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January 9, 2006

David Byrne

Every now and again, a post on boingboing really does point you towards a wonderful. This time, it’s David Byrne, and his monthly set of mp3s from fascinating little corners of the musical world.

This month it’s all country. Country music reminds me of science fiction: there’s some great stuff in there, but 90% of it is crap. I’m lazy enough that I’ve not ploughed through the crap in country or in SF - I’ve hung around in the hope that somebody will point me towards the good stuff. In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to find several guides before this. One was a set of Americana, which Ozzy played at Octaine in November 2004. Another is the country int he sets on Radio Paradise](http://www.radioparadise.com) - from these, at least one of the setlist is familiar to me. But this set is my favourite of the three.

So, boingboing wins for that alone. I’ll probably spend while with last.fm tuned to country-tagged music, and try to get my bearings a little better.

But the icing on the cake is David Byrne’s journal. Just this paragraph makes me want to read everything else he’s ever written:

I hope also to catch and absorb some whiff of the Philippine ethos, sensibility and awareness — by osmosis — and by conversation, too. I believe that politics is an expression of the landscape — the streets, eroticism and hum-drum lives — as much it is of backrooms, ideologies and legislature. Geography, religion, sex, weather, music, food — these all contribute to a national policy and how it functions. As in current genetic thinking, the word “expression” is appropriate here; just as there are elements in the genes waiting for chemical keys to allow the cells to express themselves as a chicken liver or a human heart, there are elements in a place that trigger expression in action and in culture. Much human behavior is a kind of expression of latent keys — genetic or geographical and cultural — unlocking tiny doors.

January 4, 2006

squatter city

squatter city is a great example of taking an overlooked issue and using a blog to build up expertise on it. Over the past few months, he’s been noticing a trend towards European governments closing down well-established squats: Rhino in Geneva, St. Agnes Place in London, Christiania in Copenhagen. Robert, who writes it, also has a book about squatters.