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zondag 20 september 2009

Robber knocked the fuck out at beauty parlour


Last Man On Campus mixtape

I've got a mixtape online titled Last Man On Campus. You can download it here. It was originally a mix I did a while back on the radio show Oskoorland, Radio Campus ULB (hosted by French and Défi J). I recorded it afterwards for your listening pleasure.

01. Intro (Bucktown Trailer)
02. Smif-n-Wessun - Bucktown
03. Common - Maintaining
04. Colors Break
05. A Tribe Called Quest - Oh My God
06. Peanut Butter Wolf - I Love H.E.R.
07. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - This Land Is Your Land
08. Bernard Purdie - Cold Sweat
09. Cannonball Adderley - Phases
10. Stanley Clarke - Power
11. Coldcut - Timber
12. Michael Jackson - Get On The Floor
13. Madlib - Mystic Bounce
14. Rozer Break
15. Various Panthers - Freedom
16. OC - Time's Up
17. Défi J - Un Ange Saigne
18. Various Panthers - The Points
19. DJ Static - ITF 1997
20. Outro (LMS Shout Outs)

Go and check it out!

maandag 24 augustus 2009

Master Shardlake

I've been reading C.J. Sansom's historical mysteries lately. He has written four novels about Master Shardlake, a hunchback London lawyer. The stories take place at different intervals during the reign of Henry VIII. So far he has written four books: Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation.

Dissolution takes place in the year 1537. The King has recently proclaimed himself to be head of the Church of England, and the country is rapidly changing as a result. Thomas Cromwell is at the height of his power and has ordered the dissolution of the Catholic monasteries. However there is trouble at the Scarnsea monastery, off the Sussex coast. One of his investigators has been found dead, brutally murdered in a sacrilegious way. He calls upon Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and adamant supporter of Reform, to investigate the crime.

The story reminded me of Umberto Ecco's The Name of the Rose. The mysterious murder, set in a monastery, surrounded by internal politics, ressembles this story very much. You could it is more an "Ecco light", with less theological discussions and more detective elements. I enjoyed the book very much as light bed-time reading. The historical setting is depicted well, and the mystery captivates enough to keep you wanting to know more.

Dark Fire takes place a few years later, in 1540. Since his involvement in the murderous events at Scarnsea, Shardlake tries to stay away from politically laden investigations. However, Cromwell once more calls upon his services. The formula to Greek Fire, the legendary weapon used by the Byzantines to destroy the Arab navies, has been discovered in the library of dissolved London monastery. Unfortunately the formula has dissapeared after the brutal murders of the officials who had found it. Once more Shardlake gets on the trail in order to retrieve it.

There is more action/adventure in this novel than in the previous one. Since Shardlake is a hunchback and takes the intellectual challenges on himself, a second character is introduced, Master Barak. Barak works for Cromwell and brings muscle to the story. The historical depiction is again excellent, yet this time the work has more of an adventure movie type of feel.

Sovereign is set a year later, in 1541. Thomas Cromwell has fallen from favor, his role as trusted advisor to the King has been taken over by Archbishop Cranmer. The events take place during Henry VIII's Progress to the North. A state visit to accept the surrender after the rebellion of 1536 in York, called the Pilgrimage of Grace. Shardlake is there in order to deal with the petitions by the locals to the King. Barak, having lost his job after the demise of Cromwell, is now working for Shardlake as an assistant. Once again, there is a political murder tied to the rebellion. At the same time, Shardlake has been charged with the care of a political prisoner, Sir Edward Broderick.

Although the first two books, were nice-an-easy reading material, the formula is starting to wear thin by now. I hadn't noticed before that Sansom's character development is actually very superficial. It hadn't bothered me before, because the previous stories bounced merrily along, whereas in Sovereign things just seem to happen to our heroes. Their actual input is very meagre. They could have easily been left out of the story. I had to drag myself to read to the ending. When Sansom tries to convey emotions, he resorts to basic descriptions like "he felt frustrated" or "he couldn't take the horror". You can say it, but if I'm not feeling it ...

Revelation is the final installment of the series. A brutal murder displayed publicly by a friend of his, draws Shardlake back to work for Archbishop Cranmer. Cranmer is less of a favorite than he was the year before. After a few years of hard Reform, the King is allowing some of the Catholic traditions. A behind the scenes war between Reformers and anti-Reformers is going on. The outcome will influence the place of political adversaries at Court. And since the King has a tendency to chop off the heads of people he disagrees with, quite a lot is at stake. Cranmer believes that the murder might have something to do with Catherine Parr. The King , after having disposed of his latest wife, is pursuing her now. Since she looks kindly on Reform, Cranmer and his circle are hoping she will accept. If however, it would be known that religious fundamentalists are involved in murders tied to Parr, it would not bode well. Quickly, however, it becomes clear that they are dealing with a serial killer, who commits murders in a certain way in order to make sure the prophecy about the end of the world as depicted in the biblic book of Revelation comes true.

Although the flow of the story is better than in the previous novel, the weak character development is still a turn-off. Sansom tries to link the way insanity was viewed and treated (in places such as the infamous Bedlam) with the murders taking place. But because you see everything through the eyes of Shardlake, who apparently is not a man with the most emotional insights, I wasn't really drawn into the psyche of the killer, nor the plight of the people chasing him.

For the fans if historical fiction, I can recommend the first two books. But only as light entertainment. The descriptions of the era are very nice, and no doubt historically correct. However, it would be best to stop after the first two, because you can only get more of the same but less good.

dinsdag 9 juni 2009

Latest goodness

Like I said in the previous post: Don't you love it when life is good? The last few weeks have been filled with dope parties. First up was the incredible Cheeba Cheeba party at Café Bota with Vic 'n Lloyd, Funky Bompa and Shimmy Timmy. The played an amazing set with classic breaks, funk, soul, nusoul, latin and hip-hop. The music itself was "upgraded" by J to the C singing over instrumental tracks. Plus, there wasn't an incredible throng of people. There was just enough crowd. The same people that had come in around 11, stayed until 5 in the morning ("where ya gonna be ...").

The week after I've been to the Mirano club to see Cerrone live. Me and Reck were completely out of place there. You had the fancy chicks, some models, fancy schmancy dudes ... and us. Wierd night out. Dope tho, since Cerrone absolutely rocked (supernature a.o.). There was also a cocktease hitting (or annoying, you pick) on a friend of ours. Finally we ended up in a bar in downtown Brussels where the Funky Bompa was playing some dope ish.

Last week was the exposition of Kool Koor, "the 11th letter", with grafitti based art. Besides the art Smimooz and Défi J were doing a set, plus there was free beer. What more can you want?

The day after Reck and me went to Radio Campus to chill in the studio with the guys from Souterrain (Défi J, Rayer, Rafeek Trafikante, Simon Le Saint). They were doing an interview of Mantrax, a musician/composer from Brussels living now in New Jersey. He's been working on a new album, which in all probability will be the fucking bomb. It all went well until someone lit up a blunt. And then everybody was so fucked up it became a live sitcom. The conversations/interview was ... well ... about nothing from that point on, but oh so hilarious. This was followed by an excellent nineties hip hop set by Le Saint and a dope soul, funk, hip hop set by Défi J.

dinsdag 19 mei 2009

Dope ass week

These last few weeks have been dope, and will continue to be dope for the week to come. Starting with Monday 4th, when I attended the defense of a PhD (Permanent Head Damage some say) of a friend of mine, who can call herself Doctor in Neurolinguistics now. This was followed by the obligatory drunken bout.

Fast forward to Saturday. The illest brothers of Landen Jay & Ray (Raydius 360) organized the event "Hip Hop op een Hoger Nivo" ("Hip Hop on a Higher Level). The concept was to throw a 4 elements barbecue. According to the planning the first people would be arriving at 11 in the morning. Starting from 12 beat makers would be making a beat each, to which MC's would rhyme later on. At six the b-boy crew Rafaga de Viento (Leuven) would be doing a showcase, and afterwards a party was planned. In between somewhere everybody could eat some BBQ, while grafitti artists did their thing. The problem with all of that is that you're dealing with Hip Hop headz. Me and my man Reck arrived at 2 in the afternoon. There were about 5 people there plus Ray. Everybody only started arriving after 4 o'clock. Jay got there at 5. The beat makers got to work only at that moment. The delays were tremendous, but perhaps that was a good thing. Everybody was relaxed and nobody was in a hurry. Reck, i-Sa, Raydius 360, Sir-5 and SolarNRG presented their beats, Rafaga did their show, and dope ass records were spun. Late in the evening Jay did some freestyles with Kool Koor. We thought the evening would be over about midnight and we were actually ready to leave then. But, the atmosphere was too nice, the Landen crew is excellent company, so we weren't able to take off before 4 o' clock in the morning.

After a short work week, I went to Club Med, Vittel. This was an incentive from my company, because we made our objectives last year. I've never been to anything like that. And I probably never will. Club Med is excellent for sports, and that's about it. The food is not bad, but not excellent either. There's always a lot though. The animations in the evening suck ass. But apart from that I had an excellent stay there, chilling with the colleagues. I did some archery, played golf (which is actually nice to do) and drank free booze.

We got back from Vittel saturday evening. My plan was to go out for some drinks and be back at a reasonable hour. Until Reck told me Madlib and J-Rocc were dj'ing in Antwerp (The Petrol). The Landen crew would be there as well. So, we got in the car and were off to Antwerp. That evening was pretty amazing. Before the main event our local dj Lefto (De Hop, StuBru) was on the ones and twos. He kept that shit locked down. Swerving from nineties classics to underground new school stuff. His set was amazing. In between a Canadian group (singer and dj) did their thing. I wasn't really into it, but they rocked out, so props to them. Later on J-Rocc did a few dope routines before he started spinning with Madlib. I have to admit that I wasn't always feeling them, with their electro sounding beats at times. Round about four we decided to bounce. We didn't get any further than the entrance, where we chilled till 5 with Jay, Ray and Kool Koor. By the time we got back to Brussels, the street lights were turning off and natural light was coming up. Oh what a night ...

And this weekend, we got Cheeba Cheeba coming up and the Branford Marsalis Quartet. Don't you just love when life is good?

donderdag 30 april 2009

Witch Hunter

C.L. Werner's Witch Hunter is the first book in the trilogy surrounding Mathias Thulmann, a (you guessed it) witch hunter living in the human areas (the Empire) of the Warhammer fantasy world. He is a sort of inquisitor tracking down the undead, necromancers and everybody and anything that has something to do with the Chaos gods. In short, he's a über-righteous bad-ass motherfucker. In this story he has been send, together with a mercenary called Streng, to investigate a series of strange murders in the territory of Lord Wilhelm Klausner, a former witch hunter. He finally unravels a dreadful mystery surrounding the Klausner family, which set in motion events which no doubt can be read in the following two books.

The book makes for an enjoyable read in the evening, althoug it cannot be counted among the literary greats. The story in itself has the right amount of tension, mystery and plot twists to keep the story interesting. The pace keeps going at a steady rate up until the ending in a cliffhanger. I have started the story now, so I'll probably buy the next volumes as well. However, it is a good book, not a great one. What is mostly lacking is proper character development. All the characters are relatively flat, having only a little more depth than Harry Potter. The only people I could feel for were the weakened Lord Klausner and his honest son Gregor. But only slightly. All in all it makes good bedtime reading, but not more than that.