July 28, 2008

All these BUG things...

Still the Treaty

The government has intitiated high-level contact with the two main opposition parties to discuss the formation of an all-party body on the Lisbon Treaty. What oppositioners have to make everybody understand that NO didn't mean NO to Europe. It meant NO to some subjects of the Treaty. Of course, if "Sarco See" and his thugs put it on that way - sign or get out - Ireland will certainly sign in and discuss it later... However, this is not the way democracy must be.

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A New Border

People traveling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom will be subjected to stiffer identity checks before the end of the year, said British officials.

I'd pay to see people crossing roads on [London]Derry waving their passports... Or they have a plan to buid a wall along the road?

July 27, 2008

em3 Interview

Over the last four years, Eduardo Miranda, a Brazilian musician, writer and poet, has tried to build up what he calls "not just another band", and he definitely got it. em3 has been causing some controversial comments about their "virtual rehearsals", even before any official material being released.

Few jazz fans would doubt the chops of the British bassist Tony Porter, and Scottish keyboardist Eugene Haigh; all of them have played wonderfully in more traditional settings. But when they get things together in the hyper-power trio like that, something happens.

Eduardo Miranda was off on the road to Denmark when we spoke to him by phone. The following is an edited version of our conversation;

LGB: First of all: why em3? Doesn't sound a little egocentric?

EM: Maybe, but it was Tony's idea. They say it is because I was so excited with the whole idea of the band... but also because my name sounds "different". They like that! But it doesn't mean I'm a kind of "leader". We don't have that here. Everyone plays the same role in the trio.

LGB: When people get together, there's always unique chemistry as they react to each other. But when get together means talk to each other through emails and IP phones, you three have to have a special kind of connection... What do you attribute this to?

EM: Tony and Eugene have physically met before twice or thrice. We three have met only once, and under no one else's nose! And when we met we felt something could happen. Possibly what you're sensing is that this is actually a band of three leaders; that's definitely our attitude. We are three guys who are equally invested in what happens. And in this kind of sound we want to approach - so called nu-jazz, electronic jazz or jazztronica - is just perfect to develop in this virtual rehearsals we have.

LGB: Tell us more about how is the process of composition and virtual rehearsals?

EM: We are three composers who love the same kind of music. Each of us settled in a different location - London, Edinburgh and Dublin. If Tony composes something and send it to Eugene or to me, we usualy give a first impression or sugesttion back to the author, who may or may not accept them. After that we start to add our own stuff on that. With some inspiration and a bit of luck, we can end up with a new song in some weeks! No pressure, no demand - just imagination. And a good internet connection as well!
Of course we have more things in common than music. This makes things even easier.

LGB: Who are your strongest influences?

EM: We are pretty voracious listeners. In terms of jazz, everything from cool to bebop, hard-bop, as Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomerry, Charles Mingus, Sony Rolland, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Bird... wow, so many! Going to fusion, John McLaughlin, Ornette Coleman, Bill Cobham, Hermeto Pascoal... Nu-jazz, I'm still a bit new to this stuff, but listening to Nils Petter Molvaer, Bugge Wesseltoft, Cinematic Orchestra, Groove Armada, and the guys there are also driving me to the right way!
I can't deny my rockish influences as well, as they are an important part of my compositions. From rock'n roll to progressive rock, all the way to the "Rock In Oposition" movement (I love Henry Cow, Art Bears, Univers Zero, Present, Art Zoyd) and, of course, classical music - Bach, Stravinsky and Varese are my favorites.
Basically we're interested in extremes - extremely hard, extremely soft, extremely loud... we want it to be bold. We play with the kind of intensity associated with rock. It's not a rock band, but at the same time there's a sort of really digging in that jazz people can sometimes sort of skate around when they play in a rock style.

LGB: What are the plans for the first album, if any?

EM: Well said, “if any”. We don’t have any intention to release a conventional album, but a virtual one, at the internet. No media! It doesn’t mean we will not have a booklet, an art graph and all the stuff as a real album. The internet is the new protocol, man, and we have to use that!

LGB: How far are you from that?

EM: No idea! We are all very busy people on our day-by-day jobs. We do that for pleasure, not for anything else. If we finish, we publish. If we don’t, we don’t publish. Easy like that!

LGB: Any particular site people can look for material?

EM: Well, we don’t know yet… but there’s one particular site which is interesting, called "Garage Band". It would be a place, apart of our own.

July 17, 2008

No Country for Honourable Men

São Paulo, Brazil. July 2008. Paulistas, the inhabitants of the State of São Paulo, have to vote for governorship. They HAVE TO because vote is mandatory in Brazil. One could say "alright, voting is a right of expression". I'd say it's not when you are compelled to.

But here is my point: Paulo Maluf is one of the candidates. He has a career spanning over four decades. He was elected governorship of the State of São Paulo, mayor of the city of São Paulo and he has run as presidential candidate as well. During these years he has been plagued with several accusations of corruption.

In July 2003, Paulo Maluf was arrested in Paris, trying to transfer [illegal] money into an [illegal] account. In early September 2005 he was arrested by the Brazilian Federal police, under the charge of intimidating witnesses of an ongoing investigation. Again, in July 2008 he gave in to police under the same charge. In all these arrests, he was incarcerated from one night to no more than a few weeks. He was really convicted on one charge in 2001, but due to the nature of the Brazilian judicial system, in which only final convictions are considered, he has been always released... What a shame!

So notorious is his reputation in Brazil that, sadly, a "verb" called "malufar" (something like "to maluf") was created, meaning "to steal public money". And those who vote for him say "he steals public money but does the job". There is a quotation attributed to him which says "Rape them, but don't kill them!", said to a journalist during a workshop, regarding to a raper who had killed the victim.

But the worst is that in the last poll, he ranked a third place for the governorship... So far, I tell you, Brazil is not the better place where ones would like to raise their children.

July 16, 2008

Sarkozy's Deafness

France President Nicolas Sarkozy - born Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, which sounds much nobler! - is the actual "filler" of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union - sometimes called EU Presidency. This position is not centered in one person, but in the government of the country, which inherits a responsibility over the functioning of the Council of the European Union.

The EU Presidency is rotated between European Union member states every six months. To cope with the rather short six month term of the presidency, since 2007 the position is being executed in a shared manner: a "triple-shared presidency" work together over a 1.5 year period, based in a common agenda by continuing the work of the previous president.

The first "Triple-Alliance", also called "T1", from January 2007 to June 2008 was led by Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, and the Treaty of Lisbon, the Lisbon Strategy and Security, Freedom & Justice were among their priorities.

The "T2" started on July 2008 and will be on till December 2009, with France (Jul-Dec 2008), Czech Republic (Jan-Jun 2009) and Sweden (Jul-Dec 2009) as president-countries. Among their priorities are [at least should be] defence integration, Kosovo and the infamous Mediterranean Union, a proposed community of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, which should be established by 2008.

But Sarkozy seems to be suffering from a ideological deafness. He is not able to "hear" the Irish NO to the Lisbon Treaty yet, and has decided to come over Ireland - not to question, he said, but to listen! - to know better WHY Irish people voted NO to Lisbon.

Well, we could say, first, wich part of the word NO you didn't understand? And second, Lisbon is not among the T2 mandate's priorities anymore. But he insists!

And as we learned that Sarkozy, aka "Sarko" is fan of Amy Jade Winehouse - ah, this explains a lot! - we can sing him a welcome song:

I ain’t got the time
And if Sarko thinks we ain't fine
He’s trying to make up mi mind, so
But I'll say NO! NO! NO!

July 11, 2008

A Carbon-Free Festival

... whatever it means!

Oxegen Festival is on from today till Sunday. They say doesn't matter which weekend it is, it will be raining. True. Here in Ireland, we can surely say "I know what you did last Summer", because the answer will be "nothing, really... it was bloody rainy!"

Oxegen organisers want to make us believe this year the festival will be more "carbonfree". What a hell they mean? Everybody should go to Punchestown in Co. Kildare WALKING? Using "non-petroleum-sole" shoes? Nobody can smoke cigarettes (cannabis is greener!) ?

Of course not, otherwise the whole festival would be a flop! What these people still believe is that if you can't be green enough, you should offset! So, measure your so-called "carbon footprint" - nothing more that the amount of waste you leave behind - and try hard not to fuck even more the planet. But if you eventualy fuck it anyway, understand that your shit is done and there's no money which could help to amend it...

THINK about this... GREENER!

July 08, 2008

Fuel or Food?

As energy demands devour crops once meant for sustenance, the economics of agriculture are being rewritten

People say this just insane to turn food into fuel in order to improve people's lives - bio-fuel. Others say it takes more energy to make renewable fuels than the actually fuel. EPA has concluded that ethanol and biodiesel generate more energy than the fossil fuel, but we could ask 'at what cost'? Would this be a excuse for a escape from the petroleum dependency we see fleetly increasing day by day? Biofuel can reduce petroleum use and generate a shortage of certain food in the planet, but who will care? Not the companies who are doing that - fuel can be far more lucrative than mere food. Governments who nowadays depend on the mad petroleum contries? You can doubt!

Feed the Soul
Is it really any more reprehensible to make fuel from corn than it is to make beer from barley and rice? Vodkas, whyskies, brandies andmany other spirits are made from wheat. How is this justifiable? To drink a beer or other spirit makes one part of the problem? Ican answer that, and the answer is NO. We are only feeding our souls...