“Lift” a film by Marc Issacs.


LIFT is a quietly fascinating meditation on the mundanities of London life. Installing himself inside the lift of a high-rise block of council flats, Isaacs and his camera patiently observe the residents as they go about their daily business. As each of his subjects enters the lift, it’s interesting to note their reactions to him being there; some are suspicious, others curious, and then there are those who seem more comfortable in his presence. Lift is a revealing and truly original perspective on modern British life.
***
Marc Isaacs worked as an assistant to acclaimed filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski, who encouraged Isaacs to make his own film. The result was Lift, and from that debut onwards Isaacs has revealed a great capacity to empathise with the protagonists of his films. Never judging by appearances, Isaacs’ skill at getting to know the characters becomes part of the narrative of the film, and their (and our) prejudices and preconceptions are challenged by the reality he finds.   Strong human characters are at the heart of all of Isaacs’ films and “he has quietly built a body of work that puts him amongst the most empathetic documentary observers we have of lives often overlooked” In his films Isaacs creates a succession of deeply moving portraits, piecing together a unique vision of modern Britain.

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Globe Lust: “Coal-fired plants – what do they mean to us?”


Coal Mining in America, The way it's done...not good.

Globe Lust:

“Coal-fired plants – what do they mean to us?”

By Beverly Franco  –  Los Angeles Environmentalist / Activist

I often ask myself, if we are burning coal to provide electricity, where does the coal come from and at what cost? Not just the cost in dollars, but in social and natural capital.

Social capital is the human equation that we need to include and consider in every decision. Add natural capital – which is the impact of the decision and/or project on nature.  Both of these need and must be considered before focusing on the financial capital of any undertaking, no matter what it is or involves.

These two very important and vital capital investments should rule and guide all of our decisions, whether its here or in another country – around the world.   Each person’s humanity needs to be considered, as well as the natural world we all live in.  Can we afford the long-term costs in the human equation?

So, we are back to coal – that black stuff that I remember watching come down the coal shute into the basement which was part of our house in Madison, Wisconsin. My understanding of what it did was limited by this 8 year old’s simple and as yet, uneducated mind. I knew my aunt and uncle used it to heat this large two-story house we lived in. I don’t recall being cold, so guess it did the job. I wasn’t into questioning then. Now, I’m trying make up for lost time.

Now my understanding and my questioning has broadened and I want to know where the coal comes from for the carbon-producing coal-fired plants and what is the damage to acquire that coal?  The damage to the miners who have gone down into the mines for many years – it’s a living, but the end result for those miners was and is black-lung disease, which means a reduced quality of life and early death.

Now we have MTRMountain-top removal, where the coal companies, with deep pockets, blast off the tops of mountains. When you blow up something, what happens? There is debris, fallout that has to go somewhere.  Imagine turning on your kitchen faucet and seeing black water coming out, or attempting to take a shower and the same thing happening. You are now dirtier than you were when you  stepped into the shower!   Waterways, rivers, streams and the water are things we need to survive.  Yuk!  Now picture a “pond” filled with sludge – a by-product of separating coal from rock. This is what the residents of West Virginia. Kentucky, and Tennessee live with.

I’m well aware that there are always hazards around us, but some could be prevented.  Like the coal industry, in its wake, does shovel its waste into open pits, leaves abandoned mines, and huge slurry ponds like the one that burst its banks, December 2008 in Kingston, Tennessee, sending a billion gallons of toxic goo into and across the Emory River, covering 300 acres six feet deep. And there are more sites that threaten the land, water, and lives of the citizens in these areas.

In West Virginia, where this latest MTR is underway by Massey Coal. The last mountain standing is Coal River Mountain in the Coal River Valley. Residents are fighting to stop this and have formed Coal River Mountain Project to explore wind energy instead of blasting the mountain to kingdom come or to hell, whichever way you want to call it.  Massey has already received the necessary permits to blast away.

The residents of this valley are also very, very concerned, not only about their water supply, which is still fresh and drinkable, for now. But less than 100 yards from the site where earth-shattering explosives are being detonated by Massey Coal, lies the Brushy Fork Impoundment – the largest lake of coal sludge in the Western Hemisphere. The instability of such impoundments is a disaster waiting to happen.

Its important to point out that, more than likely, the coal will be gone in 20 years, but what will be left if its all been blown up and the waste hasn’t gone anywhere?  The lack of vision for a viable future is subverted by money, and its called greed.

Personally, I find it harder and harder to sleep in my cozy, electrified and comfortable home, while others are not so comfortable or safe.  Its called Bearing Witness, a Quaker axiom – once you know, you can still chose to turn away but not from ignorance.  We know now and we can chose to act, to make change, to demand change. Its in our power and it’s the right thing to do.

In Arizona, Hopi and Navajo Native Americans are trudging toward a future that might include electricity. Electricity that is generated by solar and wind.   Electricity that, until recently, didn’t exist on the reservation where they lived, even though many worked for Peabody Coal-fired plant! For 30+ years Peabody has used the Black Rock aquifer to transport the coal, called slurry to a station that supplied the electricity for southern Arizona, Nevada and California.  Did you note that the  Native Americans did not have electricity, all the while 50% of the residents were working at this coal-fired plant? Now that aquifer is history and the company, Peabody, has closed down the plant instead of going to the expense of installing scrubbers to capture the polluting carbon being emitted by the plant. Imagine, if you will, what 30+ years of emitting that has done to our atmosphere, to our lungs?

Ignorance on the part of many, myself included, helps to continue this voracious and insidious habit of supporting our comfort zones, while at the terminus of the process, many go without.  Children doing their homework by daylight, quickly, or using kerosene lamps or candlelight.   Where is the outrage?

My children didn’t suffer that. Just flip a switch, turn on the faucet.

Get your pencils out to write down the name of the organization that the Hopi and Navajo have formed to bring in their own electricity, their own employment by way of wind and solar farms utilizing the monies from cap-and-trade? Sandia Tribal Energy Program.

Hopis and Navajos will generate their OWN power!

Edison has fought this, as they believe the rate-payers should get this money. If the savings from cap-and-trade can be passed on to our first citizens to be self-sustaining and self-supporting, it’s the right thing to do. And, maybe, its about time that was the agenda, for us all.

Lights, fresh water, jobs. Add in dignity and respect, and we all have hope.– Beverly Franco, Writer and Green Activist

La ROUX!! Listen up statesiders… change is in the hair.


Elly Jackson of La Roux

Don’t call her “Techno Lady Gaga”  or  “young  Annie Lennox” unless you would like a sneer and a few explatives, but Elly Jackson feels the critics encircling…literally chanting… with ever increasing volume:  “Elly Jackson is The new face of Electronic Music!”   Go see her  in the clubs before Madonna, Jay-Z or some such music mogul accosts her and makes her choose whether or not to sell her soul to the devil.    Jackson, along with bandmate and co-writer, co-producer Ben Langmaid,  meld together wild pulses,  fluttery beats and popping thick synth drums.   Capturing sound like  bolts of sassy lightening stuffed into a tesla coil, Elly croons …’We can fight our desires
Ohhhh but when we start making fires… We get ever so hot… Ohhhhh whether we like it or not….
They say we can love who we trust… Ohhhh but what is love without lust?

The red-haired one”

In late 1995, Happening upon a baby naming book, Elly figured “La Roux” was as good a name as any as it fit the shocking scarlet hue of her hair.  Consequently  the masculine form of “Roux” was prescient as she realized “Rousee” could’ve been seen as conversationally opposite of her persona as it did not fit her obvious androgyny.  Later hybridizing her amazing coiffe  into a Bowie-esque/ Mike Score do, La Roux / Elly Jackson the stage persona was born.     Beginning her musical journey on seventies Nick Drake and Carole King amongst other gritty songsters, early in life Elly developed the  love of a well crafted song.

A shock of Stardust colored hair, on-stage intensity, and andro-lustful poses to match,  Jackson  conjures  the soulful thick electronic sound of Depeche Mode, The poppy playfulness of Yazoo, and the stylistic croon of Allison Moyet.    La Roux has managed a completely new sound from the ashes of the best in eighties electronica.  Ahem….’New Wave’ as some of us remember.

“Quicksand”

With their Freshman effort  released by Parisian label Kitsuné, in 2008, La Roux later tapped  producer “Lifelike” for the remix of  “In For The Kill !” which  debuted at number 11 in the UK Singles Chart.  Finally signed to Polydor Records, La Roux released their debut album, uncerimoniously called “La Roux.”


The same effort yielded “Buletproof” which was released as a single in June of ’09.  It debuted at # 1 in the UK Singles Chart.. In the U.S. it topped the Dance/Club Play chart the week of September 17. I’m Not Your Toy was released to the baded breath of house / techno devotees on September 29th of this year.

Joining Lily Allen’s UK tour in March of ‘o9, La Roux began a long touring commitment that included the NME Radar Tour, The Glastonbury, Oxegen, Reading and Leeds outings.  Finally placating almost rabid dance fans in the U.S., La Roux toured North America in July and August of 2009.   Canadian venues were supported as was The Jimmy Kimmel show in addition to the historic Troubadour in Hollywood / West L.A. Lucky San Franciscans attended “Popscene”  (The Club NME series),  and enjoyed an amazing show even if a playful yet  snarky Jackson taunted “Which one of you is gonna have this up on YouTube tomorrow?

Planning to pen their sophmore effort sometime after  their very busy tour is done, but with no specific date in mind, La Roux isn’t gonna push.  You can’t rush art.  Their  beats are born of collaboration,  they aren’t aimless, or repetitive,  and are not without rhyme or reason.  They’ve got originality, substance and direction.  That’s what makes them so palatable to a very musically-hungry-stateside-beast.

We’re still digesting La Roux, discovering it’s nuances, and incredibly buoyant at this very British “discovery”. In closing, whatever is rolled up into the collective conscience of La Roux does not really matter, for quite simplistically, all any music lover needs to know is that  La Roux bounces like the devil and how lucky we are to be in the room.

We can fight our desires
Ouuhh but when we start making fires
We get ever so hot
Ouuhh whether we like it or not.
They say we can love who we trust
Ouuhh but what is love without lust?
Two hearts with accurate devotions
Ouuhh and what are feelings without emotions?

~Chrissylong