28 April 2006

Back to ignoring the surrounding world

I bought myself a new MP3 player few days ago while having a layover in Amsterdam. My old one broke down few months ago and I have been living without music while walking, sitting in a bus or surfing online in the library for a while and it has been a strange experience. To hear what people are talking about in the bus. I bought my first Mini Disc when I was eighteen and after that I haven’t really had that experience.

But now when I put my music on my new and shiny device I am back to the basics. I had a long walk today and because I do not have any playlists set yet, I had the whole library on shuffle and what a great experience that was. These days the amount of music is so large that you only get to concentrate on the new ones and rarely look back at the old tracks. Not necessarily even classic songs but songs that are nice and which you used to listen to. Today I had unique mix of hardcore rap, African jazz, rock, kwaito, and many other styles only interrupted by a stand up routine of some of my favourite comedians. This mix as such will never be repeated although similar ones can be heard whenever I go for a walk again. Now I might actually, realistically, go for a walk again.

26 April 2006

War against what.. or is it who?

So I am back in the UK and I cannot help but wonder the way the world is. I mentioned some weeks back that on the way home I was being stopped and searched rather thoroughly and in rather unpleasant way in the Amsterdam airport, where I was being picked “randomly” from the queue after the officer stared at my Public Enemy hat. On my way back yesterday at the Birmingham International Airport after the passport control I was being stopped again for some sort of a questioning (I was not even wearing the hat this time). I was keeping a close eye on what was going on after my questioning was over and noticed that besides me, only one other person was being “randomly” stopped. Quite a coincidence it must have been because that other person was the only black person in the whole plane.

These kinds of incidents are rather hard to handle. Even if something would seem like evident enough, the other part can just deny it. Then it becomes never-ending yes-no-yes-no-debate in which the other end has all the power in the name of national security. One really wants to avoid being kept longer at the airport, getting on some list of suspects, or being deported. The governments always like to comment that these kinds of things are one-off incidents. So the only option is to do the bare minimum. This whole thing is not to be misunderstood. I am not on the side of violence and killing of innocent human beings but I also see the oppressive side of this situation which some of these “western” countries fail to acknowledge.

In my view what this war on terrorism does to us people, the consumers, going from one country to another is that we get even poorer service that we got before. It gives an open cheque to the custom officers and the police to harass and implement their prejudices. I am waiting for someone to prove me wrong, and I’ll be happy if that happens, but the randomness of these searches and questioning is not based on any statistical science but only one’s assumption on who may hate our freedom.

This is where the “western” world raises its ugliest face of racism. I may be stopped because I am wearing clothes that fall into the stereotype or look like I am trying to smuggle weed from Amsterdam but I can always shave my beard and change my clothes. Although I should not have to and it does not justify the prejudice ,but I could. So it is not really about me. Person with the Middle Eastern characteristics cannot change, no matter what. Neither can the Africans or anybody. And they are not supposed to. But because white Christian harmless looking people are not stopped, these people think it does not happen to anyone. They are the ones saying there is no racism in Europe or North America. They feel that the problem is exaggerated and that there are few exceptions who are racist but that is all there is to it. They are the people who think that racism is only about name calling. The ones who aren’t being stopped and suspected from the early days of childhood until they die. They are the same people who are not calling themselves racist but are not actively condemning these racist acts. The trouble is they, well we, are born in the social structures where racism is so deep rooted that more than half of it is not really seen as racism by people who do not consider themselves as racist. That is not a justification for it.

Quite frankly I think that the governments who are talking about fighting against evil should look into the mirror, have a think, and see if there is something within the structures of their system that is inherently evil and oppressive.

21 April 2006

Getting Glasses

For some reason I don’t write very often when I come to Finland. I suppose it is because I am busy seeing my friends and family here or then nothing ever happens here.
It’s the former really. Few quick points anyway.

I got glasses. It is true. They are for reading and computing. My mum told me that one should get those when closer to 40. I suppose I am very mature or then just addicted to computer. I am about to get them from the shop now now. It is the strangest thing.

The radio show is going very well and I am actually returning to Cape Town for the summer. I am very exited.
I shall write more later when I get back to UK. I have some things that I need to get out of my system so look for my humble opinion of why the war against piratism is such a joke. And not very funny one.
Peace, Mik

12 April 2006

Music Industry's favorite type of Artist - Dead Rapper

The list of dead rappers just got longer the other day when Proof from D12 (yes, it is Eminem’s group.. remember my band, my band…) was gunned down in Detroit. News and rumours say that he may have started the gun play himself by shooting the bouncer in the head but then again when people are glorifying this stop snitching mentality who knows what really happened. I don’t really even want to get into the whole topic as the “hood” I am from only saw people losing their lives by their own hands – arguably out of boredom.

I hate to be the cynical person that I am on the moment like this, but quite frankly I am doubtful that the industry would be crying over this. One more dead rapper.. you know how much more money you make out of dead one than one who is alive. Look at Big L. I am not saying that he wasn't good but surely he sold much more posthumously. This is not based on statistics then so feel free to prove me wrong. Or maybe you should look at Tupac. Sure his sales were decent when he lived but quite frankly the sales have been ridiculously high when he has not been around demanding a better contract
So let me guess - Eminem records song by the name of Oh, How We Miss U and it sells by its millions. The best of Proof album arrives to the shops.. DVD, Book, anything that can be made money out of... oh yeah the Lost Tapes, lyrics that were not good enough for the album are put on some beats and some R.Kelly-type of singer singing some awful chorus about seeing you in heaven.
They did it with Notorious BIG, the certainly made it with Tupac Shakur so why not with Proof.
When they say Rest in Peace, I wish they actually meant that.

4 April 2006

Artist Against Apartheid

I found this cool old video clip from the Enemy Board today and wanted to share it further. It takes a while to load up but give it a go.

2 April 2006

Going home

I have just landed in Amsterdam for a layover on my way to Finland. It is time for the Easter holidays again so I left the first spring days behind and go a month back to the late winter. That does not bother me but instead I am happy to get back to the homelands for a while.

In the security check here in Amsterdam I was the only one to be picked “randomly” from the long queue to go through rather thorough body search. It was not quite the worst that one could imagine but still for the lack of better expression I would call it a sexual harassment. If only I could read minds I did not have to speculate but it seemed obvious to me that I was picked after the person checking us, saw my Public Enemy hat. At least that was what she was looking at when she immediately took me aside. I am not calling this any kind of conspiracy but probably just immature prejudice, maybe just paranoia from my side but just in case next time I should wear some kind of a G-Unit hat so the powers that be would think that the only destruction I am capable of is a self-one.

Few other things on the agenda. I do not think that I mentioned before that I went to see a British film, Kidulthood, some weeks ago. Not a life-changing cinematic experience I must admit but quite decent film. It was a harsh story about the youth in London but my problem was, that I was not quite sure if it was realistic. Mainly because it was so harsh. All the critiques and reviews that I have seen blame it for exaggerating the problems but my friends Rochelle and Samantha confirmed that it was all true. They are from the mean streets of London and said that everything that took place in a film, they had either seen themselves or heard from their friends. That adds quite a lot on the impact of the film in retrospect.

Other friends of mine, Tom and Zeb, have opened up a new and very cool website for their radio programme called THOX (Thinking Outside of The Box). You can find it here, so have a look at Zeb’s notebook and browse through the pages. We agreed on cross-promotion so if the link to this blog does not appear there soon, fellas are going to be in big trouble.

I shall go and have a cup of coffee now. Besides the unfortunate incident that I mentioned I must admit that they have a nice airport here in Amsterdam. I was not so sure few years ago when I was sleeping the whole night here ( I think I actually slept less than half an hour but my sister slept the whole night. She got all the good sleeping genes) but for a short time this is a decent place. The urban legend about this place having a brothel by the way is not actually an urban legend, but a fact. My friend Faouzi, who has worked here some years ago, confirmed it. I still rather go for a coffee and before you ask.. no, they do not have those coffee shops here.