Assessing The News With Binoy Kampmark

Frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere, Dr. Binoy Kampmark shares his well-considered assessments of the following news items:

Haiti’s President Assassinated 

A group of gunmen allegedly posing as agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency forcibly entered President Jovenel Moïse’s private residence and assassinated him in the early hours of Wednesday. The macabre act will prolong the uncertainty as Haiti tries to avert pandemonium.

Lockdown in Sydney

Australian authorities on Friday pleaded with Sydney’s five million residents to stay home, warning a three-week lockdown may be extended as they struggle to control a COVID-19 outbreak, with the city reporting the biggest rise in local cases in 2021.

Extreme Heat In US

Last week, a “thousand-year” heatwave baked the Pacific Northwest and adjacent British Columbia with widespread highs topping 100 degrees, resulting in a death toll in the hundreds. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday that the heatwave helped the United States clinch its hottest June on record. Eight states had their hottest Junes, including Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.

Taliban Advance In Western Afghanistan

The latest part of Afghanistan to collapse in the face of a rapid militant advance, during which they have taken control of areas far beyond their original southern strongholds. Their speed has fuelled fears the government in Kabul could fall within months. Joe Biden confirmed a 31 August deadline for the final departure of American troops.

Russian-Linked Group Hacks 200 Businesses With Ransomware

Cybersecurity teams are working feverishly to stem the impact of the single biggest global ransomware attack on record, with some details emerging about how the Russia-linked gang behind it breached the company whose software was the conduit.

Donald Rumsfeld Known Unknowns

The architect of the Iraq war and a master Washington power player, dead at 88. 

Dr. Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

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Life Elsewhere Music Vol 240

As I type these notes for Volume 240 of LEM, it is pissing down outside. Torrents of rain have been causing havoc all night and day. Over-the-top thunder and lightning has caused Mr. Grumpy, the orange (ginger?) half-feral cat I feed, to shelter under the chair he usually poses on. I say half-feral ‘cause he just showed up one day about 15 years ago. No collar, no tag, and he wouldn’t allow any petting or human contact. He kept his distance, but he also hung around. Eventually, I gave him a bowl of cat food. He scoffed it down and came back for more. He’s been doing that about three times a day ever since. He still won’t tolerate any stroking or belly rubs. But, he does waft his rangy body around my legs when I present him with another helping of ridiculously expensive cat food. As the years have gone by he has become more and more vocal. These days it’s an indignant ME….OW!! if I don’t serve him food promptly, every time I open the door. We have taken upon a staring game. He always wins. I’m tempted to invite him in, but he never seems interested in crossing the threshold. So, he misses out on hearing all the new music I review. I have no idea if cats have an appreciation of any music, but I like to imagine that if Mr. Grumpy did venture inside, especially on a sodden day like today, he may settle down next to me and quietly digest each cut I play and perhaps give a flick of his tail in approval or dismissal. We begin with an artist I have been keeping my eye on for some time, Tizrah is back with a new album, Colourgrade recorded soon after the birth of her first child and shortly before her second child was born. Tizrah says, “The album explores recovery, gratitude and new beginnings”, adding “I discovered the type of love that is shared between a mother and a child for the first time, whilst simultaneously working as an artist”. Send Me explains all as she croons, “Let me in, now I’m sure”. Watch out for the surprising ending. Then, don’t let the almost cartoon-like Chinoise refrain fool you of Michael Sayer’s Little China Boy fool you. The LA-based musician is writing from experience. I’m familiar with his story. My son’s mother is Asian. He came home from school one day and innocently asked me, “Dad, a kid at school said I’m chinky – what does that mean?”. Michael’s album is A Good Fool, it’s excellent with cool artwork. His video for the single, Little China Boy is worth checking out not least of all for his splendid hair color. Love it. The Vovos are from Melbourne, Australia. The Vovos are Ada Duffy, Bethany Feik, Bianca Ayliffe, Lu Galante, Mika James, and Ruby Ayliffe. Their Jana EP is on Roolette Records. The single is Spring Cleaning. They are magnificent. A three-piece called Soursob is based in Glasgow, originating from Lithuania, Australia, and Glasgow. Blow is from their self-titled LP on HoZac Records out of Chicago who says, “The right kind of music for the wrong kind of people, since 2006”. Oh, what a gloriously good single. But, should I be concerned they are going on about cocaine? I think not, Soursob is being ironic, right? Girl Friday, a duo by way of New Zealand and LA knows how to write an engaging pop song as illustrated by I’m Impossible. Thos F sings songs and makes noises as Trees And Flowers and I enjoyed everything about their LP, Are You Broken? Take Cover and all the other songs here are by Seattle-based Thos F helped out on each cut by a collective of friends it would appear. The album is on Pelagoram Recordings and thumbs-ups for the striking artwork. Deep Sea Fish is from the album, Tangerine by Reiko and Tori Kudo. Recorded during winter and spring of 2011 and 2012 and just rereleased. Tangerine, they say is the culmination of over thirty years of experimentation, making this a touchstone of contemporary Japanese folk minimalism. Inspired by thick forests and nature of Lithuania, also by Baltic ethnic culture, Giriu Dvasios gives us Sanku from the LP, Dub Vibes Vol. 4. This is one you can put on and ask your dinner guests to select the country of origin – extra dessert for anyone who gets the answer right. Blackjack Illuminist Records is operated by a genial chap named, Alex. When he is not teaching elementary kids or running marathons, Alex dedicates himself to putting out exceptional releases. His latest, Ready To Drown is by Cologne-based duo, Adnan Abbas & Nadin who present as Verneblung. The video for Cracked Puppet is required viewing, featuring a beautiful solo male dancer whose body and movements are like a living anatomy lesson. Some while back a conversation I had with Colin Moulding, the legendary bassist for XTC has been downloaded scores of times. A new conversation is being arranged because Colin has a new solo single, The Hardest Battle.  I think you’ll agree, this has that distinctive, XTC/Moulding sound and we like that. London- based singer-producer, Satu says, Play The Game from their Technicolor Wreckage EP. Listen to this one carefully, so much going on and that voice – so good. Love the production! Make sure you check out the rest of Satu’s releases. The Ophelias are out of Cincinnati, their 3rd album Crocus deserves your attention. Take a listen to the cut we selected, Neil Young On High featuring Julian Baker. The Ophelias have been on my radar for some time as I regularly prompt adventurous PD’s to include them in their playlists. It goes without saying that when a new Benin City single arrives you know dancing is going to be the first priority at Life Elsewhere Towers. Josh, Shanaz, and Tom have produced a beauty with We Belong To Us. Not only is this a Pride anthem, but it’s also our summer anthem. Always right on the money is Benin City with their social and cultural observations and commentary, so much going on in this mix, that juxtaposition between Shanaz’s vocals and Josh’s voice, Tom is in there too, plus Tom on sax adds a brilliant touch to masterful recording. Mr. Grumpy gave me a threatening stare as I cranked up the volume to way past 11. He demanded more food, but I had Benin City on repeat play and signaled through the glass door for him to shelter from the rain and be patient. Enjoy!


  1. Tizrah – Send Me
  2. Michael Seyer – Little China Boy
  3. The Vovos – Spring Cleaning
  4. Soursob – Blow
  5. Girl Friday – I’m Impossible
  6. Trees And Flowers – Take Cover
  7. Reiko and Tori Kudo – Deep Sea Fish
  8. Giriu Dvasios – Sunku
  9. Verneblung – Cracked Puppet
  10. Colin Moulding – The Hardest Battle
  11. Satu – Play The GameThe
  12. Ophelias – Neil Young On High (Ft. Julian Baker)
  13. Benin City – We Belong To Us

Artwork by Stephen Brownwell “Sex headline” 24″ x 26″ 2011 mixed media on craft paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 240

A Conversation With Chris Connelly About The Birthday Poems

Alternative music legend, Chris Connelly joins Life Elsewhere host Norman B for an in-depth conversation about his latest musical project, The Birthday Poems. An album created to celebrate the centenary of Orkney-born poet, George Mackay Brown. For this remarkable enterprise, Chris collaborated with the incomparable, Scottish chanteuse, Monica Queen. Together with a line-up of stellar musicians, they deftly interpret Chris’s music into a fictionalized account of the romance between celebrated Mackay Brown and his muse Stella Cartwright, as well as Stella’s friendship with Edinburgh born poet Stanley Roger Green, spanning three decades (from the mid-1950s until Stella’s tragic and untimely death in 1985). Known as the Muse of Rose Street, Stella had a unique upbringing, which contributed to her love of literature. As a young girl attending Mary Erskine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Stella would ravenously devour literature, art, and music. Her father would often take her to bars, parties, the theatre, and other social and cultural events, where she would meet and charm Scotland’s cultural elite. This album represents a sometimes overlooked but very important part of Scottish culture. Stella and Mackay Brown had an enduring friendship, although not always a joyous one – neither of the pair were particularly happy, and their love of whisky did not help. “While she had relationships with many of the poets who would haunt the bars of Edinburgh’s Rose Street during the ’50s and ‘early ’60s, her love of literature, art and culture was insatiable. She was never given credit or encouraged in her own art and expression. I hope that this album illuminates the beautiful treasure that she was, and how hugely significant she is to Scottish literature of a certain era,” says Connelly. He adds, “As a child and younger man in Edinburgh, I walked the same streets, drank in the same bars, and walked the same hills. I was also lucky enough to be close friends with Stanley Roger Green’s children, who, highly creative in their own ways, greatly informed and inspired my life”.

A follow-up conversation has been scheduled to reach back with Chris Connelly to his early days with Finitribe in his native Edinburgh and on through his many musical projects including Ministry, The Revolting Cocks, Pigface, and more.

The image above of Chris Connelly is from a video for Tae The Poets,  filmed on location at Chicago’s GMan Tavern and created by photographers Derick Smith and Matt Walker.

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Life Elsewhere Music Vol 239


To curate, a 60-minute show of new music takes on average about a week of listening, not that I’m complaining. Considering how much excellent new music comes my way, it really is an enjoyable occupation. In this volume, we have such a diverse selection, beginning in Brighton on the south coast of England where Nico runs the enterprising Shoredive Record label. The Insatiable Disquiet is his latest project, teaming up with American vocalist Cat Hall of Industrial pioneers Dissonance. Their new EP, Unbidden has a wonderful, familiar feel, yet it’s totally original as you’ll hear on Justify. 50 miles up the road from Brighton in London you’ll find Toby Burroughs on drums & vocals, Tom Jones on bass & vocals, and Rosa Brook on violin & vocals – together they are Pozi. Their Typing EP displays their collective talents with Sea Song. Jot their name down, I expect to hear more from Pozi. Over in Dublin, it appears there must be something in the water because such a lot of creative talent is emanating from that beautiful city. Fronted by vocalist and guitarist Keeley, we have Keeley! Their Brave Warrior EP is dedicated to the memory of Inga Maria Hauser, which we’ll learn more about in our upcoming conversation. We selected, Last Words, expect to hear more cuts from Keeley soon on LEM. Over in Brooklyn, Sem Azhak says, “Hello I’m Sem and this is Semetery it’s nice to meet you”. Sem writes and performs all the songs on the album, I Know It’s A Sore Subject, But These Things Fall Apart, listen to Freckles and you’ll understand why I included Semetery in this volume. In Auckland, New Zealand a fellow by the name of A. Evans uses the moniker, Black Sand for his musical output. The Place You Call Home is from his 8th album Hypnotic Revolutions. Mr. Evans says, Black Sand continues to chart a course through spaced-out psychedelic rock n roll. Put your headphones on and enjoy the ride”. Excellent suggestion. I’ve mentioned it before, I love compilations. Such a good way to get a variety of music in one package. Agreed, not every cut is going to be on repeat play, but I always find at least a couple of cuts worthwhile – sometimes a whole lot more. For example, take a listen to Kongodoom with The City Is A Desert from Here is Minimal City Vol 1 c/o Petite Victory Collective out of Copenhagen. OK, I admit I’m partial to a little minimalist-dubby-electronica. This LP is worth the price of admission. Another comp I want you to know about is 1980 Something – An 80s Cover Comp For No More Dysphoria. This comes courtesy of Heavenly Creature Records out of Scotland who has put together 80s covers by 32 different artists. Importantly, all funds raised will go directly to No More Dysphoria, the album is available on a pay-what-you-want/can basis. No More Dysphoria is a non-profit organization created with the goal of helping transgender individuals pay for major aspects of their transition. From the album you’ll hear, a cover of Bowie’s Modern Love by Regal Cheer, followed by How I Became Invisible with a cover of The Pixies, Where Is My Mind. The name Chris Connelly must trigger recognition to even the most casual music aficionado. Mr. Connelly has a new album, The Birthday Poems spotlighting the centenary of Scottish poet George Mackay Brown. Chris has teamed up with Monica Queen for this adventure. The title cut is included in this volume. Chris Connelly is going to be my guest very soon for an in-depth conversation. So much to talk about with a man who has been involved with such a lot of influential bands and projects. A curiously unassuming LP came my way a few weeks back, Years In Marble by Raoul Vignal. The musician, originally from Lyon is definitely worth your time following up on, Red Fresco being a good example. Josienne Clarke knows what she is doing and what she wants. A short video shows Josienne auditioning guitar players. In the end, the Scottish artist lets us know she wrote and composed the songs, she does the vocals, plays guitar, harmonium, and saxophone, she also arraigned and produced the album, A Small Unknowable Thing. But, we must give a tip of the hat to Dave Hamblett for the smart drumming, along with Matt Robinson on keyboards, Alec Bowman-Clarke on Bass, and Mary Ann Kennedy on Harp. Make sure you listen to Sit Out carefully. Next, the EP In These Times arrived on my desk without much information, except Science Fiction Review are from Austin, Texas and all the tracks are super – e.g. Like A Church. Made up of members Curtis Wakeling (The Ocean Party/Pop Filter) and his partner Kayleigh Heydon, a Visual Artist from the U.K, Deuce is a project out of Melbourne. They say their collaboration enables them to further understand each other’s stories and experiences. The outcome so far is their self-titled album with seemingly effortless songs that underplay well-crafted songs about relationships. There is a knowingness here in each song that could easily be the result of many years of working together, yet the immediacy of their relationship is never in doubt. That Curtis and Kayleigh each take turns in lead vocals proves the confidence they have in their collaboration. Such a good album, it’s hard to choose one cut, we selected, Swim. To close, a fine example of dub production from Tuff Scout out of London with the title cut from the LP, Out On The Floor Dub, is a splendid reworking of The Wailer’s Really For A Reason. Do make sure you let me know what you think of LEM. 


  1. The Insatiable Disquiet – Justify
  2. Pozi – Sea Song
  3. Keeley – Last Words
  4. Semetery – Freckles
  5. Black Sand – The Place You Call Home
  6. Kongodoom – The City Is A Desert
  7. Regal Cheer – Modern Love
  8. How I Became Invisible – Where Is My Mind
  9. Chris Connelly & Monica Queen – The Birthday Poems
  10. Raoul Vignal – Red Fresco
  11. Josienne Clarke – Sit Out
  12. Science Fiction Review – Like A Church
  13. Deuce – Swim
  14. Tuff Scout – Out On The Floor Dub

Artwork by D. Chasomè “MJ Sitting #2″ 2001 2′ x 2’6” giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 239

The QAnon Question?

In January 2021, thousands descended on the U.S. Capitol to aid President Donald Trump in combating a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Two women were among those who died that day. They, like millions of Americans, believed that a mysterious insider known as “Q” is exposing a vast deep-state conspiracy. The QAnon conspiracy theory has ensnared many women, who identify as members of “pastel QAnon,” answering the call to “save the children.” In Pastels and Pedophiles, Mia Bloom and Sophia Moskalenko explain why the rise of QAnon should not surprise us: believers have been manipulated to follow the baseless conspiracy. The authors track QAnon’s unexpected leap from the darkest corners of the Internet to the filtered glow of yogi-mama Instagram, a frenzy fed by the COVID-19 pandemic that supercharged conspiracy theories and spurred a fresh wave of Q-inspired violence. Bloom and Moskalenko showing how a conspiracy theory with its roots in centuries-old anti-Semitic hate has adapted to encompass local grievances and has metastasized around the globe—appealing to a wide range of alienated people who feel that something is not quite right in the world around them. While QAnon claims to hate Hollywood, the book demonstrates how much of Q’s mythology is ripped from movie and television plot lines.

Ms. Bloom is such an engaging guest we suggested she make a return visit to Life Elsewhere so we can explore more of her studies and research.

Also in the show, important new music, first from Wellington, New Zealand, Annie J says, “Every night in this country, over 167 women and children are too afraid to stay at home because of family violence.” In response to her concern Annie has released, Girl Who Cried Wolf. This is a pertinent, timely statement on the prevalence of assault. The song puts a fresh twist on the tale of a boy telling lies, instead focusing on the importance of acknowledging truth. The song is both a warning and an optimistic invitation to confront any wolfish, predatory behavior. Annie hopes it can contribute to some change in the world. All proceeds will be donated to Women’s Refuge “Gift a Safe Night” campaign. 

Made up of members Curtis Wakeling (The Ocean Party/Pop Filter) and his partner Kayleigh Heydon, a Visual Artist from the U.K, Deuce is a project out of Melbourne. They say their collaboration enables them to further understand each other’s stories and experiences. The outcome so far is their self-titled album with seemingly effortless songs that underplay well-crafted songs about relationships. There is a knowingness here in each song that could easily be the result of many years of working together, yet the immediacy of their relationship is never in doubt. That Curtis and Kayleigh each take turns in lead vocals proves the confidence they have in their collaboration. Such a good album, it’s hard to choose one cut, we selected, Swim.


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