Monday, October 05, 2015

Things to do in London when you burn with passion and life (III)



  Dorothy has only one major «flaw»: she refuses to have her picture taken…
  I woke up early, my cold in full «bloom», making it impossible for me to sleep anymore. I studied her face line by line (struggling with my hazy vision), and was very tempted to take her picture, but that would not have been very respectful, so I didn’t.
  We had breakfast at the bright hall inside Paddington Station, nothing fancy, just filling our bellies. We separated not long after that, agreeing to meet up again the next day, hardly able to contain our excitement.

  I met Marc later that day at the Brewmaster pub. The two of us first met there three years ago. We encountered each other on Twitter a little before that, discovering that we have a lot in common, both as artists and human beings. We hit off right away.
  I wasn’t at my best, to say it the least. My cold was in full bloom and I was soaked in sweat, looking like I had spent hours in a sauna or something. Two cups of coffee just before I got there still made me more than a passable conversation partner. We spoke at length, filled with passion. Our meeting/conversation was just as interesting as it usually is.
  Marc showed me the way to the poetry club I had been searching for later. It was as he pointed out, both hard and easy to locate. We didn’t walk inside. I just didn’t feel up to it physically that day.
  The rest of Friday was pretty much ruined for me. I just returned to the hotel and crashed, and stayed like that without any improvement. The evening and night were spent in and out of delirious (far from delicious) dreaming.
  The second half of Friday was not the best part of my London visit. I did manage, like always to write something, to scribble a few notes, though. My time is rarely a total waste.

  But this is as close as I’ve come to that in a long time.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Reboot gone sour

  People not interested in comics will probably not understand much of this post, but what the hell…
  Some of it, though, has general importance.

  Four years ago DC Comics once again rebooted their franchise. They had done so several times before, the first time in 1985, restarting or at least partly restarting their continuity, the internal history of the DC Universe.
  Superman and several other characters were given new origin stories and «re-imagined for a new age» (a pompous expression I’ve heard be used often).
  It can be argued that the 1985 reboot did lead to a fresher approach and better stories, but like most tools being overused, it stops having value after a while. The «New» DC Universe after 2011 appears more like fan-fiction than stories from the actual DC Universe, with the same lack of quality and originality and greatness.
  This year Marvel Comics, after suffering from mediocre storytelling for years, «did a DC» as well. It doesn’t look promising. The 2015 Secret Wars event is just awful.
  Some years ago DC decided to give the creative reigns of the company to Geoff Johns and Marvel did the same with Brian Michael Bendis. Even though one person should never be blamed for everything, the two of them, looking at the kind of stories they wrote and encouraged others to write clearly were the wrong people for the job.
  They both took the stories in a more mature direction, which I support, but aside from that there wasn’t much to write home about.
  Johns brought Green Lantern Hal Jordan back from the dead and thereby ruined one of the greatest stories ever told, the one about Jordan becoming Parallax and his ultimate demise. It went down the drain from there. He also brought back Barry Allen - the second Flash from the dead, thereby invalidating yet another great story.
  Bendis, after writing vastly overrated Ultimate Spiderman stories for years practically wrecked the Avengers and the X-Men single-handedly. I always expected someone to ruin the X-Men. The consistency of great writing continued surprisingly long after Chris Claremont stopped writing it in 1991, but with the House of M in 2005 Bendis started (with a bang) what should be a long decline that culminated (in an ongoing lowest point) when he himself started writing it. From that moment on the X-Men was truly doomed.
  This is the point, really, or at least one very important one. With the House of M the decimation of the X-Men in the Marvel Universe began in earnest. It wasn’t just that the mutant population was decimated, but also their importance. The Inhumans have taken the X-Men’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and by now pretty much in the comics as well.
  The X-Men movie franchise was given/sold to Fox a few years earlier. Marvel didn’t have their movie production company then and had no plans of having any either. The success of the films clearly came as a giant surprise to them, and they suddenly regretted their decision. Everything or at least a lot about what happened later is a result of that.
  The X-Men had dominated the comics-world for close to thirty years then and that success was brought over to the movies as well. The success of the first movie started the comics-mania in films. It made all the later superhero movies possible.
  And Marvel, having placed themselves on the sidelines, didn’t have control of it.
  Fox and Marvel haven’t really cooperated at all. Their rivalry grew even stronger with the disagreement about what to do with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Both Marvel and Fox wanted to use them, and both have the rights to do so and did. The great X-Men - Days of Future Past film used the accepted, established story. The horrible Avengers: Age of Ultron quite simply ignored it. In the comics they were mutants and Magneto’s children… until Marvel changed that, too, in yet another lousy move on their part, and no one can convince me that that wasn’t an editorial decision imposed from the very top in the Marvel/Disney hierarchy. It was quite evident and resulted in horrible writing.
  We see time and time again how imposed editorial decisions and financial concerns ruin the potential for telling great stories, in comics, films, novels and art in general. This is clearly one more such.

  My frustration with mainstream comics, always present has long since grown beyond acceptance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Society steals years from the poor

  Society and those in charge of it is very good at distracting people from the real issues. They serve people entertainment, bread and circuses, and the latest threat from the current perceived enemies.
  While media and most people focus on false and insignificant issues like that, virtually everything within current local, national and global society goes from bad to worse to horrible.
  The gap between rich and poor in terms of living conditions and thereby how long people live is widening dramatically. It’s a fairly simple equation, confirmed by statistics. The poor live an unhealthy life because they have no choice. Healthy food is expensive. So is healthcare and virtually anything else. The world’s poor, also those in North Western Europe are condemned to a bad quality of life. Where you are born and who your parents are and so forth become far more important than your own effort. School and society in general don’t correct these crucial differences, but on the contrary exacerbate them. This demonstrates yet again what capitalism and the notion of the «advantages» of a hierarchy are truly about, what it leads to, that the fact is that the world is indeed governed by murderers. Victor Hugo spoke truth:

«The paradise of the rich is made out of the Hell of the poor».

  The myth is that everyone is better off if a few is very well off, when an elite can enjoy luxuries beyond contempt.
  Human society is filled with such paltry illusions.
  The worst is that no matter how many times they are exposed very few are acting on that, coming together and says that enough is enough. Streets that should have been filled with protests… are empty.
  When you hear the neo-liberalists claiming that the market shall rule supreme, you get thoroughly fed up. There are many things to be fed up about in today’s world, but the claim that economic inequality must be accepted and is acceptable and even a good thing is one of the worst and most fundamental.
  When a given woman or man living, or rather existing in a poor neighborhood is content with reaching retirement age and don’t demand more of life than that it is lived and ends in poverty, that illustrates in excellent ways how effective the oppression is, how broken most people are, how effective the Machine ruins people’s hunger for true life and independence.
  Social injustice kills people on a grand scale. A huge majority of today’s humanity is robbed of life. That’s the ugly truth.

  Should we be polite in such a world, when we describe it? Should we stand there with a bowed head and beg favors of the wealthy, follow the laws and the rules, and be a good sheep, and thank the masters for the few and meager crumbs of life we are handed?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Amos Keppler - labels

  De facto multi artist, multi human
  Political activist
  Forest dweller
  Graphic designer
  Poker player

  To name a few

  I hate labels, really…

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Injustice tortures and kills

  More and more reports, among them Commission on the Social Determinants of Health from the World’s Health Organization (WHO) published in 2008 state categorically and once again what we all know and point out facts that most people don’t think about or wish to think about: social factors are crucial when it comes to determine people’s health and how long and how well a given individual lives.
  Contrary to popular belief the difference isn’t always between given countries, rich and poor, developed and developing countries, but what part of a given country or city you’re born. Genetic differences determine only to a lesser degree health and how old you become. Genetics express, like always only potential, not fact.

  The difference in expected human age between the neglected suburb Calton and rich Lenzie in Glasgow is 28 years, between Hampstead and St. Pancras in London 11 years. The wealth or lack of wealth of the parents determines increasingly a child’s health, possibilities and life cycle. The report, easily valid in all countries has researched the connection between life cycle and living condition in three years. Big and small factors present an unequivocal conclusion: «Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale».

  So, when the politicians and mighty and wealthy people create and maintain a system of fundamental injustice, they are, in truth mass murderers and torturers surpassing in major ways the most infamous killers and dictators.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

No place to hide

  When I’m now once again reading No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald, about the NSA, Edward Joseph Snowden and The Surveillance State, I am once again amazed by it, by its content and its ability to amaze, shock and move me.
  I always knew that there was extensive surveillance, but its vast extent surprised even me. The most outrageous statement and claim from the most paranoid among us was suddenly validated. Even they underestimated the danger. We hadn’t been paranoid. We hadn’t been paranoid enough.
  There is Snowden itself, of course, his quiet determination and courage, his desire to get the explosive material published no matter the cost to himself. There is the entire situation surrounding it, Greenwald’s justified distrust of established media and everything related to it, established media’s deliberate and eager cooperation with those in charge. There is one exposure, one undeniable fact on top of another.
  One of many things it does is to reveal irrevocably Barrack Obama and his administration as enemies of freedom and of mankind itself. Obama is shown as an active and eager, not merely a passive participant in the surveillance. He is a conman, one of the cleverest elected presidents ever and always was. He never had any intention of making good his election promises, deliberately deceiving the electorate even more than the usual politician.
  His remaining supporters should definitely read this book.
  Greenwald was among those with high hopes that Obama becoming president would lead to improvements, but those hopes were quickly crushed, in virtually all areas of politics. Obama, during the election, among other things, spoke highly of whistleblowers and the need for supporting them, but has, during his presidency persecuted them worse than any president before him.
  The first article showed that NSA had been working with Verizon (and virtually every other telephone company in America) in order to sweep customers’ phone records.
  Revelations on PRISM, spying on foreign, allied governments, The UK GCHQ program, XKeyscore, undermining of Internet security and more quickly followed suit, exposures with a value that can hardly be underestimated.
  I think all the exposures are great, of course, and reject the propaganda attacks from the establishment against Snowden, Greenwald and other whistleblowers completely.

  If I’m unhappy with anything is that they didn’t reveal everything. I would have wished they had released every single bit of information they have. I certainly don’t care about the security of United States and its spies around the world. They are an integrated part of a beyond sinister network oppressing mankind and deserve no quarter.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Things to do in London when you burn with passion and life (II)


  Thursday morning I had one of only two breakfasts at the hotel. It’s expensive and not really giving you much for your money.
  I left the camera in the hotel room, deciding on a whim to experience London without it that day, temporarily falling back on my old, misguided conviction that dragging a camera around lessens a given Journey.
  I usually stay in Bayswater, close to the Central Line stations of Lancaster Gate or Queensway, but this time I stayed in Paddington, just a minute’s walk from Paddington Station and the Bakerloo Line. The Central Line would have taken me to Tottenham Court Road (it’s closed most of 2015). Bakerloo takes everyone (or at least me) straight to Piccadilly Circus.
  Dorothy and I met up at Costa, in Covent Garden, one of my favorite coffee shop chains. We have known each other for twenty-seven years and we share two children between us. We’ve always enjoyed an off/on relationship and have never really split up. Fairly long periods of absence have been coupled with intense moments of reunion, an «arrangement» suiting us both.
  We first encountered each other on the beyond memorable Midsummer Night of 1988 and moved into a squatted house together not long afterwards. The next five years should be one of the most amazing periods of our lives. She, more than any other person, showed me what life is about.
  She had great news for me this Thursday morning. I knew that, just by looking at her, before she even started speaking. She had actually managed to gather most of the old gang, doing so for the first time in years. I felt how anticipation filled me. We were both excited beyond words, an excitement clearly visible to everyone else present. Some were angry at our loud voices, while others loved our sizzling exhilaration and mounting joy.
  Usually I sit a while and enjoy my time at a coffee shop, but this time I devoured my giant cappuccino in no time, and we were off to the nearest pub, having decided to start the celebration of our reunion early.
  It’s always a strange feeling for me to be in the company of a given woman… and being unable to take my eyes off her. It’s almost like I try to imprint forever every single line of her face on my cerebral cortex. Her stare was equally intense. We didn’t mind and sat there toasting and cheering and drinking Guinness as if our last day had come. Sometimes later we had dinner at a great non-expensive vegetarian place north of Oxford Street. We were back at devouring Guinness not long after that.
  Usually I don’t drink much alcohol in London or when traveling at all, since I’m high enough just by the act of traveling, but this time was different.

  We ended up on my hotel room, celebrating our reunion the rest of the day and evening, keeping it up until we fell into a deep, deep, dreamless sleep.