A Flash of Clean White Hope

They say that music has become plastic and anodyne. They say that music is no longer political. They’re reduced to hyping rather mediocre bands, proclaiming them as the next big thing, despite the insipid 70s New York sound.

These people are Wrong, and Not To Be Trusted.

Sleater-Kinney played Carrboro last night. I’ve been eager to see them live for over four years now, ever since hearing ‘Little Babies’ as a Mark ‘n’ Lard record of the week.. Expectations? After that long, it would have to be one of the greatest concerts I had ever attended.

It was.

One of the benefits of arriving at least thirty minutes before the doors open is that you can normally get a good position in front of the stage. So I found myself less than an arm’s length away from Carrie as the concert began. That didn’t last long, as I let some short people go in front of me after the first song, but it was cool nonetheless.

They were absolutely fantastic. Playing most of their new album and a selection of old songs (sadly neglecting ‘The Hot Rock’, but they played ‘I Want To Be Your Joey Ramone’, so all is forgiven), they were even more energetic in person than on their records. Carrie was a Rock ‘n’ Roll God, pulling off poses that make Paul Simonon look tame in comparison, and dancing across the stage with a horizontal moon-walk (while staying playing the guitar, naturally). Corin was slightly more restrained, but just as irresistible. And then there was Janet. She was fabulous, ranging from the controlled precision of ‘One Beat’, to her showcase wild drum solo towards the end of the set.

They finished with a blistering version of ‘Step Aside’ that had everybody (and I mean everybody) dancing to the Motown-tinged beat. Of course, they came back for an encore, finally ending with ‘Little Babies’ and a roof-raising ‘Dig Me Out’.

Sleater-Kinney are probably one of the best bands on the planet today. But you won’t find them on the cover of Rolling Stone, or the NME, despite the critical acclaim that they have received on the past few years. They’ll never be hyped as much as The Strokes. Partly, this is down to them sticking to the independent record label KillRockStars rather than moving to a major (unlike certain bands), but I can’t help feeling that the a major part of this is the ’s are icky’ factor. So they remain one of rock’s best kept secrets.

I’m still partially deaf in one ear. Every bone in my body aches. But Carrie winked at me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

UPDATE: Pictures (a few, anyway) here

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney - Lions And Tigers



A Goldfish Named George

The funny.

Slight correction to the holiday dates - I’m only going to be staying until January 6th, as classes begin on the 7th, and I suppose I shouldn’t be missing them.

It looks like I’m going to become the Official Supplier of Robot Goodness to the V Forum, as Diamond will no longer be shipping any of the Transformers mini-series to any location outside of North America. And there’s no UK distributor yet (and even when one is found, you can be sure that they’ll resize the comic to the standard UK comic size), so British readers have to find black market back channels to get their Giant Robots fix.

Someone lock my credit cards away. Yes, I know they serve no use. But they’re so cute. Just try and tell me you don’t want to see Mr. Pink trying to outrace Amelie on a Tron lightcycle. You can’t, can you?

currently playing - Saint Etienne - I Was Born On Christmas Day

Try Not To Breathe

Still slightly terrified. But look! A squirrel!


I wish I had something exciting to talk to you about, but my absence for the past few days has been due to 10+ hour days of revising, supplemented by wandering around a very empty residence hall. Not many people hang around in the fall break apparently.

The backlog of films I want to see seems to be growing. Currently, the list is: Bowling For Columbine, The Rules of Attraction, Punch-Drunk Love, and The Truth About Charlie. Three of these films have been out for two weeks now, but they don’t seem to be in a hurry to make it down to the Triangle region. The DVD list is getting longer as well; this week should see The Killer and Battle Royale arriving at Bicester, and we’re getting closer to the release dates for Roman Holiday and Sunset Boulevard. I refuse to submit to the authority of the Christmas Zone. Unless threats are made, of course….

currently playing: Echobelly - Car Fiction - French Version

Lost In The Supermarket

One depressing thing about living in a residence hall is that you spend your time in supermarkets looking at all the things that you can’t take back and cook, no matter how appealing they look. I can fit a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer section though, so it’s not all bad.

Midterms now less than a week away. And I haven’t even started revising yet. This is not going to be good….

The Telephone Bill That Refuses To Be Paid

I’m now on my third attempt. It seems that American cheques are just different enough to create confusion in just where I’m supposed to sign, so they’ve helpfully sent the cheque back, and realising that I’ve already got it wrong twice, circled where they think the signature should be.

There was a reason why they got rid of all the different flavours of Kryptonite in 1986 - they were fun at first, but soon became an obvious crutch that writers relied on all too often. Smallville hasn’t learnt that lesson, dragging out a by-the-numbers Red Kryptonite story early in the new season. Predictable and insipid. And I resent the hyping of the soundtrack afterwards, which gives the impression that the WB are selling music spots on the show.

Fall Break begins tomorrow. I plan to celebrate with work and revision. Although I do have a 400W power supply on order, so I might try to upgrade my computer again at the weekend. Hopefully it’ll go a bit smoother than last time. I’ve also ordered my plane ticket for home - I’ll be back on December 18th, and staying until January 7th. I will obviously expect Bicester to have undergone huge changes in my absence…

currently playing: Beth Orton - Carmella

(That's) How You Sing Amazing Grace

Low laughed and made jokes. Not quite what you would have expected from listening to their records. They played all the songs that I wanted to hear (with one exception; the second greatest Christmas song ever wasn’t performed, but it’s not Christmas yet, see?), and more besides. The music felt like it was an intricate cobweb that the slightest touch would disintegrate (especially on Point Of Disgust), only to suddenly transform into tempered steel as they became louder and faster, faster and louder. I met two nice people, April and Jo, who had driven all the way from Charlotte to see the show. They bought the support act a drink, that’s how nice they were. I also bumped into one of the students in the Operating Systems class that I’m assisting, so the first concert in Chapel Hill wasn’t quite the solitary pursuit that I thought it would be at the start of the evening.

Of course I forgot to bring my camera, but I will hopefully remember to take it for next week’s main event: Sleater-Kinney.

currently playing: Low - Just Like Christmas

Fun With Google

After talking to Luke yesterday, I decided to have a look through my logs and see what search requests have been hitting the site recently. Amusingly, the site is the #1 result for ‘You broke my heart, Fredo’. I’m also on the first page for seaches on ‘Jack McCoy’. There’s a few hits from the V Forum’s egosurfing event last weekend as well.

Worked a little better today, managing to get the web proxy server mostly finished this afternoon; I just need to add some code to generate the statistics for the report, and then I can move on to the testing phase. I still didn’t do as much as I wanted though, so there’s room for improvement.

MSCL update: AnotherUniverse hasn’t paid BMG one dollar for the box sets. Which means they’ve been sitting on over $300,000 for about nine months now. As you can imagine, people are even less happy than they were when the box set was listed on Amazon. AU is apparently going to meet BMG tomorrow to sort out the financial details, but I don’t think we’re ever going to see the box set materialize from them.

currently playing: Angel

Sick, Sober, and Sorry.

This entry is being written whilst being curled up in my bed, Linus-style. I did plan to get some work done today, but I just seemed to collapse every time that the thought of doing anything entered my mind. This probably has something to do with the pressure I put myself under for the compiler project this week. So I spent the day reading some more of my book, and watching His Friday and Broadcast News.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some work done tomorrow…

currently playing: Kelly, Gene , O’Connor, Reynolds - Good Morning

The Rain In Chapel Hill Falls Mainly On The Plain

Considering it was still warm and sunny at the start of the week, the amount of rain that’s been pouring down for the past twenty-four hours is extremely impressive. It should help the water shortage somewhat, I suppose.

This week in Transformers: Armada: the kids take the minicons to a carnival. FOR THIRTY MINUTES. Look, it’s quite simple to write a half-decent Transformers story; you take big giant robots, and have them fight each other. Having them wandering aimlessly around a fair is not exciting. In the slightest.

Did I mention that I was going to see Low on Monday? Mormons are cool.

Akaka (D-HI) Bingaman (D-NM) Boxer (D-CA) Byrd (D-WV) Chafee (R-RI) Conrad (D-ND) Corzine (D-NJ) Dayton (D-MN) Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI) Graham (D-FL) Inouye (D-HI) Jeffords (I-VT) Kennedy (D-MA) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Mikulski (D-MD) Murray (D-WA) Reed (D-RI) Sarbanes (D-MD) Stabenow (D-MI) Wellstone (D-MN) Wyden (D-OR)

When yesterday’s vote is as infamous as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, remember that these Senators (and some Congressmen) voted no. In the strongest possible terms:

Make no mistake, we are voting on a resolution that grants total authority to the president, who wants to invade a sovereign nation without any specific act of provocation. This would authorize the United States to act as the aggressor for the first time in our history. It sets a precedent for our nation – or any nation – to exercise brute force anywhere in the world without regard to international law or international consensus.
Congress must not walk in lockstep behind a president who has been so callous to proceed without reservation, as if war was of no real consequence.
currently playing: Funny Face - Stanley Donen/Audrey Hepburn/Fred Astaire