Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lillian Lopez is around the corner but not here

This is a meandering post. Of thoughts from one occurence.

I think I was late to hear of the death of Lillian Lopez of Odyssey, over a month ago. Mid October I heard. And I cried that night.


But, kind of no. I was not so late to hear of the lady's death. I remember I saw a news report headline as I was rushing to close the computer down, rushing out somewhere or something, and I thought, "Who's that?", bored, but honest, strangely sure this meant nothing to me. But I questioned that and it was not accurate. It was from a strange land, and I questioned why I would think it then. The stubborn thought remained and instantly I was brought back to studying philosophy and the very confusing stuff dealt with seriously, pertaining to the very core of existence, consciousness and identity, such as, "How does one know a thought belongs to one, is made by one?" (In my course this had the taught suggestion which really was the philosophers' conclusion, that "Essentially, one doesn't. Ever.")

But part of my subconscious was crying at this same time, a part my active conscious was not linked to. And I still persevered "Who's that? I can't remember any Lillian Lopez. I know not that name." A split second later I saw "of Odyssey", and I thought, quicker than an electrical impulse from the mid body, "No, it couldn't be. I couldn't handle that." I really couldn't. My whole being changed, quickly again, not as quickly though. I changed my orientation, how my consciousness was. I seemed involuntarily to pretend I was someone else, to get by, because something wouldn't materialise perhaps. It was very strange. I wouldn't normally allow myself to do that, and would consider it Sartrean bad faith and would loathe myself if I would ever do something like that - pretend something other than the great, bare truth (whatever on earth it was, however horrible, blindingly brilliant or emotive). And so I would never, ever, kind of on pain of bridge jumping, let myself do that, if I could choose.

Then I lost this, in my aging state, I couldn't place the name with the lady. I couldn't believe she is dead, this lady whom my active conscious couldn't remember in part, while there was so much emotion, immediately and I didn't quite know what for. Then my head went blank - everything went. A part of my that didn't remember anyone was strong and thought "Isn't it totally right that someone called Lillian Lopez should die? Everyone, of any name, dies. What's wrong? Nothing. It's great (if there is great, maybe there is) and normal. Death is only as natural and brilliant as being born can be, without a shadow of a question. It's all part of something or a part of nothing, but each is something and one can't be without the other. Don't get so emo over the details."

But I was also suppressing acceptance completely, deeply emotional inside, and half of me deeply ashamed because I couldn't place the name with the person, and half of me not remembering and thinking there's no personal association here anyway. Then I suppressed all thoughts, not by choice, it just happened, as I walked away to do something or go somewhere, changed though, not comprehending at all, disturbed but I couldn't place why. And I couldn't remember not long after that.

So, later, over a month later, around a week or so ago, I found the articles by chance, watching some Odyssey songs in Youtube videos, and reading the R.i.P. comments which Youtube watchers had posted. I cried that night, I couldn't believe it. For some time, I could neither accept nor believe the death of someone I did not know. It seemed impossible. And I suppose it was because, though I didn't remember at the time quite the significance, I loved Odyssey and their members so deeply at such an early age, and times when I was very sensitive and very alone and myself. A myself, part of the one myself my life is usually all about searching for nowadays, as I slip down chasms of quicksand and vortices of time or space or something in between, overlayed or under sodden soil.

Whitney Houston and Donna Summer died this year, and in both cases, when I first heard and realised, I found I could not accept the news as true, when I haven't really followed either singer much recently. (Though I bought an old, great Whitney soul album from a time when she was not moddish last Christmas and played it even in the hours before I heard on the radio she passed away during the night. Donna also, unfortunately, went moddish in recent years, with stuff I could hardly listen to mostly. My reactions to these deaths surprised me for, as much as I liked and respected these singers (I thought not as much as a typical real 'fan' would), I can't remember a time when I loved them. That was when I really was young. A person forgotten now. But it was that person who came back in emotions at the deaths. I was younger when a fan who loved Donna Summer, a real young kid, than with Whitney, who was there for so many people for so many years.

But neither death was as much as this, as Lillian Lopez in the immediate reaction (second time around, the weeks after the surprise, confusion and complete supression). As if the lady were someone known and very close. Whitney came closest I suppose to how I felt with the death of Ms. Lopez, but Whitney was for decades a part of so many persons' lives, you simply couldn't help that. Watching her funeral live really helped. I suppose I was deeply affected, as I remember thinking, how on earth are the members of that choir whom knew her, and her family and friends, and so on, so collected, normal, positive and celebratory? It seemed impossible to me. (I'm not usually like this at all, and would never think I'd be the person that would be anything, remotely like this. So I was lost, but, increasingly happy at this strange difference, seeming so different to my habitual emotionless, sensationless self that I began to appreciate the new, nearly totally unformed, person.)

Rest in Peace, Lillian Lopez.

It's strange. Just one week before Ms. Lopez's death I had just been talking briefly to a DJ I didn't know in the bar club Le Frappé in Nice, France, as he played a version of "Inside Out". I asked him who covered it, because I said it was made famous by Odyssey. And his eyes lit up. Though I think he was just a bit too young to have known Odyssey as I did when I was a young boy, he seemed to make some connection with experience and he repeated the name and a sense of love of the name and wonder. There was some recollection but he was being searching and still there was a rapturous recognition in his eye and in his voice. He suggested he thought they were good. I was slow to translate - my small bit of French can be realised some half a minute or more after something is spoken to me.

This DJ looked up on his database any danceable tracks, but the database available to him for playing in the club (I don't know, MP3s he had bought from a service which catalogued, or those which were available on a subscription service) only had a very slow track, by the displayed BPM. This night in Le Frappé was a mid tempo very, very minimal early Chicago style funk night, so he could not play that.

In this quickish exchange, just 2 or 3 minutes, though which had a sense of loving dwelling over, even as a mark of slowed down, natural, unavoidable respect which grasped you and you could not avoid, we both agreed what a good song "Inside Out" was. It was a really nice cover version, I think he told me from 2007 or so.

I laughed to myself that night, because once you've sat through one, or maybe at most two of the club nights hearing those particular really minimal base funk tracks (the funk equivalent of the most minimal techno, but it has this strange edge to it), as I have moons and moons ago, it's hard ever to bear hearing a whole night of them again. They are very boring and grating, though can be well appreciated once only. I think I remember this was specialist stuff mostly from the early 80s, some from the late 70s. Underground funk stuff. Maybe to me it was like a really, really, interesting artisan cheese that harms you if you have enough - second slice - that kills you on the third. Even for someone who used to be a big funk and jazz funk and soul jazz and even big band funk fan, I could hardly take it, yet I enjoyed the memory while being killed, enjoyed the idea, from a time of connoiseurship gone by, sampled once or twice in hithertothen forgotten history. This is all partly me and what I can handle, of course, but, in substantial part also, I'm right about the music.

I'm meandering. You know, two or three months before the death of Ms. Lopez, I knew whom the name referred to, who she was and what she meant. Naturally. The stature of exactly what she meant. Senility or something worsens perhaps more and more in me.

And that's OK. I've nothing to write about Lillian Lopez. There's nothing to say. She was so beautiful. She was. She is somewhere else. There it is. I loved her. She seems so pure, true, such a piece of pure, Godly reality that saying anything in particular at all about her is so irrelevant and pointless. She lived. It's so sad, though, while I'm feeling better now, a bit more removed.
Lillian Lopez. 16 November 1935 – 4 September 2012. Rest in Peace.

Buy "Inside Out" by Odyssey:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Classical Twits - Paul Morley's unexpected, very funny article at Sinfini Music blog (owned by Universal Music Corporation)

Sinfini Music is a classical music blog I've just discovered and have read little of. I'm really just sharing this one, very funny, very accurate (at last) article by long time serious art and popular music critic Paul Morley, exposing The Classical Brit awards for what it long has been. (A James Rhodes article alerted me to this.)

I really have to share the article in Thinks Murmurs Stuff, for it must be a landmark article, to become the stuff of legend - one hopes for the change it may bring rather than a sole, lone voice lost in time while fondly remembered.

I don't follow the world of classical music more or less at all, and I seldom listen to classical music anymore, that which used to be the love of my life, I suppose. Or at least which consumed so much of the time of my life. A love of my life, is correct. I think it's factually incorrect actually to say the love of my life, it can only be a totally wrong description. Things just were as they were. I used to play. I can't play anymore, in significant part due to being ill.

Anyway, here's the link the the very funny and long overdue article this post was written to lead people to, by Paul Morley:

Aside, I've been thinking of writing a long blog article on the wonder and marvellousness of a piece of classical music, the second symphony, "Ressurection", by Austro-Bohemian composer of the early 20th Century Gustav Mahler. The power and meaning of that piece in this world is so great that I can only think of it as something that lies in wait for as many people to discover it as possible. So I hope to write what I can about it within the next couple of months or so.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Web trolling, publishing abuse, online satanism and the late Amanda Todd

James Rhodes had written this article in The Daily Telegraph, which I have been reading online a few days every week to every day over the last few years.

James Rhodes article, The Daily Telegraph: "In defence of trolls: the fearless internet sages who bring us the truth at the expense of personal hygiene."

The article humourously, though with some serious basis also, supports the internet troll. It is not an intellectual article by its bare words themselves in any degree, but, if it was intended to make any sense, it is partly a paean that uses surreal humour to be provocative and bring light upon a current social issue of importance. These kind of things can be important, especially at times when politic in bare print itself may be likely to turn to have all the value above the water of a coffin in a sea burial.

(Lots of digression ... yawns perhaps ... but I guess a good part of what a genuine Weblog - personal diary for self and others - is ...) James Rhodes is not someone whom I know, but someone who I met a long time ago and knew superficially, briefly long before he became famous as a pianist. This was when he had decided to try to study music full time after school, and before he threw in his stride on the serious route to become a concert pianist and became a full time stockbroker for years. I remember his enthusiasm to live as a pianist, the desire to make it his life and paying, and playing to so many, "as many as possible" he said.

Unfortunately, James was at the wrong place, the place where I unfortunately found I had ambled along to, half or mostly in sleep after school, Edinburgh University. Despite this institution's apparent amazing international reputation, when a number of international study lists place it within the top 50 and top 30 universities of the world in recent years, as of my time there, this is a very false reputation indeed. (It held a similar reputation and ranking then in national terms, before the days of alleged international college comparison charts, the place was usually ranked 3 or 4 in The UK, Edinburgh, Durham and Warwick being the three alleged Oxbridge pretenders. In the case of Edinburgh at least, pretence was all there was to do with it. This was at a time before the London University colleges made the so-called "top 5" much.) Luckily James realised well before I did how this place was just not right by some large distance, and a facade, and left within a few weeks of coming up to stay.

Due to my slowness, and being fooled by the Scottish "foundation year" system (or Level 0 in 1st year), as Scottish students begin tertiary education at 17, after only 6 years of secondary level schooling, I had to grin and bear the bloody ****hole for four years. When one gets to a certain distance of a four year project, pulling out can seem to become a rather fatal option for one's imagined future. Nowadays, what can seem worse than that four year perseverance is putting with the ridiculous smiles of people who seem to know the place (or know something strange) when you reply to their question saying that that is where you "studied". (That last verb is not appropriate for any 2:1 "degree" I know about which they issued in my time, or indeed any result of "degree", hence the quotation marks. But what else is there to say?)

A natural disclaimer is that it was sometime ago that I was at the institution, the company claiming itself as a university. And that in these latter times, I cannot claim to know what the place may be like. While I must say, I wouldn't bet a single cent, penny, dinar or even sostinki (or whatever the worlds lowest value coin by dollar exchange value) on the reputation of the place being anyway accurate or true whatsoever. I am one of the tiny, tiny minority who speak. Vastly most will never nor entertain a true reply to what I speak of.

Whether or not all of that is interesting, and I am very pleased I wrote it and it does have a social value though will probably be read by a handful of people only, ever (who will probably believe none of it), it is nothing to do with the main subject of this post.


Anyway (!) ... ... it is significant that an article about the value of agressive, perhaps destructive Web network commenting (whether in social media or wherever) is written today. It is published during a time of strangeness in that and a time of social worry about what it all means and if the medium itself is wrong. (I never understand the latter notion, but so many think the problem is with Facebook, Myspace etc. and not the people who write things on these blank noticeboards or even what they write. One supposes there are many people out there who will use any excuse to swing arguments against enterpreneurs legally resting upon the millions of pounds they have made.)

So, in response, I thought it was very relevant to move from the article to talk about the very sad Amanda Todd occurrence in a town by Vancouver, Canada.

Ms. Todd killed herself last week. She made a video before she did that and published it in the Web and you can see it now in Youtube:

Amanda Todd's video in Youtube

The video explains how her life had become unbearable as the victim of bullying, being hounded by a mob who intentionally, fervently drove her to suicide after a previous, unsucessful attempt she had made that became well known and a source of mockery. The mob was not going to settle for an unsuccessful attempt, it seems.

Here is my response to James Rhodes' seemingly humorous defence of the internet troll.


After James Rhodes, The Telegraph: "In defence of trolls: the fearless internet sages who bring us the truth at the expense of personal hygiene"

(You may find this text in a reader comment after the article on its webpage, which is how it started life.)

This article is quite funny, in the realm of rather surreal humour. In the parts of that which have a genuine foundation, it is borne of a good smidgen of a valid point in the validity of trolling, combined with a very natural reaction against the prevailing modern day, thoughtless, threatening, pseudo-fascist "establishmentarianism". (Blue rinsers with attitude and no idea of subjectivism arise before 37 weeks nowadays and appear at birthing, coming in either sex variety, and not more exclusively at around 52 years like in the old days. Every age and walk of life is included, in each gender.). That culture is so widespread and in every thing you can do, every place you can look. And it seems if you have not laid your knife and fork correctly today, even when eating at home alone, you will suffer for it on the bus or somewhere else soon enough. Or if you have laid your knife and fork correctly, for the nouveau establishmentarianism is a facade, and a facet of something bigger.

Therefore, I must enjoy the angle Mr. Rhodes has taken in humour.

However, there are very serious issues indeed, of course. And I don't know if Mr. Rhodes was aware of what seems to be the unfortunate timing of his article being published, subsequent to the suicide of young Canadian woman Amanda Todd.

I was very annoyed two days ago, watching the touching "suicide video" which the young woman made. This was a personal film made just being Ms. Todd was finally hounded to her death in conditions that very few, young, sensitive people who would never cave in to join the lynch group mob against them, could have coped with. It can be seen in Youtube (search with the name).

The thing is that the bullies have not stopped with her death. Nowadays, unfortunately, one may expect a few comments saying the woman deserved to die - comments without any foundation in sense as the alleged reason for her bullying was simply that she allowed herself to be seduced by a young man who had a girlfriend at the time. These kind of comments are par for the course in today's world, usually in small numbers.

Most people posting in the Youtube page who do actually say she should not have been bullied still claim that the young woman "made a mistake" and "anyone can make a mistake". The alleged mistake was in allowing herself to be seduced by the male who asked her over, who's girlfriend was not there. In this affair, even in the people who do not claim the girl was a waste of space for too long, we can see the deeply, deeply, deeply set, nouveau establishmentarian prejudices, similar to social norms of hundreds of years ago. The clear thing that came across to me about Amanda Todd is that, in the face of such terror against her in her life, she made no "mistakes".

However, the comments made in the last few days specifically against the late Ms. Todd and in support of the bullies, saying that she should indeed have died, were not in the expectable small numbers, not at all. The most surprising thing to behold was / is the sheer number of people in the last days and today and even now supporting the bullies in intentionally and fervently having forced Amanda Todd to her own death.

When I first went to the Youtube video page, the comments seemed to be close to roughly half and half; half in support of the bullies and that Ms. Todd killed herself, half thinking those people were wrong. The percentage seemed to change later, more against the bullies but there was still a very, very high proportion supporting them. It is a strange, damning social snapshot. A satanic society, it can appear, even clearly. Really that has to be an accurate analysis, as the question, "What else can we be seeing?", has no real answer.

I remember a visit to Vancouver 12 years ago, where I stayed in and around for a few weeks, over the new millenia eve, and, as many do, I liked it so much it I thought it would be nice to live in, to move to. Things have changed so much everywhere since then.

Considering that this situation seems to me much more likely to be an outright case of first degree murder rather than manslaughter (whether or not enough evidence can be found to bring a case and achieve that verdict), the sheer scale, the stark percentage of the online comments supporting the lynching to suicide of Ms. Todd is very significant indeed.

Of course, it is apt to point out that this phenomena can have, in essence, very little indeed to do with the internet, the web network, social media sites, social networking, mobile communications etc. For they are only tools for people, as mastering a spoken language is a tool. It is what people communicate that matters, not the means. The Web network in itself had nothing to do with Amanda Todd when she was beaten up by a gang. Just as it in itself is irrelevant as to the meaning of acts when online comments commanding her to kill herself were made. Just as it in itself is irrelevant as to acts when the satanic support of the satanic hounding to death started a few days ago in Youtube etc. etc. etc.

The Amanda Todd situation is a spotlight upon a society that is in very significant part, effectively satanic. Satanic and effective in satanism.

In the light of this current social spotlight, Mr. Rhodes's comments which I hope I have gauged correctly as palatable and of a positive, typical context in the first paragraphs of this response - humorous and provocative to illuminate a situation - are however, at least partially, inappropriate.

They do not see the real picture or seriousness of it.


R.i.P. Amanda Todd (November 27, 1996 – October 10, 2012)