Tag Archives: podcast

A Conversation With Ten Katestraat

He makes excellent music under the name Ten Katestraat, he lives in Amsterdam, has a day job in The Hague and hails from the UK. Stephen James Howard comes across as an amiable chap who is slightly bemused that his recordings have been getting attention recently, not least of all on our shows. He writes the songs, plays the instruments and produces in his “spare-room” studio. His wife, Brigitte takes care of the artwork while Stephen handles the promotion, which is how we first came to hear about him. A short, but charming email arrived accompanied by a sound-file for download. “I hope you might be interested?” Wrote Mr. Howard, adding, “I’ll be listening.” We were interested and he didn’t have to wait too long to listen, we added, The Commander Told You to our next Life Elsewhere Music playlist. We were intrigued by his (thankfully) hard to categorize music and his notation that he “was a Brexit refugee”. Stephen quickly followed up with another single and we obliged by promptly giving Leaving Everything Behind airplay. Then, after a rapid flurry of emails, we decided it would be a grand idea to have a chat with Stephen. Coming up on Life Elsewhere Music Vol 159 our conversation with Stephen James Howard, where he talks about music, creativity and explains his take on Brexit and UK politics. And yes, you will learn the meaning of Ten Katestraat.

Also in the show, new releases include The Ghost Wolfes, a duo from Austin, Texas, husband and wife, Carley and Jonny Wolf. We love what Carley and Jonny are doing, so you’ll hear two cuts, Crooked Cop, and Fist from their Crooked Cop EP, available on Third Man Records. This is a band we hope to see live soon. Jon Jones of Roots Garden Records, the adventurous reggae label based out of Brighton on England’s South Coast kindly sent us a powerful-lyric heavy single, Run This Nation by Manasseh & Skari. Jacksonville, Florida-based Brenna Erickson gets airplay with Making Memories Alone, a love song with references to London. And you’ll hear 19-year-old West Londoner, Matilda Mann with The Loch Ness Monster. We predict you’ll be hearing more from this up and coming singer-songwriter.

LEM Vol 159

Belief & Climate Change

Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? Philosophers, theologians, social scientists, and historians have offered explanations for centuries, but their accounts often ignore or even avoid human evolution. Evolutionary scientists answer with proposals for why ritual, religion, and faith make sense as adaptations to past challenges or as by-products of our hyper-complex cognitive capacities. But what if the focus on religion is too narrow? Renowned anthropologist, Agustín Fuentes argues that the capacity to be religious is actually a small part of a larger and deeper human capacity to believe. Why believe in religion, economies, love? In his new book, Why We Believe – Evolution and the Human Way of Being, Agustín presents a fascinating observation on the most common misconceptions about human nature, his book employs evolutionary, neurobiological, and anthropological evidence to argue that belief—the ability to commit passionately and wholeheartedly to an idea—is central to the human way of being in the world.

Robert Hunziker a regular contributor to Life Elsewhere, writes about climate change, headlines from his articles of the past year suggest he is a forecaster of doom – Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold; Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness; Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World; Earth 4C Hotter; The Coldest Spot on Earth Melting. Hunziker shrugs off the daunting moniker, ready to launch into a passionate monologue full of facts and alarming details. So, we asked Robert to give an overview of the crucial points on climate change during the past 12 months.

Show #352

A Private Conversation With Amy Rigby

 

Amy Rigby has been crisscrossing the USA promoting her memoir, Girl To City, stopping at music venues and book stores from upstate New York to the Pacific North West. She reads from her book, often she plays her guitar, sometimes she is accompanied by musician friends.  The acclaimed singer-songwriter loves the experience as evident by her enthusiastic social media and diary posts. Of course, not all of Amy’s fans have been able to enjoy her personal appearances, which is why we are delighted she took the time to talk with Norman B about Girl To City.

Amy Rigby, Girl To City – A Memoir – Summer Of My Wasted Youth

When I lived on East 4th Street, the staircase had been clogged twice a month with tenants waiting for the mailman to bring disability and welfare checks. My 14th Street neighbors were more of a mix of writers and musicians, the employed and the unemployable. Above and below and on either side of me, people were reading books, painting, making clothes. I also saw a lot of them hustling to the subway or bus in the morning dressed in business attire, off to do their day jobs. I won’t be like that, I thought. I’m only tempting until I’m successful at music. Then I won’t have to work another job.

In this short, brilliantly written example from Amy Rigby’s memoir, you cannot ignore her raw honesty. Even describing humdrum, day-to-day scenarios she doesn’t wander off into fanciful wordplay. Instead, Amy has a marvelous knack for not only conjuring up the scene but also her feelings at that moment. It’s a powerful skill, she modestly acknowledges. “I write better than I say it.” She announces with a slight giggle. Conversing with Amy is always a treat because you never know what tangent you’ll go in. Reading Girl To City is not unlike having a private conversation with the much-loved artist. She speaks directly to you, sometimes wistfully:

He wore a tank top in winter and summer.
But I loved him.
He gave me a crash course in art and film history.
He also gave me crabs, gonorrhea and herpes.
But I loved him.

And she always speaks with a wink in her eye. Never jaded, often knowing and occasionally with a tartness that catches the reader by surprise. Her memoir is packed full of information, details, names, cultural references, a history of rock and roll as seen through Amy’s almost always bright-eyed vision. There have been a lot of memoirs from the rock fraternity, Girl To City deserves its own unique category, as Lenny Kaye says, “Amy Rigby writes the way she performs and sings, laced with insight, humor, self-awareness, and above all, heart”.

During the conversation, Norman B asked Amy to select some music to play during the show. She decided on two cuts from A One Way Ticket To My Life, a companion album to her book, Girl To City, featuring unreleased tracks and demos. Plus she requested we play, the Summer Of My Wasted Youth from her 1998 album, Middlescence.

Show #351

Graphic Design In The Age Of Unrest – Redux

As the Midterm Election Day progressed social media was very much alive and well with almost everyone it seemed rushing to let the rest of us know what they had been doing mere moments before by posting selfies with “I Voted!” stickers, front and center. If you were not already sure how our world has changed in the age of Trump, then the cacophony of “I Voted!” stickers should have convinced you. The omnipresent stickers came in never-ending varieties, from the generic to the overtly partisan and the downright ornery, “I Voted – Have You?” No matter if we accept or not, that all of these tiny, little graphic messages were designed. Someone somewhere produced artwork that had to be sent to a printer. A perfect example of graphic design being used to make a point, to get a message across. Which is exactly what graphic design is meant to do. These miniature statements in mostly red, white and blue may not be the pinnacle of brilliant graphic design but they initiated a discussion on graphic design in times of unrest.  Acclaimed New York-based creative director, Robert Newman suggests the anonymously-designed “I Voted!” stickers are not too far removed from the bold, unforgettable graphics of Emory Douglas for Black Panthers in the ’60s. He adds, “In times of unrest, graphic designers always shine.”

Robert Newman discusses graphic design in the age of unrest on our next edition. Below are links to many of the graphics we mention in the show and illustrated above.

Edsel Rodriguez

Black Lives Matter

Home Made Graphics

Act Up

Gun Control

Feminist Graphic Design

Afropunk

Pink Pussy Hat

Trump Magazine Covers

Show #338 Vs 2

Dispelling The Myths Of Thomas Cromwell – Redux

After a decade of researching the Royal Archives, the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, Diarmaid MacCulloch has emerged with the most thoroughly researched and complete biography of Thomas Crowell – a polarizing political figure most know for his unwavering service to volatile King Henry VIII, the demise of Anne Boleyn, and his hand in the Reformation. Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life sheds light onto a fascinating part of history, one that helped shape the course of English politics and the future of the Protestant religion. Since Crowell’s life met its end on the scaffold in 1540, history has not been kind to this self-made commoner who rose from obscurity to become the architect of England’s split with Rome. However, MacCulloch unveils a more sympathetic figure. Was Cromwell the villain of history or the victim of its creation? A masterful storyteller, not afraid to interject a healthy portion of English wit, MacCulloch dispels popular myths. Despite being unable to control the violent humor of his King, Cromwell made his mark on England, setting her on a path to religious awakening and indelibly transforming the system of government of the English-speaking world. Norman B’s conversation with Diarmaid MacCulloch is certainly not for history buffs alone, as illustrated by the author’s deadpan reference to the current US President’s possible resemblance to the one-time narcissistic, volatile ruler of England.

Show #338 V1

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