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dinsdag 29 januari 2008

Henry Rollins is Provoked

Last Thursday (January 24) Henry Rollins has presented his latest spoken word performance at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. Every two years or so the man is back with a new show in which he speaks of the things that have happened to him and about the injustice he sees around him. As usual he walked on stage and talked for three hours straight.

He started of by telling us about where he had spend his Christmas vacation just before coming to Europe: Pakistan. Apparently he was there when Benazir Bhutto was killed. Right after the assassination he went out into the streets for a walk. You'd think that an American wandering around during a moment of crisis would surely get himself killed. He talked about the grief the Pakistani expressed and the outrage against the political situation. During another trip he went to Beirut, Lebanon, another so called hot spot. The gist of his stories about his travels is: when you keep an open mind and a genuine interest in the people you meet, you're bound to have an interesting and - most likely positive - experience. And you might learn a thing or two.

A large part of his performance was about the tribute gig he did with a band called the Ruts. Rollins has been a huge fan of theirs since the late seventies. They only released a number of singles and one album when their singer Malcolm Owen died from a heroin overdose. Last year, 27 years after they had split up, the band got together again for one last time to play a benefit for Paul Fox, following his diagnosis with cancer. Rollins was asked to fill in for Owen. They were supported by Tom Robinson, The Damned, Misty in Roots, UK Subs, Splodge, John Otway and the Peafish House Band which featured Lee Harris, (The Blockheads), Tony Barber of The Buzzcocks and Rowland Rivron. This was a heavy part of the performance since it speaks of the double edged feeling that goes with playing with your all-time favorite band because one of them is dying.

As always, he discussed the political situation in America. He is a staunch advocate of peace, who hopes that the next president will be able to clean up the mess that was left behind by the present legsilotian. He implored us to be patient and to not give up on America ("good people, bad representation"). However, this time around he didn't rant about politics as much as before. He left us with an amazing quote though: "Mandela is dead (pause) because Sadam has killed the Mandela's". According to him we should be watching out for more of these beautiful sentences during the year to come. Bush doesn't have to think about re-election anymore and Karl Rove (AKA Bush' Brain) is gone. So, whatever he will say next will have to come from his own mind. Gems of poetic beauty are sure to follow.

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