Saturday

the manual

i read the manual yesterday, coming across the link while having a nosey through my archives. i printed it off at work, and read it as a loose pile of a4 paper on the train to buxton. i was completely gripped, and the journey flew by. i was sat next to this completely gorgeous lady as well, not that i saw her face at any point because it was stuck in a big tom wolfe book. but she was wearing very sensible, rugged clothing, and had her bike with her. when 'i'm wide awake it's morning' finished, i took my headphones off in case she wanted to start a conversation. but she didn't, and hopefully this wasn't because i kept fiddling with the massive blood clot up my nose. i'd like to look at a female stranger and not think about how i would or wouldn't like to hug them. all the students are back in manchester, and i've managed to free myslef from the cynicism and actually cherish their innocence and numbers, even the ones holding hands (although i can only appreciate this in a wildlife sense). there have been lots and lots of very pretty girls hanging round the business school, but the trouble is they're all business students - it would instantly put a dampner on our conversation. not that it matters, because my job finished on friday so i expect to be in london by next weekend.

but yes, the manual. terriffic in every way; it reeks of warm cynicism; the love they have for the processes they describe shine through. everything's very explicit - it's about the eternal glory of having a number one single, not being a pop star or even making any money. and it's a relic of a bygone time (they even predict that the book will be outmoded whithin a year - that was 1988). it is such a different world now, not because you can't watch totp every thursday night, but for the exact same reasons that you can't watch totp every thursday night. and it's very sad to read it in this light.

that said, i haven't been the same since finishing it last night - listening to the radio becomes a completely different thing. i've started to appreciate shit pop music for what it is. think about what a turn around that is for me, and in such a short space of time. i don't like it, but suddenly i admire it, like rival species clawing at a savannah carcass.

it is also just about the only book i can think of written in second-person future tense ('you will have a meeting with a publisher...'). it is the most beautifully wistful meaningless trimuph of an ending, that can surely only be achieved through magic/hynposis/neural linguistic programming/cosmic ordering/scientology/dramatic self belief (ALL OF WHICH ARE THE SAME THING). most of the book seems to consist of making people cups of tea, and asking if you can have 28 days to get them the money. whithin five weeks of quitting your job, you will have a number one single. it tells you what to do every day and makes it seem almost believable. reading it straight it almost seems satirical, but reading it twenty years later it's an affectionate litany for a bygone time.

and the best thing is, it would make an absolutely cracking movie. it would be simple - the book even gives us characters and dialogues. if linklater can make a film out of fast food nation, then us lot can turn this into a magic film of the book it is now - set it in 1988, where solid state logic is the new thing and bruno brooks is a household name. or set it now and update it - then you don't have to get retro wall paper or find a recording studio that's not changed in twenty years. of course, i don't know what the aim would be now, since having a number one single isn't what it used to be. but there's something here.

so come on guys. let's do this. i'll bash out a script and a shooting schedule. it'll be huge.

Friday

no friends

after his excruciating attempts at remixing girls girls girls, dr gallowslutt is back with a vengence with his long awaited remix of the bobby mcgee's 'no friends'.


i hope it gets your party started right.

p.s. 'radio edit' version of girl in the kid a top has replaced quinlagg on my myspac space.

Thursday

it's officially autumn

i've had my first nosebleed of the season.

it's thursday and i've not blogged the weekend, meaning i still think of it as the start of the week.

i met up with rufus on friday night, for his workmate's leaving do, and ended up sitting at a table with four (out of eight) people who didn't like gorky's zygotic mynci. one, a well-pierced lass, said they were 'shit in a good way' and quoted 'my patio's on fire' in welsh (despite the fact that this line is sung in english!). another, rufus himself, hated gorky's on the basis of only 'peanut dispenser', and has been in turmoil since i put a song on a mix for him without giving him the tracklisting, and he really liked it. but there we were. we went for falafel at the now legendary 'falafel restaurant humous' in rusholme (best value food in town?) and then rufus went home, to my disappointment, as i'd been looking forward to a friday night out. so i went back to the flat and settled in.

i turned on the cathode ray, with the intention of playing thief:deadly shadows or sw:kotor (having absolutely no desire to finish halo). kotor put me off with it's incessant desire for comitment, and impossibilty (having finished it on easy [wuss], i cranked it up to difficult and found the task rediculous, since my team had been raised on the simplest of enemies, they were weak, poorly evolved little cretins, struck down by lowliest of kath hounds), and while i played thief for a while, again on maximum difficulty, it was nothing compared to the bewilderment of playing it for the first time. although i can now appreciate it for what it is, which perhaps i couldn't before, i can't forget the layout of the levels, the patrol routes, the locations of the special loot, so it's like playing it on auto-pilot. and the free-roaming city sections, inbetween the levels, still don't do it for me; they just seem to get in the way. so i went out and bought a bottle of port. when i came back, and switched on the wireless again, it plopped onto bbc four, and with it, a documentary on stiff records which was just starting.

i must have watched 15 hours of bbc four since that moment. so let's see..

the stiff season ran for two nights - the two part documentary itself, archive documentaries on shane mcgowan and madness, two full shows of archive clips of the bands, a tragi-comic documentary about a band from southend who sang in american accents touring scotland (which was surely the inspiration for 'bad news tour'), and the full 'son of stiff' world tour movie, featuring some more great bands and ten pole tudor. edward tudor pole is such a cam whore.

the whole experience was like a tour through my step-dad's record collection, and contained many life-changing experiences, most of which i can't remember. one i do was the video for jocko homo. people have devoed on at me before, and, although some of their stuff has left me cold, now i know why. it absolutely blew me away. i'm in turmoil about costumes, concepts, and pretension, but i think that's a post i'll have to write another day.

saturday i had a lovely day in town - buying nice things, good guitar strings, phonogram and mini-comics, blank cds, (the wrong) cases and the street fighter 2' box from maplin ("plugs straight into your tv! just like you remember it!"). so i've played that quite a lot, and i tell ya, it's quite a craic. only trouble is the megadrive controllers. yes, it's the mega drive version, with the dodgy colours and sound, but it makes up for it with 11 stars of speed. it came with ghosts 'n' goblins sorry, ghouls 'n' ghosts - on the side, which was handy, because that's good fun and quite hard too.



on sunday, inspired in part by the mj hibbett song 'breaks in the journey' (the new album's really rather good - a little too positive for my tastes, but a great counter balance to the stuff i write. i don't think he liked the cd i sent him as a swap though) i went off to heaton park (after trying to take cd cases back to maplin and getting a veggie breakfast at cafe pop) - europe's largest municipal park, only 3 miles north of the city centre, with a metro stop right outside. why had i never been here before? i went up with my hoftstadter, wandered the slopes, the trees and the animal centre (the alpacas were so zen.. does a dog have buddha nature? mu) and generally had a lovely time. a person needs to be able to enjoy simply doing nothing, and also being alone. although i think i was generally quite wistful the whole time; and i may have climbed trees if there were people to do it with. is it less fun alone? or is it just nice to have a friend around to help you up and down?





so then, later and still alone, i went out to the whitworth pub for an acoustic night, semi-open mic (like the best) part-run by a couple i met at the green man (they got a mention then, too) who vaguely remembered me. i played.. er.. purple milk (ukelayle), rain on your sunroof, grey eyes, love, and new boyfriend (part one) as well as telling 'french bovaphile' and 'swans' jokes. i went down ok. got some applause. the lady asked for my phone number, but i'm not sure if that's a 'don't call us, we'll call you' thing.

on monday, i went to cafe muse, as in, the cafe in the museum, for a bowl of the normally nice soup. 'sweet potato and pesto', the board said. that sounds disgusting, i thought. and it was. so i sent it back, because i'm ok, and it wasn't going to be a fuss; if i wanted a bowl of shit soup, i'd go to the uni cafeteria where it's a third of the price. obviously, there's not much they can do with a soup - all the other soup's going to be exactly the same, so they gave me a refund and i bought an egg sandwich, which was pretty rubbish too, but by that point you can't really complain because it's just an egg sandwich (if you're in manchester, by the way, go to the exhibition of wildlife photos in the museum. it's great, but it would be even better if they didn't have a big stuffed fox in the middle but seriously, check out that link because that guy knows his birds). the next day was even worse. i went to the usually excellent eastern restaurant 'umami' for their lunch deal. there was a note on the lunch menu - 'vegetarian dishes may contain shrimp paste, fish oil or egg'. i asked if either of the options did, and the waiter said they were definitely vegetarian, but given their definition, that didn't really fill me with any more confidence. i think it was the spring rolls, which were cold in the middle. aw shit, i thought, i can't be bothered sending it back today. i'll just eat it, because i'm ok. the next day i woke up with the shits, and left work at lunch time because it wasn't going anywhere. and when i got home, where i largely played sf2' and g&g and listened to random and grandaddy and slept, i had a nosebleed. but i did complete sf2' with balrog, which is something i've always meant to do.

so lots more bbc four this week, too - turning on the telly to see daniel barenboim giving lang lang tips on how to play beethoven was beautiful. plus charlie brooker's screen wipe usa (slightly fanzine-y), broken news (the day today for rolling news and channel surfing - good stuff, but too maybe too realistic, where the day today is like what the news is like now) and never mind the full stops, which is the worst show ever, worse even than lionel fanthorpe's religion quiz show (which i, of course, loved). never mind the full stops is clearly based on a tv go home idea, 'don't pass the past participle - grammar-based quiz show with a vaguely rightwing hue'. you have to see this program, it beggars belief. and it was going so well for bbc four.

look, i really hope you appreciate me doing this. and that includes you (points to self in thirty years).

oh yeah, and more videos (including ones of my solo set) are upon youtube now. have fun with them.

you'll like this

why, whenever i go out the back door to use the privvy, is there a decrepit lagomorph painting the ground?

because old rabbits dye yard.

Monday

brave captain

so yeah, i may have dissed the ol' martin carr in my post about the green man something rotten - or i may have been more polite - but if anyone doesn't know his work, and wonders why anyone would like him at all, go here and scroll down to 'i am a lion' e.p. which is free to download and freakishly good.

Friday

achtung bonio

i'm a bit worried about nigel from half man half biscuit. several things have been troubling me; specifically, the track 'depressed beyond tablets'.

i've only seen two copies of 'achtung bono' for sale anywhere, both in fopp stores at various points in the country. so i ended up buying it a considerable time after it came out. this isn't unusual for me; i often wait for the golden moment before going out and buying a cd i really really want. after the related peel and kershaw sessions, i was looking forward to the album with some trepedation; three tracks were classic biscuit (For What Is Chatteris?, Epiphany, Joy Division Oven Gloves), while the other three were so-so (ok, so 'hanging out in dixons with your corgi registered friends' elevates 'corgi registered friends' some way, but it's let down by 'when i hear your wife's silly giggling at anne summers parties' - what's he even doing at anee summers parties?), plus some great covers. on reading the tracklisting, and realising epiphany had been left off (presumably because the session version was perfect and everyone had already downloaded it), i began to wonder what could possibly be on the album.

in short, it's not that good and i've not listened to it all the way through. one track contains the lyrics 'is your kid hyperactive, or is he just a twat?.. i had tantric sex last week and it was shit'; the classic tactic of making up for a lack of humour with swearing didn't work then, and doesn't work now. 'shit arm, bad tattoo' just pulls out of this category by being about the libertines' second album; but generally there is a lack of humour over the whole record, the songs feel more like silly novelty songs (i mean, does anyone actually find 'i'm walking backwards this christmas' funny? in fact, that song is referenced with the witty 'i'm driving backwards at peak hour') than the typical hmhb schtick - tunes that make you laugh when you first hear them, and continue to entertain over time. those laughs are missing. and why is he taking lyrical swipes at motley crue? are they even still going? 'i'll shout gouranga and be happy when you're arrested for defacing the bridge' is a good line, but it's hardly news.

still, we've got 'for what is chatteris?', possibly the most tender break-up song they've yet recorded.. ah. is that it? or is it the fact that they're playing more than ever (always one off gigs, never a tour), something nigel admits he hates doing in a kershaw interview? whatever it is, nigel has lost some of his sheen, and i don't think 'depressed beyond tablets' is a joke.

so that song. firstly, that's a quote of ted maul in brass eye; it's not even an original plea. secondly the chorus: 'depressed beyond tablets, i've gone beyond pills' is entirely bereft of any kind of humour, despite being jaunted over an upbeat backing. and there isn't anything funny about the rest of the song either. not that it fails at being funny; it just doesn't try. it's just a slightly silly song about severe depression. bear in mind the temprement of most comedians, and it's understandable that everyone has their off-days, their long dark nights, their gloamings. i'm not saying nigel's lost it; i just think he should take some time off, get back in touch with himself, and be more funny.

Wednesday

videos are piling up from the ex-fest; note how almost all of the videos have andy standing in the same spot, regardless of the band playing. the curse of the toys strikes again too, as all our vids seem to be exactly two bars out of sync with the audio. and i don't think i have seen anyone simply stand (although she's playing bass too) as brilliantly as sarah does on 'fly, fly, fly'.

i must also link to aaron mcmullen's video 'cliddyplomp' which is quite good.

what d'you call..

a broadsheet that contains only the most terrible news it can find, driving it's readers suicidal with despair?

a noose-paper.

Tuesday

mae'r danadl poethion

spoiler warning!

i love the placebo effect. i love what it says about our brains. it means that either the ability to stop the pain resides entirely inside our mind, our the pain doesn't really exist. in my mind hacks book, they gave the example of dock leaves. dock leaves are a placebo. it's not an acid/alkaline thing; it's an illusion. i was shocked. until you've experienced the effect directly, it's hard to really appreciate it. and when you appreciate it, you realise you it's entirely in your grasp to manufacture it yourself, on a whim. you don't need a big red pill or a man in a white coat; you just need to know that your mind is strong enough to make the pain go away. and suddenly it is. i know, i was stung by a nettle yesterday, and after a barely a minute i'd forgotten. rather than losing faith in dockleaves, i moved that faith into myself, and it proved just as effective. i'm so proud of myself, but i'm not sure how to help you do the same thing.

end of spoiler


by the way, i only printed off 11 copies of 'on benefit' in the last batch and they've all gone. i was trying to figure out who i've given them to and there are certain glaring ommissions so sorry about that; is there anybody who needs one now that i've forgotten? i can think of a few but answers in the comments section please.

did you 'ear about...

the amazing new system that won the nobel design award? the person who's managed to find a way of encasing shiny metals in pastry, light enough that they can be worn fashionably?

it's really pie on earing.

Monday

whoops

i just totally destroyed my blog design, and have had to resort to this to save what little of my face i can still find.

sorry.

dreams can come true

unless they're about the world being eaten by a giant orca.

whenever i realise i'm dreaming, i wake up, instead of going into a lucid dream, which i want to do so very very much. then i'm awake and can't get back into the dream, and if i do it's never like a lucid dream, it's just like when you try and imagine stuff. imogen 'midgey' lovely cropped up in my dreams twice this weekend.

dream one: i moved to london and got a job, but it was like being at university - i had to move into a flat with four other people who were starting that same day at various positions, and we all had to share one bed. the flat was in massive hive-like structure, black and twisted with a hollow column up the middle, 'freshers' partying everywhere. we all went to bed, and i ended up having sex (while trying to avoid disturbing anybody), which didn't end in disaster! it did, however, end in a right mess. the next day (in the dream), i thought the previous night's exploits must have been a dream - they were, but i didn't realise i was still dreaming. i think jo turned up at some point too.

dream two: this was a 'disaster' dream, the one mentioned above where the world gets eaten by a giant orca. you should have seen it! it was the most massive thing ever! it's huge white whirring fangs grinding up the ground. all i can remember is driving around with imogen and two other people, trying to find somewhere that wasn't being eaten. everywhere seemed like a toy town, or a mock-up old mid-europe city like in a studio ghibli film.

Saturday

exhibitionism

i stuck a sticker saying 'get of our land' on a building containing a wetherspoons and a casino, under neath a plaque proclaiming it to be public land donanted by humphry booth.

i used sticky paper to amend the drinks coaster (see previous post)

i stuck a 'love your rage not your cage' sticker on the gossip mag stand in wh smith in piccadilly station.

i stood ranting in market street, 5 metres away from a bible basher, shouting "don't take anyone else's word for it - why doesn't god talk to you?" at people. in conversation later, it was pointed out that people just thought i was 'another nutter'. i must not forget this warning.

Friday

the desk i am working at has two place mats/coasters (whichever you like to call them); one with three colours and the 'friends' logo, the other more interesting; a sketchy cartoon of a 'classy' lass in a low cut dress with the motto 'chocolate coffee and men - somethings are so much better rich'.


i SO want to change the punchline to 'fairly traded'.


i've got a marker pen here and everything.

Tuesday

how many gigabyte do you get in an iChing?

i moved the pc into the bedroom and kept falling asleep to the itunes shuffle, then waking up and thinking i was late for work. it really didn't want me to turn it off last night, playing all the classics - everything from 'enjoy the silence 2005' to 'visions of johanna' to 'ant farm'. it was like it was seeing how far i would go. i'm begining to fear it.

it may have been taking revenge for me spending saturday morning tagging all (or as much as i could remember) of my mp3s by record label (all you lot come under 'unsigned', which is rather good). it may have seen a futile couple of hours, but it produces some wierd mixes; ask for columbia, and you get bob dylan and adam and the ants (cbs is columbia, right?). warner, and you get r.e.m.'s 'up', bach's well tempered clavier, and the soundtrack to brazil. fontana - middle period gorky's, and scott walker sings jaques brelle. virgin - viv stanshall, scott walker's climate of hunter, and late captain beefheart. emi is huge and varied. ankst, placid casual, ochre, and witchita are great, and the only records i have on creation are by super furry animals. the only records i have on nude are by ultrasound. earache, relapse, ipecac, and digital hardcore and all well-represented and familiar. it was a good experiment. of course the really geeky thing is i couldn't let myself put stuff i downloaded off artists websites or myspace down with the record label stuff, so there's a massive and eclectic 'downloads' area. dot dot dot.

i really miss living with people. i made some awesome pasta this evening, but i didn't have anyone to share it with. that didn't stop it being great, but i do feel like i'm wasting time sometimes. shit, like now.

Monday

firefox is not your default browser.

it's been a very manchester weekend, shopping and fucking (which should have been the name for purple milk e.p.). phonogram really is very good indeed. i'm haughtily impressed, i can't imagine anyone not enjoying it.
on both friday and saturday nights, i met up with alun/rufus, had a falafel kebab and then curry for breakfast (only a small chana or dall). i feel so cosmopolitan. on frinight i opted to miss bat for lashes and gang gang dance (and house of social retards, who i've just realised are completely amazing) to meet in the contact theatre with rufus and a friend of his who had requested i be there by name, for her official last night drinks before going off to india. yeah, hanging out in theatre bars, cosmo++. steve happened to be there too, as he knew the director of that night's performance, reducing us to ashtray-licking psueds. we trapsed over town, followed them into a lacklustre club where it turned out they were just sat in the bar upstairs, then came back to mine for music and wine. and do you know? i put itunes on, and selected everything but metal. andy's stern word about playing pig destroyer at x-fest must have affected me. or maybe it's 'the quiet revolution', an absolutely gorgeous mix cd free with this month's mojo that's chilled me out a bit.

i've been playing doom again too, the level design on the eviloution episode is quite imaginative - i really liked 'wormhole'. also tough, too - but put the mouse sensitivity high enough and you're fine. it likes to throw loads of disposables at you - zombies and imps - meaning running out of ammo isn't much of an issue, but health is, and you get to kill loads of people. and whenever someone harder crops up, which so far has been regular but infrequent, they seem to have timed them nicely to not fit in with your plan, so whether it's four revenants or one, it's an equally good challenge. and there's some great moments - one that's basically like the bit at the end of the first episode of doom, but where you have to somehow survive. what's great is when you surprise yourself at how effortlessly you zoom around the corner and shotgunned the imp you weren't expecting.

rufus said he set up a page on wikipedia about me, but i can't find any evidence for it. stupid wiki police.

and so on saturday night we were in didsbury, and ended up having the vegetarian conversation again between six. rufus had just lost an discussion with a vegan, and as such has become one - if only everyone was so enlightened. we were having this discussion, and a friend of rufus' said 'a balanced diet with meat in is better for you than a balanced diet without meat in'. i couldn't let something so flawed lie, as a logician more than a veggie. i actually got quiet violent about it, 'for fuck's sake'ing under my breath as i tried to make her understand quite where she was going wrong.
"let me ask you an analagous question," i attempted, "what's heavier: a tonne of bricks or a tonne of feathers?"
"a tonne of bricks," she said.
the table fell silent.
"you're a scientist," someone said.
she was claiming that the omivourous diet was better for you because we had evolved to include meat in our diets, despite the lack of differences between any two balanced diets. the argument never got as far as the persuasive one for eating fish, in that the oily fats really do do good for your brain; the effective two-pronged counter is of course, 'yes but where are we going to get all the fish to feed everyone from, cause it sure ain't the fucking sea' and 'fish get them from algae. why don't you use the same logic to demand algae?'
she then claimed after a week without meat she physically had to eat it, which even the other omnivores said was in her head.
what it comes down to is that we live in a society where we don't have to face the consequences of our actions. you can eat meat or buy unfair-trade stuff and say, 'sure, i'm being a cunt, so what?' and the bogey man won't get you. neither will your conscience. but if you eat meat, you're poisoning my planet. it really bothers me. and that's the last i'm going to say on it for a while.

so then the vege conversation somehow morphed into the sitcom conversation. yes, spaced is good, and we saw scrubs before the green wing so we never really got into that. high five.

i've spent ten hours on the computer today. and i criticise other people for whatching soaps. tell me, is doom really better than hollyoaks?