Saturday, May 28, 2011

R I P: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

From BBC today. Do read on here; includes two good videos.

"US musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron, often called the Godfather of Rap, has died in a New York hospital aged 62.

The cause of his death is not clear, but he is believed to have become ill after returning from a visit to Europe.

Scott-Heron's material spanned soul, jazz, blues and the spoken word. His 1970s work heavily influenced the US hip-hop and rap scenes.

His work had a strong political element - one of his most famous pieces was The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." [ I recall someone quoting it to me on September 11, 2011, which Gil would have found ironic I think.]

I remember, What's the word? Johannesburg! (watch this live vid) and In the Bottle as being truly revolutionary musical artforms that altered the way I perceived music, the despair of his Winter In America words we felt and heeded in the godhelpus-madison-avenue-co-opted 70s, and am grateful to the friends I knew who were diehard Scott-Heron devotees for turning me on to his work. You still out there, Foss? Percy Uptight? But his work wasn't all politics; there were songs of deep affection and love as well. I wonder what the circle of hip hop artists will do to honor this man's passing. Surely something.

It's a sad day. Feels like a good friend is gone.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised performed by Gil here. Check out other videos by him at youtube.

Also via BBC, in an irony I've no doubt Gil would have appreciated even as we mourn his loss, the US congress, aware of our Memorial weekend distractions, and under cover of, literally, darkness, was busy renewing expiring unconstitutional features of the US Patriot Act, as in:

"The US Congress has voted to renew three expiring provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act which increase surveillance powers."

NOTE: "The four-year extension was approved in the Senate just hours before the deadline at midnight ."

The bill was then sent to the House of Representatives, where it passed by a 250-153 vote. Check out the Senate voters here.

"The provisions enable law-enforcement officials to conduct continued surveillance on suspects who switch phones [??], monitor "lone-wolf" suspects who are not linked to known terrorist groups [are you one?], and gain access to suspects' business transactions." [FYI, and lest you're under some illusion, the govt. is and has been doing this for years according to this man who helped invent the software the NSA uses to monitor all of our calls, emails and other coms. We haven't heard the last of his story.]

Oblimey will be signing it with an autopen as he's busy in France and doesn't want to get his hands dirty with Bush's law – coward.

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