maandag 20 mei 2013

2013/19 King Missile in the Air

Last week a friend digitalized some of the old music cassettes we used to share at the beginning of the home copy era. Some American avant-garde punk rock band called King Missile. They made such a great record. The music is pretty wild, but actually the guys play tight and straight. They tried to make themselves sound more dirty than they were, both in composition and in sound. They have a remarkable singer, John Hall, who is, in fact, a great poet. And the music perfectly adjusts itself to what he says and tries to say. That is the reason the avant-garde band became a rock band and not the other way around!
The only real soul will be left when all the skins are peeled off. That is always the case, and that is what makes this band such a great band. It talks about the hunger of the mind, love in general and more specifically, satirical perception, humor, one’s own insecurities, imagination, confusion… The complete musical structure is built according to the spirits of the words – very carefully built, in order to be able to spread that knowledge and emotions to the audience – to me, for example. I think they made a few more records in the late 80’s, early 90’s, and then drowned somewhere in the impossibility of the music industry.
The only real soul will be left when all the skins are peeled off. For remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House and people like Aaron Swartz hang themselves, years after his initial arrest, exhausted and broke.
On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by MIT police on breaking-and-entering charges, in connection with the systematic downloading of academic journal articles from JSTOR. (JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization, founded to help academic libraries and publishers.) Federal prosecutors eventually charged him with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), charges carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, plus 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release. We are talking here about academic journals, knowledge of the world, discovered and described by academics, working for universities and public institutes… Or, as someone recently said: the only two crimes left are being poor and trying to tell the truth.
King Missile made this great song called “Wind-up Toys”: “If most of us were wind-up toys, could we trust the few of us that weren’t to wind us up when necessary? I think not. We would be a separate oppressed minority, even if we were in the majority. It would still be that way. The ones who weren’t wind-up toys would have the upper hand, and we would have to look out for each other, because they wouldn’t. They would only wind up those that they saw fit, those that conformed to their ways. If most of us were wind-up toys, it would be in our interest to learn how to wind ourselves up or wind each other up. That is reality, that’s the way it is.”
Somehow, we need to get beyond the “I’m right, so I’m right to nuke you” ethics that dominate our time. That begins with one word: Shame. People are defined by their context: personal moral convictions only play a role in the rarest of cases.
And the good thing about old memories is that they can help you enjoy today even a bit better.

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