Another part of an occasional series.

You may remember the time where I tried Mountain Dew: Code Red, or Pepsi: Blue. Or have heard about the epic quest for Coke Blãk, which resulted in failure when we actually found it. My God. Or Arctic Green Apple, the only Kool-Aid flavour designed to taste like a simulation of hydrochloric acid.

Well, because I never learn:

The horror. The horror.

Coca-Cola. With Orange.

Full marks for the packaging, obviously. It’s not as imposing as the EVIL OK of Blãk, but the opaque bottle gives it an air of mystery. And I love a mystery. Depressingly, though, it’s not orange when poured, just the standard black fizz with an orange sherbet type of smell.

It tastes a bit like watered-down Fanta but with a few fizzy coke bottles from the Woolworth’s pick’n’mix thrown in. Not as vile as the hideous Coke Blãk, but a long way away from the heights of Diet Coke with Cherry, current drink of Champions.

Update: gets very sickly after the third mouthful. Ewww…

currently playing: The Buzzcocks – Airwaves Dream

The Many Levels of Geek-dom

For instance: given the arrival of a super-fast, shiny new Dell PowerEdge server:

  • The basic geek will slap Windows 2003 Server on there and put it on the network as the new fileserver.
  • The more advanced geek will instead install Linux and use it as a Samba server, possibly reserving the possibility for more fun things down the line.
  • The Insanely Geeky will decide that what they really need is to set up a Xen hypervisor and a series of Linux machine images so that the file-serving is handled by one virtual machine, another machine handles the web filtering for the student network, another does some web serving, and another just sits around inactive, but ready to be brought to live at a whim for testing purposes. These images can be moved around between different machines running Xen almost transparently to end-users, in case future demands mean that new machines are needed…

I leave it as an exercise to work out which one I am…

currently playing: Stars – Take Me To The Riot

The Computer Is Taking Its Board Home

Would you like to play a game, Joshua?

(there are things afoot. Afoot, I say!)

currently playing: Nouvelle Vague – Come On Eileen

Feeling Sorry For…

Shami Chakrabarti. She seems to be on TV almost everyday these days…

currently playing: The National – Fake Empire

C'mon, Wal-Mart, have a heart!

It’s not as if Bloomsbury is going to have a day like Saturday again any time soon, is it?

currently playing: Stars – The Ghost of Genova Heights


I hate Guile.

I never had a SNES back then, but I spent a lot of time at a friend’s who did. He also had a Megadrive, and later on, a PlayStation. So, yes, I was around there quite a bit. Invariably, we’d play Streetfighter II and Streetfighter II: Turbo (remember when console games were £70). I was no good, but I could often drag out a lucky victory or two on some afternoons.

Unless he was playing with Guile. It will surprise almost none of you that my favourite character was Chun-Li. Every time Chris used Guile, I’d walk straight into those stupid Sonic Booms and Somersault Kicks and die horribly. My hundred-foot kicks and Spinning Bird attacks just bounced off.

But! I noticed the other day that Streetfighter II: Turbo was available for the Wii’s Virtual Console. It was time for payback.

I bought the game, started playing against the computer and was quite impressed with how well I was doing. Clearly, I had got better at computer games over the past ten years!

Until I got to Guile.

dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue.

I think in the end, I lost ten continues on that before I made a slight change in tactics and simply threw him down over and over again. I had won.

Then I got slaughtered by Ken. But I choose to celebrate the achievement rather than the failure…

currently playing: Young Marble Giants – Wind In The Rigging

The ultimate Hipster T-Shirt

Suggested sequel: “You don’t have it? Well, it is quite rare.”

(One day, the Royal Trux/Chicks sessions will make their way to the Internet…)

currently playing: Miranda July – Lena Beamish

Oh my…


currently playing: Stars – Midnight Coward

Hell, YES!

On September 25th, We will release Stars' fourth studio album, In Our Bedroom After War.

We love it and are excited and proud to be bringing it to the world.

We enlisted Joe Chiccarelli to mix the album. He finished in early June, passing the tapes along to Emily Lazar at the Lodge for mastering. Last Friday, July 6th, a final master was delivered to us.

Traditional music business practice says we are to begin sending out copies of this album now. We give advance copies to print publications in hopes of securing features that coincide with our September date. We meet with radio stations in hopes of securing airplay. etc, etc.

Inevitably someone will leak the album.

Throughout this process, the most important people in this value chain, the fans, are given only two options - wait until September 25th to legally purchase the new album or choose from a variety of sources and download the album for free, at any time.

We hope you'll choose to support the band, and choose to pay for their album. However we don't think it's fair you should have to wait until September 25th to do so.

We believe that the line between the media and the public is now completely grey. What is the difference between a writer for a big glossy music magazine and a student writing about their favourite bands on their blog? What differentiates a commercial radio station from someone adding a song to their lastfm channel? or their myspace page?

As such, we are making the new Stars album available for legal download today, four days after it's completion. The CD and double vinyl versions of the album will still be released on our official release date, September 25th. We hope you will continue to support music retailers should a physical album in all it's packaged glory be your choice of format.

It's our hope that given a clear, legal alternative to downloading music for free, you will choose to support the creators.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Sincerely,

Stars and Arts & Crafts

The album can be downloaded here for the princely sum of £6. And to think I was bemoaning the lack of surprise in the music world at the moment (though, if MIA would like to leak Kala, I’d be very grateful!)!

currently playing: The National – Fake Empire

An Oddity

It is incredibly hard for me to find somebody at Dell who’s interested in taking over £10,000 in exchange for computers. You would think that’d be quite easy, wouldn’t you?

currently playing: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – What Have We Started?