watching two small birds fighting for dominance of the food on the bird table.
there's enough for everyone, but they waste their energy on a squabble in the cold.
this is life: singing while the titanic sinks; fighting over scraps; only thinking of their own survival, rather than the survival of life itself.

and i thought, fuck. this is it. this is all their is; this is all life is capable of.

starlings, on the bird table. a whole bloody flock. eating as much as they can. we can clap them away, but they'll only learn that it's not a threat and so stop reacting. they'll eat until they're full, then they'll have as many babies it takes for their babies to be starving to death. the songbirds regulate their population through territory, but the starlings will just breed and breed, they expand to fill their container like a foam. so we just shouldn't feed them, because it doesn't matter how many of them there are. what matters is the diversity of all the different bird species.

we just aren't capable of organising ourselves. and as a result, we'll die. and it makes me want to kill myself right now because there's no progression, there's no liberty, it's a natural law of physics that the energy you get out of a system is less than the energy you put in. in other words, life isn't worth the effort.

having more people in the world isn't better than having fewer people in the world. it's exactly the same, just with more people dying round the edges. and until we have some sort of communal brain, our shitty competition will only kill us all.

thanks copenhagen.


the splurge

books and cds bought since october 5th with bursaries and grants:

choosing death: a history of grindcore and death metal
bad science (again - i gave shell my former copy)
the tiger that isn't: seeing through a world of numbers
this is your brain on music
bonobo: the forgotten ape
mathematics minus fear
the elephant in the classroom
dodgem logic issue one (with free cd)
the filth

genghis tron: board up the house
genghis tron: cloak of love
very impressive.
various: early morning hush
fantastic epic 70s nether-folk compilation
parched: arc
davide tiso out of ephel duath and the erlando belochi who made their remix album do ambient guitar jamming
john lawrence: rainy night
formy gorkys chap in a neil young mood.
various: choosing death soundtrack
not arrived yet, but 80s deathgrind.
various: earache artists at the bbc
a fantastic document of deathgrind peel sessions.

looking back on that, you know, i think i might have just gone a bit far.


spotting a patton

back when i started this blog in, oh, 2004, i tried to run a little 'mp3 of the week' thing. and i've noticed that these days, what with the internets being on all the time, people don't really put up individual mp3s to download anymore; they put them up to stream all over the place, sure, but not as a file. what's interesting is that music is downloadable, both as podcasts and complete albums. i'll go one further; i reckon that in the last few months, i've downloaded a free album onaverage once a week.

that includes label samplers as well as 'real' albums, of course, but the real albums are pretty damn real. the point is: i used to do 'free mp3 of the week'. now, if i wanted, i could happily do 'free album of the week'.

i was inspired to write this post after discovering the shizit (well half of them anyway) have put out a new album. i was going to say how having downloaded it, it seemed a bit old fashioned now, a bit post-slipknot in the age of genghis tron and drumcorps.

and i need to say i'm still buying cds, in fact i've just splurged on quite a few having got money again.

and i need to say genghis tron are fantastic, and their first e.p. is just a wilfully genre hopping sound mashup that doesn't really go as far as making actual songs as much as an excuse to try and shock you, structured only in it's attempts to defy your expectations, whereas there latest is real, pure, structured goodness.

and i need to say i don't know if the above comparison of metal-tronica bands is over absolute developments in music or just developments of my tast.

but i don't have time. i'm too busy.


the sad fact of the matter

...the sad fact of the matter is, whenever i hear someone say 'the twin towers' i think they mean the twin towers of minas morgul and minas tirith, and the really sad fact of the matter is that those aren't even 'the two towers' that the title of the book refers to, which is barad-dur and orthanc (or minas morgul and orthanc, tolkein gave both). and even that's not getting to the true sad fact of the matter...

why teach?


boil a kettle, chop an onion: melinzana and halloumi roast

i got out 'my' classic aubergine and halloumi recipe last night, which i've made a few times now to impress people. i love the mix of textures - the chewy halloumi and succulent aubergine both have quite fleshy qualities, all in a thick sauce. plus it ticks a wide range of food group boxes - you could add chick peas to make it a perfectly balanced meal if you fancy.

you need (per 2 people): 1 onion, 1 pepper, 2 aubergines, 1 pack halloumi, some coriander seeds, garlic, 1 jar of lloyd grossman tomato and chilli sauce (one can make this oneself if one's really trying to impress, but it's an extra risk, one's already got enough going on).

so, put the kettle on and pop a baking tray full of olive oil in the oven and put it on nice and hot. chop all the veg now so you can sit down later. when the oil's hot, put the onions in it, and pop the halloumi in a different tray.

when the onions are having a bit more fun (5 mins?), put the peppers, garlic, and cracked coriander seeds in too and shuffle the cheese around. when the peppers are looking all jolly (10 mins?), put the aubergines in and stir everything around. when the aubergines have had a chance to think about what they've done (another 10 mins?), pop the halloumi in with the veg and pour over the sauce. it's very nice.

serve with dimitri's 'casablanca', white rice mixed with couscous - cook them both separately then mix them together in a big baking dish and leave in the bottom of the oven while the rest of the food cookity-cooks. you could probably do it with lovely brown rice too but it wouldn't look as good on the plate. my dad serves this layered and domed on the plate.

on the side: michelle's tomato chilli jam.

to drink: big red wine.

grilly's *totally academic* guide to affairs

so i was thinking; what makes a person have an affair? if tv and movies are anything to go by, sometimes it's because there's a problem at home; but more often it's not because the cheater doesn't love their partner, they just miss the excitement of the earlier stages.

over time, relationships get more stable (hey, this is just statistics; unstable relationships ultimately fall apart, right?). they don't become any less enjoyable, perhaps they even get more enjoyable. depends on how deep or shallow you are as a person i suppose. but if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind lying continually for your whole life about who you are, why not have your cake and eat it? why not have the cuddly fireside joys of a well-established long-term relationship, while enjoying the rarefied untapped potential of a new relationship?

as relationships unfold, they unfold slower and slower. less is new every day. so there's not a linear pattern here. i reckon milestones are at 3 months, 9 months, 18 months, 3 years, 6 years, and so on. so i've been thinking about an idea of how a person who wanted to cheat and ultimately experience every stage of a relationship simultaneously should behave, and i would like to present it as an algorithm.

every three months, start having a relationship. you are only allowed one partner at any given stage of a relationship: in my opinion, 0-3 months, 3-9 months, 9-18 months, and so on. it has been suggested that maybe the milestones aren't temporal but rather more flexible; that doesn't affect the overall algorithm. why not put in your own ones? in order to experience the full joy of a long-term relationship, in case of ending up with two partners in the same stage, you dump the most recent one. this has the added benefit of protecting you from being dumped in case you are ever found out by your long-term partner; you've got another one right around the corner.

0 months: start going out with A
after 3 months, things change a bit and you (being a cheater) want to live through that time again.
3 months: start going out with B
now you have two people who are in the 3-9 month category. you don't need two, you only need one in each category, so dump B and get someone else to go through the first 3 months again.
6 months: start going out with C, dump B
9 months: you have been going out with A for 9 months, and C for 3 months. start going out with D.
12 months: dump D, start E
15 months: C now enters 9-18 month stage with A, so dump. you now have A (9-18 months), E (3-9 months). start going out with F.
18 months: dump F, start going out with G.
21 months: you have G at 3 months, E at 9 months, A at 21 months. no clashes! start going out with H.
24 months: dump H, start going out with J.
27 months: you have J at 3 months, G at 9 months, E at 15 months, and A at 27 months. why not go through those first three months again? start going out with I.

by this point, you're going out with 5 people, and you've had 10 concurrent affairs. you must have insane time management skills to last this far, especially if you've moved in with A.

i think you get the picture.

disclaimer: i take no responsibility for hearts broken, dreams shattered, or periods of depression entered as a result of reading this guide. I shouldn't have to point out that this idea developed from me thinking 'things were different when we started going out' not 'i want to cheat on my partner'.


bridget jones' diary

so so, the missus and i watched bridget jones' diary the other week - first time for me, umpteenth for her, seriously hung over from a hen party the night before. watching it the thought came to me - i bet this was a really good book.

i've never had that in a film - kind of enjoying the film but reckoning that i'd enjoy the book a lot more. i've seen films that i've loved that were based on books, which i then read and turned out to be even better (princess bride, never ending story fit very well especially as they're both recursive books); rubbish films based on books i liked, and so on. the point is the film really felt like a not-entirely-tacky romcom made out of a book that was slightly more sophisticated, with a less cringey soundtrack, and with a better structure (but without, of course, the very lovely renee. romcoms are really relationship porn).

aside from the manic flip-flopping of the ending of the film, the thing that most strikes me is the pride and prejudice riffing; in the book, we are presented with a lass who dreams of meeting her d'arcy, fresh from the bbc lake; who then actually gets to interview colin firth; and whose life turns into the plot of pride and prejudice as she dates two men who don't like each other, for dark mysterious reasons. the film on the other hand, doesn't have time for all that, actually casts colin firth as the d'arcy character, and just becomes a p&p tribute/update. i'm sure the book was more than just 'pride and predjuice in middle class 90s london'. i can feel it. but then, maybe the casting of firth as d'arcy - _again_ - is actually as close as they could get to the flavour of the book?

but, anyway, now i can't read it. i've seen the film, and i feel reading the book has been ruined for me. because the film wasn't _terrible_, i have absorbed too much of it. if it had been rubbish, i could have moved on; if it had been great, i'd have dived in; but it was just fine. which leaves me wanting to get the better, deeper experience of the book, but without the motivation. sigh. lol.


battle of cable street footage

amazing footage. i love who painfully 'impartial' the news reader is trying to appear; that mosley can't be a bad chap, look, he's wearing a trilby hat. baddies don't wear trilby hats.

i was reading up on tower hamlets - doesn't it have the highest gradient of economic difference of any borough in the country or something? i don't know, because the otherwise excellent wikipedia article is simply missing that information. given that the borough encompasses whitechapel, which is at least historically one of the poorest areas in the country, and canary wharf, 'the apprentice' land. whitechapel is quite heartbreakingly trapped between the two towers of the minas gherkin and minas wharf, like a glacial valley of shit. it's totally song worthy


free album-geddon (edited fource)

i'm tired, as i keep telling people. lots of holiday then lots of pgce-ness.
in the midst of that, lots of good free albums have been releasified and you can download them and i can see no reason why you shouldn't instantly get them all:

i enjoyed necro deathmort's this beat is necrotonic very much while painting the corridor. a great mix of various styles of unpleasant music, works very well. instrumental doom-hop.

euros childs' son of euro child can be got by signing up to his mailing list. it's very cynical and funny and a bit reminiscant of early gorky's, which is what we all wanted.

penny sweets' barefoot at the edge and dildano's the buzzard maze are both cracking indie releases which you should already have.

drumcorps has a new mixtape online, truth and justice. lots of unreleased stuff and actual great mixing on there.

can't believe i forgot ex-strangler hugh cornwell's hoover dam, quite half man half biscuity - lots of wry lyrics and lo-fi indie songs.

and recall's marvellous trippy plotlines, former zabrinski producer doing what he's good at.

in the midst of all this race to the bottom, to the boats..! have a new album out, but it's not free. call us old fashioned... you can get it right here, which would be really flattering and delightful for you to do.


found lyrics

found when i was cleaning out my desk, which i can roughly date around august 2007:

perfume and meat

dribbles down her chin
eyes she cannot close
i thought you'd left me off the hook
you made me come back for one last look

her last lie-in
lying in state
oh what a state

as a uniform pulls over a sheet
i realise girls are made of perfume and meat.


please help the disabled

i'm glad to know -really glad- that i'm not the only person on the internet who has tried to record the 'please help the disabled, help the disabled please' guy who turns up at a random tube station every day. you never know where he'll strike next...
at least two others have tried: there's this excellent recording amongst the very great library of ambience, and:

i just put the keyboard ketteh tune as my ringtone and i can't stop playing it and bouncing along and smiling 87)


[not a real post] i used to be a gnome bard, but now...

I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Wizard (3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment because it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)


this week just gone and insane mixtape bloggage

it's been an interesting week in experimenting with grilly. m'lady's been away with her mum in the cotswolds, i'm going out to join to join them for a week and then the two of us and another couple will be barging it around the grand union canal, so i'll be ENTIRELY INTERNETLESS for that period. i don't know what i'll do.

she left me on friday, as the song goes; old pal beth was meant to be coming round for tea, but double booked herself and went watching horror movies in camberwell instead. camberwell was too far away in time and money so i stayed in. she was meant to come round tonight too but probably found something more fun... very sad story: she was meant to be passing through britain for two days inbetween chicago and prague, but then while she was here, her boyfriend who she was meant to be going away with dumped her (i gather). so she got two/three weeks in britain instead, poor thing. but yes, we missed each other. i stayed up on the computer til gone four o'clock - it was starting to get light again.

on saturday i stayed inside all day until i went to noise noise noise at catch in shoreditch, scene of my disgrace last time rachel went away with her mum, last year. i went out with james, got very drunk, and was ill for about five days after. this time i was going out alone, and sober. and it was great - nitowski played satisfying mathrock, deathscalator were a bit rubbish (sorry laurence and corey) so i went and read the guardian on my phone, and astrohenge put on a fantastic live show of instrumetal and nudged towards greatness. the music was all very manly, i chatted to the promoter, enjoyed myself greatly, and went home having bought only a bottle of ale for the walk to the gig. got home about half 12 and stayed up til 4 again, playing the dig, and grand theft auto 3.

the next morning it was band brunch at the fleapit, where we discussed the venue and BOOKED OUR ALBUM LAUNCH FOR 5TH SEPTEMBER/. i'm seriously excited about this, and will use it as a chance to reflect on three years in london, three years very well spent. i used the rest of the day to play more games and write 2000 words on why i don't like the dig, riled by journalist john 'botherer' walker's admiration of it (see below). i tried to finish the game using walkthroughs, but got stuck on something that just wouldn't work so i gave up and wrote it off.
monday i pulled myself together a bit and started being useful and that night, without realising it, the fight back began. i went round my neighbours' and spent a very nice evening with them, chatting the chat and watching stuff. it may not seem like much, but i started to fall back into something like a routine.

tuesday was the awesome mj hibbett/chris tt double headliner i'd been so excited about, that really deserves a blog post of it's own. in short - chris tt's improvised piano work was wonderful, as nervous as he was about it. it's a shame about the nerves because they really came through in the music; when something is a stream of conciousness, even someone who clearly understands music in quite a deep way like chris - which i had never realised, only knowing him for writing indie/folk/pop songs - he would start to panic and eventually lose his zen and run out of ideas. then he'd talk to the audience again, calm down and produce something great.

dino planet was superb and you really should see it. the thing is, both acts form a sort of cult of personality about themselves on stage, but while chris' new work is a complete withdrawal from that, hibbett's solo show is even more of his personality than you've seen before. it's just him, rattling through 10 or so interconnected songs and the arias that lie between them, it's a concentrated shot of pure hibbett. marvellous.

on wednesday i popped round to hannah next door's for a cup of tea, then went for a walk in victoria park with ian, which lasted til 7 and was great. i then had to go and pick up a veg bag for someone from hackney city farm, and since i was down that way, called on alex and rosie, recently wed. i got taken in and plied with wine and pasta and great conversation so that was a good day.

thursday i went round my brother dan's, and got my usual fix of games that won't run on my machine - street fighter 4, left 4 dead, research and development. i stayed over cause he lives miles away.
friday morning i came home.
i'm going away for two weeks now, in honour of which, today i burnt off the following mixtapes - some brand new, others from earlier in the year but none more than about 6 months old. the tracklisting occaissonally went awry - nero doesn't appear to work with mp3s encoded with hellenic artists - so in some cases these are the idealised versions.

#EXTINF:230,Toady One - dwarf fortress theme
#EXTINF:360,Fiona & Gorwel Owen - Ychydig Is Na'r Angylion
#EXTINF:353,Kevin Ayers & the whole world - Shooting At The Moon
#EXTINF:501,Frank Zappa - Keep It Greasey
#EXTINF:430,squarepusher - greenways trajectory
#EXTINF:215,Fantômas - Skin Horse
#EXTINF:381,Recall - sortie
#EXTINF:415,The Sensational alex harvey band - sirocco
#EXTINF:251,Ta??s?? ?apa???sta?t???? - Dromeas
#EXTINF:145,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - MJ Hibbett & The Validators / (regardez, ecoutez et repetez)
#EXTINF:1260,Dressed In Wires - Cranes Swoop Into The Capital (Movements I-IV)
#EXTINF:58,Melt-Banana - Shoot The Moon

#EXTINF:138,Graham Coxon - Mornin Blues
#EXTINF:212,The Bonzo Dog Band - Re-Cycled Vinyl Blues
#EXTINF:174,Leadbelly - Good Morning Blues
#EXTINF:360,Bob Dylan - Tombstone Blues
#EXTINF:390,Charles Mingus - Pedal Point Blues
#EXTINF:154,Nick Drake - Courting Blues
#EXTINF:224,The Bonzo Dog Band - Laughing Blues
#EXTINF:166,Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - My Human Gets Me Blues
#EXTINF:306,Gil Scott-Heron - The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues
#EXTINF:236,Kevin Ayers - Champagne Cowboy Blues
#EXTINF:135,John Martyn - The Easy Blues
#EXTINF:457,Steely Dan - Deacon Blues
#EXTINF:190,Scott Walker - Blanket Roll Blues
#EXTINF:149,Eels - Electro-Shock Blues
#EXTINF:153,Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Desolation Blues
#EXTINF:117,John Renbourn - Lost Lover Blues
#EXTINF:110,McLusky - Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues
#EXTINF:149,Half Man Half Biscuit - Worried Man Blues
#EXTINF:207,Woody Guthrie - Talking Dust Bowl Blues
#EXTINF:129,Johnny Dowd - Woody Guthrie Blues
#EXTINF:247,The Sensational alex harvey band - gamblin'm bar room blues
#EXTINF:347,Bright Eyes - Land Locked Blues
#EXTINF:147,Sporting Hero - Sleepwalking Blues

banging donk, bouncey house:
#EXTINF:296,Super Furry Animals - Out Of Control (Zan Lyons Mix)
#EXTINF:285,Zabrinski - Bullied Into Boxing
#EXTINF:133,DJ Scotch Egg - Scotch Grime
#EXTINF:368,simian mobile disco - Simian Mobile Disco - Animal House
#EXTINF:388,Amon Tobin - Night Life
#EXTINF:45,immunity through excess - immunity through excess - 04 fags
#EXTINF:318,Aphex Twin - At The Heart Of It All (Nine Inch Nails)
#EXTINF:338,squarepusher - fat controller
#EXTINF:383,Boards of Canada - Kid For Today
#EXTINF:244,Recall - plotlines
#EXTINF:322,Dressed In Wires - Lactating For You
#EXTINF:299,Ephel Duath - Hole IX
#EXTINF:140,Dj gallow slutt - cloaca 6
#EXTINF:410,Penfold Plum - Potent Concoction
#EXTINF:349,Infinity Chimps - Drws Y Coed
#EXTINF:140,Radiohead - Chernobyl 2

#EXTINF:187,Scott Walker - Amsterdam
#EXTINF:188,The Bonzo Dog Band - Ready Mades
#EXTINF:351,Astra - Phoenix
#EXTINF:336,My Computer - For Somebody Else
#EXTINF:224,Wild Beasts - The Club Of Fathomless Love
#EXTINF:255,Jon Redfern - Part of You
#EXTINF:267,ween - cold blows the wind
#EXTINF:193,Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Freckles
#EXTINF:272,The Penny Sweets - Swimming Song
#EXTINF:376,Cats in Paris - Goojfc
#EXTINF:139,Cult Of Luna - Osterbotten
#EXTINF:224,Girls Girls Girls - Girls Girls Girls / Old Amsterdam Waltz

#EXTINF:230,Zabrinski - Blen
#EXTINF:216,The Mad Capsule Markets - All The Time In Sunny Beach - Noise Therapy Remix
#EXTINF:382,Thom Yorke - The Clock (Surgeon remix)
#EXTINF:130,DJ Scotch Egg - Scotch Heads
#EXTINF:282,squarepusher - my red hot car
#EXTINF:316,Ephel Duath - Hole I
#EXTINF:176,System Of A Down - Know
#EXTINF:153,Super Furry Animals - Golden Retriever (Killa Kela Mix)
#EXTINF:243,Björk - Triumph of a Heart
#EXTINF:260,Radiohead - Sit Down, Stand Up (Snakes & Ladders)
#EXTINF:234,Ewan MacColl - The Shoals of Herring
#EXTINF:259,Blur - Entertain Me
#EXTINF:537,david wrench - superhorny
#EXTINF:394,Sparks - Dick Around

#EXTINF:170,Ta??s?? ?apa???sta?t???? - Kalanda
#EXTINF:299,A Hawk And A Hacksaw - A Black And White Rainbow
#EXTINF:251,Scott Walker - The girls from the streets
#EXTINF:175,Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains
#EXTINF:202,The Bonzo Dog Band - Rhinocratic Oaths
#EXTINF:196,Pentangle - Light Flight (Take Three Girls Theme)
#EXTINF:282,Sparks - My Baby's Taking Me Home
#EXTINF:177,Martin Carthy - Byker Hill
#EXTINF:397,Scott Walker - Farmer In The City
#EXTINF:219,Martin Carthy - Lord Franklin
#EXTINF:359,Cult Of Luna - And With Her Came The Birds
#EXTINF:232,simian - grey
#EXTINF:270,Mugison - Hold On 2 Happiness
#EXTINF:383,David Bowie - Warszawa
#EXTINF:227,David Bowie - Art Decade
#EXTINF:208,David Bowie - Weeping Wall
#EXTINF:339,David Bowie - Subterraneans

#EXTINF:175,Polysics - Lookin' Lookin' Gaa
#EXTINF:357,Lions & Tigers - Pure & Applied
#EXTINF:362,Cats in Paris - Loose Tooth Tactile
#EXTINF:179,Kevin Ayers - Oh My
#EXTINF:156,Scaffold - Potato Clock
#EXTINF:204,Half Man Half Biscuit - Tyrolean Knockabout
#EXTINF:246,david wrench - lonely winter in a seaside town
#EXTINF:236,Cardiacs - Goodbye Grace
#EXTINF:384,Dummy Plug Conspiracy - The New Monsters
#EXTINF:385,aaron mcmullan - don't think i'll sleep tonight, dj gallow slutt enforcement
#EXTINF:247,maybe myrtle tyrtle - the tree song
#EXTINF:174,My Side Of The Mountain - Lost Pilot
#EXTINF:228,Radiohead - Go Slowly
#EXTINF:201,Jon Redfern - Lost
#EXTINF:173,Gary Lucas - Sunrise, Sunset
#EXTINF:202,Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
#EXTINF:177,Dave Swarbrick/Martin Carthy - Byker Hill
#EXTINF:162,euros childs - horse riding
#EXTINF:79,Graham Coxon - Latte
#EXTINF:393,Amon Tobin - Reanimator
#EXTINF:638,Aereogramme/Isis - Stolen
#EXTINF:335,Aaron McMullan - Don't Think I'll Sleep Tonight

#EXTINF:193,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - clare grogan
#EXTINF:218,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Things'll Be Different When I'm In Charge
#EXTINF:225,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - The Symbol Of Our Nation
#EXTINF:186,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Looking At My Hands
#EXTINF:164,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Breaks In The Journey
#EXTINF:264,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - MJ Hibbett & The Validators / It Only Works Because You're Here
#EXTINF:227,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - MJ Hibbett & The Validators / All The Good Men
#EXTINF:197,m.j. hibbett - the story of my life
#EXTINF:161,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Good Cooking
#EXTINF:237,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - The Fight For History
#EXTINF:248,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Mental Judo
#EXTINF:205,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - The Back Of The Sofa
#EXTINF:236,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - the only thing
#EXTINF:142,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - The Girl Who...
#EXTINF:124,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Nothing In Common, Except, Maybe...
#EXTINF:258,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - MJ Hibbett & The Validators / Do More, Eat Less
#EXTINF:205,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Easily Impressed
#EXTINF:204,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - the fair play trophy (again)
#EXTINF:239,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - The Lesson Of The Smiths
#EXTINF:250,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - Holdalls Is The New Name For Midland Mainline Lost Property
#EXTINF:196,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - M.J. HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS / I Did A Gig In New York
#EXTINF:210,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - M.J. HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS / Professional, Competent, Rocking And Tight
#EXTINF:194,M.J. Hibbett & The Validators - boom! shake the room

#EXTINF:219,the thurston lava tube - ghost train camel
#EXTINF:256,The Psychedelic Furs - The Ghost In You
#EXTINF:247,Neutral Milk Hotel - Ghost
#EXTINF:122,Michael Z. Land - Ghost Ship Shuffle
#EXTINF:272,John Zorn - Ghosts of Thelema
#EXTINF:352,Ghost in the Shell - Ghost Dive
#EXTINF:257,erlend øye - ghost trains(morgan geist - new york)
#EXTINF:202,Eels - Friendly Ghost
#EXTINF:216,Shellac - Ghosts
#EXTINF:409,the dillinger escape plan - Mouth of Ghosts
#EXTINF:710,Cult Of Luna - Ghost Trail
#EXTINF:274,Atari Teenage Riot - Ghostchase
#EXTINF:259,65DaysOfStatic - Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here

april foods:
#EXTINF:144,Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - When You Laugh At Your Own Garden In A Blazer
#EXTINF:142,McLusky - The World Loves Us and Is Our Bitch
#EXTINF:276,Wild Beasts - His Grinning Skull
#EXTINF:374,Abdullah Ibrahim - Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro
#EXTINF:490,Cardiacs - The everso closely guarded lin
#EXTINF:234,The Mad Capsule Markets - Parasite
#EXTINF:158,Michael Z. Land - Introduction (monkey 1)
#EXTINF:679,Morrissey - The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils
#EXTINF:410,Tangaroa - Vietnamese Killing Queens
#EXTINF:218,gorky's zygotic mynci - Hush_B2_fj
#EXTINF:210,ween - flutes of chi
#EXTINF:318,Aphex Twin - Heroes [Aphex Twin Remix]

#EXTINF:612,Dälek - Abandoned Language
#EXTINF:299,iLiKETRAiNS - Terra Nova
#EXTINF:328,the dillinger escape plan - Dead as History
#EXTINF:253,Sparks - (She Got Me) Pregnant
#EXTINF:285,half man half biscuit - took problem chimp to ideal home show
#EXTINF:135,The Senseless - Evilicious
#EXTINF:267,player - angel of theft
#EXTINF:93,the dillinger escape plan - When Acting as a Wave
#EXTINF:769,drumcorps - channel4mix
#EXTINF:252,65DaysofStatic - Dance Parties (Distant)
#EXTINF:475,The Mad Capsule Markets - No Food, Drink, Or Smoking [Kawasaki Electro Acadamy Remix]
#EXTINF:159,DJ Scotch Egg - Scotch Chicken
#EXTINF:525,Jim Steinman - Bad For Good

#EXTINF:260,Dressed In Wires - Bunny, That's A Special Wand. It'll Come In Handy... I'll Show You How To Use It Later
#EXTINF:328,Cats in Paris - Foxes
#EXTINF:257,Radiohead - Up On The Ladder
#EXTINF:229,half man half biscuit - lord hereford's knob
#EXTINF:345,Sparks - Strange Animal
#EXTINF:51,Naked City - Speedfreaks
#EXTINF:299,bruised pilgrim - euro oy
#EXTINF:311,ABBA - Voulez Vous
#EXTINF:261,Fiona & Gorwel Owen - Ten Thousand Things
#EXTINF:210,Scott Walker - Montague terrace (in blue)
#EXTINF:167,Radio Luxembourg - Diwrnod Efor Anifeiliaid
#EXTINF:343,Drumcorps - Grist
#EXTINF:153,Cult Of Luna - The Lure (Interlude)
#EXTINF:204,Girls Girls Girls - Girls Girls Girls / Sad Sea Shanty For Igor Kornelyuk
#EXTINF:194,Kermit the Frog - The Rainbow Connection

plus a few older ones i found lying around. should last us two weeks i think... see you soon.


Ready-Mades (Innes/Stanshall)

Wendy Wetlip stares from a poster
Ignoring the drawing adorning her smile
Her lover has shuffled away
Looking the other way

Ronnie the Raincoat hangs out in a book store
He's never seen his own wife in the nude
Somebody called him depraved
But think of the money he saved

Dwarf on a moped speeds through the park
To Killroy's Renaissance the Temple of Art
Signs with a flourish and makes it his own
Pockets his pencil and slyly rides home

Annual cultural African dancers
Bereft Isabella in rubber thigh boots
A man was arrested today
For something he put on display

my favourite bonzo's song - and i never knew it was actually about duchamps, similtaneously one of my favourite artists and one of my favourite chess players. i thought they just used it as a daft title like with 'rhinocratic oaths'. but those lyrics are actively beautiful, even more so now i understand them. there was such a great tension between niel innes and viv stanshall - not like usual songwriting partnerships, they actually seemed to be heading in quite different directions with very little middle ground. innes was all beatley and psych-pop - this is clearly an innes composition, which he also sings - while stanshall seems to me to have more in common with gilbert and george than most musicians; he was his own work of art, although perhaps the artwork swallowed the real man and left a confused mess who tragically died in a mysterious fire in his flat.

so now i know wendy wetlip refers to the mona lisa, the temple of art is a public lavatory, and the final rhyming couplet refer not to flashing, as i always thought, but to art scandal. which just goes to show how bloody broad the bonzos were - writing songs about flashers in the park and societal misfits is well within their established work, look at 'postcard' for de-romanticised sauciness and 'rhinocratic oaths' or 'my pink half of the drain pipe' for revelling in glory of pettiness. still don't understand ronnie the raincoat, but it makes me think of the release of lady chatterley's lover, all those queues of men in macintoshes. can anyone shed light on 'kilroy's rennaissance'? 'bereft isabella'? some of these references are so obscure.

the song comes on 5 minutes in on this vid:


ps. i've said it before and i'll say it again: niel innes' solo career after the bonzos paled in comparison to viv's. yeah, it was sub-stanshall.


the indignity: a disagreement with john walker.

ok so, the big lucasarse revival, yadayada. re-releasing great games from 15 years ago and pretending they're still relevant in this democratised day and age of adventure game studio. i'm working on some more mature thoughts with my brother dan, but in the meantime, here's a great heap of spewed bile about one particular niggling, shallow, aspect: the dig.

i never played the dig; it was only luck i managed to play full throttle on work experience, and i only got half way through grim fandango [couldn't find the second cd 87!]. the dig passed me by. so when it came up on steam, i thought, 'ooh', like you do, 'a 'new' lucasarts graphic adventure, that's exciting'.

it helps to understand why the style of the game is different to previous lucasarts outings to know that this was a rejected idea from spielberg (nb: literally 'play mountain')'s outer limits-style tv series; rejected for being too costly, they assure us, instead of being shit, which is what it is. it's shit. sorry, i spoilt the ending of this article for you, but not as badly as john walker spoils the ending for you in his glowing retrospective piece on it.

the article gives spoiler warnings, and anyway there's a bit of the old jewish joke cited at the start of annie hall here: the food here is lousy, and the portions are too small. but i don't care that walker spoilt the ending; i don't care about the ending of this game at all since i will never see it. this game is stupid. i disagree with every positive point walker makes, other than that the music by the ever-talented michael land is superb, and i agree that the puzzles are cretinous. he doesn't use that language - and only refers to one puzzle near the beginning as being too hard, rather than all of them being complete failures of reason and interface - but that's as much as we've got in common. importantly - i don't want to assault, annoy, or defame the character of john walker, merely deal with a few issues i have with his views on this particular subject. on the contrary, walker's piece on bookworm adventures has changed my weekend for the better by miles, and that includes leading me to re-install the dig and suffer yet more of its insults. if anyone wonders why this usually quiet blog has suddenly exploded into outrage and anger, i have two words for you - cabin fever.

briefly interactive
walker describes the opening as 'briefly interactive' but that description also fits with the rest of the game. when a puzzle game claims to have over 200 locations, it's a claim that's too good to be true - and we all know that means it isn't true. all of the artwork is pretty great (ok that's something else we agree on), but having great artwork is pointless if you can't click on anything. a location is only a location if something is located there, and in this game there is a good proportion of locations that act more as gaudy corridors, with an entrance and an exit and maybe one interactive hotspot if you're lucky. that's my first gripe.

league of gentlemen
my second, longer gripe, is the characters: are shit. walker: 'five characters are convincingly made real through realistic, unforced dialogue that doesn't rely on clumsy exposition.' i utterly disagree. after the death of brink, i deleted the game, on hearing the line 'he could be annoying, but he sure didn't deserve to die' (i reinstalled it upon his professional recomendation). while that would have worked in something jaunty like monkey island or a mixed bag like indiana jones, it's terrible in a game that's meant to be serious. here i nudge towards agreement with walker again when talking about how quickly the other two characters move on from brink's death, which is so unexpected and rapid - not to mention ironic - that it can only be dealt with by league-of-gentlemen style morbid humour.
i think walker must have very different standards for entertainment to me: he continues 'The superb opening sequences show a rare subtlety, the careful, deliberate speech of a press conference delivered over realistic hubbub of excited press,' he writes, as if the 'press conference' scene isn't in enough shit films. it doesn't seem careful to me at all; it's just what you would expect as an easy way to introduce the plot and characters. i mean, we did this in drama gcse, it's not revolutionary. the characters are a weird, random bunch of unrealistic mashups of stereotypes...

a divergent, important, point here: this is sci-fi. in sci-fi, you do stuff that's impossible at the moment, but one of the 'rules' of sci-fi is stuff has to be plausible. you can have a death-ray without going into the minutiae of explaining how it works, but the characters have to react in believable ways because they are people, and while you can change the laws of physics, the one thing that can never change are the laws of statistics. in the star wars franchise, lucas gets around this with the 'force'; what are the chances that everything revolves around coincidences and one remote desert planet? well, actually it's pretty much certain because it's 'the force'. this is why it's more of a fantasy film than sci-fi...

ok so, in the dig, the crew that gets sent into space to study the asteroid consists: one world's most famous reporter/language expert (eh?), one geologist/archaeologist (double eh?), one military commander (triple eh?), one nasa scientist/congress candidate (WHAT?), and oh, someone to fly the bloody shuttle. this is not only a completely implausible crew for a mission to save the world - which is what's actually happening at the start of the game, remember - but wouldn't you think someone at the press conference would come right out and say, 'a language expert and an archaeologist on the landing team? do you think this is an alien craft in disguise, by any chance?' if this isn't clumsy exposition and unrealistic characters, just what is?

still on gripe two (i haven't yet made my case, and characters and dialogue are essentially the same thing) after a while the dialogue began to become so bad it was funny, but only once i'd got through gritting my teeth at it; in the case of this game, not just because of the actual words, but the things they were saying, if you see the difference. upon arriving on the alien planet, brink makes the case that, since he is a trained, professional archaeologist/geologist (obviously games designers don't really appreciate the difference, i mean, you both just dig, don't you?), which is why he is on the mission, he should be the one to use the shovel and dig bones and stuff up. boston - the character you play - says no, because he's in charge. how are you meant to play a game where you disagree with the character you're playing? couldn't they have given the player a choice here? it's our game after all, and it constrains us rather than freeing us; i am asked to accept a serious of tenuous facts from characters that i don't believe in. for instance: maggie has been in this library room all this time - after crawling through an unsafe tunnel on her own - and didn't think to walk into the next room to find the museum and it's magnificent contents; that she honestly thinks the best way to understand the civilisation is to sit in one room - a room entirely free of clickable content to our hero - rather than looking at the world they have built; and she won't come and help open a stuck door with me. i can't believe in that.

funny games
final gripe - the puzzles. this is a story made into a game instead of a film. i've described above how it fails as a piece of fiction; is there any salvation in the gameplay? well, the puzzles here are either too easy (use shovel on almost anything) or stupidly hard. walker mentions the ridiculous lens puzzle thing, which is basically one of those fairground grabby games but in an alien language - not a good start to the game, but it's not the only gawper. little in this is the right level of challenge. take the highly frustrating puzzle involving bringing an alien turtle back to life from it's spat-out bones, which you first have to reconstruct the bones of. get it wrong - and even with a screen shot of the solution, it took me about 5 goes - and the animal goes through a painful and actually quite disturbing sequence where it struggles, cries in pain, and then dissolves back into bones, and not the bones that you carefully placed back into what you thought was the right order, but the initial random pile again.

get it right, and the sea monster comes back and eats it straight away again. so that boston can enter the water safely, he must correctly reconstruct the bones - in the game, we are given a fossil as a guide, but it's a rough guide and it's the next room, several clicks away - and then place a bomb canister inside the animal before bringing it back to life. typical tactic of placing bomb in animals food - except in this case, i can't help but ask why the creature is fine with a bomb in it's stomach when it was in so much pain when you got two of it's legs the wrong way round? so monster eats turtle, bomb kills monster, water is safe and crucially, entering the water leads to a cave with a mere two items, entirely unconnected to the killing of a sea monster - a key to another door in the hub and a quarter of the key needed to open the final door.

i hope this illustrates that this typical puzzle is frustrating in terms of interface and obscure as to what you are hoping to achieve, since you've no idea that these vital quest items are in the water; cynically, you do it because you know you have to do these tihngs in these games. i found this particular puzzle quite distressing on top of all that because, call me liberal, but i don't like seeing sentient creatures screaming in agony before dissolving into sludge and bones. this, by the way, is the only positive engagement i've felt with the game.

the keys are another nightmare of interface: instead of just using them on the lock, you have to laboriously copy out the code from it into the panel next to the door. the number of redundant clicks, and waiting time between them, is shocking; you know what you have to do, but the game itself is getting in your way. that's not how things should be. with the final panel, we find the sequence in which boston hotwires a broken control panel is not only ridiculous because *boston hotwires a broken control panel*, because you know, alien wiring is that simple i mean fuck i can't even fix my bass guitar with it's one pickup, but on top of that, to make the puzzle even less coherent, boston refuses to use his trusty shovel to get the panel off -
apparently, he 'can't use these two things together', his tone indicating that he's never even seen these two 'things' before, which isn't even as frustrating as all the times he looks at something and instead of saying any words, just says 'hmmmm'. lazily written, and shat upon by zombie cow studios' wonderful games, where every possible combination of items is given it's own unique, and frequently funny, description, although those are quite a deliberate reaction against the 'that doesn't work' default text.
- and the only thing that will open this panel is an ancient bony tusk he found in a pile of dirt outside. it makes no sense, and these are not isolated mistakes in the game - this is the whole game.

to summarise - i hardly felt any sort of positive connection with this game, and simply don't understand how a person might. i know you can argue back and forth about opinion and personal preference, but i find it self-evident that beneath the impressive sound and graphics the game, story, and characters here are all poor quality. any one of these would be sufficient for me to want to finish the game.

i would have been happy to play this, dislike it, and grumble about it at home, were it not for walker's post which i just feel i have to counter; i feel there needs to be a dissenting voice somewhere against all the positive comments it recieved. were it not for the fact that i avidly read the authoritative rock paper shotgun, which walker is a part of, i wouldn't be so hurt/confused by his affection for what comes across to me as a well-polished turd.
oh, and eurogamer: if a game is just old, a retrospective is a great idea. but if an old game has just been re-released - it needs a re-review, which is different. you need to get that right.


email to alex parks from 15th october, 2006 that i never sent

i wrote this after meeting alex parks in a pub while watching girls girls girls; i had literally no idea who she was but luke instantly recognised her, being somewhat obsessed with her. we talked about music and i said i was looking for a singer to collaborate with; she gave me her email address, which luke bugged me for ages to try and get off me - 'just to know what it is' - which i didn't give into.

anyway, i just want this out of my drafts folder, but i don't want to delete it, so here it is.
hi alex,
sorry it's taken me so long to email you, but inbetween looking for work and wasting time.. well that's a reason, not an excuse. i met you a couple of thursdays ago in leonards, chatted about making music... i don't really know where to start.. probably by linking to my stuff on the internet, or sending you a cd. i got a myspace like every other fool out there - but i have a lot more music on my soundclick page (i've got to sort myself out with a proper website, i've been promising me for years) listen to my albums here or individual songs here.

i don't think i can explain what i want out of a band - i've typed out a couple of awful paragraphs trying and i can't get it right. my broadest wish is to have enjoy it, and the best way to do that is to be a very good. i want to make fun music, but there are other ways of bei


assumption is the mother

so this has happened twice now - once with frans de wall and his book 'bonobo: the forgotten ape' and once just recently with lyall watson's book 'the whole hog'. why do i assume these ethologists are female?

the ambiguity in their names allows it; but something about the kindness they appear to have made me think they were women - surely a _man_ wouldn't write a whole book about how great pigs are? a _man_ wouldn't write a whole book on chimpanzee's hippy cousin? something so sensitive, gentle and kind.

obv i'm sexist; a self-loathing male. i may have always thought of chimps as male and bonos as female.

but yeah, the whole hog is a great's so happy about pigs.


won't everyone please shut up?

another TTB demo - sounds much better on headphones, drums + two guitars + two vox. done all too quickly with line out from distortion so it sounds all... well, like all my old recordings used to sound, but worse produced.

day wreck

woke at ten after nightmares, in some part about what to put in the exhaust vent in 'time gentlemen please!'. my dreaming brain decided: mice.

showered. at half ten, i remembered i had to be at docklands campus at 11 to get some documents copied. checked the route on TFL, who repeatedly gave me directions to london metropolitan university, until i resorted to putting the post code in. it said it would take an hour and gave me all sorts of wacky 5-change journies. i thought, 'ach i'll just get the d6 to poplar and get the dlr from there.'

walked past a dead black cat, tastefully covered by a wheetabix box, on the way to the bus stop, while the d6 sailed by in front of me. waited ten minutes for the next one.

by 11 oclock i'm on the bus, hands being licked by a dog that's either a massive puppy (irish wolf hound perhaps?) or just badly trained. it seems to take ages and stop every minute - i'm sure it's convienient for everyone else but i'm late, dammit. a woman gets on with a gorgeous big-eyed black cat, with a beautiful blingy collar, in a box. makes me think of the dead cat, plus also sarah's beautiful rhymes and her four jet-black kittens. the bus eventually stops early, and not near a dlr station, so i walk in a direction that looks like it might have one. it does eventually, although not really on the right line.

docklands is a redundant wasteland, a horrible area full of nothing, isolated shiney new built office/leisure complexes, plus the occaisional functional factory (hooray for the vogel bakery. also allotments are good).

finally get to the docklands campus, which somehow looks both modern and shit. at 12:10 i get to the office with my documents, to find that it is closed between 12 and 2. fine, i think, i've got to eat anyway, so i get a sarnie ('i'm just getting so sick of UEL sandwiches', the woman next to me says, understandably) and head to the library, although it's not called the library or sign posted so i get lost AGAIN.

from this point, i can see the tate and lyle factory and docklands airport, plus a nice body of water, which is cool. sorry i don't blog much anymore, and then just complain about stuff when i do. i'm unemployed now, so i'll probably do a lot more.



MJ invalidated

i hate the whole 'i don't see why i should mourn him more than i should more a stranger' thing when a someone famous dies, just as much as the other predictable reaction of 'omfg you must mourn'. i mean... a royal or a sleb sure, but michael jackson actually had talent... once... i guess he technically died a long time ago and you should mourn people incrementally as they get less good. that seems a lot fairer.

i fear the worst when thatcher dies...


jokes you get about 10 years later

"...all... hopla!"

this was referenced in an alexi sayle song of his 'all new alexi sayle show' when i was a wee one, in which rudolf and all the other neglected fantasy figures round up the other reindeer. i never realised.

but what a quote... i'd been enjoying nina simone's cover, but she changes it to 'when shall we kill them?' not 'which shall we kill?', and drops the hopla for some reason. it's available on the watchmen soundtrack, or my spotify playlist, over there ->

i think i might change my name to hopla.


loads of my friends have moved into this area


production notes:
all tracks were first take, except the vocal; i left the first vocal take way down in the mix, it makes everything sound worse.
the main riff gets swamped out by the peripheral guitars towards the end, unfortunately.
it was mainly an excerise in seeing how the guitar parts and lyrics, based on a diatribe i overheard on a bus, i was playing around with fitted in with the tune, written by ian, which we'd been fiddling with in practice. hey look, collaborative song writing. we're a real band.


monster season

godzilla: got about 45 minutes in, and got bored, even though the monster had just showed up and starting munching trains. it didn't seem any more impressive than the mad, dull, hypothesising about dinosaurs under the sea. it came free with the guardian so i thought it was meant to be a classic or something?

jabberwocky - i really really liked this 1977 gilliam, even though it was a bit aimless. m'lady found it completely boring, wheras i loved the cynicism, the vision, the homemade feel to it, and some of the occasional laughs. it was very him, and i like him, so i liked it. it's really misanthropic; michael palin plays his usual fool, surrounded by everyone in the world who hates him, until by chance his fortune changes causing him to be universally adored - it's such a sad film. the girl he loves hates him, until he kills the dragon, and when she finally agrees to marry him - only for his fame and fortune - he is forced into marrying the princess. i love how it rages against the randomness, the unfairness, and the meanness of the world.

the call of cthulhu - fun, jolly attempt at adapting the lovecraft short story in a 1920s style. shame you can't film non-euclidian geometry - r'lyeh didn't look right, but couldn't. it was very brave, DIY, and indie. they managed to extract the racism, but in doing so filmed an all-white cast, which misses the point..?
on a related note - this puts the willies up me. partly because it emenates from lovecraft's placing of r'lyeh.


en route

what do you get if you mix judith kerr and little richard?

the tiger who came to tea frutti.



i don't know who to vote for tomorrow. my heart says green, as trumpeted by the groaner, and again, but there was this scary piece that turned me off them a bit. maybe it's selectively quoted, but if they do want to put homoeopathy on the nhs, they clearly don't understand the science that's so important for a truly green world and can only fail. sure, all the parties are flawed, but i'd be afraid to give my heart so gladly to people who believe "when the drugs have been in use for many generations, as with many natural medicines, the need for statutory control is diminished. Measures will therefore be taken to protect the availability of established herbal and homoeopathic remedies, subject to basic safeguards." of course they're safe - they don't do anything.

i had to dig quite deep to find that quote - and ignore plenty of good stuff about acquiring real drugs for the nhs more cheaply, right to die, free dentistry... the damage is really in this lay scientist piece, which the lib dems come out of pretty well. mmm.
anyone got any opinions i can borrow?

first game named from a half man half biscuit lyric?

"Bin men thin men lexicographers
squid yes; not so octopus"

from 'them's the vagaries'



how tall is a three foot boy stood on a fireplace?

three feet and a hearth.


brewing up a storm

what do you call a bar in brick lane, london, based in an old brewery?

93 feet yeast.


neal's yard

gang-raped by guardian readers

my favourite comment so far:
Are they not answering because (a) they were expecting questions about skincare products and have gone in the huff or (b) someone's just told them about the Enlightenment and they're having personal crises all over the shop?

obv, via badscience.
btw is it ok to use 'gangraped' in that way? i mean somewhere between circlejerk and clusterfuck.


scale joke

did you hear about the very very very very tiny idiot?

he was as thick as two plancks.

(along similar lines as my tiny trumpeter joke)


i finally get to sing 'in the port of amsterdam'part 1

so yeah. it's been a long time since i've done a diary post, which, as i take a quick look back through the blogchives, i regret. i don't feel like writing up the miscellany of my days, but then i miss them. so i might do more. i'm not sure. here's my amsterdam holiday diary.

i always have to know at what exact point a holiday started. there is confusion here; after band practice and packing, rachel and i set off on the bus to liverpool street on a sunday evening. this should have been the start; but on arriving at the train station, we found the typical british rail replacement bus service waiting to take us to harwich, which kind of shat on the leisurely, wine-soaked train ride we were expecting. so we unloaded at harwich, queued for the boat... and then we really got going. our cabin was an awesome captain's suite, which was huge. bigger than our bedroom at home. with complimentary white, red, champange, juice, beer, cola, and fruit, en suite, with a telly, a table, and a goddamn sofa.

so we grabbed our beers and went up on deck to wave bye-bye to old blighty, swamp lights disappearing into the fog. it went quickly and was cold, wet, and beautiful. then it somehow reappered, massive on the other side of the ship, and we floated out of the harbour.

the next day we were woken by the captain's announcement half an hour ahead of disembarking. we transferred to train, and passed through rotterdam and a fair amount of the actual country in an hour and a half or so. so then we got to the station, and went to get out some euros, and a funny thing happened. i tried at the ING machine there, it paused, and said there'd been a communications failiure. same with rachel. we went to another atm and the same thing happened; then on the third attempt, at a different brand of cashpoint, it told us we'd reached our daily withdrawl limit. the whole thing was quite confusing and panicing... suddenly phone calls from the bank came through saying my card had been cloned and was i abroad and they were putting a limit on what i could take out. they said to use my credit card, so we went to pancake corner (great) except when i did that they called me up and asked if i was abroad and so on.. rachel had a similar thing except at that exact moment she couldn't take out any of yer actual money.. by this point, we had walked with all our baggage from the station to our hotel on the leidesplein, right at the other end of town and were very grumpy as we couldn't get money out to get on the tram. the phonecalls lasted all day, with rachel being given an additional spending limit and an hour to take some cash out.. which we tried to do at another ING cash point, which again gave her nothing but ticked the money off the account, leading to even more phonecalls and a manic run around the city looking for a cash point of a different make. it took nearly all the time we had and... well anyway, eventually we got some money out and could reset ourselves.

we et spanish near the harbour, in front of the lights and canal, nomming just the right amount of tapas. the patas bravas was strange - it was a kind of spicy mayonaise they had on, a very lowland approach.

tuesday we rented the obligatory bikes, fressing bagels for breakfast. i don't remember at any point being told that amsterdam is a costly city. i mean, what with the pound being how it is, against a capital city, maybe it's to be expected. tbh i didn't actually know very much about amsterdam before leaving. i didn't realise how canal-based it is, i didn't know.. blah. anyway, we got our bikes and cycled round the vondelpark. i was a bit slow at first but soon got back into it and ended up loving the bikes - really nice solid build. then we parked up and went into the van gogh museum, which i found initially disappointing, but ultimately pretty good. well when i say disappointing, that's untrue because i never really got what was meant to be so great about van gogh before, and most of the museum was more celebratory than explanatory. it would say 'he started experimenting with pointalist techniques' but not show you any examples of pointalism to compare what he was doing to what they were doing. when you finally did see his contempories, they were brilliant, and improved my estimation of van gogh too because i could could see what he was doing differently. the fact that his brother was an art dealer and basically seemed to tell him what he should be doing helped him along a bit. but it was enjoyable, especially the special exhibition on night paintings, which had loads of great works in.

afterwards, we cycled up the east side of the city and found some very cool little areas north of the old jewish quarter while i couldn't work out where we were. we plonked our bikes down and walked into the old central town, the red light district, which seems to take on all comers; bridal shops next to chinese supermarkets next to bars and dope shops. most of it wasn't very nice; tacky fast food and dingey looking coffee shops and sex for sale, not a good mix. there was a ruling a few years ago, apparently, where the coffee shops could no longer sell booze and cannibis. most went with booze but some stuck to weed, and being coffee shops, have internet too. surely dope and internet is an even worse combination than drink?
we had a drink in a brown cafe, thought a little bit, then tottered back to our bikes and cycled back to the hotel. then we went round the corner for an indonesian dinner on one of those busy side streets of the leidesplein -- a sort of leicester square equivelent, although one of the things i've learned from this trip is that while cities have some analogues between each other - warehouses, rivers, and lots of stuff to do - you just can't map them on to each other -- and it was well nice. it was upstairs somewhere, and we had a mezze/tapas equivilent of lots of nice small dishes.then went for a drink in a bar while a salsa band entertained us for one song, then bored us for several subsequent, similar songs.

the next day we woke up, not just saddle sore but bruised. we got some bagels and went to the rijks museum


new mj hibbett album

i like the bit at the end.
i went to the launch of this a couple of weekends ago, as a family thing with rachel, brother dan, brother's femme maria. rachel and i had already been out to see the bfg at hackney empire that evening, grabbed a plate of vietnamese noodles and jumped on the bus into town; a proper night out, and first time i've been to a proper gig for a while. it was such fun; hibbett is one of those performers with a true cult of personality; it's really him that makes the songs so fun. like chris t-t of half man half biscuit, part of the experience is the excellent banter and stage presence. you have to go along way to get me to appreciate simple chord-based pop music, and hibbett, like a few others, but not many, many, many bands, totally succeeds
hibbett's incessant happiness is almost nauseating, but ends up missing that and ends up infectious. he always turns everything into a life lesson, and you can't help but smile along a boogie a little bit to his classic, unpretentious indie vibe. and by the way, i've got a nice little hibbett-esque life lesson from the gig.

for my second-to-last birthday, some friends clubbed together and bought me a pair of 'no sweat' trainers, which are very cool; you can see them in this photo:

they're on the left.
they're very nice, comfortable shoes. but you might be able to see what i had a problem with; they look almost exactly like 'converse all stars', a very popular 'cool' brand of shoe. and i was afraid that by wearing them, people would think i wanted to be included in the number of people who thought that cool shoes were something a person should wear. see, i wouldn't want to be seen making a fashion statement; and yes that is a statement, but it's not a fashion statement. don't get tricky on me.
so i would wear them out sometimes, a little self-consciously, and if i would be at a bus stop and there would be someone wearing a pair of all stars, i'd worry that they'd think i was in some sort of club with them, wheras actually i thought they were brand obsessed type who thought you could buy indie cool by wearing the 'right' shoes, although it always amazes me how companies can get themselves associated with scenes.
anyway, so there i was at the validators gig, and there hibbett was, with his all stars on. or maybe they were just look-alike shoes like mine. and if someone as unpretentious as him can wear those shoes, surely i can get away without worrying about all of the above, because they're just shoes innit. or something. maybe i'll try and make this more sense later.

btw, over there: twitter.

death metal guitar - edited and improved

i've been playing along to decapitated's anthemic 'spheres of madness':

here's a selection of guitar from the song, from ultimate guitar dot com:

(Tuning: Standard D (DGCFAD))

-=Chorus 1:15=-
Guitar 1

. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . .

Guitar 2

. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . .

now, you might notice that the song consists almost entirely of the diminished scale, much of it played in harmony. sorry if i've lost you - i'm talking about a scale that goes tone, semi-tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, semi-tone. it's very regular and easy to harmonise with - usually you'd play the minor third above. this is in opposition to our song 'the kinky friedman crime club' which uses an harmonies on an augmented scale.

ok, enough jargon; my point is that guitars aren't built with this scale in mind. i find playing this song that i'm alternating between my index and little fingers far too much, and only using my other two (good) fingers as filler. with a scale as regular as this, surely there must be a better way of tuning or building a guitar than the standard tuning, which is really designed to play the traditional scale - hence it's open strings being in fourths (an interval of five semitones, allowing for some finger-work between string changes).
oh whatever.

edit: ok so i lost the plot there.
harmony - what i mean is, because the diminished key repeats itself every three semitones, you can transpose a melody up that amount without chaning it and it will harmonise. with the major scale, you see, of 'tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, tone, tone, semi-tone', a harmony has to change it's structure slightly to stay in key. that's what i meant.

diminished scale - there are two diminished scales, both with the same intervals but starting on different notes, i.e. the other one is semi-tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, semi-tone, tone. this one is more metal in some ways because it has the initial semitone interval. the ultimate metal scale is semitone, tone+semitone, semitone, tone, semitone, tone, tone - basically a scale of C major, where G is sharp, and starting on E. this is also used quite a lot in salsa and eastern-european folk. see 'no scrubs' for the classic D minor/A minor/E major/ A minor progression, similar to kinky friedman.

fingering - it's easier be precise when fretting fingered notes than open notes, or notes that are all on the same fret but on different strings. there needs to be a balance between changing fret and changing string; staying on the same string involves too much moving the hand position up and down the fre-board. therefore you should beable to see that there's a payoff between having the strings tuned closely - which involves too much moving across the strings (which is also bad because you only have so many) - and tuning them too far apart, which involves too much movement up and down the fret-board. the usual tuning is a designed for the usual major key, plus also a compromise towards having to play chords on it.

given the above, i propose the diminished tuning - D-Ab-D-Ab-Ab-D. that is, each string is 6 semitones above the last, with the b and g strings both tuned to g#.
a brief experiment with this today has been pretty successful; the above riff is much easier to play; there's still some stretching but it's great for playing metal, and the semitones are more subtle and in the right place and everything. it's fun, try it.

love is not for me

all you can eat is not a challenge

a brick is not a minimalist house

cuddles the chimp is not a stage direction


coffee and wifi

there will come a point where every shop has a wifi enabled cafe at the back, so you can just, you know, chill out in there while thinking about buying something and knocking back a drink and a cheese sandwich.

and every website will have a social networking function; i consider myself a moderately heavy Internets user and every website i use has the option to log in.

this will effectively turn shopping into an online experience, yet still IRL. so rather than sitting at home and ordering stuff, you'll be out in town but wifi enabled.

new 'the thick of it' episodes

bbc four are screening two hour-long thick of it specials from 2007, which i was unaware existed until browsing. one's already been on but it's available on iplayer, the other's on next week:

think different

so there's some shop on mare street, only it's not really a real shop, just some sort of design showroom and neon light and shop logo design and printers. the couple of lots next door are empty, so they've put some of their works in there, which looks like things they've done for the luls or for art's sake. they're generally well made if baffling and make one reach for the nathan barley voodoo doll - vacuous statements of worthlessness.

so to top it all, they put a massive backlit screen of Fritzl, with the apple macintosh 'think different' logo/slogan (slogo?) in the corner. i can't really see what they're trying to achieve with this here; i mean, there's only so many times you can say 'barley' before you just give up - but it really is reminiscent of (suga)RAPE's 'no offence unintended' policy. just what exactly are they trying to say? i think the kindest explanation is that 'think different' isn't necessarily a good thing, in the same way as 'i did it my way'. but... it mostly just looks like they're scrabbling for attention.

so i went past today and guess what? fritzl's gone, replaced with a scanned-in letter of complaint. 'it may be meant to be ironic but it's not appropriate for a shop window. please keep your sophisticated musings behing closed doors,' it reads, rather sophisticatedly and reservedly. they honestly just look like smug fratboy/public school pricks who think that everything is funny, wearing other people's annoyance as a badge of pride, no matter how much more mature it is than their pretence at discourse, hiding behind the trusty shield of 'art'. fuckers.


a days worth of great music links

amazing program that i don't believe can actually possibly work - but it does:
melodyne, with direct note access
seriously watch the video. it's like watching ghostbusters, or the bit in hitchhikers where they're talking about the restaurant at the end of the universe and keep saying 'this is, of course, impossible'.

this website will put a donk on any mp3 you care to give it:
(based on this stuff, which links on to more crazy gubbins: echo nest)
a couple of my own attempts:
fuck remixers, masterers, and producers. i'm putting the whole album through this.

live battle raps over the internet:
lets beef
you can't make this up, can you? i'm so glad websites like this exist. people amaze me every day. don't you feel a part of a community?

and to cap it off, a new synth-based version of jammie thomas:
(currently stuck in upload hell)
i make no apologies for crappy room-reverb (natural), line hiss (also natural), or my terrible tin whistles.

all in all, it's been a good day.
i didn't even have to use my API.


are we not men?

how do you tell if a rock band are human?

if they pass the touring test.


math-rock (a true story)

a rock band are about to start playing a song.

"do you need a count in?" asks the drummer.

the guitarist replies "nah, i sent off my tax returns for the year already."


teh underclass

i say, i say, i say,
did you hear about the working class man who fell out of the bottom of society?
he prole-apsed.


more music stuff

as an amendnum to that last post proper, i thought i'd remind every one that half man half biscuit's most recent record, 'CSI: Ambleside', is one of their best ever, jaunty, singalongy, and pogoy. so it's not all national shite day on the favourite bands front. go buy.



brutalised by sound

i wouldn't say i'm in danger of losing my hearing; but i'm certainly waxy. with rehearsing and gigging, i've had to stop using my walkman on the way to college as the tubes just over-power even my closed cups. the real problem is the studio monitors that have arrived on my desk, courtesy of adrian. even at only 2/10, with computer turned down to 10%, there's a lot of pressure on these ears. i just love hearing all the sound so much.

it's probably not wise that i'm sitting a mere foot away from two massive speakers, even if they're turned down to what looks like a ridiculously low level objectively. it's just too much having them there.

i'm also brutalised by several new records i've bought. i've often marvelled how two of my favourite artists, ephel duath and euros childs, sit next to each other in my mp3 collection (which is unavoidably alphabetical; obviously i wouldn't keep my cds in an order that put the two next door to each other. they'd end up having border disputes). unfortunately i can't get into either of their new cds. both go along, sound similar all the way through and don't leave much of a lasting impression. even cult of luna's latest feels somewhat amiss; it's gone more straight stoner-metal, feels too long, with the interesting bits taken out and put into their own little tracks. i feel lost and diasporatic, like at the end of a major series of a long running drama before a reboot or the return of a major antogonist. honestly, it feels like a chapter is over.

thank crikey then for cats in paris, whose album 'courtcase 2000' i have listened to about once a week, on average, for about 5 months. it has such detail, variety, and humour. so it's such a shame that they've lost their second keyboard player due to job, masters, and lack of fun. also good atm is wild beasts - a consistent album, but it just sounds good, and the songs are catchy if a little samey. kind of like tiger lillies meets the smiths with new romantic and afrobeat connotations.

interestingly, with friends round for dinner, cats in paris was so wrong. dark captain light captain, who i've follwed since they formed from one member of father of boon, is great music to not listen to. it's monotonous indie folk if you pay too much attention to it, but as wall paper it's lovely. rachel compared it to zero 7, which did cringe me out a bit. fiona and gorwel owen's 'spring always comes' did work nicely here, yet that's a good album to pay attention to as well. so it is possible to do both... but if i had to choose between the two i know which side i would fall on.

but yes, i'm looking for a new clutch of favourite bands.. any suggestions?



why do punjabis eat bread with their chole (chickpeas)?

because it's their kulcha.


what drives me on is discussed.

did you hear about the carnival stand that nearly had enough coconuts?

it was a coconut shy.


face book stories

so out of the blue, psuedo-randomly, i get a friend request on facespace from some chick. "You don't know me, but I find you very cute - I agree, it's quite a small reason to be Facebook friend :).", she says. well, this baffles me. i mean, there's not much to interpret here; this is a pick up line, right? so, being in a hotel bed in shoreditch - a story for another, albeit entirely domestic, post - i show my phone to the wife and ask her what she thinks. hey, it's always good to keep them on their toes, right? remind them of the competition EMOTICON. shocked and appalled, and with her all 'you're *not* looking at her profile. ok, we'll do it together', we investigate.

i can't see much of her profile yet, what with not having accepted her request - i didn't think that was how it worked. i thought that by sending someone a request, you submitted yourself for perusal, grooming as it were. it's a very social thing to do. the first thing i look for is mutual friends - in a 'how did you get this number?' kind of way. we have just one - thalia.

rachel grabs the phone, calls thalia, and asks her who the devil this girl is. it turns out it's not someone she's really in touch with anymore - an old colleague from when she worked at agent provocateur. parisien.

rachel is not happy with this arrangement and maintains there are two options to explain this lady's behaviour; either it's the kind of thing she does all the time to lots of people, or it's not, and either way she's dangerous. she says, right, enough of this lark, you're changing your relationship status to 'in a relationship'. with her. especially since i'd put all my contact details on, destroying my attempt at anonymity. only, she needs to respond to her ex's email first so as not to make it look like it was a direct response.

the invitation has since been withdrawn, leaving me unable to respond with a 'thanks but no thanks', or accept it and check out all her pictures, such as . i feel rude having been so curt with her, maybe i should just send her a message apologising. she doesn't seem to have much of an internet presence - doesn't go beyond face book. so not much else to be gained here i think.

btw, while i was messing around with all this, i noticed that i had more mutual friends with mr jeremy williams than my own girlfriend. i figured this was most wrong, and trawled through her friends looking for the few i needed to become my 'most mutual friend.' slightly obsessive i know. but had to be done.


arse fetish

didyouhear about the bottom enthusiast who died, smothered in a face-sitting session gone wrong?

the coroner returned a verdict of death by ass fixation.