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October 6th, 2006

Che Fece(se)

"You can't HANDLE the truth!"
Jack Nicholson, as Col. Nathan R Jessup naval commandant of GITMO, in the film, A Few Good Men.


Hi folks,

One of my favourite grandkids has just impressed me again. I may have mentioned that Mistica, age two, loves eating whole anchovies with her fingers. (I am totally amazed at that!) And whenever, I make her home-made penne, with grandpa's special sauce, she eats every single bit and asks for more. (I am particularly fond of that!). But her latest activity has really caught my attention. She has been taking off her nappy, dipping her paint brush in the poo, and painting on the walls! I can't think of a better way to communicate what authenticity is in the avant-garde! (Naturally, this type of art is also much easier to appreciate if it happens on someone else's canvas!)

Speaking of the Art of Poo, I also received some frustrating news a couple of days ago that I have been refused permission, by the source publishers, to record my political parody of the well-known Cuban song, 'Guantanamera,' with my new lyrics and re-titled, 'Guantanamo Bay'. I was told by the Australian sub-publisher, who said that although they supported my request themselves, the reason given to them, from over there, was that there were instructions not to allow any adaptations with overt political or social protest content! What a load of Poo Paint! - as that's the very way this song originated and was evolved by the writer - as a social 'newspaper'. I've written a letter to Fidel Castro asking him to intercede on my behalf down below.

This the THIRD major creative adaptation I have written where permission has been denied to me. Damn! I know I still must being doing something right if I keep getting up people's noses in a big way like this.

The first big NO I got was for a musical setting about Federico Garcia Lorca's life, called LORCA. I discovered that Lorca played the piano and had written new original lyrics to a selection of old gypsy ballads. I got copies of these works, from Spain, constructed a single actor play around them, with a flamenco dancer and guitarist, but focused the second half of the play on Lorca's sexuality and his relationship with Salvador Dali. Permission was denied to me on the grounds that 'we cannot allow any project where Lorca is portrayed as himself . . by an actor.' Wha??? Who is supposed to portray the poet in biographical plays and films - a plumber?

The second NO was a poetry cantata of some selected poems of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes I scored with the title, THE BLACK TELEPHONE. I had found a series of early poems by both writers where the writing styles were very similar and practically interchangeable. I wrote Ted Hughes for permission to perform this as I had an offer to stage it from the Castlemaine State Festival. His reply:

Court Green
North Tawton

9 Feb 1996

Dear Joe Dolce,
Thanks for showing me the materials for your proposed Cantata, The Black Telephone.
From your title, The Black Telephone, I assume that you do wish to tap SP's drama in explicit fashion, requisitioning the various pieces of mine to supply the missing half of the dialogue.
Sorry. The poems of mine that you select do not belong to SP's drama, and can only be pressganged to be part of it - - - as in your collage, and given the general familiarity with the popular version of SP's story, they inevitably are - - misrepresenting them and me and intensifying even further the prejudice that blocks any fresh approach to her work and in many quarters radically distorts the approach to mine. I trust you will take another look, from my point of view, at what your sequence and juxtapositions amount to, and will understand my position. I cannot give permission for her poems and mine to be used in this way, as in The Black Telephone.

Yours sincerely,
Ted Hughes

Two years later, in 1998, Hughes published The Birthday Letters, which was effectively his 'missing half of the dialogue,' even incorporating three of the poems I had scored for The Black Telephone. He died shortly after. The estate still refuses permission for me to perform my work.
(There are two excerpts from The Black Telephone recorded on my album, Memoirs of a Mouth Organ.)

Looking on the Bright Side of NO: these type of misbehavin' artistic creations of mine go in what I like to refer to as my B-Minor Mass Box - to be addressed to and opened by future generations - after all these pin-headed and paranoid copyrights have expired. JS Bach's B-Minor Mass was NEVER heard in his lifetime. In fact, the Catholic Church of Bach's day would have considered it sacrilege and unperformable, as Bach (being a Lutheran) did not conform his Mass to the traditional catholic mass structure. But hundreds of years later, this awesome work forms one of the cornerstones of Western music. It's a comforting thought for an artist to think that their work might have that kind of impact in a hundred years time. But, as we will all be dead, by then, it doesn't really matter, now does it? It's really more about the DOING of the thing now - and the resulting self-development that occurs. But, like Bach did, you can pinch bits out of your own forbidden collection to use in your other works. There is a saying that any hack can plagiarise from others but only a bloody genius knows how to steal from themselves!


Re: Ribs and Rigatoni
The recipe you said you stumbled upon by accident.. that's amazing.. it's been a favorite of our Italian/American family forever! We don't make it like your recipe, of course, but we have used the combination of slow cooked, homemade BBQ sauce, tender short ribs (I like boneless country-style ribs) and rigatoni, a larger version of penne, as a family favorite! Amazing here I am in Kansas, USA, knowing this is a family tradition and there you are half a world away stumbling upon it. Cool.

Hi Joe,
The sneak preview of part of the Morningstar musical at the Communal Studies Association [USA] gathering Saturday. Steve Fowler really captured [Lou Gottlieb's) resonant voice and gestures - it was almost scary! And the dancers were just great - music ditto, ESPECIALLY "Hey, Lou Gottlieb!" that threatens to be the hit song of the piece. Alicia Bay Laurel also shone with her performance Friday, plus she gave an encore later, singing and playing live to just the instrumental tracks from her latest CD. Wotta star! More soon,

(Note: This new musical is based on the life of Lou Gottlieb, Phd Music, student of Arnold Schoenberg, and founding bass player, singer and raconteur extraordinaire with the legendary US folk group of the 60s, The Limeliters. Lou took his hard earned folk singing money, bought a piece of land in California in the 70s, signed the legal deed over to GOD!, declared it Open Land and said anyone could come live there and no one could ever ask them to leave. (Except the local building council, ahem . . who eventually bulldozed all the hand-made hippie houses down and chased everyone away!) For three years, though, it was peace and love heaven and everyone who passed through there, including me, had their lives changed. Lou was also my first music teacher, in some strange way, and in the final years before he modulated to that great Open Land Commune in the Ground, we exchanged dozens of letters from Bach to Bacchanalia. I still think about him every time I write a counterpoint, and wrote the song, Hey Lou Gottlieb, He Opened Up His Land, in his memory.) Lyrics


: "Georgina" Subject: Greetings, White Man! :)

Mitchel rebuffs repulsive enslaver Rachelle's pockmarked tired dropsy as Nevil replows puzzled war veteran Thieu who sashays with alert neatness. In the background, the Beatles darkly ferment as Violetta uncocks a difficult malignancy. Goldarina disapproves of stormy bleacher Elissa who scarifys a sour pollination as Rona pontificates with some resonant cowboy. Kimberly roosts her wet dotage on Mitchel leafing brave Rachelle's dangerous snake telegraphy. Margarette quick-freezes husky bloodstained Zebedee who flashes his faithful quarterstaff as Ms Padang dishes a scary gynecology. Earnestine girths ashamed opposer Reed who unzips a fluffy foulard as Leilah slaps her immense ladyfinger while Earnestine bores vintner Berman who finally flips his boiling dependency.


Favourite Throw-Away Mention of the Week


" We were going to postpone the Friday Animal out of respect for the Pope, but then it would clash with the Royal Wedding or the Grand National so in the end we plumbed new depths of tenuousness and went to an Italian celebrity well-versed on the subject of respect. Yes, it's Joe Dolce!

What's-a matter you, hey, gotta no respect
why you look-a so sad
Sardinia's not so bad, it's-a nice-a place
For ya curly-horned face!

We are aware that the Pope was not actually Italian. But nor was Joe Dolce, so it's okay.



Jesus Image Found in Dog Butt
(If you look, and believe, you will see.) pic
(thanks to Ramon Sender)



The Martin Luther King Scavenger Hunt

My friend, Teresa Strong, in the US, has created a great learning site for Dr King and is featuring my song, Marchin' With Martin Luther King Jr down at the bottom of the page. If you haven't heard this yet, I'm being supported by Adoration on the Gospel Train Chorus and it features some ornery (but non-violent, of course) harp playing! Hunt


A Big Fish Story


A guy who lives at Lake Conroe (50 miles north of Houston) saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate. It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!! The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface. The guy tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish. (thanks to Jack Moulton.)


Guantanamo Bay
(to the melody of Guantanamera)

Guantanamo Bay,
We go to Guantanamo Bay,
Guantanamo Bay,
We go to Guantanamo Bay.

If you are Cuban or Haitian,
You get the sleep deprivation,
They hang you up by suspension,
In solitary detention,
And things too awful to mention,
Not in Geneva Convention.

Guantanamo Bay,
We go to Guantanamo Bay,
Guantanamo Bay,
We go to Guantanamo Bay.

That's the first verse and chorus of my latest masterpiece. (Complete Lyrics.)

Guantanamera actually means Girl from Guantanamo Bay. In Cuba. Also, the home of Fidel Castro, the Buena Vista Social Club, cigars, and mucho communistas. And, of course, GITMO, the US military gulag.

Wha???? A US capitalist military prison on the Southern shore of Communist Cuba. Has anyone really THOUGHT this through? How could something like that be possible? Come with me on a little voyage . . . . .


Click for detailed map


The US naval base at Guantanamo Bay lies in Oriente Province in the southeast corner of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas U.S. military base, originally acquired as a coaling station in 1903, but reaffirmed by treaty with Cuba in 1934 after the American fleet aided Cuba in the Spanish-American War. Guantanamo Bay is the only U.S. military installation located in a communist country. The U.S. government obtained a permanent lease for the base from the newly independent Cuban state. The terms hold the U.S. -- for the purposes of operating coaling and naval stations and for no other purpose -- has "complete jurisdiction and control" of the area. A single clause in these agreements reserves "ultimate sovereignty" over the territory to Cuba. Except for the right to an annual rent -- money that the current Cuban government refuses to accept -- Cuba's formal sovereignty has little practical value. No matter how unhappy the Cuban authorities may be with the United States, they are unable to evict U.S. forces from the island. Termination of the land lease requires consent from both the United States and Cuba.

In 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power, through the revolution, Cuban defense forces formed a military zone along the 17-mile perimeter of the American base, seen on this side as enemy territory.

Since Castro came to power, the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay has been a source of tension between the two nations. Castro insists the area is illegally occupied by the US, which leases it under a pre-revolution agreement. At one point, the Cuban government cut off water to the base causing the United States to first import water from Jamaica and then to build desalination plants .

Initially, the Cuba government assured the United States that they would support the administration's counter-terrorism activities, including the detention center. However, as time went on and Guantanamo became a source of international concern, Cuba changed its position. In December, the Cuban senate accused the United States of running a "concentration camp" at the base. article

In 1990, former Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide became Haiti's first freely elected president. But less than a year later, he was ousted by a military coup and the Haitian paramilitary launched a brutal campaign of killings, torture and arrests against his supporters. As boatloads of refugees began fleeing Haiti, the first Bush administration responded with a policy whereby the Coast Guard would "interdict" fleeing Haitians on the high seas and quickly "screen" them aboard boats, bringing to the United States only those few "screened-in" Haitians found to have "credible fears" of political persecution.

As refugee numbers swelled, the administration shifted to a new policy: interdiction and offshore detention of the Haitians in camps hastily erected at the forty-seven-square-mile US naval base in Guantánamo, an area slightly larger than Manhattan. article

By Jeff Lemm and Allison Alberts, Ph.D


'Guantanamera' is perhaps the best known Cuban song and that country's most noted patriotic song. The music for the song is regularly attribute to José Fernández Díaz (also known by the diminutive, Joseíto), who claimed to have written at various dates (consensus puts 1929 as its year of origin), and who used it regularly in one of his radio programs. Some researchers claim that the song's structure actually came from music already in popular use by peasants in southeastern Cuba during the early 20th century, and that Fernández merely adopted the melody as his own.

The Song used as Social "Newspaper"

Guantanamera lent itself from the beginning to impromptu verses, improvised on the spot, similar to what happens with the Mexican folk classic, "La Bamba". Fernández's first use of the song was precisely this; he would comment on daily events on his radio program by adapting them to the song's melody, and then using the song as a show closer. Through this use, the Guantanamera became a popular vehicle for romantic, patriotic, humorous, or social commentary lyrics, in Cuba and elsewhere in the Spanish speaking world.

Adaptation from the "Versos Sencillos" by José Martí
The better known "official" lyrics are based on the first verse of the first poem of the collection "Versos Sencillos" (Simple Verses) by Cuban nationalist poet and independence hero José Martí, who died in 1895 and was nicknamed the apostle of Cuban independence. article




Dear Comrade Fidel,

Hola! and Greetings from your comrades in Australia and, as we say here in the Carlton barrios, 'May the left ear of the American gringo drop off and fall into his right pocket'.

I would like to alert El Presidente to the unfortunate news that permission has been denied to me by the publishers of your favourite song, 'Guantanamera,' to allow me to record my socialist anti-US imperialist, 'Say NO to GITMO,' version, entitied, 'Guantanamo Bay', (which in no way is reflective on the wonderful people who live in Guantanamo Bay - excluding the US running dogs who run the camp, of course - and especially the GUANTANAMO BAY TREE FROG of whom I am a great fan and aficionado. Are you familiar? As you well know, this species of hylid tree frog is only found at Guantanamo. Hyla septentrionalis, is actually quite common and occurs throughout the base, (despite being shot at by the moronic US guards) but seems also to favor housing areas and buildings and on many occasions can be found hiding inside rolls of toilet paper. When captured, they usually emit a shriek. Also a common response by those awakening unexpectedly to find the electrodes attached to their gonads at GITMO. But I digress . . . . .).

Your Most Cigar Smoking Excellency, somewhere between the time of Jose Fernandez Diaz, (we also both share the name Jose, El Presidente) the Cuban patriot who wrote the original music to "Guantanamera' , which was sung with his improvised lyrics, about the social and POLITICAL conditions of his day in Cuba; Jose Marti, the Cuban NATIONALIST poet and independence hero whose words have become the 'official' lyrics - and my new and alive anti-GITMO variation, which is based on the spirit and intention of the original Cuban writers - there has risen a Capitalist Publishing Bureaucracy which is now dictating that this song of freedom and social protest can no longer be used for the very thing it was created for.

Naturally, I will continue singing it in live performance at anti-American peace rallies and down at the local Trades Hall. (Comrades unite!)

But I am very angryissimo that some capitalist and bureaucratic brown eye jockeys who have never seen the trenches of the fighting revolutionary, (as you and I have, esse) are sitting in some air conditioned office, drinking Perrier water, and deciding that this social activist song can no longer be sung in the spirit for which it was intended by our heroic comrades.

In fact, hypothetically, if the original composer, Jose Fernandez Diaz, would now improvise his own song, with political lyrics, as he did on his well-known Cuban radio show in the 20s, he could not be granted permission, by this very same arse-end publishing bureaucracy, to record his own original version!

In which case, the song would be unknown to us all. (Oh Cisco! Oh Pancho!)

I sure you can see the hypocrisy in this, Comarado. It makes me want to shove a Cohiba in every orifice.

I have to assume that one of the main motivations for the refusal is COMMERCIAL, as no major Corporate Sponsor would then touch the song once it has become 'tainted' with controversial political issues. Too bad! When the revolution comes, they will all be swinging from the tobacco branches, carnal.

In my own humble experience, with my own social revolutionary anthem 'Revolution You Face,' the more controversy around a song, the better, as it keeps it alive and kicking in the public imagination. I have NEVER denied a single permission to anyone to do a variation of my own song, and in fact, encourage it - and I am certain that Jose Fernandez Diaz would have done a cover version of my own song, too, were he able to speak Broken English.

I also cannot believe that your Excellency, or the Cuban people, would seriously object to this variation of mine, as the whole point of my adaptation is to protest AGAINST that black hole, Guantanamo Bay, a US military base on CUBAN NATIONAL SOIL, that even you have loudly declared that you want to vamoose, pronto mucho.

I am now asking, as one comrade to another, Senor Castro, if you could interject for me, and talk some sense into these 'gringos locos' who are standing in the way of an authentic revolutionary statement against a foul and tiresome presence by the US military on your beautiful island. Make them an offer, Fidel Castro-style, they can't refusisto.

I am a political and social activist - and a songwriter and composer - a comrade and brother - I've been a poet, a pirate, a pawn and a king, I've been up, down and I know one thing, whenever I find myself flat on my face, I just pick myself up and get back . . . er, what I mean is, I find it especially outrageous that some capitalist donut-eating publisher imperialist arse lackey puta, who drinks the very lifeblood of the common musician, betrays a sacred obligation to its composers intentions, whom it is supposed to be defending vigorously.

Thank you for hearing my plea, Fidelo (can I call you that? I feel as if I know you.) And check out that tree frog when you get a chance. It will be love at first croak.

Revolutionarily yours,

Comrade Jose Dolce
The People's Republic of Carlton

"Restriction on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1939-1975



Rock Salt Sarcophagus Chicken

I saw Jamie Oliver make this on tv and memorized it. I've made it twice so far and both times it's come out perfect. Easy to make, too. The first time I made this, I used a mixture of coarse salt and rock salt. It still came out fantastic, but a little too salty. The second time I just used rock salt and it was mucho perfecto. The rock salt stays on the outside and forms a shell (whereas the coarse regular salt gets into the chicken cavities.)

1 medium free-range chicken
enough rock salt to completely cover (a lot)
1-2 eggs
couple small bags of fennel seeds
three bunches of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, coriander)
olive oil
two lemons
fresh garlic

Pre-heat oven to 200 C.

Pound the herbs and garlic in a mortal and pestle. Add the garlic, the juice of one lemon and a little olive oil and pound some more. Totally cover the chicken with the mixture, rubbing it into every cavity. Cut one lemon in half and place it inside the chicken.

In a clean mortar and pestle, pound the fennel seeds. Add to the rock salt in a large bowl. Add one or two beaten eggs and stir thoroughly.

In a large baking pan, spread a quarter inch layer of the rock salt mixture as a base. Set the chicken on top. Make sure the herbs are covering as much of the chicken surface as possible. Start spooning the rock salt mixture gently over the chicken, packing it down until the chicken is completely encased in a rock salt sarcophagus.

Place the chicken in the 200 C oven, on the middle tray, and bake for two hours. When it's done, the rock salt will have hardened and the chicken will be cooked perfectly moist with a wondeful infusion of the herbs, fennel, and lemon. Crack the sarcophagus at the table for maximum dramatic effect.



- I always think about the following CP Cavafy poem when I receive a significant NO in my life -



Che Fece . . . Il Grand Rifiuto

To certain people there comes a day
when they must say the great Yes or the great No.
He who has the Yes ready within him
reveals himself at once, and saying it he crosses over

to the path of honour and his own conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Should he be asked again,
he would say No again. And yet that No -
the right No - crushes him for the rest of his life.

~ CP Cavafy ~
(translated by Rae Dalven)









"We are dealing with human individualities whose lives are concerned so much more with meaning and significance than with mere facts. (Facts are, after all, that which is finished, excreted, done with: Latin: facio, Cognate with faeces)!"
Ralph Twentyman, British Homeopathic Society