Archive for October, 2010

Bloody diamonds

Friday, October 29th, 2010

What are diamonds?

Lumps of carbon and the hardest substance known to humans. So is that why enslaved people die fighting over them and huge profits are generated selling them?

Not really. This happens because of superstition and greedy people. Let’s try a different question, What are diamond jewels?

Shiny gravel. For some reason, shiny gravel has an inexplicable attraction for humans. This causes all the trouble.

In a lot of ways, we are still primitive natives, seduced by beads and gewgaws. We give away real wealth for trinkets and fall under the spell of specious superstition and lies – for example, shiny gravel is rare and exclusive.

It might have been once, but since De Beers established a monopoly on shiny gravel production and distribution, its rarity value has been carefully manipulated to maintain that illusion. De Beers has billions of pounds worth of shiny gravel locked away in huge warehouses like a giant dam, preventing them from flooding the market. Through various dirty tricks and special circumstances, De Beers has managed to perpetuate its monopoly and its superstitious beliefs for over 100 years.

But here is where it gets really spooky. Eventually, technology and capitalism caught up with De Beers and innovative engineers could grow shiny gravel in a laboratory. This meant factories could be set up to start mass producing shiny gravel with the economies of scale that would allow cheaper prices. Hardly the romantic image De Beers wants to promote. It also compromised the special circumstances that allowed De Beers to maintain a monopoly. So what was their response?


They started to investigate how they could differentiate natural shiny gravel, from factory produced shiny gravel and their results were mind blowing. They were mind blowing because they were on a molecular level. The primitive natives can’t see molecules and they don’t really care about them, they only care if the gravel shines prettily, but if that was the only weapon Be Beers had, they were going to go to war with it. And so, as primitive natives, we are told to believe ‘natural’ is better than ‘manufactured’ when it comes to shiny gravel.

This is a war of ideas. This is superstition versus science, creationism versus evolution, the have’s versus the have not’s, evil versus good.

When you buy shiny gravel, it’s really the voodoo you buy.

Temple Works, Leeds. Light Night Party.

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
First ever, Malaria Death Ring, gig

First ever, Malaria Death Ring, gig

Phil Kirby at Temple Works called me a few days ago and asked if I could come up with, “something odd” for the after show party, as he had been let down by various performers.

“Like what?” I asked.

“Can you form a band, write some stuff, rehearse it, then perform it in front of a crowd of people? You’ve got 48 hours.”

“Hmm. Leave it with me.”

A couple of  emails and a ‘phone call later, we had the nucleus of, ‘Malaria Death Ring’. Jamie Newman and Nigel Goodwin had volunteered for an insane project. The night before the party we spent twenty minutes writing a thirty minute set, then rehearsing it. Jamie had brought with him, Mark-Antoine, a couch surfer, who was over from Sweden to see a band in Leeds. He observed the creative process with interest whilst sipping his tea. When we felt the material was in a usable state of flux, he declared the alchemy, good.

And so we played at the party. This is the stuff of legend. It was all about the NOW. Something was born slippy and freakish that evening. It is fitting that the iconic Temple Works, should be the experienced midwife.

Des Troy, Jamie Newman and Nigel Goodwin.

Des Troy, Jamie Newman and Nigel Goodwin.