Another year…

…another Grant Morrison interview. Warning: contains ideas.

A choice quote:

I still think the manga format is going to be where the big action is and that Tokyopop is currently setting the pace as far as remaking comics into something attractive to the mainstream goes - they've already got Courtney Love writing for them, haven't they, and surely she knows a bandwagon when she sees one trundling around the corner?

currently playing: Modest Mouse — Float On


If you saw Jeremy Clarkson’s documentary on the computer tonight, then please ignore his tirade on how the secrecy of Colossus let the Americans overtake us in the computer industry. His researchers failed to uncover the Manchester Baby, the first von Neuman architecture machine, and the very successful commercial computers that Ferranti sold based on that design. Or how Manchester invented virtual memory with the ATLAS computer, which was the fastest in the world during the early 1960s. Or how Britain still had an active independent computer industry into the 1990s. It’s fun to blame the government for its destruction and the eventual American take-over, but it’s just not true.

(I was also incensed at his side-lining of Turing, but that's another story. Yes, the engineer should have got more recognition. But Colossus would not have been made without Turing, and his work defined the limits of computability. Everything we have today stems from his theoretical work. That's why he's celebrated today; not just for his WWII effort, but for everything else he gave us, before our government chemically castrated him for the offence of liking men)

currently playing: The Beat — Save It For Later

We Were Only Links

America! Japan! We salute you!

Another weird little flash game, complete with freaky intro.

Ho ho ho.

Ho ho ho (Part 2).

And finally, are you registered to vote in Florida? Are you on this list? If so, you might want to sort that out before November…

currently playing: Call and Response — Rollerskate


Michael Moore:

I don’t agree with the copyright laws and I don’t have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they’re not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that,

Jack Valenti, outgoing head of the MPAA:

I don’t think there’s really a single actor or director in the world who does not believe that if you don’t combat piracy, it will devour you in the future.

All those BitTorrent-enabled, here's a link to a camcorder version. Personally, I'm waiting until it goes on release over here later this month…

currently playing: The Polyphonic Spree — Light & Day (orchestral version)

Young Man!


currently playing: Kenickie — Can I Take U 2 The Cinema?

I only wanted something else to do but hang around

Stars (reissue) coverStars Dubstar Food Released: July 1995 / March 1996 Highest UK Chart Position: 40 / 15 Available on: Stars — The Best Of…

If Saint Etienne encapsulated the sound of the big city, then Dubstar were the sound of the suburbs; sad and disconnected, wearing imitation designer clothing from the local market. The trio formed in 1993, signing to Food after they sent in a demo consisting of nothing more than a cover of Billy Bragg's St. Swithin's Day (a full version of which can be found on their first album, Disgraceful). This is their debut single, although it was also their fourth, reissued after they picked up popularity during the latter half of 1995.

Is it asking too much of my favourite friends
To take these songs for real?

Stars is about escape, and of failure. The dream of being taken away from a dreary existence in a backwater town and becoming something special. Her friends look on in quiet contempt, silently wanting her to fail, as she tries to escape through her singing. Even her lover doesn't believe that she can succeed. Perhaps she's singing on an empty stage; perhaps the stars in question are the performers, and only after they've gone out, can she venture out and practice for a fairytale ending that is never going to come.

What makes the single creepy is Sarah Blackwood's delivery. It's disinterested, sounding flat and dejected apart from the chorus, when she's fantasising about her escape. The music seems to owe a lot to ambient bands like The Orb, giving the song a very electronic and elegiac feel. The repetition of certain sound effects throughout helps to underscore the narrator's dissatisfaction with her dreary suburban existence.

If that sounds rather miserable, well, it is. But sometimes you need to hear the sadness within, and this record manages to capture a powerful frustration with reality. It also served, as this type of record often does, as a career map for Dubstar themselves. After the initial hits, the second album flopped, as did the third. The band’s working relationship became strained, and they eventually decided to disband in November 2000; the stars having gone out for them after seven years of being together.

The Future's So Bright

I’m sure there was a reason…

I Told Many, Many People

Just the one song this week. I first heard this a month ago, but missed the DJ announcing who it was. Thankfully, everyone’s favourite WXYC DJ, Susie, played it this Wednesday, so I was able to track it down at last.

Xiu XiuI Luv the Valley OH!

(how many songs use US state abbreviations, I wonder?)

okay, having just come across this, I feel that I have to post it as well. It's not everyday you find a Gregorian chant version of Heaven Is A Place On Earth, after all…

UnknownHeaven Is A Place On Earth

(I'm so very, very sorry)

currently playing: Kathy McCarty — Living Life

Spolier Warning For Some

There’s hope for Brian Krakow.

currently playing: Patti Smith — Because The Night

When You Wish Upon A Star…

Nings and Roundabouts CD coverWhite Horses And Shooting Stars Pullover Fierce Panda Released: May 1995 Highest UK Chart Position: Did Not Chart Available on: Nings And Roundabouts!

One of Britpop's major sins was what it did to the indie community. Suddenly, to get anywhere, you had to conform to the aesthetic: melodic 60s-referencing guitar pop, Attempts to do something different were looked on with some suspicion, and bands who weren't already established and didn't fit in had a tendency to disappear quickly. Pullover were one of these bands, managing to get signed to Starfish/Big Star and recording an entire album, only to have it junked before it was released. The band recorded another single and then decided to split. All that remains of Pullover are the singles that they released through the indie label Fierce Panda. White Horses And Shooting Stars was the second of these 7" singles, and can be found in CD form on the compilation Nings And Roundabouts.

It's great, whilst at the same time being almost completely out of place with all the groups surrounding them; strings and guitars mesh along with the sweet lyrics adding up to create something very twee indeed. If you managed to cut this record, it would bleed hair-grips and rainbow gel. You can imagine it being set upon by the other records in the shop; Oasis and Blur holding it down while Supergrass give it a wedgie, then throwing it off the counter and into the depths of the 50p discount box. Listening to them sing "Follow your dreams when you're awake / you can be the icing on the cake", you want to give them a big hug and protect them from the ravages of the world. It's a bit late now, though.

In retrospect, Pullover’s mistakes were to form a year early, and a lack of Scottishness. In 1996, Belle & Sebastian carved out a successful position as the kings of all things twee, discovering an audience that supported (and still does) many bands of a similar style. A rescue mission to the discount bin have been mounted, but by that time, Pullover had taken their toys and gone back inside, hiding from the bullies that gave them such a hard time. As if to underline this, the last thing they recorded was a cover of Wham!’s Last Christmas. They gave their hearts, and we threw them away.