25 September 2008

Interview with Lerue Delashay

Lerue Delashay
Lerue Delashay is a Los Angeles based composer who specialises in ominous soundscapes. His multifaceted career kicked off with a stint as the keyboard player in the symphonic metal band Theatre of the Macabre.

Since then, he has written and performed the film scores of several films, including The Homecoming, Book of Lore and Dead Men Do Tell Tales. In addition to his film scores, he also released several excellent solo albums of brooding, introspective neo-classical and ambient compositions.

With the release of the latest Lerue Delashay album, The Cycle of Fifths, Lerue was kind enough to grant The Necro Files an interview.

NF: First things first. Your new album, "The Cycle of Fifths", was mastered by Hollywood engineer John Rodd. How would you describe your working experience with him?

Lerue: John is an extremely professional Engineer who was very proficient in his craft and had a wonderful ear for bringing out the richness and character of the music. His vast experience in Mixing and Recording Classical and Orchestral film music helped him to bring the most out in my compositions, and I was very fortunate that he was interested in working together.

NF: Would you name 5 of your favourite composers?

Lerue: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Peter Ilyach Tchaikovski, Igor Stravinski, Alfred Schnittke.

NF: Could you name some of your favourite compositions?

Lerue: Degas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Verdi - Requiem Mass.
Wagner - The Flying Dutchman Overture, Ride of the Valkeries, Ring of the Nebilinglund cycle.
Tchaikovski - Marche Slav, Pathetique Symphony.
Holst - The Planets cycle.
Orff - Carmina Burana.
Stravinski - The firebird, Rite of Spring.
Schnittke - String Quartet series.

NF: You recorded a metal album (A Paradise of Flesh & Blood, with Theatre of the Macabre). Do you still enjoy metal?

Lerue: On occasion, though I tend towards the nostalgic music that I grew up with when listening to metal, and have not kept up on current music.

NF: Have you ever been ostracised due to your beliefs? Does it bother you either way?

Lerue: My beliefs are my own, I tend to not wear them as a badge and therefore do not become a martyr.

NF: Besides being an accomplished classical composer and an accomplished solo artist, you also worked with CD 1334. Please describe your working experience with the original Christian Death members?

Lerue: CD 1334 was an interesting experience, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to play music that I had listened to as a young man. They had a great sense of dramatic imagery and the music still had an impressive sound, which brought to the stage made for many wonderful performances.

NF: Recently, you've composed some film scores. Is this something you particularly enjoy, or do you just do it to pay the bills?

Lerue: Certainly, I do enjoy creating music for film, and I have a deep passion for writing music which accompanies the drama and action that unfolds as the movie tells its story.

NF: How did you learn music theory? Did you have formal training or did you teach yourself?

Lerue: I have had no formal training, and a majority of my acquired knowledge has come from my personal studies of harmony, counterpoint and Orchestration. I have been approached by an accomplished Composer who studied for twelve years at the Rome Conservatory who wished to tutor me on advanced techniques though, and so my studies with him will commence shortly.

NF: Pirates or ninja?

Lerue: Books.

NF: What would Cthulhu do?

Lerue: Let me try and write my favourite Quote from Lovecraft.

"The most merciful thing in the world, I believe, Is the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents. We live on a placid isle of tranquillity amidst the black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each striving in their own direction, have hitherto harmed us little. But one day, they shall open up such terrifying vistas, and of our place therein, that we shall either go mad from the blinding light, or stumble forth into the dawn of a new dark age"

I memorized this quote for its elegant structure and divine meaning. Lovecraft was certainly more than a pulp writer, and his style to this day still draws me in.

I would like to express my gratitude to Lerue Delashay for taking time from his busy schedule to grant me this interview. Thanks very much!

External Links

13 September 2008

Stop violence against women in South Africa

It is no secret that I have a pet hate for feminists. A bunch of women could have no equals in mastering hysteria. Some sources of my amusement for feminists are rooted in their irrational actions.

Learning your As, Bs and Cs

Feminists trashed bras to protest against beauty pageants. They saw brassieres as symbols of oppression. These 'instruments of torture' were interpreted as symbols of enforced femininity. This is irrational because the modern brassiere was invented, developed and patented by a woman. Mary Phelps Jacob, the mother of the melons, registered a patent for the first open back brassiere in 1910.

First brassiere
The first brassiere as we know it. You did this to yourselves, ladies!

Ida Rosenthal (with the reluctant help of her husband – yeah right, about as reluctant as Hugh Heffner to find a new Playmate) noticed that not all lumps of love where equal. Funny that no man is an island yet each person is as deep as the ocean and just as unequal. Ida devised a way for this instrument of torture to hug and cuddle each breast with the endearment it deserved by inventing a standard for different cup sizes.

Before Ida, men and women had a largely androgynous look. Strange how androgyny always comes about when we are about to embark on one of Toffler's ages. Ida is responsible for turning women from Boyishform Flappers into Maidenhood stunners who caused as many cases of blindness by poking as they did horse cart accidents.

Even the name bra was coined by women, for women. Mary registered the name, although the word brassiere is a French word which refers to military armour designed to protect the arms. I can fathom how a set of double Ds can protect your arms in combat – not just a fancy double barrel slingshot. I can also understand how waging a full scale carpet bombing invasion could be equated with the brave deed of motherhood. I wonder if you would then be permitted to call a French soldier without a bra unarmed? No wonder they couldn't take Russia.

Burning bras to rebel against enforced femininity is as rational as burning stav churches to protest against enforced Christianity. Besides, what would a male who had been circumcised right after birth burn or trash to protest against enforced masculinity? I have news for you, bra burning tomboys: you can trash a brassiere but foreskin does NOT grow back and no amount of calamari rings is going to replace that skullcap.

But I digress, as I often do when I start thinking about voluptuous breasts. This post is actually serious. I have no problem with admitting that I am a male chauvinist pig, but I also happen to have a streak of justice in me, so I had to get this off my chest.

Getting abreast of the topic

In a recent thoughtleader entry, Charlene Smith did a post entitled I've had it with men in this country. My reaction was: "Oh, here we go. Another day, another bra burnt". After reading the article – coupled with some forum discussions on the Zapiro cartoon and how serious portrayals of rape are – I was shocked.

The way I was raised implied that a real man was a tough guy who could battle the crocodiles on the muddy banks of the Limpopo river in order to procure leather for home made undies. Sure, this is a very traditional view of masculinity, but it is not only conquering. It is also very nurturing, because bravery and valour imply honour.

An honourable Rambo or Chuck Norris would never in his life even think about forcing a women into the position of Lady Justice as depicted in the recent Zapiro cartoon. Even if she does have a mullet. This is precisely why I was shocked to learn about the dishonourable attitudes and actions of the majority of South African men.

You should read Charlene's post for her take on things, but I did some research and found some more shocking statistics on the People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) site:
  • Every 26 seconds, a woman is raped in South Africa. Guys who treat women like masturbation aids should be kicked in the nuts, by guys bigger and tougher than them.

  • 85% of South African rapes are gang rapes. Dude, not even animals do that. This is beyond bloody disgusting. That is someone's mother, someone's daughter, someone's sister! It could be YOURS!

  • For every 4 women, 1 is in an abusive relationship. We're not talking emotional abuse here, we're talking wearing shades and telling your friends you fell over the dog kind of abuse. That's a quarter of our ladies. This has to stop.

  • Less than 2% of reported rapes are false alarms, yet out of the reported 400 rapes in 2007, only 17 (?!?!?!?!?!?!) even made it to court. Of that 17, only 1 perpetrator was convicted.

    That means, of the 400 reported rapes, if 98% were legitimate, 1 out of 392 perpetrators was convicted. That's only 0,25%. And we wonder why most rapes don't get reported! Percentage wise, girls get more calories in rice cakes than the proportion of rape perpetrators getting convicted.

  • In 1998, only 7% of the reported rapists were prosecuted. This, coupled with the recent rape case in which Jacob Zuma was acquitted, has seriously damaged the faith our ladies have in the system.

Not having faith in the system is alarming enough when you consider that the government is systematically disarming our citizenry and that political big shots are conveniently unlikely to get a fair trial. It is a much more grave scenario when women are left without the ability to defend themselves and the system which is in place in lieu of weapons is also inadequate.

Most rapes occur thanks to the aid of a knife. Now, to use a rock, paper, scissors analogy, knives are like paper and guns are like scissors. Knives are like rocks and guns are like paper. You could take out an 8 armed rock, paper, scissors champion and rapist with a gun.

While I know some girls who could drink me under the table and who could knock out Mike Tyson (I'd actually like to introduce Mike to them), let's face it: as far as averages go, women are the weaker sex. It is our responsibility as knuckle-dragging, beer guzzling, farting, sniffing, rugby watching Neanderthals to take care of women.

Chivalry does not get old. Don't let it die.

External links of shame

11 September 2008

Zapiro and the Zuma cartoon of the African Renaissance

Zapiro is a controversial cartoonist who rose to fame during apartheid. His nonchalant portrayals of former South African president P.W Botha as a big crocodile was partly garnered from and partly responsible for the groot krokodil (big crocodile) nickname of Botha.

With the advent of our integrated democracy, Zapiro shifted gears and focused on the new boss. First, there were endearing portrayals of Madiba as being more famous than the pope (which, in our part of the world, is in fact the case. Dude, Madiba is bigger than Jesus here. Madiba is bigger than John Lennon here!). Then, there were portrayals of president Thabo Mbeki as an aloof well, loof, who is more concerned with earning Voyager miles and smoking his madala pipe than running a country. None of these bitter satirical portrayals were however pills too bitter to swallow.

Enter Jacob Zuma, a dictator in the making. From his all too frequent run-ins with the law, to his all too frequent attempts at censoring the press, to his attempts at sowing discord among our excellent (and, mind you, ANC appointed) judiciary, to his dismal level of education, to the vitriolic company he keeps who threaten to kill those who do not support Zuma's cause, the man is quite frankly just asking to be ridiculed.

Zapiro Zuma cartoon
This is it: the controversial Zapiro cartoon. That is, the latest one. Hopefully not the last! Used without permission.

Who could be a better man for the job of pulling down Zuma's trousers and giving him six of the best than Zapiro, the man with 'ballpoints of steel' and vanguard of freedom of speech?

How to miss the point of the Zapiro cartoon

  • There are many women who have pointed out that rape is not an issue that should be taken lightly. Let me ask you this: if rape is nothing to be taken lightly, then surely you would expect a judicial system that is stable, free from favour and free from prejudice, to fell judgement on those who are guilty of such a vile and barbaric deed?

    To respond to the Zapiro cartoon with a beaten wife syndrome knee-jerk reaction, is missing the point

  • There are some (not surprisingly, the same folk who threaten to kill anti-revolutionary forces) who pointed out that the cartoon is racist. Racist? In what way? By portraying Zuma and his cohorts like thugs - as they do come across when one only considers their words and their deeds, without considering their level of eduction, their gender, or their race? If a Taiwanese lady boy threatened to kill people who do not support their cause and they get treated with the indignity they deserve, would it be a racist issue? If the answer is no, it's definitely not a racist issue.

    Let's put this in perspective. You could portray lady justice as a cross-dressing Taiwanese lady boy, but I fear not many would recognise lady justice as lady justice. In the same way, you could portray the Mona Lisa as a black man, but then it won't be Mona Lisa. The fact remains that lady justice, along with the rule of law, is a distinctly Western notion and she is traditionally depicted as a blindfolded, white marble statue of a Greek lady. Now, I may not be politically correct here, but to the best of my knowledge, Greeks consider themselves Caucasian.

    For the slow readers: the lady in question is not a white madam, it is lady justice. She is an abstract concept, but it does not surprise me at all that the members of the Zuma revolution could not recognise justice if it kicked them in the balls while they try to rape her, let alone being portrayed in a meticulously executed political comic.

    To turn the Zapiro cartoon into a race issue is missing the point. Especially when the demographic representation in the cartoon reflects the demographics of our country (five black people to every white person - actually that's too many black people and not nearly enough Taiwanese lady boys).

  • Then there are those who argue that freedom of speech should be free, but not that free. This is certainly a debatable point. Many compare this portrayal of Zuma raping the justice system with Malema and Vavi's threats to eliminate and kill anti-revolutionary forces. Not so.

    Our constitution holds that freedom of speech is free, except when that speech condones or incites violence. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but suggesting that a public person who is calling for political solutions to his own legal problems is raping the justice system is a far cry from calling for violence.

    To turn the Zapiro cartoon into a half-baked excuse for censoring the press, is missing the point. It merely proves us Zuma critics right. There is something fishy brewing around this whole Zuma issue, which we will only be able to lay to rest by allowing lady justice to take her course. That is, with due respect for the rule of law.

How to get the Zapiro cartoon

  • One word: satire. Political cartoons are meant to initiate discussion. We are talking about women being abused, reputations at stake, racism, the ruling party's threats to our judiciary and, thankfully enough, about Zuma's fitness for office.

    If you've thought or talked about the Zapiro cartoon (preferably in that order), you got the point.

  • Rape is disgusting. Short of killing someone, it is the most vile deed you could possibly do to another person. While the manner in which Zuma's obvious disregard of the justice system is portrayed may raise a few eyebrows, it is certainly a very apt metaphor.

    If you've considered the message instead of the way the message was portrayed in the cartoon, you got the point.

  • Imagine a world without freedom of the press. In this world, South Africa is still under apartheid, because without freedom of the press, no amount of pseudo-military training in Africa would ever have presented a real threat to the apartheid government. Without freedom of the press, South Africa would not have experienced economic sanctions, entertainment bans, sports bans and general upturn of noses due to apartheid.

    If you've started discussing what freedom of speech means to you and to the process of democracy, then you got the point.

We need to think very carefully about the leaders we elect. It's time to realise that the days of someone leading our country by divine right are over. Thanks to democracy, we are now directly responsible for our leaders. The government works for us, and not the other way around. Thanks to Zapiro, more of us will realise this.

If you looked at the Zapiro cartoon and you started thinking and talking about the fitness of Jacob Zuma to hold office, you got the point.

Disclaimer: this post is obviously an attempt at link baiting. I'm discussing the Zapiro cartoon to get sweet, sweet traffic.

If you read this post and thought: "What a cheap way to get hits!", then you got the point.

External links

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