Author Archives: normanbradio

The Artist Who Says The Art World Isn’t A Good Place For Artists

 

“If you’re an artist, the art world is not a good place for you. If you’re an accountant, the art world is a good place for you.” Says Peter Harris who also happens to be an artist, film-maker, and musician. His work often involves experimenting with new ways of making self-portraits, many of which become collaborations.  In 1998 he began working ‘by proxy’, inviting family and cultural icons who have had an influence on his life to give him ideas for paintings, searching for his identity through those who had played a part in constructing it. His longest-running and most well-known association is with Jamaican music legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Since 2003 they have been working on a series of drawings, paintings, and films as well as music projects. In 2003 Harris collaborated with the London Mennonite Society to make the short film Hymn which was screened at the National Film Theatre. His feature-length cult documentary Higher Powers (2004) features interviews with a host of eclectic personalities including the future Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Ken Russell, Uri Geller, a gangster, police chief, religious leader as well as artists interspersed with performance art pieces and animations. In 2018 he began working with Trashmouth Records and released his first solo album Adverts which included guest performances by Lee Perry and Vic Godard. Each album contained an ‘art advert’ in the form of a one-off painted collage. He is also working with Zsa Zsa Sapien from the South London band Meatraffle on a collaborative music project under the name ‘The Hi-Fi Twins’. 

BombArt, is Peter’s current project with Mark Stewart, artist, vocalist, producer, and songwriter from Bristol, widely known as a founding member of The Pop Group, Mark Stewart & The Maffia, and as a soloist. 

Peter Harris spoke with Norman B about BombArt, his art, and music, dealing with Covd19 and his views on the art world. 

The music included in the program:

1.Peter HarrisYou Will Be My Dad, mixed by Adrian Sherwood, from the album, Adverts on Trashmouth Records

2. Unreleased track, BabymanBabyman, an art and music collaboration with Them Driver

3. Peter Harris and Lee “Scratch” PerryGod Save The Queen, mixed by Adrian Sherwood

4. Mark Stewart & The MafiaJerusalem produced by Adrian Sherwood (1982 12” On U Sound) 

5. Max Romeo, Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Norman (1976 12” produced by Lee Perry) 

Learn more about Peter Harris, Mark Stewart, and BombArt 

Show #386

A Happy Conversation With Richard Price

“Poet Richard Price, Musician and Producer Roberto Sainz de la Maza, Singer Elisa de Leon. Recorded in a small studio in west London, a set of love songs, political songs, and something more mystical — Zen?” This short, self-description of The Loss Adjusters is like their debut album, perfect. And, like their music, it sounds familiar, yet you question why it works so well and so differently. Is it Richard Price’s poetic lyrics and haunting voice or Roberto Sainz de la Maza’s masterful production and orchestration or perhaps its Elisa de Leon’s inspired vocal contributions and rhythmic flourishes? The truth is, while you debate the effectiveness of the trio’s work, except that they have found a magic formula and it works…Zen? The title of their album is The World Brims, also the title of their first single which came to our attention some while back. We raved and invited Richard onto the show to talk about what we considered a marvelously different, yet extraordinarily accessible song. From that time until now we have been keeping tabs on The Loss Adjusters, eagerly waiting to get our ears around their debut album. Although we were already familiar with a couple of new cuts, the album as a whole is (as already noted) perfect. It didn’t take a lot of consideration to invite Mr. Price back onto the show. Our request went out, but intrepid Scotsman was rambling around on the Isle of Skye with his young son and Internet access was minimal, if at all. So, as soon as we knew the wandering poet was back in London we quickly scheduled a Zoom chat. As you will hear (and see) our conversation was certainly a happy one. Lots of smiles all around, even though at times we talk about dark and serious topics. The main thrust of our chat was to focus on the album, The World Brims, you’ll hear Richard’s passion for the music and the collaboration with his fellow bandmates. About poetry, Richard Price insists it is about three Ps Praise – Politics – Planet. On life in our world now, he barely hides his rage as he says, “We should never have been in the situation where we are protesting because the police are killing black people. What sort of society requires protest before anything would happen!”  Then, talking about music, Richard tells a story of being in Lisbon, Portugal, and hearing music emanating from a record shop that he just had to find out about. It was a Tuareg group, from the southwestern edge of the Sahara desert, named Tamikrest with the album, Kidal, named after their hometown. His enthusiasm for this compelling music intrigued us so much, we have included a cut in the show. As our title says, despite covering some of the darker sides of life, this was a happy conversation and we hope you will enjoy it.

Show 385

A Conversation On Life In Isolation With Five Creatives. Plant Love. Healthy Skin.

Perhaps you have become acclimatized to living through a pandemic? Maybe you have rearranged your everyday life to accommodate social distancing? Or, are you going stir crazy? These are some of the questions we asked five of our favorite creative guests at Life Elsewhere –  author, educator, Anna Dorn; musician, educator, Harry Stafford; author, educator, Mark Haskell Smith; musician, poet, educator Joshua Idehen; musician, author, educator, Martin Atkins. The conversation was conducted via Zoom, connecting to Stockholm, Manchester, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Their responses ranged from the need for physical contact to being content with a little solitude. And, as expected, all of our creative guests were eager to share their thoughts. Hosting a talk show remotely over the internet may well be the new normal when this pandemic is finally over. If it is, then this edition of Life Elsewhere proves how engaging it can be.

                                               

Also in the program, Summer Rayne Oakes, an urban houseplant expert, and environmental scientist has managed to grow 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment (and they’re thriving!) Her secret? She approaches her relationships with plants as intentionally as if they were people. Summer joins the show to talk about her book, How To Make A Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space In Your Home. Plus, James Hamblin, a  preventive medicine physician and staff writer for The Atlantic was curious about the new science of skin microbes and probiotics. He discovered that keeping skin healthy is a booming industry, and yet it seems like almost no one agrees on what actually works. In his new book, Clean – The New Science Of Skin, Hamblin explores how we care for our skin today. He even experimented with giving up showers entirely. His conclusion on the meaning of “clean” may be surprising and at times, humorous.  

Show #384

Baseless & Unidentified

                             

Nicholson Baker –  Baseless: My Search For Secrets In The Ruins Of The Freedom Of Information Act

With great pleasure, we welcome back to Life Elsewhere, acclaimed author, Nicholson Baker. His latest work of non-fiction is a remarkable hybrid of history, journalism, and a memoir. Eight years ago, while investigating the possibility that the United States had used biological weapons in the Korean War, Nicholson requested a series of Air Force documents from the early 1950s under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Years went by, and he got no response. Rather than wait forever, he set out to keep a personal journal of what it feels like to try to write about major historical events in a world of pervasive redactions, withheld records, and glacially slow governmental responses. The result is one of the most original and daring works of nonfiction in recent memory, a singular and mesmerizing narrative that tunnels into the history of some of the darkest and most shameful plans and projects of the CIA, the Air Force, and the presidencies of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. In his lucid and unassuming style, Baker assembles what he learns, piece by piece, about Project Baseless, a crash Pentagon program begun in the early fifties that aimed to achieve “an Air Force-wide combat capability in biological and chemical warfare at the earliest possible date.” Along the way, he unearths stories of balloons carrying crop disease, leaflet bombs filled with feathers, suicidal scientists, leaky centrifuges, paranoid political-warfare tacticians, insane experiments on animals and humans, weaponized ticks, ferocious propaganda battles with China, and cover and deception plans meant to trick the Kremlin into ramping up its germ-warfare program. At the same time, Baker tells the stories of the heroic journalists and lawyers who have devoted their energies to wresting documentary evidence from government repositories, and he shares anecdotes from his daily life in Maine feeding his dogs and watching the morning light gather on the horizon. The result is an astonishing and utterly disarming story about waiting, bureaucracy, the horrors of war, and, above all, the cruel secrets that the United States government seems determined to keep forever from its citizens.

Colin Dickey – The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, And Our Obsession With The Unexplained

In a world where rational, scientific explanations are more available than ever, belief in the unprovable and irrational–in fringe–is on the rise: from Atlantis to aliens, from Flat Earth to the Loch Ness monster, the list goes on. It seems the more our maps of the known world get filled in, the more we crave mysterious locations full of strange creatures. Enter Colin Dickey, Cultural Historian and Tour Guide of the Weird. With the same curiosity and insight that made Ghostland a hit with readers and critics, Colin looks at what all fringe beliefs have in common, explaining that today’s Illuminati is yesterday’s Flat Earth: the attempt to find meaning in a world stripped of wonder. Dickey visits the wacky sites of America’s wildest fringe beliefs–from the famed Mount Shasta where the ancient race (or extra-terrestrials, or possibly both, depending on who you ask) called Lemurians are said to roam, to the museum containing the last remaining “evidence” of the great Kentucky Meat Shower–investigating how these theories come about, why they take hold, and why as Americans we keep inventing and re-inventing them decade after decade. The Unidentified is Colin Dickey at his best: curious, wry, brilliant in his analysis, yet eminently readable.

Show #383

A Conversation With Michael Bentham

“Our film is sadly inspired by real-life events.” Says Michael Bentham, director of the new independent Australian movie, Disclosure. “We made this film because we want to help change policy, by raising the profile of the pressing issue of child-on-child abuse, and the inadequate institutional responses to this escalating problem”. One of the key challenges faced by young children who have experienced abuse is the reluctance of parents, and institutions, to accept the words of children as evidence, despite the wealth of research showing that children almost never make up stories about being sexually abused. The reality of Disclosure’s basic plot is unsettling. In conversation with Norman B, Michael explains why and how it was so important to deliver his message in a unique and powerful way. His dialogue is, at times, brittle yet so authentic you forget this is a movie drama. Are the difficulties of speaking about sexual abuse amongst children made all the more obvious when we consider how long it has taken for the Me Too movement to be taken seriously? Bentham understands this, so he forces us to watch entranced at gorgeous, lush, verdant settings as four adults grow increasingly agitated. His static camera and middle distance framing are quietly unnerving. 

We encourage you to listen carefully to what Michael Bentham has to say, not only because he is a wonderful conversationalist and guest, but also because the distribution company of Disclosure is giving us 10 DVDs to give away to our attentive listeners. All you have to do is answer a simple question, “What country do the two sound designers for Disclosure work in?” The first correct 10 answers we receive will each receive a copy of the Disclosure DVD.

Send your correct answer to normanb@lifeelsewhere.co

Thank you to producer Donna Lyon, and Michael Bentham for very kindly allowing us to use a clip from Disclosure

You can watch the movie Disclosure now on iTunes, Vimeo, Vudu, and FandangoNow or order the DVD on Amazon

Show #382

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