The Madness Has Me

My MP3 player is on random play, and Metal Machine Music has just come on. Do I skip over it? No. I’m actually enjoying it…

currently playing: Lou Reed — Metal Machine Music (Side 4) (as if it matters —Ed.)


currently playing: New Order — Bizarre Love Triangle


A fun week, all told. A Newsweek poll indicates that Kerry has a 49-46 lead against Bush, some people discover that the Daley Machine is alive and well in Chicago, and Dean begins to claw some of his momentum back, while Lieberman starts lashing out at all comers, decrying violent video games and laying claim to the ghost of Kennedy. Kerry, of course, trumps this by providing a live Kennedy; nine times out of ten, the voters prefer a living breathing body to a corpse (poor, poor John Ashcroft).

As the primaries are proportional (anybody who gets over 15% of the vote in a primary will gain some delegates), the lion's share of the nut will go to Kerry, with Dean coming in a distant second, and the others fighting for the leftovers. With hope, this will be the night that Joe Lieberman is chased out of the contest like the failure he is, but doubtless he'll hang on until South Carolina sends him packing. That will leave Kerry with 42 delegates, over double his closest rival (Edwards). But…the Democrat Convention selects the nominee from a vote of 4,321 delegates, so a win in NH means little except for the momentum. Next week is where things get really interesting, as there's over 100 delegates at stake, including Missouri which was a Gephardt lock until last week, to the extent that only one candidate (Dean) has even bothered campaigning there…

currently playing: Bran Van 3000 — Speed

The More Things Change

The argument was familiar. I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it. How many more of these goddamned elections are we going to to have to write off as lame but ‘regrettably necessary’ holding actions? And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between two evils?

— Hunter S. Thompson, January, 1972

currently playing: Belle & Sebastian — If She Wants Me

It's Cold Out But Why Should We Care

The ultimate evolution of the British shoegazing and jangly pop genres of the 1980s. Disco Inferno’s work was so far ahead of its time that it ripped a vortex in the space-time continuum, sucking the band out of our time-line and propelling them to the far reaches of the 21st century. They wait for us there, composing compressed pop master pieces for our arrival. Their abrupt removal from our history has left us with the briefest echoes of what was and what could have been, of adventurous pop backed with MIDI triggers and sonic collage, of complex lyrics and the tune of an engaged phone, of life and hope itself. From their final album, Technicolour, this is “I’m Still In Love”, possibly the only love song in history to be sung to the backing of fireworks.

Disco InfernoI'm Still In Love

(If you like the track, and want to hear more, let me know. Technicolour is stuffed full of quality items, and everybody on the planet needs to hear the Summer's Last Sound/Love's Stepping Out 12")

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney — The Hot Rock

That's The Price of Links

Sleater-Kinney now have a website. Featuring bios, news, music and video downloads and pictures of reader’s pets. What more could you possibly ask for?

The current tracking data for next week's New Hampshire Primary.

"I am not a number!"

Hmm, aerogel.

Order from cd-wow while it's worth it…

Who knew that trainspotting was such a flashpoint issue, eh readers?

currently playing: New Order — True Faith

The State Is Healthy (Obviously)

But first, a little pre-game show.

Could somebody explain why the media has decided that Dean is insane? I've seen the footage of his supposed crazy-talking speech after the results came in last night, and I can't see it. Sure, he's animated, and yes, he's trying to work his crowd of supporters, who probably need a little pep talk after coming third, but I can't quite see the insane part. Hell, John Major has given livelier speeches.

So, as last year's entry was such a success, I'm watching the State of The Union address again. Apparently, the President is going to show that he's above they fray of partisan politics tonight, before he goes on a $200m spending spree to crush all opposition.

Ah? I'm sure it was on at 8pm last year. This could mean that I can turn Fox News off. It's the only news channel that is a direct feed from the US, but it makes me want to hurl heavy, blunt objects at the screen. "Hi! I'm Trent Lott! Vote Strom!" So I think I'll switch over to the BBC. No, I'm sorry, Lott has just criticised Edwards for not having enough qualifications for the Presidency, "especially in foreign policy decisions". I'm willing to bet that he's left the country once or twice, which I don't the current President did before he entered office…

Go Georgie! We're gonna party like it's your birthday (I'm so, so sorry)!

Dick! Dick Cheney! Not a fake! Not a hoax! Out from his secret location for One Night Only! Call 555-DIXXX for further details!

That was scary shot. Why does Donald Rumsfeld always look evil? He seems to have this look about him - that he'd prefer to be off somewhere firing missiles at something.

It's the smirk. More than anything, the smirk has to go.

We'll start with a bit of Army back-slapping then. Okay, fair enough. "Hi, I'm Tom Ridge!"

Interesting statistic: 88% of Americans will save less than $100 thanks to the 2006 tax cuts.

Um, when did anybody think that terrorists weren't plotting against America? Did you guys not read the memo that the previous Administration?

1st mention of September 11th. There should be a drinking game to go along with this.

Rah! The PATRIOT is cool! Really! Judges can't turn down our search warrants! The law-enforcement agencies are already abusing it! Hurrah.

Okay, that was funny. "Key provisions of the Act are set to expire next year" — Clapping from the Democrat side of the house, stopping him in his tracks...

2nd mention!

Ah, "could supply them with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons" — so is there a burden of proof required?

Look! Women have rights in Afghanistan! We won't talk about what the Iraqi National Council is doing to women's rights, will we?

They may not have running water, but the people of Iraq are free. Successes in Iraq follow. Fair enough, I suppose.

That's not true. Iraq had laws. Saddam was sovereign, yes, but there were plenty of laws to go around. Ms. Rice looks very annoyed for some reason.

Oh, now that was classy. Bringing the head of the INC over. Nice. (no sarcasm here, either. A good gesture)

"Do as we say or we'll kick your ass!"

But, we'll tread carefully with North Korea, as they can actually do some damage.

3rd mention! (obliquely, anyway)

Oooh. Let's talk about why we're never going to give the people in Cuba a fair trial, shall we?

So, we're actually using the Kay Report, are we? Lots of Democrat shaking heads now. Yes, it's great that Saddam is gone. Most of us will not argue the point that the world is better off without him in power. THAT WAS NEVER THE POINT. AND NAMING A FEW COUNTRIES THAT HAVE JOINED IN DOESN'T DEFLECT THAT YOU BYPASSED THE UN.

Please. Please vote him out. Or at least make him get onto the domestic front.

A good point made, though, that the Middle East can operate with democracy. Although people might point out that the last time the Arabic countries did so, America and Russia used their influence to install dictatorships, but that's probably a little harsh…

The economy rocks! Umm, that's a bit of an exaggeration, I think. And now we're reeling off some good things about the economy. As you'd expect, really.

America's economy is a changing one. No Child Left Behind! Except that most of the funding has to come from the States, which are close to bankruptcy at the moment. I also note that he didn't give any specifics there.

GENIUS! The camera settles on a Senator, who's clapping. He suddenly realises he's on-screen, and jumps up.

1,000 new jobs in December!

Another "expire" clapping round. Is it my imagination, or have the Democrats decided to wake up this year?

Hear that SCO? He's talking about YOU.

There now follows some gibberish about Social Security.

We can cut the deficit in half over the next five years! Of course, it'll still be greater than we you entered, but I suppose a start is better than nothing.

"Don't ask, don't tell" comes to immigration!

Once again, why don't you guys have a universal health system?

That guy's asleep!

The War On Drugs! Forgive me if I'm skeptical. Having finished The Corner, I really don't think this War can ever be won.

*bashes head on table* Abstinence programmes don't work. Oh God, he's not really going to do it, is he? Well, he never said "yes, I will go for an amendment", but he's made it clear he wants one. Grrr.

The post-prison plan sounds interesting and useful. I'm not sure how far $300m will go, but it's better than nothing (actually, it's less than $10 per released prisoner).

Cheapskate didn't send her letter! Couldn't be bothered to find a stamp to send the little girl's message to the troops. I'm shocked 8-).

winding up now. In a move that's sure to please some of you, I think I'll head off to bed now; if you made it this far, I salute you.

currently playing: Club 8 — Between Waking and Sleeping


Papers, articles, quotes, and speeches

Still a long way to go

currently playing: The Primitives — Out of Reach

Ghost World

For numerous reasons, I’m not much for talking at the moment. But I have got hold of the iLife update, and I’ve been tinkering around with iMovie. It appears this version is usable, which make some progress from earlier incarnations.

I'm hampered by the lack of a DV camera, but here's a little clip show I made of photos from the UNITAS retreat from last year (this weekend, if you go back and check the archives).

(Yes, I know there's a certain lack of...well, life in these pictures. This is mainly due to me forgetting I had a camera during the marathon drinking sessions, and not wishing to be cruel and taking pictures of people when they're asleep :-))

currently playing: Don McLean — American Pie

Winky Linky

Okay, who wants to own a record label?

The latest UK CD sales report came out yesterday. Sales are up! Record amounts of CDs sold! Is the BPI happy? Obviously not, as they've started raising the possibility of lawsuits. And, just in case we decide to look outside the country and get music cheaper elsewhere, they are helpfully monitoring the situation. For our own sake, naturally.

"I believe the line is 'Stay away from her. you bitch'"

"Let's go to the moon! Oh, you mean that somebody has to pay for it? Never mind, then. I'm sure everybody will have forgotten come next year, anyway…"

Proof that Pure Evil exists in this world.

currently playing: Kenickie — And That’s Why