Thursday, 26 August 2010

Me and the Music Industry

Today is a strange day. As of today, I have spent as long out of the music industry as I spent in it.
I’m not sure how that makes me feel. I miss writing songs and the creativity involved, but the bits after writing and recording pretty much all suck. I don’t miss that at all.

I didn’t mind the A&R-ing, Band and Tour Managing and all that, but the actual industry, I don’t miss at all.

So why is it the only thing on my mind at the moment; pernicious and pervasive. If I could just write and leave it at that, I’d be fine. Maybe I should focus on that.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Curry

I’m doing a huge curry feast for some friends tonight. I’ve not had people to dinner for a while and I”m really getting into the whole asian vibe since I discovered the fantastic international food store on Portswood High Street. it was a Woolworth when I left Southampton and this gem of a shop when I got back.

Anyway, the menu is:

Sweet and Sour Okra
Spicy Black Eyed Beans and Mushrooms
Bengali Spiced Aubergine with yoghurt
Tandoori style chicken
Dry Coconut lamb
Savoury semolina cake
Maybe some spiced rice
Naans
Raita.

All sounds great but . . . not only have I run out of turmeric, but I seem to been running a fever and feel like absolute shite.
Oh the trials and tribulations!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Article

Charlie Brooker sticks it too ‘em. From The Guardian, Monday 23rd August, 2010.

Things seem awfully heated in America right now; so heated you could probably toast a marshmallow by jabbing it on a stick and holding it toward the Atlantic. Millions are hopping mad over the news that a bunch of triumphalist Muslim extremists are about to build a “victory mosque” slap bang in the middle of Ground Zero.

The planned “ultra-mosque” will be a staggering 5,600ft tall – more than five times higher than the tallest building on Earth – and will be capped with an immense dome of highly-polished solid gold, carefully positioned to bounce sunlight directly toward the pavement, where it will blind pedestrians and fry small dogs. The main structure will be delimited by 600 minarets, each shaped like an upraised middle finger, and housing a powerful amplifier: when synchronised, their combined sonic might will be capable of relaying the muezzin’s call to prayer at such deafening volume, it will be clearly audible in the Afghan mountains, where thousands of terrorists are poised to celebrate by running around with scarves over their faces, firing AK-47s into the sky and yelling whatever the foreign word for “victory” is.

I’m exaggerating. But I’m only exaggerating a tad more than some of the professional exaggerators who initially raised objections to the “Ground Zero mosque”. They keep calling it the “Ground Zero mosque”, incidentally, because it’s a catchy title that paints a powerful image – specifically, the image of a mosque at Ground Zero.

When I heard about it – in passing, in a soundbite – I figured it was a US example of the sort of inanely confrontational fantasy scheme Anjem Choudary might issue a press release about if he fancied winding up the tabloids for the 900th time this year. I was wrong. The “Ground Zero mosque” is a genuine proposal, but it’s slightly less provocative than its critics’ nickname makes it sound. For one thing, it’s not at Ground Zero. Also, it isn’t a mosque.

Wait, it gets duller. It’s not being built by extremists either. Cordoba House, as it’s known, is a proposed Islamic cultural centre, which, in addition to a prayer room, will include a basketball court, restaurant, and swimming pool. Its aim is to improve inter-faith relations. It’ll probably also have comfy chairs and people who smile at you when you walk in, the monsters.
To get to the Cordoba Centre from Ground Zero, you’d have to walk in the opposite direction for two blocks, before turning a corner and walking a bit more. The journey should take roughly two minutes, or possibly slightly longer if you’re heading an angry mob who can’t hear your directions over the sound of their own enraged bellowing.

Perhaps spatial reality functions differently on the other side of the Atlantic, but here in London, something that is “two minutes’ walk and round a corner” from something else isn’t actually “in” the same place at all. I once had a poo in a pub about two minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace. I was not subsequently arrested and charged with crapping directly onto the Queen’s pillow. That’s how “distance” works in Britain. It’s also how distance works in America, of course, but some people are currently pretending it doesn’t, for daft political ends.

New York being a densely populated city, there are lots of other buildings and businesses within two blocks of Ground Zero, including a McDonald’s and a Burger King, neither of which has yet been accused of serving milkshakes and fries on hallowed ground. Regardless, for the opponents of Cordoba House, two blocks is too close, period. Frustratingly, they haven’t produced a map pinpointing precisely how close is OK.

That’s literally all I’d ask them in an interview. I’d stand there pointing at a map of the city. Would it be offensive here? What about here? Or how about way over there? And when they finally picked a suitable spot, I’d ask them to draw it on the map, sketching out roughly how big it should be, and how many windows it’s allowed to have. Then I’d hand them a colour swatch and ask them to decide on a colour for the lobby carpet. And the conversation would continue in this vein until everyone in the room was in tears. Myself included.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, 70% of Americans are opposed to the “Ground Zero mosque”, doubtless in many cases because they’ve been led to believe it literally is a mosque at Ground Zero. And if not . . . well, it must be something significant. Otherwise why would all these pundits be so angry about it? And why would anyone in the media listen to them with a straight face?
According to a recent poll, one in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a Muslim, even though he isn’t. A quarter of those who believe he’s a Muslim also claimed he talks about his faith too much. Americans aren’t dumb. Clearly these particular Americans have either gone insane or been seriously misled. Where are they getting their information?

Sixty per cent said they learned it from the media. Which means it’s time for the media to give up.
Seriously, broadcasters, journalists: just give up now. Because either you’re making things worse, or no one’s paying attention anyway. May as well knock back a few Jagermeisters, unplug the autocue, and just sit there dumbly repeating whichever reality-warping meme the far right wants to go viral this week. What’s that? Obama is Gargamel and he’s killing all the Smurfs? Sod it. Whatever. Roll titles.

Friday, 20 August 2010

BING!

t’s probably been said a million time before, but don’t you think the adverts for “Bing” are a bit..um..self defeating?
When a woman asks about “Euston Station” she given glassy eyed responses, none of which have anything to do with Euston, but rather similar sounding stuff. Sorry, but if stick “Euston Station” in a search engine, I don’t want information about everything that sounds a bit similar but nothing on the subject at hand. Is this how Bing works? Isn’t that kind of everything a search engine shouldn’t be? What bright spark thought up that? Was it the same twat who, in the 80′s destroyed the carlsberg ads by conclusively proving they weren’t the greatest lager in the world? The egotistical, yet self depracating “probably the best lager in the world” slogan was much loved and renowned in the 70′s; in the 80′s some bright spark though that sending Hot Air Balloons with ‘Carlsberg’ written on the said the same thing. What they actually said was that the70′s slogan was a load of hot air. They followed this with a ‘carlsberg’ being printed on a ‘red herring’ and a number of other images that suggested that the slogan was a lie.

Advertising Execs. HUH! What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing! OW!

Books

I’ve not really been able to read for pleasure for the last few years owing to the horror of reading academic texts for uni.
Last April, I bought myself a Sony E-Reader in order to remedy this but still managed not to read anything, despite buying a dozen or so books I’d been meaning to read for ages. I never quite got round to it, but over the last couple of weeks, the need to read for pleasure has re-asserted itself.

I suppose I could bore you with reviews and/or random thoughts about books and shit? So, soon prepare to hear thoughts about “And Another thing . . .”, “A Year In The Merde”, “The Lovely Bones” and various others…

I feel certain you are peeing yourselves in anticipation.

Hello Cthulhu!

Thursday, 19 August 2010


My good mate Fred introduced me to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales Of The City Novels” at the back end of the 80′s, just in time for me to devour the first five novels and champ at the bit for a WHOLE MONTH until the sixth, and apparently final, novel was published. I adore these books in a way I simply cannot adequately express. it’s testament to the power of the Maupins writings that when the sixth book was read, it felt like I had lost some close friends. Sad to say, it felt like I was mourning. I didn’t want my friends to break contact with me, particularly in the light of the devastating news we’d just been delivered.

Nearly 20 years later, we were given an insight into the life of Michael Mouse Tolliver in the unashamedly nostalgic “Michael Tolliver Lives!” and I’ve just learned that another novel is due to be published in November and entitled “Mary Ann In Autumn”.

I cant wait.

Dream

Back in the late 80′s, I was hopelessly in love with a straight guy. We were very close and many people thought we were a couple anyway. He was aware of how I felt and sometimes played on that, but our relationship was good. He went away for a couple of years to Bristol and came back as this appalling boorish oaf. Talk about a passion killer. I miss the guy I fell for and the memory of our relationship still keeps me kind of warm and fuzzy.

Last night I had a dream about him. We were in Leeds which was virtually deserted. We bumped into each other by the Met and we got in his car and went to Briggate. We got out and went to one of the pubs in one of the arcades and went to the cellars which is where he was storing all his music memorabilia and CDs. Once he’d checked it was okay in the wake of whatever disaster had befallen Leeds, and secured it, we got back into the car and made our way out of Leeds.

We hit the motorway where there was a lot more traffic. We travelled in silence. After about half an hour, he stopped the car, took the keys out of the ignition, got out of the car and walked to the central reservation and sat down. I followed and sat next to him. He put his head on my shoulder and just cried and cried.

I don’t think this means anything in particular and I haven’t seen him since about ’92. But it was nice, even if only in a dream, to have that intimacy back just for a moment.

Solar Beat

As some of you know, I”m into my sonic art. I like music as a process and enjoy ‘accidental’ music and music made by non-musicians. As ‘process’ music goes, this is amazing.

http://www.whitevinyldesign.com/solarbeat/

Trial Run


Being new to this, I’m trying out a couple of things, so first off is a bizarre painting. I have no idea who did it, where it came from or anything about it except that it’s obviously Chewbacca riding a giant squirrel while fighting Nazis. Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t want to see a movie of this? It’s can’t be worse than Revenge of the Sith, can it?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Another failed attempt at blogging

I dunno. I keep threatening to blog and kind of did for my degree course, but…y’know…have I actually got anything to say?