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Matthew J. Webster – Writer

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Journalism is pain.

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A cordial kick to the head is nothing compared to what many journalists go through. Still, it is a reminder that my vocation is and always has been one of the worst jobs, especially when done well.

The “bitch dot” below the hairline (pictured above) was kicked into me by trainer and leg sparring partner Ryan White, a pro MMA brutalist with all the tools needed to batter myself and much stronger men into the hospital. If we hadn’t been wearing shin pads, he would have certainly opened me up for a blood offering to the spirit of the ring, which dictates the destiny of all Muay Thai warriors.

Ryan White (L) at Cage Fighting Xtreme 24 in Boston

Ryan White (L) at Cage Fighting Xtreme 24 in Boston

For the ding in question, Ryan used a technique he calls the Western High Question Mark Kick. He stepped 45 degrees to his right and threw a low lead kick that I blocked with my raised right shin, then he pulled back as if he was returning to stance. Then Ryan abruptly wrenched his left hip back toward me, and my forehead sang “SPLAT!” as he drilled it with the top of his foot.

The next time Ryan tries this I will employ the proper defense for a high kick and lean back. If I succeed, maybe I’ll attempt to subsequently pummel him with a right-hand counter. Or maybe not. My strategies are secret.

My Muay Thai activities are what journalism schools call “field work.” If you’re not feeling the pain, you’re probably not training hard enough to empathize with a competitive Muay Thai warrior.

But my focus is on unarmed combat. The best foreign correspondents have to report the more political, less honorable kind. My mentor Anthony Shadid died of an allergic attack while on assignment in Syria two years ago, and he’d also been shot through the shoulder covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was fearless. My sacrifices are a joke compared with his.

Anthony Shadid 1968-2012

Anthony Shadid 1968-2012

Written by webster71

April 25, 2014 at 15:24

Matt Webster – Best of 2013


Records 2013
Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One – Illuminator
Against The Grain – Surrounded by Snakes
The Bronx – IV
Funeral Cone – Peel Back The Foil EP
Bad Weather California – Backseats EP
Corrosion of Conformity – Megalodon EP
Good For You – Life’s Too Short Not To Hold A Grudge

Live Music 2013
Against The Grain (Midway Cafe)
Obsidian and Funeral Cone (Roggie’s)
FLAG, TSOL, and Cerebral Ballzy (Paradise)
My Bloody Valentine (House of Blues)
Bad Religion and The Bronx (House of Blues)
Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One (JP Music Fest)

Best Live Sports 2013: Glory 12 Kickboxing (MSG Theater)

Best Politics 2013: On Nov. 6, 2012, 63% of Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question making our state the 18th to enact a compassionate medical marijuana program.

Worst Politics 2013: Scumbag Tsarnaev brothers interpret their inability to attract chicks in high school as a reason to murder and maim innocent people at the Boston Marathon.

My resolution for 2014: No more Boston house “pahties” because they remind of my teaching days, except I’m struggling to communicate with drunks instead of non-native English speakers. If you won’t introduce yourself, I am not coming to your party!

*Special Bonus* 2012 Records
Obsidian – Spectre
Cinema Cinema – 50 ft. Queenie/Adult Themes 7″
Tim Barry – 40 Miler
Enslaved – Riitiir
The Shrine – S/T
Corrosion of Conformity – S/T
Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme

Written by webster71

December 17, 2013 at 18:29

Kilslug – Sins, Tricks and Lies (Review)

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When you’re disgusted with humanity, seek solace in the music of Kilslug, Boston’s eons-running doom rock villains.

I take “Sins, Tricks and Lies” to be Kilslug’s newest release, but who really knows? The physical facts of this 11-inch, backwards-tracking vinyl-only item are almost as challenging as the music recorded thereupon, and best described by the video above.

As ever, Larry Lifeless, Big Daddy and the boys deliver a full slate of red-hot, anti-Christian sputum guaranteed to clear the room of weaklings. Hell, do I feel wretched.

Written by webster71

October 6, 2012 at 02:18

Posted in Entertainment, Music, Reviews

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The Master – film review

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"The Master," directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is a character study of Church of Scientology, International (CSI) founder L. Ron Hubbard, played with stunning amplitude by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Anderson has chosen one of the most polarizing figures of the 20th century as his subject, and treats Hubbard with appropriate diligence. The factually verifiable side of Hubbard's life as leader of the church only began to see light after his death in 1986, when a former official CSI archivist, Gerry Armstrong, began the legal process of transferring documents to outside researchers.

Anderson wisely avoids dealing with Hubbard's biography before 1950, the year his proclaimed masterwork, "Dianetics," was published. "Dianetics" went on to become the most-published book in history, and galvanized what Hubbard's followers were instructed to refer to as "the movement," which would eventually become Scientology.

Viewers are introduced to Hoffman's Hubbard, here called Lancaster Dodd, at his most charismatic moment, and allowed to make our own decisions about his philosophy according to his interactions with followers and critics.

"The Master" then moves to Dodd's relationship with Freddie Quell, a brutal, sub-articulate former naval officer played by Joaquin Phoenix. Readily manipulated by Dodd's identity-stripping humiliation tactics, Freddie contributes a desperate fanaticism and the threat of violence to the tightly-controlled group.

As in "Boogie Nights," Anderson respectfully portrays characters living at the most bizarre fringes of American subculture. The results are disturbing. Movement followers' buttoned-downed, familial presentation hides the extraordinary sickness beneath. Hopefully, "The Master" should discredit any perception of Scientology as a secretive social club for celebrities.

Written by webster71

September 29, 2012 at 15:41

XXXAll AgesXXX: The Boston Hardcore Film (Review)

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A tolerable, totally predictable doc about the hardcore punk rock music scene in Boston, Massachusetts, focusing on the years it was good fun, specifically 1981 through ’85 or so.

(By way of disclosure, I basically missed the vintage period of Boston hardcore. My first all ages punk show was at the Channel in late ’84: Hüsker Dü headlined and New Haven’s little-recalled Sorry supported, and no, I don’t really care enough to check the date).

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Written by webster71

September 22, 2012 at 00:28

Oxbow: Songs for the French

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(Originally published a while ago. And don’t worry, it’s written in English.)

Lettre ouverte aux très distingués représentatives de L’Académie Française des Arts et Lettres, concernante “Oxbow: Songs for the French”

Mmes./Mms.: At least four men play with the San Francisco-based band, Oxbow. Guitarist Philippe Thiphaine also joins them for the studio-recorded tracks on this latest release, named for the nation that loves Oxbow more than any other, although not very much: the home of Lautréamont and Rimbaud.

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