Okay, so perhaps it was only thirty seconds...

You can all slap me when you see me next…

currently playing: Call and Response — Rollerskate

To The Occupant of Room 56

Morning AfterglowMorning Afterglow Electrasy MCA Released: September 1998 Highest UK Chart Position: 19 Available on: Beautiful Insane

Considering Britpop's rock reputation, it's a little surprising to discover that most bands had a rather alarming tendency to indulge in ballads. Electrasy were described in the UK music press as being the British answer to Beck, but there's no sign of that here. This is a straight-forward ballad, plaintive and simple, both lyrically and in the string-drenched melody. It holds a special place in my memories, but that's because of the time that it's attached to; of playing it on a Saturday morning during the September Manchester sun (yes, sometimes the clouds parted up in the North). Listening to it now, I can't quite separate the memories from the song. And this is not a good song, really. A song for lighters. A cynical stab at plucking at the heartstrings and attempting to drain emotion away from the listener. A void, a vacuum, the sound of an airlock being opened and the oxygen being sucked out into space.

Which, coincidentally enough, leads us to the b-side, Lost In Space. There's another article to be written about how Britpop extended the life of the b-side for a few more years, but that's for another time. In contrast to the lead track, this remix of an earlier single is still worth a listen; a joining of angels, spacemen, lullabies, and other nonsense.

But I can’t write any more of this review. I can’t draw up enough enthusiasm. I can’t summon the person who I was. I can’t listen to it like I did. I can’t read the music papers anymore. I can’t remember. I can’t understand. I can’t. I.


A special music day today. The first time I’ve ever posted something of mine! Yes, today, I have been using Garageband to compose this astounding cover of John Cage’s 4’33”. Prepare to be amazed!


And, a nice, Oliver Postgate-style jaunt through space, I think, for the second song of the day. Have a good Friday everyone…

Lemon JellySpacewalk

currently playing: Edwin McCain — I’ll Be

Fancy A Punt?

Summer fun in Oxford

The Art of Noise

Oh, and the Paul Morley night was great fun!

currently playing: Rachel Stevens — Some Girls

Fahrenheit 9/11

Bowling for Columbine was a film about a man struggling to find reasons for a tragedy, ultimately becoming more bewildered than when he started. Fahrenheit 911 is one note repeated over and over, a focused rage at the Bush Administration and what it has achieved in the past four years. Moore uses every trick he’s learnt from his previous documentaries, incorporating pranks, selective editing, humour, and horror. The first post-title scene is astounding; even though the footage has been seen across the world thousands of times before, he manages to find a new way of presenting the attack on New York, a way that makes the terror of that day as immediate as it was then. From then on, the film takes a rather conventional, chronological view of things, detailing the Bush family’s connections to the bin Laden family, the flights out of America when all others were grounded, Afghanistan and how consultants to US energy firms ended up running the country, how the US government raises the terror warning level seemingly at a whim, and the evils of the USA-PATRIOT Act, which was passed despite most Senators not even bothering to check its contents.

The documentary saves its biggest impact for the second half, focusing on Iraq. However, it does so by almost completely ignoring the question of whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or not (save for a few pre-September interviews with Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell). Instead, it opens with the bombing of Baghdad, the green flares of exploding bombs blasting against night-vision cameras. Then, Moore shows us the results. Women and children covered in napalm burns. Dead US soldiers burnt, dragged along the streets and then hanged from a bridge. We didn't see this. I didn't see this, when watching the news in America. We were given a clean war, a war of embedded journalists and computer-generated maps. We didn't see this.

Finally, it looks at the US military. How the soldiers started out as gung-ho, CD-playing video gamers, but ended up bitter, disillusioned, and frightened. For this section, Moore returns to Flint, Michigan, to see the effect of war on his home town, resulting in scenes that make you want to break down and also fill you with a burning rage.

You should see it. Yes, it's completely one-sided, flawed, biased, and slanted. It has to be. When you consider that up to now, the only real critical news-based look at the Bush Administration is on Comedy Central, that the White House Press Corps decided to leave most of the tough questions to Helen Thomas, and that Fox News has done as much to conflate Al-Qaeda and Iraq as President Bush, this film is the only possible response. And its box office revenues suggest that people would like to hear something other than a regurgitation of government spin. This film isn't the whole truth, but it's a challenge to our media to start doing their jobs once more.

currently playing: The Go-Go’s — Vacation

No, he hasn't forgotten about South Carolina


(um, I promise to write about something other than politics soon. Probably Friday. In the meantime, just shake your head and back away slowly)

currently playing: Electrasy — Lost In Space

All You Dreams Are Made of Links

Michael Moore’s footnotes for Fahrenheit 911. I haven’t seen it yet (going on Thursday), but this looks rather impressive.

Feel smart again!

Draw pretty pictures!

The Singing Arc


One step closer to Battle Royale

currently playing: Björk — It’s Oh So Quiet

Your Daily Hate

I think that most people’s problem with Fox News is the hypocrisy. If they’d just drop their cries of ‘fair and balanced’, admitted that each anchor has a shrine to Newt Gingrich and Richard Nixon in the corner of their dressing rooms, and that they sacrifice an unsuspecting intern each month as an offering to Mammon, people would respect them more.

In other news, parts of the Bush Administration are looking to pass the Enabling Act. The Family shall rule for a thousand years! I really, really don't see why this is necessary. America elected FDR in 1944, Abraham Lincoln held elections in 1864 while the Civil War was still raging, and in 1814, midterm elections took place, even though the British had just burned the White House to the ground. He's what Lincoln had to say when advisors suggested postponing the elections:

We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.

And finally for today, it appears that the US Government is pushing for Pakistan to capture "High Value Targets" during the last few days of July (there's something going on in Boston that weekend, apparently). Some days, you think that you're being too cynical, that despite everything, there's got to be something of redeemable value hidden within. And on days like this, you realise that there isn't.

currently playing: Nina Nastasia — Oh, My Stars

Today's Dumb Lawsuit

Congratulations, Odeon! For the past three years, your web site has been a Flash-based monstrosity, crashing browsers left and right, and which currently comes up as a blank screen in the latest version of Safari. Thank goodness, then, for Matthew Somerville, who developed a site called Accessible Odeon. This site was simple HTML, viewable by even the most humble browser, and you could do everything except book tickets. Oh, and it was five times faster than the Odeon site. Hurrah! The site even got a mention in the Guardian.

Accessible Odeon is now off-line. Last year, Odeon said that they were aware of the site, but weren't planning on taking any action. This week, they changed their minds, sending Matthew a cease-and-desist order for violating Odeon's trademarks and the database rights of their movie times.

Yes, Odeon can control who prints what time they're showing films.

So I guess it's back to the paper for film times. Odeon don't seem to be in a hurry to redesign a site that is broken in about five different ways, and they've crushed somebody who was helping them get business. Bravo!

currently playing: The Clash — I Fought The Law