Posted by: martinworster | December 21, 2018

I think my minds been hacked by a Russian bot

It’s hard to know what is real and isn’t in this continually deceptive post-truth era we live in. Gone are the days of fixed truths that can – sort of – be externally objectively grasped. Instead – particularly when coming from the mouth of President Trump – you begin to doubt the honesty, agenda and truth of everything. Mix in the pervasiveness of technology and the meddling of Russians and it makes for very shifty times.

Let’s face it, almost everything that comes from President Trumps mouth is an unedited stream of diarrhoea that is at best non-sensical and worst total lies. One day one thing is said. The next the complete opposite. One lie is told. Then a counter lie once the first lie is exposed. Until we are lost in a web of lies. A volley of ranting tweets probably composed whilst on the golden throne of his toilet, echoing and emulating what lies beneath; farts, bad smells, bile and shit. It’s just a continual noisy drama perhaps contrived to create a diversion from all the terrible things that are actually happening.

What with Trump – and Brexit – I’ve kind of checked out of the mainstream media rolling news cycle. It’s just a barrage of angry talking heads, perpetual conflict and pointless drama. How do the politicians get anything done in this climate? It seems like they don’t. It also appears like no one has a clue – particularly when it comes to Brexit – of what they are doing. Brexit is such a complicated beast as Britain is so intrinsically linked to Europe – the dismantling of it will create infinite permutations of different negative outcomes and scenarios. The Irish border, Scottish independence, Brits living abroad, EU funding to Universities, the collapse of the GBP, EU nationals living in the UK, farming subsidies, economic recession, European travel. So many interest groups, other countries and economies will be negatively effected. No one leader could ever effectively navigate this. And why would they want to? I am connecting Brexit and Trump in terms of both votes being largely influenced by immigration, the rise of the right wing and affected by Russian meddling via social media. Oh, yes, and both are very bad ideas. These truly are dark and disturbing times.

Facebook and News
Many people now get their news from Facebook. I do not use it as my news source but I do see news stories from various individuals and organisations on Facebook (and other social media platforms) being promoted. When I do, I always wonder and question their source and validity. Particularly when it comes to the older generation, it’s quite easy to distort and promote fake news. I’ve seen many older relatives and friends share clearly bogus, far right fake stories like this:

‘Share if you think it’s wrong you can’t wear a Poppy’
‘Share if you think it’s wrong that Tesco refused a British soldier service to avoid offending Muslims’

Etc Etc

Anyone can use Photoshop easily to quickly create a gif promoting propaganda to be widely shared on social media in the hope it goes viral and hence influences the minds of various demographics via dis-information. It’s a twitchy, Black Mirror mash up of Orwellian and Kafkaesque prophesies creating a perpetual anxious smudge on any reasonable debate. The Russian’s interfered in both the Trump and Brexit votes via troll farms and bot factories adopting various technical tactics to influence the outcome of both the voting in of Trump and the Brexit referendum. For Putin, a weakened Europe with Britain no longer in it plays right into his geo-political agenda, perhaps mainly facilitating Russian expansionism in the Ukraine.

Almost every day I see negative stories about Trump in my news feed. He’s opened up public land for oil drilling. He’s set up detainment centres for immigrant children on the border. He again dismissed Russian interference in the election. Intensified a trade war with China. Pulls out of the Climate Change agreement. Criticsizes the UN. Implements a travel ban for individuals from mainly Muslim countries. Etc etc. Repeat ad infintum. These are just a few examples I quickly thought of. It shows how news from your social media channels amplifies what you already know and creates a polarized view of the world and can invite – particularly in the US – a visceral hatred of the leader who has views different from your own. I remember how with many Republican’s Obama seeem to be really hated with a vengeance. You might not agree with everything Obama did (and I didn’t) but he was clearly a decent guy who had a heart. Obama is everything Trump isn’t: educated, intelligent, compassionate, self-made and reasonable.

I don’t hate Trump but he does represent everything I don’t agree with. I think he is an old fool who is very much out of his depth. I am amazed at the thickness of his skin – he seems to deflect stories and situations that would have ejected any other President out of their job years ago. He’s a divisive nut job who is clearly has a personality disorder and seems to be suffering from senility. The lunatic has definitely taken over the asylum. But at last, it looks like the wheels on the clown car might finally be coming off.

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Posted by: martinworster | December 12, 2018

Echo & The Bunnymen @ Immanuel Church, Los Angeles 5.12.18

Echo & The Bunnymen @ Immanuel Church, Los Angeles 5.12.18

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Posted by: martinworster | December 10, 2018

Jorja Smith, The Wiltern Los Angeles 27.11.18

Jorja Smith, The Wiltern Los Angeles 27.11.18

Totally mesmerized by the talent of this young girl from the West Midlands, UK. Superstar in the wings. Watch this space.

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Posted by: martinworster | December 10, 2018

The Orb, Teragram Ball Room, Los Angeles 21.11.18

The Orb, Teragram Ball Room, Los Angeles 21.11.18

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Posted by: martinworster | November 29, 2018

The Selecter, Anaheim, Nov 13 2018

The Selecter, House of Blues, Anaheim, Nov 13 2018

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Posted by: martinworster | November 22, 2018

Khruangbin, The Wiltern, Los Angeles, November 11 2018

Khruangbin

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Going in to seeing Khruangbin I was a tad sceptical about how their sound would deliver live. They only have two largely instrumental albums and I though it might wane a bit. It didn’t. In fact the opposite. My expecations were more than exceeded. How do you describe them? I don’t know. I will try; surf rock with a dubby bassline, mildly psychedelic, atmospheric, groovy, a slight Mod nod turning a bit porn soundtrack via Memphis style Booker and the MGs funk after a layover in New Orleans. They’ve done their homework. And clearly practiced a lot. The lead guitarist Mark Speer looked a bit cartoon George Harrison in his wig. Ably assisted by Laura Lee on bass adding funky, sexy, maternal basslines. Sometimes they did formation dancing which sounds cheesy but it wasn’t. The soundscape is one of ‘less is more’ aesthetics – not trying to ram everything down your throat and letting the space talk. I came away wanting more.

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Posted by: martinworster | November 16, 2018

Morrissey, Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles November 1 2018

Morrissey performs live at the ‘Microsoft Theatre’… Oh the irony…

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Posted by: martinworster | October 30, 2018

Gruff Rhys @ The Echo, Oct 24 2018

Gruff Rhys @ The Echo, Oct 24 2018

Welsh indie rocker Gruff Rhys – from Super Furry Animals – at the Echo on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

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Below: The excellent Lorkin O’Reilly – Scottish folksy singer song writer – warming up for Gruff Rhys.

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Posted by: martinworster | October 30, 2018

Tom Misch @ OC Observatory, Oct 21 2018

Tom Misch @ OC Observatory, Oct 21 2018

Tom Misch – how does such a young (23) South London geezer have so much talent? It’s the second time I’ve seen him this year and I’m again blown away. He writes hook-laden melodic jazz funk numbers with sophisticated arrangements but enough pop sensibility to retain engagement – and live he takes it to another level. It helps with a band like his. I love how a violin becomes a lead instrument. How the crowds whoop at jazzy guitar licks and saxophone solos. George Benson nervously looks over his shoulder. It’s just quality musicianship – good time funky music. The sold out crowd – and me – laps it up.

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Posted by: martinworster | October 20, 2018

Spiritualized @ The Orpheum, Los Angeles October 16 2018

Jason Pierce – from Spaceman 3 and Spiritualised at The Orpheum in Downtown Los Angeles.

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