Sunday, April 17, 2011

Though shalt not worship false idols

Here is a tale of two cities and two statues and how easy it is to worship false gods. Firstly, several weeks ago the chairman of Fulham Football Club, the Egyptian Mohammed Al Fayed erected a statue of Michael Jackson in front of the ground much to the chagrin of many (most) of the fans.

The question is: what has Michael Jackson got to do with football? Michael had visited the ground on one occasion back in 1999 to see an apparently uninspiring match against Wigan Athletic and yet was apparently in love with football.

However, the sadder truth is that the statue was apparently intended for the Harrod’s Department Store which was previously owned by Al Fayed and was deemed surplus to requirements by the new owners. It now takes pride of place next to the statue of the late midfielder Johnny Haynes a genuine idol for the club.

On the other side of the world in Detroit, there has been the bizarre proposal to erect a statue of Robocop, a fictitious cyborg from Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi action movie who fights crime and saves the city from drug smuggling gangsters.

Perhaps the ironies are in this case that (i) Robocop is essentially an anti-capitalist film with apparently clear messages against privatisation and competition based business practices (who doesn´t remember the line from the sleazy tv show “I´d buy that for a dollar…” amongst others)

(ii) Detroit is of course a city famous for a myriad of musicians from jazz, to Motown to techno. Rather than honouring these people, the citizens prefer a Rocky-style statue to a violent figment of the imagination. In the following “comic” video, the actor Peter Weller who played Robocop perhaps inadvertently m akes the same point, listing some of the artists who have put Detroit on the map.

I also came across this scultpure recently in an exhibition. It is a giant Corned Beef can eerected in Sarajevo by the artist Nebojsa Seric Shoba as a "Monument to the International Community" for supplying the said brand of unpopular food as part of their humanitarian aid during the Balkans conflict. In this case, however, the wrong statue gives the right idea.

But while still on (or close) to Detroit, Carl Craig’s seminal Planet E label has just published a 20th anniversary cretrospective and embarked on an extensive promotional tour. One of the highlights of this set was a Craig penned track under his Tres Demented moniker called “Shez Satan”.

Craig’s delivery here is truly comic while the electro styled techno only adds to the light heartedness. Lyrically, it is stupid and almost a joke, but the manner in which Craig projects himself into the delivery is special.

“You think the girl is dead
The cops charge you with her death
But she’s alive
And getting high on loads of coke and meth!
She’s Satan!

Your heart is broken
Torn up inside
Your lawyer tells you that bitch is still alive
She tried to rob a bank with her lover
Now you’re on the street
And that bitch better run for cover!
She’s Satan!”

One of the other standout tracks on the album is Martin Buttrich's track "Full clip" from 2006.

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