uses this opportunity to give a New Yorker’s appraisal of the 45th president. Plus, Brodner reveals he has a new book due for publication soon, Living & Dying In America: A Daily Chronicle 2020 - 2022. Every day, late at night or early in the morning, from March 26, 2020, to January 1, 2022, Steve Brodner would get to work. In those midnight hours, he would review the day's reportage, sit down at his drawing board, and memorialize a singular person or event that played a role, willingly or unwillingly, in shaping that day. A long-form conversation with Steve is scheduled to discuss his new book on Life Elsewhere.
September 05, 2022
Rudy Tambala on A. R. Kane, Jübl & The Business Of Life
Discovering new music has been an integral part of my life for many years. That I’m still able to get giddy with excitement when hearing Arlo Parks or Pela or Barzin for the first time is, honestly, the same rush I got when hearing The Stones at The Railway Hotel, the same night Andrew Loog Oldham showed up and changed history. Your brain-pan is either open to new music or it’s stuck in a musty-dusty time warp which usually marks the time you first said, I love you after an orgasm — and meant it. The notes accompanying the new album, Sweet Company by Jabu cite A. R. Kane as an influence that makes discovering new music to another level. The impact A. R. Kane’s Lolita had on me was has resonated for over thirty years. How exciting then to know that Amos Childs, Jasmine Butt, Alex Rendall, and Daniela Dyson of Jabu unabashedly give a nod to Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli of A. R. Kane. No doubt, many musicians have, over the years listened carefully for hours to Lolita and asked, How did they get that sound? That plaintive, sexy treated guitar sound mixed with an acoustic on top, the seductive voice, and then — the thundering electric guitar explodes in your head! From the first moment I heard Lolita, I had to hear it again and again. Thirty years on, it still sounds so modern, so new. And of course, there was the sleeve. Enterprising 4AD records were known for inventive artwork, but this one went further. A provocative nude, a young girl — holding behind her back a huge knife! The sum total of the sound and image is extraordinary, as in fuckin’ brilliant. A year or so back I blabbered on about my fascination and enthusiasm for A. R. Kane to Rudy Tambala in a long in-depth conversation. I soon learned that Rudy is a smart guy, he’s well-read, he’s articulate and he enjoys a spirited conversation. He’s sincere when he states, “Rock ’n’ roll is fucking sex! It’s the rhythm of your blood. It’s the most vital force. Without it, there isn’t any existence on this planet!” The irony of his words adds to the fascination of listening to a man whose creative talent has been on display for over three decades. The forthright musician reveals how he and his bandmate, Alex Ayuli created their extraordinary and frequently emulated sound. He talks enthusiastically of the beginnings of A. R. Kane, detailing the creation of the noted Lollita artwork.
August 24, 2022
A Conversation With Maram & Con
How often do creative people write a concise bio about themselves that clearly explains who they are? Hardly ever. Then along come, Maram & Con. These are their words: "From friends to lovers, to teammates in marriage, to partners in music. Maram & Con is a duo from Port Townsend, WA consisting of Conor Sisk and Maram Arifi. The duo was created during the isolating years of COVID after joining a club for musicians that enabled them to create songs every week as a pastime (Friday Night Song Club). marCo is their first album which was recorded at their home studio (in their living room). The album consists of an eclectic variety of songs that are a reflection of many genres. They have a four-year-old named Rohan, and are expecting another baby in September. There is so much more music to come out of this dynamic duo!” When you listen to our conversation you’ll understand why we couldn’t improve on Maram & Con’s self-penned bio. Unabashedly, we want you to know, they are talented, delightful, and charming, and they have created a very special album with marCo. Enjoy their enthusiasm for each other and their music. We begin the show with The Orbiting Object by Young Moon from the album, Paraverbal Orchids. This is the work of Trevor Montgomery who says, “I live on the south island of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Paraverbal: being nonverbal communicationOrchid: a plant with complex flowers that are often showy or bizarrely shaped, having a large specialized lip (labellum) and frequently a spur.” Excellent work, Mr. Montgomery. | 12 Missed Calls are out of Montreal. Is It My Eye? Is It Your Light? Is from their LP, Sunset Today. Steve Clarkson is on instruments, samples, and programming and Michèle Katrina Thorsen is on vocals, lyrics, and poems. Interesting work. | Rebecca May, Kristina Bergman, and Kendra Robayo use the moniker, Lady Lips. They are out of Connecticut, their LP, Cat Eat Dog has a variety of songs, including French Monkey which reminds us of Lizzy Mercier Descloux. We recommend you also check out, Fourth of July.
August 22, 2022
The Tragedy Of Slenderman. A Petition For Climate Protection
Environmental journalist, Robert Hunziker, a frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere shares his opinion on why temperatures across Europe are reaching record highs; why people in Seattle where home air-conditioning is unusual are suffering from extreme heat; how can Florida, already swelteringly hot half of the year, have a heat index that is the highest it has ever been? Robert in his characteristically unflappable mode explains and asks that you read and sign the Petition for Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative.On May 31, 2014, in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, two twelve-year-old girls attempted to stab their classmate to death. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier’s violence was extreme, but what seemed even more frightening was that they committed their crime under the influence of a figure born by the internet: the so-called “Slenderman.” Yet the even more urgent aspect of the story, that the children involved suffered from undiagnosed mental illnesses, often went overlooked in coverage of the case. Kathleen Hale’s Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls tells that full story for the first time in deeply researched detail, using court transcripts, police reports, individual reporting, and exclusive interviews. Morgan and Anissa were bound together by their shared love of geeky television shows and animals, and their discovery of the user-uploaded scary stories on the Creepypasta website could have been nothing more than a brief phase. But Morgan was suffering from early-onset childhood schizophrenia. She believed that she had been seeing Slenderman for many years, and the only way to stop him from killing her family was to bring him a sacrifice: Morgan’s best friend Payton “Bella” Leutner, whom Morgan and Anissa planned to stab to death on the night of Morgan’s twelfth birthday. Bella survived the attack but was deeply traumatized, while Morgan and Anissa were immediately remanded into jail, and the severity of their crime meant that they would be prosecuted as adults. There, as Morgan continued to suffer from worsening mental illness after being denied antipsychotics, her life became more and more surreal.
August 17, 2022
A Zero Diddly Squat Conversation With The Shend
In keeping with the Dadaesque spirit of The Shend and his work with Anzahlung, along with The Cravats, The Babymen, DCL Locomotive, The Very Things, and certainly a few more, we could not resist using an absurd redundant headline. As you will hear in the lyrics for What You Think Is All You've Got, the title cut for Anzahlung’s second album, “Diddly Squat” as spat out - er - sung by The Shend makes perfect sense. In fact, we maintain this new platter from Mr. Shend and his coconspirator, Joe 91 is not only a fine effort it’s also by far their most relatable collection of songs. “Succubus swing & Doom disco” offers The Shend during our conversation. And yes, there are some serious toe-tapping beats going on here. The creation of the latest Anzahlung LP is explained in modest restraint as are the sightings of The Spend’s theoretical neighbor, Sting. There are a lot of tongue-in-cheek references, yet there’s also an obvious tenderness behind that almost gruff Brummie demeanor as you’ll hear when The Shend speaks fondly of Mark Astronaut’s passing. All the same, everything is open to ridicule in the eyes of The Shend and Joe 91, their essential sardonic English humor cannot be abated. The Shend selected the music throughout the interview, including cuts from Anzahlung’s new LP and Not Doing It by The Astronauts in tribute to the sad passing of Mark Astronaut. Seriously, it’s heart-warming chatting to The Shend, he’s a lovely fellow. Enjoy our zero diddly squat conversation. To close the show an exceptional remix of
August 17, 2022
Quintessential English Music - A Conversation With Benjamin Berton
The irony of French novelist and rock music critic, Benjamin Berton penning an in-depth book on Daniel Treacy and Television Personalities cannot be lost on the quintessential English music icon. Yet, irony has been a mainstay of Treacy’s life from his futile attempt to kidnap Paul McCartney, his chronic addiction’s to his brilliant sly observations of the world around him. Berton has managed a scholarly effort in chronicling Daniel and TVP and by his own admission - he is a fan. In our Zoom conversation, Benjamin almost frantically shares many details from his book, while emphasizing his passion for the unique Englishness of his subject. Here are a few glimpses into Dreamland. It’s 2977 and Daniel Tracy has just walked past the boutique which, a few months earlier, Malcolm McLaren, manager of Sex Pistols, renamed for the umpteenth time. Daniel had just turned 18 in May. He’s wearing a pair of cheap jeans and a checked blue on blueshift. His only touch of originality, as far as clothing is concerned, is a leather cap, pierced with small metal studs, covering his hair which is fairly short for the time, but it falls in untidy locks over his neck. At school, Daniel was shy and introverted, on the rare occasions when he attended, that is. According to the files of the London Oratory School, he reached the summits of truancy during his last school year, setting a record. Jowe Head , the brothers Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks and a few others form a group with variable contours called Swell Maps, the first records of which, released at the same time as those of TVP, had attracted Daniel’s attention. Daniel invited Jowe Head to come and see him. So he turned up at the family flat for a cup of tea. Jowe and Daniel found they had much in common. They both liked fragile voices, childlike characters, and a mix of musical dilettantism. Alan McGee would willingly recognize the role played by Daniel Treacy in hatching his own ambitions. It would be farcical to pretend that Daniel Treacy had taught him everything, but it’s probable that his audacity was the driving force that gave wings to McGee’s career. Addiction was another point in common. Treacy was falling headfirst into his heroin habit, whilst Cobain would, for several months, walk a destructive path of alternating efforts to kick the habit and being tempted to drug himself into oblivion. When they first met backstage at the Astoria, Treacy, and Cobain hardly spoke to each other. Cobain asked the singer if he had everything he needed, which Daniel confirmed, though it’s not clear what he meant by “everything”. I was amazed by his appearance. I had been expecting the worse, but the man who greeted us showed no sign of physical impairment. His right leg was paralyzed and his foot strangely towards the inside, but his face was smooth, relaxed and, above all, looked as if he were twenty or thirty years younger. Daniel’s eyes were clear, even though he could hardly see anything.
August 01, 2022
A Conversation With Dr. Camilla Pang. Richard Gabriel On Infamous Verdicts
Camilla Pang An Outsider’s Guide To Humans - What Science Taught Me About What We Do And Who We Are “Blessed with the solid combination of ASD, ADHD, and Ph.D. - I use the powers of neurodiversity to navigate the under-passed connections of how human psychology can meander beyond the norm. The study of humans and analogous evolving systems are my lifelong passion which is fed by books, observation, and intricate sensing which I process through the lenses of science and art in my writing.” These words are on the website of Dr. Camilla Pang, who shares her story with uncompromising grace, honesty, and subtle wit in her writing and in person. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of eight, Camilla Pang struggled to understand the world around her. Desperate for a solution, she asked her mother if there was an instruction manual for humans that she could consult. With no blueprint to life, Pang began to create her own, using the language she understands best: science. That lifelong project eventually resulted in An Outsider’s Guide to Humans, original and incisive exploration of human nature and the strangeness of social norms, written from the outside looking in–which is helpful to even the most neurotypical thinker. Camilla Pang uses a set of scientific principles to examine life’s everyday interactions. “I use the microscope of science to shed light on the bigger pictures of social norms, and advocates for neurodiversity being a hidden treasure of human evolution.” Camilla writes, adding, “My mother is an artist, and my father is a scientist, and being honest I am somewhere caught in between.” Camilla Pang holds a Ph.D. in bioinformatics from University College London and is a postdoctoral scientist. Her career and studies have been heavily influenced by her diagnoses of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD and she is driven by her passion for understanding humans and how we work. Pang is also a volunteer cancer researcher at the Francis Crick Institute and volunteers on socio-psychological projects for mining communities in Africa. She is an active contributor to art and science initiatives and often partakes in mental health and decision-making research projects. Richard Gabriel Acquittal: An Insider Reveals The Stories and Strategies Behind Today’s Most Infamous Verdicts It was October 3, 1995. The shocking outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial leaves a nation divided. Then, July 5, 2011. Casey Anthony walks free despite being convicted by millions on cable news and social media. There are times when something as supposedly simple as a just verdict rises to the level of cultural touchstone. Often these moments hinge on logic that seems flawed and inexplicable—until now. Lead trial consultant, Richard Gabriel explains in his book Acquittal how some of the most controversial verdicts in recent times came to be. ￼Drawing on more than twenty-eight years of experience, Gabriel provides firsthand accounts of his work on high-profile cases, from the tabloid trials of Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson, and Phil Spector to the political firestorms involving Enron and Whitewater. An expert on court psychology and communications, Gabriel offers unique insights on defendants, prosecutors, judges, witnesses, journalists, and the most important people in the room: the jury. Don't miss Richard's answer to the question, “What verdict surprised you the most?”
July 17, 2022
James Hamblin. Daniel Bergner. Dajung.
James Hamblin, a preventive medicine physician and staff writer for The Atlantic was curious about the new science of skin microbes and probiotics. He discovered that keeping skin healthy is a booming industry, and yet it seems like almost no one agrees on what actually works. In his new book, Clean - The New Science Of Skin, Hamblin explores how we care for our skin today. He even experimented with giving up showers entirely. His conclusion on the meaning of “clean” may be surprising and at times, humorous. In the early 1960s, JFK declared that science would take us to the moon. He also declared that science would make the “remote reaches of the mind accessible” and cure psychiatric illness with breakthrough medications. When Daniel Bergner’s younger brother was diagnosed as bipolar and put in a locked ward in the 1980s, psychiatry seemed to have achieved what JFK promised: a revolution of chemical solutions to treat mental illness. Yet as Bergner’s brother was deemed a dire risk for suicide and he and his family were told his disorder would be lifelong, he found himself taking heavy doses of medications with devastating side effects. In recounting his brother’s journey alongside the gripping, illuminating stories of Caroline, who is beset by the hallucinations of psychosis, and David, who is overtaken by depression, Bergner examines the evolution of how we treat our psyches. He reveals how the pharmaceutical industry has perpetuated our biological view of the mind and our drug-based assumptions about treatment—despite the shocking price paid by many patients and the problematic evidence of drug efficacy. in recounting his brother’s journey alongside the gripping, illuminating stories of Caroline, who is beset by the hallucinations of psychosis, and David, who is overtaken by depression, Bergner examines the evolution of how we treat our psyches. He reveals how the pharmaceutical industry has perpetuated our biological view of the mind and our drug-based assumptions about treatment—despite the shocking price paid by many patients and the problematic evidence of drug efficacy. At the age of twelve, Jen Dajung Kim moved from the Korean city of Incheon to China and attended an international school where she met her friends from different parts of the world. It was there that she acquired her bizarre monicker – Jay Knife – from her English teacher. In an effort to deal with childhood trauma and teenage angst, she started writing songs like she was filling a journal. In that journal, she recorded herself ruminating on self-identity, culture, religion, doubt, anger, and love. From 2017 to 2018, Dajung uploaded her songs to various music streaming platforms under the name Jay Knife. On her 2021 album Jay Knife, Dajung rips out the pages from her old journal and staples them together. She holds them in her hands and mourns the fading of her younger self. To her, Jay Knife is a recollection, but it also signals a new epoch of her musical world. in Untitled 2, Dajung struggles with understanding her dreams and desires as she candidly sings, “I feel like
July 10, 2022
Brit Hawthorne. Amanda Jayatissa. Loraine James.
In this edition two exceptional books and new ambient music. First, we begin with non-fiction, Raising Antiracist Children - A Parenting Guide by Britt Hawthorne (with Natasha Yglesias), followed by a delve into the world of fiction with Sri Lanka-based author, Amanda Jayatissa, and to close the show, new music from Whatever The Weather, AKA, Loraine James. In Raising Antiracist Children, Britt Hawthorne, a nationally recognized teacher and advocate and offers an interactive guide for strategically incorporating the tools of inclusivity into everyday life and parenting. Raising Antiracist Children is broken down into four comprehensive sections to help adults and kids find common ground in becoming anti-biased and antiracist human beings. Healthy bodies—Establishing a safe and body-positive home environment to combat stereotypes and create boundaries. Radical minds—Encouraging children to be agents of change, accompanied by scripts for teaching advocacy, giving and taking productive feedback, and becoming a coconspirator for change. Conscious shopping—Raising awareness of how local shopping can empower or hinder a community’s ability to thrive, and teaching readers of all ages how to create shopping habits that support their values. Thriving communities—Acknowledging the personal power we have to shape our schools, towns, and worlds, accompanied by exercises for instigating change. Britt talks openly about her own experiences as a bi-racial child, she has a gift for making complex, sensitive topics accessible, and her tone is both inspiring and comforting. Full of questionnaires, stories, activities, tips, and tools, Raising Antiracist Children is a practical guide essential for parents and caregivers everywhere. Amanda Jayatissa’s delightful and charming demeanor underplays her deliciously dark and compelling, psychological whodunit, My Sweet Girl. The new novel by the Sri Lanka-based author 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. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America – that is until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country. Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but by the time the police arrive, there’s no body – and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place. Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before? Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3zk
July 06, 2022
A Conversation With Patrick O'Neil
Gifted writer, Patrick O’Neil makes a well-deserved return to Life Elsewhere to talk about the latest volume of his memoir, Anarchy At The Circle K. An in your face gut-wrenching, and at times humorous tale of Patrick’s stint as a roadie, road manager, and drug addict during punk’s heyday of the 1980s. Crisscrossing the highways of America, on tour with such influential punk bands as Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Flipper, and Subhumans. O’Neil writes a brutally honest and no holds barred memoir depicting the sleepless nights behind the wheel, never-ending string of decrepit nightclubs, a plethora of ruthless promoters, depressing dressing rooms, copious amounts of cheap beer, clandestine drug buys, riotous crowds, intense violence, inadvertent OD’s, and seedy motel one night stands. This book is an insider’s look at life on the road from back in the day and you’re along for the ride. Also in the show, a remarkable new music discovery, Finding Home by Maya Youssef, a multi-award-winning musician, and composer from Syria. She is hailed as ‘queen of the qanun,’ the 78-stringed Middle Eastern plucked zither. Her music is rooted in the Arabic classical tradition but forges pathways into Western classical and contemporary styles. Finding Home is a journey through memories and the essence of home both within and without. Maya wrote this album during a time of spiritual awakening. Over time she has come to accept the loss of her homeland and is in the process of grieving. Maya recalls “The world which existed before the war started, despite it naturally having problems, was a beautiful world with a booming economy, artistic scene, film festivals and visiting international artists, Damascus was the third safest city in the world. The loss of that world was heart-wrenching and, in a way, steered me towards a universal concept of home. I feel that the world is my home and humanity is my home. I want to take people through a transformative journey, where they land in that place of home for themselves”. The gun statistics are courtesy of Giffords Law Center
July 04, 2022
Barzin On Voyeurs In The Dark - Show 475
“I’ll burn your house, I’ll burn it down with my desire” Lyrics from In The Morning, a song on Barzin’s 2013 album, To Live Alone In That Long Summer. All these years later, Barzin stays with his themes, writing shockingly vivid, yet poignant songs, with Beauty, Dreams, Pretty Girls, and of course, Love reoccurring in Voyeurs In The Dark, the Canadian-based artist’s latest release. After four years in the making, the singer-songwriter and poet does not disappoint with the superbly-crafted album. Although he proclaims he was not trained as a musician, he certainly knows how he wants his songs to sound. The arrangements and production are beautiful, a pleasure to immerse yourself in on each repeated listen as Barzin edges towards careful experimentation. In our conversation on Voyeurs In The Dark Barzin shares his process for writing, composing, and recording, he also talks about playing live and offers to jet down from Toronto to give an impromptu performance at my home. Enjoy his music and words.
June 12, 2022
Dr. Kampmark’s Opinions - Show 474
No matter where you get your news from, it’s always worthwhile discovering an alternate take on the headlines. We regularly call upon the learned Dr. Binoy Kampmark because no matter the topic he is always ready to share his well-considered opinions. In this edition of Life Elsewhere we ask the following: 1. Putin’s war. Is it still news? Or, has the rest of the world already moved on from daily coverage? 2. America’s gun fetish. Does it damage America’s standing in the rest of the world? 3. The big divide in America. Is the country broken forever? Will the only way for the left and the right to come together be under the iron fist of a dictator? 4. The economy. Are the rising prices manufactured by greedy corporations? 5. The Depp-Heard trial. The social media rush to judgment. Lurid details as entertainment? 6. 70 years on the throne, it’s Her Royal Majesty’s platinum jubilee. When she goes, will this signal the demise of the British royal family, similar to other European monarchs? Listen carefully to Dr. Kampmark’s opinions, as always, he may surprise you. Binoy Kampmark is a senior lecturer at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He is a regular contributor to CounterPunch. Also in the show, we venture into the world of live jazz. Marrickville is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia, this is where you will find the legendary restaurant and bar, Lazybones. This is also the venue for some very cool jazz. We bring you a cut from a new live recording, Lazybones by Bentley, it features Mike Bentley on Drums, Edits, Mixing, Mastering, Matthew Thomson on Lead Keys, and Daniel Pliner on Synths. This is a fully improvised recording, certainly one of the very best we have heard in a long time. The cut you’ll hear is Been A While, and we recommend you search out more from Mike Bentley.
June 06, 2022
Two Very Different And Exceptional Books
Jori Lewis - Slaves for Peanuts: A Story of Conquest, Liberation, and a Crop That Changed History Who knew the humble peanut could provide a fascinating backdrop for an expedition into history, geography, culture, economics, and West Africa. Award-winning independent writer, Jori Lewis weaves a complex story in Slaves For Peanuts with a deft hand at including the tiniest of details without ever boring her reader. Few of us know the peanut’s tumultuous history or its intimate connection to slavery and freedom. Jori Lewis explains the natural and human history of a crop that transformed the lives of millions. She reveals how demand for peanut oil in Europe ensured that slavery in Africa would persist well into the twentieth century, long after the European powers had officially banned it in the territories they controlled. Delving deep into West African and European archives, Lewis recreates a world on the coast of Africa that is breathtakingly real and unlike anything modern readers have experienced. Slaves For Peanuts is told through the eyes of a set of richly detailed characters—from an African-born French missionary harboring runaway slaves, to the leader of a Wolof state navigating the politics of French imperialism—who challenge our most basic assumptions of the motives and people who supported human bondage. At a time when Americans are grappling with the enduring consequences of slavery, here is a new and revealing chapter in its global history. Carlos Allende - Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love Are Jigdesh and Charlie, the brilliantly depicted leads in Carlos Allende’s new novel, gay caricatures? The author’s answer may surprise you. The Mexican-born writer is not one to shy away from sharing his opinions. For instance, Carlos lets you know that gay millennials have it far too easy. “They don’t understand what it was like to keep your queerness a secret - or not be able to marry the person you love!” Mr. Allende recognizes his target audience for Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love may be older gay men. “But women like it too!” He laughs, adding “And some straight men.” Yes, his new novel, set in Los Angeles is full, if not brimming over with gay-world references from movies to TV to interior design and queer icons. It’s a racey read as in breathtakingly fast and deliberately filthy. Carlos spares no one from his inquisitive and informed gay appraisal. No one in his book is half-formed. With a super-intense economical use of words, here is a writer who knows exactly just how much description to give. And, it works. Laugh? You’ll cry at the absurdity of the situations. While at the same time, the French Farce scenarios could also be oh, so too real. This is the charm of Allende’s writing. You will crack up laughing, but if you have any understanding at all of what it feels like to be disenfranchised, to be an outsider - or gay, you will also see the poignant truth in Carlos Allende’s words.
May 30, 2022
A Conversation With Tess Parks
What a pleasure to chat with Tess Parks, an artist I have been an unabashed fan of since her 2013 debut album, Blood Hot. You never know where a conversation will go, Tess made that clear from the start as she recalls in her pre-teens being captivated by seeing Oasis live in concert. Liam strutting on stage with an acoustic guitar had a huge impact on Tess. “I thought, I can do that!” Later, when asked to choose music to fit into the show, Tess says, “Does it have to be my own?” Where many artists use the opportunity to wax lyrically about their own work, Tess selects the legendary Bill Withers and a rare cut from gospel/soul artist, Shirley Ann Lee. Tess is not ignoring her own music, instead, she is sharing her thoughts, her feelings, her passion - just as she does so perfectly in her latest LP, And Those Who Were Seen Dancing. The Toronto-based talent is a genuine voice of rock and roll. Listen carefully to what she says and you’ll understand why I’m looking forward to inviting Tess back on the show for more conversations.
May 16, 2022
Seek And Hide. Why We Fight.
Despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the fear of another American civil war, most of the time wars don’t happen, and of the millions of hostile rivalries worldwide, only a fraction erupt into violence. At this moment of crisis in world affairs, this necessary book from a seasoned peacebuilder and acclaimed expert in the field lays out the root causes and remedies for war and explain the reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers can turn the tides once conflict threatens to or becomes war. Its message could not be more urgent right now. Why We Fight draws on decades of economics, political science, psychology, and real-world interventions to lay out the root causes and remedies for war, showing that violence is not the norm; that there are only five reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers turn the tides through tinkering, not transformation. From warring states to street gangs, ethnic groups and religious sects to political factions, there are common dynamics to heed and lessons to learn. Along the way, through Blattman’s time studying Medellín, Chicago, Sudan, England, and more, we learn from vainglorious monarchs, dictators, mobs, pilots, football hooligans, ancient peoples, and fanatics. What of remedies that shift incentives away from violence and get parties back to dealmaking? Societies are surprisingly good at interrupting and ending violence when they want to—even gangs do it. Realistic and optimistic, this is a book that lends new meaning to the adage “Give peace a chance.” Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3wJ
May 09, 2022
A Conversation With Anika Pyle
No one can really tell you how it feels. How you will be affected. Grief is immeasurable. Singer-songwriter and spoken word artist, Anika Pyle has bravely produced an album reflecting on the passing of her father. Although she admits it was cathartic, she explains recalling her albeit brief moments with her dad are ever-changing, as her memory plays tricks with reality. Yet, when Anika shares this description of her dad, you know it’s real, “He had long hair. He always had long hair, except for a couple of times when he had to go to court. He was a handsome man”. That is the voice of a daughter, a woman grappling with the loss of a parent. In Wild River, Anika’s most recent LP she tries to make sense of her father’s sudden death to an overdose. “It’s about loss in general.” She writes, adding, “We’ve all lost so much this past year - loved ones, jobs, houses, in many ways life as we knew it. By the time the pandemic hit, I was already deep into a grieving process and learned you can’t stubbornly resist a wild, unpredictable, uncontrollable river, no matter how desperately you battle the current.” The honesty of Anika’s words and music caught our attention. A Zoom conversation was arranged, Anika dressed in black, looked photo-shoot-ready as she spoke earnestly into the camera. Her thoughtful responses to questions were bolstered by her natural ability to smile and laugh. Listen carefully, we believe you’ll agree, Anika Pyle is a talent who deserves your attention.
May 02, 2022
A Conversation With Pictoria Vark. The Latest Single From Tess Parks - LEM Vol 280
“How many Parks can you have?” Quipped my producer, adding, “Imaging if Arlo Parks had a new release this week?” A good point. Is it a coincidence that two artists we are raving about both have the name Park(s) featured in this volume? And it happens, yes. Since we first heard I Can’t Bike (last year) from Pictoria Vark we were determined to invite the singer-songwriter from Iowa City onto the show. Then, we received an advance copy of her album, The Parts I Dread, and we were blown away. “Simply put, this has to be one of the best albums so far this year”, we raved. Meanwhile, London-based, Toronto-raised, Tess Parks had been on our radar for some while. Just as we were finalizing our conversation with Pictoria Vark the latest single from Tess arrived. Do You Pray is another example of why Tess is an artist you need to take notice of. Her latest LP, And Those Who Were Seen Dancing will drop on May 20th. Both artists write exceptional music, they each have a very definite style, and their art cannot be ignored. Listen carefully to what Pictoria/Victoria has to say about her music, touring, and many more topics. Her smile is infectious and comes across on the radio. And, make sure you indulge in the cuts Pictoria selected for the show. As you listen to Tess Parks’ Do You Pray you’ll understand why we will be inviting her to the show for an in-depth conversation. Two brilliant artists who represent the very best of new music, now. Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3wD
April 17, 2022
The Birth Of FBI Profiling. A Personal View Of Hong Kong - Show 469
On June 25, 1973, a seven-year-old girl went missing from the Montana campground where her family was vacationing. Somebody had slit open the back of their tent and snatched her from under their noses. None of them saw or heard anything. Susie Jaeger had vanished into thin air, plucked by a shadow. The largest manhunt in Montana’s history ensued, led by the FBI. As days stretched into weeks, and weeks into months, Special Agent Pete Dunbar attended a workshop at FBI Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, led by two agents who had hatched a radical new idea: What if criminals left a psychological trail that would lead us to them? Patrick Mullany, a trained psychologist, and Howard Teten, a veteran criminologist, had created the Behavioral Science Unit to explore this new “voodoo” they called “criminal profiling.” Ron Franscel, hailed as one of America’s best narrative nonfiction writers joins the program to talk about his new book, Shadow Man - An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling “Cantonese is a very sweary language”, announces Louisa Lim. The award-winning journalist is explaining the joy of using so many expletives when speaking about the place she grew up in. Ms. Lim has masterfully captured so much of the essence of what the British called a “barren rock” with personal accounts and observations of the place she loves, Hong Kong. For decades, Hong Kong’s history was simply not taught, especially to Hong Kongers, obscuring its origins as a place of refuge and rebellion. When protests erupted in 2019 and were met with escalating suppression from Beijing, Louisa Lim—raised in Hong Kong as a half-Chinese, half-English child, and now a reporter who has covered the region for nearly two decades—realized that she was uniquely positioned to unearth the city’s untold stories. Lim’s deeply researched and personal account casts startling new light on key moments: the British takeover in 1842, the negotiations over the 1997 return to China, and the future Beijing seeks to impose. Indelible City features guerrilla calligraphers, amateur historians and archaeologists, and others who, like Lim, aim to put Hong Kongers at the center of their own story. Wending through it all is the King of Kowloon, whose iconic street art both embodied and inspired the identity of Hong Kong—a site of disappearance and reappearance, power and powerlessness, loss and reclamation. Louisa Lim is a charming and fascinating guest. Just after Russia began attacking Ukraine, enterprising musicians and record companies immediately began releasing compilations to benefit the suffering people of that war-torn country. Almost daily we have received remarkable compilations from all over the world, including, Elegy for Ukraine: A Folkloric Compilation. We selected, Muzyky Vyryazukhi Moi (My Musical Instruments Carved Out of Wood) from a splendid collection of traditional Ukrainian folk songs. All income from sales of this compilation will be donated to institutions that help refugees victims of the war in Ukraine. Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3wq
April 17, 2022
A Conversation With Samuel Clowes Huneke - Show 467
Samuel Clowes Huneke chose to take what could be considered a niche aspect of a minority in a certain place at a particular time. Except, his fascinating and explorative book, States Of Liberation - Gay Men Between Dictatorship And Democracy In Cold War Germany is far more than simple catalog headings - or cliches - much more. Huneke has masterfully delved into his subject with enormous energy, utilizing charts, graphs, and illustrations along with insightful observations and anecdotes. Not once in his book does Samuel become preachy or hint at a sanctimonious tone. Instead, this knowledgeable assistant professor of history at George Mason University applies his obvious passion for his field of study in a delightful, comfortable manner. Not unlike how he comes across in conversation. Samuel’s book introduces a captivating cast of characters, from gay spies and Nazi scientists to queer politicians and secret police bureaucrats, States of Liberation tells the remarkable story of how the two German states persecuted gay men – and how those men slowly, over the course of decades, won new rights and created new opportunities for themselves in the heart of Cold War Europe. Relying on untapped archives in Germany and the United States as well as oral histories from witnesses and survivors, Huneke reveals that communist East Germany was in many ways far more progressive on queer issues than democratic West Germany. Samuel Clowes Huneke is a charming guest, making this a must-listen-to conversation. Over the last few weeks, in fact directly after Mr. Putin directed his forces to invade Ukraine, we have received almost daily, new releases in support of the Ukrainian people. Here then is a cut from Slava Ukraini! (This translates to Glory To Ukraine), this is an exceptional compilation out of London on the House of Mythology imprint, the track a previously unreleased cut from Daniel O’Sullivan - Waterbearer which will be on his forthcoming album, Rosarium, due for release on House of Mythology, later this year.
April 12, 2022
Fashion, Literature, An Icon & Pela - Show 466
Lauren S. Cardon, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama has taken her passion for her chosen field to explore an American trajectory in fashion. The result is, Fashioning Character - Style, Performance, And Identity In Contemporary American Literature, an engaging book examining works by Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison, Sherman Alexie, and Aleshia Brevard, among others. Lauren Cardon shows how we become what we wear. Over the twentieth century, the American fashion industry diverged from its roots in Paris, expanding and attempting to reach as many consumers as possible. Fashion became a tool for social mobility. During the late twentieth century, the fashion industry offered something even more valuable to its consumers: the opportunity to explore and perform. She illustrates how American fashion, with its array of possibilities, has offered a vehicle for curating public personas. Characters explore a host of identities as fashion allows them to deepen their relationships with ethnic or cultural identity, to reject the social codes associated with economic privilege, or to forge connections with family and community. These temporary transformations, or performances, show that identity is a process constantly negotiated and questioned, never completely fixed. Continue reading https://wp.me/p38QA8-3vR
April 12, 2022
A Conversation With David Christian
After 29 years with British indie/garage/beat/punk/psych-pop collective Comet Gain, singer/mastermind, and main fireraiser David Christian thought, "Why not do a solo album?" After all, some of his favorite records are also solo records by people from bands; John Cale, Gene Clark, Julian Cope, Stephen Duffy, Mike Nesmith, Curtis Mayfield, Neil Young... under the sun of his new home in the South of France, exchanged for Brexit London, a timeless folk-rock album was created, For Those We Met On The Way with the kind help of numerous friends on numerous instruments, credited to David Christian and The Pinecone Orchestra. A conversation with Norman B was arranged via Zoom. David willingly explained the creation of his debut solo album and shared memories of his early days in popular music. You’ll hear a relaxed, informative musician who undoubtedly has a passion for his craft. Plus, David’s young son, Emile patiently standing by as his father chats, finally, cannot hold back any longer and pops into frame to ask a few pertinent questions.
March 23, 2022
First, The Unthinkable, Then The Unbelievable. Ukrainian Folk Music Inspired Electronica. Show 465
Elizabeth Williamson - Sandy Hook - An American Tragedy And The Battle For Truth Based on hundreds of hours of research, interviews, and access to exclusive sources and materials, Sandy Hook is Elizabeth Williamson’s landmark investigation of the aftermath of a school shooting, the work of Sandy Hook parents who fought to defend themselves, and the truth of their children’s fate against the frenzied distortions of online deniers and conspiracy theorists. On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Ten years later, Sandy Hook has become a foundational story of how false conspiracy narratives and malicious misinformation have gained traction in society. One of the nation’s most devastating mass shootings, Sandy Hook was used to create destructive and painful myths. Driven by ideology or profit, or for no sound reason at all, some people insisted it never occurred, or was staged by the federal government as a pretext for seizing Americans’ firearms. They tormented the victims’ relatives online, accosted them on the street and at memorial events, accusing them of faking their loved ones’ murders. Some family members have been stalked and forced into hiding. A gun was fired into the home of one parent. Present at the creation of this terrible crusade was Alex Jones’s Infowars, a far-right outlet that aired noxious Sandy Hook theories to millions and raised money for the conspiracy theorists’ quest to “prove” the shooting didn’t happen. Enabled by Facebook, YouTube, and other social media companies’ failure to curb harmful content, the conspiracists’ questions grew into suspicion, suspicion grew into demands for more proof, and unanswered demands turned into rage. This pattern of denial and attack would come to characterize some Americans’ response to almost every major event, from mass shootings to the coronavirus pandemic to the 2020 presidential election, in which President Trump’s false claims of a rigged result prompted the January 6, 2021, assault on a bastion of democracy, the U.S. Capitol. 6th Crowd - Sokolonko Ukraine electronic producer 6TH Crowd (a.k.a. Dari Maksymova) has a new single 'Sokolonko', inspired by an old harvest song. This is the first offering from the album 'Step' which she was working on when Russia invaded Ukraine, turning the country into a war zone. About this song, Dari says, "This is a Ukrainian song from Donbas, my dear home region, which Russia is tearing apart right now. I didn’t know if I’d have a chance to do it later. In my research, as I learned more about Ukrainian folk music, I noticed that modern culture has plenty of references to music from western and central parts of my country, but nothing from the east. Nothing from my home. Culturally it simply didn’t exist. So I decided I wanted to change that balance and bring songs from East Ukraine back to life, to remind myself and everyone that Donbas is a historical part of Ukraine, no matter how badly Putin wants to destroy it,"
March 22, 2022
Remembering Mark Lanegan. Why The Applause For Putin?
“I’ve been preparing for Mark’s departure since the mid-90s.” Mark Pickerel “Everything in this room is influenced by Mark Lanegan, which is a big deal.” Jeff Fielder He was a big, tall, imposing fellow. His scowl could easily be misunderstood. You couldn’t mistake him when he walked into a room. There are many stories, some true, many exaggerated from his hometown of Ellensburg to his adopted city of Seattle to numerous stops along the way. He was and will remain a legend. Mark Lanegan died at the age of 57 on February 22, 2022. To honor the memory of a unique talent the original drummer for Screaming Trees, Mark Pickerel shares his thoughts from the early years to the present day. Guitarist and musical arranger for Mark Lanegan, Jeff Fielder offers his observations. As you listen to Mark and Jeff reminisce about Mark Lanegan, take note of how they talk of their friend in the present tense - not in the past. Also in the show, Political Analyst, Professor, and author of American Rule: How A Nation Conquered The World But Failed Its People, Jared Yates Sexton answers two important questions concerning the invasion of Ukraine 1. Why are factions of the GOP and commentators on the right applauding Putin and Russia? 2. Can we ascertain why Putin is invading Ukraine? Jared’s answers are succinct and thought-provoking. He is concerned that we are now in a new era and the old ways of dealing with war are no longer viable. Jared suggests we must all realize nothing is ever going to be the same.
February 28, 2022
Controversial Opinions. Hollywood vs. China.
“This is not something that’s going to go down well with some of your American listeners, but Trump is the consummate American politician. What more could you want to represent you than a corrupt individual who is constantly in the courts, the great tradition of a litigious society. He is the personification of the great American ideal, which is to spend freely in the courts, which is to litigate, to hustle, the great hustling tradition”. Dr. Binoy Kampmark, a frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere can always be relied upon to share his controversial opinions. The learned professor doesn’t hesitate to expound on all manner of topical issues with in-depth analysis. We asked Binoy to give his overview of the following topics: The Putin Problem The Royal Embarrassment The End Of Trump Global Warning Olympic Fatigue Assange Update Listen closely to what Binoy Kampmark says, he may surprise or even shock you. But, you can be assured he will give you much to ponder, if not argue over. Erich Schwartzel has written a fascinating book, Red Carpet - Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy. His story-telling reads like the screenplay for a Netflix documentary, designed to binge-watch. If there were such a category, then Schwartzel’s book would come under the heading binge-read. He takes the reader back in time to early Hollywood while filling in the gaps in the movie industry in China. There are generous amounts of anecdotes and tantalizing details all perfectly placed to make Red Carpet a page-turner. Erich’s depiction of dubious characters, American and Chinese who validated a curious relationship between Hollywood and China suggests the narrative is not only about the movie business but the state of our world. Erich Schwartzel is an engaging conversationalist, you won’t want to miss.
February 21, 2022
The Life Elsewhere Valentines Special 2022
To explore this funny ol’ thing we call love, six distinguished and talented guests were invited to answer two seemingly simple questions: 1. What Is Love? 2. What Is Your Favorite Love Song? Our guests quickly voiced the same conclusion, to question number one. The answer will have a different meaning depending on the circumstances. On reflection, everyone agreed, it’s a difficult question, yet all the guests gave truthful, honest, and perhaps self-revealing answers. For some guests, the answer to question number two was easy, they were ready with exactly which song to choose. While a couple of our guests may have chosen more than one favorite love song, given the opportunity. The answers to both questions are surprising, see if you can match the favorite love song to the correct guest. The guests Toronto-based singer-songwriter, musician, and poet, Barzin English singer-songwriter, Alice Kat Writer and social commentator, Kate Clarke Irish singer-songwriter, Keeley Alternative musician, Chris Connelly Iowa City-based singer-songwriter and bass player, Pictoria Vark The Songs Toploader - Dancing In The Moonlight Caetano Veloso - Cucurrucucu Paloma (Hable Con Ella) Fleetwood Mac - Silver Springs Terry Clarke - Walk With Me Tracey Ullman - They Don’t Know David Bowie - Wild Is The Wind
February 13, 2022
A Conversation With Bid of The Monochrome Set. LEM Vol 271
The Monochrome Set formed in London in 1978, from the remnants of a college group called The B-Sides, whose members had included Stuart Goddard, later known as Adam Ant. The original line-up consisted of Indian-born lead singer and principal songwriter Bid (real name Ganesh Seshadri), Canadian guitarist Lester Square (real name Thomas W.B. Hardy), drummer John D. Haney (formerly of The Art Attacks), and bass guitarist Charlie X. The band had two more bassists, Jeremy Harrington and Simon Croft, before Andy Warren of the Ants, a childhood friend of Bid, joined in late 1979. They released several singles for the Rough Trade label before recording their debut studio album, Strange Boutique, produced by Bob Sargeant for Virgin Records' imprint DinDisc in 1980. By 1990 the band had gone through a number of lineup changes and Bid recorded a number of albums with his band, Scarlet's Well. In 2010, Bid, Square, and Warren reformed the band, with the addition of drummer Jennifer Denitto from Scarlet's Well and keyboard player John Paul Moran. 2022 sees the band release their 16th studio album, Allhallowtide. Bid joined Norman B for an in-depth conversation, delving into conspiracy theories, the music business, and recovering from a serious health problem. This is an illumination interview with controversial opinions and ideas, complete with a look back at The Monochrome Set’s first 7” single, He’s Frank (Slight Return), and a preview of the band’s latest album.
February 13, 2022
Are You Scared Yet? Show 460
Robert Hunziker is a pleasant, polite fellow, he writes extensively on the environment, collating mind-boggling facts and figures. We invited Robert back to Life Elsewhere to bring us up to date with his latest findings on the state of our planet. This was prompted in part by his frequent contributions to CounterPunch. After listening to Robert Hunziker speak for 60 minutes you may well decide to clamber back into bed, pull the covers up over your head, and hope you doze off to sleep peacefully, even though it could be the middle of the day. Hunziker paints gruesome scenarios in vivid detail. He invites the listener to board an imaginary spaceship to view Earth from afar. As you hurtle through space, Mr. Hunziker adds another catastrophic possibility after another. Then, without missing a beat, he announces, “I don’t know how to pilot this craft back to Earth. To survive we will most likely have to find another planet to live on. Are you scared yet?”
February 13, 2022
True Fiction. Unclassifiable Music. Show 459
Two books by two talented authors. One writer uses imagined dialogue woven into documented events and facts while the other writer creates realistic scenarios with fictional characters. Kerri Maher The Paris Bookseller When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself. Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It’s where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged—none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company. Jean Chen Ho Fiona and Jane Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost. In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back. Some of the new music that arrives on my desk can be difficult to classify. The descriptives an artist is required to select for the various media platforms can appear confusing if not contradictory. For example, experimental, dreamy, melancholic, post-minimalism, ambient, computer-folk, spoken word, and drone are just some of the genres assigned to the following music. Continue reading
January 31, 2022
Understanding Addiction. The Language Revolution. Show 458
Carl Erik Fisher The Urge: Our History of Addiction Even after a decades-long opioid overdose crisis, intense controversy still rages over the fundamental nature of addiction and the best way to treat it. With uncommon empathy and erudition, Carl Erik Fisher draws on his own experience as a clinician, researcher, and alcoholic in recovery as he traces the history of a phenomenon that, centuries on, we hardly appear closer to understanding—let alone addressing effectively. As a psychiatrist-in-training fresh from medical school, Fisher was soon face-to-face with his own addiction crisis, one that nearly cost him everything. Desperate to make sense of the condition that had plagued his family for generations, he turned to the history of addiction, learning that the current quagmire is only the latest iteration of a centuries-old story: humans have struggled to define, treat, and control addictive behavior for most of recorded history, including well before the advent of modern science and medicine. Jing Tsu Kingdom of Characters - The Language Revolution That Made China Modern After a meteoric rise, China today is one of the world’s most powerful nations. Just a century ago, it was a crumbling empire with literacy reserved for the elite few, as the world underwent a massive technological transformation that threatened to leave them behind. In Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu argues that China’s most daunting challenge was a linguistic one: the century-long fight to make the formidable Chinese language accessible to the modern world of global trade and digital technology. Kingdom of Characters follows the bold innovators who reinvented the Chinese language, among them an exiled reformer who risked a death sentence to advocate for Mandarin as a national language, a Chinese-Muslim poet who laid the groundwork for Chairman Mao’s phonetic writing system, and a computer engineer who devised input codes for Chinese characters on the lid of a teacup from the floor of a jail cell. Without their advances, China might never have become the dominating force we know today. Both Carl Erik Fisher and Jing Tsu are exceptional writers, each has taken scholarly issues and flawlessly created masterful and readable books. Their passion and knowledge are evident in their engaging, informative conversations with Norman B.
January 25, 2022
A Conversation With Cathal Coughlan & Garrett Jacknife Lee of Telefis - LEM Vol 269
Ever since the damn Covid plague, working in isolation has become de rigueur for what feels like the last hundred years. Thankfully, most of us have become reliant on Zoom to interact with each other, face-to-face, albeit virally. This is how we have conducted our conversations for Life Elsewhere, and Zoom has become the obvious work tool for musicians and producers who are possibly thousands of miles apart. The new album, a hAon by Telefis from two of Irelands most acclaimed musicians, Cathal Coughlan and Garrett Jacknife Lee was planned and created via Zoom and other electronic media. With Cathal being based in the middle of England and Garrett ensconced just outside of Los Angeles, the pair worked on the Telefis project remotely. Although they had met up in person, earlier in their careers, the planning, recording, production, and mixing for a hAon was all conducted via the internet. Continuing with that theme our conversation took place in three different time zones. For Cathal, it was early evening, early afternoon for Norman B, and late morning for Garrett. Listen carefully as the conversation flows with details about producing the Telefis album, insights into working with legendary bass player, Jah Wobble, and going back in time to unravel an early post-punk release, Rapejacket from the album Comforter by Compulsion. You'll also hear one of Garrett's latest collaborations and production ventures with Mali-based singer, Rokia Koné, aka the Rose of Bamko on the beautiful, Bamanan album. This is also a prompt for you to check out Garrett Jacknife Lee's extraordinary list of production credits. Although this is very much a conversation about music, it is also an explanation as to why Telefis is important for Cathal and Garrett to honor their Irish heritage.
January 23, 2022
A Conversation With Harry Stafford - Show 457
There is something assuringly honest about Harry Stafford’s demeanor. He says without a hint of self-consciousness that he likes to get up on stage and put on a show and if that means dressing the part, then so be it, he’ll gladly do his best. Which goes a long way to explain why the one-time spiky-haired goth rocker now prefers to wear a conservative business suit with a white shirt and tie to perform in. Harry reckons if people pay good money to come to see you, then they deserve a show, not some bloke shambling on in boring jeans and a t-shirt. It all works because Stafford’s new album, Gothic Urban Blues presents a melancholy look backward without being old-fashioned. It’s a collection that could have easily been released ten, twenty or maybe thirty years ago, yet the suggestion that this is a carefully crafted homage to nostalgia is shattered by the crisp production and Stafford’s almost languid but up-to-the-moment lyrics. Gothic Urban Blues can be played all the way through without stopping or one track at a time, it’s one of those albums that works perfectly either way. Which is a lot like chatting with Harry. He gives thoughtful, well-considered answers with a treasure trove of insights and details that could persuade you that your sixty-minute conversation was really just ten minutes. He’s an affable chap is Harry Stafford, the ups and downs of the music biz may have given him cause to be cynical but he manages to keep that persona well hidden. Instead, he recounts the early days as founder, guitarist, and vocalist of post-punk gothic rockers Inca Babies as fondly as he chats about his latest venture. Stafford decided to release untamed solo material that echoes his love of blues piano and barroom ballads. The idea he says was to leave his noisy electric guitar behind - abandoning everything he held and cherished - to make some new music with a piano and a head full of ideas. His band is now called Guitar Shaped Hammers to reflect this cohesion of musical unity - with more guitars from Vincent O'Brien, and an additional layered sonic blast from Nick Brown (The Membranes). With intense percussion from Rob Haynes and a truly masterful trumpet contribution from jazz supremo Kevin Davy, the result is very much the soundtrack of a basement radio station stumbling across a new genre they’ve tagged Gothic Urban Blues.
January 17, 2022
2021: Questions Were Asked. Movies You May Have Seen. Books You Should Have Read. Music You Need. - Show 455
This is the first edition of Life Elsewhere of 2022. We begin by revisiting part of a conversation with author and political commentator, Jared Yates Sexton, recorded a few days after the historical event of January 6. We were all in shock. Questions were asked. Answers are needed. Please listen carefully. Acclaimed film and media critic, Bob Ross offers his take on the movies of 2021. The venerable appraiser agrees that with or without Covid, the multitude of streaming channels are equally as important a source for new films as are traditional cinemas. Ross doesn’t hesitate to give praise where he thinks due, while he almost spits with disgust at an unfortunate flick he scorns. Bob’s expectations for movies in 2022 are more Marvel-type crash-bang-pow, multi-million dollar epics, and the more interesting indie releases appearing toward the year-end. The always engaging author, Mark Haskell Smith shares his list of books you may have missed in 2021 Real Estate by Deborah Levy The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine Cairo Circles by Doma Mahmoud Cyber Mage by Saad Z. Hossien The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks Edited by Anna Von Planta Mark then suggests a list of books we should consider in 2022 The Pink Hotel by Liska Jacobs Exalted by Anna Dorn Burn Coast by Dale Maharidge Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson What Just Happened. The pandemic diary by Charles Finch Smith’s jocular and informative observations are always much appreciated at Life Elsewhere. Continue reading here
January 03, 2022
A Peculiarly British Christmas - Show 454
Christmas Pudding. Christmas Crackers. Pantomimes. Mince Pies. Boxing Day. Ah, yes, Boxing Day, if some of the other peculiarities of a British Christmas are explainable, Boxing Day remains a splendid conundrum. Christmas without Boxing Day is unthinkable in Britain. Forget what it’s really all about or where it originated from, December the 26th is certainly not a day to ignore. It’s a holiday, it’s about rituals and customs and eating leftovers and yes, drinking more. Not having Boxing Day would be tantamount to starting a revolution in good ol’ Blighty. Along with watching (or listening) to the Queen’s speech, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Boxing Day. To help us explain this and other peculiarities of a British Christmas we invited the hosts and originators of Prompety Prompt a British game show and podcast. Letty Butler and Stephen Mellor are based in the once dour grim industrial city of Sheffield, now a thriving rejuvenated metropolis set in the stunning countryside of Yorkshire. With their podcast, these two literary-minded folks shine a spotlight on new and existing writers with, (as they say) a twist. Having enjoyed their shows we thought it a fine idea to ask Letty and Michael to join Norman B for a conversation about the peculiarities of a British Christmas. The music featured in this edition is by Area with O Come Emanuel from the compilation LP, Excelsis - A Dark Noel (2021 Remaster). The original release was in 1995. Acclaimed industrial electronic musician and producer, Martin Bowes of Attrition fame remastered this album for Projekt Records out of Portland, Oregon. The last cut is Christmas Is Here by Peter Astor, British songwriter, and artist known for his work with The Loft and The Weather Prophets. The album is 24 a compilation on Where It's At Is Where You Are Records.
December 27, 2021
A Conversation With Vanessa Briscoe Hay - Show 453
Pylon Reenactment Society is fronted by former Pylon frontwoman Vanessa Briscoe Hay, whose inimitable vocal textures and phrasing define Pylon’s sound for most listeners. A sonic powerhouse, Hay also numbered among Paste Magazine’s list of “The 25 Greatest Front Women of All Time”. Pylon Reenactment Society formed from the ashes of Pylon, one of the most influential bands at the outset of what became known as the ‘Athens, GA music scene’, along with other frontrunners The B-52’s and R.E.M. Over 30 years ago, these three bands were heavily featured in the original feature documentary 'Athens, GA: Inside/Out', propelling them into the international spotlight. Pylon Reenactment Society (a.k.a. PRS) was founded in 2014, five years after Pylon’s celebrated history came to a sudden end in 2009 with the death of guitarist Randy Bewley. Since then, PRS has turned into a tight touring unit having performed at festivals and venues on both coasts, the Midwest and the Southeast. In addition to Hay, PRS is rounded out by Jason NeSmith (Casper & The Cookies) on guitar, Kay Stanton (Casper & The Cookies) on bass guitar and backing vocals, Damon Denton (Big Atomic) on keyboards, and Joe Rowe (The Glands) on drums. At the end of 2018, they released a 7” vinyl single of two original songs - 'Messenger' and 'Cliff Notes’. Photo by Sloan Carroll Rainwater
December 20, 2021
A Tale Of Pioneers & Revelations - Show 452
Compiling a book about a rock band could be a task, putting together the definitive book on Killing Joke had to be daunting. Here is a band that for over 40 years has confounded, confused, annoyed, upset more than a few people and achieved high praise from their peers and the legions of musicians they have influenced. To say Killing Joke is like no other band is quite an understatement. From the very beginning, they were a fully-formed musical monster with four completely different intellects. The stories, legends, and myths surrounding Killing Joke could take an eternity to unravel, yet what is certain, some of those scenarios are true. Lancashire-born writer, Chris Bryans faced the challenge of putting together an honest, sometimes revealing, yet never gratuitously fawning account of a band who people in the know said, impossible! You’ll never get to the bottom of all the stories and mystery surrounding Killing Joke, the naysayers said. Bryans, with a solid determination, did what any good journalist should do. He went to the source. In over 300 pages Chris Bryans managed to capture the voices of the principles involved, including contemporaries of Killing Joke - insiders, collaborators, friends, and musical peers. Plus, he persuaded Frank Jenkinson, a member of Killing Joke’s early inner circle to share some of his exceptional documentary photographs. The result, A Prophecy Fulfilled is a massive book, not only in size but also in its extensive content. Even though this is a book about a specific rock ’n’ roll band it is also an insight into a time, a journey, an uncompromising worldview like nothing else. Chris Bryans joins Life Elsewhere to talk about the creation of a book deserving of your attention, even if you are not a fan of Killing Joke.
December 13, 2021
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.”
December 06, 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
November 07, 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
November 02, 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.
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
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.
October 04, 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
October 03, 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'.
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!
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
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
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!
September 08, 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.
September 07, 2021
A Conversation With David Bowie - Edits
Norman B's conversation with David Bowie from the mid-1990s, recorded in Seattle
September 03, 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.
September 03, 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.
September 01, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
August 17, 2021