Links and The Bannermen

Is Elvis Dead?

Yay! Viz have licensed 20th Century Boys. A fantastic manga series, if somewhat reliant on CLIFFHANGERS OF DOOM. But I love it anyway.

A graphical history of sampling in music (lots of fun here)


Oohh. Once part of the most feared fight jets on the planet - now a clock. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

currently playing: The Other Two — Selfish

A Question on Music

Knowing that there’s at least one musician who reads this (oh, and Tom too, of course!), I thought I’d ask a question. Do you think that a music critic/reviewer should have a proper sense of music theory? I don’t mean Matt’s strict stance that only musicians should be able to talk about music; it’s just that while I like music (a lot), I feel that I don’t know too much about its inner workings. I couldn’t tell you the difference between middle-C and G, or how time-signatures work, for example. Admittedly, you don’t often read much discussion about these things in most music reviews, but I wonder if I should try and learn. Thoughts would be appreciated!

currently playing: Annie – Me Plus One

I Don't Normally Do This Kind of Thing

Yes, checking server logs to check out what people coming here are searching for is fun. It can get a little disturbing, though. There was the “Denise Richards bondage” search a while back, which was a little creepy.

But “joan rivers dominatrix” ?? The mind, indeed, truly boggles in horror at the thought. Both in images and knowing that somebody was searching for it. I hope, dear internet user, that you managed to find what you were looking for on another corner of the internet. I am going to try and erase my mind. See you later…

currently playing: Interpol — NYC


I hope you’re all getting ready Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!

currently playing: Stars — This Charming Man

Meet The New Boss

Slightly disturbing news from the still-young Western manga front. Sad to see that the New Hope of Western comics is determined to be almost as bad, creatively-speaking, as the old industry. Heck, even Marvel & DC now have “creator-participation” contracts, which mean that writers and artists will be compensated if the comic is picked up for TV or film (Warren Ellis’s Global Frequency was produced under this type of contract, if I’m remembering right). Not so with Tokyopop, it seems.

I’m ambivalent about the Manga Revolution. I have nothing against manga; I’ve been reading it for years, and I can almost read right-to-left almost as well as reading left-to-right, but it troubles me somewhat. I think my main fear is that the Western comics industry will turn into little more than simply a reprint market for Japanese material. While Tokyopop and others are attempting to create a home-grown market, I’m not convinced that they’re going to be a success against the reprinted material (where costs have already been recouped by their initial Japanese printings). I’ve seen it happen here – in the 1980s, Britain had a decently-sized comics industry, from toy adaptations like Transformers UK to the more adult-themed titles like 2000AD and Crisis. Today, there’s hardly anything left; 2000AD creeps along only because a software company bought them, and the only Marvel comics left on the stands are reprints. I’d hate to see America go the same way.

My main problem, though, is length. Not wishing to be ungrateful, but most manga comics are just too long! Take Lone Wolf and Cub for example. An excellent book, with beautiful art and almost-perfect storytelling. And it’s so cheap! $9.95 for almost 300 pages of story! So, you think about getting the rest.

There are 28 books in the Lone Wolf and Cub series.

That’s almost 8,500 pages. And I think that’s just a little too much. I prefer stories that are more manageable; Eagle and Milk Squad are a little simplistic (Eagle is a political drama about the first Japanese-American candidate for President of America, but it suffers from trite dialogue and too much melodrama, and comes off very badly when you compare it to The West Wing), but are entertaining manga that only take four or five volumes to tell a complete story. But these seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

Still, I don’t want to be too negative; 20th Century Boys is the best thing I’ve read so far in 2005 (although, there’s still a whole bunch of Grant Morrison stuff to come). I just don’t think that importing manga wholesale from Japan is going to solve all our problems.

currently playing: Kraftwerk — Computer Love


Sorry – I tell you that I’m going off for a job interview, and then forget to say anything about it. It didn’t go well, but they were nice enough about my implosion. The agency rang today to say that the company was going to pass on me. I guess that having the desire to walk out of the interview halfway through was a good indicator that it wasn’t for me…

Back to the job pages, then.

currently playing: Embrace — Now You’re Nobody

Everything's Gone Link

The Apple Mac turned 21 yesterday! And to celebrate, a long-thought lost video copy of the 1984 unveiling has turned up!

Continuing the 1984 theme, McSweeney’s comes up with alternative titles for George Orwell’s book.

Let’s have a Circle Line Party!

The press release for the new New Order album, written by ex-Smash Hitsette Miranda Sawyer. Yes, I’m excited.

The hotel that doesn’t exist.

Scientists spoil people’s fun by pointing out that sci-fi films are unrealistic.

And finally, after twelve years, USENET’s Eternal September is finally over.

currently playing: A Certain Ratio — Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Remix)

The Ravings of A Fanboy

So, Smallville. The first episode of the (fourth?) season has just finished. First annoyance — the writers have finally succumbed to introducing Lois Lane. I had a feeling they wouldn’t be able to resist. But it’s dumb. Lois has always, always, been part of Clark’s Metropolis life, and not his Smallville days. It makes little sense, as a big part of the Superman mythos is the initial mistrust between her and this ‘hayseed’ from the country.

But whatever. I can grumble quietly about that.

Having Clark Kent appear naked before Lois, without glasses, and using super-strength? Uh-huh. You don’t think that she might, just might, remember five years later when a guy with an S-shield turns up in Metropolis and — hey look! Clark’s just started working for the Daily Planet!

And the constant references to the films are tiresome. This week, Margot Kidder! And yes, hahahaha, she says she had a relationship with Dr. Swan (Christopher Reeve) “in a different life.” DO YOU SEE! SHE WAS LOIS! AND HE WAS SUPERMAN! And she’s saying it to the actress who played Lana Lang in Superman III! Who’s now playing Clark’s mother! Even Oedipus didn’t have as many issues!

I should really stop watching.

currently playing: New Order — Krafty

zang tuum tumb

My musical discovery of the weekend; part DJ set, part documentary, and part art-project, featuring portions of Words And Music read by Paul Morley himself. The story of Pop Music in the 20th century, in just under an hour. And if you’ve read Words And Music, there’s no prizes for guessing what the final song is!

Anyway, off to London tomorrow for a job interview. If you spot a bewildered me wandering lost around the London Underground tomorrow, point me towards Moorgate…

currently playing: Slumber Party — Electric Boots


Well, I was going to point you the debut of New Order’s new single, Krafty. But it seems that Radio 1 doesn’t archive all of its shows anymore. So booooo to them.

Meanwhile, the BBC has apologised for using the Red Hand in Blue Peter.

Hopefully, I’ll update sometime in the next few days when I find a copy of Krafty (and also assuming its any good!)

EDIT: Okay, Pete Tong played it tonight. Go here and have a listen (It should take you to straight to the song). It sounds like a subdued Regret to me. Not bad!

currently playing: New Order — Dreams Never End