15 October 2007

Redrum, Redrum

And so I find myself of a Monday night in a hotel in Wroclaw.

Pronounced 'Vrot-swawv', this picturesque town in southwestern Poland was the birthplace of Deitrich Bonhoeffer, the last resting place of Alois Alzheimer, and is where I am laying my metaphorical hat for the next week or so. I normally find myself on the road on a work-related matter every few weeks, and it has been almost two years since I was last in Poland.

I find myself strangely at home here, for there are many cultural and social similarities with Ireland; A shared faith looms large over our histories, we have both been on the receiving end of unwarranted attention from an intrusive neighbor, and both nations have a profound disdain for the more vegetarian amongst us. I believe the Polish word for "Vegan" translates roughly as "goes hungry quite often".

For this journey I came quite prepared, a few books, a full iPod and my laptop, to counteract the omnipresent squawking of CNN that tends to be the only English-language TV station in most hotels I've stayed in recently. However on closer inspection my choice of distraction might not have ben so inspired. I'm currently reading "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" by Greg Palast. Palast, a US investigative journalist in voluntary exile in the UK, presents a series of investigations into dirty tricks in the Florida 2000 election count, the myth of globalization, IMF/WTO destruction of Argentina's economy and other holiday reading. Most of his investigations were undertaken for the BBC or the Guardian, as the US media's imposed self-censorship prevented them from touching anything slightly controversial. While the book is the most thoroughly researched I have read in a while, and the topics are close to my heart, it is the wrong book to bring on a trip as it boils my blood and makes me want to drop everything, put back on my vinegar soaked face-mask and return to the front of the protest march chanting "el pueblo unido jamás será vencido".

There are, however, two main problems with that; a) As I now officially work for 'The Man', and am therefore part of the problem, it would be a tad hypocritical, and b) the last time I did this I needed to be rescued from Czech riot police by the whirlwind of fury that is The Very Understanding Girlfriend. The experience left me bruised and battered, and with a firm understanding of who really wears Los Pantalones in our relationship (clue, no riot cop has ever been afraid of me...)

Therefore it is probably safer to put the book down for a while and turn to the other book I brought with me. Which would be "Armed Madhouse", by Greg Palast, a stunning expose of "how elections are bought and free speech comes at a price. How citizens are ruled by fear and how our brave new globalized world means the poor get hammered, while corporations silently buy up the planet"


And on my iPod, 'In Rainbows', 45 minutes of unbridled frivolity from Radiohead.

Actually it's a pretty amazing album, definitely prefer it to "Hail to the Thief", but listening to it reminds me of the bit in Father Ted where Tommy Tiernan's depressed priest (Father Kevin) has been cheered up by dancing to the Theme from Shaft, only to be pushed over the edge again by hearing the dulcet tones of Radiohead on the bus back home. No matter how much you like Thom Yorke at the end of the day you have to face the fact that he's a bit of a miserable git.

It's going to be a long, long week.


At 11:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the question of the day is how much did you reward Thom Yorke for being a miserable git? Inquiring minds want to know.

Personally I gave him 6 STG.


At 8:10 am, Blogger Unkie Dave said...

As it happens I pre-ordered the CD from their website (being released in December I think), and when you do that they let you download the MP3s for free.

All in all I think the 'name your price' thing is one of the best ideas from a band in a long time. Nine Inch Nails have already said that when their current record contract runs out they are going to move to selling their music directly to the fans, with a price of $4 per album being suggested, which is more than double what the artist currently gets from an $18 CD.

If there is one group of people that irk me more than neo-cons it's record companies, and anything that hastens their sticky demise can only be a good thing.

At 12:07 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

I guess your title has left me in clear realisation that I'm more of a computer geek than a film buff.

As soon as I saw it I read "ReDrum", as in, the Propellerheads ReDrum drum machine.

I wasn't thinking of hotels, scary ghost twins, or axe wielding maniacs at all.


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