DAAAAAAAYYYY 2

After yesterday, I have a survival guide: don’t even attempt to watch the convention before 8pm Eastern, and things will be a little more interesting.

But today's big news has been THE BATTLE OF THE RADICALS!

ITEM! Ann Coulter's report from Boston was rejected by her employer, USA Today, on the grounds of "basic weaknesses in clarity and readability that we found unacceptable." Here's Ann's original report. A choice quote:

As for the [lack of] pretty girls, I can only guess that it's because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the UN Security Council's approval.  Plus, it's no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.

Nice.

ITEM! Bill O'Reilly vs. Michael Moore in a FIGHT TO THE DEATH! "One shall stand! One shall fall!" Or a streetside debate. Lots of O'Reilly trying to get him to apologise to Mr. Bush for accusing him of lying. Moore's position is very shaky on this, but O'Reilly's ground isn't much firmer — the Butler report complained about how qualifiers were removed from intelligence briefings, making things seem more definite than they were. And of course, they still haven't found any nuclear material, or evidence that Iraq was buying it through Niger.

M: I would be willing to sacrifice my life to track down the people that killed 3,000 people on our soil.
O: Al Qeada was given refuge by the Taliban.
M: But we didn’t go after them—did we?
O: We removed the Taliban and killed three quarters of Al Qeada.
M: That’s why the Taliban are still killing our soldiers there.
It's fun to see both sides putting words in each other's mouths. Such a wonderful debating technique.

BEN AFFLECK! *SWOON*

Ask him about the girl in the back of the car!

"That's not my kind of humour" — Oh, Ben, was Mallrats that bad?

I think Bill and Ben are about to hug. Words you never thought would spring from Ben Affleck's mouth: "Ba'athist secular state".

Ted Kennedy! Oooh! Using John Adams for bitchslapping purposes! CLASSY.

By the way, I do love how, even though they both went to Yale, and are both extremely rich, "Bush is the common man." Does the common man often own a baseball team?

Anyway, Fox is about to show the MM v. R exchange. From the script I've read, Moore comes off worse. I have a feeling it's going to be two people yelling at each other for five minutes.

Yep. Oooh:

NADER'S COMING TO TOWN TOMORROW! HE'S GONNA CALL YOU OUT, KERRY!! Or something.

I'm getting more depressed as this convention rolls on. But hold on! It's howard Dean! They've brought out the tambourines! The crowd loves him. Standing ovation and everything. Just start talking! They'll soon quieten down. The usual topics: Healthcare, the war, and veteran's benefits. And now everyone is dancing to Sister Sledge.

Christie Vilsack is talking about a pen that Harry Truman gave her. The convention floor is getting restless.

Oh, sorry, got distracted. The keynote tonight is by Barack Obama. He's good.

" If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties."

Convention Fatigue is beginning to set in. But here comes Ron Reagan. Only talking about stem cell research, but it looks good to have a Reagan on stage. "They are just grinding a political axe, and they should be ashamed of themselves." Ouch.

"It does not follow that a theology of the few should outweigh the health of the many." Heh.

And, you know, I don't think I'll stick around for the Kerrys.

currently playing: The Divine Comedy — Come Home Billy Bird

Well, I Hope You Feel Safer…

The FBI: Using the USA PATRIOT Act to stop the terrorist menace of Stargate SG-1 fans!

currently playing: Delays — Wanderlust

Conventional Hell

Yes, I am this sad. I am watching the Democratic National Convention on C-SPAN.

Hmm, it's like a festival, really. Nobody you've heard about is on for the first few hours. Then there's a slow roll-out of some people you may have seen once in a while, then BAM! Primetime and there's Al Gore and Jimmy Carter. And for the headliners: The Clintons and Patti LaBelle! It's just like Glastonbury, except that it's inside, smaller, with fewer cows, but comes with a bonus "Protest Zone", replete with razorwire and armed guards.

C-SPAN is airing a pre-game show! All the build-up! All the excitement! And 59 minutes of filler!

Oooh, a hammer!

Hmm, the vicar looks uncannily like this:

And here comes the army. Still, it's more interesting than the Younger Younger 28s so far. Oh, spoke too soon — Miss Teen New Mexico is now singing the national anthem.

"Hello, Democrats, I'm from Michigan" — we're so very, very sorry (a cheap shot, heck one of my favourite bands comes from there, but I had to take it)

Hmm, perhaps I'll come back at eight, when I'm more in the mood…

Incidentally:

John Kerry

Sam The Bald Eagle:

AL! AL! AL! AL! They couldn't resist a jibe. And he opens with a joke! "You win some, you lose some, and then there's that little known third option..." That SNL appearance gave him some well-needed humour. He doesn't seem stiff anymore. But if he snogs Tipper again, I'm going to be sick.

"I believe that every boy and girl should be able to dream of one day, being able to win the popular vote"

Cracking wise and going for the Republican and third-party votes. Where were you in 2000, Al Gore 2004? Where were you?

And he even mentions Clinton! WHERE WERE YOU FOUR YEARS AGO?

Next up, a cynical stab for women's votes. And a cheer for Hillary! Just don't tell her you're for non-secular programmes in school, eh, Bonnie?

And now…CUTE CHILDREN! SINGING!

I wonder how many people are watching. It's a bit like the Oscars, but without any of the excitement. And lots of waiting around when the networks go to a commercial. By the way, if you're in the UK, BBC Parliament is taking the C-SPAN feed, so you don't have to settle for a postage stamp of video that cuts out every half-hour (The Internet — so full of promise, but not quite there yet)

The elephant is so ugly he sleeps his head Click click click click click Click himself under

Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter

A little dig at "active military service," there, Jimmy. And a not-so-subtle one too.

He's not as funny as Gore. But says all the right things. They're going after Bush more than I was expecting, although I suppose that's what these speeches are for.

Hmm, got distracted there. Hope I didn't miss anything.

Anyway, I think the reason why conventions are so dull these days is because nothing is at stake anymore. The object of the convention is to pick a candidate, but the candidate is already known months before, so it's all a bit pointless. What you want is a close-run race, ending up with a battle in the convention centre, with pundits providing real-time analysis of whether the support of the Yuppie Ladder 101 Union will give a candidate enough delegates to push them over the edge. Make things exciting again. Admittedly, the last time that such an event occurred was probably back in 1972, when George McGovern pulled off a stunning victory over the other candidates, outmanoeuvring them at every turn. He then went on to lose to Nixon 49 states to 1. Only one state didn't vote for Nixon. My God, that's a horrible thought.

And this is a HORRIBLE version of Blowing In The Wind

Missed quite a bit again. There's now a reverend who served with Kerry in Vietnam talking. But I think he's just finished.

Hillary! And she knows a thing or two about healthcare. ho ho. hmm, and the span feed has dropped out, leaving her sounding like a robot. But Robo-Hillary is going down well. BILL! BILL! BERRY! Whoops, wrong Bill. But she's introducing him now – woo!

And the crowd goes nuts.

He's thanking previous speakers. It's an Al/Bill reconciliation! hurrah! My, is it so long? There's sentences, progressions, comparisons, and even building of arguments. And he brings the funny! Damn, he's good. He's currently outlining the reasons to vote Republican - less police, tax cuts for the rich, assault rifles on the streets, and now, listing all the achievements of the Clinton Years — "It was better." And pointing out how both he and George Bush dodged Vietnam, but Kerry went of his own accord.

"Strength and wisdom are not opposing values."

currently playing: DNC 2004

25 Reasons Why

Supersonic single coverColumbia (White Label Demo) Oasis Creation Records Released: April 1994 Highest UK Chart Position: 31 Available on: Supersonic

  1. Because it was their first single yet was never actually released as a single.
  2. If you're to believe the mythology (and myths are almost always simpler than the truth, but have a truth of their own, independent of whether they are lies themselves), this demo was produced by the band itself, proving that Noel Gallagher was something of a genius after all.
  3. The way the drums are at the front of the mix, even ahead of Liam's vocals, but you never notice because Tony McCarroll was such an abysmal drummer, even when compared to a scurry of squirrels.
  4. Despite being responsible for the rise of Britpop, the song is called Columbia, thus getting around to world music before Morocco was even a glint in Damon Alban's eyes.
  5. Because it was the opening song at Knebworth, a show that at the same time was the height of Oasis's popularity, and the moment that killed them as a creative force. Where could they go from there? The biggest band in the country, adored and hounded by the press. The Beatles dealt with it by retreating into the studio, locking themselves away from their fans and remaking pop music. Oasis wouldn't, or couldn't do that, and their fate was sealed.
  6. Its catalogue number is CRE176, which brings to mind 1976, Year Zero.
  7. "I can't tell you the way I feel / because the way I feel is oh so new to me", is both the worst lyric Noel ever wrote, and the best; a way of making us relate to the new pop stars thrust into fame and confirming that this is a love song.
  8. This is a love song. "This is peculiar / we don't want to fool ya" are the struggling words of a boy who realises that pulling pig-tails is not all he wants to do.
  9. This is a love song. Because Oasis were at their best when writing about love, even if they couldn't put it all into words.
  10. This is a love song. How could it be anything else?
  11. They even use samples on this song. Thus jumping ahead of retro before they decided to jump right back in.
  12. Towards the end, you can clearly hear the Scotch Skeleton saying "re-record, not fade away", giving this record an ancestral history, locking it to 1985. Its predecessor from that year is New Order's The Perfect Kiss. Columbia strips out the dance and simplifies the lyrics, resulting in pure communication.
  13. It sounds nothing like The Beatles. Indeed, The Fab Four Comparison was always something of a lazy criticism. Definitely Maybe sounds like Noel's music collection condensed into one record. The Kinks, The Smiths, The Stooges, The Stone Roses, and even Holly Johnson — they're all here, mixed in with The Beatles. Even Morning Glory has fewer Beatle-isms than you'd expect.
  14. This version lacks Noel's vocals in the instrumental section, but it helpfully provides enough gaps for you to sing along if you desire.
  15. What is the gibberish at the start? Backmasking, foreign tongues, glossilalia ? Or just plain nonsense?
  16. The way the lead guitar sounds fresh and clean at the start before disappearing into the mix, as if it's taking a deep breath of air before it submerges.
  17. Liam Gallagher claims to have written one of the verses, but can't remember which one.
  18. It's 5:25, but you'd never know it.
  19. In the end, it was something of a red herring. The band wrote and recorded a new song, Supersonic to be their real first single, with this song relegated to the fourth track on the CD. Columbia was re-recorded for Definitely Maybe, losing something of its magic when reprocessed through the eyes and ears of Mark Coyle and Owen Morris.
  20. Reason 20 remains hidden under the Thirty-Year-Rule, and will only be revealed to an unsuspecting public in the year 2023. But it will be worth the wait, I assure you.
  21. "I can see the signs, but they're not very clear" — they never were.
  22. They buried Tony McCarroll, you know.
  23. In the grand scheme of things, this isn't as good as How Soon Is Now?, Temptation, Nothing Can Stop Us, or You Really Got Me, but when you're listening to it, it is the greatest rock record of all time. It also makes a case for pop record, but falls a little short by being long.
  24. The end comes when expected, but the way it does is not.
  25. nyah nah nyah nah nyah nah nyah nah nyah

Behind The Sofa!

Remember the Bush records that were accidentally destroyed? Well, the Pentagon decided to look under the cushions, and behold! They managed to find them, after all. No real revelations, but if he was there during the contested period, he never flew, and didn’t take any pay, either.

currently playing: Oasis — Columbia

I'll show you mine if you show me yours

Floodlit World (Same Band e.p.) cover) Floodlit World Ultrasound Fierce Panda / Nude Records Released: July 1997 / April 1999 Highest UK Chart Position: Did Not Chart / 39 Available on: Same Band E.P.   While there are many bands who never got a chance of success, there are others that had a brief moment of fame and then infuriatingly threw it all away, often by appearing in a photo shoot with a Smurf and a panther. Ultrasound managed to avoid the dreaded blue freaks, instead building up a good reputation and blowing it on a rather poor debut album. They were a five-piece band headed up by Andrew Woods, also known, rather inappropriately as ‘Tiny’, the evil step-child of Gary Glitter and Bryan Ferry (charges have yet to be filed for custody), covered in eye-shadow and glitter. They were destined for the stars, but they ended up back in the gutters.

Everything about this song is great. It builds up gradually, creating a universe from nothing; clean organs introduce us to the stars, then a quiet guitar begins sketching out the planets, a simple sound, yet building in intensity, like prog, but more like Trevor Horn, until the lead guitar and drums burst in as a blaze of white light, with the first verse punching through the speakers shortly afterwards. This song is white; intensely pure, and yet, close up, a mongrel; a pop confection that sounds like a nine-minute epic compressed into five minutes of glory.

And what is it about? An explosion? The end of the world? Being the last inhabitants of a planet? Or just two people in love, turning up the contrast of the environment around them so they can see the delineation of the light and dark in everything, diving positives from negatives, and watching rainbows emerge from the rain? But really, who cares? It sounds wonderful.

It took Ultrasound two years after this record to release their first album, recording other excellent songs like Kurt Russell and Best Wishes, neither of which appeared on the double-CD Everything Picture, which came out in 1999 to rather large indifference. Their time in the moment had passed, and the ghastly production that watered down their songs didn’t help either. What they did to Floodlit World was a travesty; the new version sounded as if they had taken the original song and flung it into a tar pit, recording its death-throes as it struggled to reach the starlight where it once flew. I beg you, do not get the album to listen to this song. Go to the Fierce Panda website and get the Same Band E.P., or send me an email if they no longer sell it. I will send you a copy of the original so you don’t have to suffer when you could be soaring.

Just The Facts

Lawrence Lessig’s (part of the legal team on Outfoxed) open letter to Bill O’Reilly

currently playing: Bran Van 3000 — Love Cliché

Sweet Sunflower

Underneath the star of David A hundred years behind my eyes And with my half of the ransom I bought some sweet, sweet, sweet Sweet sunflowers And gave them to the night

So It Started…There

Only one song today, mainly because nothing can compare to the majesty of this:

William ShatnerCommon People

It's the cover you never demanded! Backed with a Casio keyboard playing the demonstration tune! TRAPPED IN A WORLD IT NEVER MADE!

currently playing: Black Box Recorder — Up Town Ranking

Confused

I’m confused by the whole Sandy Berger affair. It just seems rather strange. Firstly, who would be stupid enough to do what he did? Surely a former National Security Advisor should know better than that. The reports themselves tend to contradict; some say that Berger removed files from the Archive, and Republicans have been spinning this to say that he was covering up for the Clinton Administration (admittedly, this is Rick Santorum, so the credibility is not high), whereas the Commission itself says that Berger only removed copies and did not affect their investigation (I can’t find a link for this, but I read it last night, I promise). Then there’s the odd, unsubstantiated, reports of him stuffing papers into his socks, which his lawyer vigourously denies. Plus, why did the staff of the National Archive set up a sting operation? Surely it would have been better to stop him each time they suspected that he was removing documents? That way, nothing that wasn’t supposed to would have left the Archive.

Why is Bush saying that this is a serious matter, when the FBI privately says that it's really not that important? Why has this been leaked now, instead of months ago? Is the Justice Department getting ready to press charges? No, they say that the investigation is still ongoing, but they have no plans to do anything to Berger at the moment. So there's no reason for it to have leaked, apart from, say, the 9/11 report, or the Democrat Convention next week.

(There's an alternate theory going around that says that the Democrats engineered this leak, to prevent it from hanging over them as a potential election spoiler.)

I'm just confused.

(I'm on page 351 of the 9/11 report at the moment (not feeling well enough to do much else today), and there's nothing really damning, although Bush keeps on mentioning that he used to be a pilot, which I find amusing for some reason. And this:

Clarke has written that on the evening of September 12,President Bush told him and some of his staff to explore possible Iraqi links to 9/11.“See if Saddam did this,”Clarke recalls the President telling them.“See if he’s linked in any way.” While he believed the details of Clarke’s account to be incorrect,President Bush acknowledged that he might well have spoken to Clarke at some point,asking him about Iraq.
)

currently playing: Saint Etienne — Saturday