May 17 2023
Kaleem Hawa, Tel Aviv, All Night Flight Records, Time Is Away, Syd Nathan, The Lot, Studs Terkel, Robert Caro, Ancient Plastix, Rachel Kushner, Sianne Ngai, Astrid Lorange, x or size, Liz Stip, more
Kaleem Hawa went to Tel Aviv in 2019. No, that’s not quite right. “In the spring of 2019, I visited Palestine to see friends and family,” Hawa writes. “I grew up in Canada and spent summers in Beirut, where my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live. I decided I would travel to what we refer to as ‘1948 Palestine,’ to finally see my grandparents’ old homes in Haifa, Jaffa and Akka. I knew the trip would include Tel Aviv.” Tel Aviv is quiet and green, an urban anomaly “built on several depopulated Palestinian towns and villages.” Hawa makes out with a boy in a bar and visits the house his great-grandfather rented at the time of the Nakba. Hawa sees the money flowing from America and passes by The Sackler Faculty of Medicine, where the bodies of murdered Palestinians are held, out of reach, away from their families. Hawa’s fantastic essay is as calm as it is angry: “While the fanatical settler foot soldiers that roam the frontier are perhaps the most visible parts of the Israeli project, a quieter enemy remains at work — the state’s bureaucratic violences, dressed as system planners and administrators.”
All Night Flight Records is a shop near Manchester, one of the outlets that both sells and sifts through music, loosely allied with the genius duo, Time Is Away. (ANF sells their merch, at least.) All of these people have the ability to find a similar tranche of politely demented and subtly ecstatic records. The All Night Flight April 29 show for NTS aligns with the most recent Time Is Away episode, Erato, and the brand new Early Bird show from Jack Rollo (one half of Time Is Away). Some of these lean more heavily on new classical, some go harder on poetry, but there is a common thread here, of the reflective state being a rich position. It’s OK not to dance! I am not at the level of these folks, but I am happy with the show I did for The Lot on May 9. The voice that runs through the show is that of Syd Nathan, head of King Records and lone author of this batshit mid-Sixties artifact. (Huge thank you to Andy Zax for sending me that one.) You need not care about the music or my mix to appreciate the open-throated honesty of Syd Tha Ghoul, driven here by his disdain for “amateurs” and “geniuses” and deep love for the phrase “starry-eyed,” which he croaks at least five times over the course of this short LP.
Studs Terkel and Robert Caro talking about LBJ in 1982? Perfection, and I love the scrolling transcript that tracks the audio. Their voice, their work—this is my blankie.