Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shots Ring Malice

all the innocents/with their eyes in the sun/two thoughts when one--the repetition/seems left alone/and another wall built over the line/the discontent--aged like wine/fucked with time, with the suffering/a deaf ear falls on the fourth estate/ushering in a new guilded age/dropping down the guise and ease/tips drenched in "democracy"/never mind/pay no mind/the engineers of misery/constructed these pillars of their elite/with double standards for the living/and double standares for the numbers of the dead/inject the medicine to your head/and with reason--the festering of desperation/to a mind once immune to the victimized/so recall the sick symmetry: Santiago, Chile, 9/11/73/the pictures held of the disappeared/the mothers holding back their tears/and from young Victor Jarar's eyes/to Palestine, 2005: betrayed/this is what you empower/this is what you allow

Friday, July 24, 2009

We live like lost children

Capitalism is a dead end, anarchism has gone bust. "Situationism" never existed, and romanticism is a waste of time. May no law govern our bodies, and may no singular idea impose stillness. Us two, we are a movement that will not be held down by any self-imposed dogmatic posturing. We are fluid and volatile--no room for the taut and fame. We'll reject the notion of modeling our patterns on archaic moral codes not in line with our lives. The dreams that we have--the songs we sing--they are flashes of an unresolved past. They shed light on moments previously lived in confusion and doubt. Now is the time to stand back and ask, "Are we living the lives that we want?"

When I talk to people from the 60s about music as well as people who really love music there's a recurring theme: "We didn't know what the music was or meant or even where it came from...all we knew was we couldn't not listen." Whether it was Coltrane, Hendrix, or Dylan these were words and sounds both puzzling and mezmerizing.


For much of the last year the band that done that for me is Ampere. A year ago they played Gilman with Baader Brains and ever since I've been drawn into their small world of whirlwind, heat, and blur.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Da. Inner. Sound. Y'all. (D.A.I.S.Y. Live: 7/23/09)

The first time I heard De la Soul...

De La 1

...I was spending my time hiding from the unholy heat of August in the Inland Empire, learning to airbrush. KROQ was in a transitional state, moving from the warbly anthems of pale anglophiles and wannabe goths toward the flash-in-the-pan sounds that would respectively become acid house and grunge. The summer's heavy rotation included Prince's "Bat Dance", The Pixies' "Monkey gone to Heaven", P.E.'s "Don't Believe the Hype", and De La's "Me, myself, and I." Three out of four classics isn't half bad! From the opening riff of the Funkadelic sample, I was hooked on the Strong Island poets' contribution to the Native Tongues sound. Arsenio dissed them but the crowd kept clapping.

De La 4

Incredible as it may seem, it has been 20 years since the mighty Three Feet High and Rising was released, and few records can match the humor and sonic complexity packed between the grooves of this Tommy Boy classic.

De La 2

Tonight, De la will perform the entire album with a live band. While I'm usually let down by live hip-hop, let alone reunions and retrospectives, Pos, Mase, and Trugoy are sure to put the fun back in the funk.

De La 3

Monday, July 13, 2009

John Bachar (RIP)

A week ago I got the news that John Bachar had died in a fall while soloing at the Dike Wall in Mammoth. When I mentioned it to my wife she immediately said, "Of Bachar/Yerian?" It was both funny and telling of how obsessed I've been over the years by John's routes.


In the high lonesome, no climber seemed as cool and collected, smooth and efficient than Bachar. On the ground he could be confrontational and gruff, even caustic, but with time and fatherhood, he seemed to have mellowed.


My first personal memory of John was meeting him in the Real Hidden Valley, carrying an enormous boombox, blasting NWA's "Straight Outta Compton" while wearing lycra tights and a ponytail. Few if any could have pulled off such a statement.


Through SuperTopo, we connected over 70s funk and a mutual love of Coltrane. It was a pleasure to be encouraged on my own climbing projects in the Sierra and get assistance on the Yosemite Climberbenefit that I organized to help out his early mentor Jim Bridwell.

bachar yerian--simon carter

John's impact on American free-climbing is incalculable. Routes like "Bachar/Yerian" and "A Love Supreme" remain test-pieces of the highest caliber.

Razors Edge

For a telling memorial in the fine oral tradition of late night campfires, go here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Elders of the Wide

Scuffy B, Gary, Jaybro at the Fish Compound (Ed Hartouni photo)

For as significant climbing is to me, I've struggled to find a true community of climbers with whom I could really connect with. It's been a great pleasure getting to know this crew of quirky off-width aficionados. With close to 150 years of collective experience--in and out of the Wide--they're a wealth of knowledge with more than a passing interest in Hendrix, rugby shirts, and swami belts. Climbing with them I always know I can at once thrash myself and laugh till my spleen hurts. When I grow up, I want to be like these guys.

Throbbing Gristle
Scuffy deep in 'Throbbing Gristle' (Russ Walling photo)
Ed Hartouni
Ed Hartouni
The late Brutus of Wyde, RIP (Chief photo)

"They seek those moments when time stands still. The catalysts are as varied as the individuals who pursue this path: a meteor shower; a night sky so star-filled that it snatches your breath; another rise of the sun over distant mountains vast and untouchable; dodging a rock careening crazily down a gully; a desperate icy struggle through whiteout and ground blizzard down to the safety of camp after an unsuccessful summit attempt; standing atop a mountain with a friend, the whole world at your feet, a blinding sun blazing out of a flawless sky, taking the time to watch that sun dip below the horizon even though camp is still many miles and many thousands of feet distant stumbling over boulders and through brush in the darkness; watching the starlight and the storm wrest for possession of the night sky, seated on a narrow ledge beside your rope-mate with only the clothes on your back for shelter, shivering the night away, knowing that, sometime in a distant place you cannot now touch, the world will once again grow bright, the sun will rise, and you will look out on the infant day with new eyes."--Bruce Bindner

Images from Bruce's memorial at the Stonehouse ashram below South Lone Pine Peak can be found here

Cat Power