Sunday, 31 January 2010

the midnight meat train

for a new year's resolution i decided to give up meat, as some form of weight loss technique invented in my own head. i had total intentions of seeing through the whole year, believing entirely that the fatty deposits i call "my torso" would just disintegrate into solid manly muscle. this was proved to be a crazy, stupid and moronic plan as soon as i reached 3rd january and realised the list of food i'd eaten so far this year were
fish and chips
pizza again (at 3am)...


i also had a vegetarian trying to convince me that the whole thing was a terrible idea and i should just eat the stuff i enjoy, meat included.
a vegetarian who encourages carnivoring? brilliant! (thats the kind of veggie that you'd actually enjoy spending time with, not like the other faggots)... anyway, i took her wise advice, but for the purposes of self moderation i thought i should at least stay veggie for january.

january is nearly at an end. tomorrow is february. that means i can eat meat. fucking ace.
and it's lucky, because the meat fast has started to have an effect on my subconscious. bizarrely i found a video that exactly replicated the dream i've had for the last 8 nights.

a song a day for january: 31

i live in london and it is fucking brilliant.

living here has had it's ups and downs, and there was a period of about 2 years where i hated everything about it and couldn't wait to leave. that's all changed now. there's too much to do, too many people to see, too many jokes to laugh. london is alive, colourful, historic and full of culture. it is a goulash of nationalities. it is a casserole of music and comedy and joy and opportunity.

don't get me wrong, i love going outside of the M25 and seeing the world. there's fresh air out there. there's peace and tranquility. there are places of natural beauty that could even rival the dome of st. paul's cathedral or stockwell tube station. there's no traffic. there's my family. there are pubs that serve pint glasses filled with prawns. i can go out into the world and love it, i can walk through a park in margate and barely even notice the drugs.

it only lasts a few days though. once i hit about 4-6 days of tranquility i start getting itchy hands and a nervous tick. i need stuff. i need to walk down tottenham court road at 2am. i need to catch a live comedy show or eat in a korean restaurant. i need to catch a bus in the early hours. i need the comforting sound of police helicopters and big issue salesmen. i need a shop that sells CDs.
none of these things exist outside london.

the video to london calling by The Clash was filmed on cadogan pier on the river thames, right near chelsea bridge and walking distance from the houses of parliament. you couldn't get more london-ey unless you bathed in London Pride dressed as a pearly king.
i recently undertook a pilgrimage to the rock historic (historock?) pier. now it's a corporate business centre with boats that operate as offices. you can't even get on it as it has a big gate blocking the way, and i was wearing a leather jacket so i didn't want to swim over.
i would've liked to smell joe strummer's guitarry sweat, but instead i smelled the corporate stench of profitability guidelines (to which i am allergic). hah. that is SOOO london.

i went with this girl, though. she also lives in london, which improves it even further.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

(this is not a) love song

a song(s) a day for january: 30

promises, promises.

i went on a bit of a rampage and found loads of songs i like on youtube. i didn't know any of the bands or songs before today so i won't explain them. what would i explain exactly?
"oh hello, i clicked on a link and it changed my life"

anyway, here they are:
Obits - Pine On

Grand Archives - Oslo Novelist

Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band
(i really like this one... no really)

Handsome Furs - Can't Get Started

Foals - Balloons

Friday, 29 January 2010

a song a day for january: 29

following almost seamlessly from yesterday's delve into the pretentious writings of my past, and their application to live gigs what i have been to; i present duke special, the only contender to gogol bordello's 'best live band ever in the world ever ever' crown.

duke special's drummer is called temperance society chip bailey. i bloody love him. as a retired drummer myself i can only gaze in envy at how cool he is. you can see how cool he is by watching this video:

although, that wasn't the song i wanted to show you for today. i love it, but here is the song for january:

okay, i admit it, i'm running out of days in the month, and i still have lots more songs i love. tomorrow i'm gonna try and get five in without you noticing.

priscilla: queen of the desert

it's not very often that beauty products manage to trundle out an advert campaign that isn't completely misleading.

however, this one advertising cheryl cole is totally accurate as far as i'm concerned.

although i think they missed one:

Thursday, 28 January 2010

a song a day for january: 28

gogol bordello are made of ancient folk mythology. their gypsy-punk mental faces are like a thing you might find hiding in a romany caravan; ready to jump out and do fiendish magical spells on any unsuspecting circus freaks that may pass by. they are quite the most incredible band i have ever seen live.
there is no way a single-song set on the david letterman show could ever convey the feeling of 5000 people in hammersmith apollo, all pogoing in complete unison. but it will have to do:

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

a song a day for january: 27

to be honest it's been a real struggle to resist putting a ben folds song on here for the last 26 days. i love him more than i love boobies. he is by far my favourite singer/songwriter of all time. in fact, it wouldn't have been hard for me to pick my 31 favourite ben folds songs and had one for every day in january. but that would've been pretty damn lame.

whatever, i find his lyrics poetic and incisive. i find his music and arrangements disturbing and powerful. i find his face welcome and wistful. and when i see him live, i find him with a map.

ben folds is cool. here's the video:

white noise

i am an AV engineer. and a damn good one. i've been doing it for about 8-9 years now and - in my current job - there are never any requests for anything that i haven't done many many times before.

so for example, when an events organiser (after reeling off a list of requests for an exciting accounts department day, with music and games and fun* team-building exercises!) smugly says to me "hey, i bet these are pretty unusual ideas aren't they? we wanted to make it a bit different ha ha!"
.. how i really want to respond is, "i remember when i sound engineered the royal philharmonic in a huge concert hall with a sound disrupting parabolic dome ceiling, and had to balance an opera singer with a baroque guitar and a 90-piece orchestra, nothing your pissy little 'team-talk' could throw at me would make me think harder than when i'm wiping my arse."

but i can't. i actually like my job and would rather do it than have to queue up at the dole office with the dirties.

i also hear the same questions and comments o'er and o'er again (the AV engineers out there will concur with a facial expression resembling someone about to vomit). i have pretty much an identical conversation every morning, with whoever is presenting that day. they will usually supply me with the worst powerpoint presentation file i have ever seen, then try and make small-talk as i am testing their microphone. firstly they will blow into it. i don't know why people do this. it doesn't make any sense unless they are trying to damage the equipment on purpose, or planning on communicating with their arse-licking dullard audience solely through the medium of breath.
i will then leave them to practice for a while, while i try and get past the company firewall to look at freakish pornography.

i will soon be interrupted...
presenter: "will everybody in the room hear me?"

technician: "yes, you are paying for loads of expensive audio equipment; and a sound engineer who got here 3 hours before you to test everything"

p: "because sometimes the I.T. doesn't work properly in these venues"

t: "this isn't I.T., it is audio and visual equipment. that's what A.V. stands for. i am not an I.T. technician you patronising fuck-bush."

p: "oh! are you the D.J.?! ha ha ha ha ha ha! shall i do some karaoke?!"

t: "not if you don't want to be beaten to death with an XL-8, no."

p: "oh right. if i stand next to the lectern, will that make the microphones feedback?"

t: "if you don't know what you're talking about you shouldn't be speaking."

p: "oh, i can't connect my laptop to the building's wireless network. could you sort it out for me?"

t: "i'm not an I.T. technician. that is literally a completely different department. it's like asking me to do you a platter of luxury wraps."

p: "your equipment looks complicated, do you know what ALL the buttons do?"

t: "yes. it is my job."

p: "i bet you learn a lot from sitting in all these conferences don't you?"

t: "i sleep quite a lot. this job is easy and i have absolutely no interest in what you are saying. you are an accountant."

p: "can you play this song by M People as i walk up onto stage?"

t: "fuck you, you stupid fucking cunt."

* forced fun is not actual fun.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

a song a day for january: 26

i'd never heard of this band until about 2 weeks ago. upon investigating tickets to one of their gigs i discovered:
a) they were all completely sold out.
b) when they were available, they were going for about £100 each.

damn it.

i think the video is amazing.

Monday, 25 January 2010

a song a day for january: 25

mmm... one of the best songs ever, played by one of the founding members of fleetwood mac and a man with a moustache. what more could you possibly want?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

a song a day for january: 24

that rhiannon, what i mentioned yesterday, becomes a year older today.
this is for her. it is one of the best songs of all time.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

a song a day for january: 23

my friend rhiannon is having a birthday party today. she is part human and part unicorn.

Friday, 22 January 2010

a song a day for january: 22

did you see where the wild things are? i thought it was great, like watching kids playing in a park or dancing to the theme tune from thomas the tank engine.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

a song a day for january: 21

i showed this song to you once before, but it felt right to put it in for my january extravaganza. i'm directing you towards the rumble strips as a whole, but i've always particularly liked this track. it reminds me of a good time in my life.
i am also happy to report that despite my worries back in 2008, they have not fucked up their careers or integrity, and have instead made some brilliant music.

mr. big stuff

i'm a little bit over-addicted to children's telly. every morning when i get into work at 7am, the first thing i do is put on channel 5 and tune my senses to whichever sprightly young nympho is presenting that day (that clip is naomi, she's my favourite). then it's a case of trying to fit my daily equipment checks around the best shows (rory the racing car, noddy, thomas the tank engine).

the best of the best, though, is the mr. men. by far. it's gone through an american remake, but for the UK shows they've dubbed them in more relevant accents. i was a bit unsure to begin with; as we all know, the majority of american remakes are about as much of an improvement as pissing on your own jumper. but once the regional accents kicked in, i was sold.

firm favourites are:
  • mr. nosy and mr. small. the best double act since eric morecambe & christopher morris
  • mr. messy as a scouser... the obvious choice.
  • mr. happy, well, he's just over-excited all the time.
observe an episode

(warning, this episode involves bean-tasting)

well, what else were you going to do with that ten minutes of your life?
maybe you could've watched this one instead, which features a "tickling woodland menace":

i literally, genuinely love it. it makes me laugh so hard my ring-piece vibrates. there was an episode recently where the mr. men had a hat competition. mr. grumpy was certain he'd win even though he was just wearing his normal hat, while all the others had put loads of effort in.
"NO CHANCE!" i shouted at the telly, but after a series of freak accidents all the other mr. men had been delayed to the competition, and all their hats had combined into one almighty bonnet, that inexplicably landed on mr. grumpy's head.
well, of course, there was only one clear winner by this point and mr. grumpy (despite putting no effort in) won.
hands down.
so he walked home with the first prize... which was a pipe organ.
....a pipe organ.

there's not even an idiotic moral ending! brilliant.

kids stuff rules. i work in the 34-floored HQ of a massive corporate bank and they still have a sweet shop that sell fruit salads, black-jacks, sherbert dip-dabs and the like. yum yum yum.

that is a picture of my desk. check out thomas the fricken tank engine, yo!

oh yeah, and to leave you, here's another genius show.
pato the duck fucking rocks:

steven fry!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

a song a day for january: 20

tell me if this is not one of the prettiest songs you've ever heard, and i will twat you in the face with a live razor.


just the other day i was thinking, "if only there were more paintings of barack obama spending quality time with unicorns." thankfully, there are men in the world like dan lacey who seek to fill that void.

all over the world, we are thankful. for far too long that hole has caused us trouble, and now we can relax.

have a look at the entire gallery here. i am a particular fan of the one with hugh laurie and stalin.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

a song a day for january: 19

theres something about the lead singer's vocals in this song. they make me want to weep constantly into a handkerchief made from out-of-date bank notes.

all the world is green

so, avatar has won 'best drama' at the golden globes, thus completely destroying them as a valid award ceremony.
this could've happened back when ricky gervais won the awards for extras (the show where gervais demonstrated to us that he knew a lot of famous people). actually, it should've happened last time james cameron won best drama, for his titanic waste of 3 hours of my life.

avatar was okay. i'm not going to knock it too much as a film. it did the job it was meant to do, which was: have impressive CGI, cost a lot of money, look like it wasn't a pointless ten years of jim cameron's life. admittedly it was an impressive sight, largely helped by watching it from premier seats at the iMax (biggest screen in europe). and the CGI stuff did blow me away as much as CGI can manage; y'know, CGI doesn't really get you in the soul or make your heart beat faster. who cares when a cartoon is in peril? who is impressed when a drawing jumps from the back of a dragon onto a helicopter?

the scenery was good too. again CGI, but a very pretty picture that someone did.

stunning production design throughout the film. yes, the scenery, but also the sets and creatures and vehicles and costumes and such. they were also all done on MS Paint, but some one had to design them in the first place and probably used a pencil and some paper.

not wishing to harp on too much about CGI. it's a controlled disgruntle. it's the world i have to live in, so i'll just have to get past it. at some point.

the acting was average, but not terrible. it was probably pretty hard work for any of the actors - having to perform in a big green room and trying to engage with someone wrapped in a strange body-suit covered by ping-pong balls.

the film had a sufficient grasp of technology too. i happened to see it in 3D and there were bits that looked cool. i mean, 3D did constantly make me feel nauseous, display a weird rainbow haze around anything fast moving and make me wonder why it is suddenly considered better that a character's 10 metre high face can be projected out to a couple of millimetres from your face... but there were some bits that made you gasp. like big wide shots of enormous landscapes and... umm. oh, that's it.

i think i've been fair. i'm not doing one of those reactionary rants that entirely seeks to discredit something by destroying every aspect. agreed, i don't like CGI very much, at all, as a rule, but that's not specific to Dances With Smurfs. it was impressive, over all.


Best Drama?!... holy crap. i thought it was widely regarded that the story/script region of the whole production was the weakest aspect. i'd even written off any expectation that it was going to be any good, because it wasn't an important part of this film. i'd forgiven this before i even walked into the auditorium.

Best Drama?!...there was no drama. impressive action sequences, clever (CGI) camera work, fast moving things, actors talking and walking at the same time... yes! drama? no. for drama to exist, you need internal battles and personal conflicts. you need surprise and fear and worry and heartache; and it all needs to be unpredictable and take you on an emotional journey that you can't control. you'd get more drama from an episode of hollyoaks. the nearest i got to 'unexpected' was when i saw a blue cartoon's nipple and got a bit of an erection.

Best Drama?!... don't be so fucking stupid.

Monday, 18 January 2010

a song a day for january: 18

relaxation technique #4: put this on your headphones and then put your headphones on your head.

sex & drugs & rock & roll

hello again reader. doesn't it seem like a while since we last met? there's been the odd bit of contact here and there, hasn't there? but nothing very regular.
there were about 6 months last year where i posted a film review (of sorts) every day, but that was rather out of character wasn't it? it certainly wasn't my usual gourmet blend of internetual discoveries and violently offensive observations about the world we live in. there weren't really even hints of entries about my compelling and historic life.

and who can remember the last time i described my constant seething anger that jordan is allowed to exist in our society without so much as a public beheading to relieve us?

i hope you didn't miss it too much.

i know you didn't.

you may've noticed the a-team casting exercise towards the end of last year. that was fun wasn't it? and then there's the current series of 'song a day for january' videos that have been finding their way into your RSS feeders.
none of those require much thought, though. not on my part anyway.

anyway, i'm just writhing today (writhing?)... i'm just writing today to let you know: i'm back.

i'm back and i'll be blogging as normal; with cynicism, bad grammar and ... whatever the opposite of erudition is.
are you excited? can you feel the excitement in the air, like a teenager's erection in a room of lingerie catalogues?


okay fair enough. still, it's all coming soon, and it'll be here whether you like it or not.

oh look at that, i've bored myself.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

a song a day for january: 17

i don't think it's possible for me to explain how much i love the guillemots. i've seen them live a couple of times. both times, they were spectacular.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

a song a day for january: 16

who hasn't been here in their life? i myself skirt this emotion constantly, like a child skiing along a cliff-edge.
camera obscura are great, they're like we missed out on the crap bits of the last 40 years, but kept hold of all the wonderful kitsch nonsense.

Friday, 15 January 2010

a song a day for january: 15

i bloody love this. really cool riff, brilliant style, totally rockin' dood. *cough* i also like that the video looks like the band got their mates and their sisters to be in it, and made it in their mum's house.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

a song a day for january: 14

there's a fair amount of music like this in my collection. i have no idea what genre it is, but i find the harmonies and tempo incredibly absorbing and soothing. i'm asleep now. mmmm.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

a song a day for january: 13

i used to wear a lot of leather, back when i had a motorbike. i looked pretty good.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

a song a day for january: 12

haunting voice young singer has, yes? strange the whole thing is. get a biro and write things down, you must. love it is? IT IS?

Monday, 11 January 2010

into the wild

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...


a song a day for january: 11

"department of eagles" what a brilliant name for a band.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

a song a day for january: 10

who doesn't remember the first person they fell in love with? whoever they are, are an idiot.
i like the way this man sings, it's like he's taking the piss, but the whole album is like this.

black magic woman

i made a website for a friend of mine (pictured). i had no idea what i was doing, but it seems to have turned out okay.

it would be really very nice of you to click on this link, even if you don't need to hire a freelance journalist. that way we can power her up the rank on google searches.
i'd be very grateful and sing to you. and i'm sure she'd do you a little dance of thanks as well.

go on, it'd be like your own private episode of glee, which is apparently a good show. i haven't seen it yet, but i'm hoping it isn't all as annoying as this video.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

a song a day for january: 9

people shouldn't take themselves too seriously. nor should musicians, that kind of stuff leads to pretentiousness.

Friday, 8 January 2010

a song a day for january: 8

this is the performance that made me love the Hot Club of Cowtown. totally radical violin-ing, doooood.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

a song a day for january: 7

generally i reserve the majority of mainstream hip hop to be a music form made by and appreciated by dullards, with lyrics that celebrate being shit to eachother. thankfully there is some (not much) out there that is actually a pleasure to listen to:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

a song a day for january: 6

from some of the same guys that bought you The Animal Collective, come this fun bucket of powerful noise; like a wave on your forehead, a knuckle up your business.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

a song a day for january: 5

the drummer for this band used to work for me. his name was glenn, he was norwegian.

Monday, 4 January 2010

a song a day for january: 4

there is no good reason why i like Plus-Tech Squeeze Box. in essence, they're monstrous. however, i love them. i love them like i love my head being filled with gelatin and licked by beautiful and rare feline creatures.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

a song a day for january: 3

i had a very nice day indeed. this song makes me think of it.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

a song a day for january: 2

fleetwood mac have been a part of my life since i remember music existing. this song is a work of art about how life can change over time, sometimes without you even really noticing.

i turn 30 this year.

Friday, 1 January 2010

a song a day for january: 1

this got me through a particularly tough 2 years doing a job that dang near killed me.