Monday 23rd April 2018
Off to the Village Underground in Shoreditch tonight to watch one of the most mesmerising concerts I have been to for a long time. Ariwo, an experimental jazz/fusion combo produced one of those sets that stays on one’s mind long after the lights have been turned off.
More than mere fusion, Ariwo specialises in a hitherto little-explored musical phenomenon: that of the crossover of electronica and Afro-Cuban beats. The band’s emphasis on sound (hence the name Ariwo, which translates as “noise” from Yoruba) is evident all the way throughout their set, rendering the concert a deep sonic experience. Trumpet loops, saxophone riffs and conga solos turned the night into both a foot-tapping and eyes-closed, fists-clenched experience.
Wednesday 25th April 2018
What draws the spectator into Une Jeunesse Allemande from the word go is the fact that there once was a type of cinema that was radical and uncompromising. In the current cinematic climate of endless comic book franchises A German Youth was a much-needed, much-welcomed visual balm. Even allowing for some bourgeois-driven idealism, the times the documentary depicts — the 60s and 70s and the foundation of the Red Army Faction in West Germany — were characterised by a questioning of the status quo. That the means used were not always the right ones, the film does go out of its way to tell us. At the same time it also provides a very helpful historical background. This is the period when various leftist movements emerged in the US, Italy, Germany and France. To understand Une Jeunesse Allemande, one needs to understand first the level of dissatisfaction of the post-war youth movement.
When the lights came back on in the auditorium of the Goethe Institut, I turned around to see who my fellow spectators were. Judging by their faces, I gather there were at least a dozen members in the audience who would have been either teenagers during the period the documentary charts (1965–1975) or young adults. I walked back to the tube station wondering if they, too, had been part of the Red Army Faction, or at least sympathetic to their cause. It is a peculiar pastime of mine these days; to wonder what other lives are like.