Saturday, September 03, 2005

devouring apocalypse balloons

Two of the three concerts that Graham did as a pianist with Current 93 live in Toronto in June 2004 have now been released on the Durtro/Jnana label, as a two-CD set: How I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon. Also playing were Michael Cashmore, guitar, Simon Finn, vocals/guitar, Ben Chasny/Six Organs of Admittance, guitar, John Contreras, cello and of course David Michael - late Tibet. The recording captures the unique atmosphere of the concerts and is highly recommended as an excellent document for those familiar and less familiar with Current 93. Also just released is Judas as Black Moth , a retrospective of this highly influential group from the English underground's work.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Went down to Birmingham last Friday to talk to some schools for the Specialist Schools Trust: what a transformation has happened in the city centre since I was last there ten years ago! Trouble is, it's all so shiny and corporate that it looks much the same as any other regional city centre...once again the construction of urban images has driven the development of the downtown to the point where the private and public money has flooded in but there doesn't seem to be much of a vision beyond the usual retail cluster, dull business services and some fairly poor street performances to 'animate' the space. Not good enough! Sure there are the galleries, theatres, exhibition spaces etc but they recede compared to the urban retail spectacle.

I wandered around the shops at the end of the day and no-one appeared to be spending much money; just hanging out like me. is the uk turning into a debt ridden society of cappucino consumers? time for some local distinctiveness I think and time for some radical thinking about placemaking, locality and building capacity for local businesses and difference. otherwise we will all just be living in super-surveillance airport liminal space or in the ghetto, with not much in between. And what is happening in New Orleans is a huge and scary lesson in why there's a need for social infrastructure, social policy, and why the unbridled market will never provide on its own.