This is the Koriyama Hachiman Shrine in Okuchi (now Isa) in the Kagoshima Province of Japan. In 1559, prior to completion, two carpenters inscribed some graffiti into a wooden plank on the roof. It read "The High Priest was so stingy he never once gave us shōchū to drink. What a nuisance!”
The carpenters signed and dated the inscription August 11th of the 2nd year of Eiroku period.
Forty years ago today DJ Kool Herc held a ‘Back to School Jam’ in the Bronx. As usual Herc brought his mammoth sound system to play records. However at this party he decided to only play 'the breaks'. Herc would play the breakdown of a song mixed with another track simultaneously so as to elongate the break. Fluidly mixing through tracks of Funk, Latin percussion and Rock to celebrate their rhythm and our groove. On this day Herc gave birth to a new form of beat and turned turntables into instruments. On this day he gave birth to Hip Hop.
And these are the breaks!
The First Samoan Civil War was fought between the years of 1886-1894. Though predominately fought between rival Samoan factions, the Imperial German Army intervened in this conflict leading to widespread condemnation by the United States and the United Kingdom. Though hostilities were sporadic they reignited in 1898, but was quashed by American and British military intervention which culminated in the partition of Samoa (then referred to as ‘The Gateway Islands’) in the Tripartite Convention of 1899. This effectively split the Samoan archipelago into separate German and American colonies, ending the ostensible independence of Samoa.
Above: Romanticised portrait of a Samoan man with a ulafala and fa’alaufa’i, crica 1901
Below: Portrait of two smoking Samoan women, circa 1900
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of March 25th 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City. It was the deadliest disaster in NYC until the destruction of the World Trade Centre. 146 people died in the fire mainly Jewish or Italian immigrants, predominately female. The median age of the victims was 16 to 23. The youngest victims were both 14. The fire began on the ninth floor of the Asch Building on Washington Street. Because the factory managers had locked the exits, as was common practice, many girls jumped from over eight stories to escape the flames. The intense public backlash and the rise in labour militancy following the fire led to the creation of federal factory safety legislations, which facilitated further industrial reform. Max Hochfield, who worked at the factory and narrowly escaped with his life at the expense of his sister’s became obsessed with revenge. "I began to plan how to get a gun," he says. "I would go to collect the wages they owed me - and my sister. The bosses would be there. I would come in and ask for the money. I would kill them." As a member of Local 25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union he went to the union for assistance; “He listened to me and said, 'No, not that way. I know how you’re are suffering. But you're a young fellow. You'll ruin your life. Take my advice. Killing won't do you any good and it won't do us any good. Shooting? No; making the union stronger? yes; that's the way.' “ The ILGWU went on to be a leading voice in many sweatshop and labour reform movements of the early twentieth century. But even now Hochfield laments: "Still and all, if I had had the money and if I had known where to buy a gun, I would have gone through with the plan." The factory owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris escaped the fire safely. Following the quashing of their manslaughter charges they were court ordered to pay $75 per victim in compensation. Their fire insurance payout resulted in Blanck and Harris receiving $400 per victim. In 1913 Blanck was fined $20 for once again locking the exits at his new factory.
And really, I think I like who I’m becoming.
There’s times where I might just do it just to do it,
Like it’s nothing.
M. Scott Carpenter
Just a few words on the eve of your great adventure for which you have trained yourself and anticipated for so long — to let you know that we all share it with you, vicariously. As I think I remarked to you at the outset of the space program, you are privileged to share in a pioneering project on a grand scale — in fact the grandest scale yet known to man. And I venture to predict that after all the huzzas have been uttered and the public acclaim is but a memory, you will derive the greatest satisfaction from the serene knowledge that you have discovered new truths. You can say to yourself: this I saw, this I experienced, this I know to be the truth. This experience is a precious thing; it is known to all researchers, in whatever field of endeavour, who have ventured into the unknown and have discovered new truths. You are probably aware that I am not a particularly religious person, at least in the sense of embracing any of the numerous formal doctrines. Yet I cannot conceive of a man endowed with intellect, perceiving the ordered universe about him, the glory of the mountain top, the plumage of a tropical bird, the intricate complexity of a protein molecule, the utter and unchanging perfection of a salt crystal, who can deny the existence of some higher power. Whether he chooses to call it God or Mohammed or Buddha or Torquoise Woman or the Law of Probability matters little. I find myself in my writings frequently calling upon Mother Nature to explain things and citing Her as responsible for the order of the universe. She is a very satisfactory divinity for me. And so I shall call upon Her to watch over you and guard you and, if she so desires, share with you some of Her secrets which She is usually so ready to share with those who have high purpose.
With all my love,
[TOP: M. Scott Carpenter’s official NASA photograph BOTTOM: Photo of Earth taken by Malcolm during the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, July 1962]
William Lewis Safire (1929-2009) was a world renowned author, columnist, journalist and presidential speech writer. On July 18 1969 Safire wrote this memo (In Event of Moon Disaster) and sent it to H.R Halderman, Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff. Imagining the worst case scenario should Apollo 11 fail to land or disembark safely, this speech was to be read by Nixon in remembrance of Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, it also featured brief instructions for the president. Thankfully this speech never had to be read.
I’m doing a portrait of you dude. It’s turned out being a mixture of you now and two years ago… But you’re still in there somewhere!
This is a current artistic undertaking from a dear friend, trying to encapsulate the massive changes that have occured to me physically over the last two years.
The Gooch Palms - Cucaracha
This is Windmill Hill, the site of Sydney’s first windmill. Also known as Fort Phillip and Flagstaff Hill, it eventually became known as Observatory Hill after the building of the sandstone observatory in 1858. It was also the site of Australia’s first state sanctioned murder, Thomas Barrett was hung on this ground on the 27th of February 1788. He received the punishment of death for stealing food from the New South Wales colony food store.
On the 17th of March 1990 Barry Horne, Keith Mann and Danny Attwood (of a small Animal Liberation Front cell) raided Harlan Interfauna, a British company in Cambridge which supplied laboratory animals and organs. Entering the animal units through holes they cut in the roof of the complex, they successfully liberated 82 beagle puppies and 26 rabbits. They also removed documents which listed Interfauna’s business dealings. All branding tattoos were removed from the dog’s ears and they were dispersed to good homes across the UK. As a result of evidence found at the scene and in the activists’ homes, Mann and Attwood were convicted of conspiracy to burgle and were sentenced to nine and eighteen months respectively.
Francesc Sabaté Llopart (1915-1960), also known as ‘El Quico’, was a Spanish anarchist revolutionary. At age 17 Francesc joined the Catalonian anarchist group ‘Los Novotas’ (The Rookies) and engaged in insurrectionary and expropriative anarchism initially with the aid of the CNT. Sabaté fought on the Aragon front with CNT-FAI during the ‘36 Revolution with the Young Eagle Column before murdering their forcibly assigned Stalinist commander. Following this Sabaté fled to Barcelona where he carried out many missions against the Stalinist and Fascist forces on behalf of CNT-FAI. He was arrested by Stalinist authorities in Barcelona but managed a daring prison escape with three fellow inmates. With the failure of the revolution he fled into France with the Durutti Column in ’39. Following the German invasion El Quico joined the French Resistance and fought against the Vichy regime, he was interned in many concentration camps. After the war Sabaté returned to Spain to continue robbing banks and wealthy estates to fund his revolutionary activities and assassinate Falangist notables and Civil Guard members. He was killed in Sant Celoni, Spain along with four comrades by the Somaten (a Catalonian fascist paramilitary organisation) and the Civil Guard in 1960.
Throughout the extensive Luftwaffe bombing of Britain it was common for Londoners to spontaneously seek shelter in the London Undergound. During the Blitz (which lasted from the seventh of September 1940 until the 10 May 1941) the city of London was bombed for 76 consecutive nights. More than 20,000 died. The government however rejected their use as shelters, stating as early as 1939 that Underground stations must be locked during raids. This lead to consistent clashes between those seeking shelter and Underground officials. Regularly more than 100,000 would sleep in the Underground each night. In November 1940 cabinet officially recognised the use of the Underground for protection and proceeded to construct shelter space for over 80,000. Ironically these shelters were constructed following the heaviest of the raids and were never used. The largest recorded mass in the Underground was on the night of the 27th of September 1940 when over 177,000 slept in the tunnel systems currently connecting greater London.
Fried and toasted, catching the sunrise after kicking on hard.