Posts from July 2010

30
Jul 10

all alone in my dreaming

Do You See + FT7 comments • 342 views

phwoar, look at the angles on that oneSome characters thump awake, panting, in a snarl of sweaty sheets. Some characters open their eyes with a snap, hold the pose for a full two camera seconds, sigh. Depends what it’s been – lurid wish-fulfilment, vicious tragedy, traumatic flashback. A shortcut to backstory, a cheap bit of misdirection. Rarely surreal, no abrupt shifts of scene or familiar places in illogical shapes. High emotion. The reason dreams in films so often don’t convince isn’t that they’re unrealistic. It’s that they aren’t unrealistic enough.

No surprise, really. This is the economy of fiction, and what exists must work in service to the plot or it’s out on its ear. But, still, all these characters on all these screens who seem to spend every night staring at a slideshow of memory – after a while you start to wonder if the screenwriters have actual dreams at all.

So what’s great about Inception is that there aren’t any real dreams in it.

29
Jul 10

KYLIE MINOGUE AND JASON DONOVAN – “Especially For You”

Popular47 comments • 3,642 views

#621, 7th January 1989, video

Stock Aitken and Waterman’s skills were based on simplicity: get a feeling, nail it. Their songs are unapologetically direct, with very little ‘side’ or ambiguity. The acts they worked with were similarly well-defined – the square but adorable one (Rick), the sassy ones (Mel & Kim), the confident everygirls (Sonia, Reynolds Girls), and then of course there was Kylie, sunny and optimistic whatever disappointment love threw at her. So “Especially For You” is Kylie’s happy ending, based very much on her Neighbours’ character’s happy ending.

Dinosaur Planet!

Do You See + FT + The Brown Wedge////3 comments • 124 views

Hello there! it is the Advertise Hibbett’s Show At The Fringe Time again. but this year is different as you will see from the following trailer:

why YES, that’s right, I AM IN THIS YEAR’S SHOW! so if you would like to see it, the dates are:

5-14 August, GRV, 37 Guthrie Street, Edinburgh, MIDDAY
and
21 and 22 August, Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street, Camden, 8.45pm

Here are a couple of clips from our recent preview show in Lewisham:

27
Jul 10

Popular ’88

Popular111 comments • 3,001 views

WELL DONE EVERYONE! We’ve made it through 1988. But the 80s still have more to throw at us. Let’s regroup and take stock of the year – use the poll to indicate which tracks YOU would have given 6 or more out of 10 to.

And use the comments to discuss the year in general – which, as has often been mentioned in the regular comments boxes, was actually pretty damn good.

Which of these Number One Singles of 1988 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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26
Jul 10

Cheese and Whisky Tasting Science 2010

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 915 views

FT’s resident cheese expert Marna held a cheese and whisky tasting last Friday night. As ever with booze-blogging, some details and opinions below may be slightly ‘inaccurate’.

CLIFF RICHARD – “Mistletoe And Wine”

Popular64 comments • 4,026 views

#620, 10th December 1988, video

Squeaking into the Christmas canon just as the gates were closing, “Mistletoe And Wine” is a hard song to listen to charitably in late July. Mind you, it was a hard song to listen to charitably in late December 1988. Good Christmas songs since Slade’s 1973 breakthrough have been an extension of pop – aimed at the same buyers, performed in the same style, with only the seasonal trimmings and sleigh bell presets to mark them out from what else was going on. “Mistletoe And Wine”, on the other hand, is in the tradition of “When A Child Is Born” – it has nothing to do with any of the currents of pop in 1988. It’s the first Christmas hit since “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma” to be aimed squarely at people who only buy singles at this time of year.

25
Jul 10

Bare Bear? Hoarse Horse??

FT7 comments • 243 views

Following Wiley’s 200 tracks giveaway and the prospect of 30 extra Mansun tracks, let me add my humble effort to the “bonus content” pile; from the SMTV/CD:UK Annual, here are an extra 31 Wonkey Donkeys, which I hope you will all attempt to act out to your unsuspecting companions with all due expediency. If they get it wrong, show no mercy!

And remember…

23
Jul 10

What Can You Learn From Last.FM? (Part I)

FT//3 comments • 763 views

Last week a question occurred to me: what interesting things can you find out by playing around with Last.FM listening data? Last.FM themselves offer a fair bit of extra analysis to users in their “Playground” section, but it’s all to do with individual listeners or their networks (or “neighbourhoods”). I wanted to see how much LFM data could tell us about specific artists, and how people listen to them.

So using the most topline, publically available data possible – the artist pages and charts of most-played tracks – what can we find out? I created a few metrics which I could generate (by hand! no programmer I!) in 20 seconds or so for each artist and set to work populating a mini database out of the artists on the overall LFM charts, then the ones on my personal charts, then anyone I thought might be interesting. The results are this series of three – somewhat wonkish – posts: the conclusions will be in Part III so if you don’t fancy seeing me crunch numbers (albeit very EASY numbers) wait around for that.

Here’s what I came up with!

ROBIN BECK – “First Time”

Popular68 comments • 3,243 views

#619, 19th November 1988, video

Minor Popular milestone alert! This is the very latest song that I had no recollection of whatsoever before starting this project. Never saw the advert, never heard the record. So I’d have been really happy if this had been an unexpected delight, or even a minor pleasure. As it is the only unexpected thing about “The First Time” is its attempted fake-out: you think it’s going to be one kind of bad song (vaguely motivational ballad) and instead it’s another (vaguely agonised power ballad).

A Friday Pop Quiz!

FT/20 comments • 478 views

I have a great big post on the boil looking at Last FM stats but in case it doesn’t get finished here’s a quiz for you. NO PEEKING – Peeking meaning no going to Last FM and checking the answers.

The quiz is very easy! All you have to do is guess which is the highest ranked track on Last FM by each of these artists. LFM’s public data only goes back 6 months, which makes a difference in some cases, and it hasn’t got the VERY latest hits (i.e. Katy Perry’s #1 is “I Kissed A Girl” not “California Gurls” let alone “Teenage Dream”). For some of the listed acts it is the obvious track, for others it isn’t, this is where blind luck your skill and judgement will play a role.

So here goes! Quiz under the cut, answers in the comments box and I’ll let you know who does best.