Sometimes, it feels like the blog is being hounded by an abstract concept.
[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.
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.
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?)
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.
So, where are you going with this, Stroke Bloke?
Well, in the spirit of today’s post, YOU get to decide: