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<nettime> spookygram x2: travel notes + hyper-violent hip-hop
Paul D. Miller on Tue, 8 Jan 2002 00:52:23 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> spookygram x2: travel notes + hyper-violent hip-hop


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From: "Paul D. Miller" <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
     Dj Spooky travel notes: Sao Paolo, Brazil: Future Megalopolis
     Brazilian hyper-violent hip-hop....

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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 11:11:03 -0500
From: "Paul D. Miller" <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
Subject: Dj Spooky travel notes: Sao Paolo, Brazil: Future Megalopolis

Travel Journal - New years (Rio/Iquassu/São Paolo 3 weeks travel 
consdensation: re - Brazil - accepted ecletic)


Sao Paolo, Morumbi section Jan3, 2002:
Marc Chagall Tower, 18th Floor: viewpoint: CD:DIR>phase transition:>>goto>open

"History - at best a conspiracy, not always among gentlemen, to defraud..."
Thomas Pynchon

"A Community will evolve only when a people control their own communications"
Frantz Fanon

	The towers of the city stretch away pretty much in every 
direction, and the basic metaphor is unending omnidirectional urban 
compression. Endless favela, endless humanity... it takes a couple of 
hours to drive across the city, but its worth it. The sights are 
almost too much: there's the odd parrot that says the word "mother" 
ad infinitum on one corner... on another corner in Iguassu, a 
homeless child comes up to the car to ask not for money, but where 
I'm from... he asks where my face belongs... another corner has kids 
listening to "baile" music from the "funk balls" that are 
choreographed gang fights between rival favela gangs (the young men 
these days all are dying their hair like Goldie - bleached blonde 
super close cropped, platinum blonde skin-head look, the girls rock 
low cut skirts that are made of plastic and synthetic materials... 
all of this on the corner... an update of Miles Davis's 70's album 
cover artwork... the kids have boom boxes, and that's about it.... 
its summer and the rainy season has kicked in... you can count on 
rain pretty much every afternoon after about 3pm... The Jardins 
section in the center of the city - red carpet, plush hotels, 
expensive restaurants... no kids on the corner... this is a city that 
never had a Baron Haussman like Paris or a Robert Moses like New York 
- architects of urban planning are a remote species here, almost as 
if from another world. The city sprang from the trade winds and found 
itself at the cross roads of the north and south - its a place where 
worlds collide and the sounds all come from outside - dubbed versions 
of NYC hip hop and electro, reggae infused with afro beat for the Axe 
sound systems, live MC's who do not under stand the words they say - 
over rhythms like Dr. Dre's "Guess Who's Back?" glossalalia - many 
tongues, the language of hip-hop reduced for a moment to pure 
enunciation... all of this flows through the streets like water, or 
even better, like information - a "knowledge game" of the 
unconscious... the music... its eddies and currents reconfiguring the 
notion of ethnicity and identity in a stew of "anything goes...." 
>From the rooftop where I'm writing in Morumbi, the city stretches 
out, and its a riddle of many dimensions: the circuit board patterns 
that dominate the Northern American urban landscape are confronted 
with the idea of the city as a generative syntax: each block 
regenerates another pattern, and alters the proportions of the 
buildings that surround it... the roads are almost labyrithine - not 
in the Old Eurpean sense of places like Lisbon or Porto in Portugal 
(places that gave Brazil its early identity - it has moved far far 
far beyond them now....), but more like Lagos: urban planning at the 
whim of the IMF and World Bank, streets that have meaning as long as 
the current moment supports the currency of the project... after 
that, the money vanishes, the project stops, the road ends... the 
favela begins....
	After the New Year, which Europe began as "E-Day" - the 
largest consolidation of currencies in history, the favela becomes 
another kind of temporary autunomous zone... Oscar Niermayer on one 
hand,  Greg Lynn's Deluezian "hyper-surface" on the other.... the 
Utopian dreams of the south translate into compression and sustained 
unplanned growth: that's the architecture of hyper-modern involution 
- think of it as a world "upside down" architecture is the reflection 
held up to the world... a comedy of values, a carnival of all souls 
where identity is like a poker deck... pick a card any card, its the 
dealers game... you can't win...  here in South America the economics 
of consolidation bear a different face - one that is completely 
hybrid, and in a sense, because of the dominanace of the U.S., one 
that will face the extremes of 21st century economic upheaval - 
Argentina as the reflection of E-Day - three currencies, all 
useless... the rich do not care, their money is in the U.S., the 
poor, well... they don't belong to the system anyway... the middle 
class, however, is crushed... new favelas perhaps.... the reflection 
of E-Day is one of seamless-ness - the surface finally absorbing the 
nation states that gave birth to "modernity" - we face the world 
after the fall of the twin towers - the West's "Crystal Palace" that 
gave the existentialists of the 20th century so many things to 
reflect off of... Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment" become a world 
where guilt and human dignity face the prism of the architecture of 
the Id and Ego... Aldous Huxley wasn't so far off point, and Jules 
Verne's ideas around genetic engineering and the compression of time, 
all seem like a faint echo of the crisis in Argentina, the global 
crisis of meaning after 9/11.... the crystal palace has myriad 
reflections, and this, perhaps is one:
"A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but their 
is nothing to compare it to now.		It is too late. The 
Evacuation still proceeds, but its all theater. There are no lights 
inside the cars. No light anywhere. Above him lift girders old as an 
iron queen, and glass somewhere far above that would let the light of 
day through. But its night. He's afraid of the way the glass will 
fall - soon - it will be a spectacle: the fall of a crystal palace. 
But coming down in total blackout, without one glint of light, only 
great invisible crashing...."
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's rainbow

The question for art is how to build new narratives with the material 
at hand... the shards of modernity cut deeply, and they leave wounds 
that will have to heal in new ways.... if Mary Shelley's 
"Frankenstein" was the archetypal parable of early Modernity, then we 
need new forms - the old has combined with the new, "E-Day" as the 
currency made from the shards of the old nations, all like a 
recombinant entity out of the Romantics... recombinant form is pretty 
much now the basic way we look at the world. Combine, split, 
reform... the dj method of synthesis has taken hold of almost all 
aspects of the creative act: "E Pluribus Unum" - out of many, one.... 
the operating system of hypermodernity asks for alot more.... As I 
sit and type, I can see the distant favelas.... the children dance to 
baile music... how can I tell? Its a style that has a certain 
cadence, its a theater of gesture where everyone knows the moves.... 
baile music is considered controversial - people gather to dance and 
to fight... its a modern update on how capoeira evolved out of the 
culture of slavery in Brazil... but its far less coherent... people 
die, and are hurt by the dance moves becuase that's what they go to 
clubs for: the social rituals of identity formation they go through 
are from the dance "funk balls" - the ball in Europe was a place 
where social values were reflected in the precision of dance moves... 
the same thing is going on here... costumes, preparation, and 
intensity of performance are what make it all happen, and violence is 
pretty much part of the basic syntax... its a style where people 
carry razors and use them to stab and carve their dance opponents... 
a missplaced glance, a "wrong" gesture can set off a battle... all 
for social dominance in a realm of theater, and the soundtrack is 
made from fragments of dj mixes from around the world. The sounds are 
the new networks for these kids, and their body language telegraphs a 
theater that is all too close... The Brazilian playwright Augusto 
Boal came up with a term to describe the impact of carnival on 
Brazilian culture - he called it "legislative theater" -  for him, 
the way people interact is through texts that are both distant and 
intimate... I think that the baile music, for him, is a paradox that 
only carnival can resolve.... so to for the rest of the world... one 
can only hope that Brazil's lesson in multiplcity can be shared... 
the loops close in, and become the groundwork for 21st culture and 
aesthetics... as above, so below... the crystal palace has myriad 
reflections, and this, perhaps is one:

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
H.G. Wells

















============================================================================
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe 
they are free...."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Port:status>OPEN
wildstyle access: www.djspooky.com

Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid

Subliminal Kid Inc.

Office Mailing Address:

Music and Art Management
245 w14th st #2RC NY NY
10011

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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 11:10:51 -0500
From: "Paul D. Miller" <anansi1 {AT} earthlink.net>
Subject: Brazilian hyper-violent hip-hop....

Just an article I thought folks would want to check out... a friend 
of mine from Denmark wrote it and sent it to me a little while ago 
'cause I'm in Brazil so.... anyway, its a little bit of a supplement 
to my travel notes...
peace,
Paul




This piece highlights the self-destructive, brutal, inhuman face of 
modern-day fascism, amply represented in Brazil. This is both 
horrifying and insane, but reveals how much rage there is, and how 
easily it can be channeled in the wrong direction, preying on the 
victims of poverty and capitalism, instead of going after the real 
bad guys. Be sure to note the corruption and complicity of the police 
in this.


  Dancing with Death
ajroc {AT} hotmail.com

  Til: lottefk {AT} yahoo.com
  Dato: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 16:59:43 +0100



  	In the craziest of crazes, to pounding music, Brazilian teenagers
  line up in nightclubs to beat each other senseless in choreographed fights: 60
  children have been murdered in four years. Nicole Veash goes to a 
'funk ball'. It's midnight on Friday in a nondescript suburban sprawl 
outside Rio. A dozen buses packed with youths from nearby slums pull 
up in a dusty car-park. Doors open and hundreds of teenagers spill 
out onto the
  pavement. Everyone is dressed in their best, the girls in tiny hot-pants and
  tight, revealing tops; the boys in Bermuda shorts, gold chains hanging down
  bare chests and bleached white hair cropped close to the scalp. This is
  Duque de Caxias, a poor, grey, industrial town about an hour's drive from the
  heart of Rio de Janeiro. The teenagers are waiting outside a squat,
dirty-white club that nestles among a parade of discount shops and street
  markets. Soon, nearly a thousand people are standing around. Some boys whistle
  at groups of girls, others eat hot-dogs from a van in the car park. 
André, a thin young man with bleached-blond hair and sharp 
cheekbones, is waiting for his gang to be bussed in from the Dicke da 
Vila Alizira slum. Four kids riding motorbikes as if they belong to 
some kind of
  official cavalcade roar up, heralding the appearance of the bus. Surfing on
  top of this dilapidated vehicle are three young men, their sinewy bodies
  already streaming with sweat from the balmy night. The bus stops and they
  jump down from the roof. One lets off a firework and, with a signal 
from André,
  they bounce - like human Zebedees - towards the club. "It's going to be a
  f***ing good one tonight," smiles André. "I can feel it." He greets 
his gang, kissing the girls and hugging the boys. Two queues start 
forming at the entrance to the club. He points to one of them."This 
is ours," he
  says."This is for Side A." The club is called a funk ball. But the "ball"
  part is misleading: there's nothing elegant about it. It looks like a bad
  school disco with no fancy nightclub effects, just six giant sound-systems
  and banks of flashing red lights. But what it lacks in glamour it makes
  up for with a charged atmosphere of energy and danger.
  A DJ puts on the evening's first funk record and the teenagers let
  out a yell of approval. Fourteen-year-old girls, dancing for groups of
  guys, simulate sex acts by thrusting their hips and suggestively sucking on
  their fingers. But the dance routines can't mask that this club is 
different. For starters, it has two of everything: two separate 
entrances, two sets of toilets and two bars on opposite sides of the 
club. And despite people being crammed in until the club is packed 
full, a seven-foot wide corridor is left in the middle. André's crowd 
stays well away from this gap. "There's no point being exposed right 
at the beginning," he says. "It's much better to save your energy for 
later on." As he speaks, hundreds of people from Side B put white 
bandanas on their heads and start forming a huge human snake. They 
begin winding their
  way around the club and moving in front of the stage, close to the gap.
  In unison, they punch the air and begin a rhythmic, aggressive chanting.
  The atmosphere ferments with tension. The dancing stops and the girls
  hide in the shadows, while the young boys in Side A stand to face their
  bandana-wearing rivals. And then both sides wait - for the signal to
  begin. When teenagers from Rio's slums go clubbing they engage in organised
  gang warfare to music. Some 30 unlicensed funk balls have sprung up in
  poor sections of the city to provide the slums' teeming youth population
  with a place to dance. And kill. More than 60 young Brazilians have 
been murdered in the funk balls since they emerged in 1996. Dozens 
more have been seriously injured; some paralysed, others blinded. 
Although bouncers  body-search each person when they enter, weapons 
are sometimes smuggled in. But fists are the prime weapons of choice 
and when multiplied by 10 or 20 at a time, they can be deadly. Then 
there's death by trampling. With funk balls holding 1,000 to  2,000 
youths at a time, being crushed underfoot is a regular occurrence. 
Yet, despite the danger, police estimate that some 200,000 youths go 
every weekend to the clubs.
	Rio's funk balls are not about social posturing. They are not about
bored  professionals beating each other up in New York boxing gyms. This is
  not Fight Club. And in Brazil, where funk balls were invented, they are
  more popular than ever. Located on the city's periphery, the balls 
operate along similar,
  curiously disciplined lines. The teenagers are divided into two 
large crowds: Side A and Side B - depending on which favela - or slum 
- they live, with each side containing gangs from around half-a-dozen 
different slums. The gap in the centre is called the Corridor of 
Death and it is here that the ball changes from being just another 
nightclub into a place of combat. The music is what really whips up 
the violence. It is the tum-tumtum of the hypnotic bass rhythm - an 
almost ritualistic repetition of noise - that inflame the hearts of 
the funkers. Despite its name, this music sounds nothing like 1970s 
US-style funk. This is a Brazilian sound: a mish-mash of influences, 
it uses the electronic beat of late 1980s pop, bass thuds and 
slithers of techno. An off-key rap, often sung live, overlays the 
rhythm that has a raw, infectious vigour. "The more you listen to 
funk," says André, "the more you f***ing love it. It has a hard, 
intense sound. It's music about our people, about poverty and drugs. 
The things we know." According to DJ Tubarao, or Shark, as his name 
translates from Portuguese, a good funk DJ is able to manipulate the 
clubbers' feelings of anger."A DJ gets to know his crowd because we 
play the same balls every weekend so we understand the rhythm of 
their fighting," he says. "I take great pride in controlling my 
crowd. If I see they want blood, I'll put on a fast funk tune, but if 
they need cooling down then I'll soothe them with something for the 
girls." The fights are not free-foralls. When the music reaches a 
crescendo the DJ gives a signal to begin. Only then do groups of 10 
to 20 funkers cross the gap to drag their enemies - for some reason 
known as  "Germans" - into the Corridor of Death and over into their 
own side If one is captured, they are beaten, often unconscious, 
unless a fellow gang member rescues them. This ritualised form of 
fighting is known as Mortal Kombat, after the notoriously violent 
computer game. No one knows who first used this name to describe 
funkball fighting, but somehow it stuck, not least because it is so 
apt. Even the security guards - often moonlighting policemen - get 
involved. Officially, they're there to keep the crowd under control 
and in some semblance of order. But at the same time, they also 
stimulate fighting and pull the young men into this strip of no-man's 
land just for the fun of watching them get mauled. For many, funk 
balls are the only diversion in a life of poverty. Living in some of 
Brazil's worst favelas, these children grow up to face the bleakness 
of a life without hope and without money. With no welfare system to 
support them, entire families can often be seen sleeping on flattened 
cardboard in the street. Rio is the most dangerous place in all 
Brazil, with an average of 20 murders a day. And in a city where 
police gunned down eight street-children in the Massacre of 
Candelaria in 1993; where firearms are easily obtainable and drug 
traffickers regularly conduct vicious turf wars in the streets, the 
teens who frequent the balls are inured to violence.

  FUNK-ball fighting is a way for these youths to prove themselves, not
  only to their peers but also to their rivals. Like any gang warfare, it is
  a statement about the superiority of one neighbourhood over another and
  about ancient, long-forgotten grudges between favelas. But unlike much
  ghetto fighting, funk balls are not about gaining turf at the 
expense of another crew. Rather they are places for displaying 
physical prowess and, oddly enough, they are places of fun. Of 
entertainment. But what makes them so horrific is their organised 
barbarity, like that of the gladiatorial arenas of Rome - they are 
places where you go to kill and be killed. According to Manoel 
Riberio, a Brazilian who has studied the explosion of violence in the 
balls, the peer-group fights provide reprieve from the tedium of 
every day poverty. "The funk balls are a way of venting frustration," 
he says. "It's widely accepted that socially alienated people fight 
to release anger. What they need is regulated fights, with protective 
headgear and proper first-aid facilities. That way their energy can 
be channelled instead of being pushed underground." Gang war in the 
underclass is nothing new and for a long time - as long as it 
happened in the favelas - Rio turned a blind eye. But in the early 
1990s teenagers descended on the city's famous golden beaches to 
carry out their territorial struggles under the eyes of the wealthy 
living in their ocean-front apartments. Horrified at the violence, 
the residents demanded action. After a wave of media attention, the 
police came down hard and swept the young off the beach and back into 
the shanty towns. That's when the fighting in the funk balls started. 
The clubs started out as discos in the 1980s. But in 1996, a promoter 
- no one is sure which one - allowed fighting in his club. The idea 
caught on fast.

	 Today, funk balls are so popular that even some girls fight. 
Once the sexy dance routines stop, they wrestle one-on-one. They 
punch; snap each other's fingers; and use their stiletto heels to 
mutilate the pretty face of their rival. Or worse. On July 4th last 
year, 16-year-old Cleice Suzi da Silva Abel asked her mother to 
baby-sit her newborn son so she could go to a beach  party. Instead, 
she went to a funk ball. The next morning, friends found her in a 
coma in the club bathroom. She was covered in urine with clumps of 
hair yanked from her head. They took da Silva Abel to hospital, where 
she was diagnosed as having a broken shoulder blade, fractured skull 
and a clot on the brain. She
  stayed in a coma for 15 days. Although not expected to live, she 
somehow this is a spare line
  pulled through. In a testimony to police, da Silva Abel recalls her few
  scant memories of the evening. "The security guards were whipping our legs,
  which made everyone really angry. I was on Side A and suddenly Side B
  invaded us. Someone pulled my hair and dragged me across the 
Corridor of Death. I
  don't really remember anything after that." Da Silva Abel now 
suffers from permanent neurological problems. She is paralysed down 
her right side and can no longer hold her baby son.
  The  beating of da Silva Abel did have one positive outcome; her police
  testimony in July provided a turning point in the first major investigation
  into funk ball deaths. Police now had an eyewitness account from a victim who
  survived a beating. Throughout the late 1990s dozens of teenagers 
were murdered in the balls, but their bodies were never found. A 
bouncer-turned-informant has since claimed to police this is because 
promoters instructed staff to dump the corpses in the city's sewers 
or rubbish tips. With few resources, Rio's police have long regarded 
the funk ball murders as low on their list of priorities. Not only 
are the dead poor, but also, the police themselves can also be said 
to be implicitly responsible for the deaths. According to Dr Romero 
Lyra, a state prosecutor in Rio de Janeiro and one of Brazil's main 
crusaders against the funk balls, police are known to have taken 
bribes from certain promoters. "We also know that many bodies of 
teenagers have disappeared altogether and we've really no idea how 
many people have actually died." So for years the ball deaths went 
unnoticed - until Julio Miranda Cavalcante died. During an evening at 
the Country Club in March last year, friends found the15-year-old 
slumped in a corner, having been beaten by a rival gang. They took 
him to a nearby hospital but, according to police records, 
over-worked staff failed to administer medical treatment and instead 
parked him on a trolley in the corridor while they dealt with other 
late-night casualties. When his mother, Eva, arrived at dawn she 
found her son still covered in congealed blood, urine and faeces. 
Someone had stamped on his face, leaving it swollen almost beyond 
recognition. Then she saw his right eye, or what remained of it, 
hanging from its socket. "Are you alive?" she asked. Her son nodded, 
his last response to any question. Days later he was dead - three 
months short of his 16th birthday. Cavalcante was just an ordinary 
teenager, but he came from South America's largest favela, Rocinha. 
When hundreds of mourners from the slum turned up at his funeral the 
city's media took notice and the wave of publicity forced the police 
into action. Until Cavalcante's death, they had treated each of the 
36 discovered dead teenagers as individual murder cases. But that 
changed when Detective Cristina Lomba Pereira was put in charge of 
the Cavalcante file. For the past year, the 36-year-old has been 
trying to nail the people who killed Cavalcante and the other 
funkers. And she was the first to link all the deaths into one 
investigation. After spending months trawling round Rio's funk balls 
- which are openly advertised in local newspapers - she built up a 
picture of the underground scene. Pereira's office, with its exposed 
electrical wiring and peeling plaster, is in a rundown suburb of Rio. 
She has no bullet-proof vest, no computer, no neat filing system - 
not even a telephone. She says: "These youngsters are devoted to funk 
balls. They treat the promoters like royalty despite the deaths of 
friends and always deny that violence actually occurs inside the 
club." She says it is almost impossible to determine who is 
responsible for the murders because there are too many people 
involved in the fights. When Pereira decided that she had gathered 
enough evidence to warrant a wider investigation, her superiors 
contacted Dr Romero Lyra. Using her evidence, he initiated further 
inquiries and started to formulate the state's case against the 
promoters. Lyra says: "The real problem is that the crowd is easy to 
manipulate and exploit. And that's what makes me really angry. We 
have teenagers dying every week because they are tricked into 
believing that funk ball fighting is a macho thing that will get them 
accepted. I've been gathering evidence on this case for nearly a year 
now. I've seen the devastation it brings to families who have lost 
their teenage sons in senseless acts of violence. But this is a crime 
where the guilty never get caught because it is almost impossible to 
find out who killed who."That's why I am trying to find a way to get 
the promoters and the DJs on related charges, like stimulating 
violence. Of course this will not carry as high a sentence as 
convicting someone for murder, but it is our only option. The real 
solution to this crime is to close the funk balls down." In order to 
do that, he will have to deal with Romulo Costa. Immensely popular, 
Costa owns Rio's largest chain of funk balls, which are run under the 
brand name Furacão 2000 - "Tornado 2000". Each weekend, thousands of 
young funkers travel to one of his regular nights held in 
half-a-dozen clubs across the city. Since the start of the police 
investigation, Costa has been  regarded as a key man to put behind 
bars. He has been hauled into Pereira's police station for 
questioning several times and was once detained for more than a week, 
but later released without charge. Short and slightly tubby, the 
46-year-old has a round, olive-skinned face with quiet eyes, a goatee 
and a teenager's haircut: long at the base of the neck with little 
rat-tails. He comes across as a family man; as someone with an almost 
benevolent concern for the poor teenagers who inhabit his funk balls. 
But beyond questions that prompt bland denials (usually made on the 
steps of the police station) of: "I don't promote violence," and: "My 
balls are about peace and music," Costa is rarely asked to explain 
his association with funk. "People never ask why I promote funk," he 
says. "They just assume I enjoy violence. Well, I don't. I'm from the 
favelas myself. I've lived in a house without water, in a place where 
there was nothing to do all day. I've had jobs without prospects 
which didn't pay me enough to get by on. So I know all about 
poverty." And this is one of the reasons why Costa is so popular 
among the teenage funkers: he's the boy from the slums made good. He 
has a family, a beautiful, young wife and the trappings of a 
middle-class lifestyle. Costa has built his life around funk. As a 
teenager, he worked in the clubs back when they were just about music 
and dancing. He carried record for the DJs and was eventually 
employed by a former owner of Furacão 2000. He worked his way up the 
ranks before taking over the business. He even met his wife, 
Veronica, on the funk-ball dancefloor. Costa has built a funk ball 
empire and now has a stable of DJs who, as well as playing live sets, 
regularly release funk compilation CDs. He is devoted to funk music, 
both as a way of making money and, it seems, as a form of 
self-expression for the poor. And each time he is summoned to the 
police station, a huge crowd of  banner-waving kids accompanies him, 
pleading: "Don't close our balls." However, as news of funk ball 
deaths becomes more public, Costa has come under increasing fire. The 
police claim they already have enough  evidence to convict the 
promoter on grounds of inciting violence, but have so far failed to 
charge him with any crime. Seeking to pin a weightier felony on 
Costa, they have suggested he is involved in buying large quantities 
of drugs from a notorious trafficker. But again this charge lies 
unproven. Despite the lack of hard evidence, his neighbours in the 
upwardlymobile district of Barra da Tijuca - about 20 minutes drive 
from Copacabana Beach - have exerted pressure on his family to leave 
their condominium. And parents at his children's private school have 
successfully petitioned the head  teacher to force the two children 
out. "People are scared of me. They think I am dangerous because I 
come from the favela and because I have money. "Of course we get some 
violence at the balls, but," he pauses, "it isn't the organised 
violence that you read about." Back in the Duque de Caxias funk ball, 
nearly an hour later, André is on edge. His eyes dart around the 
packed hall, watching, waiting for the first attack. Barking orders, 
he directs his crowd: those wearing mouthguards and protective 
nose-plasters to the front; the injured ones, with half-healed  cuts, 
arms in slings and eye patches, to the back, next to the walls 
smeared brown with blood. "Certain things are important to funkers," 
he says suddenly. "First, you've got to fight without fear because 
it's the only way to win respect. I was scared at the beginning but 
after that first punch in the face I lost my fear. Second, you need 
the right clothes. Then you have to have a girl with  a big ass. But 
most important of all, you need a good crowd, one that'll back you 
up. "A funker has got to have his trophies. A rival's blood is a 
trophy and so  are his clothes. But if I see my own blood all I can 
think about is revenge. I remember once stamping on a German's head 
because he'd made me bleed. His girl was screaming and screaming at 
me to stop. But that only made me stamp harder." As he talks, a small 
group from Side A, unable to wait for the DJ's signal to begin, 
attempts to invade Side B. They try to break through a line of 
security men and into the Corridor of Death. One small boy, no older 
than 12 or 13, is immediately punched square in the face by a bouncer 
twice his width and age. He falls back into a web of Side A arms. 
Another is less lucky. Three security men, erupting with anger at his 
pushing past them, drag him into the central aisle. They loop an 
orange plastic cord round his neck and yank him screaming and gasping 
for breath out of the ball and onto the street. André admits most 
funkers are wary of provoking the armed security guards. "You're not 
allowed to hit back. If you do they'll kill you. That's the rule." 
Once the excitement of the preemptory skirmish dies down, he 
continues: "I'm nearly 20 and that's old for a funker. Soon someone 
else will take over as leader because God gave me a warning to quit." 
It was about 3 a.m. in the morning a couple of months ago. I'd been 
fighting all night but still wanted more. The DJ played our chant and 
that made me go again. I went alone. I dropped two Germans and then 
one of crowd B came and slashed me across my arm with a razor. I 
could see right through to my bones. I saw death in front of me that 
night. He can no longer fully stretch his arm and some nights, when 
the city's tropical temperature drops, he gets a searing pain around 
the bones. This is one of many scars he'll carry for life. "It's best 
not to talk about these things, though," he says, his eyes fixed on 
his rivals. "Better not to think about them. You have to be 
optimistic or you'd never fight again and tonight I want to fight." 
He turns to his crowd for reassurance. They start to chant: "We are 
the terror possessed by hatred. We will invade Side B and take the 
Germans. We want blood. We want slaughter. We want bodies on the 
floor." And then the DJ screams: "Attention Side A. Attention Side B. 
It's the time you've all been waiting for. Time for the Mortal 
Kombat." Moments later, the fighting begins.


============================================================================
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe 
they are free...."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Port:status>OPEN
wildstyle access: www.djspooky.com

Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid

Subliminal Kid Inc.

Office Mailing Address:

Music and Art Management
245 w14th st #2RC NY NY
10011

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