I Finally Find What I'm Looking For

Right. Step on the bus to the Triangle Park. I’m immediately asked for directions. I’m cursed. Happily, I do remember where the Sheraton Hotel is in Chapel Hill, but I take the slightly confused Russian girl to the correct bus stop just to make sure she doesn’t end up in New York.

Then, things got silly.

You see, the directions I had in my mind weren't the same directions that existed in reality. So I spent two hours wandering around the wrong part of Chapel Hill. Thankfully, my time in the Boy Scouts (okay, six weeks in Cubs, and I didn't get any badges) guided me back to the town centre (read: I doubled back on myself, looking for the tall buildings), and I finally managed to find someone who knew where Raleigh Street was (which took some doing. All I'll say is that if you want to rob the Town Hall, the security guards may have trouble remembering what street your getaway car took), and, two hours later, finally reached my destination. Dripping, no, flooding with sweat. Oh, the hilarity.

currently playing: Nothing, actually. There’s some crickets outside, I suppose.

Live From The Atlantic Ocean!

Yes, I’m writing this entry 37,000 feet up in the air. Just to say I can. Of course, I won’t be able to post it until I reach the ground, so I could have just lied and said that I was writing it at 37,000 feet. But I couldn’t do that to you, dear readers. Besides, I’ve got two hours left to kill; I can’t sleep any longer, I’ve taught the little girl in front to talk like a pirate, I’ve finished Slaughterhouse Five, today’s Guardian, and as much as the Daily Mail as I can stand without setting it on fire (and I don’t think the flight attendants would approve of that, somehow).

Anyway, Gatwick. As depressing as ever. It looks shiny, and you can easily be deceived by the brand new, sparkling duty-free section. As you go out to the gates, however, walls are replaced by temporary wooden panels (which have been there for over a year now) and plastic buckets to catch the water leaking in from the roof. We know how to show people a good time in Britain, naturally.

The security was as laughable as ever; a quick flash of my passport, and a short pat-down after I set off the metal detectors (one day, I shall learn to buy shoes that contain nothing metallic whatsoever). On arrival at RDU, I imagine we will be subject to a search regime that stops just short of the strip-search (hmm. Perhaps I should be less blasé about that. Tempting fate and everything), that'll last for about an hour.

An observation after spending far too long looking at the backs of albums in Virgin while waiting for my flight to be called: all the backs say "this label copy is protected by copyright". Are they seriously trying to say that listing the contents of an album is copyright infringement? If I tell you that the first track on the Dexy's greatest hits album is Geno, will the BPI take me to court? I have similar problems with the FA declaring that it owns football results. Madness!

The plane is strangely empty. Most of the centre seats are empty, so I've taken over an aisle; MP3 player on one side, book and notepad on the other. Is that business class feels like? Is that you John Wayne? Is this me?

Yes, I know that it's become cheap fodder for poor observational comedians, but after travelling to the USA for almost ten years now, the question still remains: has anybody, ever, answered yes to question C. on the I-94W Visa Waiver form? I've half a mind to write to the INS to inquire. "Dear sir, thank you for your email. The INS welcomes the chance to shed light on its internal activities, and we can inform you that 432 people have said that they have committed crimes of genocide and/or were involved in the running of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. We still chuckle a little at their stupidity. Have a nice day."

Hmm. My batter says 83% charged. I don't trust it. Any time now it could —

currently playing: Dexy’s Midnight Runners — Plan

Oh, A Warning

Bonnie, if I come back to find that you’ve shredded my books, your extensive *NSYNC collection goes in the microwave. Deal? 8-)

currently playing: The Clash — White Man In Hammersmith Palais

"I'm a travelling man"

Off to Chapel Hill again. I’ve no idea how often I’ll be updating the blog in the next few weeks, although I suspect that due to the extensive Wi-Fi network on campus, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference.

I'll see some of you in a day's time, and others in three weeks. Bye!

currently playing: Björk - Bachelorette

It was summer, now it's autumn

The Observer (the Sunday paper from the Guardian group) today published the first issue of its new monthly music magazine. Being nice people, they’ve put the whole thing on their website, so go have a look. Highlights include Paul Morley on his nefarious plan to smuggle Cat Power tapes into the Fame Academy, Lauren Laverne indulging in a spot of nepotism, and an excellent article by Miranda Sawyer on the perils and delights of being a pop journalist.

Also, spare a thought for Galileo, which, as I type this, is about to be torn apart by Jupiter's fury, after a faithful service of fourteen years.

currently playing: Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone

Back To Normal

Pirate-free for the next 364 days (okay, they might make a reappearance when Pirates of The Caribbean comes out on DVD)!

Three! More! Days!

currently playing: Aimee Mann — One

Arr! New Music, Me Hearties!

Shiver me timbers! Here be new music, landlubbers!

  • Snow PatrolHow To Be Dead

    The first track from their new album, Final Straw. Imagine, if you will, Sebadoh with Scottish accents. Something that I think we should all embrace. Unless you’re Lou Barlow, of course, in which case you might be a bit miffed.

  • Towa Tei ft. Kylie MinogueGerman Bold Italic

    Personally, I blame Paul Morley. He mentioned this track in Words and Music; I thought he was joking, but no, it does exist. Kylie sings about being a font. Yes. Gut ja!

  • Stellastarr*Jenny

    The American rediscovery of New Wave continues apace. And the singer sounds a little like Kevin Rowland, which is again something that should be encouraged in this day and age.

  • and speaking of the Devil…

  • Dexy’s Midnight RunnersManhood

    They’re back. Reformed, recording, and touring. This is a specially-recorded new track (“cynical addition to force old fans to buy a package of old songs” — Ed.) from their upcoming greatest hits collection. Not the best song that they’ve ever made, but I like it, and I hope you do too.

Yo-ho-ho! Now that you’ve seen me booty, me hearties, I be setting sail once more! Us gentlemen of fortune cannot dally for mere trifles! Yarrr! We be travelling over thar! Hoist the jolly roger, you scurvy dogs!

currently playing: The Pretenders - Don’t Get Me Wrong

The Little Storm That Could

My favourite part of the Isabel coverage is the newscasters getting indigent about the people remaining behind. “Don’t they know it’s dangerous? That they’re putting the medical and fire agencies at risk by being here?” they say, replete with full camera crews and heavy equipment. It’s not as if getting pictures from the centre of a hurricane is particularly newsworthy, although I admit, the images are fairly impressive.

In other news, Priest has returned to the web, after the Summer of Hell™. While I'm naturally disappointed with the cancellation of The Crew (as well as Marvel's handling of the promotion), I'm intrigued as to what Tom Breevort has offered him as a replacement. Considering that Priest was considering quitting the industry before talking to him, it's got to be a high profile title. My current bet? The Avengers. I know that Chuck Austen is about to take over the reins on that, but he's writing half of Marvel's output at the moment (or so it seems), so it wouldn't be inconceivably for Priest to slip after a short Austen-penned arc. However, I've just noticed the title on Priest's weblog entry is "Impossible Man", which points towards Fantastic Four. Either way, it'll be a great, possibly final, test of the Priest Curse: surely even he can't get one of the original 1960s Marvel comics cancelled.

currently playing: Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Manhood

Two fingers at the Supreme Court

An amusing analysis of the 9th Circuit’s recent decision to halt the California recall.

currently playing: Saint Etienne - He’s On The Phone

Watching Isabel, Part II

I know there’s a few people who read this blog from North Carolina. Stay safe over the next few days, okay? (yeah, I know Chapel Hill is well inland, and so should be reasonably protected against Isabel, but humour me)

Can't really work up the effort to talk about The Italian Job much. Fairly predictable, fairly enjoyable, and probably worth seeing if you like Seth Green (plus you get Mos Def thrown in for free). If you're put off by the remake factor, then let me put you at ease; aside from the minis, this is a completely different film from the original. The new version strives to do the same sort of super-cool reimagining that was found in Ocean's Eleven, but never quite manages to pull it off. Still, I didn't leave the cinema wanting to slaughter everybody involved in the production, unlike Mark Wahlberg's last film, so that's a bonus.

currently playing: Patti Smith - Birdland