Best So Far!

Shamelessly stolen from Sweeping The Nation!

They’re never going to make another Technique again. Once you’ve accepted that fact, all of New Order’s post-1988 output is more palatable, somehow. Waiting For The Sirens’ Call is a elegiac collection of songs that hits all of my New Order buttons. though I concede that they could sing out-of-tune with bad mikes while a pantomime horse dances on stage, and I’d be happy…

“What can I get for ten dollar?” I don’t care if she’s real, a fake art student who works with Justine Elastica, or a time-displaced Neneh Cherry; this album is fantastic. Wonderful beats, some fun and weird vocals, plus “I salt and pepper my mango”, which is my favourite lyric of the year so far (Apart from “bing-bong-bing-bong”, naturally).

Their first record on Sanctuary saw them crashing in at the charts at No. 72 (I mean, really, what with the charts the way they are, I don’t want to know how many albums you have to sell to reach those lofty heights). It’s a shame, as it’s the most accessible album they’ve made for years. I want to find the time to write a full post on it, to be honest, but highlights include: Sarah Cracknell’s almost perfect Kylie impression on Stars Above Us, the backing vocals that drench the album, the final minute of Milk Bottle Symphony, and all of Teenage Winter.

They were up in Manchester when I was there in April; I could have got my copy of the album signed, you know. Anyway, easily the best of the current post-punk revival bands, even if the BBC is trying to wear out So Here We Are by playing it all over their Wimbledon coverage.

Pips Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods to the list. Both have heavy Dave Fridmann production, but I think it works better in Low’s case than with S-K. You have to love an album that starts with “Tonight the monkey dies”…

currently playing: Saint Etienne – Let’s Build A Zoo

Not Exactly A Party Man, Then

Ah, I do love Mr. Tony Benn…

currently playing: Nena – 99 Luftballoons



currently playing: The National – Mr. November

Live 8: No-one's Taking Me Home

I’ve found it hard to fully explain my uneasiness with the upcoming Live 8 concert. There’s just something that bugs me about it all, from the inept mobile phone ticket lottery (making lots of money for O2), the ever-changing reasons why certain acts weren’t invited to perform (and bands added to the bill without being informed), to Bob Geldof’s rather lunatic ideas like Sail 8. They seem wedded to the history of Live Aid, yet insist that the new concert has nothing to do with it (lots of the same acts, similar name, very similar logo belie this somewhat). And it just seems…less, somehow. Sure, it’ll will be the most-watched concert in history on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean much any more; back in 1985, it was something special to be taken to a Russian studio, to peer behind the Iron Curtain using cutting edge satellite technology. Now, Russia is just another country, and the transmission probably won’t trouble today’s broadcast technology.

But what sums up the whole event for me is a news report from last night, where Richard Curtis and a host of assistants are busy at work creating a video to be broadcast on the night. Now, I don’t now how much of the legend of the Drive video is true, but in that case, it seems that it was the work of a lone BBC engineer who stumbled upon the juxtaposition of The Cars and images from Africa. Sure, it was manipulative, but it was an amateur sort of manipulation; he overlaid the two, and that was it. Now, though, Curtis is going through music libraries to find the ‘perfect’ soundtrack (R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion’ played throughout last night’s report), in a calculated attempt to recreate the effect of Drive. It’s Live Aid, but polished, airbrushed, and shined.

Sure, I’ll probably be watching on Saturday. But with a sense of scepticism over the whole affair…

currently playing: Saint Etienne – Teenage Winter

I'll Take Disingenuous Quotes For $100

In this story about Peter Jackson suing New Line Cinema for underpaying him for his work on The Lord of The Rings trilogy (wherein the central part of the complaint is that New Line / Warner Brothers sold off rights to the spin-off materials to its subsidiary companies at lower-than-market value):

But Mr. Socarides said some lucrative rights did not go to Time Warner companies. The pay television deal went to Starz, not Time Warner’s HBO. He added that the “Rings” book trilogy remains with Houghton Mifflin, which is not a Time Warner subsidiary.

Because obviously, New Line had the right to sell those rights on…I’m sure the Tolkien estate might have had a few words about that…

currently playing: Roisin Murphy — Ruby Blue

Quality Service

Guess who’s rumoured to be the front-runner for the ID Card database contract? EDS! I will leave you to write your own jokes…

The summary of the LSE report is worth having a browse (the full report is even better, including pointing out that security services will be able to modify the database as they wish, creating new identities and being able to alter your details, which includes time / location of verification, so they can make you appear to be anywhere they want you to be…hurrah!)

Choice bits:

The technology envisioned for this scheme is, to a large extent, untested and unreliable. No scheme on this scale has been undertaken anywhere in the world. Smaller and less ambitious systems have encountered substantial technological and operational problems that are likely to be amplified in a large-scale, national system. The use of biometrics gives rise to particular concern because this technology has never been used at such a scale.

We also accept that the proposed scheme is likely to have an impact on false identity within the benefits sector. However, the government has already put in place vetting regimes that are rigorous and effective. Benefit fraud through false identity is relatively rare and we believe the cost of introducing an identity card in the benefits environment would far outweigh any savings that could be made.

The Government has consistently asserted that that biometrics proposals, both in the new UK passport format and in the identity cards legislation, is a harmonising measure required by international obligations, and is thus no different to the plans and intentions of the UK’s international partners. There is no evidence to support this assertion.

Identity Cards: Just Say No, MPs…(or more realistically, the House of Lords, which will throw it out again, thus raising the spectre of the Parliament Act once more)

currently playing: ABC – The Look of Love (Part One)


Who brings an inflatable doll to Glastonbury?

(Although bonus points to Shirley for making the best of it)

Incidentally: should I make an effort to distinguish between Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian, or, as evidenced by what I saw of them this weekend, is it not worth it?

currently playing: Garbage — Why Do You Love Me?

Day Two: Ow Ow Ow Ow

When I woke up on Thursday morning, my feet announced that I would not be doing quite as much walking. Ow. Blisters.

After breakfast, I hobbled along to the Speakers meeting, where we met the moderators and had a chance to make sure that our laptop would work with the conference centre’s projectors. Then a quick email check, a walk back to the train station to work out what train I should take to get back to Baden-Baden (I thought about going on the bus route again, but the timetable for that meant that if there were any problems, I’d miss the flight home, so I thought the train would be a little safer), and back to the hotel to checkout. A slight mix-up occurred, meaning that I had to pay for the room, but hopefully I’ll get that sorted out soon.

Then, more wandering! Ate half a Bratwurst before I started to gag on it. I was trying for the authentic experience, but I really don’t like sausage.

My talk suffered a little from me leaving my DV cable at home, so I couldn’t use the footage of the conference that I shot on Wednesday afternoon, but I think it went okay for the most part, although I probably talked far too fast. There were a few questions afterwards, but that was it; done with LinuxTag 2005. I said goodbye to Torsten, the moderator (and co-editor of the Video Book), headed off back to the train station, the teeny-tiny Baden Airpark airport, and then back into Stansted Airport.

Now only three weeks to go until America…

currently playing: Life Without Buildings – Juno

Another Triumph!

Yes, Coldplay can make Can’t Get You Out Of My Head boring. Congratulations!

bashes head against a wall

(can we have a temporary ban rock acts doing ironic pop covers? Please?)

currently playing: Glastonbury 2005

Germans And One Thing

Okay, this is awesome…More German appropriating American RnB please!

(actually, they’re Belgian…but still!)

currently playing: Seeed!