Tuesday, February 21, 2006


So it's official. We're throwing a crazy party on the 11th of March. It's Called Yes!
Deejays are:
Sean Kosa on Electro
Justin Flower on Trance
Pat Pourri on House
I'm doing a slideshow, and various other visual artists are going to be hitting the scene. More to come on that. Until then there's la Nuit Electronik, Saturday at monument national.
Here's an anecdote from living in Guatemala:

Two Words at a Time

That sweet, cold river snakes through the jungle, along the lush banks of Lanquin, sourced from Las Grutas, the spiritual focal point of the local Mayan tradition. There are a few things that always happen there, regular as the drips of mineral water that construct stalactite columns the size of buildings. The wild, galloping rains come and go with the rhythm of the sun: a rhythm fully and necessarily adopted by the Qek’chi. The soccer ball bounces endlessly around the pitch under the discerning watch of tiny Abuelas, keeping an eye on the conduct and defense skills of their grandchildren. Every morning the ropey men go to the fields, machetes in hands. Every evening the silent eruption of bats descends mercifully from the caves to quell armies of nameless, biting bugs.

Everybody there speaks at least functional Spanish. But that’s not their tongue. Even five hundred years of colonization hasn’t yet robbed Lanquin of its pride and its rhythm. Every day I learned a new word of Qek’chi. Sometimes I couldn’t imagine how they kept themselves, versus highways rumbling across Alta Verapaz; versus ignorant tourists, like myself, floating in on foreign exchange like sun kings. But they did. So I made a point of communicating even binary ideas in their home tongue. Call it respect. Call it curiosity.

Everyday I would get on my patched-up inner tube after the long, barefooted hike up to Las Grutas and descend the river. That river is everything. You wash your cloths there and you find your food there. When I came around the bend after the pools, they’d be there, just about every time. Eating, bathing, or fishing. “Sa lat’chul!?”(Is your heart well?)

“Sa! Lat?” (Fine, you?)Would come the reply, amidst the never-dulling glee and disbelief of the children at a westerner uttering something in the old tongue. It started like that. It was a game. I would say the newest thing I knew:

“Chabil ha!” (nice water) Roaring laughter, then:

“Boo’mshik!” And as I floated around the next bend, I turned my newfound gem over in my head, waiting to get home to ask a friend what the reply was:

“They told you you’re swimming.” Aha! So I would wait for the next day, the next sun and the next rain. Would grab my tube and hike up the valley, with my reply ready. And they’d be there, rosy-cheeked with mirth at my continuation of the dialogue.

That conversation lasted three months, two new words a day. But I could see the changes closing like a vice. I could see electricity, phones, T.V., and the internet on the horizon, ready to squash three-month-long conversations down to minutes, seconds, then text messages. I could see them racing towards Lanquin to squash the Qek’chi language into Spanish. On my last day in the village, as I put my shoes back on and said “Banu ucilal,” I wondered if the dripping spikes in the caves and the clouds of bats would be squished away, too. I wondered about tradition, repetition, and the dreary lack thereof in my jaded western life.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Quick word on music, more prose.

Enough Politics and wishy washy emotional crap, eh? Today's issues are: the local electro scene, skateboarding and those cool clappy-noises.

Faq, si t'es pas encore convaincu, cette track (hyper groovy, puis hot aux clubs en plus) va etre le troisieme, et dernier, coup de la scene elektro d'Allemagne, avec Matty Safer de Rapture. Voici: Warning Siren par Tiefschwartz. Holy Fuck it's good! Wait for the 'walking disaster' part with all the SHAKE d-d-d-d-d-d-down. Then imagine it with a Zillion Watts of bass and 600 raging plateau-ites buzzing down. One thing I'm really sold on these days is all the gratuitous, too-fast-to-make-sense clappy-noises that have creeped into all the remixes of everything. Cowbells are making a formidable stab at the freaky-DJ-beats award, too.

So, it's Sunday night, and as I reflect on the week's worth of debauchery, I'll sing the praises of unemployment. In my full two weeks off, I started and continued and finished a gazoodle of personal projects, including getting this blog bologna on the blocks. Here's some -oh no!- poetry(not much) and a blast of prose I wrote in an attempt to describe what it feels like to skateboard in a big, smooth, concrete bowl-park. It's called:

Get On It:

unnatural- to instinctual
muscle memory
stomped it
the gritty clacks and
growls of my skateboard
as it battles
the urban promiscuity

gravity and motion physics

are the
of this inertial
to make them your ally
not your enemy

is to win the battle

I'm careening around that skatepark almost deleriously. Beer, coffee, marijuana, and adrenaline fuel this frenzy. I'm grinding and flowing like a bleary-eyed maniac. I focus on it like a marial art. Is the concrete any less deadly than a skilled fighter? More? I stave off the blows by using the momentum of the oncoming planet to my advantage. Roll. Surf. Get Rad. Here I am whole. In control. Hear the howls and grunts of the other skaters. The sweat is falling. Time is slowing down. As I reach the top of the ramp, the coping is my slow-motion button. The second expands into a graceful conversation between my reflexes, my imagination, and the universe.

But see, I'm not the sole director of this moment, so therefore I'm not the only varible of input. This is how I came to realize that reality hinges on more than will and some arbitrarily established rules of conduct. I'm not talking about god here. That guy can fuck off. Mystical has nothing to do with this. I'm talking about the whole not being a sum of parts, but an expression of them, right? Monet's not the paint and the painting's not Monet, dig? Okay, let's get back to the easy-to-swallow, 'cuz I can tell you're looking back up at the poem and the line about the intoxicants and wondering about quantity. Just to put that to rest: I can still do frontside crails on a bad-ass 8' concrete quarter, so I can sure as hell wax smart without going hippy.

So now that no one's getting creeped out by unindented paragraphs and drug consumption, feel me: think about those moments when you're on it. When it's all locked down, see? Whether you're a dancer or a fantastic conversationalist or a mad, zen-master dude, you're totally on it sometimes. You read the line about time slowing down and thought, Yeah. Or you don't get out enough, and this monologue is so not up your alley. Anyways, sometimes we can see the fluency of interactions more clearly. In these moments(as I have ascertained through a really good chat with this super-chill yoga guy while hitching up from Vancouver one time) we are all connected to, like, the universe. And when you're connected you can see that if the only will involved in any action was the will of the living, then there would be no mystery to things.

You could gain complete control. But when you get there, and you're on point, you always know that there's more to it all than just a few laws of physics. There's some mad quantum probability shit on the go, and when you start interacting with the moment, there's a combined, reciprocle expression that springs forth. Serendipity, dig? Like another person on top of the moment, who is a total figment of coinciding actions. And there, you've got your art, your kickflips, and your successes at the bar.

And so you've got this huge amount of cultural and genetic syntax in your brain and muscles that is having a, like, mad subliminal effect on your day. So there's another variable. You've got yourself, the physical universe(with all it's probabilities), and, like i said, your subconsious heritage. And then you've got everyone else in the mix, too. The chick who smiled at you in the supermarket this morning, the guy who designed the skateboard or the park; what's his bedroom shaped like, and how big are his feet? All factors.

And the loopy part is that there's a theme to all this shit. It's not just random, because it's all in the context of a mass of human activity. A history. A tendancy for things to work a certain way, cuz' of every other thing going on simultaneously and in the past. And, Holy Fuck! there's a crazy pile of shit happening right now. Computers and communication, and you know all that shit gets right in your boardslides. Know why? CUZ' IT'S ALL FUCKING CONNECTED, SEE? And, when you're on point, your ass is in control of your corner of the ring. So you've got a stake in the flow of things, when you're on it. So here's the meat of it, man: forget the mundane. Go out there and do them fuckin' yogas, or synchronised diving, or whatever, and communicate with the world. Cuz' you've got one life; one chance to be a thread in the universal tapestry. Get on it, man!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Mon Coloc et Mes Politiques

Here's my portfolio article about all this wild Mohammad cartoon stuff. The tune of the post is brand-new- destined-to- be-classic Zdarlight by Digitalism, part 2 of my hommage to the explosive new German electroclash outbreak. On l'a vu le jour de l'an a la S.A.T., et j't'dit que ca tue. Ca s'en vien bientot, la nouvelle album.

Franz Ferdinand


A Personal Response to Blasphemous Cartoon Publications

When the rusted perimeters of crumbling empires grind tectonically together, as they so often do, there exists a state of potential energy. There exists a possibility of something small knocking dominoes on an entire generation. Who threw the first rock in the Gaza Strip, whose momentum we still feel today, amplified in a wave pattern over the phonograph tunnel of time? If Rosa Parks met Franz Ferdinand, and they checked it out on Google, what would they say about the squabble over recently published Mohammed cartoons?

It is sure that words turn into bullets, and bullets, in turn, to bombs. Bombs to radiation, radiation to genetic alteration. There is a logic puzzle that proposes that the wind off a butterfly’s wings millions of years ago could have had a profound subsequent effect on our current reality. And for all the quantum probabilities we’re finding hidden in uranium atoms in dusty corners of physics labs, it seems this might be a reality we’re living. So if, for the sake of argument, these are the framings, and little things sometimes do explode like Margaret Mead’s “small groups of concerned individuals”, are we now witnessing it in Denmark’s infamous Mohammed Cartoons? Who are the players in this row over a lost game of marbles? Is it simply freedom versus religious rights, as the media has quickly framed it, or is it more culturally rifted?

I think we're about to see that the debate over "free speech" or publishing rights is more or less moot in this situation. You can absolutely find many fully justifiable defenses of the original publishing of these comics, just as you can find an equal number of honest arguments respecting Muslim beliefs. But the bottom line is, as much as the US and EU would like it to, the Islamic world does not always play by the imposed western rules. Muslim people all over the world are going to make their own decisions, and as Muslims become more and more prominent in the world arena, and more and more informed, the west is going to have to deal with boycotts, election of "terrorist" groups like Hamas, and maybe even the odd embassy take-over. It's de facto: as we have every right to publish such diatribe in our society, so do they, in turn, have the right to reject our values, especially on their own territory. This is culture clashing, not just a bruised knee over freedom of the western press.

The question not being asked in the media is: what tumor are we going to let this cell mutate into? Can we make it a Rosa Parks and (eventually) find a common understanding on the other end of the bus ride? Or is this Danish newspaper like Franz Ferdinand, waiting to burst into a global conflict: Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” rearing its head? Where, in other words, is the last straw for the oppressed East and the frightened West? And as these two beasts lock horns as so many times in the past, we’ll see if anybody has learned the differences between freedom and tolerance; response and reaction.

Originally published February 8th, 2006

Old Bullshit

This is something from one year ago this week. While you're reading it, dig the groovy sounds of this hot new Modeselektor track.

Just another zeitgeist. Another set of people phasing through my field of notice. Another bizarre, unmeditated conclusion. Circumstance and coincidence flash by, and everyone just parries the blows with the singular human defense of choice. So soon we all blast off again to our various futures. So quickly the moment in time slides away from my comprehension, lubricated by myriad complication.

Just another plane ticket. Another list of countries I plan to visit, gambling on the incidental enlightenment of travel. Another history washed away by my careless bookkeeping and truncated memory. I just shove all the experiences into my head, like wolves and goldfish at the dinner table. I keep hoping that I won't explode; that all the stimuli are being consolidated into meaningful knowledge in my subconscious.

I keep trudging through, ever positively aligned, hopelessly optimistic, trying to remind myself about something that's started to get a little dusty. Something filed in a dingy corner of my cobwebbed head. Maybe you could call it enthusiasm, but that's probably just symptomatic.
There's whole slew of other things crammed away back there. I cried last month. I can't remember the last time that happened. Although, to be fair, I can't remember much that's happened to me. Either way, it had been a while. But now I'm coming to identify with the cliché: once you let one loose, they all want to come out to sun. I'm getting all sorts of weird emotions these days. Little bouts of melancholy late at night. Fragile reverences for the unique people I meet. Quiet awe. Itchy fear. I've started putting my hands to my chin when I'm anxious. I swear that for a couple of years there, the only feelings I ever expressed were manic happiness and vicious anger. Now I'm drudging them all up, uncontrollably. They're probably simple, natural feelings that are only confusing to me because I didn't have them for so long.

Is there a connection somewhere? A theme? Maybe I'm not busy enough. I've got a lot of energy. I absolutely rely on it, but some view it as a problem. I just need lots of outlet. Maybe that's why I'm starting to feel. An alternative outlet. Bollocks. I'm just dwelling. Soon enough I can forget all this. Delete all the superfluous files. Names, faces, stories, situations. Back to Tom the Cool Cucumber. Leave yet another penguin of a friend to deal with the emotional baggage of yet another vulture of a girlfriend. Substitute. Mute the implications. Ignore the explanations. Avoid involvement. Forget about it. Move on. But then what do I get from leaving? Am I running? Am I just bouncing along to abscond from the responsibility of establishing lasting, meaningful relationships?

Or am I just a little too uptight? Too goddamn judgmental. I think I'm trying to make each decision carefully, while maintaining a level of respect for the concerns of others. But it's hard to keep up when people are so concerned with acquiescence to norms. Where are the checks and balances? Sometimes people gathered in groups seem so intellectually defunct. Maybe we all have to make independent conduct codes. Which, when you can clearly watch everyone go right off the deep end of global morality, means you're not so sure who's going to mentor you. But, then, I suppose this is just a moot concept, modern life being what it is. No village elders to hook you up with the info: just a huge melange of self-interested consumers trying to con their way back into the womb. This is life in 2005. Existentialism is not really a question of choice without cultural underpinnings. Me sitting at a computer doing rambling stream of consciousness rather than knowing anyone who has the time to talk, or who even gives a fuck. And I'm no introvert. Au contraire.

Anyways, I probably don't really have the time to spare to talk about it, if someone I knew had time to listen. It's not even that I have any big personal issues to discuss. I just hope my tactics of total self reliance don't turn me into a megalomaniac. It all seems so minor when I box it in like this. Meanwhile, out here, it's not just a bunch of sentences. Not just a creative writing exercise. It's a crying friend who doesn't know if she wants to talk to me again. It's a mean hangover. It's question marks all over my future. My brother and all the things left unmended. Marijuana. It's collapsing ecosystems and falling skies. It's life. So on I trudge, off to Central America. On to new things. Off the beaten track. More, better, cooler. Nothing is ever enough. Live in the now and tomorrow never comes. Perpetuate philosophical expansion. Endless growth! Psychic capitalism! Delete emotions, learn from mistakes. Ignore implication: focus on repercussion. A monkey with a computer in his cortex. Tom the Cool Cucumber.

Enter: 2006

The frayed wires interspersing the surface of ny brains crackle in retaliation to technicoloured events and synthetic material.
Now I'm using the internet. I just spawned this digital journal out on the magnetic strips of some supercomputer databank in Taipei or Bruxelles or the googledotcom orbital spy satelite. Or however the fuck this stuff works. The picture is of me.
This week I got new cdjs, which I'm beyond excited over. I also joined a message board to check what all this zany inter-befriending is about. And now the 'blog.' I like to go through jilted, racing modernizations from time to time - just to see how the other side live, you see. Now the impending AI hidden in all these emergent, technological phenomena can have a flash of my personality to go with all the credit reciepts, letters to the editor, adresses, shots of me at raves, applications, surveillance profiles, border crossings and plane tickets jumbled up out there under the heading: tom.
The music program's random setting has picked out the 'like i give a fuck'(Pardon My Freedom) song for the third time today.
So, Mr. Internet, thanks for the blog space, and nice to meet you, and perhaps we'll be seeing more of each other.
Testing Testing 123