Montys Loco in concert - Tavastia Club, Helsinki - Friday 17th March 2006 
Saturday, 18 .March, 2006, 19:55 - English Entries, Music

They sang before the Cardigans went on stage. Montys Loco is a Swedish duo of Anja Bigrell and Marie Eklund. Whilst Anja sings with a gentle voice, that often gets a harsh and raw undertone, Marie accompanies her on the acoustig guitar that goes along perfectly with the singing.

They maybe sang five songs and throught that time I had the impression that the whole club fell into silence and left only room for that voice and the guitar, that guided the audience carfuelly and savely through the winters night. There were softer songs and wilder ones, but at no point any of the two girls became too loud. They did not need to move, their music caught the room in a warm trance and all of us were listening and bound to them.

The lyrics are nothing for easy listening - they are serious and most of them have a sad notion. Anja sings them with a clear voice and makes them easy to understand.

I got their CD "Man Overboard" which is beautiful to listen to and shows more facets of the band. Songs like "Give me More" and "Image" give an impression of how they are live. On the teaser "Wasteland" there is the song "leather", which has a lot of power. Samples of the songs can be heared by clicking on their names.

The true magic of Montys Loco is only apparent when they are on stage. Don't miss to see them.


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Freedom of Speech 
Thursday, 09 .March, 2006, 05:03 - English Entries, Travel, Music, Thoughts, Politics

Bob Dylans life once was saved thanks to freedom of speech. He reports about this exceptional event in the very educational and entertaining song Motorpsycho Highway, in which he can only escape from a patriotic American farmer by pretending to be very fond of Fidel Castro (and his beard). Besides that, this song includes violence, shooting, a daring jump out of a window as well as a not very much hidden invitation for having sex, i.e.: all the things that you really miss from modern music.

As said already I am currently in China and the hotel that I am staying in provides a desktop PC in every room, including broadband internet access. It is worth switching it on. After chosing the English version Windows 98 comes up and everything looks normal. Great. So what was the name of the place around here, at which this big Buddha statue is located? Just type in http://en.wikipedia.org and ... uuups: Error message. Maybe the network is down. But no, http://www.spiegel.de comes up fine.

After several tries it became clear, that I could just not access Wikipedia from here. I was not sure whether it is generally blocked from China or it is just not available due to additional security measurements in this hotel, and found more on this issue at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_mainland_China.

What do we learn from this? Maybe that you do not need freedom of speech if you can express your preferences for Castro without running into problems. Maybe that every blocked page is in good company. Maybe that you need to experience a restriction yourself to find out about what it really means.

What I appreciate is the internet access via my mobile phone (GPRS). It connects to the network via Finland and there is no blocking inbetween. Maybe it's after all not too bad to work in this industry.


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Die Botschaft in Miesbach 
Saturday, 25 .February, 2006, 03:55 - Deutsche Einträge, Music

So lange ist das noch nicht her, da hatte mein Herkunftsort Miesbach noch eine eigene Botschaft. Eine recht musikalische. Die Botschaft nannte sich selbst "Bar - Longue - Club" und die zugehörige Website existiert immer noch, das gleichnamige Lokal leider nicht mehr. Dort, im Miesbacher Sudhaus, befindet sich jetzt eine Rockdisco, die auch nicht zu verachten ist. Aber die Botschaft war schon a bissl was b'sonders. Und das wage ich zu beurteilen, obwohl ich nicht oft dort war.

Am 10. Juli 2004 war ich zum erstenmal dort und am Abend darauf habe ich einen kleinen Gästebucheintrag verfasst, der mir immer noch gut gefällt und den ich hier - vielleicht mehr als Nachruf - wiedergebe.

Mein erster Abend in der Botschaft war für mich die Ausuferung von Zuständen, die sich seit Jahren in Miesbach im Geheimen abzeichneten, jedoch niemals mit derartiger Übermacht zu Tage traten. Über dreißig Jahre, nahezu die von Shy besungenen "35 Sommer", habe ich mich im Nabel des Landkreises aufgehalten und die Ufer waren immer hoch genug. Wir mussten schon in die Schlierach steigen, um uns nass zu machen - wir taten es auch, wenn auch nur stockbesoffen und nach einem Bad im Michaelsbrunnen, einem freiwilligen, auch wenn ich immer noch glaube die Stadt unterliegt einem Irrtum und es handelt sich bei dem Herrn um den anderen Drachentöter.

Endlich hat Miesbach eine Botschaft für ganz Oberbayern. Die bekannten Gesichter passen da ebenso hin wie die unbekannten, die Musik sehnt sich manchmal nach ein wenig mehr Strangeness und Schmutz, wabert aber trotzdem in Spähren hinein, in denen der Kleinstadtgeist leise verendet, niemand geizt, schon gar nicht mit Reizen und ein Gespräch kann vom tiefsten Dialekt ins Englische und wieder zurückkippen.

Was habt IHR da bloss angestellt? Und wie? Ihr ward sicher nicht bekifft, sonst wäre was mit E-Gitarren rausgekommen und das Kellergewölbe würde mit Blumenbildnisskitschattacken auf die Seele drücken. Hat Euch denn die Botschaft wirklich ereilt?

Ihr Fotografen und Werbetexter, Gardarobenmenschen und Baranoiker, Organisatösen und alle anderen Bösen - macht die Botschaft weiterhin zu einem Statement. Ich werde immer wieder mal vorbeikommen, wenn es Zeit und Raum erlauben, und mich in Eurer Aussagekraft baden.

Kippis!
Georg


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Walk the Line - the Movie about Johnny Cash  
Monday, 06 .February, 2006, 22:08 - English Entries, Music, Movies
Johnny Cash at Folsom PrisonLots of things have already been written about this movie. After I saw it yesterday I have read now a lot of statements and critics about it, many of them glorifying, some of them merciless and harsh.

I do not know Johnny Cash too well, but what I know of him I really like and some of his songs I love. Those are simple and straight songs, getting a lot of their magic from his voice. I could write a lot about Johnny Cash and his music. But this entry should be about a movie.

A film cannot be as detailed a biography as a book can be, it has to cut away parts of reality to give those things more space, that should be transported to the audience. This is where director James Mangold had to take some decisions and at least for me he took them well. The movie concentrates on the early years of Cash, it has two major themes in it: the love between J.C. and June Carter (also J.C.) and Johnnys problems that start in early childhood and partly cause his drug addiction. Don't expect more from this.

And don't say "this does not show the whole Johnny Cash" - of course it does not. There are some hundred songs missing, most of his live is not told (the movie ends with the concert at Folsom Prison in the late 60s) and we nearly do not see any scene in which the singer Cash gets glorified into a supernatural being. Yes, there are some scenes like that, especially when he first time sings in the record studio, well - some episodes like that must have happend in his life. In general we are not witnessing the rising of a legend.

The drug addiction is maybe given too much room and has a sort of pathetic taste to it - although I did not think so when watching the movie, I only came across this thought when reading some critics. Nevertheless the addiction was part of Cashs life and it was one that influenced him most likely until his late days. So it is - looking at the person we are talking about here - fair to give this subject room.

What makes this movie more than just the story of a drug addicted hillbilly in love? For a hollywood production there is a strong sense of reality in it, that mostly is transported by the women in the story. Johnnys wife, who blames him and suffers and June Carter, who never even takes a toe away from the ground and gives the great singer a hard but healing time.

Amreican Recordings I was most impressed by the singing performances of the two main actors Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Letting them sing the original songs and not dubbing that with Cashs and Carters voices was daring, but it works perfectly and makes the whole story more vivid. Both actors do a great job. I always imagined Cash as a man of at least 40, 50 years, never younger. After this movie, my view on him has changed.

It is a good movie, that shows a part of the life and works of Johnny Cash. It does not pretend to tell you the whole story, it does not mystify too obviously, but it entertains you and seems mostly to stick to the truth.

8 out of 10 - close to 9.

-- Picutres in this entry are from http://www.wikipedia.org
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January 2006 
Monday, 30 .January, 2006, 21:29 - English Entries, Literature, Music, Movies

A short look back on the first month of 2006. Good music, good movies, good books - lots of travelling and visiting family and friends. The mole (birthmark) over my right eyebrow was removed, I sprained my ankle badly (thank you Andi for bringing me home) and now I am happy to be back in Helsinki for the next two weeks.

Forgive me, that I mostly list the good things below - there is just not time enough time, to review the not-so-good artworks.


Read:
  • Michel Houellebecq - Die Möglichkeit einer Insel / The Possiblility of an Island
    Misanthropic, sad and haunted by sex - that's Michels style in Die Ausweitung der Kampfzone / Whatever and Elementarteilchen / The Elementary Particles. In this new book his view on mankind has become a bit more negative and he really makes the reader blieve that everything that happens between North- and South-Pole is disgusting and the only advantage is anyhow that it makes no sense. At the very end he seems to leave a little light of hope burning. Weather it's a hope that you like, you'll have to find out on your own. A good book, but Elementarteilichen / The Elementary Particles was better. (7/10)

  • Juli Zeh - Spieltrieb
    On over 560 pages Juli Zeh ist not capable of writing a single wrong sentence. Every word, every metaphor fits - and many of them hurt. Her talent in using the German language is for sure unique. Already Adler und Engel / Eagles and Angels was a crime and a love story. In Spieltrieb she changes the scenario from drug addicted grown ups to a German grammar school. We meet Ada, a fourteen year old girl, whose mind is one of a fully grown-up and disillusioned person. We meet Smutek, her teacher who tries to find happyness, or at least hope, together with his wife. And we meet Alev, one of Adas classmates - a player of games. And as all games between people, also this becomes serious and ends in something that might look like a catastrophe at first glance. (8/10)


Saw:
  • Match Point
    Woody Allen leaves the comedy (not for the first time) and New York (must have been for the first time), goes to London and directs a love-crime-tragedy that sucks you in, shakes your emotions and leaves you waiting for more. But the end is as cruel as justice is. One might not like the moral implications this movie transports, but it is a perfectly constructed, directed and acted story, that will not let you think of anything else until it is finished. (9/10)

  • Southpark - Bigger, Longer and Uncut
    I said it already - it is great! (9/10)

  • Bob Dylan - No Direction Home
    Martin Scorsese makes a movie about the early Bob Dylan and the man himself talks about himself and it is all wonderful. This documentary made me listen to Dylans song in a different way - with much more background knowledge. I even took out the one and only Woody Guthrie record I have and listend to it. Don't watch this if you do not like Dylan. (9/10)

  • Ronin
    I saw this in 98 when it was released and now again on TV, but I did not like it too much. It is a good thriller, but the streets of Nice and Paris are too empty and just waiting for the cars that chase each other through them. (5/10)


Listend to:
  • Mary Broadcast Band
    Now, after coming back home again, I am able to listen to their first album, which is unfortunately not available in stores. The three songs on their web page are good, but the album is just perfect. I saw them live, but I do not know them personally, so don't think I would make advertisement for friends here. They simply play the blues and Marys voice has a power rarely heared these days. Be there at their next concert, get a CD. (10/10)

  • Juliette and the Licks - You're Speaking my Lanuage
    This is the little Juliette Lewis, who played in Natural Born Killers. Somebody must have told her to make music and this somebody should get a special bonus. This is very well made Rock'n'Roll - loud, aggressive, sometimes sad and always good. (8/10)

  • Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un M'a Dit
    Yes yes yes, I like to listen to female voices. I know that. And Mrs. Bruni is not only good to listen too - we also know that. But still her songs are so easy and so much Cote d'Azur, that even a 42 square meter room in Helsinki in Winter becomes a cozy place for forgetting everything that is anyhow not worth the trouble. (9/10)

  • CocoRosie - Noah's Ark
    I heared them on Zündfunk on German Radio Bayern 2 and their sound and song was so different, that I had to hear more of them. Their music is organic and does not go into cateogries of loud or soft, happy or sad. Sigur Ros is maybe in a way similar, but then again - only hardly similar. Don't listen to this as background music - it gives you a severe headache. (7/10)


Played:
  • Tarock
    A big "Thank You" to Alice, Christian and Johannes, who not only took time with me in Vienna, but also taught me this great game. I got addicted to it and play it on the my computer all the time.


Travelled:
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