Mud on Their Hands

I'm in Indonesia now working on videos for two new songs. One of the tracks concerns the disequilibrium between humanity and (the rest of) nature. It takes place at hot spots of this friction, of which there is no better example than Lapindo mud disaster. In 2006 a company drilling for gas and accidentally opened a monstrous geyser of boiling mud and gas. The mud spews forth at a rate of about a million cubic feet a day (about 12 olympic swimming pools), a few villages have already disappeared. On the edge of the disaster you can witness people ripping apart their homes, salvaging what they can in preparation for the mud's inevitable expansion. Geologists expect the flow to continue for thirty more years. It's stink of gas and is searing hot.... basically hell on earth, lacking only the finer details like pitchforks. The site is provisionally contained by a levee. Former residents of the buried villages have the exclusive right to charge admission to the levee, offering motorbike rides on top of it. Deputized by a powerful oil company as tour guides of their own tragedy. We hired some of these desperate men for the day. They motored us in single file caravan of five bikes, in gale wind of noxious fumes, looking for a place we could descend into the mud without either dying or attracting the attention of company goons. The company would never permit any activist, artist, or foreigner to film onsite (even worse a combination of all three) so we were ostensibly doing wedding photo shoot- we dressed the part and used only SLR-style cameras. The story got suspicious once we setup up a bunch of drums and loudspeakers and got knee deep in the muck, but it was already too difficult to stop us. At least we were entertaining our drivers, who'd probably never seen anyone intentionally enter the mud, least likely a foreigner in a three-piece suit and a local girl in a white dress. Heading now to stay in the countryside in an traditional wooden house for a few quiet days to work on the music. It's a long humid night train ride, but pleasant. The windows open. An an ancient lady in hijab shared her homemade snacks with us. People now sleep on the floor of the wagon. Some drunken men in the dining car forced me to sing karaoke with them, while the (male) ticket inspector did a sexy dance, yelling "no sleeping, yeah!!" The people here are phenomenal. [video- shopping for supplies for the video. this humble boombox has a protagonist role]