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SATURDAY JANUARY 15

GOOGLE-WHACKED!

Don't people have better things to do? I got an e-mail this week from someone who wrote 'Did you know that your site is a googlewhack? With "paradiddles-crocodiles".' I went to Google, entered those two words, and lo and behold, he was right. The only page to come up was this one. Now, excuse me, but I do have better things to do!


FRIDAY JANUARY 14

THE FRIDAY WINE REVIEW

ALBA VINEYARDS
CHAMBOURCIN 2002,
NEW JERSEY, USA, $13

If you know any Old World Wine fanatics, you'll be aware that they wear their prejudices with almost as much perverse pride as white supremacists. Serve such a person this wine and chances are they'll recoil with all the horror of that racist whose daughter brings home a black man for dinner. For one thing, they'll point out, Chambourcin is a 'hybrid' – not a 'noble' grape like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah but a man-made, disease-resistant cross-breed. To make matters 'worse', they'll then note, this particular man-made cross-breed is from New Jersey. It's bad enough for the prejudiced that fine wines have emerged from New York, Virginia and even Rhode Island, to name three of America's east coast States, but New Jersey - (supposedly) the land of endless surburbia, HBO Mafioso, oil refinery- and strip mall-studded highways, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, the Trump Casinos of Atlantic City and the broken boardwalks of Asbury Park - seems the least likely place on earth to get in on the quality wine game.

But here it is. A damn fine wine from a serious, ambitious yet environmentally conscious winery. Better yet, at $13, it doesn't push the price bracket like so many of its New York cousins. In the glass, this Chambourcin, from Alba Vineyards in western Jersey, near the Delaware River, emits a nose that's part juicy fruit – some plum, some black currant, and plenty black cherry – and part tobacco/cedar/pencil shavings. It's obviously seen some wood maturation, but unlike unsophisticated east coast wines, the oak is kept in the background: it's the fruit that soars into the mouth here, with tangy acidity, a touch of spice, and that medium-bodied, vaguely vegetal texture that suggests roots not in the fields of New Jersey, but the vineyards of the Loire. Tasted blind, I would be seriously tempted to label this wine a Cabernet Franc from that grape's spiritual home up there in north-western France.

As it turns out, that's not far off the mark. Chambourcin may be a hybrid - but at least it's a French hybrid, which in the world of wine fanatics, makes it ever so slightly less unacceptable. (Quite what the French were ever doing producing mutant grapes they then forbade from being used in French wine is a story for another day.) As it turns out, where Chambourcin is grown in France, it's primarily in the Loire, and the east coast of America is closer in climate to the Loire than it is to Bordeaux, California or anywhere else on the wine map. (Read this iJamming! feature on Cabernet Francs from the Loire and New York State for more detail.) Find good wine-makers with an understanding of what grapes work best in their vineyards, like Rudy Marchesi and Tom Sharko of Alba, and there's no region for New Jersey not to produce a Chambourcin that could pass as a Chinon.

Few hybrids reach this level of quality. But Chambourcin has a reputation as the little hybrid that could; apart from New Jersey, you'll find the grape up and down the east coast of America, and all over Australia's New South Wales. While I liken the Alba to a Loire Cab Franc, I've seen other Chambourcins compared to anything from Beaujolais (arguably the lightest of red wines) to Zinfandel (arguably the heaviest). Clearly, this is a grape that, grown in the right climate, can pack serious amounts of flavor and quality into a bottle. Drink it young – the grape itself has only been around for 40 years, so it has no history of long-term maturation – but do drink it. Like the pathetic white supremacist, you'd be a sad person to let your prejudices prevent you from enjoying our delightfully diverse world.

MORE ON TSUNAMI RELIEF

I should have noted yesterday of at least two other fund-raising events among the American dance community. On Friday January 7, Deep Dish were among the acts to perform at the Unicef Tsunami Relief & Save The Children Fund Benefit show at MCCCXXIII in Washington, DC. The previous Monday, in Los Angeles, John Digweed made a special appearance at promoters the Bud Brothers' long-standing weekly Monday Social, raising $5000 from just the one small event. The party benefited Save The Children, but was organized along with NextAid, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating sustainable solutions for African children orphaned as a result of AIDS. NextAid actively links artists, musicians and the global community with some of the most impoverished and vulnerable children on the planet; their web site includes a PSA with Carl Cox and Jazzanova among others. And I know of other Tsunami Relief club events in the wings. It's sunderstandable that the international dance community would rise to the challenge of the Tsunami. Quite apart from the fact that Thailand's beaches host to so many parties, anyone with more than a passing interest in the scene understands that it is a global music.

This Saturday, NBC in America hosts a two-hour telethon featuring mainstream acts from Elton John to Madonna, and Stevie Wonder to Mary J. Blige. The company's Spanish-language outlet Telemundo will host its own event, "Unidos con el Mundo: por las Victimas del Tsunami" during the same hours. Paul McCartney has donated a million pounds to my own favored relief charity, International Rescue Committe. And Celine Dion is donating the proceeds from her Las Vegas concert on Mothers Day (May 8), which she expects will be at least $1,000,000. A million dollars a gig? I'm in the wrong game.

Back amongst "our" type of music, Foo FIghters and Eddie Vedder join Tenacious D and friends at the Los Angeles Wiltern next Monday, Jan 17, for a concert billed as Music For Relief. But perhaps the most inspired fund-raising music campaign has been launched by Bjork, who is assembling a two-disc release of remixes of the song "Army of Me," from her 1995 album Post, proceeds of which will be channeled to UNICEF. With a deadline of Monday (Jan. 17), Bjork is calling for new remixes of "Army of Me" to be considered for inclusion on the album. All submissions encoded to 128kbs MP3 should be sent to bjorkremixes@gmail.com, including the name of the artist/DJ, remix, full credits and contact information. What a wonderful way to raise money - and involve your audience.


THURSDAY JANUARY 13

CHARITY BEGINS IN THE HOME END

Yesterday, I mentioned the upcoming Tsunami Relief concert at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, January 22. All 65,000 tickets have been sold for a concert that features a blatantly commercial but somewhat unsettling blend of major British bands (Embrace, Keane, Manic Street Preachers, Snow Patrol), senior statesmen (Eric Clapton, Jools Holland), young pop stars (Craig David, Lemar, Liberty X), former choristers (Aled Jones, Charlotte Church) and the token oddball (Badly Drawn Boy.).

The following Saturday, January 29, on the other side of the world, a similar benefit takes places at the Sydney Cricket Ground, featuring Australia's biggest acts, including Midnight Oil, Silverchair, Kasey Chambers, The Finn Brothers and, I'm pleased to see though it seems insulting to bill him last, Nick Cave. The concert has been given the cringe-worthy name Wave-Aid.

Meanwhile, in the heart of the devastation, the full moon dance community (for want of a better term) last night threw a Sunset-to-Sunrise charity party at Bophet Beach on Thailand's Koa Samui island, featuring the likes of Brandon Block, Jo Mills, Lisa Loud and Nightmares On Wax.



So what's going on in the States? Um… Not much. Certainly not enough. No major concerts to rival those in Britain or Australia, that's for sure. Interestingly, it's the dance community that's quickly risen to the challenge, with Relief and Recovery taking place last night at New York's Joe's Pub, and Giant Step throwing a Tsunami Benefit Concert at Canal Room on Wednesday January 26, featuring Brazilian Girls, Platinum Pied Pipers and others, along with a silent auction through the night. It had been announced that 100% of proceeds would benefit Doctors Without Borders, but given how that charity announced last week that "we have received sufficient funds for our currently foreseen emergency response in South Asia," they switched the recipient agency to Habitat for Humanity. This is not my favorite charity, for reasons I'll save for another day, but for as long as they live up to their online promise to create "25,000 homes for displaced tsunami victims," I'll put aside my experiences and assume they're better organized on the ground and less missionary in their zeal in South Asia than they proved to be in Park Slope.


The lack of major benefits in the States is a little hard to explain away – especially as the nation showed how quickly it could assemble major music artists for fund-raising purposes after 9/11. It shouldn't however, be taken as a lack of concern by American individuals or corporations. Personally, I'd be thrilled if people could give without having to do so at charity concerts, and certainly the U.S. media has been quick to tell us how generous Americans have proven over an event that took place on the other side of the world. Then again, a small item in the new NY Press puts American contributions at just $1.19 per capita, as compared to, for example, $11.23 per head in Germany. (Does anyone have a link to such figures?) If you're thinking of making a donation – and the self-employed have been handed an important incentive to do so by Congress – the American Institute of Philanthropy's web site identifies, with web links, approximately twenty "relief charities, which are providing aid to the victims, that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency":



Charity, as we all know, begins at home, and in the current Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria offers an optimistic overall view of the changing charitable tide in Tsunami-hit India.

"In the two weeks after the tidal wave hit, the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, the main agency to which people make donations, has collected about $80 million. After the Gujarat earthquake of April 2001, it took almost one year to collect the same amount of money. And remember that the 2001 earthquake was massive (7.9 on the Richter scale), killed more Indians (30,000) than the tsunami appears to have, and also got intense media attention (Bill Clinton headed the fund-raising efforts). What has changed in these four years is the most important new reality about India: the growing wealth, strength and confidence of Indian society."


But the same Newsweek offers a reality check of the situation in other nations. It's one thing to offer disaster relief to those in need, it's another to do so in areas ravaged by civil war and official corruption. Check these depressing paragraphs from the current cover story Charity and Chaos:

"The people of Aceh [the hardest-hit area of Indonesia, as if you need reminding] have been fighting outside forces for more than a century—first the Dutch, then the Japanese, and eventually Indonesian rule from Jakarta. Frustration with the central government spiked in the 1970s when Jakarta began extracting natural gas and oil from the province. As Indonesia grew richer from oil dollars, Aceh remained impoverished. The Free Aceh Movement, or GAM, was formed in 1976, and received support from Libya. Indonesian soldiers routinely tortured and executed civilians, and raped thousands of women. GAM rebels killed suspected collaborators and military families. In the 1990s alone, an estimated 10,000 people died in the civil war. Most were civilians.

At the time the tsunami hit, Aceh had become a virtual fiefdom of the Indonesian Army. Commanders ran business empires, and oversaw smuggling, illegal logging, protection rackets and extortion schemes. GAM exported drugs, kidnapped for ransom and taxed villages under its control. "Both [the military and the rebels] are happy to keep the war going because they're making money," says a senior religious leader in Aceh.

The military's initial response to the tsunami was, by many accounts, apathetic. NEWSWEEK's first reporters in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, saw groups of armed soldiers loafing in the shade, smoking cigarettes as relief planes lined up on the tarmac at the capital's small airstrip. Their commander occupied an air-conditioned VIP lounge where he waited for senior visitors from Jakarta. Rotting bodies littered the streets, yet the most pressing concern for the brass was protocol. Commanders refused to coordinate relief efforts with the first official sent by the Welfare Ministry, deeming him too."


It's protocol in the American print media for reporters to write about themselves in the third person, as above. The web seems to have inspired a shift in this convention; on Newsweek's web site, the author of the above story, Joe Cochrane, offers this more detailed account of the chaos he flew into, under the headline after The Tsunami, The Thugs:

"Disaster area or not, this was no way to break out the welcome wagon. Walking out of the airport in tsunami-devastated Aceh province on Sunday after just three days out of the area, I stood aghast at the sight of local gangsters fighting in the parking lot, pick-pocketers attempting to ply their trade, con artists, and an assortment of other menacing characters."

He details his initial troubles with a taxi driver clearly sent to set him up for an armed robbery, then follows up…

"A young Acehnese man named Sidiq began chatting me up in English, and offered, along with his younger brother, to be my translator and driver for the week. We quickly agreed on a price, but as we walked off toward their car, the lead thug grabbed both brothers and marched them off behind a building, undoubtedly for a beating for poaching on their “turf.” Then thug No. 2 grabbed me again—this time I pushed him into a line of parked motorbikes and unloaded an expletive-laced tirade which included one suggestion that, I admit in retrospect, is anatomically impossible. Several heavily-armed Indonesian soldiers lounging under a tree just meters away did nothing—as usual. Given that I wasn’t an Acehnese merchant they could shake down for cash, or a separatist rebel they could shoot, it wasn’t worth the effort to walk into the mid-day sun."


Sadly, and similarly, Brooklyn-based Jyoti Tottham, whose family is from Sri Lanka, writes in this week's Village Voice details how, for all the reports of co-operation between separatist Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government, tensions have still hindered relief efforts .

"The Tigers have complained that the central government has been neglecting their territories, while the government has accused the Tigers of setting fire to a camp in the Jaffna Peninsula after the refugees there accepted aid from the government. The Tigers say it was the army who burned it down. Neither side wants to cede any of the territory it now controls to the other, even if it means that the thousands of tsunami survivors go yet another day without shelter or clean water."


You don't even need a Civil War to witness Government indolence. The following is from Paul Krassner, who lost friends in the Tsunami, writing in the current NY Press. If any of what he writes is true, it should be front page news:

"The Thai newspaper The Nation first reported a crisis meeting attended by Thailand's foremost meteorological experts, who decided not to issue a warning about the tsunami an hour before the first massive wave struck, "out of courtesy to the tourist industry." That's the kind of courtesy that can literally kill you.

"We finally decided not to do anything," explained one of the meteorological experts, "because the tourist season was in full swing. What if we issued a warning…and nothing had happened? The tourist industry would be hurt. Our department would not be able to endure a lawsuit."

In Thailand alone, where the tourist industry rakes in almost $8 billion a year, more than 5000 people died at prime beach resorts—about half of them tourists—and another 3500 are still missing."


What to do in the face of, stupidity, cowardice, greed, repression and insurrection? Jyoti Tottham tries to answer the question for us in the Voice, and it's worth quoting almost in its entirety to see us out for the day. I need someone else to stay positive on behalf of all of us…

"In such a severe and delicate situation, the impulse to do nothing is strong, for fear our efforts would be wasted. In fact, the opposite is true. Throughout the last two decades, even in the depths of the civil war, individuals and independent nonprofit groups have stepped in where politics and violence have failed. They have done the hard work of living, choosing to stay and thrive in a country where that in itself is often an act of courage.

If you want to see what it will take to rebuild a post-war, post-disaster Sri Lanka, read Sanjiva Weerawarana's blog. A programmer in Colombo and an open-source partisan, Wee-rawarana used to fill his blog mainly with swipes at Microsoft and worries about the relevance of Java. Now he is directing efforts to build a database of people missing in the disaster and a system to coordinate the efforts of the 13,000 nonprofit organizations working in Sri Lanka. "What's incredible is that there doesn't appear to be software for this stuff," he wrote. "Well, we're going to build our stuff (openly/freely) and we'll be happy to share it."

Like so much of the rebuilding, Weerawarana's work will continue long after the images of this disaster have started to fade. Sri Lankans today talk about the generation who has known nothing but war. They wonder whether a "tsunami generation" will now follow. This is a country that has suffered more than most of us can ever imagine, and yet it welcomes outsiders when other countries turn them away, and it hopes more than most of us would ever think wise."


WEDNESDAY JANUARY 12

CULTURAL DIVIDE OR TRANSATLANTIC HARMONY?

Monday of this week, prolific blogger Coolfer expressed surprise that Manic Street Preachers could appear on the same Tsunami benefit bill, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Jan 22, as Eric Clapton and Jools Holland. Noting that the Manics can't even sell 10,000 albums in the States, The New York-based Coolfer concluded, "This is what we call a difference between two cultures." Perhaps so. Then again, he might not have been aware that the Manic Street Preachers are from near Cardiff, and in paving the way for Welsh pride within British rock music, secured a fanatical following within that country that stands strong even as their British sales have flagged too.


Anyway, his comment inspired me to one of my occasional comparisons of the American and British charts. Here's the Billboard Top 10 albums as of this week.

1 Eminem, Encore
2 Green Day, American Idiot
3 Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Crunk Juice
4 Jay-Z/Linkin Park, MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course
5 Ludacris, The Red Light District
6 Usher, Confessions
7 John Legend, Get Lifted
8 2Pac, Loyal To The Game
9 Various Artists, Now 17
10 Destiny's Child, Destiny Fulfilled


And here's the British,

1 Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters
2 Killers, Hot Fuss
3 Green Day, American Idiot
4 Maroon 5, Songs About Jane
5 Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
6 Keane, Hopes And Fears
7 Eminem, Encore
8 Kylie Minogue, Ultimate Kylie
9 Zutons, Who Killed The Zutons
10 Robbie Williams, Greatest Hits



Clearly this IS what we call a difference between two cultures, and I know which one I favor. And although the first chart of the year is never particularly representative (sales are usually low in January, allowing new acts to poke through), it's worth making a few observations:

The only two acts to appear in both charts are American: Eminem and Green Day.
The top two acts in the UK charts are also American: Scissor Sisters and Killers.
In fact, the top four acts in the UK chart are American, once you factor in Maroon 5.
Allowing that Franz Ferdinand are from Scotland, and Kylie from Australia, that leaves only three English acts in the whole top 10. And only one of those (Keane) from the south of England
Then again, Scissor Sisters and Killers were both signed out of the UK.

All of which means, what, precisely? Even if the difference in charts indicates a cultural divide in taste, it's absolutely apparent that there's no nationalism at work. At least on the British side: the American top 10 is comprised entirely of American acts.


It's also worth noting what's not in the top 10 of either chart. Like, for example, the world's two most supposedly biggest rock bands. U2's How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb had phenomenal initial sales, but seems to be lacking 'legs': it's at number 12 in the UK, and at number 14 in the States, all the way down from number 3. Then again, it's already been certified triple platinum in America (that's 3,000,000 sales) which should keep U2 in their south-of-France mansions for a few years yet.

Also missing: R.E.M.'s Around The Sun, which is off both charts entirely. In the States this is not perhaps unexpected: the group have not had anything like a proper hit album since New Adventures In Hi-Fi, but in the UK, their demise comes as something of a shock, especially given how popular Reveal proved among long-term British fans. I've had a life-long theory that acts with substantial fan bases rarely lose sales on their initial artistic disappointment: they lose them on the follow-up album. That's my way of saying that I believe there are many who may not have liked Reveal as much as they initially thought they did – otherwise they would likely have bought the new R.E.M. album too.


Just to round out and end this discussion for now, Killers are at 24 in the American charts – what you’d call a sleeper success much like R.E.M. back with Murmur – while the British singles charts include not just Scissor Sisters and Green Day in the top 10, but also Kasabian. (You don't want to know the American Top 10 singles!) Meanwhile, Interpol are at 19 in the UK singles, Secret Machines at 43 and Le Tigre at 50, indicating that British enthusiasm for New York rock has yet to die down. Now, who's going to explain why that Interpol album is so much better than the debut for me?


TUESDAY JANUARY 11

THE BEST WINES OF 2004

Since venturing into the wine world with the same amateur enthusiasm as first brought me to start a music fanzine, I've tasted more good wine than most people would try in a lifetime. For this I credit an open mind as well as a thirsty palate. Me, I look at wine like I do music: If I haven't heard of it, I want to try it. This past year, I see as I look over my scribbled notes, I have tasted Pinot Noir from Slovenia, Rhône blends from California, Pinot Grigio from Virginia, Gewürztraminer from Rhode Island, Viognier from Argentina, Riesling from Chile, and Kerner from Italy. Some of these efforts were more successful than others, but I don't regret either trying or buying any of them.

Three of the finest, all bought and opened in 2004: Domaine Roger Perrin Châteauneuf du Pape 2001 (France); Babcock Pinot Noir Tri-Counties Cuvee 2002, (USA); Leitz Dragonstone Riesling Rheingau 2003 (Germany).

At free in-store tastings by the mini-glass, and home dinners with bottles bought from local stores, I tasted a number of more geographically 'correct' wines. I salivated equally over a Riesling from the Rheingau and a Sauvignon Blanc from California. I swooned over the heady textures of soupy young Châteauneuf du Papes (from the Rhône, of course) and spicy young Zinfandels (from California, almost certainly). I marveled at near-forgotten grapes like a pure Counoise from southern France and, though it had to be drunk in isolation from other wines, a Petit d'Aunis from the Loire. I was knocked out by the ongoing quality of Rieslings from New York's Finger Lakes and Pinot Noirs from California's Russian River Valley. I made a serious attempt to get to know the Tempranillo grape of Spain, I fell for Nero d'Alvola from Sicily, and I was pleased to be introduced to the Blaufränkisch of Austria – which I also came across as Hungary's Kékfrankos in a surprisingly high-quality rosé.

All of the above is available to all of us, and on a minimal budget – you'd be amazed how much you can taste if you opt for variety over familiarity, and either buy by the glass or attend BYOB restaurants with several others for dinner.

Continued in the wine section....


MONDAY JANUARY 10

WAVE OF MUTILATION (and donations)

As I explained this time last week, I was out of the loop for most of the post-Christmas week during which the Tsunami hit south-east Asia and caused such devastating loss of life, land and property. Being out of the loop is not a bad place to be: I was spared much of the collective horror that, when combined with a feeling of helplessness (and, for many, of unwarranted privilege) can lead to something like a ghoulish guilt complex. To be blunt, many of us become hooked on such disasters primarily because we are not directly affected by them. As I learned during and after 9/11, those in the midst of such a calamity don't have time or inclination to debate and discuss the details while keeping one eye and ear permanently cocked to the television and radio. And they sometimes wonder at the motives of those who do.

We in the west are not helpless of course. We have a higher standard of living that should enable to us to donate cash to charitable causes; they in turn can then hopefully prevent further loss of life from disease and hunger, while helping rebuild communities and, in the long term we should hope, helping governments help themselves. Call it cynical if you like, but in the States, "Congress passed legislation to allow taxpayers additional time (from Dec 31 2004 to Jan 31 2005) to make cash donations to relief organizations addressing the disaster in Southeast Asia and claim a tax deduction for 2004." In other words, if you're worried about the size of your tax bill this year, give more money now to charity, and pay less to Uncle Sam down the line. Given what the Bush Administration does with our taxes, that's what they call a no-brainer.

This leads me to how I've been struck with personal force these last two weeks by the Tsunami. I'd always assumed that the greatest calamities mankind could imagine on this earth would be man-made. Atomic bombs. Global warming. All-out war. Terrorism. Genocide. As parasites, we've been doing a pretty good job of sucking our host dry: so many other so-called 'natural' disasters – from famine in Africa to landslides in Cornwall – have been a direct result of how we tend our resources. Yet here we are, suddenly and painfully aware that the earth need merely shrug to shake us off in devastating numbers. Short of choosing not to live or vacation by the sea, we can not get out of such harm's way.

We can, with all our technology and intelligence, at least limit future loss of life through better warning systems. Everyone with access to the media and something of an enquiring mind must know, by now, that there was a Tsunami warning system in place in the Pacific Ocean, but not in the Indian Ocean. Last night, I watched Next Wave: The Science of Tsunamis on The Discovery Channel. The documentary went beyond tourist videos of the Dec 26 disaster (though, of course, they showed those too) to profile the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, including the scientists working there on December 26 whose helplessness has been sadly been taken by some as callousness. (The employees, who had contact numbers only for participating Pacific countries, have received hate mail from some who mistakenly believe they should and could have been fingering through some universal Yellow Pages, calling every hotel on the Thailand coast to warn tourists of impending apocalypse.)

The Discovery documentary told us how the center came about (instigated by the US Government after a 1946 Tsunami hit Hawaii – with what then seemed like a devastating loss of just over 150 lives), and explained how the warning system works. (One thing I have not learned these past two weeks, however, is whether the PTWC has proved effective. Has there been a wave big enough that would have killed scores of people had they not been warned in time? Or is the Warning Center yet to pay for itself, so to speak.)

Next Wave then went a step further by looking at causes of Tsunamis other than earthquakes, including those caused by either above or underwater landslides, and suggested that the inevitable eventual collapse of Cumbre Vieja, an active volcanic mass of rock off the coast of La Palma in the Canary Islands, would unleash a Tsunami that would likely swamp the entire east coast of America (where some 60 million people live and work right on the coast). I wondered whether this was just some gold old media scaremongering, a way to hook viewers with a vicarious desire to imagine their own death by tidal wave – but it didn't take me long this morning to find a piece in British newspaper The Independent about exactly the same issue.

"It is deemed likely that Cumbre Vieja will eventually collapse at any time in the next 10,000 years," writes Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser. "The question of whether we should take action to pre-empt something which may not happen for several millennia is a difficult challenge for risk analysts... But surely now, when public consciousness of this issue is at its height, is the time to raise the question."

He's right. We can point fingers after every disaster – be it man-made, like 9/11, or entirely natural, like the Dec 26 Tsunami – but we can best serve our planet and our people be ensuring we limit the potential for repeat attacks. The US Government has been known to do the right thing – setting up the PTWC is a good example – but given what the current Administration spends on pre-emptive wars, it's not unreasonable to ask for a slice of that pie (along with other nation's donations) to help pre-empt further natural disasters.


Staying with the British media, I was interested in this Op-Ed piece in today's Guardian. Lovers of freedom should fear for Britain, not the US, says Paul Barker, citing the Blair Government's increasing tendency to dictate to the public. "Many ominous things are happening in Britain, unchecked, that would scandalise those earlier freedom lovers Tom Paine and William Cobbett," he writes. I don't agree with all Barker's examples (I'm a strong opponent of fox hunting, for example), but I share his overall concern.

2005 MUSINGS:

Jan 3-9: The Best Of 2004 - Albums and Singles; Biggest Disappointments of 2004; Minutes of A Miracle; New York Club Nights

2004 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2003 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE:


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2004




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WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...

The Best Of 2004: Album & Singles
Most Disappointing Albums of 2004

THE DECEMBER HITLIST:
Album reviews of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Nick Cave, The Scumfrog, Freq Nasty, DFA, Grip Weeds, High Dials

OLD EUROPE, NEW WINES
Modern treats from Italy, Austria and France

THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW:
Wayne Kramer on Pete Townshend

HOLIDAY WINE REPORT:
Six all-Americans for the Drinkking Season

JOHN PEEL: A Tribute

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Fiery Furnaces, Green Day, Bowling For Soup, Paul Weller, The Go! Team, Fatboy Slim, R.E.M., Kevin Tihista, Brian Wilson

FESTIVE MEMORIES:
A report from THE V FESTIVAL, Stafford, England, Aug 21-23

FEATURED WINE:
Leitz 'Dragonstone' Riesling, Rüdesheim, Rheingau, Germany, 2003

ABSOLUTE AFFIRMATION:
A NEW YORK HITLIST
(10 new Albums)

FEATURED WINE:
DOMAINE VALLET
SAINT JOSEPH BLANC 2001
Rhône, France

The SUMMER HITLIST:
More culture than makes sense

From the Jamming! Archives
THE HOMOSEXUALS, 1979

DVD REVIEW:
JEFF MILLS - EXHIBITIONIST

BOOK REVIEW:
SONGBOOK by NICK HORNBY

HIGHWAY TO UNHEALTHY:
Why Fast Food depends on Cheap Oil

THE JUNE HITLIST:
12 featured albums, 15 more in rotation, three 12" singles and a handful of books.

FEATURED OREGON WHITE WINES:
Foris Vineyards Gewürztraminer and Witness Tree Pinot Blanc.

THE APRIL HITLIST:
MUSIC, BOOKS, FILMS, TV, BEER, WINE AND FOOD-JUICE

FEATURED WINE:
Aziano Chianti Classico 2001 .

THE UNDERTONES
Live in New York

THE MARCH HITLIST:
REISSUES REVISITED

STELLASTARR*
Live at Tiswas
Live at Bowery Ballroom
Live at Mercury Lounge
Live on the Hudson River
With Joe Strummer
Stellastarr* album review

SUICIDE GIRLS just wanna have fun

FEATURED WINE:
DOMAINE ROGER PERRIN
CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2001
Rhône, France,

THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
Ten That Got Away

FEATURED WINE REGION:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES
updated and re-designed

From the Jamming! Archives
TONY PARSONS on BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 1984

The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ


Tony Fletcher's debut novel HEDONISM is out now. For more information and to read excerpts, click here.

HEDONISM is available mail order in the USA from Barnes&Noble.com. It's available mail order in the UK from amazon.co.uk or musicroom.com.

American residents can also receive signed copies direct from iJamming! for just $20 including shipping and handling. Click on the PayPal button below. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

DEAR BOY The British edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com and amazon co.uk. More info here.

REMARKS REMADE The first ever R.E.M. biography fully updated with ten new chapters covering Reveal and beyond. Available at UK bookstores, amazon.co.uk and musicroom. Available at select stores in the States and through BN.com.

MOON The American edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com, bn.com and amazon co.uk. More info here

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