Posts from 15th November 2005

15
Nov 05

Day 55: Manila
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 369 views

Turned out Papua New Guinea was a bit boring, so I fell asleep in a large buff envelope. This turned out to be an error as it appears that during my sleep someone must have licked and sealed the envelope and popped it in the post. Luckily for me the envelope had not address written on it, so once posted, it got sent to the place that all envelopes without proper addresses go to. Manila.

SEELENLUFT – Manila

Now I am not saying that people should not write songs about envelopes. And I am not saying that Ladytron, when hearing said record should not put it on a mix tape.

Alright I am saying that. (My views on Ladytron are clear. I am fine withthem all pretending to be robots. That just makes it destruction of property rather than murder)

Seelenluft is a Nordic entrepreneur in his words. A vacuous waste of space in my words. He is a DJ-producer type chap who chops together rubbish bits of music from other rubbish bits. Manila is a case in point: a supposed dancefloor filler which is notable for its jolly story of a plane in the process of crashing being turned into a joyous, club style excess of swaying, swinging bodies. I am not sure how sensitive it is to write about people deaths being akin to a sweaty night down the Ministry Of Sound, but then there is nothing ethical about making a record in the first place is there? Consider the line “And then I started to dance, without wearing a seatbelt” I have long advocated the use of seatbelts and ear protectors in clubs, but you have to wonder how fatal the plane crash would have been if everyone would have strapped themselves in.

In many ways Seelenluft (or as he is also stupidly know: Silvercity Bob) is a Norwegian Moby. Except Moby exploits dead old people on his records, while Bob exploits youngsters. The rap on Manila is done by a twelve year old and I am certain he has not been paid a penny. This is hardly 2002’s answer to Kriss Kross after all. (1992’s answer to Kriss Kross was always, fuck off and put your clothes on properly). Remember, Mr Luft is a entrepreneur, and there is no minimum wage for the under 16s.

Finishing with a quote from the Seelenluft Website regarding Manila: “When Manila came out it was like dropping a bomb on the dancefloors of Europe.” Do not tempt me Bob.

Kiss Kiss 80’s 80’s

Do You SeePost a comment • 407 views

Pity poor Shane Black. He goes away and the movies change. He comes back and makes a solid piece of Shane Black entertainment: a buddy movie (sort of) and it feels wildly out of date. Very entertaining mind you. Just a bit like Overboard in the 80’s: a screwball comedy when they no longer made them. Shane has tried to update it, one of the characters is gay after all : how modern. But his metatextual arguments and quick repartee still seems firmly rooted in the 1980’s, along with his attitudes.

Val Kilmer’s character Gay Perry is gay mainly because
a) he is called Gay
b) that’s about it. Really.
Robert Downey Jr’s character is not openly homophobic, he just does not like being kissed and believes that gay men can fire bullets out of his penis. Hello – wrong attitude.

A similar thing happens when Black tries to be sensitive towards the female character. Downey berates Michelle Monaghan’s character’s willingness to have meaningless sex, suggesting she is not just a sex object. And yet her key scene in the film has her running around in black patent leather boots, fishnets and a skimpy santa outfit. GO EMPOWERMENT!

I think Bradshaw said it reminded him of a Road To movie, and indeed the three leads complete the chemistry rather than it being a plain buddy movie. In the Road movies though the Bob Hope character was the sexually unthreatening one, here it is Fatso Kilmer. Why. Because he is Gay remember. Its his name.

ILX outage

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 322 views

Sorry that ILX is offline today – this is pretty unavoidable as someone is intent on just pissing about with any thread they fancy. Something has happened on the Noise board and i don’t know what or why, but i sure know the end result. I’ve had to edit out a whole slew of smartarse posts and there’s something else weird going on too, so to be on the safe side, today is a TIME OUT.

The simplest thing I can do to help is prevent CSS smartarsery, so we could be back much quicker, but there is something else suspicious going on that i don’t want getting out of hand and need time to tentatively investigate.

Alan

UPDATE 15:50GMT
I am not entirely satisfied, but it does look it was just one poster exploiting an already known issue and there is no real security risk, and i can shut that off easily. However the nuisance spamming of ILE with CSS images is something i’ll have to change in the code to stop it happening, and i’m not in a position to fix it right now.

I have NO IDEA what caused this – i know something happened on the noise board, but it is not something i had a hand in, and for all i know it could be entirely due to ppl on the noise board fucking themselves over. I DO NOT KNOW.

UPDATE 16:50GMT
We’re back. I haven’t fixed anything in the code. Loads of posts have been deleted and admin’d to ‘.’ in memorial, but there is actually nothing to stop it becoming a mess again. On the other hand, i am satisfied that no long term damage is currently possible.

Teh End

Choad my Nang etc.

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 581 views

I notice that the BBC has tagged us as one of the sites which writes about pop music in simple language rather than using “bloglish”, which is a tool whereby The Kids confuse The Man and stop him buying their music with his so-called “fifty quids”.

Well done Alan Connor of the BBC for a sensible reply to an absurd Observer article (look it up if you can be botherd), but now we have a reputation to live up to, so here are five great pop songs I’ve been listening to recently (i.e. that have just come up on my iPod), and a good reason why to like each of them.

FRANKIE KNUCKLES ft JAMIE PRINCIPAL – “Baby Wants To Ride”: Because it’s a paranoid early house track which mixes up sex and spirituality, Prince style, and then brings in geopolitics while the beat goes on and you-the-listener get the uneasy feeling that it’s 3am and you’ve gone home from the club with a lunatic.

RACHEL STEVENS – “Nothing Good About This Goodbye”: Because it’s the most heartfelt, bittersweet and straightforward pop song from Rachel Stevens’ second album – which is an excellent record but ‘heartfelt and straightforward’ seems to suit Rachel more than ‘clever and cool’.

THE CONTOURS – “First I Look At The Purse”: Because it’s the cousin to the more famous Motown hit “Money” and just as delightfully cynical. “Why waste time / Looking at the waistline?”

WILL SMITH – “Will 2K”: Because it’s such a perfect use of an iconic rock sample, and because squares like to party too.

BROADCAST – “Echo’s Answer”: Because it’s the sound of a winter night, and after four years I still can’t get less vague than that.

Normal gibberish can now resume.

Faux Magners

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 230 views

Imagine. In trying to find a picture of the new Strongbow brand Sirrus I came across this website onlyfinebeer.co.uk which, and I quote:

Onlyfinebeer encourages its users to express their fondness for beer, by allowing them to write nice words about them – if your review of this beer fits the bill, we’ll add it to this page.


To which someone has correctly responded:

Sirrus? Nice Words? How can this travesty of cider appear on your pages? Of all the artificial confected abominations served up as cider. This is quite the worst I have ever tasted. It is the artificial colour of Irn-Bru or Tizer and does not remotely taste of apples. I am not asking for scrumpy, but this product should be called something, anything other than cider to protect the name of tha drink from falling even further into the contempt with which so many people hold it.

Sirrus is a big bottled cider which has been designed to be drunk over ice. Where did they get that idea from? Also where did they get the name from? Sirrus suggests to me that it might be cloudy – and therefore there might be hope for the brand. Instead it is a strange red liquid, not unlike Tizer as the correspondant noted, clear and looks nasty. I am sure it also tastes nasty. Strongbow are well known for recent failures into the alcopop market, and this stab at Magners also looks like a dud. So buy a bottle now, as I am also sure this brand won’t last the year.

Respect is due

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 238 views

Happy Birthday Harriet

Hey Mr Science The Clue Is In The Name

Blog 7Post a comment • 862 views

Being cold might make you get cold, SCIENTISTS REVEAL. My irritation with THIS SORT OF THING is summed up in the final sentence – “Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to wrap up well in winter” b/c of course the natural state of parenthood is a jelly of neurosis which can only be alleviated by BOFFINRY.

And yes OK I get just as annoyed with untrue things being claimed as “common sense” – you CAN’T WIN.

Theft (or as we call it friends borrowing and not returning)

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 462 views

The average number of CD’s owned in the UK is 126. The average number of those CD’s which have had to be replaced due to theft, loss or accidental melting because they fell down the back of the radiator is 36.

What a wasteful society we live in, this report suggests. It also puts much credence to the idea that you should never lend CD’s to anyone, and that these things probably never happened with vinyl (this conclusion is wholly my own).

I assume the actual conclusion, since the research was commissioned by Napster, is that mp3’s rule because people can’t steal them, or drop them down the back of the radiator. However an interesting comparison might be how many tracks have you lost due to file corruption, a computer dying or dropping your i-Pod?

“did i remember to tell you that science is WEIRDER and MORE EXCITING than is dremt of in yr PLAYSTATION? well DID I? bcz IT IS!!”

Blog 7Post a comment • 147 views

apparently the above — first ep broadcast on c4 on saturday — is based on a SCIENCE MUSEUM EXHIB’n which fellow citizens of the Freaky Trigan Empire enjoyed

well i watched it w.my dad — though he wisely slept through the entire thing — and it wz INCREDIBLY AGGRAVATING, not least bcz it seemed like there wz actual real interesting speculative science squirrelled away beneath the surface

the project wz the examination of the possiblity of an alien ecosystem evolving on a planet circling a red dwarf star, with the same face always turned to its sun — they proved that the temperature would be OK for liquid water (assumed essential for life), and gamed up four life forms, and allowed them to evolve, then showed us (CGI) clips a la nature doc/CGI-dinosaurs series

here are the several annoying elements:

i. as with the dinosaur series they invented very BAD stories: recall that with a standard nature doc, a storyline is cobbled together from the footage shot (ie the story comes after the images); here there’s an option for it to be the other way round, but instead they PRETEND that this is “footage shot” and “oh, look, the big turkey-looking thing is going to eat the little cute one! oh NOES!! who’d ever have guessed!!” except they also carefully set up what’s going to happen, in a REALLY CLUMSY CLICHED WAY — so the predator “gives no quarter” etc. This means we switch constantly from faked-up anticipation to frustration (when the storyline lumbers “unexpectedly” elsewhere)

ii. we are constantly bein told how EXTRAORDINARY the aliens are: compared to WHAT? Other aliens? Life on earth? In what exact sense is it a surprise that aliens are not like life on earth? As a culture we spend an INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME imagining aliens: it is not remarkable to us that aliens are non-earth-like, y’know??. Actually the MOST INTERESTING thing explored here (in the original science, but obscured in the narrative) were the ways in which science CAN’T — or declines to — imagine extremes of difference. viz life everywhere will (apparently) be carbon-based and water-requiring; viz will fall into “plant-types” & “animal-types”; predators & prey; male & female (!!they went straight past this w/o even whispering that things might be otherwise); seeing (the eye has evolved seven difft times here on earth hence is likely elsewhere also) (<---single most interesting science fact, skated busily past); bipedal (and frankly birdlike); will make scary or cute noises like as to they were IN A CARTOON etc etc.

iii. ie basically they kept saying “It’s extraordinary!!” (which can only have referred to their own CREATIVE IMAGINATIONS) when the really extraordinary thing wz how SIMILAR to life-on-earth it ended up being. Star Trek wz right all along! All alien civilisations will be peopled by humanoids in rubberised facemasks!!

iv. there wz not quite enough CGI produced to fill the programme, so they repeated “clips” — for example of a “tree” falling over — in difft parts of the storyline: sometimes they flipped the image so you wouldn’t notice (sidesnipe: the CGI wz in general rather ugly)

v. if they had dramatised some of the questions and choices and assumptions being made by the speculatin scientists, they would not have HAD to fill in so much time w.repetitions — viz “Can we assume all big life will reproduce via sexual pairing?” “Well let’s see what goes wrong if we assume something ELSE”

vi. They never really got a measure of the gap between reality and made-up: viz these creatures had names, but came from a planet w/o a speaking species hence even in the madey-up world the names must have been given them by HUMANS, hence we as humans could stand in for the humans who did this and CHOOSE (and make a DRAMA OF THE CHOOSING) of the names. Then they might have been actually good, and not a dreary mishmash.

CONCLUSION: In general making a drama of the various choices and assumptions would in ever way have IMPROVED and CLARIFIED — viz, when you say (repeatedly) “x is extraordinary” or “x is weird” WHY DO YOU THINK THIS? and are you RIGHT OR WRONG?

NUMB3RS-W4TCH: supplemental

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 886 views

Hitchens then turned the subject back to Chalabi, his good friend. I asked him if he thought Chalabi had been passing American intelligence to the Iranians. “No,” he insisted. “It’s possible that with his training, you know, at [The University of] Chicago that with his own ability he was able to crack the codes. He is a mathematical genius. His expertise is cryptology. It is possible that he broke the codes himself.” (This is a paraphrase since I was walking down M Street and crossing Connecticut Avenue all while being amazed that I was having an actual conversation with Christopher Hitchens at the time). Now, I don’t believe this for one second. Why would Chalabi be trying to break American codes in his spare time anyway?”

(commentators on this anecdote, which is from a week or so back, have pointed out that a. even real genius cryptologists don’t crack codes on the back of a napkin which running a country tumbling into civil war, and b. chalabi’s published (mathematical) expertise is in knot theory)