'African Space Craft'

Keziah Jones - 'African Space Craft'

From African Space Craft, an album by Keziah Jones, released in 1995.


AllMusic Review by 

African Space Craft finds Keziah Jones continuing on his idiosyncratic way, this time out discovering guitar solos and an incredibly rasty wah-wah tone in what may well be his under-the-influence-of-grunge album. It starts characteristically enough with the rhythmic, acoustic thrash strum of "Million Miles From Home," but even though the sound is a little less frenetic and bit more power trio-ish, the band is still an evenly balanced unit. Once again, you're never quite sure exactly where the arrangements are going or exactly what Jones is getting at in the highly personal, sometimes surreal lyrics.

Race issues pop up more than once and "Colorful World" deals with them with frank street talk that might offend some sensitive ears -- but then so might the first surfacing of that biting wah-wah guitar. "Splash" is just one monster of a killer riff celebrating carnal pleasure -- it's frank, sexy, and not far away from something PJ Harvey would come up with. "Dear Mr. Cooper" and the title track are strong, too -- the rasty riffing very strong on the latter -- while "Speech" mellows things out and "Cubic Space Division" goes from hyper-rhythm to dreamily loping bridge and back again. 

Jones gets his dynamics by playing with contrasts that way, be it that searingly raw wah-wah against high voices on "Never Gonna Let You Go" or the acoustic/electric call-and-response games of "If You Know." African Space Craft is a consistently strong record that's just a little more one-dimensional than Blufunk Is a Fact!, but not by much and it might be a better pick for anyone who would prefer a more electric, rock-oriented sound to check out a very unique and singular artist.


Today's mood:

Keziah Jones - 'Rugged'

Keziah Jones - 'Rugged', from the album "Captain Rugged". 

Works of Karl Marx: England and Revolution

It's uncanny how some of Marx's text could almost be about our times... 

Just this:

Works of Karl Marx

England and Revolution

SourceLabour Monthly, July 1923, pp. 30-36, “Selection from the Literary Remains of Karl Marx,” III England and Revolution, Max Beer;

Original German: Aus dem literarischen Nachlass von Marx und Engels, Vol. III, p.230 sqq.;

Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

In a retrospect on the eventful year 1848, Marx deals with the meaning and effects of the European upheaval. He expresses the opinion that even a successful proletarian revolution in France could have for its result only the political emancipation of Europe, that is, freeing the oppressed nationalities and sweeping away the remnants of feudalism and absolutism, while a social revolution on the Continent depends on a victory of organised English Labour.

Cologne, December 31, 1848.
Marx writes: 

The country, however, which transforms whole nations into proletarians; which with its gigantic arms encompasses the whole globe; which has already once defrayed the cost of the European counter-revolution; and in which class antagonism has reached a high degree of development – England appears to be the rock on which the revolutionary waves split and disperse and which starves the coming society even in the womb. England dominates the world markets. A revolution of the economic conditions of any country of the European Continent or even of the whole Continent, is but a storm in a glass of water, unless England actively participates in it. The condition of trade and commerce of any nation depends upon its intercourse with other nations, depends upon its relations with the world markets. England controls the world markets, and the bourgeoisie controls England.

The [political] emancipation of Europe, either in the form of raising the oppressed nationalities to independence or of the final overthrow of feudal absolutism, is conditioned upon the victorious rising of the French working class. But any social revolutionary upheaval in Europe must necessarily miscarry, unless the English bourgeoisie or the industrial and commercial supremacy of Great Britain is shaken. Any aspiration for a lasting, though partial social transformation in France or any other part of the European Continent must remain an empty, pious wish. And old England will only be overthrown in a world war, which alone would give the Chartist Party, the organised English Labour Party, the possibility of a successful rising against its stupendous oppressor. The Chartists at the head of the English Government – only from this moment would the social revolution emerge from the realm of Utopia and enter the sphere of reality...


Come and listen to our talks at the British Library on Friday and Saturday if you want to know more:

The Communist Manifesto: Martin Rowson, Nina Power and Mark Steel

Comedian and broadcaster Mark Steel and political philosopher Nina Power join The Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, creator of a new graphic novel version of this seminal text.
The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, at a time of political upheaval in Europe. A powerful critique of capitalism and a radical call to arms, ot remains the most incisive introduction to the ideas of Communism and the most lucid explanation of its aims. Much of what Marx and Engels proposed continues to be at the heart of political debate in the 21st century. It is no surprise, perhaps, that it is thought to be the second bestselling book of all time, surpassed only by the Bible. 

Nina Power is a cultural critic, social theorist, philosopher and translator. She is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Roehampton University and the author of One-Dimensional Woman.
Martin Rowson is a multi-award-winning cartoonist and writer best known for his work in The Guardian. His books include graphic novel adaptations of The Waste Land, Tristram Shandy and Gulliver’s Travels. His The Communist Manifesto is published by SelfMadeHero.
Mark Steel is a comedian, broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He appears regularly television and radio recently presenting several seasons of Mark Steel’s in Town for BBC Radio 4. 

In association with SelfMadeHero
Original documents from the British Library’s collections relating to Karl and Eleanor Marx are on display in the Treasures Gallery from 1 May to 5 August. 
Image: detail from Martin Rowson's Communist Manifesto.


Karl Marx Imagined, and The Young Karl Marx screening

Karl Marx has had huge influence on world history, but who was the man behind the famous bearded image? Where did his inspiration and his relentless intellectual energy come from? Clive Coleman and Richard Bean, writers of West End hit Young Marx, film maker and writer Jason Barker and the team behind Raoul Peck’s film The Young Karl Marx get to grips with this enigmatic figure.

Jason Barker is author of the new bicentennial novel Marx Returns. He is writer-director of the 2011 German documentary Marx Reloaded, and editor of the Karl Marx bicentennial forum at the Los Angeles Review of Books. He teaches Marxism and literature at Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea.  
Richard Bean, co-writer of Young Marx is among our most acclaimed playwrights. In 2011 Richard became the first writer to win the Evening Standard Award for Best Play for two plays, The Heretic and One Man, Two Guvnors. For the latter he also received the Critics' Circle Award for Best Play and Whatsonstage.com Award for Best New Comedy and the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play.

Clive Coleman is a writer, broadcaster and also the BBC’s Legal Correspondent, a role he arrived at via a career as a barrister and Principal Lecturer in Law. As well as co-writing Young Marx his writing credits include Spitting Image, and legal sitcom Chambers.
Followed at 16.00 by a rare UK screening of The Young Karl Marx (2016, 1 hr 58 mins)

The Young Karl Marx is released in UK Cinemas on 4 May. An ICA CINEMA distribution project.


“Of course I’ll hurt you"... By Saint-Exupery

“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt 

me. Of course we will hurt each other. 

But this is the very condition of existence. To 

become spring, means accepting the risk of 


To become presence, means accepting the risk 

of absence.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Connect the dots... looking backward"

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever"...  

 - Steve Jobs


The Revolution of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

An amazing writer:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘This could be the beginning of a revolution’

She’s on school reading lists and counts Hillary, Oprah and Beyoncé as fans. The author talks about motherhood, #MeToo – and causing controversy
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘The world is changing very fast, and we intend to accelerate it.’
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘The world is changing very fast, and we intend to accelerate it.’ Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
At a PEN lecture in Manhattan last weekend, the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie took Hillary Clinton to task for beginning her Twitter bio with “Wife, mom, grandma”. Her husband’s account, it will surprise no one to know, does not begin with the word “husband”. “When you put it like that, I’m going to change it,” promised the 2016 presidential candidate.
Adichie is an international bestseller and about as starry as a writer can be (when we meet she chats casually about recently meeting Oprah Winfrey, who made a little bow to her). Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, published when she was only 26, was longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker; she won the 2006 Orange prize for Half of a Yellow Sun; was awarded a MacArthur fellowship – the so-called genius grant – and her work is now a fixture on American school reading lists. Following her sensational 2013 TED talk, We Should All Be Feminists(sampled by Beyoncé, used by Dior for a series of slogan T-shirts and distributed in book format to every 16-year-old in Sweden) the 40-year-old has become something of a public feminist: hence scolding the former US secretary of state.
The atmosphere at a recent event with Reni Eddo-Lodge (author of Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race), part of the Southbank’s WOW: Women of the World festival in London, was more like a party than a books evening. The excitement among the audience of largely young women was as striking as the amazing hair and outfits (“That will be the Nigerians,” Adichie says proudly). The two writers received a riotous standing ovation before they had even sat down. As festival founder Jude Kelly said in her whoop-inducing introduction, “The world is changing very fast, and we intend to accelerate it.”
“I feel optimistic. But cautiously optimistic,” Adichie says of the #MeToo movement when we meet a couple of days later. “It’s either the beginning of a revolution, or it is going to be a fad. We just don’t know … I do see in women a sense that ‘We’re done, this is it ... No.’ and it gives me hope.”
Adichie lives in both Maryland and Lagos: “I couldn’t be happy living entirely in Nigeria or living entirely in America.” She “became black” she says, when she moved to the US as a student, and the experience of being black but not American is bitingly captured in her much loved last novel Americanah.
But now in Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (just published in paperback), she writes that she is angrier about sexism than she is about racism. “I don’t think sexism is worse than racism, it’s impossible even to compare,” she clarifies. “It’s that I feel lonely in my fight against sexism, in a way that I don’t feel in my fight against racism. My friends, my family, they get racism, they get it. The people I’m close to who are not black get it. But I find that with sexism you are constantly having to explain, justify, convince, make a case for.”
Written just before the birth of her own daughter, the manifesto began as a letter to her friend, who had asked for advice about how she might raise her baby girl as a feminist. “Teach her to love books”; “it is important to be able to fend for herself”; make sure dad does his share of the nappy changes – some of the suggestions may seem obvious, and the author’s dismay on discovering that baby clothes come in, yup, blue and pink, and that the toy aisles are divided into trucks or dolls, feels a little disingenuous. But it’s hard not to be won over by the big hearted ambitions of this tiny pamphlet. Simplicity and accessibility are the point: Adichie is not preaching to the converted; she doesn’t do “jargon” and finds the classic feminist texts “boring” (“Do you think The Second Sex is interesting?” she shoots back, when I press her). Although the “you” in the letter is “Ijeawele”, a Nigerian mother living in a traditional Igbo culture, Adichie is talking to young women the world over: “To get letters from women, saying ‘you make me feel stronger’ that means a lot to me,” she says. “It’s a woman in Denmark, it’s an email from a woman in Korea, it’s the woman in Ghana. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”
Speaking at an event in London in April.
‘Blackness and whitenes are different’ ... speaking at London’s Women of the World festival in April. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images
One of the most compelling injunctions in Adichie’s manifestos is to encourage girls to “reject likability”. “Oh my God, all that time wasted,” she says with feeling, that boys and men do not waste. Clinton and “all the harping on about whether or not she is ‘likable’,” is the perfect example of how she had to persuade friends that sexism was at work. “It is still very upsetting to me. I don’t care how much societies tell themselves that they are progressive, the kind of criticism that Clinton gets from the very progressive left, I think is terrible. People now say to her ‘shut up and go away’ – that whole idea of silencing women. I kind of like what’s happening to her now, it feels as though that ‘fuck it’ I wish she had said before, she seems to be saying now.”
One group who didn’t seem swayed by how much they found Clinton likable was black American women, 90% of whom voted for her in the election. “Trump’s campaign was coded, but it was the language of racism, the language of taking the country back, being anti-immigrant in a way that was being opposed to immigrants of colour,” she says. “There were white women who were therefore able to overlook his very blatant misogyny because he appealed to their whiteness.”
Unsurprisingly, language, for Adichie, is a feminist issue, at its most insidious when it comes to pregnancy and parenting, a verb she dislikes. She rages against terms such as “baby bump” as “diminishing”, preventing proper discussion of serious issues such as the gender pay gap and maternity leave. “There are so many women for whom pregnancy is the thing that pushed them down, and we need to account for that. We need to have a clause in every job that a woman who gets pregnant gets her job back in exactly the same way. It’s wrong!” For her, gender is a social construction: “I don’t think I’m more inherently likely to do domestic work, or childcare ... It doesn’t come pre-programmed in your vagina, right?”
Although she put on “the feminist hat” quite happily, she never intended to become a voice for feminism, “then it happened”. She expected a degree of hostility – “Feminist is a bad word, everywhere in the world, let’s not kid ourselves, but particularly where I come from.” But she was not prepared for the furore that followed an interview on Channel 4 last year when she sparked controversy by arguing that the experiences of trans women are distinct from those of women born female, which was interpreted by some as “creating a hierarchy” and implying that “trans women were ‘less than’, which I was not ... I don’t think that way.”
She was “genuinely surprised” by the outcry, “because I thought I was saying something that was obvious”, she says and remains defiant on the importance of acknowledging difference (the final, heartfelt message of Dear Ijeawele): “The vileness that trans women face is because they are trans women – there are things trans women go through that women who are born female will never have to go through … If we are going pretend that everything is the same, how do we address that?” She compares this well meaning wish to be inclusive with claims of colour blindness: blackness and whiteness are different, she told the audience to huge cheers at the event with Eddo-Lodge. “Yes, we are all of the human race but there are differences and those differences affect our experiences, our opportunities,” she says now. “There’s something about it that I find inherently dishonest.”
Hillary Clinton with Adichie at PEN America’s World Voices Festival in New York in April, 2018.
Adichie grilling Hillary Clinton at PEN America’s World Voices Festival in New York in April, 2018. Photograph: Karsten Moran/New York Times / Redux / eyevine
She was accused of “killing trans women with her words” and, she says, there were calls to burn her books; she was particularly hurt by the online response from some of her former students on her creative writing workshop in Lagos, where trying to break down taboos about gay rights and women is as important to her as the teaching. “I was told, ‘you’re being shamed’,” she gestures the inverted commas of internet shaming. “When somebody is shaming you, you also have to feel ashamed. I just didn’t. I was upset. I was disappointed.” She feels her “tribe”, those “generally of the left, who believe in equal rights for everyone”, let her down: “I thought surely they know me and what I stand for.”
Looking back, she thinks her “major sin” was that she “didn’t abide by the language orthodoxy”. At the Southbank event the author, who is not on Twitter (“there’s an ugliness about it”), expressed her reservations about “a certain kind of youthful, social-media savvy feminism that is not my home”. She is wary of the term “intersectionality”, but is clear as to what it does not mean, recalling an interview with a white actor who, in her anxiety to acknowledge the sometimes racist history of western feminism, claimed it was not about her, but about black women who had been oppressed. “Of course feminism is about her,” Adichie says with exasperation. “I wish she’d said: ‘Here is all the shit I get because I’m a woman, but I think about all those other women who don’t have the white privilege I have, I can’t imagine what that must be like.’ That for me would be perfect.”

While she is frustrated with what she identifies as a “quickness to outrage” among young people – “it’s boring” – her real anger is reserved for the progressive left, especially in America, which she believes is fostering this unforgiving atmosphere, closing in on itself and closing down essential conversations (“Shut up, you are wrong” ) in its haste to assume ill will. Displaying a “fundamental lack of compassion”, it goes against her credo as a storyteller, in which all human beings are flawed: “There’s no room to be righteous.”

Despite all “the noise” of the last few years, fiction remains her “religion”: “I really do believe I was born to do this.” In an interview with her friend the novelist Dave Eggers last year, she said she was “no longer the dutiful daughter of literature”. She’s having fun, discarding the rules and increasingly blurring the boundaries between fiction and memoir.
“Because we write fiction we mine our souls. Of course you put yourself into your fiction, your fiction is you.” All she needs is solitude, silence and space in which to write. “It’s exquisite, the joy. Even just talking about it I almost want to cry,” she says, blinking. But when the writing is not going well, “I go into this terror of thinking that I might never write again. That’s the one thing that terrifies me.”


"At the Gates of the Music Palace"

In Bristol next week:

Exhibition: Alex Cecchetti At the Gates of the Music Palace
Alex Cecchetti, At the Gates of the Music Palace (2018)

5 May to 8 July 2018
Free entry
Event type

Alex Cecchetti is an artist, poet and choreographer. Over the last decade, he has developed a unique practice which he characterises as the art of avoidance, where representation and concealment go hand in hand with the tactical and the poetic, the visual and the material. His works often begin with a poem which is transformed into an object, a performance or a situation, focusing on how the construction of a narrative can be experienced both physically and emotionally. This emphasis in positioning the visitor’s experience as central to the work has led Cecchetti to introduce resources such as rhetoric, storytelling, music or dance, to establish a non-mediated relationship with the work, transforming the figure of the spectator into a visionary participant.
Cecchetti’s exhibition at Spike Island, At the Gates of the Music Palace, brings together performance, drawing, painting, sculpture and sound installation, turning the gallery into a three-dimensional concert in which visitors are invited to contribute to the musical score as they make their way through an unexpected sensory pathway.
Alex Cecchetti’s Singing Chandelier is produced with the generous support of Nicoletta Fiorucci, Founder of the Fiorucci Art Trust. Storyline is produced with the generous support of Traudi Messini.

Performances within the exhibition:

  • Dancer Tilly Webber and singer Emma Huggett on Friday 4 May, 6-9pm 
  • Tilly Webber: Saturday 19 May, 2–5pm 
  • Emma Huggett: Saturday 2 June, 2–5pm 
  • Tilly Webber: Thursday 14 June, 2-5pm
  • Emma Huggett: Thursday 28 June, 2-5pm

Emma Huggett is a second-year philosophy student and Vice-Chancellor’s Music Scholar and the University of Bristol. Until 2016, she studied at the Royal College of Music (JD) where she was awarded the Concordia Foundation Singing Prize. Recently, Emma has performed Vivaldi’s Gloria (London Pro Arte Choir), Bach’s Cantata BVW 140 (Bristol University Singers), and Bach’s Cantata BVW 51 (Bristol University Baroque Ensemble). She is also the company director of Love Opera, which aims to make opera accessible through updated and innovative productions using unusual performance spaces.
Tilly Webber trained at London Contemporary Dance School, graduating in 2008. She has worked extensively as a freelance performer working with an electric mix of artists and companies. Whilst touring and teaching Nationally and Internationallu, she also is a movement and rehearsal director for companies. She has performed in Operas and featured in music videos. Alongside performing, she is a qualified yoga teacher and practices mediation which is a vital part of her practice. 

Alex Cecchetti

Alex Cecchetti has exhibited his work broadly and recent solo exhibitions include: Tamam Shud at La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel, France and Centre For Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; Ceataceans, Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (all 2017); Comrades of Fear and Wonder; Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius, Lithuania (2012); The Police Return to the Magic Shop, Alex Cecchetti et Mark Geffriaud, Jue de Paume, Paris (2011). Cecchetti’s performances have been presented at venues including the Serpentine Galleries, London (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, (2014); and MAXXI museum, Rome (2012).



On 28 April 2008, 10 years ago, Portishead's last album to this day, simply titled 'Third', was released in the United Kingdom through Island Records, and a day later in the United States through Mercury Records. 
Portishead's first studio album since 'Portishead' in 1997, it incorporates different influences and was extremely positively received by critics, named one of the best albums of 2008 by several publications. It entered the top ten of several countries' music charts and has Gold certification in the UK.

The album was announced with a first single on 24 March 2008: "Machine Gun"... Here's a live version: