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

Watching Isabel

The view from space.

Apparently, the current tracking information on the hurricane indicates that it will probably hit land at Cape Hatteras. Which is where I was staying back in April. It's weird to think that the house may be just a pile of rubble and wood by Friday morning.

Yay for the US Senate! Of course, the White House will probably veto the vote, but it's a start, I suppose.

currently playing: Primal Scream - Shoot Speed/Kill Light

A Day's Wait


Isn't Democracy wonderful? Sadly, I can imagine that next year, people will be in up in arms at the closure of schools, the ending of state scholarships, removing Medicaid support for some sections of the community, and cutting back on state troopers. Still, at least the state of Alabama can organise a public vote, which seems to be more than California can manage at the moment (incidentally, Gray Davis looks rather demonic in that BBC photo).

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day on Friday. Arrr!

The wars of the 21st century will be fought with model airplanes.

The item of clothing for this Autumn's dissatisfied youth. Just don't trust anybody who insists that he has a star in his head…

Stealth Disco!

Now, I was going to wish a good time to everybody going to the Bruce Springsteen concert tonight (or those of you sitting outside Kenan Stadium). But it appears that the concert was held yesterday. So any such wishes would be a bit pointless now. But I hope you had a good time anyway. Yes.

currently playing: Wilco - I am trying to break your heart.

Oh Dear

The harbinger of my upcoming trip to America. Um, sorry everybody.

I've spent the day fighting with my CD-Writer and reading through the CD-Extra specification. I now have lots of hilarious anecdotes about CD-ROM XA Mode 2 track layouts and ISRC codes to tell at parties. This should be considered a warning.

My name is German Bold Italic
I am a typeface
Which you have never heard before
Which you have never seen before
I can compliment you well
Especially in red
Extremely in green
Maybe in blue blue blue

currently playing: Interpol - Untitled

The Head of John The Baptist

Okay. I’ve turned the speakers off, plugged the headphones in (thus sparing my neighbours from the hideous sonics that would otherwise get me arrested for noise pollution). A glass of water and a sore leg. I’m not sure that the sore leg is necessary, but it appears to be here to stay at the moment.

And so we begin.

Metal Machine Music: Track 1.

[0:00] Okay, so there's feedback.
[0:15] Lots of feedback.
[1:42] Scarlily, it actually sounds quite musical at times.
[2:05] ZX Spectrum loading sounds!
[2:06] R: Tape Loading error
[3:44] Oh god, help me. I'm actually enjoying it.
[5:12] Someone's killing a cat!
[7:02] Here, it's beginning to sound like when the science programmes on television play the sound of the universe's background radiation.
[8:58] We're over halfway through the first track!
[10:42] Strange beeping in the right channel. It is trying to send me a message?
[12:27] A baby crying in the right channel?
[14:55] Someone's seen to the baby.
[16:11] End track 1

Track 2

[0:03] The baby's gone over to the left.
[1:01] My headphones are self-tuning - they just flipped out because they think it's static.
[3:36] Paul Morley was right.
[4:20] Was that a voice in the left?
[6:45] It's really quite beautiful. Brutal and disgusting, but beautiful.
[10:04] Disappointed that I haven't gone insane yet. (Mind you, would I notice?)
[11:07] Was that my eardrum?
[13:24] " And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets."
[14:32] Left eardrum starting to fail. But I shall not give up! I! Shall! NOT! GIVE! UP!

Track 3

[1:10] Glossolia. ah ah The Tower of Babel they knew what they were after
[2:16] The baby's back stretched across the sky.
[3:13] Hey! That almost sounds like a guitar. I'm almost disappointed.
[4:02] Starting to develop a headache.
[6:05] Is that the ice-cream van?
[7:13] I can't explain. I can hear patterns, notes, emerging from the feedback. Order from chaos. Or is that my mind trying to assert itself over reality? Where is my beautiful wife? How did I get here?
[7:59] Godspeed You! Black Emperor was born in Track 3.
[10:37] It occurs to me that this would be a great choice for a funeral. Especially if, as the deceased, you hated everybody. All! Four! Sides!
[11:02] Of course, they could promise to do it and then bottle out on the day.
[11:11] And then you'd haunt them to the end of their days.
[13:00] Did somebody just walk across the studio?
[14:20] Somebody should make a book on email junk mail. What was the first spam message sent? What is the story behind the 419 messages? Did the guy trying to make a time machine succeed?
[16:10] One more track left.

Track 4

[0:10] Somebody needs to make a continuous mix.
[0:45] The baby is yelling again.
[1:03] But, really, what was the reaction in RCA after the first play? "Gee, Lou. Thanks. Very funny. Now where's the record?"
[1:47] Some strange pulsing going on in the right hand channel.
[2:50] Marching?
[4:31] Feeling calm.
[5:29] I really am beginning to sense a tune. There is truly no hope for me.
[7:27] I think my left ear is starting to bleed
[8:32] Thinking about it, the best time to listen to this isn't during the day, but early in the morning, say 3am, with lots of people spread out on the floor.
[9:41] And that reminds me, I must get hold of Zaireeka.
[11:40] Final few minutes now.
[12:32] Nice.
[13:05] Sadly, this copy can't replicate the original release completely. The vinyl version has a "locked" groove on the final side, so it will actually play forever if you let it.
[13:49] BoBoom. BoBoom. BoBoom. The finality of the end is approaching.
[14:35] Faster, faster.
[15:04] Sweet Jane! Anyone who had a heart!
[15:35] The
[15:36] end
[15:37] is


currently playing: Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music (what, did you think I was making all this up?)

Can't Get You Out Of My Room

Finally finished Words and Music. I’m not quite sure what to make of it, to be honest. It’s a rambling mess, seemingly lacking an editor or a proofreader (“thier”?), it never really fulfills on the promise of the murder mystery, and it’s nothing more than a bunch of lists, with twenty page digressions on Kraftwerk and Simon Fuller, and a chapter that’s comprised mostly of footnotes. It’s laughably pretentious, in all the ways you’d expect from Paul Morley.

And's wonderful. It's everything music journalism should be: joyful and serious, critical and reverential, obscure and populist, descriptive and vague, Missy Elliot and John Cage, modern and nostalgic, obsessive and shallow, optimistic and despondent, entertaining and informing, digital and analogue, left and right, mysterious and clear.

I'm going to steal just about half of it. Plus, tomorrow, I'm listening to Metal Machine Music. Be afraid…

currently playing:

Let me tell you how it will be

Well, it certainly took them long enough to notice…

currently playing: KLF - Last Train To Transcentral

The Wonders of PR

Yesterday, the RIAA acted swiftly to try and avert a public relations disaster, after it found itself suing a 12 year old girl from a New York housing project. The maximum penalty the girl could have faced was a fine of $150m (American copyright laws have the potential of fining $150,000 per infringement, and the girl had over 1,000 songs on her computer). Realising that this would lead to more questions being asked of their recent crusade, the RIAA quickly settled with the girl’s family. The girl’s mother will pay a $2,000 fine to the RIAA. Brianna Lahara, the girl in question, said this to reporters:

I am sorry for what I have done. I love music and don’t want to hurt the artists I love.
I don’t know if the RIAA has been asked how much of this $2,000 will go to the artists. Wearing my British Cynic Hat (standard issue for all citizens), I guess that most, if not all of that sum will go into the pockets of the RIAA’s lawyers.

Which brings us to another question: what is the RIAA going to do with all this money it's collecting? Will they give some to the artists, and if so, how are they going to divide it up? A simple tally of how many times the artists appears in people's shared lists (in which case, remove all your Phil Collins and Celine Dion MP3s now)? What happens if we're sharing bootlegs? Giving more cash to Orrin Hatch, so he can continue to make stupid statements? We need to know!

Oh, and while the record companies huff and puff, they're not adverse to using the file-sharing networks for their own purposes.

currently playing: The Go-Betweens - Magic In Here

Camp Surreal

The question is, are they getting the girl or boy Happy Meals?

currently playing: Betty Boo - 24 Hours

The 2005 Sunset

The first part of a series investigating the PATRIOT Act. An important axiom for our times is buried within this article: Don’t mess with librarians.

It also seems to contradict Ms. Comstock's assurances in last week's Nightline documentary. Although the agencies need a judge to get a secret warrant, the judge is powerless to refuse their request, as long as they've filled in the paperwork correctly. Which seems to get rid of some of those pesky checks and balances,

currently playing: Radiohead - Optimistic