Sometimes, it feels like the blog is being hounded by an abstract concept.

Gravity: not just a good idea – it’s the law!

The land, maybe. Or mythical creatures. Or The Onion‘s conception of Joe Biden. Right now, though, it’s something else. Maybe you can guess what?

[Get more whimsy and free gin* at the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.]

*May not contain free gin.

Sometimes, this means that it’s going to pop out in some artistic project somewhere, and I spend some time kicking the idea around on here. Even if – hopefully – there’s a couple of years worth of projects during the interim period.

Back in May, Mrs Stroke Bloke and I visited Berlin for the Democrats’ Abroad AGM. The event was held at Berlin’s Willy Brandt Haus, the headquarters of the German Social Democratic Party.

“Let’s meet back here in 2016, when we’re party grandees.”

When we got back to Edinburgh, The King’s Theatre was announcing a revival of Michael Frayn’s play, Democracy. Democracy dramatises the story of the Brandt and his personal assistant while he was Chancellor of West Germany, the East German spy Günter Guillaume.

The creator of the farce Noises Off was in the midst of a particularly fertile period when I saw Democracy’s New York premiere in around 2002 – a couple of years earlier his nuclear age play Copenhagen had won the Best Play Tony, and the two plays were bracketed by the lauded novels Headlong and Spies.

Q: Ooh, Vicar, is that your particle?!?!
A: Hardly, now you’re looking at it!!!!

A couple of weeks ago, my buddy Guillermo and I went to the Glasgow Jazz Festival to see Kamasi Washington and his band. I was interested because Kamasi plays sax on Kendrick Lamar’s awesome To Pimp a Butterfly. Guillermo had been listening to Kamasi’s triple LP, The Epic.

Kamasi played the Queen Margaret Union with his eight-strong band. Being a jazz gig – and funky as all hell – they were tight and everyone got a showcase. They all bounced off each other and the music sounded democratic. (OK, James Brown doesn’t go the democracy route, but stay with me, OK?)

Yeah, man. *Guess* if The Epic is awesome

From stage, Kamasi related a story to the crowd that he’d also told NPR:

We came out with a staggering amount of music [in The Epic sessions]. We came out with eight albums — eight different projects, I should say — 190 songs, like two terabytes worth of music. I personally walked away with 45 songs.

Enough projects for every member of the band.

And this spirit of democracy extended to the standing, general admission, audience. The band mingled with the crowd afterwards, signing vinyl, chatting, and generally being super-nice and super-cool. This being Glasgow, the crowd reciprocated.

Friendly Glaswegian tries to celebrate Partick Thistle goal

So, where are you going with this, Stroke Bloke?

Well, in the spirit of today’s post, YOU get to decide:



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3 thoughts on “Democracy

  1. Ahh refreshing. As the world slowly rots away around us, seemingly, we can grasp onto things which are moving forward. An album set I haven’t heard by a guy who played on a record I liked after a while in this blog. A 10yo having no problem rapping the word diuretic in the back of our car as we drove to the grocery pre-bbq this morning. A thought that perhaps it isn’t all going to be total shit; but it still may be a little shit (I mean come on – 3 albums of new material are going to have some misses; and brexittrumpetc) – that’s good stuff

    As to the nbsp referenced in the tiny letter (and that’s nerd bait side project, not html for a space) I dunno. Never listened to ministry really – but I’m still happy to do that other more metaly project if you want!

    1. It does feel like my “at least it’s not the late-seventies/early-eighties” mantra has come back to bite me in the ass. MC Wee Davie C’s even massing troops in Eastern Europe as a signal that “Great Britain” is maintaining its leadership role in the world. And he’s going to move forward the Trident renewal vote to give the Labour MPs who supported Blair’s Iraq adventure a chance to kick Corbyn around.

      And now this shit’s gone down last night in Dallas after another week of grimness Stateside.

      So, thank Gord for rapping ten year-olds and chilled saxophonists. How did we get through those days without them?

      Eh? Oh.

      Gary Numan - Cars

    2. Oh yeah, also, that nbsp was purely for humorous (?!) purposes. But now you mention it, it’s only 169 days till Christmas…

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