ARI UP is gone. She is survived by three sons, named Pablo, Pedro, and Wilton, who were apparently, sometimes, raised as tribal bohemians, in the jungles of Indonesia. Her Mum, Nora Forster, was a music promoter, who raised her around libertines, and celebrities, like Jimi Hendrix, Chris Spedding, and the Bee Gees. Her grandfather was the rich proprietor of "Der Spiegel" news-magazine. The young ARI UP, once known as, Arianna Forster's godfather, was a member of the 70's Prog-Rock band, Yes. Joe Strummer taught her guitar, before taking her on the "White Riot" tour. Barry Gibb, reportedly, taught her to play harmonica. What a light she was for so many people. An example of limitless potential, and possibilities. The wild embodiment of free choice, mirth, living by your own code. She always had this amazing courage, accompanied with this really exuberant sense of playfulness, unstoppable creativity, and whimsy, that made me wanna effortlessly abandon the rules and lies, and murderous hypocrisy, of modern-day Babylon, and make a break for the jungle, like Ari did, in recent years. Plenty of feminists credit her as an icon of "Womyn's Music". She was that, and so much more. She was a lighthouse, a leader, a beacon, a moral-compass. A REAL PUNK.
I know many of you are drugged on cable misinformation, and insurance company prescriptions, some of you are even employed by big pharma, and the prison industrial media triangle, but as for me, I'm ready to move. Split. Cut out of this scene and go groovin'...somewhere without the chem-trails, cars, and televisions. Leave all the big box franchise prisons, and deadly fast food behind. Will I miss the star-spangled culture? Nahhh...I'll always have a little Creem Magazine, some Betty Page, a little C.B.G.B.'s, a smidge of Van Halen, a dash of White Panther Party...some Roy Rogers and Dan'l Boone, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth in my heart, wherever I go, but all that's a memory here, anyway...All that's lefts this horrible shit like American Idol and Lady Gaga, Dancing With The Stars, and Fox Fraudcasting. I've lost my girlish figure, thanks to all the high fructose corn syrup, and destroyed my knees, bending up and down, all day, while "facing product", on the floors of minimum wage retail slavery positions, these past fifteen years. My teeth are rotting and I have no insurance. Lost my family when I lost my last record store job. Friends turned their backs, as they each made the leap into suburbanized, mortgage-paying, middleclass, narco-shopper, S.U.V driving, credit-card zombie, cable watching status. Freedom? Gone. Protest? You'll be tasered, beaten, cuffed, and stuffed, and you better have a lot of money for lawyers and fines. It's all about money. One in ten Americans are in jail. Many, many more of us are on probation and parole. We are more segregated now, than we were in the fifties. There are more incarcerated black men now, than there were in chains, at the start of the Civil War. Mostly for non-violent drug offenses. Railroaded into prison for pot and poverty, and the color of their skin, even in the age of Beyonce and Obama. Racism is institutionalized in American society. Arizona is owned and operated by private prison lobbyists and drone manufacturers. One in thirty eight boys has autism, but Thanks to Bush, Americans can't sue vaccine manufacturers. Innocent civilians, who've been kidnapped, and tortured, by shadowy spooks and billion dollar mercenaries, can't sue the U.S. government. Israel and the shadow government wants America to invade Iran, next. Well over a million people are dead in Iraq, and there never were any "weapons of mass destruction". All for Halliburton. Afghanistan is another pointless quagmire, and peace-prizer Obama's now escalated that also savage war into Pakistan and Yemen. Eighty percent of our manufacturing jobs went to China, many under Clinton. Even the yuppies who were "anti-war", or "anti-torture" under Bush, are appallingly silent, about these same exact policies, under the sold-out, right-wing, corporate-tool "Democrats". Everyone who's paying any attention, at all, is outraged, and wondering where can one immigrate, to flee this non-stop tyranny and murder, injustice, and occupation. England seems like they're under the same exact bullshit systems of control.
Some of my fellow Americans don't seem to mind being under boot of fascists, under surveillance, under occupation, paying for endless wars, but those same Americans seldom cross paths with the hungry tribes of homeless people, who live in my part of town. Revictimized daily by brute cops. No one knows history, even our universities are controlled by the same cadre of bankers and oil barons. It all seems so grim, and senselessly brutal, and only likely to get worse. Americans don't like to even think about the cover-up in the Gulf; the ownership of the airwaves by a tiny monopoly of vested interests-just four companies: all war-profiteers; the ongoing ramifications of the Patriot Act, the FBI targeting of peace activists, seizing their personal belongings, with no evidence of any crime, and no recourse, for the victims of these home invasions; or the 5-4 rightwing-rigged Supreme Court decision that the corporations can flood our elections with unlimited and anonymous donations. It's enough to make somebody blue. "Is all hope lost?"
I spent more than a few years spiraling, from grief, disappointment, poverty, and self-pity...What Bowie/Mercury described as, "the terror of knowing what this world is about...", and having never been to college, whenever I made contact with old friends and relatives, we had less and less to exchange. I try to hip 'em to what's goin' down, but they think I'm a kook. No inheritance, and no diploma=no credibility. They're all about business ownership and mid-life ego-trips. Video-games and denial. Televisions and home improvements. I think I'm bein' Paul Revere, they think I'm bein' Chicken Little, Debbie Downer, A Demented, Doomsday Prophet. All my heroes---Bill Hicks, Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Carroll, Stiv Bators, Joe Strummer are all dead. Kim Cheyenne from one of the most under-rated El Lay Metal-Years bands, Saigon Saloon, just passed away. God Rest His Soul, and now, the deeply important, legendary revolutionary, ARI UP, from the SLITS, one of punk's truest originals, in every sense of the word, has left us, too. She was a hugely influential pioneer of punk, and post-punk, inspiring so, so many people, with her fearless and outspoken blend of punk, post-punk, Dancehall, ska, funk, primitivism, dub, protest music, fun, reggae, and soulful liberation, like the CLASH, who they often gigged with. Many remember their enthusiastic amateurism, as featured in, "The Punk Rock Movie". I used to do an imaginary radio-show, called, "I LOVE FAKE REGGAE" that featured all the eighties new wave Caucasians with the plastic, fake reggae grooves, and phony Jamaican-speak. The Police, Culture Club, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Generation X, the Clash, on and on...cos, ya see, I loved fake reggae. ARI UP was a mother, a free spirit, a genius, and a Real-Rasta-Punk-Goddess. From out of this world. Gorgeous. Spontaneous, inventive, wise, funny, brave, and strangely uninhibited. A sovereign. Crazy like Lee "Scratch Perry". A punk rock warlord, in her own right. In recent years, ARI had reunited THE SLITS, except she couldn't tear PALMOLIVE away from a teaching career in New England. Man. I was just listening to the Carbon/Silicon track, "Unbelievable Pain", yesterday, and still, quietly, mourning Joe Strummer, and a whole buncha my old friends 'you never heard of. Now ARI UP is gone. Sad, sad, sad. I thought about trying to get a quote about her, from Palmolive, or their former manager, Don Letts, or Chrissie Hynde, for a real tribute, but I know everybody who actually knew her, is coping with their own deeply felt, personal grief, and already being contacted by Mojo, and Classic Rock, and shit, so I figured I'd leave 'em all alone. If I'm affected, and shocked this much, England must be devastated. Her stepfather, John Lydon's website just says she died from "a serious illness on the 20th". She was only 48. There are books and films steadily being made about this TRUE STAR, and her many contributions. She released the last SLITS record, "TRAPPED ANIMAL", on Narnack Records, last year, and had recently left the gypsy tents of Belize and Indonesia, for Kingston Jamaica, where she joined the New Age Steppers. Ari, you are an angel. We already miss you! Our sincerest condolences to her friends and family. She will live on in the works and spirits of everyone she touched and changed.