Friday, December 30, 2005

Metempsychosis Metamorphosis

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"Metempsychosis Metamorphosis" (29 December 2005) © pHinn 2005

In the 1950s two schoolboys received messages from outer space with their home-made wireless. And not only from space but also from the future, or more exactly, from all our possible futures. Skillfully manipulating wavelengths, they could also contact the dearly departed in the afterworld. There were a lot of things their Eisenhowerian parents lulling in their suburban post-war existence of Cadillacs and hydrogen jukeboxes didn't want the boys know. Regardless, haunted by wet dreams and disturbed by nocturnal emissions, the boys' first sexual awakening took a crash course and came in the form of restless electricity dancing purple and blue through their spinal cords.

All through the night their primitive transmitter sang and revealed them secrets about cosmic nymphs, the double helix of DNA, ancient molecular knowledge, orbital trajectories, quantum uncertainties, metempsychosis, secret societies of sexual occultists, psychedelic black ops, Orpheus in Hades, Maya Deren's dreams, pataphysical inevitabilities, metamorphosis, and the penile dysfunctions of the US presidents. A midget gave a lecture on nuclear physics. Life on Earth, as we know it, developed out of garbage thrown down from flying saucers. -- With all my subtlety of a bull in china shop, unable to kiss the right people's asses and managing to piss off the wrong people, I spent my days waiting for that Damoclean letter from the unemployment office, expecting for the start of my career as the cleaner of construction sites. The alternative, plain and simple: cease to exist.

pHinnMilk Comics (not for children)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Arto Salminen: Kalavale

I finally got read the late (and sorely missed) Arto Salminen's last book, Kalavale (2005). Here's a few words about the plot of the book.

Kyösti "Fisu-Hanski" Hannukkala is an old-school entertainer, familiar as a TV comedy veteran (clearly modelled after the late Spede Pasanen). He is also an elderly womaniser who has taken under his wings (and to his bed too) a foul-mouthed, uneducated beauty queen Oona, whose background is in the suburban slums. Oona is disgusted about having to do sexual favours to the considerably older Hanski (who finds out, though, that he can't "rise to the occasion" any more), but hangs out with him in hope of a slice of his fortune gathered together during his career of forty years. Secretly she keeps meeting Jami, a body builder and gym manager into fast cars and women, who peddles as a side business steroids and other illicit chemicals. This rogue gallery is complemented by Fisu-Hanski's right-hand man Kasperi, a slick offspring of an economy school who speaks flashy but ultimately hollow business jargon currently in vogue (the nearest equivalent in real life would probably be someone like Jari Sarasvuo, a Finnish celebrity lecturer, "motivation trainer" and the host of local version of The Apprentice who has has done his best to spread to Finland the gospel of American-type of "inner hero" business philosophies).

Fisu-Hanski is well aware that his days are numbered, both in the entertainment business constantly getting harder, faster and more vicious, and because of his ever-worsening heart condition. He knows it's time for his last stand, but he's not exactly delighted when Kasperi suggests him that they might create together a reality-TV show more ruthless and scandalous than seen ever before.

Called "Auschwitz", the planned TV show would get together twelve unknown people, all long unemployed, as prisoners and guards in a simulated studio prison camp. As we know, so called reality-TV shows, such as Big Brother, are always in fact psychodrama, innuendo and backstabbing-filled public contests about "the survival of the fittest" (read: society in micro-form), and in "Auschwitz" the task of the hapless contestants is to survive the harsh conditions of the "prison camp", their main task being to be able to take as heavy electric shocks as possible when sitting in a specially-built "electric chair"; alongside other continuing physical and mental humiliation, beatings and sexual abuse; all followed by cameras. Hosted by Oona, dressed as an Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS type of cruel dominatrix mistress, "Auschwitz" will fulfill its expectations and more when all evening tabloids and gossip magazines keep eagerly following its day-to-day progress.

The necessary moral outrage is raised and controversy stirred, gaining all the needed notoriety and publicity for the show. At the same time the race is on about who will manage to get their names to Fisu-Hanski's will: his estranged daughter Anna or Kasperi or Oona, all despising each other.

Arto Salminen has, as in all his previous five books, his finger exactly on what's happening in Finnish society today. His prose combines hard-boiled accounts of hard, dreary life with his usual greedy, predatory characters depicted in a biting satire; with often-poetic sentences which he always honed for a long time. Did Arto Salminen see his own early demise with his usual ill-fated characters? Did he feel just too strongly about everything that is wrong with this society, since the worldview of his books seems totally devoid of hope? We can probably speculate endlessly. In the meantime, I sincerely wish his books remain in print for the new generations of future readers who want to capture something of the 1995-2005 Zeitgeist. (And hopefully one day also as translations for non-Finnish readers too.) If there is any future at all, judging by the way things are currently going. The most alarming thing about Salminen's books is that though seemingly intended as satire, with a strong sense of grotesque and black humour, they describe today's reality so accurately.

Arto Salminen @ pHinnWeb

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Christmas Card From pHinnWeb

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Mr. pHinn and pHinnWeb wish all the readers of this blog,
friends, fellow freaks, fans, collaborators and co-conspirators
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2006!


A Chat With My Imaginary Friends Just Before X-Mas

The endless veils of Maya, drapes of illusion; just when one takes something for granted it turns into something else. The only certainty in life is uncertainty. So many people are looking for themselves a leader, some sort of guru-cum-Master of Ceremony: someone who would make all the pieces fit together and make sense of it all. In the end all sacred cows will be demolished, with that little boy who tells us the private parts of the Emperor are showing, and any other names for disillusion.

Christmas is always a regression into one's childhood. To what was lost forever, or was never there. That disillusion and loss were to follow when we grew up, and to claim otherwise was just the greatest pretension of those all. We try to compensate for the loss, of course, by creating around us these enormous armours of indifference, cynicism and cold stoicism, and pretend there is no return to that innocence. Still, how we wish someone would prove us wrong here.

Fed up with Christmas kitsch, though. Plastic angels, Baby Jesus with a submachine gun as an action figure, glitter balls, X-Mas carols muzak and consumer stampede.

From winter solstice on the days are getting longer. To all you who feel you're are merely drop-outs and good for nothing: never lose your hope and the will to keep fighting. To all you intellectuals trying to analyse or qualify and quantify this: don't even try, you'll fail miserably. Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Additions To Finnsleaze

[Skip this entry if you are under 18 years old.]

Sleaze guarantee! More additions to Finnsleaze from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.


20/70 | 23/70 | 7/71 | 11/71 | 14/71 | 15/71 | 20/71 | 2/72 | 5/72 | 9/72 | 12/72 | 13/72 | 16/72 | 17/72 | 18/72 | 22/72 | 23/72 | 25/72 | 3/73 | 5/73 | 8/73


10/69 | 3/76 | 7/76 | 9/76 | 10/76 | 10/77 | 12/77 | 12/78 | 3/78 | 11/79 | 12/79 | 2/81 | 4/81 | 6/81 | 12/81 | 12/82




5/76 | 6/76 | 7/76 | 8/76 | 6/77 | 7/78 | 5/80 | 10/80 | 11/80 | 10/81 | 11/81 | 7/83 | 12/83


6/74 | 6/74 B




10/73 | 4/74


9/80 | 2/82 | 4/83


9/81 | 10/82

Monday, December 12, 2005

[MP3] M.A. Numminen vs. DJ Sane Live + New Kommandomixes

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Exclusive live set:

M.A. Numminen vs. DJ Sane live @ Klubi, Tampere, 7 December 2005 (Here by the artists' permission!)

[Sorry, no tracklist available. M.A. Numminen info @ Wikipedia.]


DJ Sane & pHinn, Suomi Soundz Set IV @ Apadana, 19 November 2005

Matti Oiling: Cyclops' Dance (Pepe Deluxe Remix) [S]
Ercola & PP: Pannaan menemään [S]
Pepe Deluxe: Woman In Blue [pH]
Jimi Tenor: Take Me Baby (Finnish Bassboy Mix) [pH]
Club Telex Noise Ensemble: KVY (Legowelt Mix) [pH]
Dr. Robotnik: I Hate You [pH]
Shadowplay: Night Porter [pH]

pHinn psych-amb-dub mix, 7 December 2005 @ Klubi, Tampere

The Orb: Pomme Fritz
Tangerine Dream: Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares
Åke Andersson: Kaukonen ennen vanhaan
Manuel Göttsching: E2-E4
Future Sound of London: Cascade, Pt. 1
Talk Talk: After The Flood
Laraaji: Meditation Number 2
Mighty Force: Phase Nation
G.O.L.: Soma Holiday
Dub Syndicate: Ravi Shankar, Pt. 1
John Cage: Fontana Mix
Primal Scream: Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts)

pHinn IDM-exp-freakout mix, 7 December 2005 @ Klubi, Tampere

M.A. Numminen & Erkki Kurenniemi: Oigu-S
Philus: Tele-ctro
Kaj Chydenius: W
Kemialliset Ystävät: Metsä
The Fugs: I Saw The Best Minds of My Generation
Squarepusher: Theme From Ernest Borgnine
DJ Food: Scratch Yer Hed (Squarepusher mix)
Gescom: Mag AE Remix
Kelpe: Cross Legged Breakfast
Lego Feet: Northwest Water
Kelpe: Look For Shiny Things
Boards of Canada: Everything You Do Is A Balloon
Future Sound of London: Papua New Guinea
Aphex Twin: Polynomial-C
Orbital: Halcyon
The Fugs: Coca Cola Douche
Silver: Do You Wanna Dance
µ-Ziq: Lunatic Harness
Albert Ayler: Truth Is Marching In


All soundfiles available @ pHinnWeb.

In all our mixes we are committed to Kommandomix Manifesto.

Tampere Is A State Of Mind

Tampere is something else than (allegedly) the largest landlocked town in Scandinavia. Tampere is a state of mind. There's something special about walking through Tampere's centre on a December Sunday night when the temperature has risen above zero, melting away most of the snow and leaving only the damp black streets reflecting light from shop display windows and few passing cars. Apart from some very occasional pedestrians hurrying to their homes, Tampere "City" on a Sunday night is virtually a ghost town. Only TV's sound blares out from a bar by Kuninkaankatu's pedestrian street, announcing those ever-important results of Idols. The air of melancholia is everywhere dominating these lonely streets.

Riku Siivonen writes on his column for the weekend supplement Nyt of Helsingin Sanomat (Friday 9 December 2005) about his former hometown Tampere: "It is guaranteed that one finds from Tampere just the same clubs, restaurants and events as even before. A disco at Yo-Talo, the steaks of Salud, a beer tent at Keskustori, the hippies at Telakka. I suppose no one even wants to change the local city culture. Or the image of the town. [...] I love the passive resistance of Tampere people. Because of it even any small changes appear large. [...] Of course, Tampere is such a small place that anything differing from the mainstream doesn't stand a chance to have a proper life span ahead of it. Very few new things are born there." Then Mr. Siivonen goes on to compare Tampere to his new hometown Helsinki with its cultural network of small record labels, DJs, graphic artists, architects, journalists, etc. etc; the sort of which he claims he can't find in Tampere. The rest of the column is dedicated to defending different subcultures against such enemies of it as the "zero tolerance" politics (trying to suppress the creative potential of hip hop/graffiti culture), and the positive "city nationalism" of young Helsinki enthusiasts; the sort of which (once again) is not found for Mr. Siivonen in Tampere.

I don't doubt at all the fact that Mr. Siivonen has found his heaven among the fleshpots of Helsinki after having lived in more parochial and provincial Tampere, though these days I'm always more amused than actually annoyed by the usual Helsinki-centredness of its inhabitants (many of which, like Mr. Siivonen, are originally from other parts of Finland, meaning places like -- gasp -- Tampere too). Face it, for urban observers outside Finland (such as Momus in his recent blog entry on Helsinki's youth fashions), Helsinki -- even with its aspiring "city culture" and characteristic superiority complex towards the rest of Finland -- is nothing but parochial and provincial backwaters, in comparison to such real cities as London, Paris, Berlin, New York and Tokyo.

Of course, this is just malicious nitpicking from me, and I am sorry to admit that I think there is more than a grain of truth in Mr. Siivonen's criticism towards the lack of Tampere's (sub)cultural life. Because how many times I have cursed myself the apparent atmosphere of stagnation in this town, the seeming general unwillingness to create something new and different. Anything that is new will get rooted in Tampere only so slowly, and once it does there seems not to be any chance of getting rid of it. "The good old boys" who have established their positions in local cultural scene won't give those up easily. Any newcomers to this sandbox must play along the rules of these gatekeepers or to take the risk of getting marginalised, even cast out.

I am originally from Lapua in the Southern Pohjanmaa (a.k.a. Ostrobothnia) province of Finland where I was born, even though I have lived in Tampere ever since I was merely one year old when my father came to study at the University of Tampere. Still, I feel many times being an outsider in this town: in my heart and attitudes I am obviously more often of Pohjanmaa than Tampere of the Pirkanmaa area in the Northern Häme province. Pohjanmaa of quietly proud, enterprising, hard-driving, temperamental, impulsive, flamboyant and even slightly mad people, in comparison to more careful, suspicious and hesitant Tampere denizens.

A stereotypical inhabitant of Tampere is an uneducated working-class hick, who is extremely careful in all his talk and deeds, even sarcastic and passively aggressive towards anything "strange" that does not fit to his basically conservative and parochial worldview. He is a fan of ice hockey and 1970s heavy metal, which epitomise "culture" for him; maybe also the new albums from those Manserock dinosaurs who started in the 70s and are still going strong, Popeda and Eppu Normaali. Juice Leskinen is his hero, even though Juice told him to fuck off, when he once approached the artist at a bar after having encouraged himself first with fifteen beers. The only book he has ever read is Väinö Linna's The Unknown Soldier. He laughs at the TV comedy of the Kummeli group, with whose caricature characters he can well identify. Such as Matti Näsä, the ur-geezer helplessly stuck in the 80s with his denim jacket, greasy hair, the barbarian style of the combination of moustache and sideburns.

The salvation of Tampere, though, is that this is an university town, which draws in young people from all over Finland. This means a bunch of potential new movers and doers coming in, maybe bringing with them some fresh ideas and attitudes sorely needed to shake up the slumbering life here. I know that even though I often feel pessimistic and skeptic about anything changing here, there does exist the cultural Tampere network Mr. Siivonen was missing in this town. It is just that often the things they do here are of small scale and low profile -- yes, of underground, if you want to use this many times misunderstood word -- but they are there. You have to look for them carefully, they are not necessarily the most conspicuous and extravagant people; they may not want to make too much fuss about themselves, but they are there. Compared to the Helsinki trendies desperate for any new fad, they are more down-to-Earth, less flashy -- and less superficial.

Things change slowly in Tampere, yes, but I think Tampere people are also more realistic about any overnight sensations, rapidly passing ephemeral trends and fly-by-night operations. When they do things, they are built to last.

Moreover, the age of Internet and global connectivity has been there to eradicate the traditional positions between "power centres" and "provinces". We don't have to limit ourselves any more to our nearest surroundings in exchange of ideas and thoughts. In the flesh we may still be provincial smalltown dwellers, but on the level of ideas, concepts and communications we can move on freely and without boundaries. It's up to us if we want to turn that into action on our local level too; however grassroots that might be.

So, you see my attitude towards my hometown Tampere is not a little bit ambiguous. I curse the provincial narrow-mindedness, but I still see vast potential being there too. Just give it a chance to grow up and flourish, work hard yourself, be persistent and patient, and something is bound to happen before too long. Do it yourself and don't expect anyone else to hand it to you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

DJs Sami & Riku Do The Wardance At Yo-Talo

DJs Sami (a.k.a. 3.14-Sami) and Riku (a.k.a. Infekto) do their traditional wardance at the monthly Big Pop Saturday disco night, Yo-Talo, Tampere, Finland, 3 December 2005. Note Sami's innovative use of Christmas lights.

Images by Kaimaani. Reprinted by permission.

7 Lies (In Memory of Kikka)

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"7 Lies (In Memory of Kikka)" (7 December 2005) © pHinn 2005

pHinnMilk Comics (not for children)

Friday, December 02, 2005

More Dostoevsky, less Wrestlemania!

In the 1970s Finland was mostly a monoculture where everyone pretty much watched the only existing two TV channels, listened to two radio channels of the state-owned Finnish Broadcasting Company (and one channel in Swedish language to boot), read about the same papers and magazines.

In the 1970s Finland there was an express concern about culture and education and a worry about the "mental junk food" of commercial entertainment taking over people's minds. Finnish TV was still heavily regulated by the "Programme Council" (ohjelmaneuvosto) with a special concern over TV violence, and for example, such TV shows as Space: 1999, Starsky & Hutch and Magnum, P.I. were targeted or banned altogether. (Also political concerns were high on ohjelmaneuvosto's agenda: anything that could be interpreted as "anti-Soviet" was to be condemned.)

These sort of patronising attitudes seem to belong to a bygone era now, and I am not longing back for the old days, with their overall heavy political demagogy and bleak black-and-white mental landscapes of the days of "Finlandization", when in comparison Western mass culture seemed more appealing and exciting, but obviously we have turned 360 degrees since those days in what comes to having only one "official" truth dominating general thinking.

In the 80s and 90s the earlier monolithic media hegemony started to crumble when commercial radio stations came along, with new TV channels (TV 3 ca. 1987, Nelonen (Channel 4) in 1997), and the whole yuppie-driven "city culture" (yes, Finns with their forest dweller and agrarian roots took this whole "urbanism" concept seriously).

Paradoxically, in spite of the seeming variety of choices we have these days, there are actually fewer of them with the current commercial overkill of 24/7 entertainment inferno: Hollywood blockbusters, reality TV, American "pro" wrestling (Shakespeare for blue collars?), strictly scheduled Top 40 playlists radio, celebrity cult and so on. The ratings are the king, and mostly anything on TV is viable as long as it sells, obviously. It seems old black-and-white movies or European classic films or most anything coming from outside the Anglo-American cultural area are not part of this scheme. Current radio station programming with their industry-driven playlists epitomises the similar deserting of variety in favour of commerce. Current "freedom of choice" boils down to the crucial question: Coke or Pepsi?

The late Finnish author Arto Salminen notoriously wanted back the "Brezhnevian" era of the 1970s in one of his interviews, with the return to the age of state-controlled protectionism over currently prevailing neoliberalism and worldwide "free trade". This comment was heavily criticised in Finnish media (which leans increasingly towards the right these days, the little pinko devil in me would like to add) where the stagnation of those days still remains in common memory, but perhaps the 1970s -- when the so called high-brow culture was still cultivated -- had some good aspects there too.

And This Is What Momus Thinks About Pissis

Momus comments pissis here:

"In the double bind of the Virgin-Whore complex, women are supposed to be more pure than men – sugar and spice and all things nice. Yet when they fail to achieve this artificially high standard—especially when young, or drunk, or on the make—they're accused and castigated out of all proportion to their sins, which are usually no worse than the sins of anyone young, drunk or on the make ... The term pissis ... reminds me of Picasso's series of paintings of pisseuses (picked up by Serge Gainsbourg in his song 'Five Easy Pisseuses')..."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Momus On Finnish Youth Styles

The cult pop intellectual Momus (a.k.a. Nick Currie) comments here the looks of Finnish youngsters you can see at Hel-Looks site:

"It's understandable, if a bit depressing, that so many Finns are wearing H&M, the Ikea of the garment trade ... And why are so many Finn-teens wannabe Japanese? ... back in the 90s the Japanese did these styles so much better than today's Finns ... Japanese teens in 1997 looked totally 21st century, whereas Jenni and Aaron ... in 21st century Helsinki, look horribly, terminally, criminally 1997 ... I can't help thinking that cities and their styles are quite closely tied to economics, and that there's a pecking order, with global cities like New York, London and Paris inevitably sporting more creative street fashion than second division provincial cities like Helsinki ... Enhancing versions of the traditions of your locality, rather than copying the Japanese styles of the last decade, is the way to dress in a fresh and contemporary way, it seems to me."

I wonder what Mr. Currie would think about the Finnish pissis style favoured by teenage girls...?


pHinnWeb Chart December 2005

It's the psychedelic mind explosion! The Age of Aquarius has begun! (Or then, maybe not.)

Anyway, pHinnWeb Chart December 2005 is here.