Thursday, 30 October 2008

The World Is Fucked.

At the moment in the news, there are some pretty big and important things happening right now:
There's absolute chaos going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homes, as infighting has escalated due to a rebel uprising. It's being called a "humanitarian crisis".
There's been an earthquake in Pakistan, killing 215 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless (up to 50,000 is the latest estimate). They are still trying to sift through wreckage to find people who are trapped.
Bombs have gone off in Assam, in India, killing 64 people. Apparently there were 18 separate explosions. Many more were injured (300 est.). There's been another suicide bomber in Afghanistan, they killed 4 people other than themselves and injured 23 others. Also a car bomb went off in Spain.
The whole world is suffering from this 'credit crunch', this recession. Economies are in danger, banks are going under and having to be bailed out, values of homes are falling, stocks plunging, etc etc etc.
There are "freak" weather conditions causing floods in Devon. There is a trial going on to determine what should happen about the shooting of an innocent man (Jean Charles de Menezes) on a tube train.
Oh, and in America there a little thing called the Presidential Election going on. It's a landmark election which will either see the first Black US president, or the first Female US vice-president. Either way, that's a pretty big step for the American Government. Whoever wins the election will be in charge of the country at a very difficult time. And as we all know, the decision of the American public impacts upon the whole world (and if McCain somehow manages to get himself voted into The White House, the whole rest of the world will either laugh of sigh with total disbelief, as we all say a collective "Oh for fuck's sake, not again").
I could go on, but most of you will be bored by now.

I would however be surprised if anyone in the United Kingdom knew about all of the things I've listed. Why? Because apparently, more important than this, is the fact that 2 people said some naughty things to someone on their radio show, a show which was on after the watershed. OH MY FUCKING GOD, HOW DARE THEY!! HOW CAN THIS TRAVESTY STAND?!
Seriously, this whole thing is fucking ridiculous. This is a non-story. This is nothing.
Yes, Russell Brand & Jonathan Ross said some tasteless things to Andrew Sachs. Yes they should've apologised for it, and they did. But this virtual lynching of them for the last 4 or 5 days is utterly ludicrous. The Sun today gave 5 whole pages to it. It took up about half of this evenings news at 10. It's on the front page of far too many newspapers. Andrew Sachs' granddaughter has been sucked into the tabloid media machine and is spouting basically whatever they want her to say.
Russell Brand has been practically forced into resigning and Jonathan Ross has been suspended for the rest of the year, EVEN THOUGH Andrew Sachs himself said that he was not after revenge, would not be taking this matter any further after getting his apologies and says he appreciates that they know they did something stupid and probably do feel very bad for it. He also said they will probably learn from this mistake and become better for it.
Which begs the question, if Andrew Sachs is happy with just getting sincere apologies from the pair, why this fucking witchhunt?! The BBC has not been disgraced, no matter how many tabloid journalists say it has. I personally find it a bit rich that newspapers that objectify women, continuously hound celebrities and have done things like the famous Mirror episode where they faked those military photos, which Piers Morgan, the editor of the Mirror at the time, got fired for (and then somehow bafflingly became a TV personality, in spite of the fact that he is a total cunt), can pull out the family values card whenever the mood takes them. Hypocritical much?

Seriously, when a non-issue like this gets blown out of all proportion to such a ridiculous degree, you know the world is fucked. The whole thing is absolutely pathetic.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Off To See Holy Fuck Tonight.

They're playing at the Zodiac. Holy Fuck are in Oxford!! I am very excited. That's not why I'm writing this tho.
See, while I'll be upstairs watching Holy Fuck, who's playing in the downstairs room? Why it's only Delirious?, everyones favourite devout christian rock band.
Is it only me that finds that hilarious? Someone must've done that as a joke. In the same building as a band of worship rockers playing to a religious crowd, a band called Holy Fuck. Imagine the backstage banter:

"Hi there. Are you guys playing tonight too?"
"Yeah, yeah."
"Cool. We're Delirious?"
"Oh yeah? Haven't heard of you. What kind of thing do you play?"
" You might not have, we have quite a specific following. You know, we've got a lot of fans, but because we play rock music with a primary message of faith, we really only appeal to a Christian fanbase. So a lot of people still haven't heard of us, even though we are quite big."
"Oh right, yeah, we probably wouldn't have heard of you guys then."
"That's cool, no worries." Slight pause. "What do you guys do anyway?"
" We're kind of an electronic rock band. We wanted to play electronic music, but we wanted to do it all live without loops and laptops and all that stuff. So yeah, we're kind of a rock band I guess, but you can dance to us too."
"Sounds pretty cool. I might have to check you guys out sometime. What's your band name?"
"Holy Fuck."
After a long pause. "Ooooooooooooooookaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy. Well listen, you guys have a good gig and maybe we'll catch you later, yeah. Okay, good luck. God bless you." Scurries off quickly and uncomfortably.

What genius came up with this idea? Putting these two bands on the same day, in the same building? If this were America or Mexico, I can imagine there would be abuse, threats and fighting between fans. I mean, in Mexico you get punk fans fighting each other for being crust of straight edge. (Don't ask me, what "Crust" punks means, I don't know. I think "Straight-edge might even mean something different. I don't know.) This would cause a veritable civil war!

In other Axl news, I have too much homework. I can't seem to find the time to do it all, however I did just finish a bitch of an essay, so am on a well earned break. I tried doing some text analysis, but it was all just a blur. It meant I also had to cancel a trip to visit my chums Blake & Staz, who probably hate me now. Right. I need food. Food (while watching deleted scenes from Summer Heights High I reckon), more homework, Holy Fuck. Then maybe a bit of booze. That's my evening right there.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Free Writing.

We did this thing at college today where in groups of 3, we had lists of words and made sentences using a couple of them. Then we took a sentence someone else came up with and used it as the opening for a piece of 'Free Writing', which is what it sounds like. You write whatever comes into your head. We did this for 20 minutes. The other 2 people in my group really liked what I wrote, so I decided to put it up on here. The first sentence was written by a guy called Patrick, the rest is mine. It doesn't have a title.

Peering into the mirror, he was shocked to see his elderly mother looking out, he was morphing into her.
Jesus Christ, when did this start happening? Was it when he followed her into the family business? But he got out of that years ago. Did that start a chain of events? He couldn't deny the similarities of their lives; both married in their early twenties, both divorced at 28, both re-married in their early thirties, he was born on his mother's birthday ("My most wonderful little present." she still would call him.), both had 2 children, both had suffered the loss of one of them, both had an obsession with hats, both had six toes on one foot, the list goes on. Looking at his mothers face in the mirror, watching her touch her face in the same ways and places that he touched his, he cried, as she did, at the fact that his life was not his own. It was hers. His rage grew. He was overcome with anger and lashed out at her, and watched as her face shattered and fell to the floor.
This woke Alison with a start. "Jesus Geoff, what the fuck?!"
Geoff looked at the pieces of the mirror and wept. Alison noticed his hand was bleeding. She led him into the bathroom to wash his hand. He stopped dead as he saw his mothers face again above the sink. "Geoff come on, don't just stand there, we've got to get that clean."
But Geoff just stood in the doorway, staring into his mothers eyes. Alison took his hand and tried to pull him into the room. "Come ON Geoff." He turned his eyes to her and saw his mother again. She was in the room now. He screamed, punched her in the face and ran. He ran down the stairs and out the front door. He ran into the road and into the path of a car.

Oi, Women...

...stop thinking yer unattractive without make-up. Seriously. It's stoopid.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

This Is Fucking Awesome.

They are Foot Village and they rule.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

You've Bored Me So Long.

In between my lesson which made me feel like a stupid dunce and my tutorial which made me feel like an inferior child, I had 3 hours to kill and so went to the Phoenix to see 'I've Loved You So Long'.

'I've Loved You So Long' is a French film that stars Kristin Scott Thomas and some actors I don't recognise, directed by Phillipe Claudel. I also hadn't heard of him, but a trip to IMDB tells me that this is his first film.

This film has had rave reviews, and with such a convenient time to be showing just down the road from where I was with 3 hours to kill, why the fuck not, eh? The film centers around Juliette(KST), a woman who's returned to France to live with her sister after being released from prison in the U.K. (I can't remember now if this is actually said or merely implied.) It's about her path to regaining her life, and the impact this has on her & the family she is staying with.

I can see why this film has had good reviews. Kristin Scott Thomas is excellent in the lead role, and the rest of the cast are very good too. It deals with the issues of social stigma and rehabilitation in quite a frank and honest manner. And it all looks very nice (and for most of the film Kristin Scott Thomas looks pretty hot).

But there's just something about the film that makes it pretty boring. The whole "Ooooh, I wonder what she's done?" aspect feels like it's drawn out too long considering it's pretty obvious quite early on what she was imprisoned for. The whole "But why did she do it?" angle feels like it's been written in purely because this film for the most part doesn't ever seem to be going anywhere, certainly not towards anything like a natural conclusion, and they needed some sort of payoff. It's as if the film writer/makers really wanted to study the main themes of the film, but had no idea how to actually do it. What this has resulted in is a film that for the most part either says the same thing over & over again in slightly different ways, or seems to say nothing at all.

But hey, it's French right? That means that the critics will cream themselves over the overlong scenes, the downbeat tone, the amusing asides and the whole damn Frenchness of it regardless of it's actual content, or lack of.

For me this film was a big let down. There is a REALLY good idea here, but for my money (£4.50! Being a member of the Phoenix rules! When was the last time you paid under a fiver to go to the cinema?!) it's handled pretty badly.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Sun 5th October 2008. Friendly Fires at the Zodiac.

Going to a trendy gig at this time of year gives you a unique opportunity to check out what the freshers are like this year. So how are they? Young. They look like children who've sneaked out of boarding school. And they don't seem to know how to dance. While Friendly Fires were playing, they seemed content to merely sway along out of time for the most part. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The support was a duo called Jape. These 2 guys play guitars and occasional synth over a backing track of drums and synth. If that sounds interesting, for the most part it wasn't. It was pretty pedestrian. It actually sounded a bit like someone was playing the Friendly Fires album too slowly. And the guy can't write lyrics for shit. I swear at one point the guy sang a lyric about "a brick made of mist" and how while it wasn't physically possible, it was still something you could imagine, in your mind... Yeah, well done mate. I can imagine juggling 5 dragons while whipping up a cake with my bare feet in my mind... Doesn't mean jack shit tho, you poncey little tosser. I mean, I'm all for quirky lyrics, don't get me wrong, but there is a big difference between a genuinely imaginative turn of phrase, and some lame 'wacky' non-observation. All the songs sounded the same, all the songs were played at the same pace of a bit slow and all the songs had the same sound of a bit 'baggy'. All apart from one. As the third from last song they played segued into their penultimate song, they put down their guitars and hunched over their synths. Then they suddenly out of nowhere started playing this full on, out and out electro house track, which was TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME!! WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT COME FROM?! ALL IS FORGIVEN!! Then after this 4 or 5 minutes of fleeting genius, they made the stupid mistake of picking up their guitars again. NO!!! YOU BLOODY BASTARDS!! How DARE you go back to peddling that pedestrian indie crap on us when you have shown your true power! Stop trying to pick up chicks with your pussy rock and BRING BACK THE DANCE!! Seriously, if Jape hung up their guitars for good, and pursued the house route, they could be so fucking good. Please Jape, we need another dance act to get passionate about. Orbital split, Underworld are a bit too happy living on the outside of everything and the Chemical Brothers went shit YEARS ago. We NEED another great dance band! Please Jape, please be that band. Pleeeeeease?

In the break between bands, I made the mistake of going to the bar. Yes, the barstaff at this place are just as shit as they always have been. You'ld have thought that what with it being over a year now since Carling redid this place they would have managed to get some people who actually know how to work behind a bar by now, but no. A year on and they still hire brain dead staff. Little dimwits, pottering around like Teletubbies who became disenchanted with the world without ever actually growing up. I mean, I'm pretty certain the old Zodiac was never like this. Maybe I wouldn't be so dismissive of them if a) my JD & Coke hadn't cost £3.50, and b) the escaped post-op lobotomy patient who was working the bar this particular night hadn't served, and I'm not exaggerating this, 6 people who came to the bar after me. It's not like I was in an awkward position or anything, I was directly infront of where she was doing most of her 'work'. She saw me several times. She is clearly just a total imbecile.

Rather novel this, but Friendly Fires might just be the only headline act who I've ever seen actually come on stage to start at the time they're listed as starting. Right on the button of 9.30, they stroll on stage, and treat us to a fucking superb set. Their set basically consisted of the album, in a different order, and their ace cover of the classic Frankie Knuckles track "Your Love", which they played 2nd and made me smile because I thought maybe they didn't play that anymore.
Now, I'm used to seeing Friendly Fires at The Cellar. At an ARF? night. Crammed, cramped and hot & sweaty with people dancing themselves to near exhaustion as FF play their brand of incessant dance rock. This was different. Upstairs at The Zodiac, tall room, air conditioned, stage at least twice the size, playing to an audience who mostly seem to be made up of newly Oxford located freshers, who don't seem very sure of themselves and are trying too hard to impress everyone around them. Which is silly. They should've just let that shit go and fucking danced, coz Friendly Fires were on form. Although having said that, I can't think of a time I've seen them when they haven't been excellent. I was well excited when I found out they had a album coming out. And it didn't disappoint. A short sharp burst of attitude and energy, they got all the critics doing a little bit of dribble. 'Where the hell did these guys come from? They weren't on any of our watchlists!' (apart from NME, who at the beginning of the year held them out as 'Ones to watch', but don't let that put you off.) That's pretty much what you get seeing them live too. The energy they put into their set really comes through. The guitarist almost constantly looks like he's on the verge of totally spazzing out, the singer cannot stand still for one moment, the drummer's too busy playing frantic loops to have anything like a short breather and the bassist/extra percussionist is switching, chopping and changing partly laying the foundations, partly trying to keep up with everything. It's frantic and it's bloody exciting. 'Jump In The Pool' in particular gets the collective pulse racing, and causes a near riot of applause when it finishes. 'Paris' winds everything down with that Field sampling bliss of an outro that seems to bring the set to a natural wound down close, before they announce there's one more. 'Ex Lover', complete with Friendly Fires equivalent of a wig-out at the end. That being an all percussion stage party, but with nothing so cheesy as an audience invasion. All of which brings things to a perfect close, which can only mean one thing. It's time for the tedious 'get the crowd riled up and roaring for an encore'. Sure enough the crowd get a bit rowdy and chanty, wanting more, but then the house lights come up! Music from the stereo plays! There's no encore! YES!

(and I bet you get loads more groupies than Jape. Y'hear that Jape? Give up the guitars. Embrace the dance side! You know it makes sense.)

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Clash.

Someone stuck The Clash on during my last week of full time work. Cool, I thought. I haven't listened to The Clash in ages. In fact, I bought 'London Calling' years ago and never got round to listening to it. It was dirt cheap and I figured it was one of those albums I'm just supposed to own, so I bought it. I've somehow only ever really heard the odd song here and there. The Clash just seemed to be one of those bands that just passed me by, so this was probably the first time I had ever properly heard them.

Good God, they're dull.

I've heard that they have some sort of cultural importance or something, something to do with being seminal because they're a punk band who used reggae tones and structures creating a cross cultural style of music. Important to their time they may have been, I don't know enough about them to say one way or another. What I do know is that listening to them today, they just sound dull. As tired as the myriad of 'Punk' bands that regularly infuse their music with ska and reggae. Personally, I think The Specials are the only band who have ever managed to pull this off. Maybe it's because they were a genuinely cross cultural band, so that sound came sort of naturally to them as a group.

Dammit! I wrote that lot earlier this afternoon and now I've completely forgotten what the rest of it was meant to be. Altogether now, Ooooooooooooold maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan Aaaaaaaaaaaaxxxxxlllllllllllllllllllllllllll....................