Posts from October 2008

23
Oct 08

BLONDIE – “Atomic”

FT + Popular79 comments • 7,979 views

#452, 1st March 1980

At some point in the early 1980s – after this, but not long after – I realised we were all going to die, rather horribly and rather soon. I acquired the conviction before I picked up the geopolitical knowledge to put names to it – Reagan, Afghanistan, Cruise. Maybe I picked up the information at school, or watched the wrong five minutes of the news. Once I became aware of the imminent nuclear doomsday, I avoided fresh information on it, but when some did break through my filter it was like overproof liquor for the imagination. How bad would it be? Infinitely. How would we know the hour of its coming? You wouldn’t. What on Earth would you do when they dropped the bomb?

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22
Oct 08

parlour invitation

FT1 comment • 148 views

just a quick post to remind our loyal Sluggos that there’s lots more info and links – and pictures! ooh – about each episode of Slug of Time on the Slugs and Stars homepage (accessible via that link at the top)

the last episode of this series comes next Tuesday at 10pm (no cheering, you) – we finally do an Arthur C. Clarke story and our special guest is a Real Astrophysicist wahey!

21
Oct 08

A Bite of Stars, A Slug of Time, and Thou – Episode 15

Slug of Time Podcast4 comments • 1,426 views

It’s Katie Grocott in the studio this week with Mark Sinker and Elisha Sessions to talk about “Things”, written by Ursula Le Guin in 1970. This is a short story about a society sharply divided between nihilist marauders and maudlin do-nothings… and two people who don’t really fit in either camp. Oh, and masonry. Music is “To the Sea” by Yello and “Ende Neu” by Einsturzende Neubauten.

Produced by Elisha Sessions

KENNY ROGERS – “Coward Of The County”

FT + Popular72 comments • 5,920 views

#451, 16th February 1980

There’s a term in comics criticism, “Women in Refrigerators Syndrome”. It’s applied when the murder, rape, torture or otherwise abuse of a female supporting character provides the impetus for a male hero’s character development. This being superhero comics, “character development” and “whuppin’ the villain’s ass” are generally synonymous. “Coward Of The County” is women-in-refrigerator pop: the hero may have the best of motivations for being yellow, but yellow is what he is, until his girlfriend is gang-raped and he discovers his inner man.

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20
Oct 08

THE SPECIALS – The Special AKA Live! (EP)

FT + Popular70 comments • 5,713 views

#450, 2nd February 1980

The Specials are a nexus point in British pop, and it’s easy to see why they were so important to so many. They pick up on the thread of Britain’s love for Jamaican dance music and the skinhead culture of the early 70s. They’re another incarnation of Britpop’s Hamburg Ideal – bright, straight-talking lads honing their pop to an awesome no-bullshit sharpness. Their working model of collective, cross-racial collaboration has been an indirect blueprint for almost every mutation in the UK’s urban music scenes since. And by giving that concept a label – Two Tone – and tying their creativity so closely to the ferment of British street politics, the band moved from blueprint to inspiration. Like all bands, they were a roil of individual egos; like many, they fell apart too soon, but it would be tough to argue that the Specials were anything other than a Good Thing.

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Sam Sparro Science Fiction

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 186 views

There are two sort of science fiction films out int he cinema at the moment.The “Logan’s Run For Kiddies” romp City Of Ember, and the “Enemy Of The State meets Stealth by way of Foul Play for idiots” that is Eagle-Eye. City Of Ember is a superior entertainment, dealing with a deliberately vague post-apolacyptic world via Heath Robinson devices, and a world lit by ropey old fillament lightbulbs. You’d think what with the perilous supply of energy in an underground city, they would use Energy Saving Lightbulbs, but perhaps there is an issue with quality of light. It also means that like Eagle-Eye, its eternity and otherworldliness is predicated on the current favourite sci-fi theme: black and gold.

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18
Oct 08

Pop Quiz – An easy life

FTPost a comment • 227 views

Choose the three most easy things

  • Sunday morning 83%
  • A, B, C (or) 1, 2, 3 (or) Do, Re, Me 75%
  • Taking candy from a baby 49%
  • Being in love with a beautiful woman 27%
  • Nuclear war 16%
  • Being green 12%
  • Giving all your love to just one man 9%
  • The life of a rent boy 4%
  • Breaking up 4%

Total Voters: 77

Poll closes: 25 Oct 2008 @ 17:01

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17
Oct 08

THE PRETENDERS – “Brass In Pocket”

FT + Popular70 comments • 5,825 views

#449, 19th January 1980

I had a pub conversation once about Radiohead’s “Creep”, where we decided the ideal cover would be one grounded in full-on swagger, simply inverting every “I” and “You” in the song: “I’m so fucking special – you wish you were special…you’re a creep!”. “Brass In Pocket” isn’t quite what we were getting at – there’s no sense that Chrissie Hynde’s target is any weaker than her, even if his capitulation is inevitable – but as an exercise in total confidence it takes some beating. The danger in the song is that its determination could shade into desperation, but when you listen to it you never once doubt that Hynde’s got the moves to back up her words: if anything, the song’s a challenge to her lover-to-be to step up and match her.

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15
Oct 08

Poppin and stalkin

FT1 comment • 129 views

The BBC has come up with another thinly-disguised attempt at tracking its listeners online while providing nothing in return – this one’s called “Radio Pop”.

“Got to get home and type up what I was listening to before I forget!”

Here’s the idea: instead of listening to BBC radio stations on, say, a radio, or through the BBC’s own “listen live” links, go to this address: http://www.radiopop.co.uk Then register, login and choose your station. A little pop-up window will appear that plays a live stream of that station. If you like what you hear, press the “pop” button. Why “pop” and not, say, “favorites” I have no idea. Maybe last.fm – a much better system not tied to any broadcaster and integrating with a huge variety of other sites and applications – has dibs on that.

What else? Well, the site includes a perfunctory gesture towards creating a network of friends. You can also install a “widget”. Or hope someone actually produces and sells a radio with Radio Pop integration. (They won’t.) Or hey, you can download a dynamic badge for your blog that shows the world your readers what you’re listening to right now (if you’re listening with the Radio Pop widget or web site, of course). And in the extremely likely event that you listen to a BBC programme somewhere and you weren’t using Radio Pop, you have the sensational opportunity to fill that information in manually, on the web site! Brilliant! Now I can do data entry about my own listening habits! It’s almost like the plot of the only good Kevin Costner vehicle, with less running in corridors and more tedious typing.

What all this aggregation adds up to is anyone’s guess, since the kind of person likely to actually use this site is probably not very representative of the BBC’s total audience. Indeed, the most popular station on Radio Pop appears to be the Asian Network – a piece of info that may actually make the whole enterprise worthwhile from the BBC’s point of view. Hey Auntie! You’ve got an underserved audience here who is so desperate to be catered for they’ll even use this awful website.

14
Oct 08

A Bite of Stars, A Slug of Time, and Thou – Episode 14

FT + Slug of Time Podcast1 comment • 594 views

Richard Tunnicliffe joins Mark Sinker and Elisha Sessions to talk about Thomas M. Disch’s “The Squirrel Cage”. It’s a story about a writer writing for no one, or for everyone – he’s not sure which (lol Livejournal). Beezer Magazine’s “Numbskulls” make a brief appearance, as does John Searle’s “Chinese Room” thought experiment, a song by Kraftwerk, and a classic spoken piece by Alvin Lucier.

Produced by Elisha Sessions