2017-08-19

 

We don't need this fascist groove thing.

You don't heal a society by tearing down statues. When did iconoclasm heal anything? A more robust solution is to incorporate new values into the existing ones, side by side. Every country with sufficiently long history faces these issues. In the US case, it is not just the civil war and slavery that needs healing. From a Native American perspective, every statue and flag celebrating the USA --- yes, including Washington and Jefferson --- also celebrates their collective loss and annihilation. Are we really going to tear down every offensive historical artifact?

As for the President's role. What a surprise Trump is a racist! More than half of voting white people in the U.S. voted for him despite him saying things like "Mexico only sends us rapists, let's build a wall, etc." To this day, his approval is at 37%, I would imagine most of them from his white base. This means that roughly one in every two white Americans who sees my name probably thinks I'm an inferior human---which is still much better odds than the proportion of northern Europeans who think southern, Hispanic Europeans like me are inferior (hey, the Dutch president of the eurogroup got away with saying southern countries spent their money on women and wine.) Just providing some bicontinental context.

Of course the US would do much better embracing a Mandela when it comes to healing. Obama tried, but reactionary forces, to hold on to power, embraced and assembled the extreme forces with dog whistles; now the wild dogs run the show. Still, we cannot succumb to fight intolerance with more iconoclasm. Let free speech rule; all speech. If all speech is allowed to coexist, the most extreme forces will be more and more in the fringe without an excuse or resentment. But let's never tolerate violence or intimidation.

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2017-07-14

 

He's the groove

This Pope is Disco! Somebody should write a "disco opera" for him. Seriously now, so happy that the modern Vatican is delineating so very clearly that Catholics in the US have been contaminated by heretical (as far as new testament is concerned) evangelical incoherence: theocratic bureaucracies hell-bent on bringing the apocalypse via unholy alliances between big capital and weapon makers are as far from modern Catholicism as can be, and indeed not far from Islamism.

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2017-05-31

 

Suppe a la clown: or what if Trump is right?

Trump is a cumbersome buffoon. No doubt about that. But while his approach certainly is counterproductive and not that relevant to the US, he is right about Germany's role on global (mostly EU) macroeconomics, defense and I would say even climate---even though Merkel and most Germans try to address some of these concerns. On macroeconomics, we all know that Germany is living off a depreciated euro for its export surpluses. If it still had the mark, it would be much higher given Germany's spectacular trade surpluses. So, especially for the Eurozone, but also with all its trading partners, it should increase consumption, raise salaries, etc. Of course it has no rational, self-interest reason to do that, but since Europeans do not have the power to do it, a little pressure from the US could be a good thing---if it did not come from a mean, dictator-loving, unprepared president following behind on a golf cart. On defense, it is clearly under spending (1.2 of GDP). There are historical reasons for that, but it is time for Germany to live up to the NATO commitments it signed on to, especially given the trade surpluses it has. Finally, on climate. While Germany signs all the right treaties, when it comes to enforcing them, it is not so good. I am convinced that German automakers are involved in the greatest environmental con job ever. The fallacy of diesel engines (on which German automakers have put so much stock and are still defended by Merkel) should make all Europeans furious. We have known for so long that Diesel engines, despite best technical efforts, pollute more than gasoline engines---especially when not well tuned, which is what happens 75% of the time. But with the Orwellian labeling of Diesel engines with green Eco labels, and with criminal lies, German automakers are responsible for filling European cities with Diesel engines. No wonder so many cities, from Madrid to Paris, are struggling with air quality. Yes, other nations' automakers have followed in the diesel fallacy too, but European countries have long created incentives for people to buy those cars (probably with pressure from German automakers), so of course all automakers will try to respond to the market demand. In summary, it is not only the loud mouths we have to worry about. The quiet "experts" and "serious people" in Germany have been pushing failed economic orthodoxy and dirty technology, while not stepping up to their commitments on economics (no penalty for Germany's current account and budget surpluses against Euro rules), security (under-paying what they agreed to in NATO), and climate (the corporate lying on Diesel engines most probably was or should have been known at the highest levels).

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2017-05-15

 

E agora para uma perspetiva glam: para quê cercas musicais?

Adoro a canção portuguesa que a Luísa Sobral escreveu para o seu irmão e que venceu a Eurovisão---aliás a Luísa Sobral é uma das melhores cantautoras do Mundo neste momento. Mas sinceramente não gostei do discurso de aceitação do Salvador Sobral, nem de algumas entrevistas que ambos mais tarde deram. Desconfio sempre de um artista que diz que faz "musica de qualidade" em comparação com o que os outros fazem; não há necessidade. Tantas músicas excelentes foram feitas para ser dançadas e encenadas mesmo para o fogo de artíficio e até para as macacadas--por falar nisso, acho que a canção Italiana é também uma canção Pop perfeita, inteligente, e sentida mesmo com, e até por causa do macaco. Por exemplo, o grande Cole Porter escreveu quase todas as suas obras primas para peças da Broadway com muitos brilhantes, figurantes, luzes e fogo de artifício. Mas tarde ficaram standards de Jazz com outros como Bille Holiday, Frank Sinatra ou até Caetano Veloso. Alguém duvida que estas músicas têm sentimento? Como se o Glam dos Roxy ou Bowie, e mesmo a Pop maquilhada dos ABBA e do Disco/Funk não fossem imensamente sentidas? Por isso acho que são peneiras desnecessárias estar a dizer mal das músicas de "fogo de artificio." A musica da Luisa Sobral é tão boa que não necessita que se deite abaixo as outras por serem dançadas, encenadas, etc. Até o Miles Davies tocou esse grande mago do fogo artifício que era Michael Jackson (também Caetano o fez), ou Cindy Lauper, essa nada subtil "performer"---e a própria Luisa é conhecida pelas suas fantásticas versões. A autenticidade é apenas uma outra encenação, outra "persona". O Ziggy Stardust a cantar "Song for Bob Dylan" já demonstrou isso há muito tempo. Deixemos as cercas intelectuais para trás, pelo menos na eurovisão. Life is a Cabaret, don't fence me in. #NoFences.


2017-05-03

 

"Save us from the innocent and the good"

Dear Ross Douthat, you need to get out more often. Your column comes from such a constrained lens of XX-century, American, religious, self-righteousness that all I can think of is Graham Green and his quiet American. In what country do you live that you can claim that Europe has a democracy deficit vis a vis the US? The US legislative body systematically votes against the opinion of its vast majority, ranging from reasonable gun control to health care, passing through net neutrality, government surveillance and many others---least of which is electing a president who lost the popular vote by a lot and a severely gerrymandered congress! What about the rights of minorities within a democracy? Have you heard of #blacklivesmatter and the disproportionate number of African-Americans on death row (how religious is death penalty, by the way?), or the unemployment and otherwise horrible conditions of Native Americans? On Europe: the Euro is certainly a bad invention as implemented, but it could be improved. We should not scrape a Union that has brought unprecedented peace to the continent because religious conservatives feel threatened by a secular society---especially one that works quite well in practice, as demonstrated by fact-based (not opinion-based) health, life-expectancy, education tests, and democracy indices---all higher than the US (21st below most EU countries in democracy index, from the Economist, not a leftist, pro-European outfit, by the way). Both sides of the North Atlantic have problems as well as successes. Shallow analysis in support of Populists who only point to the downsides and not the many demonstrable upsides, is "Innocence", which, as Greene put it best, “is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”

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2017-04-12

 

Consumer Protection

In the European Union (EU) no airline or airport security could remove and "re-accommodate" Dr. Dao from an airplane he boarded on a paying ticket---much less forcibly remove and abuse him as United and the Chicago Airport security did. In the EU all overbooking situations must be resolved prior to check-in---let alone boarding. This is called consumer protection, something successive US administrations (Republican and Democratic alike) have abandoned due to corporate lobbying, while furthermore allowing monopolistic mergers and establishing noncompetitive subsidies for US air carriers (e.g. requiring that state and federal employees fly only on US carriers). There is no point in being outraged about this situation; what we (including the media editorial boards) must demand is regulation to protect consumers and a government that enforces existing anti-monopoly and competitive laws with the consumer in mind, not just corporate interests. As the EU regulations demonstrate, it is quite possible to have such consumer protections in a capitalist and democratic society. By the way, what we call lobbying in the US is called corruption elsewhere (see South Korea and Brazil). It leads the to the society the US has become: only the rich can expect first-World health-care, education, and basic consumer respect.




From "Fear of Flying, for Good Reason - The New York Times"

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2017-03-31

 

Action-Reaction

Very interesting polls discussed in "Do Millennial Men Want Stay-at-Home Wives?" These regressive numbers show how much the #IdentityPolitics approach to gender relations has failed. Too much labeling, attention and differentiation of specific groups, however well intentioned, ultimately also reinforces the distinctions and biases one is trying to avoid. Similar regression in attitudes to race has been observed in the last US presidential election. Simple point-counterpoint dynamics. A much more inclusive, human- (not identity-) centered approach is needed. Dare I say a more rainbow approach to diversity? Indeed, it is in Portugal and Brasil---where the social dynamics has always been more human- rather than identity-centered---that gender balance in science is closest to equality, each just a percentage point shy of a 50-50 split


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2017-03-21

 

Dijsselbloem under fire after saying eurozone countries wasted money on ‘alcohol and women’

Dijsselbloem is under fire after saying eurozone countries wasted money on ‘alcohol and women.’ And these guys are then surprised the social-democrats got the beating of a lifetime in the dutch elections. A party that calls itself social-democrat but trades in erroneous. xenophobic worldviews, in tandem with the most conservative economic policy which has been proven systematically wrong---the post-crisis economic policies of the Eurogroup chaired by Dijsselbloem were a demonstrable disgrace when compared to Obama's; one of the worst recoveries after recession ever. Not to mention that a lot of the money the Netherlands gets these days is from tax evasion from profits made in other Eurogroup countries---and we could easily make cheap jokes about where the dutch spend it.






2017-03-15

 

18 Forever

Here is the latest live E-Trash set performed at my niece's 18th birthday party. A Wonderful bash. All about high-energy POP fun for coming of age. So here it is, 18. It's live, errors and all. Podcast and tracklist below. You can also access a higher quality file for 18 on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree). Parabéns!






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2017-03-13

 

Turquia dá lições de cidadania a Portugal

Escrevi aqui recentemente sobre como o sistema unanime de opinião nacional não repara no quanto exclui os Portugueses fora da "metrópole" (essencialmente Lisboa, mas aqui mais como Portugal continental). Foi assim igualmente com a colonização como com a descolonização de África, mas é também muito assim com todos os emigrantes Portugueses. Esta confusão recente entre a Turquia e a Holanda e Alemanha lembrou-me que até a Turquia considera os seus emigrantes como cidadãos com os mesmos direitos que os residentes (pretendendo fazer campanha eleitoral nos seus países de acolhimento). Aqui em Portugal, mais de 40 anos após o 25 de Abril, o direito de voto dos emigrantes continua uma fantochada teórica: "um direito sem direitos". A elite portuguesa, com os seus tiques imperialistas, mas inconsciente dos mesmos, acha que a nossa democracia ao designar certos cidadãos como secundários continua ainda assim exemplar, quando nunca o foi---nem na descolonização sem referendo, nem na perpetuação da situação de exclusão de um enorme numero de Portugueses como cidadãos de segunda.

"Com a voz que me resta eu não vou poder cantar
Às coisas do mundo, não sei descrever, estou longe 
São portas fechadas, segredos por revelar 
São coisas do mundo, só se podem ver ao longe"

 
Heróis do Mar - Fado por phewcheetah

2017-02-22

 

The disrupter of Dutch doublethink

Great article by Sebastiaan Faber in the Nation about Geert Wilders. Fascinating to see how the Dutch reconcile their closeted racist skeletons with their outwards projected self-image of tolerance. This could be true in almost any European country, but it is particularly intense in the Netherlands where shame of past and sense of liberal superiority coexist in an unsustainable doublethink that Wilders exposes and shatters. "Ironically, the very thing that makes Wilders an international embarrassment to the Dutch—his challenge to their cherished self-image as the epitome of progressive tolerance—is one of his strongest trump cards".

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2017-01-25

 

I've got a face, not just my race

The categories of identity politics are exactly the same as those of racism and sexism, just turned upside down on the scale of intentions. What is truly revolutionary is to erase these categories. The rock revolution of Presley, the Beatles and the Stones was all about blending race. The revolutionary blast of the New York Dolls and Glam Rock was about blending gender. Bowie, of course, did it all, which was continued by (post-Young Americans) Disco and all of his 80s children, including Prince, as well as all electronic music that derived (interestingly, Rock became a reactionary white affair, a bit like Jazz before it).

We're all individuals. "I've got a face, not just my race". Too bad academics and most political parties don't seem to accept that revolution and breakout of these categories.The point is that Identity Politics, rather than working to erase the categories of racism/sexism/homophobia, worked to enhance them, albeit with good intentions. The problem is that those linguistic categories have maintained and indeed enhanced the discourse of racism/sexism/homophobia itself---the good intentions of Identity Politics are a bit like how Graham Greene describes the good intentions of Alden Pyle, the Quiet American: "Innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm". If civil rights had instead fought to erase the categories themselves (which many people like Gore Vidal for years have suggested), focusing on individual- rather than group-freedoms, we would not have created monsters like Trump. That is my opinion, anyway. Perpetuating these categories offers no solutions, simply entrenches distinctions among groups of (diverse) people.

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2017-01-16

 

Soares e os retornados, ou como o Branco-de-Segunda dá em Vaca Profana

Desde a morte de Mário Soares que tenho lido vários artigos sobre a opinião que os chamados "retornados" das ex-colónias mantêm dele. Este é dos casos em que parece haver unanimidade da direita à esquerda: os retornados fazem um juízo incorreto e injusto e Soares foi o bode expiatório de uma situação trágica.

Tendo sido um retornado, refugiado da Guerra Civil de Angola, deixem-me dar um contraponto a esta unanimidade de comentário jornalístico; explicar porque sempre me senti uma vaca profana em Portugal nestes assuntos. Primeiro, digo logo à partida que não considero Mário Soares o grande culpado da descolonização---que foi nada, mesmo nada, exemplar. No entanto, como é obvio pelas cerimónias fúnebres da semana passada, ele é o grande símbolo da democracia Portuguesa que engendrou a descolonização após o 25 de Abril. Como tal, é natural que nos seus ombros se deposite simbolicamente tanto os louvores como as mágoas do regime presente e da sua história recente.

Pelo menos desde o século XIX que os Portugueses nas colónias não foram considerados como cidadãos Portugueses autênticos. A opinião destes "brancos-de-segunda" (eu nasci com essa designação que impedia acesso como igual às instituições militares, sociais, económicas e politicas portuguesas) nunca foi fator importante nas decisões dos senhores da grande quinta imperial que mantinha Portugal; eram apenas os trabalhadores dessa quinta. Muito menos contou a opinião da população considerada indígena africana cuja diversidade a Europa e América do século XIX e XX nunca compreenderam---considerando todos como negros e mestiços, nunca percebendo que há muito maior diversidade racial dentro de África do que fora dela.

O grande problema de toda a discussão que se tem em Portugal sobre a descolonização é que ela ainda assenta nesses preceitos e preconceitos colonialistas e racistas. Por exemplo, à esquerda, Daniel Oliveira diz que a descolonização "foi uma decisão que foi coletiva e largamente consensual: da esmagadora maioria dos portugueses que vivia na Metrópole, dos militares e de todos os políticos de então [...] Não seriam as exigências dos portugueses que viviam em África que poderiam prolongar por mais um dia essa guerra [colonial]." Isto é, a ideia de que a opinião (voto?!) dos "brancos-de-segunda" fosse para aqui chamada é inconcebível. À direita temos Henrique Raposo que nos diz também "meu caro amigo [retornado] tem de perceber que 'nem mais um soldado para África' não era um chavão da esquerda, era o sentimento genuíno da população." Isto é, os "brancos-de-segunda," mais uma vez, não são se quer concebidos como fazendo parte da população Portuguesa. A privação da cidadania desse grupo de cidadãos portugueses é ainda hoje internalizada---quero pensar de forma subconsciente---por comentadores Portugueses que respeito bastante tanto da esquerda com da direita! A elite de opinião política aparentemente unanime nunca percebe porque certos grupos se sentem marginalizados; a sua lógica negocia na linguagem do próprio disenfranchisement (privação de direitos) que nunca é repensada. Depois ficam admirados com a suposta falta de lógica daqueles que não se revêm na "unanimidade" de opinião---como no caso de Mário Soares e os retornados.

Mas se o tratamento euro-centrico foi mau para os "brancos-de-segunda," foi ainda muito pior para aqueles que são vistos como Africanos indígenas genuínos---como se brancos, indianos, chineses nascidos em África não o fossem também, ou, ainda pior, como se os "negros" fossem uma massa racial uniforme! Os Europeus formatados pelo nacionalismo dos séculos XIX e XX nunca perceberam a diversidade do continente e os comentadores políticos deste século usam ainda as categorias de pensamento herdadas dessa época. Daniel Oliveira diz "os povos africanos também tinham de se libertar." Quais povos africanos?  A esquerda afinal aceita estados definidos racialmente? Ou só para o caso especial dos "africanos", essa conceção de uma massa escura uniforme herdada do colonialismo do século XIX? Ainda não internalizaram Nelson Mandela ou Albert Camus? Ou os Die Antwoord, Trevor Noah e Charlize Theron?

O que está aqui em causa é que os pensadores da nossa revolução, incluindo Mário Soares, pensaram e construíram a descolonização com preceitos colonialistas e racistas herdados do pior do colonialismo. Só contou a opinião dos brancos da metrópole. Os "brancos-de-segunda" tiveram que aceitar a opinião daqueles, baixando a bolinha como bons  e dóceis trabalhadores da quinta que sempre foram. Quanto a todos aqueles que foram conceptualizados como africanos ("os escurinhos") que se entendessem entre si. Na realidade este laissez-faire Português do inicio da democracia representou um abandono da responsabilidade que Portugal, como governo das regiões africanas do seu império durante 500 anos, obviamente devia a todos os cidadãos da região independentemente da sua cor. Sim, o pai de Henrique Cardoso e os da sua geração queriam naturalmente o fim da guerra colonial, mas a responsabilidade criada durante 500 anos de regência não se esvanece num ano. Os Portugueses fugiram dessa responsabilidade escondendo-se atrás da mudança de regime. Mas essa é a grande hipocrisia do regime atual simbolizado por Mário Soares---aliás esta hipocrisia foi bem visível no seu funeral nos Jerónimos, esse grande símbolo do Império Português. Pois, a democracia chamou para si a grandeza dos símbolos do Império mas negou a responsabilidade que tinha sobre os povos de todas as raças que viviam sob a sua tutela durante 500 anos. Sim, queremos a Praça do Império de Salazar, mas não aceitamos qualquer responsabilidade do que se passou com os que não eram "brancos da metrópole" na altura da revolução. O que nunca se assume sobre esse abandono é que muito para além das misérias que os "retornados" passaram, a fuga das tropas Portuguesas (que de forma eficaz dominaram militarmente o produtivo território até 1974) levou em Angola a uma guerra civil entre povos africanos distintos (Ovimbundus, Ambundus, Bakongos, e outros) em que morreram mais de 500 mil civis, deixando um país corrupto em que a saúde e escolaridade infantil são do pior do Mundo!

Para que não haja dúvidas, não defendo de todo que Portugal se mantivesse como potencia colonial em Africa. Mas o que teria sido exemplar era ter considerado a opinião e o voto de toda a população no Império Português, mantendo-se a ordem por via militar até esse objetivo ser alcançado. 500 anos de domínio exigiam pelo menos uns 5 anitos de transição em que os direitos de cidadania de todos---brancos-de-segunda e indígenas---fossem considerados. A grande vergonha do regime democrático vindo da revolução Portuguesa foi que não garantiu, nem se quer tentou, a democracia para todos os seus cidadãos para além dos brancos da metrópole. As tropas Portuguesas nunca deveriam ter abandonado os territórios sem eleições locais, após exigir o cessar-fogo e desarmamento das fações militares para se atingir a independência. Isso teria sido exemplar.

O tal sistema unanime de opinião nacional mantém que uma transição mais suave não teria sido possível regionalmente. Por exemplo, Daniel Oliveira diz que algo como isto teria sido possível no inicio dos anos 60, mas não em 1975. Mas esse lugar-comum da opinião nacional nunca refere que em 1975 muitos dos vizinhos de Angola e Moçambique (Namibia, Africa do Sul, Zimbabwe/Rodésia) eram ainda colónias ou governados por minorias brancas---Zimbabwe fica independente em 1980, Namibia em 1990, e o Apartheid só cai em 1994! Isto é, havendo vontade política em Lisboa, teria sido possível um processo de descolonização de 5 ou mais anos com dignidade para todos. Se os revolucionários portugueses tivessem respeitado todos os cidadãos do Império, ao invés de olhar para o umbigo de Lisboa, Portugal poderia ter gerido apoio regional e internacional suficiente para uma descolonização diga desse nome, e não uma fuga irresponsável. Ter mantido a ordem militar um pouco mais, teria evitado uma guerra que matou mais de 500 mil civis em Angola---em comparação, a guerra colonial em todos os territórios matou 8 mil pessoas .

Deixo-vos com Die Antwoord, que só são possíveis devidos a um democrata que deve ser verdadeiramente respeitado por pensar em todos, não só no seu umbigo político e regional: Nelson Mandela. Se Soares (ou o sistema que representa) tivesse conseguido uma verdadeira descolonização democrática, a história vê-lo-ia hoje tão grande como Mandela---como o Pai de uma verdadeira democracia pós-racial no Mundo de expressão portuguesa. Mas não foi isso que aconteceu e a História sabe-o.

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2017-01-05

 

70 Damn songs that can make me break down and cry (and dance and sing and love and think)

This Sunday, January 8th will be David Bowie's 70th birthday. When he passed away last year, two days after his 69th birthday, I wrote that he was "the Rock God who outlived and outperformed Rock is dead". No doubt about that, but just to demonstrate here is a playlist with 70 of his songs. Each of these sufficient to make a career out of a regular musician. How many out there can boast 70 songs like these? And bear in mind that it was very hard to narrow the list to just 70. Not included are many others, such as hits like "Loving the Alien" or "China Girl", classics like "Song for Bob Dylan", "It ain't easy", "Beauty and the Beast", as well as recent masterpieces like "I can't give everything away", "killing a little time" or "Seven", and phenomenal live performances like the cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America" at the 911 concert, Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood," and the covers of the Velvet Underground and the Rolling Stones on Ziggy's last show.

 Bowie was the ultimate artist and as it has been discussed, even his death gave us one of the most striking and high-quality artistic funeral I can think of: the perfect Blackstar album, as well as the haunting Lazurus video with David, as a bluebird passing to another station (with the mime suit from the Station to Station photos). He also worked on the Lazarus Musical, which contains three new amazing tracks that are really to be seen as part of Blackstar. It was one of the highlights of the past year that I was able to see the play in London, for sure.

 I have already ranked all of Bowie's albums, and did a live DJ set honoring him on the dancefloor. The playlist I thought of here contains 70 perfect songs, remixes and performances by anyone's measure. 70 that I like best, arranged in a loose narrative. I did not try to be complete; many other songs could be included from the man up in heaven that can also make be break down and cry. Happy 70th David Bowie. You were taken from us far too early; may you be free like a bluebird. Thank you for showing us art winning over death.


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2016-12-27

 

Most CityZen Albums of 2016

So here are my top albums of 2016. While these days we mostly we interact with music via playlists, there is still something to be said for albums, and 2016 had many great ones---not surprisingly, several by veterans of the form. For best tracks, see my usual playlists also embedded below, after the album list.

1 - David Bowie - Blackstar
2 - Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker
3 - Kraak & Smaak - Juicy Fruit
4 - Deolinda - Outras Histórias
5 - Paradis - Recto Verso
6 - ABC - The Lexicon of Love II
7 - Anhoni - Hopelessness
8 - Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger
9 - Luisa Sobral - Luisa
10 - Alicia Keys - Here
11 - The Weeknd - Starboy.
12 - Pet Shop Boys - Super
13 - Crooked Man - Crooked Man
14 - Yello - Toy
15 - Wednesday Campanella - Uma
16 - Thatmanmonkz - Columbusing
17 - Donny McCaslin - Beyond Now
18 - Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
19 - Shearwater - Jet Plane and Oxbow
20 - Classixx - Faraway Reach

Remix Albums
21 - Coins - Daft Science
22 - Luxxury - XX Edits



2016-11-12

 

Causes

OK, my liberal friends may hate this but I have to get it out. For the last 8 years the Democratic National Committee and the liberal media have been pacifying the left with solidarity for bathroom choices, gay marriage, micro-aggression, Tim Hunt, and such issues, while doing all the wrong things for a truly liberal cause like excusing torture and surveillance (the only people prosecuted by the Obama administration in those cases were the whistle blowers), trade, banks, etc. So, to an extent, I understand when the Rust belt people took the FUKITAL pill. I don't mean to say that the causes above are not important, of course they are. But they do not address harder problems (many more) people are facing, from those losing jobs in the Rust Belt to those being bombed without any oversight in the middle east. Anhoni, the phenomenal transgender singer, said it best last May: "Did you all get the memo? This election cycle in the USA is not about ecocide, the dying oceans and the extermination of biodiversity, grotesque income disparity, corporate sovereignty and US war crimes that have played a big part in the destabilization and radicalization of the Middle East. No, it is about transgendered bathroom access!"

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2016-10-05

 

Joy

So here it is. I'm 50. Looking back, looking now, and looking forward the feeling is most of all of Joy. Of what I had, have and plan to work for. Not that life did not give me some lemmons, but if anything, what I am most proud of in these 50 years is to have turned them into lemonade---Beyonce is not the only one. When we left Angola as refugees, piled up on too few seats for people on the airlift, we had so much Joy when my brother managed (with a little help from me) to sneak in our tortoise. Lemonade never felt so good and it only got better from there. Obrigado.

So, to celebrate this Joy, the lovely wife (who also turned 50 this year) and I threw a big party in Lisbon, by the sea last month. It was so very wonderful to be with family and friends, all special to us at some point and now---despite a few dear friends who could not make it. During the night I DJed for them (in partnership with my cousin, the other rebel, rebel). We wanted to celebrate the Joy of these 50 years, so this is what this DJ set is all about. A Joyous Party. So here it is, Joy. It's live, errors and all. Podcast and tracklist below. You can also access a higher quality file for Joy on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).








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2016-10-03

 

Update Science's Structure

Sure, I share Popkin's call to Update the Nobel Prizes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg (or the ivory tower). In truth, from universities, to funding bodies and even to the top journals that dictate impact, science has not updated itself to the changing reality. Even Popkin's article fails to discuss the lack of Nobel recognition for Computer Science/Informatics, when this has been the field that most dramatically changed society in the last century. As I like to say, Turing and Von Neumann had much greater impact in the lives of people than Darwin, yet recognition of the field is lacking not only at the Nobel level. You will very rarely see a computer scientist in the top scientific advising bodies in any country (those are typically reserved for Nobel categories). Same is true for editors and thus papers in Nature and Science. But beyond discipline, what is truly lacking is support and recognition for interdisciplinary research, which is needed to actually solve problems---something that both Turing and Von Neumann already excelled at. Nobel's main sin is to actually award prizes per discipline, rather than unconstrained advance. But this is also the sin of most national funding agencies who organize calls within disciplinary walls and prefer to fund the agendas of lead principal investigators from a discipline (props to NIH and somewhat NSF for actually making measurable advances to try to counter this, despite the conservative, disciplinary disposition of universities and scientists alike). Universities too, remain largely organized by traditional disciplines as they were in Mr. Nobel's days. This makes it very hard for teams of scientists to escape the silos of disciplinary training and be collectively rewarded, rather than made to follow the single agenda of a lead investigator---even though we know that no single lab can address the complex challenges of the 21st century.



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2016-07-20

 

Passeio Marítimo de Oeiras e Bicicletas

Exmºs Srs e Srªs da Câmara Municipal de Oeiras,

Compreendo que este assunto já foi muito falado e há razões de ambos os lados, mas quero juntar a minha voz e argumentos àqueles que gostariam de ver uma ciclovia partilhada no Passeio marítimo de Oeiras entre a Marina e Caxias. É difícil entender a posição da CMO em que se argumenta que não há espaço para oferecer uma ciclovia delimitada e partilhada no passeio. Em Lisboa existem vários locais igualmente muito utilizados por caminhantes e de dimensões semelhantes em que são oferecidas ciclovias delimitadas e partilhadas. Por exemplo, a ciclovia que vai de Belém ao Cais-do-Sodré passa por locais de muito turismo (Belém!) e com segmentos tão ou mais estreitos que a parte mais estreita do passeio marítimo (perto do Cais do Sodré, por exemplo, perto da estação fluvial). Outro exemplo são as novas ciclovias no Parque da Nações na zona dos vulcões de água. Em ambos estes locais, com a sinalização apropriada, está demonstrado que é bem possível partilhar o espaço entre caminhantes e ciclistas: quando o espaço permite, existe uma faixa pintada e reservada para ciclistas, quando o espaço não permite a faixa é partilhada com sinalização óbvia para ciclistas que devem dar prioridade a caminhantes. Isto também funciona perfeitamente bem noutras cidades (Amsterdão, sendo a óbvia comparação com as suas ruas estreitas e hábito de bicicletas).

A proibição atual de bicicletas durante a maior parte do dia no passeio marítimo de Oeiras demonstra uma total falta de confiança da CMO nos seus habitantes. Ora, se os Lisboetas (e outros) conseguem partilhar locais semelhantes sem problemas, porque não os Oeirenses? Além desta falta de confiança, a CMO está, de facto, a colocar os ciclistas em grande perigo porque a alternativa nesta zona é a Estrada Marginal, em que ciclistas têm que partilhar a estrada com a condução louca que passa por esta via. Tenho dois filhos adolescentes e tenho muito receio que eles utilizem essa via para ciclismo---como qualquer pai suponho que sente conhecendo essa estrada. No mínimo, se querem manter o passeio marítimo só para caminhantes, deveriam alterar a Estrada Marginal para ter uma ciclovia bem marcada na estrada---por ventura dedicando a calçada de um dos lados para isso. O que estão a fazer neste momento é simplesmente tornar a locomoção por bicicleta muito difícil e perigosa no concelho de Oeiras---algo muito desatualizado neste século XXI.

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2016-07-13

 

Global Portugal vs. EuroPIGS

The most rewarding observation of the Eurocup win in Portugal was seeing people of all races (I have no idea about their religion or lack thereof) celebrating with portuguese flags all over Lisbon. I absolutely love it that the winning goal was scored by Eder, born in Portuguese-speaking Guiné and raised in Coimbra---home to one of the three oldest universities in World. In contrast to other European countries, where immigrants amplify hatred of the host-never-home country with every passing generation, the Portuguese homeland is more naturally global and easily adopted. Instead of Molenbeek, Bobigny and Rotterdam Zuid, we throw Globailes, creating genuine afro-brazilian-portuguese music. No wonder the Aga Khan established the formal Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal, that our prime-minister is of Indian heritage, and that we have a habit of attracting people like Gulbenkian here.

It also becomes ever more clear that as a part of the current version of the European Union, we will always be seen as EuroPIGS, a disrespected, southern nation who must be disciplined and moralized at every chance. It does not matter that Europe is only an important economic power because Portugal and Spain went out there establishing the first global empires, which, by the way, funded the wars that stopped the Ottoman empire from conquering all of central Europe. It does not matter that our present linguistic cultural identity has a planetary footprint. As long as even the educated elites like Mr. Schäuble who rule the EU think of us as PIGS, we will be the olive-pickers and vacation caterers who do not know how to take care of our finances. Yes, Mr. Schäuble, the europe-in-the-image-of-germany "europeanist", does not think twice of throwing entire countries to the lions, to hide the weak finances of Deutsche bank. What a towering European figure! Instead of dealing with extremist and racist governments in Hungary, Poland and others, these educated fellows prefer to sanction Portugal and Spain for minor deficit "infractions"---rather, for first following then slightly relaxing the systematically wrong economic diktats of the factless austeritarians*... If anything, the people issuing those diktats (the Eurogroup and the IMF) should be sued and sanctioned on international courts for imposing failed policies after a shock, failing to see or act on huge problems in the banking system, and otherwise bringing about a nightmare for people and businesses. Naturally, France, doing exactly the same thing, escapes the sanctions, because, well, C'est lá France! Bien sûr! Some are more equal than others, and we have to be "intelligent" in the application of rules, in the wonderful EU double-speak.

I am not sure how, but we must get more respect by disentangling a little from this abusive marriage. Maybe time to see more of our family; Starting to think that better to have one Isabel dos Santos, with the lack of transparency she brings, than a hundred Schäubles, Dijsselbloems and Junkers... We need at least to get some counseling.




* An austeritarian is an authoritative austerian (see also).

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2016-06-26

 

Alphabetically, affectionately

Through the years, one of the things that makes me feel at home when I get back to Portugal is my Vinyl collection. Chief among all the Vinyl, home is The Lexicon of Love by ABC, as well as all their other albums from my 80s/90s: Beauty Stab, Zillionaire, Alphabet City, Up, and Abracadabra (after this I have them on CDs). Lexicon is the 80s classic, certainly one of the best Pop albums ever made with its orchestral, theatrical blend of Disco, Funk, Bowie and Frank Sinatra. All of their other albums have been systematically underrated by the music media when released, except perhaps Zillionaire in the US---it is one of the most innovative albums of the 80s, future blending american electro-groove (Shannon's sound chiefly) with british electronica, in many ways predicting the 90s (Deee-lite comes to mind). But that is another story.

This year saw the release of the Lexicon sequel. There had already been an excellent sonic sequel with Alphabet City, but The Lexicon of Love II is an actual thematic and lyrical sequel. I was afraid that it would be far worse than the original, but am so glad that Mr. Fry stepped up to his amazing lyrical ability (nothing like Mr. Fry's lyrics on the bridges of ABC songs) and managed to deliver a heartfelt view of the Lexicon, 34 years later. This is not a remake, or a re-attempt; it is really a sequel in the best sense of the term, a meta-view of the original from the perspective of an older man. It does not have the heights of energetic passion of the first (show me, tears are not enough, the look of love), but it delivers the warmth of sustained love (kiss me goodbye, the flames of desire, viva love, brighter than the sun). On the sound, despite the usual greatness of Anne Dudley's orchestration, the sequel would benefit from an edgier, younger production. Personally, I would love to see James Murphy work a new Lexicon sound, rather than try to recapture exactly the sound of the original, but, hey, who needs the moon when you've got the stars? 4 ever 2 gether.

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2016-05-10

 

PartyUp!

The last Bootique was our last riot before our European hiatus. It was a wonderful Party full of love with people who came to celebrate with us the last few years of the Riot, as well as people who came for the first time. I wanted to celebrate Prince and deliver a Party, and that's what we got. PartyUp is essentially my first set, (second of the night after DJ Angst), which ends with Prince's 1999. But since the Bootique kept the Riot up beyond closing time with amazing people, I also added the last few tracks of the night that I played at 3AM. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing somewhere in Europe during the next year, and back in Bloomington sometime in 2017. Podcast and tracklist below. You can also access a higher quality file for PartyUp on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).








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2016-04-03

 

Pop Lift

I went for a Pop Lift for the first set at the last Riot Bootique. Taking things to where melody, groove and vocals meet to lift our spirits up---not forgetting a good bang at the end. Since this was the first set of a night that started slow, it starts mellow but it delivered the dance floor. Played 2 or 3 more tracks after this, but they were all included in the last On Fire set. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Podcast and tracklist below. You can also access a higher quality file for Pop Lift on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).








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2016-04-01

 

Mathematical Naturalism of Zaha Hadid

I was so busy yesterday that I had no time to react to the unexpected death of Zaha Hadid, my favorite architect of the last couple of decades. I often rant about the oppression of simplicity in the ubiquitous IKEA/APPLE design that surrounds us. Hadid was by comparison almost romantic. She invented a XXI century version of Art Deco, by embracing technology to explore a fluid mathematical naturalism. Indeed, I think of Hadid as a complex systems architect, with her exploration of the mathematical commonalities, the general laws, of natural forms. In her lines we see microscopic water in motion and galaxy gravitational motion alike. She left us far too early with much yet to be done. But by refusing to give us invisible objects, the srong personality behind her work teaches us to look at the world with architect's eyes, and we can never thank her enough for that.







Zaha hadid from Deepak Raj

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2016-03-15

 

I'm every human

The movie Zootopia is a cute, beautiful allegory of utopian diversity, Disney style. But just like identity politics itself, if you take it to its logical limits, it becomes as politically incorrect as it gets because, ultimately, there is no pure identity, nor should there be. Also, imagining the origin and evolution of a specific identity implies unfounded and usually tasteless stories. Yes, I did enjoy the movie,but just like time travel, never follow the logical limits of identity politics.

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2016-02-29

 

On Fire

It turns out I am really happy about the first set I played at the last Riot Bootique. There were mixed signals from the crowd but after listening to it, I really think it came out a club blast---minus a live accident on a Bowie segment which has been removed here. DJ Angst and I played some spanking new tracks which can leave some in the crowd unmoved. But by summer time when Reinier Zonneveld, Bakermat's Games Continued, Cassian's rework of Sinnamon's Need U now, Soulwax/Erasmus and others are all Club hits, you can say you heard them at the Riot Bootique first Bloomington! This set is all about fire on the Dancefloor; a celebration of letting go that only techno and house goodness delivers. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklist below. You can listen to or download On Fire from E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).








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2016-02-21

 

Deep at Home

Simply a mix of tracks I tend to play live only very late at night or not at all. Deep beauty. Perhaps inspired by periods of intense grant writing and being home sick for a week. Played this in one go at home, so some glitches remain. Podcast and tracklist below. You can also access a higher quality file for Deep at home on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).








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2016-02-02

 

Bluebird Dance

At the last Riot Bootique I indulged in making an entire set comprised of David Bowie tracks. While most people there were waiting for our usual House/Disco/Funk/Techno party, everybody was respectful and I had a blast doing this homage to the Thin White Duke. Besides, since Bowie himself used Funk, Disco, House and Techno, I thought I kept our usual vibe alive. Look him up, as Madonna said. Sorry for the live set glitches like a few messed up tempo changes. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklist below; you can listen to or download Bluebird Dance from E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).








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2016-01-25

 

Fascination in free association

My ranking of Bowie's albums is always mutating, but some clusters are largely stable. Though the man never made a bad album, a rank and thoughts in free association are still possible and beautifully subjective, if not arbitrary. Fascination is not so much for the man, as for the art. But can they be separated? Anyone who can produce such moving art is fascinating, and there are not many at all who did.

  1. Discovery/Rediscovery/Rebirth/Resurrection of Fascination
    • Scary Monsters. The first time. Punk with subtlety. My brother. Japan. Silhouettes and shadows,watch the revolution.
    • Young Americans. Pivot. Disco before disco. Vandross. Not a myth left from the ghetto.
    • Outside. Genius can be packaged. The future. The clutch of life and the fist of love
    • Blackstar. Requiem. Jazz. You know I'll be free.
  2. The beat, myth and fuel for alien Fascination
    • Station to Station. Funk the autobahn. Better than Jazz. My love is like the wind.
    • Diamond Dogs. Sublime misery. Orwell. It's a sweet thing.
    • Ziggy Stardust. Theater. Glam. Kabuki. Death. You're not alone.
    • Let's Dance. 80's. Life. Race. Dance. Iggy Pop. A plague I call a heartbeat.
  3. Changes, and the best selling show. One of these would make another's artist's whole career .
    • Alladin Sane. Outrageous. Duality. Knocking me dead.
    • Heroes. Intimate. Europe. Rebirth. We can beat them, forever and ever.
    • Hunky Dory. Strange Fascination. Change. Sailors fighting in the dance hall.
  4. The underdogs and the surprise and comfort of maturity.
    • Tonight. Reggae. Pop. Health. God Only Knows.
    • Black tie white noise. Love. Marriage. Black Music. They say jump.
    • Earthling. Exploration. Industrial Aggression. Piano. Now I'm older than movies.
    • Hours. Looking back. Summary.  The pretty things are going to hell.
    • Reality. Maturity. Bring me the disco king.
  5. Retreat and Experimentalism to love.
    • Low. Europe. Eno. Electro Darkness. Blue, blue, electric blue.
    • Lodger. There is a World outside.  Klaus Nomi. It's time we should be going.
  6. Confused, it's only Bowie and there's nothing we can do.
    • The Next Day. Rock. Reminiscing.  The darkest hour and your voice is new.
    • Heathen. 9/11. Melancholy.  And nothing has changed, And everything has changed.
    • Never Let me Down. Glass Spiders. Hair Bands.  And he never came down, He just flew till he burst.
    • The Man who sold the World. Glam. Rock.  Who knows? not me, We never lost control.
    • Space Oddity. Folk. Prog Rock.  Planet Earth is blue, And there's nothing I can do.
    • Pin UpsYou're out there playing your high class games of sorrow.
    • David Bowie. Theater.  Don't be afraid of the man in the moon, because it's only me.

Discovery


Rediscovery


Rebirth


Resurrection

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2016-01-12

 

Young Americans

It is curious to see how each country highlights different Bowie albums in their tributes. In Portugal, for instance, you can hardly find any top list with Young Americans, which has become my favorite Bowie album---though that changes with mood all the time, as the man himself. The reason for the obscurity of this album in Portugal is most likely due to the revolution going on there when it was released, as the radio ONLY played folk revolutionary crap (why do you think Punk and Disco clicked so much with me?) Interesting to note that after killing Ziggy, Bowie never again released a straight Rock album under his own name (only under Tin Machine). Young Americans sees him move to Philly Soul and Funk, and indeed a preview of Disco---listen to John, I'm Only Dancing (again) recorded in 1974 for the Young American sessions but only released in 1979 when Disco was already in full force. This was his "Rock is Dead" album; from here he went on to more Funk (Station to Station), European electronic music (The Berlin trilogy), Punk and New Romantic New Wave (Scary Monsters; see all the Blitz kids on the Ashes to Ashes video), Disco again (Let's Dance, with Nile Rodgers), Pop/Reggae/Jazz (Tonight, Never Let me Down, Black Tie White Noise), Electronica (Outside, Earthling), and settling to an all of the above melange (Hours, Heathen, Reality, The Next Day) before his final Jazz Blackstar album (his first musical interest). So Young Americans remains a pivotal album of great musicianship: Carlos Alomar on guitar, Luther Vandross on vocals and amazing vocal arrangements (see him in the video below), and John Lennon's presence everywhere (Fame, Across the Universe). So, Portugal, um album para dançar uma revolução alternativa que devem redescobrir.

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