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2004

September

  • Sparx y Lorenzo Antonio

    Last Sunday I went to see the biggest selling New Mexican musical acts perform. One of the acts, Sparx, has sold over a million albums, and the other, Lorenzo Antonio (their chief songwriter and mentor, as well as a performer in his own right) isn’t far behind.
    cd_bailar.jpg

    4000 people came out on Sunday night to the amphitheatre at Sandia casino on the edge of Albuquerque. And yet half the people in the state have never heard of them.

    Welcome to the world of New Mexico music. For anglos like me, it’s something of a closed community, but Buendia has been here long enough and is interested enough to go exploring. We were possibly the only completely anglo couple there (’anglo’ here is a catch all phrase meaning non-Spanish or Indian. There’s a joke about a kid up in Las Vegas, New Mexico coming home after his first day at school. ‘How was it?’ asks his mum. ‘Fine,’ he says. ‘I knew almost everyone in class. There’s only one anglo in the class, and he’s black.’)

  • Everyone is Here

    More Finn Brothers praise. The new album - ‘Everyone is Here’, is beautiful and positive and tender.

    And that’s not just my opinion. Salon today has a three-page hymn of praise to the songwriting talents of Neil Finn - ‘Let your mood downshift in the dusk one evening and the next thing you know a line you’ve heard a hundred times floors you.’ Damn right.

    Writing about music is like dancing about architecture, and you’d be better listening to some of his songs than reading about them, but it’s a good article (you’ll probably need a free day pass or something to read it).

  • Autumn TV preview - ‘Attack of the Clones’

    And another thing, while I remember. I’ve just had my first article for the Santa Fe Reporter published. The Reporter is the alternative weekly magazine in town, and it’s read by around 50,000 people.

    I did a preview of the new TV season, and it begins:

    This season, cloning comes to television. The networks’ nerve has failed and instead of blazing new trails they give us copies of existing programs that weren’t great in the first place, or try two versions of the same suspect reality TV idea.

    Several of the retreads build on the success of the tightly plotted but heartless ‘CSI’ franchise. CBS launches a new spin-off, ‘CSI New York’ (Wednesdays), with Gary Sinise lending some gravitas to the show. Proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, NBC also tries to cash in on our ghoulish tendencies with ‘Medical Investigation’ (Fridays).

    These shows are competent but leave little room for character development, nuance or quirkiness, which is why they’re so easy to clone (the ‘Law and Order’ family follow a similar approach). The characters and settings are completely interchangeable: you just need one slightly aloof leader with a black sense of humour, one loyal female lieutenant, a couple of younger earnest helpers, two unrelated investigations each episode, one poorly-lit laboratory (where the requisite ‘science bit’ happens) and you’re done - in New York, Vegas or Miami.

    In a little while I’ll post the full article in the relevant section on this site, but if you’re really keen to read the full thing, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

  • Falling

    Autumn arrived in northern New Mexico at the weekend. We were heading up the road to Taos - the smaller and more hippy-influenced version of Santa Fe (Albuquerquans make fun of us for being too out there; we make fun of the Taosenos).

    Taking the High Road up towards Chimayo we passed a lone pilgrim, walking on an empty but beautiful stretch of road carrying a bottle of water with an Our Lady of Guadalupe on the back of his jacket .

    chimayo.jpg
    Pilgrims from all over New Mexico walk to the church at Chimayo (especially at Easter time), and arriving at the small chapel, there were crosses made of twigs woven into the chain-link fence by the arriving walkers.

  • Fall TV preview - ‘Attack of the Clones’

    This season, cloning comes to television. The networks’ nerve has failed and instead of blazing new trails they give us copies of existing programs that weren’t great in the first place, or try two versions of the same suspect reality TV idea.

    Several of the retreads build on the success of the tightly plotted but heartless ‘CSI’ franchise. CBS launches a new spin-off, ‘CSI New York’ (Wednesdays), with Gary Sinise lending some gravitas to the show. Proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, NBC also tries to cash in on our ghoulish tendencies with ‘Medical Investigation’ (Fridays).

    These shows are competent but leave little room for character development, nuance or quirkiness, which is why they’re so easy to clone (the ‘Law and Order’ family follow a similar approach). The characters and settings are completely interchangeable: you just need one slightly aloof leader with a black sense of humour, one loyal female lieutenant, a couple of younger earnest helpers, two unrelated investigations each episode, one poorly-lit laboratory (where the requisite ‘science bit’ happens) and you’re done - in New York, Vegas or Miami. (article continues)

    (first published in the Santa Fe Reporter, Sept 15th, 2004 - for the full text of the article, please contact me)

  • Burn him, Burn him!

    Zozobra.jpgSanta Fe is entering the time of the fiestas - the tourists have all but left, the monsoons are over, and it’s getting a little more chilly overnight, but still lovely and warm during the day.

    The fiestas celebrate the 1692 recapturing of Santa Fe from the indians (local native Americans describe themselves as indians, so I’m going with that), who had driven the Spaniards out of the town 12 years before.

    Before the battle, the leader of the Spanish, Don Diego de Vargas (full title: Don Diego de Vargas Zapata y Lujan Ponce de Leon y Contreras), prayed to an effigy of the Virgin Mary (’La Conquistadora’) that had been rescued from the burning church when the indians took the town.

    He vowed that if there was a bloodless battle (well, bloodless on the Spanish side, anyway), there would always be a celebration to remember the event. And since 1712 there always has been.

  • iPod with a mind of its own?

    I finally got my iPod fixed, and since we’re waiting for the shipment from Ireland to arrive (could be tomorrow), it’s been my main source of music (I’d fortunately backed up quite a few albums on my machine and Buendia’s).

    We had friends visiting over the weekend, so during dinner and barbecues, I’d set it up to play randomly and output through the stereo. Sounds like a nice idea, but all too often the mood was destroyed by the appearance of a Nik Kershaw song (or other 80s classic) I’d archived on the iPod when I got rid of the tapes.

    It seems I’m not alone in thinking that the iPod’s shuffle command is actually less than random.