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Archive for the ‘Alan Watts’ Category

Politicians must recognise racism is a scourge that has to be cleansed – Stabroek News

Posted: November 5, 2020 at 7:55 am


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Dear Editor,

Racism is caused by race labelling; it is a global problem that is used as the main tool by politicians to secure power and power bases in populations that are weighted down by demographic labels, regardless of the economic and social systems practiced.

Capitalism, Communism or Socialism are all undermined by this unhealthy social construct that feeds off of recognizing another human being as different, in an inferior way.

Alan Watts, a philosopher and writer on Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism said: Nothing exists independently, everything is a thing, only in relation to everything else, therefore there are no separate things, no real selves or souls or egos and trying to cling to these things is the cause of suffering, discord and frustration.

Imagine in our Guyana that free and fair elections were held in 2020 and Walter Rodneys Working Peoples Alliance had won the election; let us imagine how Walter Rodney would have governed, with the power bestowed on him by our constitution.

Then our leaders must stop imagining and govern like Dr. Walter Rodney would. Under these circumstances, Guyana would have tangible and meaningful inclusive governance and massive economic growth, regardless of which administration governs.

In the imaginings, we assume the philosophy of Walter still obtains when he was killed on June 13, 1980, and that his philosophy would be the bedrock and priority of the new administration.

Then one immediately gets a sense of how misdirection, wrong paths and racism dominates our political culture, as it has existed since PPP split in 1955.

From whichever demographic we are separated into, I dare say guiltiness will abound amongst our political leaders, as they know they have embraced an anti-Guyanese political culture.

Racism is a disease. Poverty is a disease. Our politicians need to recognize that the cleansing of these scourges must be addressed in a deliberative and focused way.

To rephrase the great philosopher Aim Csaire: Politicians and politics and its various isms must be harnessed into the service of people and not the other way around, and moreover, absolutely not in a discriminatory manner.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Hinds

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Politicians must recognise racism is a scourge that has to be cleansed - Stabroek News

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November 5th, 2020 at 7:55 am

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Alan Watts :: What Is The Self ?

Posted: October 10, 2020 at 5:01 pm


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October 10th, 2020 at 5:01 pm

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Five new Steam games you probably missed (October 5, 2020) – PC Gamer

Posted: October 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm


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On an average day, about a dozen new games are released on Steam. And while we think that's a good thing, it can be understandably hard to keep up with. Potentially exciting gems are sure to be lost in the deluge of new things to play unless you sort through every single game that is released on Steam. So thats exactly what weve done.If nothing catches your fancy this week, we've gathered thebest PC gamesyou can play right now and a running list of the2020 gamesthat are launching this year.

Steam page Release: October 3 Developer: Magnetic Scrolls Price: $4.68 | 3.47 | AU$6.66

Stretching the definition of "new" here, I know, The Legacy was originally released in 1993. Ziggurat Interactive have been rereleasing old games on Steam, and among the latest batch is this Lovecraftian horror RPG, which plays like Legend of Grimrock, to pick a modern example. You create a character to explore Winthrop House, cast spells at zombies, and die quite early on if my memories of the 1990s are anything to go by.

Steam page Release: October1 Developer: DeepGreen Games Price: $0.69 | 0.55 | AU$1.05

The BOT.vinnik Chess games, of which this is the second, teach the basics of chess with the aid of a cranky, moustachioed Russian artificial intelligence. Learn how to set up checkmates, and when you get it wrong get scolded by a Soviet AI until you start to treasure praise like "Not bad, comrade!" as if it's come from your own parents. Currently 30% off with a launch discount.

Steam page Release: September 30 Developer: HiFight Price: $3.99 | 2.89 | AU$5.95

Footsies is a fighting-game trainer that's been around for a couple of years, but has only now come to Steam with online play and rollback- rather than delay-based netcode. Footsies is a minimalist ground-based fighting game that has just one attack and two directional buttons, designed to help develop fundamentals of the genre like whiff-punishing, spacing, hit-confirming, and footsies.

Steam page Release: October 1 Developer: Aldo Jeffrey Price: Free

Describing Transcender is a challenge. If you've played Everything, the game where you inhabit various objects and creatures while listening to philosopher Alan Watts talk about the interconnectedness of all things, you might be on firm ground. Transcender is a terraforming management game, and a walking simulator, and a headfuck in videogame form. It's about 30 minutes long and currently free, and if you want your day to get weirder playing this will do that.

Steam page Release: October 2 Developer: Berzah Games Price: $24.99 | 19.49 | AU$35.95

This action-platformer is inspired by Turkish mythology and based on a story from the Book of Dede Korkut. It looks gorgeous, especially the fiery magical effects and the layered nature of its backdrops, and the music's great too.

These games were released between September 28 and October 5 2020. Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read ouraffiliate policyfor more info.

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Five new Steam games you probably missed (October 5, 2020) - PC Gamer

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October 9th, 2020 at 1:52 pm

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Best New Songs Of The Week: Robyn, Jonsi, Romy, & More – Stereogum

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Every week the Stereogum staff chooses the five best new songs of the week (the eligibility period begins and ends Thursdays right before midnight). This weeks countdown is below, and you can listen to a playlist of all our 5 Best Songs on Spotify.

Exactly 20 years after Radiohead released Kid A, Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Coincidence?!? OK yeah its probably a coincidence. This weeks best songs are below.

To coincide with International Safe Abortion Day, Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell have turned the extremely heavy experience of contemplating an abortion into an extremely heavy country-rock ballad. Throughout The Problem, the real-life spouses powerfully articulate the questions that come flooding in upon news of an unplanned pregnancy, building emotional tension until the levee breaks and a guitar solo bursts forth like sunlight after the storm. I support a womans right to choose, and I know these choices are never easy, Shires wrote in a statement accompanying The Problem. Neither is writing a song this effective, not that youd know it based on this couples track record. Chris

What is Scandinavian pain and where can I get some? Salt Licorice, the chaotically good new team-up between Jnsi and Robyn, makes sadness feel ecstatic. It sounds like ice castles melting, blistering noise and pulsating beats thumping through the frustrations of two people never fully connecting. Why cant you just be OK? Youre such an ice breaker on me, they sing at each other. Why cant you just be led astray? Cause youre a heartbreaker only.

Throughout, the music masters from the North sing about their Scandinavian pain, treating this malaise as something inextricable. They make you want to feel that pain right alongside them, twitch out your problems on a dance floor or even just alone in your own room, as the two of them do in the ridiculously fun Salt Licorice music video, which finds them shaving their heads and smearing themselves with goo just as a way to feel something new. James

We all have a soft spot for the music of our misspent youth, the songs and the artists that blew our tiny minds when we were first delving into the hidden world of music fandom. For Kisses Jesse Kivel, who came of age in the 90s, those bands were Oasis, the Smashing Pumpkins, Primal Scream, and Polaris. His new song Northside is a love letter to that time in his life, but beyond the extremely 90s, My Bloody Valentine-inspired drum programming, it doesnt exactly sound like any of the aforementioned groups. Its not pastiche, an exercise in pure nostalgia. Instead, it just nails that same wistful, yearning melodic warmth that his idols so often trafficked in. And maybe, just maybe, some kid getting into music now will have the same experience with Northside that Kivel did with 1979 or Soon. Peter

Along with their (extremely good) debut album World House, the Toronto hardcore band Mil-Spec have published a huge and generally entertaining zine, one with essays and comics and movie reviews and one extended intra-band conversation. There are also annotated lyrics for every song on World House, dense and specific pointers to all those lyrics allusions to Don DeLillo and Joan Didion and Alan Watts and Leatherface. The members of Mil-Spec would like you to know that all references to quarantine and contagion on their towering, rampaging song Colony are unfortunate and coincidental, written before the pandemic hit. But intentional or not, current circumstances lend a jolt of urgency to a song that wouldve already been plenty urgent.

If youve ever been a fan of hardcore, theres something almost reassuring about Mil-Specs sound the chunky riffage, the rhythmic switch-ups between sprint and stomp, the strangulated and passionate vocals. But Mil-Spec put a lot of thought into everything they do, and they arent just at play in the fields of genre. Theyre using their gifts for speed and melody and intensity to make something raw and self-assured and moving. You might not know the Audre Lorde quotation on Colony my silence has not protected me but youll feel it in your bones. Tom

Im not sure what I was expecting from Romy Madley Crofts first single, but it certainly wasnt this. The xx singer has, of course, been at the center of a dance song thanks to Jamie xx with Loud Places, but even that was sultry and restrained in the way youve come to expect from the xx. In contrast, Lifetime, her first track as a solo artist, is an undeniable jam. Written and recorded during lockdown, its a pure explosion of energy, born of a moment when even the most introverted among us are struggling with being constantly isolated.

Lifetime is joyous; it hopes for a future when we can all reconvene together on the dance floor. Once in a lifetime/ Youll be right beside me, Ill be right beside you, she sings over and over, an affirmation that we shouldnt take any moment for granted because weve seen how quickly all those moments can slip away. When Im at my first party after all this has passed whether thats months or years away Im stealing the aux and blasting this as loud as I fucking can. For right now, while were still all apart, its a necessary reminder of how elating being together can feel. James

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Best New Songs Of The Week: Robyn, Jonsi, Romy, & More - Stereogum

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October 9th, 2020 at 1:52 pm

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Lee Camp: A Dozen Reasons Now is the Time for Housing as a Human Right – Mintpress News

Posted: August 10, 2020 at 9:44 pm


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Congresss inability to actually represent the real-live human beings of America, combined with an economic system that rewards lack of empathy and an excess of greed, has brought us to a dark time when an oncoming tsunami of financial ruin, destitution and evictions towers over our heads, blocking out the sunlight.

The impending evictions may soonkick 28 million people/familiesout of their homes. To put that in perspective, only ten million people lost their homes during the 2008 economic crisis, and that was considered by anyone paying attention to be the craziest thing to ever happen.

What were facing now could be three times crazier, getting to Charlie Sheen levels. (I almost wrote Kanye West levels but everything he does is in hopes of being mentioned in the media, and Im not falling for it. Shit. This parenthetical has betrayed me!)

To talk about the impending homelessness tsunami, we have to first get past the fact that our government could totally bail people out and keep them in their homes. Not only have they already bailed out big banks and Wall Street to the tune of$4.25 trillionbut on top of that the Pentagon hasover $21Trillionof unaccounted-for adjustments on their books over the past 20 years. This is to say theres plenty of money.

Money is an idea, a concept, an imaginary metaphysical belief, and its high time we faced the fact that the U.S. government has an unlimited imagination. As philosopher Alan Watts once put it: Money is not a thing, its a measurement. Saying theres not enough money to do something is like a builder saying there are not enough inches to build a house. He has the wood, nails, and hammers. Hes just out of inches.

The U.S. government could easily give every American $2,000 a month for the foreseeable future, which would keep almost everybody in their homes and apartments. In fact, Canada has opted togive $2,000 a monthto those who lost work because of the pandemic.

But ignore the fact that theres enough money. Thats not what were here to discuss.

There are also enough empty homes.As of 2018, there were nearly 1.5 million vacant homes in the country. Compare that to the estimated553,742 people homelesson any given night. So even before the pandemic, there were three empty houses for every homeless person. Three. Thats not even accounting for empty apartments, yachts, sheds, extra bedrooms, garages, condos, cubbyholes, attic spaces, basements, barns, pool houses, and walk-in refrigerators.

If those vacant locations were used to house the houseless, those of us lucky enough to have our own abodes wouldnt hardly notice a difference except that homelessness would have vanished. It would be something we talk about in a remember when fashion like VHS tapes, game shows about grocery shopping, and dating that didnt involve blood tests and an Instagram audit.

No more people on the street, no more fear that a little bad luck would result in you or your family under a bridge giving a guy your underwear in exchange for a sandwich. All that utter madness would cease to exist.

And the impending number of evictions28 millionisnt even accounting for how many people stay in horrible relationships because they cant afford a place of their own, both horrible marriages and other living arrangements. (Like a 25-year-old who has to live with his mom who cleans her feet on the couch every night while watching Wheel of Fortune and eating soup that smells of rotting raccoon carcass. Call me crazy, but in our post-scarcity world, that 25-year-old should be given an apartment.)

But lets back up even further and question the brain parasites we were given from our social engineering. Why should someone be homeless just because they dont have enough money? Some would say indignantly, Because they didnt work hard enough, so they deserve to be homeless. Thats called work ethic and its what this countrys founded on! George Washington something something Ford Motor Company. Meh!

Okay, thats a great point exceptNo, its not. How hard someone works hardly matters in our society. Think for a moment about all the filthy rich trust-fund kids who sit around on their asses all day smoking weed out of the skull of an exotic lemur. Yet theyre still rich. How many trophy wives or trophy husbands lounge by the pool eternally caressing their junk in the sunshine? They dont work hard. How many superfluous board members get paid hundreds of thousands to sit on a board and attend one conference call a month?

Plus, consider people that actually do work for their fortuneslike a CEOdo you honestly believe they work athousand timesharder than a janitor or a dishwasher or a coal miner? Of course not. Whats the hardest job in the world? Probably ripping asbestos out of a dilapidated sewage treatment plant in Phoenix, Arizona in 110-degree heat with improper safety equipment.

Do you think those guys get paid the highest salary in the world because they work the hardest? No! Theyre lucky if they get dental. Theyre lucky if their lunch break is long enough for a sandwichanda piss.

America is not based on hard work. Get it out of your head that this society is at all set up to be fair. Fair would be everyone with a roof over their head. Fair would be every kid getting a solid education. Fair would be every person drinking delicious clean water. Fair is the opposite of whatever the hell were doing here.

But very little of this discussion exists in our culture. Instead, the banks and landlords are preparing to kick 28 million families out. And its not like the bank will resell all those homes during the impending depression lathered in a pandemic. Nope. Those homes will sit empty, just like the 10 million foreclosed homes during the 2008 Great Recession sat empty for months if not years. So the reason for kicking people out is simply to um make sure theyre homeless? How can that make sense?

If the goal is to have a good, functioning society, its completely illogical to kick people out of their shelters. The families will be devastated. The kids will be traumatized. Divorces will occur. Suicides. Addiction. Overdoses. None of that is good for society. None of that helps America even slightly. So the trulypatrioticthing to do is demand housing for all.

Whats good for society is to have people comfortable in their homes, able to get educated and grow as humans. Whatever happened to the pursuit of human growth for every individual?

Some may argue, We cant let people stay in their homes because we need to teach them personal responsibility. Thats the argument every vomit-brained Fox News guest spits out reflexively. Yet its impossible to be responsible for something no one saw coming. Did anyone see this pandemic coming? Did anyone including the government prepare for it?

No. In fact, weve bailed out whole industries, the airline industry for one. Billions of dollars just handed to them. How are the heads of the airlines any different from a homeowner who lost her job in the pandemic? Theres no difference. Shouldnt the airline CEOs be the ones evictedleft out on the street sleeping in a box?

On top of all thisand this point is really going to blow a hole through your pantsits cheaper to keep people in their homes. For example,according toTheWashington Post, Utah was spending on average $20,000 on each chronically homeless person. So, to in part cut those costs but also to save lives, the state started setting up each chronically homeless person with his or her own house.

It worked. By 2015, they cut homelessness by 91 percent and saved the state money. However, since then, homelessness has gone back up. Its tough to say why, but one director of aUtah food pantry said, The mistake we made was stopping [the program].

Yeah, thatmayhave been the reason. Utah lawmakers found out how to end homelessness. and then they stopped doing that! (Why in this country do we run screaming from every great idea like its a hive of angry bees that all want to talk to us about life insurance??)

So here, alas, are the solutions. Housing should be a human right. We have enough homes. We have enough materials. We have enough dollars and enough inches. It doesnt need to be a goddamn mansion, but everyone should have a roof over their heads and four good walls. Hell, Ill even compromisetwo and a half good walls.

Even if we didnt have enough homes, which we do, we can now3D print a housein a matter of hours. (Although it must suck when the printer jams. All those houses stuck together in the tray.)

Point is, dont tell me we dont have enough houses and apartments for everyone.Paris Hiltons dogshave a fucking $325,000 mansion! Im not kidding. Just for the dogs. Thats, shall we say, mildly upsetting. (Let me guess those dogs worked hard to get where they are.)

The next solution is to fight the impending evictions. Dont let the authorities kick your friends and neighbors onto the street. We have a strong (suppressed) history in this country of fighting against landlords and the cruelty of evictions, such as the greatRent Strike War of 1932in the Bronx, and theChicago Eviction Riots of 1931.

Fighting back is not just an option, its an obligation. If youre strong enough to resist the profit-centered social engineering we are fed every day of our lives, then you will soon realize housing should be a human right.

Feature photo | This Sept. 25, 2019 photo shows an eviction notice on the front door of Apartment 17, the home of Ed Buck in West Hollywood, Calif. Brian Melley | AP

Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show Redacted Tonight. His new book Bullet Points and Punch Lines is available atLeeCampBook.comand his stand-up comedy special can be streamed for free atLeeCampAmerican.com.

This article was published with special permission from the author. It originally appeared atConsortium News.

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

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Lee Camp: A Dozen Reasons Now is the Time for Housing as a Human Right - Mintpress News

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August 10th, 2020 at 9:44 pm

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The Results of an Open Mind – Los Angeles Free Press

Posted: July 8, 2020 at 2:44 pm


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An open mind is said by some to be a virtue that corrects errors in judgment. Others find an open mind a signal of indecisiveness, being wishy-washy, or an inability to think for oneself. Either way, its likely very few, if any, of us would want to admit to having a closed mind. In truth, it is likely we all are, at any given time, somewhere on the continuum between having an open and a closed mind and it varies by day and challenge.

By and large, identity groups tend to consume media that reifies their position. It was Alan Watts who, in The Way of Zen, wrote, Men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life. So not wanting to be an enemy of life, I looked into what leads to an open mind. Turns out, it is a characteristic known as intellectual humility, which is to say, understanding the limits of ones knowledge. And within that, allowing the admission of being wrong.

Cultivating intellectual humility begins with acknowledging that my mind is not perfect, that I have blind spots. We all do. Given this universal condition, there is permission to safely admit, I was wrong. Sounds simple, but there was a time when admitting I was wrong was difficult, as my self-worth was tied up in being right. Today I see it more as freeing my intellect from its limited perspective. But it takes practice. And it was with practice in mind that I listened to our Presidents 4th of July address.

While standing on Black Hills land, stolen against treaty agreements, our President spoke of equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. He stated how we embrace tolerance, not prejudice while speaking from the foot of the desecration that is Mount Rushmore. Its intellectual humility that enables one to absorb this jarring cognitive dissonance, hold two opposing ideas in their mind, and still function. Cultivating this ability is powerful, it enables frustration, anger, and helplessness to be side-stepped.

What if we were to do this, not merely as individuals, but as an entire nation? Can we both love America while at the same time admit that slavery, white supremacy, and Manifest Destiny were wrong? And if we have an open mind that corrects our errors in judgment, are we ready to make reparations now? As the Black Lives Matter Movement propels one of the largest societal changes ever in the 200+ years of our collective history, laws of our land will be reshaped to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The good news is intellectual humility and an open mind can be cultivated. Some practices include regularly interacting with a wide circle of diverse friends, being open to new ideas and experiences, and adopting an attitude of live and let live and goodwill toward others. Why do this? Well, its not a new concept living in relation to others with compassion and understanding has been embraced by myriad cultures and religions to their great benefit. And, too, because, in this increasingly interconnected and complicated world, curiosity and intellectual humility have become more crucial to our success than ever before. This is why I explore the illusion of separateness in my book.

Cultivating intellectual humility and an open mind unleashes creativity and brings us hope. You may say Im a dreamer, but Im not the only one. I hope someday youll join us and the world will live as one. Imagine. By John Lennon.

[Ed.s Note: Carolyn L. Baker, M.Ed. grew up in a segregated (white) suburb in Southern California but came of age in the counterculture of the 1960s. And so she went on to a 30-year career in nonprofits that helped the less-fortunate (the coded-container of, mostly, young blacks, older blacks, the in-between blacks, and fatherless black families). Wrapped in her mantle, helping them up, she had little reason to believe she had had a role in their lack of good fortune.

Her book,An Unintentional Accomplice: A Personal Perspective on White Responsibilityfollows Bakers painful awakening to the realities of her own complicity in racism.It is a very personal narrative that explores the complexities of race in America, suggests ways to navigate the guilt that can arise in the face of these realities, and offers relevant methods to build a more humane society.

This book is more than timely, it is a revelation of todays magical metamorphosis. And, literally, you, me, all of us can follow her path to where our personal transformation can take place and, finally, become both creator and participant in a better society.

eBook and paperback editions @https://bit.ly/2At1tee

More info about Carolyn, including her upcoming radio interviews @www.anunintentionalaccomplice.com]

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The Results of an Open Mind - Los Angeles Free Press

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:44 pm

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Where to Start With STRFKR’s Catchy, Cosmic Electro-Pop – bandcamp.com

Posted: June 10, 2020 at 2:53 pm


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LISTS Where to Start With STRFKRs Catchy, Cosmic Electro-Pop By Casey Jarman June 10, 2020

STRFKR has been many bands over the course of its 14-year lifespan. In late 2006, it was a solo project that served mainly as a catalyst for Josh Hodgeswho was tired of fronting his singer-songwriter project Sexton Blaketo beat the hell out of his drums over pre-recorded minimalist electro-pop. STRFKR became a band early, in organic fashion, with members joining without much forethought or planning. By summer 2008, the band gained a reputation as the most promising group in Portlands then-bustling house show scene, placing second in Willamette Weeks annual Best New Band poll. Regional success led to lengthy self-booked national tours (serving as more of a mobile dance party than a traditional band). With 2011s sparkling sophomore effort Reptilians, the band amassed a broader fanbase, and in Polyvinyl, a permanent label home. In the years since, the band has battled with its own pop sensibilities, released inventive remix collections and served a delivery vehicle for sampled nuggets of cosmic wisdom from philosopher Alan Watts.

There is a tension in the projects odd skillset of super-catchy choruses, existentialist philosophy, and songwriting that focuses on death as often as it does on romantic relationships. Hodges, who is sheltering in place at his home in Portland, admits that hes not naturally the party-starting dance-party frontman he appears to be. Im a born grandpa, basically, Hodges laughs. Its funny that we facilitate these big parties and then we get on the bus and its like Everyone be quiet, you know?

Hodges is the first to admit that playing the same songs night after night can be grating. He has an open disdain for much of the music industry (hence his bands tongue-in-cheek name). But hes proud of the sort of 90s approach that STRFKR built its name on. We toured a lot and built personal relationships with fans, he says. We were always at the merch table after the show.

With all of the focus on touring, the bands studio albumsfive in total, though many remix albums, b-side collections and EPs flesh out a broader discographyare sometimes overshadowed. Ahead of the bands new album Future Past Life, out now, we walked through STRFKRs Bandcamp catalog alongside Josh Hodges himself. Im super lucky, he reflected toward the end of our chat. This band supports me and like eight of my friends. Im not educated, Im not qualified to do anything. As many days that I can live off of music, Ill take them. Heres where to start.

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Josh Hodges moved back to Portland after a stint in New York City as a singer-songwriter, and STRFKR was the band that emerged from his discontent. The Sexton Blake project wasnt making Hodges any money, and it wasnt bringing him satisfaction. So he gave it up. I was totally sober, and not very social, so it was one of my only outletsdoing music, Hodges remembers. I was writing songs pretty much every day, just for fun. And Starfucker was just me taking that out in public.

The early STRFKR stuff is super simple and catchy. Most of those songs were just written for me to play drums on. Its all mid-tempo beats that I could play fairly well, Hodges recalls. The live shows are what made it stand out. Those first shows in Portland were magical. Every show was different. Sometimes wed do noise stuff for 20 minutes and then drop into German Love. We were just trying to entertain ourselves.

STRFKRs original moniker represented the antithesis of everything Hodges wanted in the music industry. It was chosen as a sort of insurance policy against success. But success came anyway. Everything came into place with the right peopleRyan [Biornstad] and Shawn [Glassford] being in the band at the right time, and contributing the right things. Biornstad provided unhinged energy to their live shows; Glassford booked the bands early tours, and found the band its first publicist, Avery McTaggart (whos with them to this day). But there was a learning curve. It became kind of its own thing and I thought, Well, Im along for the ride. It became my life, and I definitely didnt feel in control of it, aside from making the music.

Where the self-titled debut album and follow-up EP, Jupiter, were recorded and performed almost entirely by Hodges, Reptilians enlisted the help of STRFKR drummer Keil Corcoran and fledgling producer Jacob Portrait, who had been working with an explosive Portland-via-New Zealand band called The Mint Chicks. Portrait, who would go on to work with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Wild Nothing, (Sandy) Alex G, and others, brought the band to the storied studio of veteran Portland rockers The Dandy Warhols. I think we were just trying to take my songs and make them into something we could play live and still have a party atmosphere at live shows, Hodges recalls. Some of the original demos sound way different than how they wound up.

I was actually unhappy with that album, he adds. But it was a good experience, and thats some fanss favorite album. While Hodgess dissatisfaction revolves around the albums cleaner production style and more pop-centric tracklist, Reptilians still has plenty of both chaos (see the lovably ramshackle opening track Born) and quirkiness. The overpowering synth horns on lead single Bury Us Alivethe product of a preset on a shitty 80s Yamaharemain one of the most divisive STRFKR recording decisions to date.

Between Reptilians and Miracle Mile, STRFKR jettisoned the vowels from its name, experienced a painful split with early member (and high-energy performer) Ryan Biornstad, coalesced as a four-piece, and took a break from their rigorous touring schedule to spend a few months writing and recording in the home of a family friend on the coastal Oregon city of Astoria.

I didnt even have a place to live at that point, so it was really nice, Hodges says. The dudes would come down for a weekend, wed work on music. We had all these little stations set up.

Miracle Mile wound up being STRFKRs most collaborative record to date, which changed the trajectory Hodgeswho had recently rediscovered alcoholhad in mind for it. I wanted that whole album to be a happy, drunky guitar record, he remembers. There are a few songs that feel that way. But Keil and Patrick [Morris] wanted electronic stuff for the live show, so it wound up being this really long album that probably should have been split into two. But it definitely captures where we were then.

Where they were may have been a bit more ramshackle than on Reptilians, but Miracle Mile proves that, left to their own devices, pop is still an essential element of STRFKRs DNA. YAYAYA and Last Words are among the earwormiest selections in the bands catalog. More ethereal and tender cuts like Kahlil Gibran and Golden Light, though, steal the show.

After the collaborative, sprawling Miracle Mile, Hodges took a solo trip into the Joshua Tree desert and began work on what he knew would be a sparkly synth-pop record of his own design. Recorded largely alone and completed alongside mixer/producer Jeff Brodsky, Being No One, Going Nowhere is STRFKRs most distilled dance music collectionwith the groups usual live drums notably absent. At the time, Hodges was obsessed with the hard-to-find Prophet-5 synthesizer, which appears heavily on the final record. The streamlined, layered result sounds excellent in a good pair of headphones. Its fun making that kind of music. Its not fun playing it every night on tour, honestly, Hodges admits.

Love songs and break-up songs abound on Being No One (so named for a book by Buddhist nun and author Ayya Khema), but in true STRFKR fashion, so do songs about finding inner stillness. The title track (the only lyrics to which are Youre alright where you are/ Being no one/ Going nowhere) is Hodgess favorite to play on tour. Hodges says that meditation has saved him from bouts of deep depression throughout his life, and spiritually minded retreats used to be a regular part of his life. But because of touring, I have pretty much stopped meditating, he admits. Touring is a hard life for keeping up healthy habits.

Still, the band incorporates existentialist musingsboth lyrically and with samples of lectures from philosopher and author Alan Wattsin songs across their discography. The Alan Watts samples are like Easter Eggs, Hodges says. Hes not even my favorite speaker, but hes really entertaining and accessible. If it ends up helping someone discover this stuff that Ive found to be useful in my life, thats great.

For those of us who have followed STRFKRs career closely, Future Past Life is an immensely rewarding listen. Where past records have sometimes glossed over Hodgess greatest giftshis penchant for writing subtle hooks, his delicate vocal delivery, his deep affection for off-kilter soundsFuture Past Life brings them to the forefront. The 10-song collection, much of it the byproduct of a chance collaboration with Dutch musicians Mathias Janmat and David Hoogerheide, is the perfect balance of pop majesty and outsider weirdness.

Hodges, who is uncharacteristically proud of the new record, says the collaboration with the Dutch musicians began as a non-canon experiment. We were going to do our own project that wasnt STRFKR, Hodges says. But I really wanted these songs to get out into the world. With his bandmates blessing and input, the collaborative tracks were folded into the new record. The remaining tracks were a mix of new and old. I found old demos that sounded crazy and overproduced, and I stripped them down, Hodges says. Its fun to do that. Like theres something good in theremaybe I covered it up with weird production. Thats something Im trying to do lately: put less shit on everything.

A collaboration like this might lead to jealousy and infighting with some bands, but the other members of STRFKR are used to a certain amount of fluidity in the recording process. All of us just want to make an album that were real proud of, Hodges says of his STRFKR bandmates, who hope to soon be prepping and reinventing the material for tour. And this is the one I feel the happiest about, for sure.

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June 10th, 2020 at 2:53 pm

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Watch: Stunning film shows the beautiful Isle of Wight in a way you might not have seen before – On The Wight

Posted: May 13, 2020 at 10:43 pm


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Isle of Wight Aerial photographer and cinematographer, Pete Heather, has shared this great short film with us today.

Shot last summer, it showcases some stunning Isle of Wight scenery and follows on from Petes earlier film called, Home.

Under Control features a voiceover by the writer Alan Watts and gives you views you might never have seen before.

Pete says,

Have you ever dreamt of being somewhere else, then only to realise that being where you are now is a much better place?

We continued our aerial voyage around the Isle of Wight only to discover that many of the places we dream about, can be found right here on this stunning island.

You can see more of Petes films on the PH Imagery Vimeo account, but in the meantime, check this out. Turn sound on and make the video full screen.

Under Control from Ph Imagery on Vimeo.

HoMe from Ph Imagery on Vimeo.

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Watch: Stunning film shows the beautiful Isle of Wight in a way you might not have seen before - On The Wight

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May 13th, 2020 at 10:43 pm

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At home with artist Jeppe Hein – Wallpaper*

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Moving museum benches, balls darting along roller-coaster tracks, mirror labyrinths, and a chorus of Tibetan singing bowls are just a few of the devices Jeppe Hein has used to elicit joy and wonder. Far-reaching in appeal while incisive and poignant, his work imparts truths that are particularly resonant in these turbulent times to live in the here and now, to accept the dark in order to see the light, to remember that we all share the same air. In midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the artist has taken his Breathe With Me project to Instagram Live, in the form of a regular Wednesday evening workshop that teaches mindfulness through art. We catch up with him ahead of his most recent workshop to talk about conscious breathing, inner change, and the pursuit of happiness.

Jeppe Hein: I am sitting at my desk, at home in Berlin. I have been painting my breath onto the walls of my room in my weekly Wednesday workshops on Instagram. There are other canvases standing next to me, on which I have started to paint waves for our corridor. My new yoga mat with breathing stripes is lying on the floor, and artworks from artist friends surround me. My desk is full of tools, brushes, blank paper, notes and sketches. It has started to thunder and rain heavily, and it smells fresh and very good. I had a long day today, with a lot of meetings and decisions to be made, a bit like a roller-coaster, but I am looking forward to breathing with you and the world in my workshop tonight.

Jeppe Hein wearing an I am right here t-shirt from his own brand, Change Yourself. Photography: Tom Wagner, changeyourself.dk

JH: Mindfulness is about observing and perceiving things in detail. Taking a break from what you are doing, opening up to new experiences and giving new ideas more space. After my burnout in 2009, I had to change my life. I started walking a lot, practicing yoga, and doing breathing exercises, which have influenced my later artworks and my public project Breathe with Me. I still try to include these exercises in my daily life. When I prepare my ginger tea, take a shower, take a walk in the forest, or work in the garden I always try to be in the here and now, be aware of my breath and control it, so that I feel well. Thats my goal, but of course, I dont always achieve it.

JH: When I realised my first work Moving Wall #1, I noticed that it activated something in the observer joy, surprise, wonder, and happiness. This activated something in me too. It inspires me to see how people overcome their boundaries, how they feel themselves, how they perceive their surroundings in a different way, and how they start a dialogue with one another. It helps me develop as an artist, but also as a person.

Jeppe Hein, Wishes for Two, 2017. Two coloured balloons hang from the ceiling, subtly moving with the circulation of the air, their mirrored surfaces produce a distorted perspective of the surrounding space. Only the roof seems to prevent the balloons from soaring into the air and expanding the reflection to the infinite. Courtesy of the artist, Knig Galerie, Berlin, 303 Gallery, New York, and Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen

JH: While my aim is not merely to entertain, I believe playfulness and participation make artworks more approachable especially for those who are normally not in touch with art.

Art can make people laugh, and life is easier with a smile on your face or as Charlie Chaplin said, a day without laughter is a day wasted. I believe if an artwork puts a smile on your face and gets you in high spirits, it even makes your life better, at least momentarily. To see how people interact with my work, to be able to fascinate them, and sometimes even make them happy, makes me very happy too.

JH: Our different senses enable us to experience ourselves, others, our surroundings, as well as the artwork in the very moment. The more we are within ourselves, and aware of ourselves and our surroundings, the more we can open up to someone else. We always talk about what we see when we visit an exhibition, but in my opinion, what we feel and experience is more important.

Top, Jeppe Hein, Distance, 2004. White plastic balls dart along steel rollercoaster tracks in this site-specific installation. When a visitor enters the room, a sensor reacts and releases a ball that runs the length of the track. As more visitors trigger new balls, they begin to lose track of their own ball and experience the whole architecture as a moving and dynamic structure. Bottom, Jeppe Hein, Bear Your Consequences, 2018. Created for Heins solo exhibition at Cistererne, a subterranean reservoir turned exhibition space in Copenhagen. A small gas flame burns in the centre of a huge round mirror with a fragmented surface, growing warmer and brighter as the visitor approaches, offering an encounter that both seduces and repels. Courtesy of the artist, Knig Galerie, Berlin, 303 Gallery, New York, and Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen

JH: Since its launch in September 2019, thousands of people around the world have downloaded our manual and taken Breathe with Me into their own lives. We continue to empower individuals, families, neighbours, communities, kindergartens, schools, museums, as well as other public institutions and organisations, to make the invisible visible, and share how we breathe around the world. We also aim to bring Breathe with Me to other significant locations worldwide, including Greenland, a place of great beauty and importance, where the climate change rising temperatures, warming oceans and melting ice could have the most extreme consequences.We are also developing a concept for the upcoming Global CitizenFestival.

JH: Its again about sharing. Right now, we are all sitting in the same odd situation, where we feel a lot of different emotions, and it is not easy to breathe freely. So I started to do these workshops to lighten things up and to give people a tool to look at themselves and reflect on their feelings.

Ive hosted the workshop in different ways. I did How do you feel like drawings, encouraging people to express their feelings by painting their faces. Then I did Breathing your wave, where I asked people to listen to their inner ocean, whether it is stormy or flat and calm.

I eventually decided to do Breathe with Me every time, since it is very minimal and the concept is easy to understand. Everyone knows how to breathe and how to paint a line while exhaling. It is the core of what we need now breathing. It unites us all. I will continue to paint my breath onto the walls of my room at home, and make a whole breathing room out of it.

Jeppe Hein, Mirror Labyrinth NY, 2015. An accessible installation of freestanding mirrored lamellae, exhibited at Brooklyn Bridge Park from 2015-16. The varying heights of the mirrored surfaces echoed the Manhattan skyline in the background.Courtesy of the artist, Knig Galerie, Berlin, 303 Gallery, New York, and Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen

JH: All around the world, our current situation forces us to stop and actually look inside, whether we want to, and to realise that what we have around us is all we have. We have to feel and reflect much more than we are used to. This is the moment to do things differently on many levels: in our own lives, in our society, in our world. Because if you want to change the world, you have to change yourself.

Jeppe Hein, All We Have Is Right Now, 2016. ALL WE HAVE IS RIGHT NOW glows in white neon letters behind a two-way mirror, layered with reflections of the visitors and the surrounding space. Photography: Studio Jeppe Hein / Florian Neufeldt, courtesy Knig Galerie, Berlin, 303 Gallery, New York, and Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen

JH: If this time has a positive aspect, it is that there is room for fresh ideas and new thoughts. I ask myself: What is really necessary? Which way have I come here, and do I want to continue or turn left, right or around? It has inspired me to create a few new works, but also made me realise how important works like Breathe with Me are in offering people a moment to feel themselves again.

JH: The song It starts now by Blond:ish, which includes a speech by philosopher Alan Watts.

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At home with artist Jeppe Hein - Wallpaper*

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May 13th, 2020 at 10:43 pm

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Conor O’Malley: The "CEO’s Caddy" & Instigator Of CoachAid20, Helps Executives ‘Execute The Right Shot’ Through His Transformative…

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Conor O Malley the CEOs Caddy and Instigator of CoachAid20 supporting CEOs & Executive Leaders trust the way they learn, lead, and know themselves. Transformative approach to leadership and delivering results are the key outcomes for leaders who work with him through his Observe | Choose | Act methodology. Sharing new ways to see themselves and the world they lead to take action differently. OMalley has shared his reflections and advice in an interview.

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA / ACCESSWIRE / May 12, 2020 / Conor OMalley, the CEOs Caddy, Instigator of CoachAid20, and experienced executive coach walks alongside CEOs, Business Owners and C-Level Executives to help them execute the right shot through his Transformative Executive Coaching Practice; for executive leaders to trust how they learn, lead, and know themselves and to be more effective both personally and professionally in todays new economy.

OMalley helps his clients observe themselves from the inside out and truly observe the environment they operate in. He helps them see possibilities for their choice of shot (choose), how they execute the shot (act) and he walks alongside them reviewing the outcome (learn). As a public speaker, he supports the audience with his storytelling, through his own executive experience and by sharing distinctions for those present to understand themselves better, as well as the world they lead in, enabling them to take more effective action.

Having a clear view and providing direction remains critical to being an effective leader, OMalley states. He also contends that Executive leadership attributes and styles are changing. One change is to a more enabling leadership style from a more directive and hierarchical model of leadership. This is due, in part, to the increased pace and complexity of the environment that leaders now lead in, where the patterns in the data are harder to see and the pace of decision making has increased. The directive approach is limited by only having one source of listening the listening to self. A caveat to this he shares, is when there is chaos in a time of crisis, as is currently the case with COVID-19, where a more directive approach is required for decisions to be made quickly.

Critical to this change in leadership style is trust. Trust, OMalley argues is, and always has been, created by delivering on your promise. The change he refers to is more mutual respect, empathy at a humanistic level, curiosity, active listening and leaders showing vulnerability; not attributes the previous style encouraged.

This recognition is, in part, a result of O Malleys work with CEOs, Business Owners, and C-Level executives internationally. He takes a humanistic approach to leadership development and career transition through his Observe | Choose | Act Programme.

Conor OMalleys Observe | Choose | Act Programme is a transformative (not performance) coaching approach that delivers:

OMalley, now a native of Melbourne, Australia, has been coaching CEOs, Business Owners and C-Level executives internationally for 3 years, when he decided to leave the C suite in the supply chain industry. After he relooked at what success meant for him, both personally and professionally, he decided to move into the world of coaching and mentoring to support those who are now where he was to help shape how leaders lead, both personally and professionally.

In response to a question on the driving force behind his success, O Malley has explained how it really boiled down to being a beacon for others (his purpose) and helping to build the leadership behaviour and language of business leaders today, that helps shape the world in which we all live.

Reflecting on the change in O Malleys life, to where he is today, he quotes Alan Watts waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.

In a recent one-on-one interview, O Malley reminisced on past achievements, which helped build momentum towards the present day. Notably, his leadership at National Foods, in Australia, a core part of which was transforming the safety culture of the organisation that changed peoples lives for the better. Most recently, on the outbreak of COVID-19, his instigation and leadership of CoachAid20, where globally 350 coaches signed up to provide free coaching to support professionals transition to working from home 24 hours a day for 9 days prior to Easter. 146 sessions of free coaching were held across 6 continents within 7 days of his idea. Lastly, he shared that transforming his way of being, both personally and professionally, to enable him to be a beacon for others is an achievement he is immensely proud of.

His own learning journey, and competency building, over the last 3 years brought him to a point where he now has a highly professional, and certified, coaching practice working with CEOs and business owners. Having been an executive leader, and now an executive coach, he knows from feedback of the many who have worked with him in both domains, that he has inspired them and taught them skills that have lasted a lifetime, from which they have drawn on in their own journeys.

In the same interview, O Malley stated his intentions for the future. The primary goal for the next 12 months, he states, will be to build his executive coaching reach to support more leaders and, during Covid 19, to build on the community reach of CoachAid20 for those in need of what coaching, more broadly, can provide. This will be done by his message being heard by the leaders of the corporate world and by working with others on developing CoachAid20.

Looking farther ahead, the aim is to be working with world influencers to help shape the language and behaviour of leaders to be more in line with societal expectations of what leadership looks like and needs to be today. His second aim, through CoachAid, is leading a global movement to support those in the community at all levels to have access to free, or affordable, highly professional coaching. The aim being, through coaching, to help them solve their own challenges delivering the outcomes they want and need for themselves, both professionally and personally.

When asked more personally about a core mantra that drives him OMalley said: Trust starts with me. His reason being that without trust there is no leadership and no choosing to follow the leader. We need to trust ourselves first, both existentially and through our own actions, before we can trust others.

OMalley closed the interview by sharing his recommendation for anybody who wants to follow his footsteps in some fashion. According to Conor, the key to any meaningful, and successful, service offer in a marketplace is to meet the unmet needs of the procurer by listening to it, understanding it and ensuring your offer is heard by those whose problem you can help solve.

Further information can be found at: linkedin.com/in/conoromalley

CONTACT:

Contact Name: Conor OMalley Business Name: Outlander Executive Services, trading as COM Address: 32 Gramatan Avenue, Beaumaris, 3193, Victoria, Australia Phone Number: +61405399580 Website Link: http://www.conoromalley.com.au/ Email: Send Email

SOURCE: Conor OMalley

View source version on accesswire.com: https://www.accesswire.com/589171/Conor-OMalley-The-CEOs-Caddy-Instigator-Of-CoachAid20-Helps-Executives-Execute-The-Right-Shot-Through-His-Transformative-Executive-Coaching-Programme-He-Works-With-Leaders-To-Trust-How-They-Learn-Lead-Know-Themselves-To-Be-More-Effective

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Conor O'Malley: The "CEO's Caddy" & Instigator Of CoachAid20, Helps Executives 'Execute The Right Shot' Through His Transformative...

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