Russian army vows to outlaw foot cloths by year-end

Updated 15 January 2013
0

Russian army vows to outlaw foot cloths by year-end

MOSCOW: Russia’s defense minister expressed horror yesterday that soldiers were still wrapping cloths around their feet instead of wearing socks, and vowed the historic practice must end this year. “I would like to give an order that in 2013, at least by the end of the year, we forget the word ‘foot cloths’,” a grim-faced Sergei Shoigu told military top brass at a televised meeting.
“I ask for extra funds to be issued if necessary so that we completely give up this concept in the armed forces.” Russia’s military leaders have repeatedly vowed to ban the practice, dating back a hundred years, as part of an attempt to modernize the sprawling armed forces. Soldiers wind pieces of cloth around their feet, which some say is more practical for use with tall boots, but the practice is seen as shamefully old-fashioned.
The Russian armed forces modernized its uniform in 2008 with help from top fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin, including cotton socks. “This is 2013. We are still talking about foot cloths,” Shoigu said, adding that he had seen the practice while visiting units in recent months. “Listen, I am amazed at such an attitude to our troops.
Find the level of demand and solve this task,” the former emergencies minister ordered brusquely. Foot cloths and tall boots were taken off the list of essential elements of uniform for the armed forces in 2007 but their use continued and was never banned, a source in the defense ministry told the state RIA Novosti news agency.
Soldiers still wear tall boots for some tasks and foot cloths are more suitable than socks, the source admitted.


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
0

Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.