Posts from April 2009
Worried about the recruitment slowdown in the credit crunch? Concerned about equality and the glass ceiling in many careers. Like a beer? Why not be a publican. OR as Greene King would put it, why not be a Lady Publican or a Public Housewife. On one hand we should applaud Greene King for trying to tackle the appalling lack of diversity in the publican trade.
BUT NOTE YOU CAN ONLY APPLAUD WITH TWO HANDS.
The Public Housewifes Website is aimed at women. How do you know? Well it is pink*.
Eddy Grant’s breakthrough with the Equals on “Baby Come Back” had come by upping reggae’s stomp quotient at the expense of its lilt. I don’t know a lot about his solo career but cuts like the slashing “Do You Feel My Love” suggest he kept an interest in how his music could be made heavier – the force of the riff on that song, and the Sweet-style bovver-boy shout-outs on “Electric Avenue”, point to a fusion of rock and reggae on very different terms from the ones Bob Marley had set.
This set of Wu-Tang Covers imagined as Blue Note covers, by designer Logan Walters, is both gorgeous and thought-provoking.
What kind of thoughts does it provoke? It makes me think about sleeve art, and how that art often ties records to a particular time, locality or culture. The original comic-book style sleeve art for Liquid Swords, for instance, is not particularly good but says more about the record’s roots and concerns than Walters’ far lovelier update.
Yes yes, swine flu. We are all wearing masks and batmanning the barricades against piggy pox. The news is all a flutter and how will we survive with the panicked prognostications of all major news outlets.
However the vectors of the spread of a disease are nothing over the spread of jokes, memes and neologisms. So here are a couple of case studies for you to keep your eye out for.
A) WINE FLU: This would be an example of a joke disease which will burn out very quickly once everyone has heard it, but if Have I Got News For You or The News Quiz get it quick enough will get an OK laugh. The basic formulation is as follows:
“I woke up this morning with nausea and splitting headache. I think it might be Wine Flu”
Do you see? Its a play on words mistaking Swine Flu (actual disease) with Wine Flu, a made up term referring to a hangover.
THREAT LEVEL: High. Its a pretty simple joke after all. Luckily it should burn out by this time next week.
An interesting blog post about the recent discovery that our galaxy “smells of raspberries” (and rum, though whether man rum or lady rum is unspecified).
The blog asks: given the irrelevance of that ‘fact’ to astronomy, should it have been reported? The German astronomers are quick to distance themselves from the raspberry herring: but if the angle doesn’t obscure the story (galaxy contains very complex molecules), then where’s the harm? The people who only take away the raspberry factoid probably wouldn’t have encountered – or absorbed much of – a drier, flavour-free story. They’re the informational equivalent of the people who download a track illegally which they would never have bought anyway: any loss they’ve caused is purely rhetorical.
Cluetrainers In The Age Of Conversation
This post is my contribution to the “Cluetrain Plus Ten” project, in which 95 bloggers provide commentary on each of the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. I chose Thesis 15, which runs as follows:
“In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.”
As it happens, I was working on a brochure when I first read The Cluetrain Manifesto. I’d already realised that being “the internet guy” in a curious but not tech-savvy department gave me certain leeway to break from my duties. The Manifesto required a longer break than I generally risked, but it was worth it.
The brochure languished. I started proselytising. Then I got a different job, started my own blog and online community, and spent a few years grappling with the grubby reality of conversation online. I forgot the Cluetrain Manifesto, but when I heard about this project I jumped at the chance to revisit it. So – Thesis 15: let’s go!
I used to think time travel was a great science fiction concept which had unlimited potential in creating exciting storylines. This is almost certainly the fault of
a) Doctor Who (who as a time traveller was having loads of great adventures)
b) Best SF short story anthologies of the 1980’s which often had a killer time travel story in them
c) That Fonzie cartoon where he travelled in time with a dog and stuff.
However these three sources of inspiration, only one ever used the philosophical and logical problems of time travel in as a springboard for the plot. And I should have noticed that while there was a more than significant WOW factor in a lot of those SF short stories, they had next to no characterisation and story beyond the twists. Because time travel really does tend to boil down to two or three conclusions:
a) fidelity to timeline (determinism)
b) non-fidelity to timeline leading to wiping out of timeline or history (destruction)
c) non-fidelity to timeline leading to parallel timeline (multiple worlds).
The only real suspense in a time travel storyline therefore is which of these schemas are being used: and once you know the time travel is no longer an interesting factor. Unless of course the story tries to use more than one of these ideas at once, or breaks its own rules to continue suspense.
Today’s episode of FreakyTrigger and the Lollards Of Pop starring Pete Baran, Anna Fielding, Magnus Anderson and Tom Ewing is on now. Or was when this was posted. The theme is Lost Property and losing it in general. And since with have such trouble referring to visual items on air, I though I would throw some of the pictures here to help you while you listen:
a) The Lost Property In My Office
b) The Future Of Watches Twenty Years Ago
c) The International Library Of Famous Literature Volume XX
I’m waiting for volume XXX.
Another of pop’s remarkable acts of self-creation: in the video for “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”, Boy George presents himself less as star, more as a kind of pop spirit, a dancing force of nature swaying through time and place, singular and uncageable. The metaphor the visuals ask you to reach for is straight society’s repression of the queer – but “Hurt Me” is far from a defiant song. “Give me time to realise my crime”: it’s not really freedom George is pleading for, more space for him and his other to understand their situation.
Oh dere lord, but I want to move to Akron, Ohio RIGHT NOW. I can feel my arteries hardening just reading that review:
I could eat that crispy coating and chicken skin all day for the rest of my life. Adding sickeningly sweet syrup contrasts with the savory salty taste of the chicken, which is what was awesome. Flavor explosion!
is my favourite bit i think.
also, looking at the second pic I couldn’t work out why there was some ice cream on the plate as well, until i read further down and realised it was BUTTER…
Also it’s good to see that Dan Quayle is now gainfully employed…