”I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege, … your daughter being your favourite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes. Yeah, I’m a nasty woman – a loud, vulgar, proud woman.”
Nina Donovan, Nasty Woman
GERMANY // OCTOBER 2016
On a night of storms, I opened the door and the window
To see the hardened moon of our nights.
I said to the night: Run out,
Beyond the darkness and the wall;
I have a promise to keep with words and light.
You are my virgin garden
As long as our songs
Are swords when we draw them.
And you are as faithful as grain
So long as our songs
Keep alive the fertile soil when we plant them.
You are like a palm tree in the mind:
Neither storm nor woodsman’s ax can fell it.
Its braids uncut
By the beasts of desert and forest
But I am the exiled one behind wall and door,
Shelter me in the warmth of your gaze.
Take me, wherever you are,
Take me, however you are.
To be restored to the warmth of face and body,
To the light of heart and eye,
To the salt of bread and song,
To the taste of earth and homeland.
Shelter me in the warmth of your gaze,
Take me, a panel of almond wood, in the cottage of sorrows,
Take me, a verse from the book of my tragedy,
Take me, a plaything or a stone from the house,
So that our next generation may recall
The path of return to our home.
Mahmoud Darwich, A Lover From Palestine [excerpts]
PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES // MAY 2012
Resistance is futile. Resistance is everywhere.
SPAIN // AUGUST 2010
Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, when he was overthrown by a revolt – dubbed the People Power revolution – and forced to flee into exile to Hawaii, where he died in 1989.
His body was returned to the Philippines in 1993 and has since been kept in a refrigerated crypt in a mausoleum in his hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte, 470km north of Manila.
In 2004, Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog, named Marcos the second most corrupt leader of all time, behind Indonesian authoritarian ruler Suharto.
Despite public opposition, Marcos was buried in a heroes’ cemetery in the capital in a ceremony shrouded in secrecy in November 2016.
Text by Al Jazeera
Guest post by Andrew Marshall
THE PHILIPPINES // JANUARY 2017
The crowd surges forward. The singer, a 40 something skinny white guy, screams into the microphone, which has been taped to the top of a camera stand. The room is so hot that water drops from the ceiling. The linoleum is coming off the floor as long torn rolls of dirty plastic. The drums thud like painful bowel movements, the guitars sing like angle-grinders. The entire room feeds back and one has the feeling of being inside the moving turbine of an airliner. But it’s not unpleasant. It´s punk rock. The only lights come from a projector and a bed side table lamp. The bar sells little more than beer. A man in front of me bumps into a big woman who falls heavily. For a second it looks like she is going straight through the floor, but the building remains structurally intact. A young muscular punk with a Mohawk and a T Shirt that reads ‘Teach your children to worship Satan’ is trying to hang sheets across the broken windows – the cops have already been around once tonight, concerned about the noise. The skinny old white guy starts screaming again. The crowd, unkempt, lost souls in need of a wash for the most part, pogo and dance, drink and scream like there’s no tomorrow.
New York? London? Paris? Berlin?
No, this is Bangkok, Thailand. Welcome to the Overstay, the city’ s dirtiest, skuzziest, most alternative music venue and hotel. It’s 3am on a Saturday night and the no-name punk band clears the stage. The audience, young low-budget wasters – hippies and crusties, punks, freeloaders and the confused – have trolled in from the near-by Khao San Road, Bangkok’s backpacker ghetto, bringing a few Thai night lights – rock chicks, tattooed hard men and other lonely souls with them. There’s one more band to play. Waiting for them is like waiting for the end of the world – everything at the Overstay is slightly apocalyptic, starting with the toilets and including all other aspects of this cheap flop house cum music venue.
In fact, the Overstay is so much more than a hotel, bar or club – in its hallowed existence, the establishment has managed to ignite a shit storm of negative publicity on the Internet, garnering shocked reviews for its one-dollar rooms (free in low season) on Trip Advisor and many other hotel-booking pages. Reviewers gush forth hundreds of words, warning fellow travelers about the pitfalls of the Overstay – dirty, unsafe, noisy as hell, with the foreign owner allegedly enslaving those who can no longer pay into running errands. And yet, some of those very same reviewers stay four nights. Beats me.
Prior to its current incarnation, the Overstay had a much more traditional function. The building, located in Thonburi, east of the Chao Praya River, was a brothel. It’s said that two murders took place in there during its glory days. A resident ghost is rumored to haunt the building, but I never did venture into the toilets and hence missed him/her.
As the next and last band, The Klong Riders, get ready for their show, the audience, tanked on Leo and Chang, the cheapest beers available in Thailand and the only ones for sale at the Overstay, has a chance to meditate on a unique cultural gem – this, for better or worse – is Bangkok’s only squat. It is also the city’s only underground music venue of sorts. The Overstay has no air-con, no cocktails and no chattering ex-pats in ironed polo-shirts with dolled up secretaries in tow. There are no journalists here and even what you might call regular tourists are unlikely to be attracted by the decor and the ambience.
The Overstay is completely horrible and many voices on the Net demand the place is closed down. In 2016, the cops and military busted the place and arrested its owner.Fortunately, the place made a come-back and is still going.
Traditional voices continue to rail against Bangkok’s number one underground venue. It is not safe. It is a shame to Thailand. It would be an embarrassment in any city, and this makes the Overstay vital in Thailand’s capital, an urban sprawl of eleven million people that boasts no alternative music venues. Virtually no rock bands play in this town and those who do are forever in search of clubs to play. Most night spots are either karaoke-hell meat markets, internationally themed pubs in the worst possible taste, or bright, cool and aspiring spaces for the aforementioned chattering classes and wealthy, bored hipsters. Youth rebellion and RocknRoll don’t quite fit into traditional Thai culture. That’s why there are thousands of disenfranchised kids out on the streets every night with nothing to do, smoking amphetamines and racing their souped-up bikes into early teenage graves (or urns, as local culture and faith prescribes). Unlike their adolescent equivalents elsewhere, these kids have no cultural outlet. And they don’t even have an Overstay, as that is dominated by foreigners.
The Klong Riders hit the stage. That´s a largely metaphorical statement, there is no stage as such. The band plugs in on the third floor and roars off, the crowd shakes and screams, they know they are getting their money’s worth – admission is only a dollar and a half. The singer, a tall skinny guy playing his pitch-black semi-acoustic like a machine gun, vomits up his soul and launches into a surf guitar instrumental loud enough to douse the local community in sonic napalm.
Welcome to the Overstay. Check it out. Just don’t use the toilets.
THAILAND // FEBRUARY 2016
As there’s so much fake news and post-truth news and newspeak out there, doubting official narratives, be they government or mainstream media, appears to be just as important as keeping one’s distance to the far out right wing conspiracy cosmos that’s growing on the Internet and slowly seeps into our daily lives. Two realities increasingly divorced from what’s actually going on are competing for our attention. Do your own thing!
TURKEY // JUNE 2013
If there’s one thing that I can’t explain
Is why the world has to have so much pain
With all the ways of communicating
We can’t get in touch with who we’re hating (Who we’re hating)
And now we can’t get in touch with who we’re hating
So turn on (turn on), turn on (turn on), turn on (turn on) the news
So turn on (turn on), turn on (turn on), turn on (turn on) the news
I hear it every day on the radio
Somebody shoots a guy he don’t even know
Airplanes falling out of the sky
A baby is born and another one dies
Highways fill with refugees now
Doctors finding out about disease
With all this uptight pushing & shoving
That keeps us away from who we’re loving (Who we’re loving)
That keeps us away from who we should be loving
“Turn On The News” – Hüsker Dü
TURKEY // JUNE 2013
As counter-cultural subcultures are becoming a thing of the past in Europe and the US, they continue to thrive in the developing world. Perhaps young people in the West feel that they have nothing left to fight against, perhaps they are inundated with so much information that communal self expression is now simply a fad that flickers across one’s screen.
Sure, in Asia and South America, sub culture can be just as much an expression of disposable income by the middle classes as in the West, but counter-cultural fashions from the West are being morphed into local voices of protest in countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Burma and Malaysia.
Punk rock lives on in Kathmandu.
NEPAL // NOVEMBER 2011
“You cannot enter a better world without breaking in.”
FRANCE // JUNE 2014