6.12.2018, Helsinki, Kulttuuritalo
The Finnish Independence Day, what a perfect date for this kind of event in a packed venue. Henry Rollins, former front man of the legendary band Black Flag and the Rollins-Band, is as actor, author, journalist and radio host somewhat a Punk/Hardcore version of a “Renaissance Man”. This Travel Slideshow continues what he started with his popular Spoken Word Tour (we reported). And because a few hundred idiots had gathered under Nazi flags that day (the counter-demo had about 2000 people), it felt even better to attend this event that evening. Rollins is one of those artists who never made a secret of his political opinions. Especially in times when democracy is under siege world-wide by Zombies from the past, we definitely need more of those voices …
What is this Travel Slideshow all about? Well, maybe you remember relatives showing off their holiday snapshots… Rollins combines private experiences with a highly analytical observation of societies, using impressive documentary photos he took when traveling all over the world.
It’s mostly about crises and danger, Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, Mali. The camera is according to Rollins an ice-breaker to speak to people, and he wants to speak to as many as possible to find out about their lives and their countries. It’s hilarious – the mating rituals of penguins in Antarctica, camels in the audience of a rock festival in Timbuktu – and terrifying: land mines, civil war, a cremation ceremony in Bhutan. What always fascinates him is the fact that the most inhospitable places in the world – e.g. Siberia – still support human life. His personal stories are combined with political information and self-ironic stand-up comedy. “I’m so old that I remember a time when there was no Punk music.” He found proof that Punk conquered the world when he saw a barber shop in Ulan Bator named “Destroy” …
His passion is infectious, and amidst all this terror – e.g. being at the brink of a climate disaster – he never forgets that spark of hope, to mention that everybody can make the world a better place. One of those NGOs he supports is for example dropinthebucket.org.
Runding up a 2,5 h power trip that is never boring he presents something very personal again: A photo of his audition as new singer of Black Flag. Taken by a photographer friend named Spot back then and only recently recovered. A sign that a few minutes can change your life forever. That the potential of change in a positive way is in the lives of everyone, the potential to make the world a little bit better.
Which means, an event you should not miss too when Mr. Rollins comes to visit your town. I’ll gladly watch the Slideshow again!