Selim Lemouchi: in Memoriam

Though my plan definitely is to write this whole blog in English, I’ve found that I had one thing lying around in Dutch that never got put up anywhere. For Dutch music zine 3VOOR12/Eindhoven I wrote about Selim Lemouchi and his new music. The former singer of The Devil’s Blood had started a new band, named Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies. The music was great and haunting, so I met up in his house. Yes the walls were covered in blood, yes there was an altar, but also a visionairy, a musician and beautiful person.

So when he died, suicide, a couple of months later, it wasn’t a cool thing for me. It made me sad and more so due to my interview. I’ll probably post that here after it’s up at Wyrd’s Flight. I was asked to write an In Memoriam, so I set to work. Unfortunately for me, rock’n’roll writer Henk van Straten beat me to it. That was fine, he’s much better at it and had much more of value to say. Trust me, I’m a fan. I’m a fan of many things, as you will see if you check back here often.

Still I had this text and I love nothing more than to be read. So, what else to do….

selim_lemouchi_&_his_enemies-12

” I had the dubious honor to be the last Dutch interviewer, that spoke with Selim Lemouchi. Dubious, because you never want to be the last guy that interviewed a guy that is now no more. Then you get the question: do you want to write something about it? Am I someone who knew him forever? Someone with endless anecdotes  about them man? No, I’m just a guy who had a short but intense meeting with Selim and I got a shred of his thoughts and ideas, because I wanted to write something about his music. A cup of black coffee, a big pile of words, but mainly a meeting with a special and inspiring person. I was priviledged to meet that person.

“I have to expres myself. I don’t always want to, but I cannot stop it. There’s a controlled side of order inside me, but also an untamed creative side. Those two clash and collide and I am still trying to find balance.” Those are the final words of that interview. It took place at his home, on the 24th of november 2013. I went there by bike, to the other side of Eindhoven. I was a bit nervous, that was different. I rarely have that when I do interviews nowadays.

I had met Selim before and we chatted for a brief moment after his show in café ‘Oude St. Joris’. I told him the show was great and I bought his record ‘Mens Animus Corpus‘. He told me and others that he was happy we showed up, he appreciated it that people liked his music. He sold a lot of records. It was a great show, he only had to get angry a few times when the crowd wouldn’t shut up or the sound guy didn’t do what he wanted. I had seen The Devil’s Blood live, which I loved, but this was something else. The musician was radiating that sense and special and welcomed the visitors who came for his music with total dedication.

He described my review of that gig as “… a well written article with journalisic insights.” An interview, conducted by me, was something he was open to because of that. When I came in he was very busy with a lot of things at the same time. Selim Lemouchi is not as big as I thought he was. The living room does look a lot like in that video interview a couple of years ago: altar in the corner, blood on the walls but also a huge cupboard filled with records and a table littered with ashtrays, mugs and so on. His huge dog is walking around between all those things. He told me he took long walks with the animal, while listening to his recordings over and over again. “Milk or sugar?”, he suddenlay asked me. He just sat down and calmed himself a little. The start of the most intriguing interview I’ve ever done.

Selim Lemouchi loved talking to someone who listened and not just about himself. He kept asking me questions, where I suddenly had to gather up my thoughts and come up with answers, keeping me sharp and to the point. Sometimes his line of thought races on so fast, I had to ask what he ment. He didn’t mind, at least I wasn’t comparing his music to ‘occult rock’. That was something that annoyed him to no end, people thinking in those strict genre categories: “Music is like a web, everything is connected and everyone can inspire another. Without the Beatles, no Pink Floyd, without the Floyd so many other bands wouldn’t be there and so on and on. Don’t ever limit yourself to one genre or style or they will become your prison.” We spoke about many topics, like his philosophy and his two sides. The animal on stage and the perfectionist, working on his music. He expressed how anxious the challenge of his new project made him and how hard it was at times.

 The album is beautiful, eclectic, border crossing and brilliant. Sometimes it sounds unfinished, but it never pretends to be. Live it was sensational, with my girlfriend I went to witness it in the Temporary Art Centre. I talked to some people who knew Selim personally and read my interview: “Hasn’t he put new wallpaper up yet?”, one of them joked. We talked briefly after the show, me and Selim, because many people wanted to say high and shake his hand.

A lot of words, new ideas but mainly a beaming Selim there in the TAC. What happened after that, between that show and his passing, I do not know, I regret it. A huge talent. far from finished, now lost to us. I met a good, warm and kind person in Selim Lemouchi, what many who do know him well confirm. It’s a geater loss though for those who are closest to him.”

So that’s what I wrote. I dreamed about that interview the other night. It’s not easy to let it all go. I hope he’s happy, as much as his music gave people happiness.

Pictures with kind permission by Paul Verhagen

 

Hello World!

So I started a blog. I wanted to forever but never really could be bothered to actually do so. Why? Because of inert laziness I suppose. Also because posting updates on facebook is easier, directer and much, much less meaningful. When I did so again in an euphoric mood  after the Netherlands kicked Spains’ ass in football (I’ll save you from any 80 year war comparisons people have insisted on making, because that’s like discussing WW2 when Germany looses = Totally irrelevant), I decided to delete it. Why? Because describing your feelings and emotions in a FB update doesn’t work. It’s never really complete and doesn’t do justice to what I actually want to say. Also a facebook like is saying about as much as ‘I skimmed this’. It has very little meaning.

So I started a blog.

It’s kinda like that, yeah. I decided that if I have this urge to share, I should do it properly, even if no one reads it, atleast it’ll be proper and thought through a bit more. Now, I’ve said a lot and I might dedicate a post later to the two games between the Netherlands and Spain. One I saw a life time ago in Riga, Latvia, where we lost and I cried and I was angry (all… the … time) and the one we won where I was happy, grateful and in my place. Maybe I won’t really go into that but hey, let’s see. I should explain the title though.

A colleague recommended me a book, it was during the coaching sessions where I got to do nice things like facing my own fears, facing my own judgemental nature and how I thought I was a principled, sincere guy, but I was really a dick most of the times. Yes, I was a dick. The book was titled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Now, like most people I have an allergy for self-help books. They make me feel like I’m not good enough or something and the idea that a book can help you grow and learn…. weird. It’s also kind of strange to think I have that thought and over 50 books on philosophy next to me, but hey, we’re all hypocrites on some level. So I read this book. It honestly gave my whole thinking a kick in the groin.

There you have them, the seven habits. Yeah, it’s like a gospel, almost impossible to live up to constantly. It’s well worth trying though. So that’s what I do, that’s how I become more and more a Yes! person instead of a pessimist. I fail at them, every day, but I still keep trying.

Now, I was going to explain the title of my blog. I’ve become a Will Wheaton fan. You know, the guy from Star Trek who now does the Big Bang Theory and has an online show about gaming (table top). First he inspired me to an extent to start monthly game nights with my frients, where we spend quality time in our busy schedules, just playing games and doing what we love. His writings and videos let me see that it was ok to be a part-time geek (just don’t live in World of Warcraft) and most importantly he came up with Wheaton’s law.

So there I’m synergizing two ideas for you. From the Seven Habits with Wheaton’s Law for gaming. Wheaton’s law is very simple:

“Don’t Be A Dick”

The seven habits seem harsh, hard and difficult to live up to. It’s a high standard and failing to achieve it can really demotivate you, no matter how many times people tell you it’s ok. Wheaton’s Law offers a great alternative, because whatever transpires in gaming can be in one way or another transferred to life. Whether you’re playing PvP (player vs player = like worker vs customer, or you vs friend/partner) or PvE (player vs environment = worker + team vs project, you + parnter vs relationship), you have a social and interactive role with your environment. Maybe it’s hard to think win/win all the time or be proactive, but everything is easier when you’re not being a dick. If you are a dick, no one want’s to play with you. I decided I don’t want to be a dick.

So I started a blog, because I want to write about what I do and how I try not to be a dick and I might fail. I probably will also write about other stuff, like music, beer (though less and less), life style and stuff. And geekdom, oh yes, there will be geekdom. Writing is healthy, it’s one of those great excersises according to both Wil Wheaton as well as Stephen Covey. I’ve waited way to long to start doing it.

Thanks for bearing with me,
Guido

Remember, don’t be a dick.