Friday, January 26, 2018

The Knobkerrie

In my earlier life, when I was unemployed and desperate, I worked as a prison warden. During that time I had to let go a lot of myths regarding selfdefense, how "macho" I would act in a real fight and what an effective self defense tool was.  

6 weeks of training with a riot baton including locking, blocking, destabilisation and hitting vulnerable body parts were enough to make me fall in love with the stick.

Apart from having the home advantage of having received some government funded training: The idea of that the fight is at a comfortable stick-length distance from me is/was very appealing. Also: It is very hard to hit a person "hiding" behind a horizontal held stick  (and who does not want to get hit).

So yes, I take a riot baton over any other commercial self defense gadgets (including pepper spray).  

But as usual I had to escalate things and was on the lookout for the perfect stick. 

It came to me when I saw a NG documentary regarding the Zulu tribes of South Africa, in one episode they presented the Knobkerrie and I was SOLD

It is (usually) a stick carved out of ebony with a large knob on its end. The size and form of the knob vary .

On January 22, 1879 a large Zulu  army defeated  invading troops of the British Empire at the Battle of Islandlwana (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.) There the British troops soon experienced that the "walking sticks" were no laughing matter and that the issued helmets were no match for a Knobkerrie.

In fact the Knobkerrie has been used as late as WW1 in the trenches...so it has left an impression.

The "primitive" design is deceiving, actually the weight/length is distributed in a way so the Knobkerrie deals extreme damage for such a light "stick".

The knob on my Knobkerrie has many edges to....well....maximize the hurt

With a length of nearly a meter the Knobkerrie can develop a monstrous momentum.




Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pearl Jam "Ten" (1991)

See, there was just no way you could dodge this one when you were a teenager in the early 90ties. Personally PJ was an acquired taste for me, since my roommate at my boarding school played it on repeat mercilessly.

At some point of time I was able to distinguish the vowel rich whining into separate songs and it turned out it was the perfect backdrop to the novels I was reading at that time: "The Faded Sun" trilogy by C. J Cherry.

Anyhow it grew on me and I bought the record myself (wondering how Eddie Vedder managed to finish every word with an "a") and lost interest in it when my girlfriend started to listen to it.

(In Denmark "Grunge" was absorbed into the mainstream as fast as Norwegian Formula on a fisherman`s hand....£$%£$^£$%" posers!)

Anyhow, I never managed to get the same attachment to Pearl Jam`s other records like with this one and as for me: It would have been fine if the band had resigned in dignity then. But hey..




As for the songs....now 25 years later and listening to them again (after 12 year consumption of Ska music) it takes me back to the slowest emotional roller coaster ride in the universe. The "Mamasan" trilogy consisting of the songs "Alive", "Once" and "Footsteps" describe a young mans descent into madness after learning that the man who raised him is not his father. After that he starts an incestuous relationship with his mum and becomes a serial killer.

Oh, the early 90ties. So full of cheer!

My personal favorite is "Even Flow": A song so powerfully mumbled that it took me years to find out that it was about a homeless guy with mental health issues.

As for "Jeremy"...we don`t speak about "Jeremy"...EVER! That song traumatized and entire generation!

Fun facts:

- "Pearl Jam" does in fact mean sperm

- Eddie Vedder was a surfing gas station attendant in Los Angeles before he got black bagged and shlepped to Seattle where they cut holes in his jeans and threw some long underwear at him

-The albums title Ten was inspired by the professional basketball player Mookie Blaylock`s jersey number "10"