Dangers of The Internet

There you are, hunched over the keyboard, and the thought pops into your head. You’ve never gone on a web search for Saint Etienne. Less than an hour later, you’re downloading obscure Japanese releases and scouring websites for information on fan-club only albums. You’ve found live sessions, discovered that the US version of Tiger Bay is completely different from the original UK one, and been surprised to find out that Sarah Cracknell doesn’t sing on Only Love Can Break Your Heart.

It's a sickness. And there's no cure.

By chance, I read the UNC newsgroups today. Which was good, because they were promoting a Creative Commons talk in Wilson Library that was going to take place this afternoon. I had read about most of the things discussed at the lecture, but it was nice to actually meet somebody behind the effort. The new idea of bringing back the Founders' Copyright seems interesting, and it's great to see that O'Reilly is backing the effort.

currently playing: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

She's The One

It’s the electric thrill the rips through my spine every time Sarah Cracknell sings the chorus of Nothing Can Stop Us:

I’ve never felt so good, I’ve never felt so strong, Nothing can stop us now! (no no, no no)

The song turns up on far too many of my compilations, even though I often get the title wrong, adding the 'now' (I would link to evidence to the latest example of this, but I won't for fear of incriminating myself). Is it a declaration that nothing can stop us anymore, or that we are invincible only for this moment?

Once again, not a lot to talk about today. The window in my office appears to be slightly broken and refuses to shut properly. Not useful when it's below freezing outside. I decided to cut my office hours short by fifteen minutes and find somewhere offering warmth.

I have the tax forms of DOOM. They don’t look all that scary, after a quick glance, but I’m sure there’s a lurking horror somewhere between lines 1023 and 1320…

currently playing: R.E.M. - Texarkana

Snow Again

Everybody got President’s Day off after all. I celebrated by watching Patton. Must remember to get some happy films every now and again.

  1. Beth Orton - I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine
  2. Confetti - It's Kinda Funny
  3. Aimee Mann - Wise Up
  4. Cat Power - Good Woman
  5. Gene - Olympian
  6. Radiohead - Exit Music (For A Film)
  7. The Beat - Save It For Later
  8. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
  9. Kate Rusby - I Wish
  10. Kenickie - Acetone
  11. Yo La Tengo - Our Way To Fall
  12. Joy Divison - Love Will Tear Us Apart
  13. Low - Point of Disgust
  14. Sleater-Kinney - A Quarter To Three
  15. Spiritualized - Cop Shoot Cop

I have Cat Power tickets!

currently playing: Ash - A Life Less Ordinary


If yesterday’s entry seemed a little confused, don’t worry — half of it is so cryptic that even I’m not sure what I was talking about. I blame part of the downbeat mood on my watching Get Carter after I came back from the protest. My, that’s a depressing film. Or did it start on Friday? Or Thursday night? I’m being annoying again. Anyway, sorry about yesterday.

We're going to lead an assault on the fourth floor. It wasn't just setting off the fire alarm. It was setting off the fire alarm when there's a blizzard of freezing rain outside. Ready the Tomahawks!

Google buys Blogger. Didn't see that coming.

Reviews indicate that I did the right thing by going to see Punch-Drunk Love and Breakfast At Tiffany's on Friday instead of Daredevil (although I was worried that the BaT print wouldn't survive the showing; frames were missing, sound cues were obliterated at various points. I know that the BFI did a restoration on the original print last year, but obviously UNC can't afford the shipping). See, I told you it looked awful...

I came late to the Bis party, but i'm sad to see them go. There's just no place anymore for small indie bands, is there?

In a bit of good news (it's been a little gloomy, don't you think), Priest has a new comic coming out later this year: The Crew. While I'm a bit suspicious about the motive behind this (it does look as if Marvel has said "Well, he's black, isn't he? Let's give him a title with all the second-rate black guys"), if Priest can make the Black Panther interesting, then I'm sure that this'll be a good read.

currently playing: The Clash - 1-2 Crush On You

The Universe is Sick And Twisted

Pictures from today’s rally in Raleigh (do you see?)

My first protest, amazingly enough. Reports indicate that there could have bee up to 4,000 people taking part in today's march. I'm not sure how I feel about it, to be completely honest. I suppose the old saying is true; sometimes going to a peace rally makes you wish that the B-52s would start bombing, just to be contrary. I don't really mean that. I don't know what I was hoping to get out of the march (okay, again with the honesty; I was secretly hoping for one thing—which went as well as you'd expect), but at the end of the hour-long circular route, I just felt empty.

What had I achieved by coming to the the protest? An hour spent trying to discern voices from the woefully inadequate sound-system, another tied up with wandering around the site looking at the different placards and encountering the counter-protest (complete with a marine yelling that he wasn't going to take a bullet for us. The effect was slightly spoiled when somebody in the pro-war crowd recognised a counterpart in the anti-war side, leading to an unexpected friendly wave), and then a final hour walking the streets of Raleigh. Not exactly world-changing. But I suppose that wasn't the intent. We were just pointing out that a lot of people aren't convinced of a case for war.

But is that enough? Should Tony Blair announce tomorrow that after seeing a million people in Hyde Park, he's decided to call the whole thing off? Do we want that precedent? What happens if a million turn up the week after, demanding the reintroduction of the death penalty?

I'm not against war at any price. Surely that's not a good policy, suicidal for a nation-state. All I want is a persuasive argument from the US/British Axis; one that doesn't rely on lies, half-truths and exaggerations. And that the decision doesn't split NATO in half.

I'm rambling, I know. I'm impressed that a million people demonstrated in London and that only five people were arrested. A nice contrast to the typical anti-globalisation protest. I also like the BBC's new policy of welcoming photos from the general public. Mob-Journalism here we come. Or is it Strangeways? I can never remember.

Is my music too loud? I think it isn't loud enough. But I don't think the speakers can get it as loud as I need it to be. And I doubt that it would matter anyway.

currently playing: Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)

Mixing It Old-style

Illustrator seems to have re-awakened the evil mixtape monster within me. Personally, I blame Andi Watson, and the fit-text-to-path function.

Anyway, here's a C90 for tomorrow's protests:


  1. Dexy's Midnight Runners - My National Pride
  2. The Clash - I'm So Bored With The USA
  3. Low - Canada
  4. The Pogues - Birmingham Six
  5. Bob Dylan - Masters of War
  6. Pulp - Mis-shapes
  7. Le Tigre - Dyke March 2001
  8. Manic Street Preachers - Repeat (Stars and Stripes)
  9. The Beatles - Revolution #1
  10. The Clash - London Calling
  11. Sleater-Kinney - Combat Rock
  12. Radiohead - Electioneering
  13. Billy Bragg - Which Side Are You On?
  14. Primal Scream - Know Your Rights
  15. The Smiths - Panic
  16. R.E.M. - Exhuming McCarthy
  17. Saint Etienne - Heart Failed (In The Back Of A Taxi)
  18. Sleater-Kinney - Far Away
  19. Super Furry Animals - The Man Don't Give A....

currently playing: The Magnetic Fields - I’m Sorry I Love You

Have Camera...

..give it to somebody else to take pictures with. Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Celtic Soul Brothers — no, hold on, I mean UNITAS 2003—

(warning - lots of large images need to load)

More here

currently playing: Mint Royale - Don’t Falter

Kiss & Ride?

Ah, it’s an area where parents can drop off their children safely. Not, as first feared, a service where you have to kiss the driver before you’re allowed on the bus. Potential embarrassing situation averted.

Yes, I've finally booked my Spring Break trip to Washington, where I will get a pair of Josh's enforcer sunglasses and look menacing. Stop laughing.

I'm going to be staying in Cheverly, MD, at this hotel, which is near the Metro station. However, I'm never simple; my first three days of Spring Break will be spent in Chapel Hill. The reason for this is that the annual Duke v. Chapel Hill basketball game is on the Saturday, and Laura tells me that the town goes completely crazy if UNC manages to win. Not much chance of that, but I think I should stay in town just in case.

One annoyance is that Amtrak refuse to send a ticket to university dorms. I can't see why, and it's irritating; Durham doesn't have a "Quik-Trak" station, so I'm going to have to pick up my ticket from an agent on the day. Grr.

By the way, have Easter Eggs gone on sale back in the UK yet? I haven't seen any here so far...

currently playing: Saint Etienne - She’s The One

I Won't Give You Anthrax or Anything

If I achieved nothing else today, I saved my students from the homework assignment from Hell. The professor snuck in a question at the last minute, assuming that it would be quite easy. I started working on the answer sheet this morning, only to get hopelessly stuck. A quick trawl on the Internet didn’t seem to find anything, so it was time to break out the big guns (see, they were useful). I eventually found an answer.

Which ran to ten pages of dense maths involving imaginary integrals.

One hurried email to the professor later, the question was removed. That should prevent a deluge of confused students at my office on Thursday...

I did intend to vote today. Honest. But the blasted website refused to let me enter with Mozilla, and then Internet Explorer wouldn't work properly, and then a student came in with some questions. So it slipped my mind a little.

Go and buy the new Nick Cave album.

Insane and stupid ideas at the ready.

Get Your War On.

currently playing: Nick Cave - Babe, I’m On Fire

Lettering Issues

I was playing with my shiny copy of Illustrator (God bless Adobe and their Educational Licence Programme). After spending many nights pulling my hair out with Sodipodi trying to get the lettering right for Schroedinger’s , it’s a major change. You just click, and the text flows. Wonderful.

Letter balloons are a strange thing. I’m not sure whether the influence of Western comics is affecting me or not. Look at these three balloons:

If this was plain text, I wouldn’t even consider the first font. But the balloon outline changes everything. The other two bubbles look artificial, whereas the first now looks natural. Is it just me? Have I been ruined by years of reading hand-lettered balloons?