Steve Reich

Steve Reich

Late April Steve Reich visited Sydney again as part of a composer-in-residence of Vivid Festival. There were some fabulous concerts, I made it to the main one at the Opera House that featured 3 hours of awesome Reich music from various parts of his career. The concert finishes with music for 18 musicians.

To celebrate this Radio National’s Music Show had a lovely interview between Reich and Andrew Ford. Reich was incredibly insightful and shared some funny and moving moments too.

Listening to Steve Reich’s music is not a fad or fashionable activity for me (is it fashionable even?), I absolutely adore his music, it makes me think, it lets me drift with complex rhythms and shifting key progressions and it lifts me out of the everyday with a wonderful otherworldly force that I relish. I live for these moments/times.

Here’s a piece I absolutely adore, the Mallet Quartet. It’s performed by the Amadinda Percussion Group.

And finally… Video of Reich rehearsing with Synergy… awesome video :)

GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides

GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides

After more than 15 years of the world gambling with genetically modified crops the verdict is in and it’s pretty damning.

There is now strong empirical evidence from a variety of authoritative places that GM crops increase pesticide resistance which ends up driving up pesticide use. They also

GM companies have used a variety of tactics to persuade farmers to take up GM, from attractive promises of more yield and less cost, to much harsher strategies such as making conventional seeds unavailable, vertically integrating seed and chemical companies locking farmers into using products from the same system, aggressive litigation of any perceived harm to the company, creating monopolies then driving prices to record highs leading to crippling financial debt that many Indian farmers can only escape through suicide.

There are also health safety concerns for human eating and there is strong evidence that pesticide use has doubled and in some cases has gone up 13 times to the original. Only a few traits have been developed to favour consumers or farmers, all the other developments favour GM companies at the expense of everyone else.

In many areas growing conventional crops has become impossible because of large scale cross-contamination which brings with it uncertainty, impossibility to isolate non-GM crops and also in many cases harsh litigation from GM companies who easily bankrupt farmers even when the claim is absolutely solid against the GM companies. Injustice occurs and choice is taken away. Not fair, not democratic, not ecologically sound.

The conventional instrumental rationality of technoscience coupled with ethics-free capitalism is clearly failing both the people and the environment. Again. Most who studied this issue through the last 15 years, such as myself, or those who have been at the front line of GM developments knew what was going to happen, yet developments went ahead. Clear failure of the underlying logic that drives both science and capitalism in this case.

Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs:

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/documents/2011/10/19/GMOEMPEROR.pdf

Guardian article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/gm-crops-insecurity-superweeds-pesticides

Poly segment on SBS

Finally we’ve got our segment on polyamory up on youtube (thanks Craig for pushing for this!) so you can have a look. Me, my mum and friends are on from about 2 min into the video:

Considering the original footage from us was over 2 hours many of us were disappointed at the length and quality of our segment. Still, it was a great opportunity to put polyamory into a mainstream program that actively shows the alternatives to monogamous marriage. Good one guys, I’m proud of us :)

Chris Hedges on OWS

Finally someone worth listening to on the Occupy movement. Chris Hedges, Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist and writer was shouted down in a Fox News style CBC show in the first video, then got his chance to properly explain the movement in the second.

Cogent, considered and making very important points that need to be made again and again and again… that the US financial system is completely broken and morally/ethically bankrupt, that it’s high time to stop putting corporations in front of people and that unbridled capitalism has led to a full-scale ecological crisis and we need to wake up to the reality in order to start changing our way.

And he’s got his own blog here too:

http://www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges

OccupyWallStreet

OccupyWallStreet

Finally average Americans have really had enough… of unemployment, of not being able to afford health care when their lives are in danger, of not making ends meet while working hard, on whole families and communities collapsing because of entrenched inequality and lack of opportunity, of banks and financial institutions being bailed out while families are not given any help, of both major parties being in cahoots with powerful industries and failing to govern for their people, of the US of A going down the drain as far as the world of the everyday person is concerned.

The Occupy movement has grown out of years of financial strife and disaffection, out of millions and millions of Americans losing their livelihood, health and lives because they have been screwed over by the political and financial elites.

Finally the movement is getting big enough on Wall Street that Michael Bloomberg had to yield ground and allow them to stay despite pepper spraying them in the face and brutalising them with the NYPD earlier. The movement is spreading all across the USA and abroad too. It’s an amazing time to be alive and watching this, on top of the Arab spring. Yet it is also a scary time: how many times in a lifetime do people of big, influential societies or vast oppressed areas get the chance to rise up and change history? Not many times. How many times have they succeeded in the past? I do not know the count, but from the last couple of centuries of European history my mind conjures up many many failed revolutions and failed uprising. In fact some are going on right now (Greece anyone? Ukraine?). I wonder which way the USA is heading. It’s going to be very interesting to watch.

A good sign is that the US right wing public sphere is starting to freak out. Here, watch this video from the Rachel Maddow Show about media coverage and how the tide is turning.