Reasons To Love Britain

What other country spends its day off going cheese-rolling, eh?

currently playing: Moloko – The Time Is Now

Lipstick Lesbian Batwoman! How Progressive!

Also mentioned is “the Great Ten”, a Chinese-government controlled/sponsored superhero team making their debut next month in 52. According to the article, the team includes, "the Celestial Archer, with ties to Chinese mythology; Mother of Champions, who can give birth to a litter of 25 super-soldiers about every three days; and Seven Deadly Brothers, a martial arts expert who can divide into many."

They’ve let Grant Morrison loose again.

It’s almost four years since I started this blog. Which is rather scary. Every now and then, I get the urge to give it a rather radical make-over. It hasn’t really changed much since 2002, aside from the photo-strip down the right and the change from using a Helvetica knock-off to Gill Sans for the title (and the body text too, if you’re lucky enough to have Gill Sans on your system). Two years ago, I thought about redesigning to a vintage, McSweeneys-like layout. One year ago, I came up with a design for making the site based around a 9x9 grid with fancy comic stylings.

As you can see, I didn’t really get around to it. And I’m drawing a blank on new ideas just now. But I thought I’d give you a warning: things may change around here. Although they probably won’t.

In what may be a precursor to the update, or not, I’ve finally signed up to Last.fm. Go! Behold my current listening choices, and mock me!

currently playing: Bruce Haack – Incantation

A Fanboy Writes

I haven’t talked too much about the new series of Doctor Who this time around. Which isn’t an indication that I haven’t liked this run so far; I think The Girl In The Fireplace is one of the best episodes of the show ever made, for example. But it’s annoyingly inconsistent. Tonight’s episode started out with a reasonable premise, and then proceeded to throw all that promise out of the window, with silly ideas like filming every other scene like a first-year film student who’s just watched The Third Man (yes, angles. Very film noir. We get it. Now put that camera back on the horizontal), kitchen-sink drama acted out with less subtlety than an average episode of Johnny Briggs, and a barely-developed villain (it sure was handy she was called The Wire, eh, viewers?). For an extra fanboy moment, I was annoyed to hear that they cut out the transmitter gag; if the episode can make references to Coronation Street, five seconds throwing out a funny reference to the old series would not have killed them. Fair’s fair, though, the Betamax gag was funny.

The sound was abysmal as ever, although I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s not the composer’s fault. I’m wondering if the soundtrack is being compressed to make it seem louder, thus leaving less space between, say, the vocals and the background music.

There comes a point where it’s not enough to say that “well, it’s better than the old stories, which were just silly all the time!” For a start, that’s not true, but even if it was, so what? It’s like the show’s infatuation with this wonderful creation of Rose Tyler. I’m sorry, the last episode of the old series was in 1989. Things have moved on. At the moment, Rose has got all the depth of Cordelia from Buffy’s first season, and the scripts are often far too flimsy to compare favourably with any other half-decent series of the past five years. It’s not enough to think “well, this is certainly better than The Happiness Patrol!” They should be aiming for The Body.

This rant sponsored by “Really, it’s only because I think Mark Gatiss is capable of so much better”.

currently playing: LCD Soundsystem – Great Release

MySpace Is The New "Alan McGee Discovered Them In Scotland"

An article from the Guardian pointing out that the death of the A&R man has been slightly exaggerated (and also, you’re not going to get rich from MySpace). Though it is curious that they go to all the trouble of pointing out why Lily Allen isn’t exactly an internet phenomenon, and yet they don’t mention that she’s the daughter of Keith Allen. You would have thought that would have merited at least a sentence or two.

In other news, I would like to be feeling better now. It’s just getting silly at this point.

EDIT: More from Simon Sweeping The Nation! Not sure about The Arcade Fire reference though - surely part of the MySpace angle on the Arctic Monkeys was wrapped around their single / album success. While The Arcade Fire certainly had more success than fellow blog stars like M.I.A. and Annie, they aren’t quite in the Monkeys’ league. At least not in the UK anyway. If they’d gone straight in at number one, I imagine the broadsheets would have turned a little more attention their way…

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me - Since You Stole My Heart

Feeling Too Ill To Properly Rant...

…but don’t be stupid.

currently playing: Richard X Feat. Deborah Evans-Strickland) – Walk On By

Move To A City Where Hippies Run Wild

fly-tipping
noun Also written fly tipping or flytipping (Environment)

In the UK: unauthorized dumping of rubbish on the streets or on unoccupied ground.

Etymology: Formed by compounding. The fly- part is probably ultimately derived from the verb to fly (the culprits tip and fly); it is the equivalent of fly-posting (a term which dates back to the early years of this century) except that it involves dumping rubbish rather than putting up posters. Since the thirties, street salesmen have called their unlicensed pitches fly-pitches, but this name is probably derived from the adjective fly, 'clever'.

History and Usage: The term fly-tipping has been used in technical sources to do with waste disposal since at least the late sixties. A topical problem in the Britain of the eighties, fly-tipping was the subject of tighter legislation in 1989 to try to tidy up city streets and give the UK a greener image. The term fly-tipping has also been applied to the dumping of toxic waste in other countries. Fly-tip has been back-formed as the verb corresponding to the noun fly-tipping; individuals or bodies who do it are fly-tippers.

If you look at the Cowley Road at the right angle, you can still see the 1960s; square, utilitarian buildings decaying, rotting, clinging on to life. They have survived. And they’re not going anywhere, a reminder of an inescapable past.

Or: standing alone at a concert lead you to depressing avenues of thought. Especially if you haven’t been to one by yourself for a while. All the old worries come back, last time magnified by the huge number of indie girls straight out of a Belle & Sebastian fanclub meeting (and every other one sporting an American accent). And again, the islands of despair in the venue centred on us poor unfortunates that are attending alone. You look at the others with pity and revulsion; you’d go and talk to them, but you can’t quite shake off the feeling that they’re actually disturbed serial killers ready to pounce on their next victim. Now, this may sound harsh, but I assure you, they’re thinking exactly the same thing about you. And thus we remain lonely during the deadly parts of the evening where there’s no music.

But, oh, the music. Now, I haven’t been listening to Sleater-Kinney a lot recently, and I wasn’t too taken with The Woods, so I was wondering how much I’d enjoy last night. A silly question. Still amazing. Still one of the greatest rock acts around (yay hyperbole!) Capable of slaughtering all of the current UK ‘rock revolution’ in under one minute and forty-nine seconds, before waking up early and heading off to All Tomorrow’s Parties. Carrie Brownstein owned the stage all night long; her hair long, drenched in sweat, obscuring her face, flinging her guitar at impossible angles, and making sure there were no fly-tippers in the audience. Because you have to have standards. Janet! Oh, Janet Weiss, how we love your drumming and harmonica bits! And lovely Corin, who now reminds me of Mandy in Missouri and North Carolina; funny as ever, and oooh, that voice!

The set drew mostly on The Woods, but that wasn’t a bad thing; in fact, as soon as I got back home, I listened to the album again, and I discovered that I’d treated it rather harshly last year. Other songs came from All Hands On The Bad One, Dig Me Out, and One Beat (The Hot Rock sadly absent, but then I know it’s one of their less popular albums (fools! It’s great!)). The concert had to finish at 10:30, which was a bit of a shame (at Carolina, it’d only just be getting started then!), but on the other hand, they packed a lot into the time they had.

Easily the best concert I’ve seen in Oxford. Not as good as the Cat’s Cradle performance in 2002, but then I think that was a confluence of events; one month after the first anniversary of 911, a nation being dragged into war, a night of music with a political edge, and I had an exam first thing the next morning. I couldn’t hear properly out of my left ear until well into the afternoon. Ah, good times.

And I stand by my assertion that Carrie smiled at me after catching her eye during Words & Guitar. Nothing you say can convince me otherwise…

currently playing: Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken

SIT DOWN HONEY. LET'S SPEND SOME TIME.

HELL YES.

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney – What’s Mine Is Yours

Shake Your Tail For Peace And Love

I will be spending tomorrow night in the fine company of Corin, Carrie, and Janet. Hurrah!

currently playing: Bow Wow Wow – C30, C60, C90, Go

*wibble*

I am, apparently, a bad influence. I, of course, deny it completely.

currently playing: Scott Walker – The Drift

Hmmm.

Okay, I’m almost convinced by the new MacBooks. Almost. Yes, the integrated graphics is a bit of a pain, but it’s better than my current iBook G4. And the top option is fairly close to the specifications of the MacBook Pro. There’s just one problem that I can see right now:

The MacBook keyboard

That keyboard looks a bit too Spectrum-like, doesn't it?

currently playing: Denim — Back In Denim