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Name: one off contributors

Bio: Sitting around the campfire is where yarn spinners have always shared their stories. Nomadology's cosy fireplace is open to all contributors who have a tale to tell or a photo to share in the light of the flames. To contribute to the campfire, send your story to editors Nic Low {} or Tim Parish {}

Photos: The Camp Fire's photo libraries

Nomadic Musins ( 12th Nov, 2007 )
Behind the Last Iron Curtain ( 15th Sep, 2007 )
Interdit ( 20th Aug, 2007 )
Sunset, Death and Maoist Taxes ( 1st Mar, 2007 )
The Land of J's and K's ( 1st Jan, 2007 )
Cheer and Roaming in Las Vegas ( 21st Dec, 2006 )

Nomadic Musins

Hanging with Tim Parish on his recent visit to Bris-Vegas we got to discussing the nature of the Nomad. Both being artists and nomads of some description we were interested in how home and travel affects the artistic process. I'm a mc with live hip-hop outfit Culture Connect. I've been a nomad or at least felt an affinity with nomadic lifestyle for most of my life. At the age of 8 I travelled with my family through SE Asia, parts of Europe and on to Zimbabwe, Africa where we lived for over two years. Returning to a small parochial Territorian town after such an intensely spiritual sensory experience definitely sowed the nomadic seeds. Most if not all of you reading this will relate to my sense of restlessness, the itch, the travel bug, the at times tormenting awareness of the expansive realms beyond the insular urban corners we have found ourselves in. So that's the background now how does that relate to the creation process.

Well, Tim and I proposed a natural analogy, if our artistic products are the fruits of our labour then we can consider ourselves as a tree that is rooted in a particular location taking nutrients/food for thought from the locale and generating blossoms/fruits to be admired and tasted. The longer we are in the same locale the more chance we have to extend our tendrils further beneath the surface to absorb more layers and new nutrients. With the familiarity of our surrounds established the thought processes are directed inward toward the self.

On the road, abroad or otherwise elsewhere there is the continuous exposure to new elements of existence, not that this doesn't occur within our grounded surrounds but it is necessary to achieve the balance between a grounded stability and nomadic experiences.

The nomadic phenomenon is a reciprocal relationship often I am inspired by the dynamic sparks a nomadic individual or group will bring. Spending time with a nomadic soul like Tim was inspiring in that it emphasised the infinite relation of our sense of self to our immediate physical environment and the people within it then the conceptual layers encompassed within that; society, state, nation, the world, hell even the universe for that matter.. It is this dynamic relationship that effects the creative process, and is probably the most defining characteristic of artistic musings.

I'm fortunate enough to travel through music to perform in different places and it's during this time when you can tap into the ceaseless flow of auras that shape here, now and then.

On the road is space and time, locked into the grid of the daily grind our creative juice is sapped. I've just returned from the sunshine coast with an undeniable natural beauty amongst the gaudy high-rise lego-lands. Returning to Bris-Vegas and the rat-race of post-work exodus home confirmed the necessity of my nomadic travels. Still, the network of friends and our established creative routine allows me the opportunity to channel my nomadic philosophising into musical/lyrical substance rather than letting it lie in my internal conscious network. Also, tomorrow, I get to see the esoteric UK rap poet Roots Manuva who will no doubt be bringing some heavy vibes of his own (he did). "I dance on the thin line of sane and deranged"!!

This is inspiration, a reference point for my art, that cyclical reciprocal exchange I mentioned earlier. Living in Darwin gave me my own private island, an oasis of abundant nutrient, but I need stimulus, beyond the known local top soil. It's too easy to fall into cruise control congruous with the tropical lifestyle. Alternately in the city its hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes. So I'll confess, a balance seems best. I'm confident that my music can allow me to achieve this balance and channel my nomadic observations into musique concrete, time will tell but regardless the nomad in me will never be curtailed.

-Mista Monk, Culture Connect

Behind the Last Iron Curtain
[ file under: capitalism and communism ]

In the four thousand of Laos I met Paul Tjiam, a Dutch traveller who had spent the last six months travelling through the former communist blocs of the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, even hitchiking through Afghanistan. One of the most interesting stories he told me was of his time in North Korea where he spent a week behind the last true iron curtain, something I didn't even know was possible up until that point. This is his story as he told me, with the photos he took while there. - Tim

"Korea was one of the most expensive place I travelled, even more than Japan. This isn't because of the exchange rate, or living expenses, it's because you can only travel in Korea if you are accompanied by an official 'guide', which is actually a state chaperone, ordered to make sure you don't go anywhere you shoudbn't go, and see anything the Government doesn't want you to see. On top of that, you have to have a driver who will take you everywhere, because you are not permitted to use public transport. You then must pay for both the food and rent for both of these two as they travel with you, essentially tripling your costs. Here's a photo of our hapy little family."

"As it happened, it turned out the week I was there the whole country was in the midst of birthday celebrations for their illustrious leader Kim Jong Il. I later found out that these celebrations went on for a month, and in other parts fo the year there were different kinds of celebrations in his honour. Thousands of people queued around the public square to deliver flowers for him. It was hard to tell if this was a heartfelt gift or something which they were forced to do out of fear, as I was not allowed to speak with any of them."

"One of the most bizarre experiences I had was attending a huge performance in Kim Jong Il's honour at a huge olympic size swimming pool. The building was huge, with enough seats to fit ten thousand people, and it was entirely full. Below in the pool we watched the most incredible synchirnised swimming display I have ever seen, with hundreds of swimmers performing perfectly matched twists and turns in the water to the ecstatic cheering of the crowd. I found it pretty interesting, because there's not really anywhere else in the world that you would find this to be such a popular spectator sport. The thing was, after an hour I felt like I had seen enough, but it went on four over three hours. So did the cheering. Again, it's hard to know if it was al part of the show or not."

"Being a strictly communist country, there are of course no advertising billboards in the city of Pyongyang, but I was very interested in the abundance of propoganda billboards which we're all over the place, and thankfully my guide did not mind me taking photos of them."

translation: "who ever humiliates us we will defeat him wherever they are."

"with our guns and our swords our nation is united"

"protect ours nation and make it stronger - do your best public duty"

"use guns to make your class stronger"

"north korean labor party is the victorious organiser and leaders of all north korea's victory.. "

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