Standing Down For The Man

I think it’s quite apposite that John Harris’s defence of record companies appeared alongside reports of the RIAA’s victory over Jammie Thomas. It’s rather hard to dredge up any sympathy for a group of companies that have inflicted a $220,000 fine on a person for sharing 24 songs (monetary value from iTunes: $23.76. It’s also worth noting that she got away lightly - if it was determined that she was sharing the files ‘wilfully’, she could have been liable for a fine of $150,000 per song). Especially when, during the course of the trial, they attempted to deny the existence of the space-shifting precedent defined in RIAA vs. Diamond Multimedia.

And really? The Klaxons and Kasabian as art over the marketing department? Sure, they're not exactly Rihanna in sales-stakes, but neither are they Disco Inferno. Kasabian are exactly sort of Britpop-revival-by-numbers band that bumps up a record company's figures, aren't they?

I'm not going to deny that record companies can be very helpful to a band (I'm a Factory fanatic, after all). I just don't think the current giants are good examples of this tradition. When even Kelly Clarkson has trouble getting her album released, there's something wrong in the Big 5 (or is it 3 now? Sony-BMG-Universal, EMI, and…Warners, I guess?)

Anyway, make mine a 99!

KLF – Justified and Ancient (Make mine a '99')

Once Again…Back With The Renegade Master

The soldiers’ paradise of the USA.

currently playing: Lucky Soul – Ain’t Never Been Cool

They're not wise!

Stupid wisdom teeth. Ow.

That is all.

Except that I’ve just created the most wonderful Mary Sue for a story…

currently playing: Left Banke – Walk Away Renee

Ten Years. Ten Years! TEN YEARS!

The Sound of Summer

The Odeon on Oxford Road, shortly before the end.

My first night at university was a disaster. The hall (St. Anselm’s Hall, or ‘Slems’ to alumnus, in a further attempt to create an Oxbridge atmosphere) opened up the bar to welcome the new first years inside its doors. This sounds like a great idea, and for most, it probably was, but sadly, I meekly fell in with a bunch of people on my corridor who by the end of the night were openly calling me a ‘trainspotter’.

This was not exactly what I had in mind.

Monday fared little better. After a day at the Computer Science building (now the Kilburn Building, of course; that afternoon, Tom Kilburn came in and spoke to us) in blessed anonymity, it was time to face the bar again. The girls of sister hall Ashburne came over to sample the delights of our bar. If the previous night was depressing, this was torture. Goodness knows what I was expecting; a group culled from memories of Angela Chase, Rory Gilmore and Joey Potter, probably. You see why I fared a touch better in America. By the end of the night, my feelings of inadequacy were total. I couldn’t see myself lasting the week.

On Wednesday afternoon, even the safety of the CS department was taken from me. They held a ‘wine and cheese’ afternoon so everybody could settle in and get to know each other. But the cliques had already formed and I was left with nowhere else to go except the Arndale Centre and the Northern Quarter. Solace in my record collection.

But Wednesday wasn’t finished with me yet.

I wasn’t going to go to the St. Gabriel’s Hall Bop (I did mention Oxbridge, didn’t I?). My experience on Monday was enough to know that I would spend the night alone and hating myself, flushing red whenever I had the misfortune to accidentally glance at a girl. However, Greg persuaded me to go with him (this was before the famous “Ian Goes To A Young Conservatives Meeting’ that swiftly ended that association).

It was awful. As expected, I sat alone for the the whole thing. Everybody else was having fun and dancing. I sat and brooded. About how I wished I could be like them, rather than antipathy, I might add.

Twenty minutes from the end, she sat down.

I can still remember how she just appeared in front of me, rubbing a can of Diet Coke across her forehead and saying how worn out she was.

Helen and I talked until the end of the Bop; about music, the courses we were talking, Maine Road, nothing and everything.

I went back to St. Anselm realising that she could have sat anywhere amongst the empty seats, but she didn’t. She sat with me.

It was going to be okay.

Nothing happened, possibly because I was An Idiot, but it was enough; the nights spent talking about NME covertapes, the first of many copies of OK Computer, laughing at the hypnotist at the ball, chance meetings in the street, and all the rest. But I should have probably danced more.

Then, in due course, the Table formed; a chance meeting in the snooker room with The Stone Roses’ Second Coming of all things, brute-forcing The Kevin Bacon Game, alt.blake-isms, Scream, Scream 2, Grosse Pointe Blank, the epic Titanic viewings, a £2.99 Best of New Order tape, the family tree of Richard O’Brien, drinking a pint of mild with Mark Radcliffe, seeing Kenickie bathed in glitter, and countless other weird and wonderful events. Here’s to Oxford Street and The Mancunian Way. Aside from the muggers.

currently playing: Ultrasound – Floodlit World

Can't Sleep.



My Google-Fu is mighty.

currently playing: PJ Harvey – Silence

Radiohead. 10 Days.

Now that’s a surprise.

A Public Service Announcement

You can run over an iPod Shuffle, but you can’t wash it.

There is possibly a time when these things become too small.

currently playing: Tindersticks – Can We Start Again?

Give Me Something I Can Hold

Short review of The Shock Doctrine: Incredibly depressing for 400 pages, and then Latin America comes and saves the day.

currently playing: The National — Lit Up

October 16th 2007

The last day occupants of Whitehaven, Cumbria will be able to wake up to this glorious sight:


Our digital future is a bleak one.

currently playing: The Red Shoes

Memories Can Be Unreliable

So, it’s time to consult the notes for a quick précis, considering my blogging schedule quickly disappeared in a haze of vokda and duelling pianos. To sum up:

  • Cute waitresses winking at you and giving you an incredibly strong drink — teh awesome.
  • Travis and I talked about Transformers and computer games. Not a lot has changed.
  • Duelling piano bars must be destroyed with hammers. And napalm.
  • I was so right about the Coyote Ugly bar.
  • Buying The Shock Doctrine in the dark heart of the American Dream seemed entirely appropriate.
  • Fish costs more than meat in the desert because you have to ship it in…but don’t you have to ship meat in too?
  • The Cheesecake Factory: Skip breakfast. And any other meals you were planning.
  • Ow, the blisters.
  • Having an open tab behind the bar makes being 900ft up in the air so much easier to take.
  • We have a consensus that the Democrats should field Hilary/Obama, because if they’re going to go down in flames, they might as well try and get the South’s heads to explode.
  • I missed the South.
  • Which I never thought I’d say.
  • Vegas at night is still out-of-this-world.
  • But staying too long will turn you into a Communist. Not a good idea in a Right To Work state.
  • Plan to stay a while in McCarran Airport. Like Raleigh/Durham, they haven’t adapted well to the post-911 world.
  • Apple are liars when it comes to wireless keyboards.

That will do for now, but there’ll be something else at the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures!

currently playing: PJ Harvey – White Chalk