linton kwesi johnson

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LINTON KWESI JOHNSON INTERVIEWED 2OO4: The poet speaks of tings and times a-changin'

LINTON KWESI JOHNSON INTERVIEWED 2OO4: The poet speaks of tings and times a-changin'

They were the happiest days of my life, the poet recalls as he sits in winter-blown London."I was born in a little town called Chapelton in rural Jamaica," he says with what could pass for wistfulness. "My parents were peasant farmers and my mother went to live in Kingston and eventually came here. During that time I stayed...

CHRIS MARKER (1921 - 2012): Film maker and photographer; Darkness at the break of noon

CHRIS MARKER (1921 - 2012): Film maker and photographer; Darkness at the break of noon

Few poems of the 20th century have as much emotional resonance and visceral power as T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men. Published in 1925 when the trench horrors of World War I had been fully revealed, the poem conjured up a philosophical ennui as Old Europe was trying rebuild out of ashes and despair. Book-ended by much-quoted lines -- it...

Stephen Oliver and Matt Ottley: King Hit (IP)

Stephen Oliver and Matt Ottley: King Hit (IP)

Elsewhere has always had a soft spot for poetry/spoken word and interesting writing, and in the past has posted from the likes of Selina Tusitala Marsh who is a compelling Pasifika voice, and from the AUP book/double disc Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance, as well as posting interviews with, or articles about, writers such as Beat...

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000):  The people's poet laureate

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000): The people's poet laureate

Britain's most popular serious performance poet for more than two decades, Benjamin Zephaniah, laughs as he recalls hating poetry as a kid. If you said you liked it, it was as if you were filled with angst. And for a boy of Jamaican parents growing up in Birmingham, it was all a bit dead-white-male. Yet, at 42, the much-published,...

THE SEX PISTOLS; THE FILTH AND THE FURY. JULIEN TEMPLE INTERVIEWED (2000): A Rotten and Vicious business

THE SEX PISTOLS; THE FILTH AND THE FURY. JULIEN TEMPLE INTERVIEWED (2000): A Rotten and Vicious business

The Sex Pistols changed many lives, aspiring filmmaker Julien Temple’s more than most. After accidentally meeting them in their dockland rehearsal room one afternoon in 1975, he followed them as they became the most reviled band in Britain.  He filmed their shambolic, thrilling live shows, sat junkie-punk Sid Vicious down...

BUPPIES, B-BOYS, BAPS AND BOHOS by NELSON GEORGE: Life on the black planet

BUPPIES, B-BOYS, BAPS AND BOHOS by NELSON GEORGE: Life on the black planet

When Time magazine declared then New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani its "person of the year" for 2001 -- over Osama Bin Laden who, like it or not, appeared to have made a greater impact -- and Oprah's dubbed him "America's Mayor", you could reasonably feel the Big Apple had become the centre of the known universe....

SPORT 37 edited by FERGUS BARROWMAN

SPORT 37 edited by FERGUS BARROWMAN

Often considered a barometer of contemporary New Zealand writing, the long-running Sport can in truth no more be a measure of our literary world than a Christmas compilation CD is a clue to the state of local music. Disparate voices, topics, concerns and styles are all evident in Sport’s clean and readable layout -- but that is the...

GWEN STEFANI of NO DOUBT INTERVIEWED (2001): Style and substance

GWEN STEFANI of NO DOUBT INTERVIEWED (2001): Style and substance

The fact is, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt looks even more gorgeous lounging casually on the couch opposite than she does in her carefully styled photo shoots.  While her magazine image is often that of a distant, pouting, sexually empowered ice-queen -- "Glamazon" is the new description -- in real life she glows naturally, laughs...

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

When Herbs emerged at the start of the 1980s they were a very different band from the avuncular, mainstream entertainers they became. The original five-piece was managed by the former president of the radical Polynesian Panthers, and the cover of their landmark EP Whats' Be Happen, released in July '81 during the Springbok tour, was an...

Willi Williams: Right Time (year unknown, mid 70s?)

Willi Williams: Right Time (year unknown, mid 70s?)

Reggae singer/writer Willi Williams is best known as the man who gave the world Armagideon Time which the Clash covered (and which appears on the Tougher Than Tough collection) -- and many other deep roots reggae songs. Always well connected, Williams first worked at Studio One in the mid Sixties, recorded with Jackie Mittoo in Jamaica and...

Mr and Mrs Mattis: I'll Never Move Again (date unknown, 1970s?)

Mr and Mrs Mattis: I'll Never Move Again (date unknown, 1970s?)

Here is a real mystery single: on the Narrow Way Gospel "label" out of Jamaica (crudely hand-printed, with a quote from Isaiah) comes this oddity which is clearly Jamaican singers but has a peculiar Pacific feel to it in the guitars. Another one-off bought in Brixton just simply because it sounds so good -- but whoever Mr and Mrs...

Charles Bukowski: I've Always Had Trouble with Money (1970?)

Charles Bukowski: I've Always Had Trouble with Money (1970?)

The notorious barfly-poet Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) lived longer than most of those who have been careful and healthy and, like Keith Richards, used his body as a laboratory (for booze in Bukowski's case). But he was no drop-down drunk (well, he was but . . .) and wrote often funny but moving prose poems and short stories. He inspired...

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires: Elizabethan Reggae (1969)

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires: Elizabethan Reggae (1969)

Long before the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra of the late Eighties/early Nineties, Jamaican musicians were appropriating classical music and turning it around over ska and reggae rhythms. The provenance of this particular hit is perhaps a little muddied: it is variously attributed to (singer/bassist) Boris Gardiner of the Upsetters, and also...

Delroy Wilson: Mash Up Illiteracy (1974)

Delroy Wilson: Mash Up Illiteracy (1974)

In Third World countries music is often the vehicle for social messages and political comment because it gets directly to people who may be unable to read a newspaper or otherwise have access to information. Reggae singer Delroy Wilson (who died in '95) was one of those who used songs to actually say something . . . although not always so...

The Maytals: Disco Reggae (1977)

The Maytals: Disco Reggae (1977)

You could almost understand Kay Starr singing Rock and Roll Waltz as the waters around her rose in the Fifties. Her style was being swamped by the likes of rockabilly and rock'n'roll, so she was probably just trying to keep her head above water. But quite why the Maytals would have wanted to lean towards disco for this single when reggae was...

SLY DUNBAR INTERVIEWED (2003): Pull up to the drummer, baby

SLY DUNBAR INTERVIEWED (2003): Pull up to the drummer, baby

Silly question maybe, but you have to start by asking drummer Sly Dunbar -- one half of the legendary Sly'n'Robbie rhythm section alongside bassist Robbie Shakespeare -- what he's been up to lately. In the past couple of years the formidable Riddum Twins have played on No Doubt's career-reviving Rock Steady album, shared equal billing...

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI INTERVIEWED (2000): The angry old man

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI INTERVIEWED (2000): The angry old man

Lawrence Ferlinghetti sounds in feisty spirit. Indeed, my call to his famous City Lights bookshop in San Francisco finds the 81-year-old deeply irritated, if not to say downright angry.It's all because of the recently released album of him reading selections from his poem, A Coney Island of the Mind, his 42-year-old poetic meditation which has...

Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost (1975)

Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost (1975)

In Ted Bafaloukos' '78 film Rockers -- a lightweight comedy but excellent quasi-doco about the world of Jamaican music with a stunning cast of reggae luminaries -- there are any number of remarkable scenes: the lead character is a drummer (played by Leroy "Horsemouth" Brown) who puts a down-payment on a motorbike with the idea of...

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