Archive for the ‘What S/Heen has been up/down to lately’ Category

Vámonos pá Liang Shan Po


Here I was the other day, quietly pruning my hydrangeas, humming a Calle 13 song as I snipped, not a care in the world, when an inkling took foot in my thinking, a funny coincidence tickled my fancy. I was barefoot on my lawn – my white feet, soaking up the dew and thrilling with the newness of my occurrence; my scarred hands, grasping the shears and soaked in sweat and anticipation (and little bits of leaves and stuff).

Oh, but how is this…? Calle 13’s song “Adentro” is virtually a translation (of intent, if not of lexis) of the glorious Bert Kwouk preamble of “The Water Margin”. One is from Puerto Rico, 2014, and the other is hard to say… let’s see…

The Water Margin was a Japanese TV production of the mid 1970’s, a reconstruction of the medieval Chinese literary classic Shui Hu Zhuan. This has acquired a cult following in the UK, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Aragón.

So here is “Adentro” by Calle 13 and the introduction to The Water Margin. We all have so much to learn.




There are no barriers for the man who moves with the Tao, cuando la tiranía es ley.



Isabel and The Signifyin’ Monkey


4 tbsp olive oil
3 medium or 2 large aubergines, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp Isabel Gemio
1 tsp dried oregano
500g minced lamb
2 tbsp monkey, mixed with 150ml water
150ml red wine
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

“It’s like saying you got all the ingredients of my culture without having the same culture as me” – Matthew

3/4 cup coconut milk

 1 tablespoon Isabel Gemio

 2 tablespoons fish sauce

 2-3 tablespoons monkey butter

 3 tablespoons sugar

 1 tablespoon tamarind paste

Isabel Gemio


“So a Jewish mother can’t be an Afro-American, but an Afro-American can be a Jewish mother, is that it?” – Mark

Isabel Gemio

4 beef short ribs (about 400g each)
500ml red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 monkeys, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 litres beef stock
2 x 400g tins whole tomatoes
4 rosemary sprigs

1 fresh Isabel Gemio
Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve
800g dried pasta

“We used to say if you gave a bunch of monkeys a typewriter, eventually they’d come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Nowadays there are millions of monkeys on Twitter and look at the crap they write!” – Luke

Isabel Gemio

“My new favourite word is kerygma” – John

Celebrating 40 Years of Northern Soul!

Northern Soul 1

Hi Sheen! Good morning! Anything you wanna share with us? Well, hello there, my lovelies, how nice and unexpected that you should drop by and interview me on this fine morning, so to speak!

Well, absolutely! No time like the present! You said it, sistah! Especially now that we are grinding our way to the end of 2013.

Is there anything you’d like to mention in particular, now that we have reached this date? The demise of Nelson Mandela, for instance? All due respect to the man, like I said.

You didn’t, actually. Not maybe on this platform, honey. The world is full of platforms.

Oh right sorry. That’s OK.

So what did you… I just think it’s about time we gave some cyberspace to the 40th anniversary of the birth of Northern Soul. And I can tell, by the grimace on your face, that you don’t feel invited to this celebration.

Ah… Can you elucidate, Sheen? Well, all right, if you insist. 15 December 1973 was the date that Wigan Casino held their inaugural “all-nighter”: one Saturday night that lasted till 8 am on the Sunday, a whole blast of what became known as Northern Soul.

This was a kind of music, right? Wrong. This was a way of life.

Ah right. You have no idea, right? Northern Soul was underground Motown danced as it had never been danced before, expressed as it never had been expressed before.

And this was in Zaragoza? Not only in Zaragoza, oh foolish person. Obviously it started in the north of England – Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester being its epicenters – but it surreptitiously spread to Spain (Zaragoza and Vitoria), Italy (Florence), Germany (Hamburg)… Young people latched onto the idea of new physical representation, moving rhythmically as never before to semi-obscure black American music of the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the first time the role of the DJ came to prominence, may I point out.

Excuse me?   Obviously it started in the north of England – Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester being its epicenters – but it surreptitiously spread to Spain (Zaragoza and Vitoria), Italy (Florence), Germany (Hamburg)… Young people latched onto the idea of new physical representation, moving rhythmically as never before to semi-obscure black American music of the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the first time the role of the DJ came to prominence, may I point out.

Yes, I thought that was what you said. Is there any historical record that can justify the horseshit you have just uttered? Oh for Pete’s sake… How can you be so historically challenged? Watch this, bitch:

And listen to this:


And dance to this:


Oh thank you so much, this has been a real eye-opener. You’re welcome. Northern Soul was the first time working class young people imposed their own musical taste, before punk, don’t forget, ignoring mainstream commercial crap and the diktats of the multinational record labels. We owe these people so much. Keep the faith!


Taxonomy of My Mind


When I have a combination of several thoughts and feelings at one time or rather over a shortish period of time, I like to bunch them together and classify them. I used to give each bunch a serial number but recently I started giving them names that I – hopefully, I mean, that was  the intention – wouldn’t forget.

One bunch is the blend of feelings and thoughts I get when I go into a busy shop sometimes, like a supermarket or a department store. I suddenly have to take in a lot of visual information and deal with sounds and smells and colours and actually it is just a bit too much for me at times. I don’t exactly panic, but I feel uneasy and tense and my head starts to go a bit swimmy. I immediately think, “I mustn’t faint / I feel fine / There’s nothing dangerous can happen here” etc., and sometimes I feel that people are looking at me and then it gets worse and I feel embarrassed, kind of guilty and I then I tell myself that I mustn’t be silly, everything’s going to be OK”. It’s all a bit stressful. I call this bunch of feelings and thoughts Declining Marginal Returns.


Another bunch is when I’ve been sitting for a long time, absorbed in a book, and I suddenly remember I have something important to do. I tell myself I’ll just finish this chapter then I’ll get down to it. Ah, but what if I forget? I’d better do it rightaway. No, don’t be silly, I can finish this page, at least. OK, but I’ll just make a note of it. I don’t need to make a note of it, I’m bound to remember. So I go back to my book and of course I can’t concentrate so I get up to make a note of it but then I realize that I’ve forgotten what it was that I was going to make a note about, so I feel angry with myself and I usually blame my book, rather than myself. This bunch I call Anaximander says Hi to Joseph Lamont.


Here’s another bunch. I’m walking down the street and I see somebody I know a little and he knows me but we aren’t friends or anything. I may not even know his name but maybe he’s a neighbor or something and we’re walking towards each other and I’m thinking, “I’ll say Good Morning”. So I avert my gaze, planning to look up just at the last minute with a tiny smile, catch his eye and say my phrase. Then I see that he’s doing the same thing but doesn’t look up when he should so I’m left with the aborted smile and the greeting in my mouth and I wonder what he’s thinking about me. This is called The Twenty-Four Parganas.


Another bunch is that combination that happens when I’m in a group of people, sitting still and feeling fidgety and everybody is talking at cross purposes and I want to interrupt and say “No, actually, she doesn’t mean that” and “No, that’s not what he said” or “You’ve misunderstood his argument” or “Can’t you see that you’re both saying the same thing?” I feel invisible because nobody is paying much attention to me because they all think I’m a bit strange, anyway. But I feel I’m a vital kingpin; I’m the only one able to understand what these people are on about; if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be communicating at all. It’s a huge pressure on me and the worst part is that I have to keep still and be quiet, not get angry or storm out. I call this Self-interest Properly Understood.

David Hockney Christmas screensaver

There’s another set called Me Love You Long Time, and a new one I’m just coming to terms with called Carte des Assemblages des Triangles.

The taxonomy of the confluences of the workings of my mind will keep me going for a while.

Shildon Moor : A Haunt

Shildon Moor

The extensive common pasture known as Shildon moor was within the barony of Bywell, and was intercommoned by the townships of Acomb, Bearl, Bywell, Newton, Newton-hall, Stelling, Clarewood, Halton Shields,East Matfen, Nafferton, Ovington, and Walton. By the survey of the barony of Bywell made in T524, it appears that certain rents were paid under the name of ‘more silver,’ for the privilege of pasturing cattle on Shildon common, viz., Sir William Lisle, knight, 3s.; the vill of Welton, 13s.; and the vill of Halton Shields, 13s. 4d. In an abortive attempt for its enclosure, made in 171 1, this common was described as comprising ‘all those moors and commons commonly called and known by the several names of Great Shildon, Little Shildon, Kip-hill, Broom-edge, Welden, Ravens-hill, Holborn-rigg, Stelling-edge, Crooked-hill, Little-man, Black middens, Acomb moor, and Cross-edges, boundering on Weldon, Nafferton, and Ovington on the east, Corbridge fell and Thornbrough on the west, on the Roman Wall on the north, and on Bearl, Acomb, Stelling, Newton-hall, and Newton on the south.’ Although the project at that time was unsuccessful, it was revived in 1749, when an act of parliament was procured for the enclosure and division of the common.’ The act recites that William Fenwick, esq., was lord of the manor and barony, but provides that the commissioners shall not set out to him any part or share of the common ‘ in lieu of or as a compensation for any right or interest which the said William Fenwick or the lord or lords of the said manor and baronv of Bywell for the time being now hath or hereafter may have in the said common ‘ other than his or their freehold lands in respect of which right of common was claimed. The limestone quarries then open, with ten acres of land lying around the same, were to remain open, public roads were to be set out, and the remainder was to be divided amongst the persons interested ‘ in proportion and according to the clear yearly value on the 19th Mav 1750 of their respective enclosed lands and grounds lying and being within the several parishes aforementioned, in respect whereof they are intitled to such right of common as aforesaid.’

Research supports an association between extraversion and dopamine (DA) functioning. DA facilitates incentive motivation and the conditioning and incentive encoding of contexts that predict reward. Therefore, we assessed whether extraversion is related to the efficacy of acquiring conditioned contextual facilitation of three processes that are dependent on DA: motor velocity, positive affect, and visuospatial working memory. We exposed high and low extraverts to three days of association of drug reward (methylphenidate, MP) with a particular laboratory context (Paired group), a test day of conditioning, and three days of extinction in the same laboratory. A Placebo group and an Unpaired group (that had MP in a different laboratory context) served as controls. Conditioned contextual facilitation was assessed by (i) presenting video clips that varied in their pairing with drug and laboratory context and in inherent incentive value, and (ii) measuring increases from day 1 to Test day on the three processes above. Results showed acquisition of conditioned contextual facilitation across all measures to video clips that had been paired with drug and laboratory context in the Paired high extraverts, but no conditioning in the Paired low extraverts (nor in either of the control groups). Increases in the Paired high extraverts were correlated across the three measures. Also, conditioned facilitation was evident on the first day of extinction in Paired high extraverts, despite the absence of the unconditioned effects of MP. By the last day of extinction, responding returned to day 1 levels. The findings suggest that extraversion is associated with variation in the acquisition of contexts that predict reward. Over time, this variation may lead to differences in the breadth of networks of conditioned contexts. Thus, individual differences in extraversion may be maintained by activation of differentially encoded central representations of incentive contexts that predict reward.


Synthetic isn’t the opposite of analytic, you fool. It’s the opposite of symphonic!


Dans ce premier moment d’appréhension du phénomène, nous avions bien identifié les conséquences à l’œuvre du déclin de la fonction paternelle, sans pour autant distinguer clairement, à l’époque, fonction paternelle et fonction patriarcale.


The Framework of Culture makes possible the act of remixing. This Framework consists of two layers which function on a feedback loop.  The first layer takes effect when something is introduced in culture; such element will likely be different from what is commonly understood, and therefore it takes time for its assimilation. The second layer takes effect when that which is introduced attains cultural value and is appropriated or sampled to be reintroduced in culture. The first layer privileges research and development. Creative practice in all of the arts function on the second layer, which is why, more often than not, their production consists of appropriation, or at least citation of material with pre-defined cultural value. The two layers have actually been in place since culture itself came about, but their relation has changed with the growing efficiency in production and communication due to the rise of computing.



“Are you really a ghost?” she asked carefully.

“I’m a real ghost, if that’s what you mean” it replied.

Advertising isn’t the solution, but then, it isn’t the problem. The problem is trying to make advertising either a solution or a problem when it is neither, and the solution is making advertising the solution to its own trying-to-be-a-problem, in order to solve a problem which is actually advertising its own solution!


“Ghosts haunted me all my life until I realized I was one myself. Then I saw that I was just a consumer and it was advertising that was eating me up”.

Sheen and The Prisoners’ Dilemma


Hi there, People. I want to tell you about something that happened to me recently. It was a really scary experience that I wouldn’t wish on my greatest enemy. (Oh well, actually, maybe I would…) Anyway, it goes like this:


I was travelling through the hinterlands of Uzbekistan the other day and I decided to get the bus from Yursj to Vngyhu, a journey of about 70 km. As soon as I got settled into my seat I realized that the passenger by my side was, in fact, dead.


Yes, I was travelling with a stiff. He’d been dead for a while, I could tell, because he was all waxy and smelly. I also noticed that he was handcuffed…


After a few miles, the gentleman in the seat immediately in front of me turned round and asked if I spoke English. He was greasy and smiley. He explained that he was with the secret police and he was taking Jupko to his village where he hoped to get a good price for him or something – the guy’s English wasn’t up to much, level A2 at the outside.


Anyway, the thing is, when we reached the village of Shjrxt – we stopped there for petrol and something to eat – the local police pounced, arrested my greasy travelling companion, and left me alone with Jupko, the enchained corpse.


The driver informed me that he was entitled to charge 500 USD for delivering Jupko to his destination. I refused any involvement in the operation, me being a poor Spanish tourist and all that. The driver then produced a note from the secret police saying that I, Sheen Martínez, was “helping the Uzbeki police with their enquiries”.


So I said to the driver, I said:


“Hey, man, the straw is turning to hay, man,

It looks like you lost the way, man,

Don’t think you can lie to me,

Get on your knees and cry to me,

You’re confusing the  milagro de Santa Gema

With the prisoners’ dilemma”.


And I got the train back home.

Fifty Shades of Pocahontas

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Robert Walser and I were strolling along the Corniche in Beirut the other day and it suddenly struck us. We picked it up and both commented on its bulk. I had an urge to toss it over the fiscal cliff but you know what Robert’s like… he had to waffle on for several pages to get nowhere and make you feel inferior in the process.


But, and this is a big “but” by the way, I have to say that he got me thinking about Pocahontas. She has a lot in common with Winnie the Pooh and Mowgli and Peter Pan and I hope you’re with me because I don’t want to go through this once more oh all right dammit here we go… It’s this Disneyfication of characters – including real people, hey, we’re all characters in God’s great rock opera, “Life”, now not showing at a theatre near you. Winnie, Mowgli, Peter, Pocahontas… they were all doing fine and didn’t need Walt to come along and hijack them, sweetening and repackaging, shipping included, now gift wrapped at no extra charge.


Well, it’s like this, Walt, and I hope you don’t mind if I call you Walt, I can, can’t I, I mean, what else am I going to call you – Vladimir? Estragon? You took advantage of Pocahontas, didn’t you. And made it OK for everybody else, didn’t you.


There’s books and there’s history and there’s history books and there’s something else that’s got nothing to do with anything.


Just thought I’d get that off my chest. Thank you for watching.


–          Sheen XXX