Friday, 29 February 2008
Wow, 99% of the whole country want the death penalty brought back? Jesus, that's a lot of people! For a national paper to proclaim this as fact in bold on the front of their paper, an extensive survey of many people in many different walks of life must have been carried out.
No. Of course it wasn't. It was a phone in poll of Sun readers. And how many people voted? 95,000. 99% of 95,000 sun readers want the death penalty back.
Hardly an extensive survey is it.
You can hardly call 95,000 a representative proportion of the country now can you. Essentially what you are saying is that 99% of less than 1% of the population of the UK want the death penalty back.
Wow. That's front page news right there.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Well it got me thinking. If you actually could fall from the stars & straight into someone's arms, the impact would almost certainly kill them aswell as you.
This is of course ignoring 2 other fundamental flaws with Mick Hucknall's sentiment.
a) In space, where there is no oxygen or gravity, you wouldn't be able to fall anywhere. You would just die straight away and drift forever as a floating corpse. Actually, I'm pretty sure one of my Mum's ex-boyfriends once told me while we were watching "Moonraker" that if you were to try to breathe in space, the pressure would cause you to explode. But he may have been making that up. I don't know for sure, and right now I can't be bothered to "Google" it.
b)If you could fall to Earth from space, you would almost certainly burn up in the Earth's atmosphere leaving this poor sod you're singing to waiting, arms outstretched, wondering where the hell you are & why a piece of over-cooked chicken just landed at their feet.
So in conclusion, Mick Hucknall's sentiment may be very nice and romantic, but is highly impractical and fatally flawed. Although it could be said that anyone willing to do whatever Mick Hucknall tells them to do deserves whatever they get.
I've never really had a problem with Mick Hucknall. Yes, he seems pretty arrogant as hell, but he is so arrogant it seems that he refuses to be seen anywhere with anyone. When was the last time you saw Mick Hucknall in a newspaper, or a gossip mag? Exactly. He just keeps himself to himself until he has an album to promote, and then carries himself in a dignified manner until he's had enough and just wants to be left alone again. If only more celebrities were like him, then maybe we'd have some actual news on the front pages of the papers, rather than being force fed all the ins & outs of a pop star & a footballer who maybe weren't as perfect for each other as they had previously thought. Well thanks, but quite frankly I never much cared for explicit coverage of some poor woman who's had her heart broken, watching them lose weight and be unhappy. Call me fucking kerrayzeee, but I don't think that 24 hour paparazzi bothering is really the best way to go about this situation.
But then, what do I know?
P.S. I'm not gonna go making any promises of bodily fluid consumption (believe me, I learned my lesson last time!), but I am going to make a musical prediction, pretty much just so in a few months time I can hopefully be really smug and say I told you so.
Here's my prediction: Portico Quartet's "Knee Deep In The North Sea" album will be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize this year.
Reasons? They're a British jazz band who made, in my opinion, the best jazz album of 2007, with an excellent and unique take on the genre. The Mercury Panel creamed over Basquiat Strings last year with their string-quartet-with-jazz-drummer-and-bassist setup combining classical music with modern jazz. While rare and interesting, it's a concept that has been done before. I've never heard or known of anyone using Hang's in a jazz setup. For anyone who doesn't know what a Hang is, look here: http://www.oddmusic.com/gallery/om16250.html to find out. The use of this particular instrument is what really sets Portico Quartet out from anyone else (that, and the fact that they are really good players and composers). The use of this instrument's sound is both interesting and innovative, and in a year when jazz was, on the whole, a bit dull (2007 want a patch on 2006 overall), in November, they released one of the freshest and most interesting jazz albums to have been heard in years. Sure, the critics all creamed over Empirical (as well they should, we haven't had a British jazz group quite like them. A traditional quintet setup that can stand up alongside the very best of the U.S. small groups) , but if Portico Quartet get the nomination they deserve, the critics are gonna be kicking themselves that they didn't get there sooner.
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
I was in London last week and got asked about this twice in the same night. By 2 different people. IN FUCKING LONDON!!
Is it physically impossible for people in Oxford to keep their mouths shut about absolutely everything that pops into their heads? I'm half expecting people coming in to buy things at work to say "Hey, aren't you that guy who..." while I'm serving them.
2 things that Oxford is terrible for: 1. Gossip. 2. Sticking Rigidly to first impressions.
I was talking to a friend about that second point recently, it seems people have this one sided view of them that is in no way properly representative of who they are. I think there are probably quite a few people who could say this about themselves. Is this just an Oxford thing, or does this happen everywhere because of human nature? From talking to friends who live elsewhere now, it does seem to be much more evident in Oxford.
My brain isn't working properly today. Maybe it's the numbing inevitability of going to another boring day at work. Bah, I've made my point. Not very articulately, I'll grant you.
Saturday, 23 February 2008
My first suspicion of this came when I left the Zodiac last night and my body stopped working outside a shop causing me to slump down to the floor like those people do in The Matrix when that bald one who was in Memento pulls the things out of their necks.
Sign number 2 of brain no work, apparently I fell out of bed last night. What, am I 4 years old now or something?!
Sign 3 is that writing this I have forgotten the other signs. All I can think of right now is eggs and lambrini.
Stay keemee now you lot.
Friday, 22 February 2008
Well, I've been considering the conditions that mass produced, battery farmed animals are kept. It's pretty awful really. The way they are crammed in together with barely enough room to fart let alone breathe or move with any comfort, and like it or not, if you eat meat, a lot of what you eat will be from intensively farmed animals.
But this never used to bother me, so why the recent change of heart? Well 2 things.
1: I'm in London at the moment, and on Wednesday at 6.30/6.40ish, I got on the tube train. Fuck me was it CRAMMED!! Firstly, it took about 5 minutes to actually walk past the Oxford Circus station, as loads of people were at a standstill, piling out onto the street just waiting to get into the station. I went to Tottenham Court Road station, which was far less busy, but the train was of course stuffed as full as possible, but we all piled into it anyway, rammed tighter than EU regulations for transporting cattle
2: Me & Micaela went to see Hot Chip downstairs at the Zodiac. Since the refurbishment, downstairs at the Zodiac has become a terrible venue. My problem with it isn't the corporate buyout and refurbishment, It's not even the stupid prices or the appaling condition they keep their drinks in. No, the reason, for my money, that downstairs at the zodiac is so bad is that to extend the capacity of the venue, they seem to have included the possible capacity of the attached bar area. Problem is that no-one wants to stay in the bar area, so everyone piles in as far forward as they can possibly go, which means no personal space whatsoever, and people trying to barge passed you even though there is clearly no room to move into. It makes everything very uncomfortable and claustrophobic. Luckily, Micaela's bad leg meant we couldn't be bothered to stay up[ front in any way, and stood or sat at the back for most of the gig, which was good, coz it also sounds better at the back to how it sounds in the middle area of the room. Oh, and Hot Chip were really really good. The review I wrote about Justice said they were how all dance bands should be. Hot Chip proved me wrong. 5 geeky looking men transforming their songs from a mere run through of the songs to a unique live experience. Superb. Too many bands just rely on how their songs sound when recorded or finalised. The refreshing thing about Hot Chip live was how they are willing to push and explore their own songs and make it an experience you won't have listening to them on record, which is what it's all about really, right? Otherwise you might as well just be listening to the album very loudly in an unpleasant room, which is why the Slint reformation was essentially disappointing.
Television? Now there was a reformation that worked.
Uh-oh, my hangover just kicked in. I should try and get some sleep.
P.S. I'm not actually going to become vege again. I was just trying to be clever with comparison. Sorry if I I got you herbivores hopes up there.
Monday, 18 February 2008
Earlier that night I had been on the loo reading my "Screen Burn" book by Charlie Brooker. It's a fantastic and hilarious collection of "Screen Burn" critical columns that he's written for the Guardian Guide. Anyway, I was trying to put off the inevitable pain of having to wipe my arse for the 4th time that day, (my IBS has been back with a vengeance this last week and a lot of time has been spent on the toilet with my guts making louder and more obnoxious noises than a room full of Jade Goody's listening to the Westlife back catalogue) when I read a piece about reality tv shows had maybe gotten a bit much and gone a bit too far into the ridiculous. This was written 6 or 7 years ago.
I started thinking about how much worse it is now than it was then with the original Pop Idol format now being used to choose who fronts a broadway show, and the rise of programmes with former minor celebrities desperately trying to claw back some inch of fame by appearing on things like "I Used To Be Famous Once, Where's My Dignity Gone?!?!" reducing themselves to eating a Gorrila's testicle just so they can be on television and be noticed.
The challenges on "I'm A Celebrity..." remind me of that segment on "The Word" where someone from a group of people would be picked out to do something revolting just so they could be on tele. They even said "I'll do anything to be on television", just before having to eat an eyeball, lick a fat man's sweaty armpit, eat their own pubes on a cracker, or get off with an old granny. It's funny how techniques and segments that were slammed for being puerile and exploitative at the time are now, years on, being used to make family entertainment.
Buy I digress. My idea doesn't involve celebrities, although actually thinking about it now, maybe it should.
As we pretty much know, only dullards and total idiots audition for reality tv shows these days. The time of there being any sort of valid "Social Experiment" argument is pretty much dead in the water now. For the last few years reality tv shows have pretty much just been a chance to laugh at just how far the dregs of society will go to have a chance of being on tele and have some sort of fame.
Then I started thinking about how virtually any tv show with a reality element gets snapped up by tv stations and forced into our faces as relentlessly as possible and it won't be long before we have a show involving a 24/7 view of prison life (they could literally call it "The Prison" and get someone "hard-hitting" like Nicky Campbell to present it), or a council agrees to have their entire city put on national tv all the time every day.
Then, when I had been through the torture of yet another sandpaper-on-the-anus session, and then broke my girlfriends goldfish bowl (don't worry folks, Lolita is safe and well!), I had a shower, and while I was in the shower it came to me.
What would happen is a whole city or area of the country would be cordoned off, Truman Show style. The population of the area would be relocated, leaving it empty. Then hold auditions for an "Exciting new reality tv show project", run trailers on ITV for weeks or months beforehand to get everyone excited about it so that by the time it comes to auditioning for it, every Tom, Dick & Harry with an IQ of below 70 will be literally begging to be part of it. Then hold an audition process, but accept everyone who auditions and relocate them to the new cordoned off area. Everyone would now be in "Civilisation", a population on television. Like "The Truman Show", they would have to stay in this self sufficient bubble town. Hidden cameras everywhere, everything being filmed all of the time. The ultimate reality tv show. Reality itself.
Except, and here's the twist, NONE OF IT'S ACTUALLY BEING FILMED!! They just think it is! They will happily live in this bubble, believing themselves to be famous, while not actaully inflicting their fame on any of us! It's the perfect solution! We can be rid of this breed of talentless no-hopers once and for all and start again, rescuing television from the "Heat" magazine it has become and get some proper programmes on again! Wouldn't that be brilliant?!
P.S. I went to see Justice play at the Zodiac (I still can't bring myself to call it the Carli.... the Car...... Car..... Ca... no I just can't do it) on Friday and they were pretty amazing. This is how all live dance music should be. Two slightly seedy looking men, one with a 70's moustache & beard combo, one totally ignoring the smoking ban (Anarchy! Fuck Yeah!!), standing proudly behind their podium of electronics with their logo as a big light on front of i, creating dirty synth sounds and beats that just don't quit. How anyone in the room could resist attempting to thrash their own limbs off their body in a total dance fever is beyond me. A triumphant gig, I could have happily had twice as much, even if it just meant them doing the same thing over again.
Only 2 gripes. 1) Is it really necessary to use twat loads of strobe lighting? Seriously now, what is the point? I'm not epileptic myself, but I know there are epileptics who enjoy dance music. Why make it as difficult as possible for them to be able to enjoy the live experience? Strobe lighting is just annoying anyway. Can we please just stop with it now? 2) Some dick nicked my MP3 player. I had left my coat on the floor by the wall so I didn't have to queue for about half an hour to put it in the cloakroom (you'ld have thought that by now SOMEONE would've realised that people waiting for ages to leave or pick up coats and bags is a bad thing and come up with a system to make it quicker, even if that system was say, more people working in the cloakrooms before and after bands/events. Is it really THAT difficult?!), and some fool went in my pockets and nicked it, quite amusingly not realising that the MP3 player is a cheap piece of shit and the coat is worth more than 6 times what that cost. Well, whoever it is has got some good music, and it reaffirms my belief that there is no point whatsoever in having a big old flashy MP3 player/Ipod that holds and costs shitloads.
Bye for now.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
So I'm kind of almost not in the mood for this gig, but Theo & Action Beat are playing so I go anyway. My mood is not really helped by listening to Killah Priest on the way and thinking that after the track "Inner G" has finished, the evening ahead can only be an anti-climax.
Theo is first up and is quite frankly a revelation. I remember the first time I saw Theo was years ago at their second ever gig supporting Youthmovies at this very venue. There were two of them then, and their loop-guitars-then-add-live-percussion formula was jaw dropping-ly well done. They were a revelation. Then by the next time I saw Theo, the project was trimmed to a one piece, for reasons I don't know. As a one man project, I had always found Theo good, but a little lacking in that conviction of before. The guitar parts felt just like a build up to the inevitable introduction of the drums, rather than having merit of their own. It almost felt a little too formulaic to me & my ears, not that I ever said that too anyone. If I was ever asked, I would simply remember that first time, respond based on that and sigh. Tonight though, whether it's due to practice/development or I've just caught him on a very good night, he brings Theo back to the jaw dropping quality I fell for that first time. The guitar parts have been seriously improved/refined and really stand up on their own, and are at times more interesting and enjoyable without the drums, and the set as a whole grips throughout. Theo is definately one local act to keep an eye on this year. Band of the night.
Now normally, I wouldn't even DREAM of saying anyone was better than Action Beat on any bill (Unless they do a gig with Shit & Shine. NO-ONE beats them live.), but Action Beat seemed to have to cut their set short due to a technical thing type problem. It's a shame coz they were on form as ever. If I wrote for a tabloid-style music rag like NME or Q, I would say something like "If God was into noise music, Action Beat would be his favourite band. He would make his angels plug in their lyres and harps and make them form an Action Beat tribute act to be his in-house band until Action Beat die and can do it themselves!!" Sod that. Action Beat are just really really good every time no matter how long or short that time may be. Still easily one of my favourite live bands.
Charlottefield were, well, just not very good. I think my mate Leo summed up the problem best saying "The singer sounds like he's singing a different song to what the rest of the band are playing. It sounds like a really badly put together bootleg." That is essentially what is wrong with them I feel. They seem to be trying to put together pieces of different puzzles and for me it just doesn't work. It's a shame coz one of the songs I saw (I left after 3) had a really good guitar part, but I was put off by the vocal, and the drumming seemed to almost not exist, but just be there enough to be annoyingly frustrating. It's a shame coz after discovering that the weird trampy looking guy who'd been sat in a corner at a table for the whole evening reading a book, seemingly oblivious to what was going on, was in fact the Charlottefield drummer, I really wanted to like them.
I'm too tired to write a conclusion. Blah blah blah. This blog was written in a state of insomnia while listening to Craze - "Fabriclive.38", which is fucking awesome. Oh my god I've gotten into a loop where I can't finish but can't let it just be! ARGH! God I'm tired. Why can't I sleep? Leave this blog alone Axl, It's done now!
The video is crap, but LISTEN TO THIS SONG!!!
Ok, I'm actually going to bed now. If I'm lucky I'll get 5 hours sleep.
Sunday, 10 February 2008
See this song? I'm obsessed with it. Totally can't get enough of it right now, which is ironic coz at the moment I'm in an awesome relationship with someone I love, and this song is all about divorce! BUT IT'S SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD!!! Marvin Gaye - "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You?". The song is from probably the most under-rated Marvin Gaye album "Here My Dear", which was basically all about his divorce. Apart from "A Funky Space Reincarnation" which was about a guided tour of the solar system, but even that may have had something to do with divorce. The moment one is driven mad by the despair of loss perhaps? Can't handle the real world so slips into a fantasy world of his own creation? Who knows, it's not important. What is important is that it's a fucking awesome album. Almost makes me want to get dumped years from now so I can write my own soul-funk concept album about it. Almost. Not quite though.
The lost chance of the title is probably nowhere near as interesting or funny as I found it. Basically, I bought the Nelly Furtado album "Loose" on offer at work, and when I peeled the sticker off it left a perfect little glue goatee beard on the case. Now, about halfway through removing the gluefrom the case, I realised how funny it looked and that I really should have taken a photo. I would've put it up on here and you would've all fucking loved it.
Yes that's right, I bought the Nelly Furtado album. Basically, I really like Timbaland (he produced most of the album (alongside Danja) if anyone doesn't know that. I'm looking at you here Craig.), and like many people who like his productions, I was MASSIVELY disappointed with the "Presents Shock Value" which was mostly total gash, apart from "Give It To Me" which was a fucking tune, "Bounce" (the one with Missy Elliott on it) which also ruled, and another one I can't remember now. Anyway, in need of a Timbaland fix I decided to instead check out the Nelly Furtado album which I'd always dismissed a little at the time coz I found her singing really annoying. Eventually the obvious singles "Maneater" & "Promiscuous" grew on me so much that I bought the album. 6 songs in and I'm enjoying it mostly. "Showtime" was terrible and the group vocal at the end of "Afraid" was irritating as hell, but it's pretty good.
ANYWAY, enough of that. But I've forgotten what comes next. I should make notes and that. Sometimes I do and put them in my pocket. I'll check. No, just some random lists, a couple of cartoons and a random lyric that I sang the other day:- "I once ate a sparrow on a railway, Then I stroked a cat with a second tail." Me & Craig decided it would be cool to form a folk duo called Knife & Folk. That would be part of one of the songs we would do.
Sleepytime now bye bye go away off to bed sweet dreams don't let the bed bugs bite yer cock or you'll get an infected cock that'll fall off and run and hide under yer bed or if yer a woman the same thing but with yer boobs.
Thursday, 7 February 2008
Have you ever met a man called Steven?
Have you ever had lunch with a cleaner?
Have you ever held a frog in the palm of your hand,
Then tied it to a kite in the streets of Japan?
If you think about it,
Isn't a frog's tounge the opposite of an acorn?
Remember the time you had lunch with yer mum,
And that frog was just staring at you for ages?
You sort of became hypnotised,
And Paula Radcliffe ran by,
Then did a wee on the floor.
Do you want more?
Let her run inside yer mind.
Have you ever met a man called Steven?
Have you ever done drugs with a cleaner,
Then thought their mop was a hot human,
And made sweet love all night, all night long?
What about the time you were playing volleyball,
In the school hall,
And all of a sudden 500 frogs were in the room?
They all croaked at the same time.
The sound was deafening,
And out of their mouths came a million flies,
And they spelled out the words,
"Go home you fucking retard!" in the air,
And you ran away screaming?
Have you ever met a frog named Steven,
Who hypnotised you into doing spring cleaning,
Dressed up as a horse with only 3 legs,
And he made you sing the whole of "Quadrophenia"?
All my best lyrics come to me in the shower, but usually I forget them. In fact, my favourite lyrics that I came up with for this song were the ones I forgot in the time between getting out of the shower and writing this down. For my birthday, I want a waterproof notepad and pen please. I say that, but all that'll happen then is that I won't ever think of another song in the shower ever again. Sod's law really. Anyway, as Dizzee Rascal once said, "I'm pro, and so, it's off to work I go."
I'm worried my brain may have died a little.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
So 2008's been a bit quiet so far eh? What can I say about it? I queued up for a couple of hours to get into the Foals gig at the Cellar, but got too drunk to remember it. I accidentaly threw a paper aeroplane in the face of someone I don't like's girlfriend. I ate a lot of cake. I played that gig with Traktors. I bought more cd's. I've started to learn the piano. We got a new kitten which my mum has called Buffy, because she is a massive geek. She is now starting to get into Battlestar Galactica. As a vision of my future, she scares me in certain ways.
I had a big smile reading Mojo today, as Fuck Buttons were given "Underground" album of the month. This made me very happy as I think they're fucking amazing. I can't wait for that album to come out.
I just had another big smile coz I just saw that the new Silver Mount Zion album is coming out 10th March. My excited grin was so big that my cheeks now hurt. Stupid cheeks.
March is pretty much gonna rule. The 2 albums I've just mentioned aside, dubstep pioneer Benga's album comes out on the 3rd and there will be albums from IDM legends Autechre, band of the moment Foals, Youthmovies, Young Knives, Neon Neon, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Elbow & Supergrass for me to wet my pants with excitment over. All in March!! Yipeeeeeeeeeee!!!
(All I need now is for The Walk Off to reform, rush record an album, release in it March and it will officially be the best month in the history of all months ever. I'm not selfish, they can split up again in April, that's fine by me.)
I feel like I should be writing more, but I don't really have any more to say right now. So go away now please.
Sunday, 3 February 2008
Sorry for this. Nicer or more amusing blog to come soon. Promise. Promise with big kisses and hundreds and thousands on top.