You Can’t Post That!

Facebook has blocked me for 24 hours, taking away from me my primary means of procrastinating when I’m supposed to be writing. It’s the reason behind my gagging that irks, more than the actual removal of my “Facebook Rights”.

I recently returned from my first “family holiday” with my partner and her 15 year old son; his words, not mine.

Despite “The Youth” being totally focused on getting into the skate-park we’ve found for him in Oslo, he has to temper his desire to skate with a bit of “art & culture” first.

We end up in the Astrup Fearnley Museum, and are pleased to see that, yet again, “The Youth” is allowed free entry to the exhibitions.

The artist Dan Colen is the current draw, and we – my girlfriend and I – are certain “The Youth” will appreciate Colen’s confrontational, pop culture work.

We were right, although at the end of our “family holiday”, “The Youth” informed us that the highlight for him was the painting “The Dance of Life” by Munch.

When we finally got home, I uploaded some of the photographs I’d taken while on holiday, and it was one of these pictures that got me blocked from Facebook.

It is a picture of a sculpture by Colen, called “Livin and Dyin”.

I suspect it wasn’t the Kool-Aid Guy, Wylie Coyote, or Roger Rabbit that offended, but the representation of the artist naked.

I’ve told Facebook what I think about its “values”, but as of this moment the ban still stands, which means I have a number of options:

I can head over to Twitter

I can make another coffee

I can now legitimately break for lunch

I can do some much needed admin

I can get on with some writing

I can complain about shitty censorship and double standards

I’m off to put the kettle on, and grab a bite to eat. I might be in virtual solitary confinement at the moment, but I’ll be buggered if I’m going to go on hunger strike over the matter.

“The Dance of Life” by Edvard Munch

“Livin’ and Dyin” by Dan Colen

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9Bach live at Neuadd Ogwen

As the North Wales village of Bethesda braced itself for a blizzard, a near capacity crowd battled the bitter cold night, in order to watch 9Bach perform live at the village’s independent live music venue, Neuadd Ogwen. It was a homecoming show for the band, following their co-headlining appearance with Moulettes at the majestic Cadogan Hall in Belgravia, London the previous night.

Fellow Bethesda band Yucatan came on stage first, with a sadly brief set. Just five songs were played in total. Included though was a cover of Across The Universe (Ar Draws y Gofod Pell). Yucatan recorded the track this year, to coincide with The Beatles celebrations at Festival No.6, 2017. The fact that this classic fitted in seamlessly with the band’s own compositions speaks volumes. If you ever dream you are bird soaring over the mountains of Snowdonia, then Yucatan songs like the beautiful Cwm Llym, played tonight, would be the perfect soundtrack to listen to while you fly.

Yucatan

Bethesda based poet Martin Daws was up next. Daws was commissioned to write his poem “Love Letter to Bethesda” by 9Bach for their Llechi show, and tonight he bridged the gap between Yucatan and the headliners effortlessly. His smooth and amiable delivery brightened the room, and his use of the kalimba during the poem “Bring Down the Walls” carried a hint of the international feel of things to come.

Martin Daws

9Bach’s “Tincian” was voted best album at the 2015 BBC Folk awards, and the band includes traditional Welsh folk songs in its repertoire. However, they blend the traditional with other styles in such a way that the label “folk” no longer seems large enough to do their music justice. 9Bach are far from parochial. Their music certainly captures the beauty of the area where the band is based, but it is enriched by rhythms, melodies and stories from around the globe. The Australian aboriginal performance group, the Black Arm Band Company was name checked at one point for instance, and Greek rembetika gets a look in during the set too. There is also a definite funk and groove present at times, to move things along.

So while it is hard not to use the “F” word when writing about 9Bach, these World Music ambassadors are far more than folk music alone.

A song about the last known male northern white rhino left in the world, Yr Olaf blends in comfortably with another about the interconnectedness between people, between us and place, between us and nature; that song, “Anian”, is also the title of the band’s latest album.

9 Bach

The three “London boys” at the back (Ali Byworth, Dan Swain, Martin Hoyland) provided a faultless canvas of drums, bass, and guitar respectively, upon which vocalist Lisa Jen Brown, keyboard player/singer Mirain Haf Roberts, and harpist Esylit Glyn Jones painted enchanting and evocative portraits of the world, of the past, of the slate quarry nearby, and of what it means to be alive in these troubled times.

9Bach exuded warmth and confidence in equal measures on stage, and one can’t help but feel that the audience returned home after the gig all the richer, and with a glow in the heart. It was a night Bethesda could be proud of.

9 Bach 2

(Photographs by Denise Baker)