He Will Not Divide . Us

Tell me Shia LaBeouf isn’t crazy.  Tell me we aren’t looking at the slow breakdown of a celebrity.  Over the last couple of years or so him and his performance artist team (LaBeouf, Ronkko & Turner) have certainly suggested that.  From the outside it has been a viewing of an existential crisis as well as watching a man reflect on his own weird individual life.  However his latest project is his most impersonal, and a chance to see that him and his partners are attempting to make a movement for good.

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The whole thing is really simple: outside the Museum of The Moving Image in New York they have set up a camera & mic that is being broadcast live on the internet, and they have invited anyone to say ‘He Will Not Divide Us’ in front of it.  It’s effectively an attempt to bring America together post the appointment of the highly polarising Donald Trump, though the actual website gives a list of convoluted reasons for the project.  In short, and after 3 days of the 24hr stream, it’s brilliant.  Every time I go to the website something profound is happening and I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time there over the next four years (or however long Trump lasts).

It has done that awful thing to me where I have a sudden faith in humanity and it has shifted by political views back towards the left.  This is because I have been glued to the people who have shown up to say the words, or protest against them.  Take the guy who took a 12 hour bus from Toronto for example and has been rapping an inch from the camera with Shia today.  Or Ally and Maximilian, who for a while formed a community around the camera, a group of friends.  The words are now rarely said in repetition, like they were initially by oddity Jaden Smith, and have become more organic.  It took less than a day for people to start mixing up the phrase, or singing it.  I love these people and every second I watch the stream, I want to be there more and more.

Last night and this morning it really peaked for me.  Around UK midnight time a man appeared with a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap on, yet there was no real tension.  He stood there with his thick moustache, Harley Davidson t-shirt and tracksuit bottom as he rallied the crowd.  At first he was questioning the whole thing, and was crudely whispering to the camera, but after a while he blended in with the scene.  It was like he had been converted, or better yet become an example of the project being successful.  Everyone around welcomed him in and thus his reactions to it all was fascinating.  His aggression was humorous and his warmth likeable, showing no divide between a Trump supporter and non-Trump supporter.  Then there this morning when I woke up, the master of fun was there alone.  A guy carrying a tent dressed fully in pink, professing his own internet art.  He passed on messages of challenging yourself and forcing failure so that you can improve, while of course sometimes throwing in the divide mantra.  And this actually inspired me.  For whatever reason a random guy hundreds of miles away made me think about my own life, which is a bizarre feeling.

Every so often Shia pops in, to pump up the group.  He bounces around saying hello’s and love yous to everyone and these are probably the best moments.  It’s when the energy is lifted and the repetition comes.  Though it also brings conflict, because understandably people are sceptical of the man.  A video that will no doubt go viral and become a staple of the livestream is a few seconds where he screams at a young guy who is against the project.  And obviously this defeats the purpose of the coming together and respecting different views idea, but it also shows the passion of it all.  I’m a passionate person and I have felt a great deal of it watching this stream.  The spirit and joy that these people are in  is really admirable.  I see only positives, and when something bad happens I’ll look silly, but I cannot get over how cool it is.

I have utterly fallen in love with the stream and it’s literally made me emotional.  It shows the power of kindness and from this has swayed me back towards the left side of politics. I’ve found that you have to look past some of stupidity that appears within people and realise that we are all the same.  We are all imperfect and shameful, but have the ability at times to show a bit of unity.  This stream mostly just makes me laugh, yet still I feel changed by it, and I think that is the ultimate goal of art.

Watch it here and you will understand exactly what I am saying: http://hewillnotdivide.us/

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Side-note:  This is a form of art explaining another form of art again, so i apologise.  I have been moved by all sorts of stuff recently, not just this daft pretentious performance. Mostly by the debut album of Spring King, which is called Tell Me If You Like To, and is absolutely brilliant. I’ve already started assigning people in my life to songs on it when I hear them, which is a sign of something I adore.  Listen if you like indie/punk or if you’re a fan of not being depressed.

Super Hans Live: THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS

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The idea of seeing Super Hans live is a dream to me.  He is the single greatest sitcom creation in history.  Peep Show would not be the same without him, and as an insane fan of the series, I jumped at the chance to get a ticket to see the drug addicted musician live.

It’s such a bizarre concept.  A side character in quite a niche sitcom goes on tour.  What will it be?  A comedy set or a DJ set?  In the end it wasn’t really either, and became a mix of hilarity, a really varied music set, and a mad night out.  The crowd were clearly all massive Peep Show fans like me, and when Hans finally strutted on stage like Liam Gallagher, the place erupted. Suddenly Red Stripes went flying as Matt King melted into his most famous role in television.  Then, the laughter came, because you can’t help but laugh at the funniest guy in history as he prats around in his fur coat.

And, it’s interesting, because where does Super Hans start and Matt King end?  About 5 minutes in, it didn’t matter.  No longer was it about fitting the gig into some contrived category, but an utter chaotic triumph.  A remix of ‘Lets Dance’ by Bowie played and it was like being in a rave, never have I heard such a heavy version of that song.  I mean credit to the actual musicians here, especially the DJ bouncing behind the front man, who dropped banger after banger.  Not to say King didn’t do anything, it was just more about being the character for him.  At one point pretending to play the guitar opening to ‘Fools Gold’ by The Stone Roses, before throwing it to the side a few seconds in to continue to float about.

Effectively, it evolved into a blend of a stage play with a bassline, with King getting more and more involved with the people gleaming up at him.  The crowd being amazing, with mosh pits forming, chants beginning, and the shouting of ‘This is Outrageous’ was always followed by the shouting of ‘This is Contagious’.  What more can I say about a brilliant experience.  Peep Show fan or not, there is no way anyone would not find joy to bouncing around to Super Hans.  He is a hero of the millennials, myth, a legend, and this tour will answer no questions, but will certainly raise a few heartbeats.

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Side-note: After this, me and my flatmate went to a club in Newcastle called ‘theCUT’ which had it’s indie night on, also pretty cool.

Jamie T – Trick: I Have Been Broken

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I love Jamie T.  Having stumbled across him a couple of years ago, I became obsessed with his music before I saw him at Leeds festival in 2015.  Even then, I kind of missed his third album release ‘Carry on the Grudge’.  So his newest album ‘Trick’, that has just come out, is my first of his that I’ve witnessed as a concept.  By that I mean listening to the LP in whole, as a piece of art itself, rather than individual tunes.  And it has completely and utterly broken me.  I have been crumbled by it’s brilliance.

Through listening to it in order, I have found that the album has no real progression, or a threading story throughout.  However I have only listened to it in full once, so this is very much a first impression.  Despite this, there is certainly a load of variety on ‘Trick’, including a mix of classic Jamie T and his more recent melancholic tones.  There is also a fair amount of poppy sounds on this record; ‘Dragon Bones’ for example is very much a Jamie T song, but has this really catchy vibe.  What astounds me is that he can have this, but then he can also throw a song like ‘Drone Strike’ at you, which is essentially a filthy grime track.  I guess it’s both experimental and contemporary at the same time.

The reason I have fallen for this album though is because of the feeling it gives me.  Pure joy. My first listen was laid in bed with my earphones in and it kept me awake for hours.  A grin on my face was constant and it filled me up with nostalgia of his Leeds set, as well as my first discovery of him back when I was 16.  If you are fan already, you will adore this album like me, and if you’ve never heard of Jamie T, you’ll be surprised by a lovely, yet interesting piece of work.

 

Sidenote:  I write more at the bottom of these things than I do in the body, therefore I’m going to start calling them ‘sidenotes’.  Anyway, writing about music is about as pretentious as it comes, thus I apologise, but Jamie T – ‘Trick’ is really really good.