Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Music Boner: Animal Collective + Awesome: Weed Edge

So we all know I've got a boner/bonedog for Animal Collective. I'm rock down there for those bros. Their new record, with trippy artwork above, Merriweather Post Pavilion is set to drop on vinyl January 6th which they pushed up from the 20th. After getting Ricrolled a couple of times while trying to illegally download the record it finally leaked on Christmas. It's good. It's fucking mad good. I got really excited and bought the vinyl - maybe for the digital download of the record that comes with it, or the cool two-sided poster with the image above on one side and the image below on the other, or maybe just because vinyls are cool and feel real grown-up to me.

I don't got no record player though. That'd be too grown-up. If anyone has a spare record player lying around, it'd be a really good look to toss it my way so I can listen to this shit on vinyl when I get it instead of the digital rip of the vinyl I've been fucking with the last few days on some 2009 shit.

As for the record, I don't know where to start. It feels equal parts Avey Tare and Panda Bear, the group's two main vocalists who make up AC with Geologist. It feels much more electronic than their older shit. They, especially Panda Bear, stay getting Beach Boys comparisons and as this record seems to be more heavily influenced by Panda's solo work than older shit that comparison holds true here as well. But this is on some Beach Boys gone Kid A tip. With BASS. A lot of BASS. One song made me wish J Dilla was still alive to hear how his shit has influenced really really good music that's not made by Flying Lotus or other like-minded hip-hop doods. I could name four or five songs that stand out - Taste and Summertime Clothes in heavy rotation right now - but I know in three days the songs I didn't like that much will be something else to me so I'm going to hold back on details until the album drops and I've had a week or more to sit on it and really digest it. It's real dense.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Gordon Gartrelle XMas (with Jim Jones)


And dude’s boy who spit the Jennifer Hudson reference -- TOO SOON BRO.


Thursday, December 25, 2008




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jitterbug: So Your Senile Father Can Tell You He Hates You

Jitter bug... dum dum dada... Jitter bug! ... dum dum daaa....


And now...

Jitterbug One Touch:


Monday, December 22, 2008

Dap Willis live from 21 Jump

Hello friends and friends of Hima and strangers, my name is Ashok, I go by Dap(well), I will be an occasional guest blogger. BEGIN!

I've drank Sparks (preferred drink of sissy college grads and beautiful, beautiful white women) on an off since the summer of 2003. It was a convenient way (back then, at least) of circumventing open-container laws in the afternoon since the cops didn't know what it was and you know, malt liquor is GREAT? I fortunately stopped drinking the stuff (which always tasted like carbonated Flintstone Vitamins) when a cop dumped 2 cans of it in front of me into a garbage can on 19th and 9th and let me off. Thanks, officer!

Anywho, Sparks is now banned in New York, California and I think ten other states since teen (and pre-teen) garbage probably can't stop guzzling this disgusting shit and vomiting orange all over the hallways of their high schools (and middle schools). I would absolutely buy alcohol for a minor (and probably follow them around afterwards) but there's no way I'd take a request for "a twelve pack of Sparks (or Joose or Tilt). Make sure it's the grape one." Cut your teeth on malt liquor or Budweiser or something. Or , like, don't drink and do something else, I don't give a fuck.

I'm not much into "fashion" per se (hehe) but I do like wearing women's outerwear and I know a good moccasin when I see one. And a fine NIKE SNEAKER MADE OF MEAT. I'm sure you guys have seen the internet sensation Hollywood put up earlier this year, but check out this rad bad boy.


Not exactly the flyest Nike (model-wise) but IT'S MADE OF FUCKING MEAT. Which I don't eat cause that's a total dick-move.

Another GUARANTEED GOOD TIME can be found right here at I live for this sort of stuff. My personal favorite "feature" is the obviously faked and disabled comments section.

"Yo, my name is Russel, aka Chedda, and this is my blog. I was struggling with debts, bills and a son and lady to take care of. This is how I got a $12,000 check from the government in 30 days and start banking over $5,000 per month online. "


Fashion: Cool Clothes Bro part 2

So freaky deeky so fashion (fashion).

So freaky deeky so fashion (fashion).

A bunch of clothes for ya to look at, mostly shamelessly lifted from and

San Fran's Distilled dropped this Melton Toggle Jacket. Cool cords and deep front pockets for warmth. Purple!!!

Some ugly boots from the usually awesome Nom de Guerre collabo with Redwing. Wait, are these ugly? I can't decide. These might be dope. You can cop them at Nom De Guerre's NYC flagship on Dec. 26th for 285.

*Looks like David Z made a very similar boot in theirprevious collabo with Redwing. I think the NDG's look better but still....

Sweet V Neck Tape T-shirts from Martin Margiela who even Jadakiss name-dropped in a recent joint. (Oh and has anyone heard that swate new Jada joint where he rhyme about going "half on" a girl's baby with her.) Only 162 bucks which is a lot for a t-shirt but maybe not for MM:

Socks from Mukluk!!!! Hand-made! So awesome!

Snuggies! Okay so this isn't from Selectism or some hip fashion blog. This is just me. These things are so awesome. 2 for 20, with 2 free reading lights! It's a blanket with sleeves! So you'll never have to do that freakish hand movement of unwrapping your blanket from you to pick up the phone or do anything. If that one hand movement was like the most annoying thing you ever had to do, this product is a no-brainer. A senior co-worker said she'd buy me one if I wore this to work for an entire day. I'm torn because my coworkers think I'm weird enough but it's a Snuggie! I might have to do it.

APC's Spring 09 Pre-release should hit your hood soon. They won't be available online. I don't fit in any of their clothes.

Burberry Prorsum also dropped their new pre-collection for Spring 09. I'm digging these trenchcoats. I've grown to become a big fan of the trenchcoat.


S.N.S. Herning out of Denmark has some cool cardigans made on these machines people fucked with in the 1930's. Men weave all the time.

Via thefashionisto, here's some jawns from Martyn Bal's latest Spring collection. Marty Bal used to work for Dirk Bikkembergs, Dior Homme, Versace, and Burberry Prorsum. Ees so good:

Das German Kilian Kerner dropped his Spring 2009 looks:

I had no idea ACNE and Lanvin teamed up. Those two... well that's a pants creamer of a collabo innit.

Coleman Horn's Vael Project 2008 Holiday bags. Step your bag game up dog.

Whoaaa: Early arivals of Nike Spring 2009 Air Structure Triax.

And speaking of sneakers, check out this cool interview with favorite sneaker designers Common Project's Prathan "Peter" Poopat. I'm not 100% but I'm like 85% sure that dude is Indian which I didn't realize:


Music: Bollywood Stuff via Music From The Third Floor

Music from the Third Floor is my number one interweb stop for nostalgic Bollywood "beats, ballads, and bombs". PC, who runs the blog, is a big fan of RD Burman, Kalyanji Anandji, and Laxmikant Pyarelal so you get an idea of where we're going here. No? Oh, okay. It's mostly 60s and 70s stuff. Every now and then they put together a compilation recapping some favorites and thus we have Volume 4 including hits from Seeta Aur Geeta, Bobby, Alibaba Aur 40 Chor, and Ustad. Head here to download 75+ minutes of Indian music via RapidShare, Megaupload, ZShare, or Badongo.
And if India isn't enough color for ya, there's always Africa. Chris Edley, who'll be working with us on ze Taco Bell Pizza Hut video in a couple of months put me on to a great resource for obscure African music:


Music: Suckers

I've had Suckers stuck in the brain all morning. Suckers is a sweet band from Staten Island, New York. Wait, Brooklyn? Okay, Suckers is an awesome band from Brooklyn, New York. Led by Quinn Walker who's solo shit is solid as well, they are good doods. Suckers also includes Austin Fisher, Brian Aiken and a dood named PAN! I can't help but sing It Gets Your Body Moving as I speedwalk through tourists, bobbing and weaving through midtown. It sounds like a sweet campfire singalong. Best named Indian ever, Anand Wilder, is set to produce their record. They seem to get a lot of Animal Collective comparisons too - this is a very good thing. (Psyched to see AC Jan 20th). Support Suckers, suckers.

Download the incredibly awesome It Gets Your Body Movin' via Earfarm here:

Download "Horn Song" here via where it made # 5 in their top 20 of 2008 list:

This band will be famous.

Head here for more:

Suckas on myspace:


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rob Riggle's the Fucking Man

Rob Riggle's the fucking man. Remember HAMBONE in Aziz Ansari's "Clell Tickle" short? No? The Illusionator's sketch on Human Giant? No.... Well you probably know him from The Daily Show. This week was his last and they interviewed him to celebrate his tenure on the show. I've watched this at least 10 times in the last few weeks, specifically when Riggle falls asleep mid-interview and goes "WHAT?" with the greatest expression any man has ever made plastered across that marine-looking mug of his.

Ahhhahah ---- WHO'S SLEEPING NOW?

Sorry for lack of posting around here too, 2 faithful readers of mine. Holiday slump I guess... And speaking of the holidays, I leave you with a clip from my favorite Brit tv show, Goodness Gracious Me:


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poetry: Daljit Nagra, "Look We Have Coming to Dover!"

I came across Daljit Nagra while visiting Sepia Mutiny today. Similar to Bushra Rehman, but with more of a Brit angle, Nagra's poetry deals with identity and second-generation South Asians in the diaspora. (THaS LiKE My FAvORiTe ShiT sO CLeaRLy I wAS LikE, OMG~!!!) His book Look We Have Coming to Dover! is named after the title poem, a response to Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach". Here's the poem of his Sepia put up:

Rapinder Slips into Tongues…
by Daljit Nagra

Dad and me were watching the video—
Amar, Akbar, Anthony. It’s about three
brothers separated after the family is parted
by gangsters. You can get it with subtitles, Miss.
When Anthony, who grows up in a Catholic home,
begged Christ for the address of his real parents
then crossed himself, I jumped off our royal red
sofa, joined Anthony with his prayer:
Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary,
four-quartering myself then curtseying a little.

Dad just stared at me, knocking his turban side
to side that I almost thought it would come off
which it normally does when he’s doing his press-ups
and his face goes mauve. Instead he took off
his flip-flop (the one with a broken thong),
held it in the air, shouting in ‘our’ language,
Vat idiot! If you vant to call on Gud,
call anytime on anyvun of our ten gurus,
Do you tink is white Gud’s wife your mudder?

Dad’s got a seriously funny way Miss,
sometimes he cries, and says he’s going to give me
to a Sikh school, a proper school. That’s why
I did what my cousin Ashok does at our local
temple — while you were all doing hail mary
to end registration, I first locked my hands,
knelt down, prayed with this ditty we do on Sundays,

imagined the Golden Temple and our bearded gods
to your up-on-the-cross one, then roared:
Wahay Guru!
Wahay Guru!
Wahay Guru!
Like that.

For me, the jury's still out on the italicized Daddy Talk Funny in Broken English stuff but I haven't had time to read more of his work and form a real opinion. I guess I just really liked the reference to one of my favorite movies: Amar, Akbar, Anthony.

I mean, Amitabh, Vinod, and Rishi in one fillum??? Sick. You know who else likes Amar, Akbar, Anthony??

This dude who's picture I found while doing my daily Google image search of random Indian names, like Anand and Vishal, specifically to find pictures of dudes that look like this. Every now and then you get a sweet picture of an Indian dude pretending to be on a phone because phones are so not-3rd-World. I mean, I don't know if Vijay here really likes the movie but I figure prolly. Is dat racist?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bard in the News: FADER

Thanks for joining us for the inaugural session of Gordon Gartrelle's new weekly post: Bard in the News. This week there's a piece about bands at Bard:


Monday, December 15, 2008

Top 10 Songs of 2008 by Lee Pender of Boy Crisis

Lee Pender (right), who is a sex symbol and guitar-player in the boy band Boy Crisis, was kind enough to send a top 10 list my way. He made sure to not include songs that were on other people's lists so as not to bore you reader folk. Peep it:

10. with you forever - pnau

9. yacht - nevereverdid remix

8. dance wif me - dizzee rascal and calvin harris

7. chairlift - evident utensil (mgmt remix)

6. mgmt - of moons, birds and monsters

5. himanshu suri - thug handles

4. deerhunter - never stops

3. crystal castles - crimewave

2. jv basketball - young america

1. bear hands - long nails
Thanks Lee!


Events: Apliiq Launch, January 2nd

Back when I first launched Gordon Gartrelle, Steve Pristin ( and I approached his friends at Apliiq ( to help organize a launch party. Steve knows them folks and I thoroughly dig their clothing. I slowly fell out of the progress but props to Steve for getting this done.

Clear your calendars now - this will be the jump. Easily accessible in Williamsburg, the event will take place at Public Assembly and in addition to promotional gifts from apliiq and karmaloop (, Francis and the Lights (, Theophilus London (, Superdunny and Friends with Benefits will tear the house down. If you've never seen Francis play, this is a great opportunity to do so for free.
You have no reason not to go.
*** Unrelated, as we approach 2009 I've made some plans to expand here at Gordon Gartrelle. I've extended invitations to two cool doods and prospective bloggers that I believe share the general sense of humor and ethos of this here web log. One of them even had a proto-blog back in 2000 or something. Let's see what happens...


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top 20 Songs of 2008 by Victor Vazquez aka Kool A.D. of Boy Crisis/Das Racist/JV Basketball/That Other Other Shit

Starting with Victor here I'm going to attempt to have some people that play in real bands stop by with lists of their favorite jawns from 2008. Look out for more soon:

20. apache beat: your powers are magic
19. invisible circle: awestruck
18. the shoes: knockout
17. skoal kodiak: cticrough0708
16. crystal antlers: a thousand eyes
15. esau mwamwaya: chalo
14. lil wayne: a milli
13. kate ferencz: bright flying lightbulb
12. himanshu suri: boat trip
11. francis and the lights: night watchmen
10. chairlift: flying saucer hat
9. yeasayer: red cave
8. effi briest: wedding song
7. nite jewel: weak 4 me
6. swizz beats: that oprah
5. rye rye w/ mia: tic toc
4. leif: black magic
3. gang gang dance: house jam
2. m83: kim & jessie
1. mgmt: metanoia

*Look out for Flying Saucer Hat by Chairlift when that comes out - great. fucking. song. Like really good. - Hima


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gordon Gartrelle's Top 50 Songs of 2008

This shit was mad time consuming. Hope you appreciate it. And for the songs I didn't include a YouTube for you can always go to, type it in, and listen and/or download off of the blog link if its recent. Enjoy. *** Edit : I clearly overlooked The Walkmen's In the New Year and Nothing Ever Happpens, Never Stops and Agoraphobia by Deerhunter. I'm sure more will come to me.

50. Kings of Leon - Sex is on Fire - This one's a real guilty pleasure. The only song anyone at my office and I can talk about together.

49. Ron Browz f/ Jim Jones & Juelz Santana- Pop Champagne - Ron Browz is King of the Harlem Auto-Tune and I have to give DipSet some love in a year they've kept shit quiet.

48. Pwrfl Power - Tomato Song - Hahaha, I just like how sincere and goofy this dude is. I feel like I went to Stuy with him.

47. Grouper - Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping - This shit's like Natalie Portman.

46. El Guincho- Palmitos Park - This dude makes me want to rip Panda Bear off and make Indian music like he did with Latin music.

45. Air France - Collapsing at Your Doorstep - Awesome much?

44. Salem - Sweat - I could have gone with like 5 Salem songs in this spot but I think I like this one the most.

43. Chairlift - Planet Health - Look out for that Chairlift / Das Racist collabo entitled "Fashion Party". It's supposed to be on some Urban Outfitters compilation or something.

42. Boy Crisis - Ganglion of Lightnings - This was either going to be number 1 or 42.

41. Divine (Danger Remix) - Sebastian Tellier - I lost my shit when I saw Danger play this at the Crookers show.

40. Paper Planes - M.I.A. - I'm kind of tired of this shit but I wasn't earlier this year.

39. Women - Black Rice - Someone needed to remind me of the Shins and thus life as it was 4 years ago.

38. Amazing Baby - Pump Your Breaks - Cool dudes and extra points for a brown drummer.

37. Jay-Z - Jocking Jay-Z - He talks about using his mobile phone 50,000 feet in the air. How dope is that? He also says "fuck talking bout the recession it's just depressing"- word Jay.

36. Cut Copy - Lights and Music - I get my gay bedroom dancing on to this joint.

35. PRGz - Rollin - This might be from 2007 but I don't give a shit. Jackie Chain is the man.

34. Boy Crisis - L'Homme - This band sucks.

33. Beach House - D.A.R.L.I.N.G. - If I had someone to eat Brunch with on a Sunday morning this would play in the background while we ate the shit out of some poached eggs.

32. The Notwist (Panda Bear Remix) - Boneless - Panda Bear = God
Fan Video:

31. T.I. - Whatever You Like - I like how genuine the idea of offering someone you love ANYTHING they want is, especially considering how material of a world we live in and how much peoples posessions mean to them and how we're in a recession

30. Panda Bear (Phaseone Remix) - I'm Not - Also peep PhaseOne's Burial remix.

29. Q Tip - Move - I've literally never heard this song but I feel like it has to be on my list by virtue of appreciation of dude in previous years and his presence on everyone's list. Also someone said his album was better than Weezy's on the internet so it can't be that bad.

28. Fleet Foxes - Oliver James - This is some more straight up beautiful shit I wouldn't normally be all "OH MY GOD" about in public but OH MY GOD.

27. Ting Tings - That's Not My Name - They call me Hector! They call me Harish!

26. Swizz Beats - That Oprah - This shit blew my mind when it came out. I especially like when he talks about how only Jay-Z knows how much his new Basquiat cost him.

25. Hot Chip - One Pure Thought - This album dropped a while ago but I think this was the joint that stood out to me. What a cool video.

24. Passion Pit - Sleepyhead- This song wore out the fastest but it was only because of how many times I listened to it the first week I found it. I also stopped listening to it after I found out Ryder went to see them play.

23. Harlem - South of France - "And I hate every book I've everrr read, Wish I could take back the words I said!"

22. Dodos - Ashley

21. M83 - We Own The Sky - I remember listening to this a lot the last month I lived in Bushwick so it'll always remind me of that time.

20. Hercules & Love Affair - Blind - What a beautiful, gay song!!!

19. Francis & The Lights - Night Watchmen - I played the shit out of Francis' album A Modern Promise this year.

18. Lyyke Li - I'm Good I'm Gone - One of three appearances for Lykke on this list. Probably one of the better videos to drop this year.

17. Department of Eagles - No One Does It Like You - With the addition of all these slow, soft, acoustic-ass songs I'm coming off as pretty soft body, huh? Who am I kidding - y'all knew what the deal was.

16. Erykah Badu - Healer - I feel almost terrible for putting this at 16. What a fucking banger. Madlib on production. This is a 2-for-1 as I don't have any Madlib joints on the list this year.

15. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream - Really dig this faux-MGMT ass Australian shit.

14. Grizzly Bear - While You Wait for the Others (KCRW Live) - I guess this counts for 2008. It's on an album that should come out in '09 but they've played it live a bunch of times and it's been in heavy rotation all year.

13. Serani - No Games - Haha... I'm so serious on this though.

12. Mayer Hawthorne - Just Ain't Gonna Work Out - Just posted on this. Still can't believe it's a 29 year old white dude from Detroit.

11. Crystal Castles - Vanished - I could have gone with a number of tunes from this album but I liked how sparse this joint felt.

10. Lykke Li - Little Bit - What can I say about this song that hasn't been said about Empanadas? It's fucking awesome.

9. TV On The Radio - Love Dog - It's been a month or so since I revisited this album, which is one of my favorite on the year, but I feel like this one stuck out the most. Beautiful!

8. Koushik - Nothing's The Same - Why isn't this in an Ipod ad already? Here's a stupid fan video...

7. Lil Wayne - A Millie - This may be on the list as much for the beat as the rhymes. I'd take Swizz Beats rhyming on this any day and still put it at number 7. Even Corey Gunz ALONE.

6. Animal Collective - Water Curses - This will have to do the trick for me until every song from Merriweather Post Pavilion takes the top slots in my 2009 list.

5. Gang Gang Dance - Princes f/ Tinchy Stryder or House Jam or First Communion - An album that made me reappreciate Bollywood and AR Rahman who can't be on this list and made walking around New York fun and was good to jump around to, etc. etc.

4. Lykke Li - Dance, Dance, Dance - Barely beat out Little Bit for Lykke's song of the year in my eyes. I heard the other one earlier this year - maybe late last year - so it could just be that this one's newer to me.
Video with Bon Iver:

3. Esau Mwamwaya - Chalo - This fucked my brain when I heard it. Like, why the fuck is Phil Collins appropriating African languages now?

2. Kid Cudi - Day n Nite (Crookers Remix) - Maybe if I didn't know those other fools this would be number 1. Or if you don't count that as 2008, this is number 1. I like how he's a lonely stoner too!!!!!

1. MGMT - Electric Feel - Yeah, you knew it was coming.


Materialism: Shit I'm Waiting For In The Mail

Unrelated, I'm writing a piece about an Indian dude that works at a KFC in Jamaica, Queens and day dreams about all types of crazy shit. May post it soon.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh my god...

Sorry to get all "Xanga" on you but this shit happened to me this weekend and it's a little scary:

Mom: Himanshu, I found a girl for you...

Himanshu: Ugh, what are you talking about? It's like 11:00 AM. Why are you calling me?

Mom: She's smart. She's in medical school and lives in New Jersey. She's very pretty; even chubby like you.

Himanshu: Wait -

Mom: No no no, she's not even mildly related to us. She's Deepak Mama from Delhi's best friend's younger sister.

Himanshu: OK.... Are you kidding me? Like, are you serious right now?

Mom: I'm just saying, you're 24. It's time you start thinking about marriage.

Himanshu: Is this some type of arranged marriage crap you're pulling? Something inspired by those terrible Indian dramas (novelas)?

Mom: Not arranged, assisted... and I don't watch that much, I only follow three or four dramas these days.

Himanshu: I'm going to ignore this and hope it doesn't happen again. Also, I'm going to start looking for apartments now. Thanks for the call ma. Byeeeee!!!!

Arranged Marriage - Apache Indian:


Music: Mayer Hawthorne & the County

















Return to Art: TV Santosh

I've been slacking on posting about any Indian art as I haven't really come across anything new that inspires me lately. Enter TV Santhosh:

TV Santhosh (1968- ) is an artist based in Mumbai.

Santhosh was born in Kerala, India. His paintings are based on images taken from the news media which Santhosh renders in solarised color schemes - like photo negatives. (Sidebar: A friend of mine in high school went to school as "photo negative man" on Halloween once. Just looked like a racist to me.) He started as a sculptor but turned to painting eventually.

Santhosh engages with the urgent questions of history, art history and popular visual culture – the idioms of contemporary politics and culture. His works focus on the immediate manifestation of the relationship between knowledge and power getting translated into images of laboratories, battlefields, machine guns, roses, and mushroom clouds of nuclear fall out.

I really feel the colors dude fucks with.


Incredibly Cute News: Kittens in Cups + Other Shit

Also, I found this photo on the internet 3 years ago and decided to post it for no apparent reason.

This video of Snoop Dogg on Martha Stewart has been making the rounds lately. Peep Snoop and his homegirl from New Jersey:


Friday, December 5, 2008



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Music: Das Racist - Charles & Beck Remix

Head over to ISMELLLIKEMONEY.COM for the world premiere of Charles & Beck's awesome remix of Pizza Hut Taco Bell:

And for your enjoyment, via Ryder Shannon Fleming-Jones, a vide of a monkey fucking with a tiger:

And here's a walrus playing the saxophone:

Not entirely unrelated, here's Kermit the Frog singing LCD Soundsystem's New York I Love You..


Monday, December 1, 2008

Books and Shit: Junot Diaz + Aravind Adiga

Barnes & Noble Booksellers #2675
33 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003

STR:2675 REG:009 TRN:9092 CSHR:Noemi S

White Tiger
(1 @ 14.00)
Brief Wondrous Life of O(scar Wao)
(1 @ 14.00)

Thanks for shopping at:
Barnes & Noble
V101.16 12/01/2008 04:14PM

Which should I read first? If past performance is indicative of future results, I'll tell you how both are in a year or something.

Please head here to download Harlem's South of France which I listened to 5 times on my way to work today... "I hate every book I've ever read!"


Mumbai... Scattered Thoughts

I've been trying to digest all of this. I didn't know what to think. I still don't. This past weekend I'd wake up and immediately tune to MSNBC to see what was going on in Mumbai. Usually one to get a rise out of an uncle with hereditary hatred for Muslims I'd be lying if a bit of his hatred didn't rub off on me. Rhetoric I previously passionately spoke up against rang through my head processed by filters that gave them attention I previously wouldn't. I still don't know what to think but I'm done placing blame. In the end, it's not about Muslims or Hindus of course. It's not about past versus present. As an admitted Diaspora-nut I'm used to thinking of things in dualities but it's not about this culture versus that culture. I remember talking to a friend about it in a far too casual way: "Why can't these dudes just watch a movie and chill out? Eat some food or smoke a hookah and relax? All the time... infidel, bomb, bomb, infidel..." Probably not the best way to think about this.

And then I thought of 9/11. I thought of sitting in class and seeing the events occur on the news while simultaneously seeing them occur outside of our classroom window. I thought of how chaotic the third-floor atrium was that day. I thought of people's cell phones not working and my parents trying to reach me. I remembered the dust. I thought of how my Hindu friends and my Muslim friends came together to walk miles in a group of 30+, sometimes carrying a friend with a broken foot. I recalled a speech I made to a crowded Brooklyn Tech auditorium about not wilding out on Muslims in this confusing time. I thought of people yelling at a Muslim girl we were with and the hijab she wore. I remember us defending her. I began to wonder why this time around I was so quick to place blame and get on my hate grind when previously I was quicker to get on my defense grind. It's strange, this diaspora business - relating to a country I've been to 3 times more than one I've lived in for 23 years. THAT AIN'T RIGHT.

Something Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City, wrote in his New York Times Op-Ed stood out to me. "And now it looks as if the latest terrorists were our neighbors, young men dressed not in Afghan tunics but in blue jeans and designer T-shirts." I've heard some of them were British citizens. If that's the case, they could have easily been American citizens. They could have been people I grew up with in Queens or went to high school with at Stuy. What interests me is that the media doesn't focus on the possibility that some of these guys are from our Western world, but instead that they targeted those from the Western world. When you look at the number of Western citizens killed versus those from India, the numbers don't add up. I keep hearing reports of the terrorists asking for British and American passports, though 2 American residents, 1 American ex-pat, and 1 British resident seem to have been the only victims. The targets seem to be South Asians who embraced Western Culture more so than Westerners that embraced South Asian culture and that's a key distinction. Mumbai is where you would find most Indians who embrace Western Culture.

It's ironic then that the Taj would be a target. Though it houses the world's wealthiest now, its origin is one the terrorists could have been proud of. As the winner of the Booker Prize, Aravind Adiga, writes in the Times (of UK): "In the 19th century, the legend goes, an Indian tycoon was refused admission into a whites-only hotel; he decided to start an hotel where a man would never be judged by the colour of his skin." I've dined at the Taj. I shopped there. It was rad. I don't know if it's related to recent events or perhaps my appreciation of Slumdog Millionaire or reappreciation of Indian films or living at home again - whatever - but more than anything, and much to the shagrin of my parents because of those same recent events, I want to go back to Mumbai. In a way it was more modern than New York to me. The people, the fashion, the scents in the air, the food (sorry), the music, the general vybezzz never left me.

As Mehta put it, "the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder."
Here's "O Saya" by AR Rahman and MIA from Slumdog's soundtrack:


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Music: "The Strangest Organ is the Human Heart"

New Das Racist song up:

Also, come see us play at The Delancey with Rumspringa on Dec. 5th. It's a Friday! We'll even practice if you promise you'll come. I promise.

In closing, the following is the best song ever. Have you ever gotten into a random Acura Legend on Delancey to sit down next to an attractive Latina girl for 2 minutes to take part in a shady transaction? You're kind of afraid but kind of excited. You're nervous but capitivated by the intoxicating mix of sheer beauty and raw "I know people that can break your legs - like, mad people." You begin to wonder - is this what love is? Then all of a sudden the following song plays on Hot 97 and you think to yourself... maybe, but I better get the f out of this car. A week later you hear the song on the radio and think of your ride-or-die chick with a heart of gold. In fact, every time you hear that song you think of her. You think "one day I'll save you and we'll listen to that song on No Way Out where Diddy rhymes about dating a Spanish girl... one day mami."


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