Posts from 2004

23
Dec 04

The Pogues in Brixton

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The Pogues in Brixton

I was lying flat in a London Osteopathy clinic last night. The Doctor was manipulating a disc in my back, trying to stop the sciatic nerve shooting pain down my leg. He advised me to go home and take a bath. Instead I went to a Pogues concert.

I last saw the band about fifteen years ago. I remember reading an article suggesting now was the time to go as Shane was technically dead. Yet, here he is, 2004, dedicating songs to Joe Strummer and Kirsty MacColl.

OK, he’s forgotten most of the lyrics and his face is fat, but most of the audience looked worse. He covered his mistakes with some yee-has and a silly dance and this wasn’t an impress me crowd anyway.

There’s a kind of homoerotic air at Pogues concerts. Big beery guys with arms around each other. Occasionally they have human tower ideas that end in heaps and puddles. I’m sure some of them even enjoy rugby, but I forgave them last night and got caught up in it all.

Oddly, my back feels a little better this morning.

Ice Cream for Dogs!!!

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Ice Cream for Dogs!!! – unfortunately so far only boring old vanilla but “a special meat flavour” is promised.

This is a blog by Yancey Strickler

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This is a blog by Yancey Strickler, long time ILM head – he alerted me to this a while ago but I’ve been idle with the inbox. Good stuff for the indie modernists among you.

22
Dec 04

2004 Hurrah!

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2004 Hurrah!

aka The NYLPM New Year Quiz

Doing my ‘tracks of the year’ presented me with a dilemma. I’ve heard little and paid attention to less, attempting a ’round-up’ would just be pompous (so go and read Jess’ instead). But I do have favourites and the atavistic desire to list them cannot be denied.

So here are my top 31 tracks, in reverse order – or rather here is a lyric from each of them, which you can use to identify said Top 31 in the comments box. No write-ups, sorry, but if there’s anything you feel is particularly indefensible you can request some sort of justification from me. No prizes for that matter, well probably not. But if you’re sitting out the last days before

31. “South Philly muthafucka kill at will”
30. “Darkroom Danny can’t see with the lights turned out”
29. “Call the police there’s a mad girl in town”
28. “Ouch…ouch…”
27. “I found a fox, chased by dogs”
26. “Seen your eyes go left right, left right, left right, left right”
25. “Highlights and a pitbull, you’re looking fierce girl”
24. “The joker’s always smiling, in every hand that’s dealt”
23. “I took a sip from my devil cup”
22. “Made an album, over 100,000 people bought it – thank you”
21. “I must confess I’ve been a very bad boy”
20. “It representin the struggle, man”
19. “Is that a new boy stuck on your shoe?”
18. “Life is moving faster now”
17. “You gotta hang around in limbo for as long as I take”
16. “Weapons underground mean the planet’s safe and sound”
15. “Well he’s my boy of gold and he’s not very old”
14. “Is it just the margaritas or are you talking to me?”
13. “You’ve never had it all – all in one woman before”
12. “What if they say that you’re a climber?”
11. “2! 4! 6! 8! 10! 2! 4! 6! 8! 10!”
10. “No further questions, you have passed my test”
9. “Got no worries in my diary”
8. “I was gonna be late, so I picked up my pace to run”
7. “We all went down to the party Friday night and had a drink or two”
6. “Rock me shock me any way you know, but I guess I kind of like the status quo”
5. “Should’ve fluttered my mascara like a butterfly”
4. “My style is the bomb di di bomb di dang di dang diggy diggy”
3. “Like a circle made of flames, no telling where it started burning”
2. “I walk into the room passing out hundred dollar bills”
1. “Such a strange way of having fun”

(There may well be spoilers in the comments box)

Thankyou Santa

The Brown Wedge1 comment • 420 views

Thankyou Santa

This kind of thing is why Grant Morrison is my favourite comics writer:

“The Fortress appears in issue #2, stuffed with a ton of new toys and gets haunted by the bandaged ghost of the Unknown Superman of 4500 AD. The Kandorians finally get out of that bottle. Superman gets a new power. Clark Kent winds up sharing a prison cell with Lex Luthor in issue #5. The Bizarro Cube Earth invades our world in an epic 2-part adventure (no ‘decompression’ here!) and we’re recasting the Bizarros as a frightening, unstoppable zombie-plague style menace. Bizarro Jor-El and the Bizarro JLA turn up in the second part of that story too. What else? We meet Earth’s replacement Superman and Clark Kent takes on a new superhero identity…Ten of the 12 issues are complete short stories in 22 pages, so lots of stuff happens. And it all links together as a maxi-arc or whatever they call them these days, entitled ‘The 12 Labors of Superman’.

Superman’s Rogues Gallery is pretty weak, so I’ve tried to add some characters I think might enhance the mix. Solaris, the Tyrant Sun from the DC 1 Million series gets a makeover and a return visit, and I figured Superman could use a ‘Subhuman’ counterpart, so I’ve created Krull, an evolved dinosaur dictator who rules a monstrous civilization at the center of the earth. He’s only in the story for a few pages but the concept is strong and feels like one that could be used again. Then there’s the Abominable Snowman, a tragic scientist who’s a bit like a refrigerated Incredible Hulk and turns up for a couple of pages. Superman needs some good tough monsters to fight, so I’ve tried to think along those lines.”

Yes, it’s nonsense. I know it’s nonsense. But my god it looks like entertaining nonsense.

2004 Begone!

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2004 Begone!

In 2004 I disliked more music than ever before. In 2004 I started listening to the radio everyday at work. These things are not unrelated. These were the records I hated most, based on far, far too many listens (thanks XFM!). And yes, some of these are obvious picks and some are cheap shots and it’s all very predictable but I want to take whatever tiny, petty vengeance I can on these fuckers for making my year that little bit worse.

20. Eminem – Just Lose It (for the disappointment, and then the tedium; it really doesn’t get any funnier)
19. McFly – Room On The Third Floor (if I was a McFly fan, I would be stoutly defending them on the grounds that they’re pretty much indistinguishable from Razorlight.)
18. Dido – Sand In My Shoes (just for the gall of her trying to colonise people’s summer holiday memories so blatantly)
17. Michelle – All This Time (the kiss of death for Reality Pop, you’d have thought.)
16. The Killers – All These Things I’ve Done (an average sort of record until the towering inanity of “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” is repeated again, and again, and again until foaming madness beckons)
15. Busted – Who’s David (or any of the other ‘grungey’ ones that are the band’s mile-wide Achilles arse)
14. Badly Drawn Boy – Year Of The Rat (the abyss of the mid-tempo songwriter strum gapes before us)
13. Morrissey – I Have Forgiven Jesus (even the stronger performances on his album have a touch of the automatic about them, but where the tunes desert him the result is embarrassing)
12. Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved (agonisingly constipated)
11. Jamie Cullum – Frontin’ (only this low because i) it didn’t get much airplay and ii) I hate Cullum less since realising that the tastefully shot clouds behind him on the wretched new album cover look very much like a sulpherous jet issuing from his arse)
10. Franz Ferdinand – Matinee (yes, alright, Take Me Out is terrific. But if there’s ever been a smugger moment than the ‘Terry Wogan’ chunk on this I’ve not heard it. “Michael” is dreadful too, they have a knack of writing choruses which are niggling but somehow clumsy too.)
9. NERD – Maybe (actually, who needs Jamie Cullum?)
8. Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (it’s drab but not awful until the shocking last minute or so. Fran Healy: Woo!)
7. Wolfman – For Lovers (god almighty THAT VOICE! I’m no fan of the professionalisation of singing but this is going way too far.)
6. Joss Stone – Fell In Love With A Boy (not that a ‘great voice’ is any guarantee of quality if you’re just going to use it for bad Jamiroquai impressions)
5. REM – Leaving New York (so portentious, so empty – how do they carry on?)
4. The Dears – Lost In The Plot (makes Pete Doherty sound like Al Green. Genuinely painful singing.)
3. Brian McFadden – Real To Me (laughable and desperate)
2. Jet – Look What You’ve Done? (even Oasis stopped short of actually nicking the Beatles’ lyrics on one of their ‘homages’. Jet are the worst band in the universe ever.)

and my least favourite single of 2004?

1. Razorlight – Golden Touch (again, just strong enough a song to get into your head without you ever getting a gram of benefit from its being there. The final straws came when after saturation airplay I heard it on a loop in WH Smiths every morning AND my boss decided to use it on a ‘motivational’ presentation. Ocean Colour Scene live again – well done all concerned.)

SPECIAL HATE UPDATE: Two astonishing omissions! “Whatever Happened To Corey Haim” by The Thrills and “Cannonball” by Damien Rice, both forgotten because their repulsive shuffling passivity makes such a non-impression unless the blighted things are actually playing. Insert both between #s 1 and 2 please.

21
Dec 04

Human After All

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Human After All

For many of you out there, there may be none more seismic a newsflash over the festive season. The prospect of a new Daft Punk album has excited me for some time, but hang on, it’s not been mentioned on The Raft, only NME from what I can tell. And, that title! Those track titles…it’s all rather fishy isn’t it? Risky to speculate either way if you want to avoid getting a plate, getting your words, putting those words on said plate, and eating your words…BUT if it IS true then it did bring to mind an interesting ‘tactic’ for bands as they bid to distinguish their new great work from the last. Supposedly, by denial or retraction they go forwards…almost too keen to convince everyone this one will be different from the previous effort, at least in concept and premise. Not that another Discovery or Homework would probably be a good idea, I think I just adhere to a rather ‘boyish’ (and both appealing yet disturbing) ideal about machines or indeed man-machines being superior to the human, an ethos that’s resulted in some of the most amazing, dynamic electronic pop music of the last 30 years or more. And I hope Thomas and Guy-Man still recognise that and don’t ‘sell their turntables and buy guitars’ (to paraphrase ‘Losing My Edge’) as it were.

So I think I’d prefer ‘We Are Still Zer Robotz’ for the title…

The Black Friar has gone smoke-free.

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The Black Friar has gone smoke-free.

Wandering past the Black Friar on my way home yesterday, I saw a sign saying “A Smoke-Free Pub” – it seems they’ve banned smoking from the place.

It’s an interesting choice: the Black Friar (New Bridge Street) is a classic, traditional City boozer, with a pleasant exterior and fabulous interior. It has a great big paved area outside where people could smoke unmolested by buses and unsplashed by inconsiderate motorists. It’s also very badly ventilated, especially in its jewel-like back room which often felt and smelled like its marble and mirrors had been built immediately on top of the Devil’s own bonfire.

This is exactly the sort of destination boozer which needs to become non-smoking voluntarily if there’s any chance at all of averting the swingeing, unnecessary smoking ban which seems to be on the cards. If the free market can demonstrate that it can provide customers and staff with a genuine choice of smoky or non-smoky then that seems a sound way forward. And, let’s face it, if the polls are right and there really is an overwhelming public demand for smoke-free drinking environments, the market should be able to provide them. It’s not often I say this, but well done Nicholson’s.

how INADVERTENT experiment created ALL SCIENCE

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how INADVERTENT experiment created ALL SCIENCE
(a “pumpkin publog” co-production)

how inadvertent experiment powers culinary science

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how inadvertent experiment powers culinary science
(a “proven by science” co-production obv)

ok so the way we learn the history of science or the fine details of cookery it’s always presented like clever ppl sat and theorised, then worked out a way to PROVE the theory —> i have decided this is nonsense however, and that the sequence is instead this:

assumption i: cookery is the mother of all science obv
assumption ii: the primary driving force in cookery is the EXACT REPRODUCTION of things you have tasted and liked before
however: it is a party and everyone arrives in 20 mins and you are just jugglin the dishes and you GET SOMETHING SLIGHTLY WRONG and it is TOO LATE TOO LATE to go back and get it right
result: either CATASTROPHE! or AMAZING NEW TASTE SENSATION!

proof i: gingerbread
ok i never really got this WRONG yet but my two (by choice) to-taste variants totally fuck w.the volume and cookin time viz i use tate&lyle golden syrup instead of treacle PLUS chopped up ginger (from sainsbury ginger in syrup) instead of raisins… well maybe when you use raisins they distribute themselves equally down through the dough (which is totally liquid), but the ginger bits fall ALL THE WAY to the bottom, hence form an insulating sedimentary layer at the base… anyway this time it bubbled up way over the sides and ran not only down into the base of the oven but OUT THROUGH THE DOOR (i think i may have overwhisked after i added the baking soda): conclusion next year i wd like to get the cake i got this time w/o the liquid mix seething out onto the floor (= use slightly less of all ingredients = recipe for chemico-culinary non-happening)

proof ii: cheesy blobs
the basic recipe i am working from here is rubbishly non-cheesy, so i spent the first four times varying the type(s) of cheese and doubling the amount of cheese: this led two years ago to a THERMONUCLEAR CHEESE MELTDOWN event, which wz v.tastable but a bit like charred alien’s vomit. Anyway I cranked back the amount of cheese (with some regret) and this time upped the amount of water (bcz it is meant to be a SOFT dough but w. one tablespoon of hot water is just NOT). This time i got a kind of glue w/o any firmness at all. The time pressure of guests soon to arrive (if not ALREADY ARRIVED hem hem) means you can’t redo the dough SO onwards fingers x-ed. Well at these level the baking of the blobs in fact involves an element of FRIED CHEESE ACTION: which worked perfectly on the metal baking tray (cheese puffs on a caramelised cheese base numnum) but poorly in the ceramic dish, where the brushed-egg-yolk for shininess turned into a kind of omelette surround and the blobs stayed doughy and w/o definition). Panic solution: scrape tops off blobs leaving bases stuck in omelette surround. Hide ceramic dish at bottom of sink full of water. Flash-bake tops of blobs on the baking tray which just successfully delivered the first batch of blobs. Result: “success”, though these “blobs” are in truth an array of random shapes

counterexample i: boil-in-bag book

guest arrival imminent (see above), exchange dirty towels in bathroom for clean ones, thrust dirty towels hurriedly into washing machine, fail to notice COLLECTED GHOST STORIES OF M.R. JAMES – which wz reading in bath earlier in day – tangled up in towel: result FAT SOGGY AND INEDIBLE RIPPED PULP de COLLECTED GHOST STORIES OF M.R. JAMES