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.