Monday, 26 December 2011

Christ Mass

You know that mood you get in when every little thing pisses you off? I'm experiencing it just now. Every little click, every little breath, every little scrunch just makes you want to physically attack someone with a small wooden statue of a duck. I was in Glasgow today for a brief spell, and even though I generally talk about the city in a positive light, today I could not be bothered with crowds of idiots. Many thought it was a great idea to cart around their screaming, semi-aborted placenta accompaniments in car sized prams through the narrowest aisle in the shop. I persevered and got a pair of trainers that didn't have the soles hanging off.

The film that made me drink raw eggs.
Thanks a lot for that, Sly.
It's officially one year (and one day) since I started this blog. Strong sense of deja vu here, typing in the same spot I did a year ago, once again quaking under the monster that lies within my stomach (although a year ago it was my Christmas dinner, today I just need a shit quite badly). Although I'm at my parents, I was at friend's house for the festive celebrations this year. I didn't come down partly because of work, but I probably could have spent it with the family if I'd really tried. But I've being doing almost exactly the same thing for 18 years, so the change was most welcome. Because my brain had been wired to be used to a certain few things, there were a lot of times where it didn't feel like Christmas. Instead of fidgeting about in anticipation of present opening I was busy the whole day. We watched a few films, wasted time on the silly xbox kinnect and had a really nice walk on the beach with my friend's dogs. Time was also dedicated to peeling vegetables, washing vegetables, chopping vegetables, eating vegetables and watching a vegetable ('Rocky' was on after Christmas dinner). Looking back at my first blog post (I didn't have a fucking clue what I was doing, bless) but I sure enjoyed doing it, and because I abandoned a lot of tradition this year I may as well continue with a tradition of my own creation - reviewing my Christmas dinner (out of 10 this time, the superior method of reviewing).

Ham - 8/10 (although the host was a vegetarian, he was kind enough to let the rest of us chew a warm pig corpse in front of him. The glaze we made was nice. Better than Turkey).
Ricotta looks amazing. But it's
actually as bland as fuck.
Cranberry Sauce - 7/10 (completely homemade and rather good, but I ate far too much and went off it)
Spinach and Ricotta pastry thing - 6/10 (Helped the host make it when I was drunk. Interesting but not my cup of tea)
Some fried parsnip thing with seasoning - 9/10 (oh wow mmm fuck mmmmm fucking yum)
Vinegar-ey potato wedge things - 9/10 (mm oh yeah fucking taste mmm)
Roasted vegetables - (Vegetables. Roasted. Not much to say about that.  ¯\(°_o)/¯ )
Mashed potato, mashed turnip - 8/10 (Or 'neeps and tatties'. Pretty ace because I made it).
Cinnamon Waffles - 6.5/10 (Spent a while making these. Not too bad. Not particularly amazing though)

And the result of all this preparation, eating, and merrymaking? Not a blog post, that's for sugar*. But I'm glad I didn't touch a computer in that time. Going onto facebook now, I can clearly see the damage I avoided.  A cesspool of statuses bragging about the useless and uninspired shite people got for Christmas. I didn't get a whole lot this year, gift or money-wise, but I really can't complain. Not once was my enjoyment interrupted yesterday by the lack of gifts or family. My friend Adriene looked at me with wide-eyed shock when I suggested that I might not be spending the 25th with my parents and brother. Every time Adriene does this, I tend to get a bit worried too. But my theory now is little more than this: fuck tradition. Every so often I get lulled into a routine. And when you step outside that dull little routine life can be that little bit more interesting. I suppose that's me being selfish again. But there will be time for the feelings of others later.

I'm soooo tired at the moment, so I guarantee bad mistakes in this post. Hope you all had a lovely christmas.

What I'm currently listening to > \Blur - The Great Escape/

* Meant to say 'sure' but there was an error between brain and fingers. I thought I'd keep the mistake though. It might catch on. Just remember where it all started.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 16 December 2011

A crusade only of the brave

Watching this kind of film - a great way
to let off some steam. Hahaha!
Kudos to you if you actually got that.

Back in the library my dear readers. I've barely been away from this place over the past week and a bit, chipping away at essays and making announcements about sexually transmitted infections people have when strangers leave their facebook profile left open. There is also no doubt any more about whether or not someone will give me a job. I am now officially employed by the home and leisure section in ASDA (for the yanks that read this, ASDA is a part of Wal-Mart, I think it's essentially the same shop except the only guns we sell are water pistols), working nights. It drains my soul, but the pay is good and the people are nice. I've heard many painful stories about working with customers in retail, but I unfortunately don't have any such tales to tell due to my working hours (between 10pm and 6am) and the section I work in. I only ever see a handful of drunks per night, staggering in to buy a cheap Arnold Schwarzenegger DVD. Or the occasional parent who woke up in the middle of the night in a blind panic, hellbent on ensuring that their spawn had a Christmas present sorted at 1.25 in the morning on the 9th of December. Interestingly enough though, the store I work in sells more alcohol per square foot than any other Wal-Mart owned* store in the world. To say the least, that says a lot about the area that I live and work in.

Ever heard of Primus? Green Naugahyde was their 7th studio album, and it's been one of my favourite albums of the year so far. It's nice to see a band that is still making fantastic releases when they've been around since the eighties. Although never coming particularly high in the charts, the band have popped up in popular culture from time to time, making appearances in guitar hero and Tony Hawk game soundtracks, and composing the South Park Theme. There's something very unique about Primus and their sound. People hopelessly trying to fit them into a genre have simply sighed, given up, and fixed an 'Alernative Rock' sticker onto the band's forehead. Imitation is near impossible, mostly due to the impressive musicianship Primus displays. Very, very few bassists can play Les Claypool's incredibly precise and fast string slapping, let alone imitate it and manage the feat of singing over it. The band's sense of humour is also a unique part of Primus, and a very odd one at that to say the least. You don't even need to listen to them to discover this, with song titles such as 'Pork Chop's little ditty', 'Professor Nutbutter's House of Treats' and 'Last Salmon Man'. Here's a list of their albums and my personal rating

The band's 'in person apearance' didn't go
down too well with the fans

Frizzle Fry - 7/10
Sailing the Seven Seas of Cheese - 8/10
Pork Soda - 6/10
Tales from the Punchbowl - 6/10
Brown Album - 9/10
Antipop - 8/10
Green Naugahyde - 8/10

For a band with three members that uses little more than a bass, vocals, a guitar and drums the majority of the time, the sound varies so intensely between each album. Frizzle Fry and Green Naugahyde have a heavy brand of funk and post-punk flavours, Sailing the Seven Seas of Cheese and the Brown Album have a tight, pop friendly sound, while Pork Soda and Tales from the Punchbowl are full of hazy jams with a dark sense of humour and menace.

This guy is admittedly a little creepy. But he has a bike
replacing his hands. A bike. Where his hands should be.

Guaranteed for every album, however is Claypool acting like every stereotypical circus ringmaster you've ever heard of - standing outside the tent with a toothy grin, encouraging all to roll up and witness the wonders of a Primus release. His eccentric personality perfectly compliments the often silly lyrics, slipping between a nasally whine and a "C'mere boy" type of southern accent. It's hard to comment on the other members due to the fact there have been almost too many to count - constantly leaving and rejoining. I am, however, very pleased to see the return of Jay Lane, one of the original Primus drummers. His funk inspired style was a huge part of the early Primus sound I was particularly fond of, and his reinduction was almost entirely responsible for Claypool's renewed interest in the band.

And this time you are left with no excuse for not at least trying out the band, I've compiled a small selection of some of my favourite Primus tracks for you to listen to right here. Bear in mind that it's a zip file so you'll need winrar or something like that to open it. Have fun!

That's all my coursework done for the Christmas holidays, so I'll try and update this more often. I'd like to get a post in before Christmas actually, but if not then I'll be celebrating a year of this blog on the 25th.

What I'm currently listening to > \Primus - Frizzle Fry (just realised that the opening track mentions Christmas, so you actually have no excuse now)/

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Money for Nothing

There's a high possibility that I'm employed now, and I'm saying that as a glass half empty kind of person. Can't say for sure yet, but after successfully passing one stage of the recruitment process for a local supermarket I've been invited back for a 'chat'/informal interview in a couple of days. So unless I accidentally vomit on my potential employers face I think I'm good. A couple of days ago it was HIV/AIDS awareness day. I have never had HIV before. I have, however, had a blastoise before, so I thought it would be more appropriate to celebrate a bizarre facebook event called 'blastoise awareness day' that was attended by 747 people. A truly noble cause to make the youth of today appreciate the original 150 pokemon. I really shouldn't leave these blogs so late, because I've completely forgotten what I've done this week.

Employment looks good. It might change my social life to nil, but I'm a little bit of a hermit anyway so that doesn't matter too much. It will be quite odd having money to spend. Over the past few months I've become very good at saving money. The problem is that I had to learn these little tip and tricks myself. There are plenty of money saving advice websites out there, but none of them seem to realise quite how bad my situation was. It wasn't rally drastic enough. So may I present the hesitant calamari's no holes barred top 5 ways to save money. If you are also poor, feel free to take advantage. If not, then it's always fun to laugh at other's peoples misfortune.

5. - If they say it's 'complimentary' or free, then exploit the shit out of it.
In big supermarkets there are quite often little counters that offer free samples. At busy times, you can get away with taking a few of the things, walking around the supermarket again, and helping yourself. These people see hundreds of people every day, they aren't going to be too bothered about your greed (most of the time). If you are desperate for tissues/toilet paper, public toilets often leave extra rolls lying about, and if the worst comes to the worst, McDonald's and Burger King have napkins readily available. Need to find a wedding/birthday venue? Some places charge hundreds for this sort of thing, others do it for free. Look around a little, you'll be surprised at what you can find.

4. - Lying to public transport workers.
You need a bus, but you don't quite have enough cash to get to where you want to go. No problem. Say your destination is 5 minutes away, when in actual fact it's at the other side of town. The driver doesn't really enough time to stomp out of his seat and order you out. Trains are a little different, saying as how they actually employ someone to watch out for cheap bastards like me. In that case, there's always the toilets. This, however relies on there being no ticket barriers at the station. And hey, jumping over them is an option, but that's not strictly legal territory.

3. - Supermarket bins are your new best friend.
There used to be talking bins at my old school, like these
scary bastards. I'd imagine they'd get pretty hostile if
you took anything from them.
This sounds awful, but you may thank me when you find a fully wrapped chocolate gateau that is still within it's sell-by date. Seriously, supermarkets have to throw out a lot of good food that gets completely wasted if you don't pick up on it. This is something you need to be pretty careful with though. Not just because those in law enforcement and those working at the supermarket don't take kindly to it, but because you could quite easily aim for that can of peaches and find your fingers coated in mouldy HP sauce and toenails.

2. - Don't stray from the magazine rack
Again, this one requires a large supermarket. That magazine may be a good read, but they can usually cost around £5. Stopping to browse them may prevent you from reading in a comfortable area, but it saves a fair bit. Also, libraries. That's what they are for. What difference does it make if you buy a book, really?

1. - Food isn't that expensive. Seriously, it isn't.
Perfect if you can't afford to shell out fo-
arrrggh fuck not a goddamned egg pun
Maybe you don't want to go raking around in bins, or maybe there isn't that great a selection. But Chinese takeaways charge ridiculous amounts for stuff you can buy in supermarkets for half the price. And going further, you can half the price further for making the stuff in jars by yourself. And it (usually) tastes nicer. Eggs are absolutely fantastic for you. You could spend hours finding out the benefits they produce. And when bought in bulk they are ridiculously cheap. Check the reduced section often, take advantage of special offers, and don't be scared to try the value range, more often than not the quality is still great.

I do hope this has been somewhat helpful, because I've avoided an essay to type this.

What I'm currently listening to > \Animal Collective - Feels/

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Great Curve

Get the fuck out
of here
The funny thing about keeping up a blog, is that it's pretty difficult when your keyboard doesn't work. It has been slowly deteriorating for a while, and it now rests in pieces. I'll offer you readers an invaluable hint. Even when your keyboard presses return every couple of seconds so that instant messenger conversations have the consistency of diarrhea and 20 different windows of google chrome are opened up, don't punch your laptop. That's what it wants. Needless to say, the keyboard doesn't really work at all now. So this blog is being done at my university library. This is quite good in a sense, because my room is not a productive place to be. If I attempt to write an essay there I'll end up 'taking a little break' after 5 minutes. Multiple viewings of hilarious cat videos and facebook statuses later and it's time for dinner or bed. But I can be focused in the cold, mechanical library. There are no friendly faces to distract me here, just straight faced law students that iron their underwear and drink diet coke. Other things. I now do the request show every Sunday at the hospital radio. I mostly play requests, but when they run out I can stick on my own stuff. It's a lot of fun, but I'm still working out everything.

In case you didn't already know, I'm a huge fan of the band Talking Heads. My favourite album by the group is Remain in Light, a pulsing album full of hazy jams, surreal guitar work and body moving tribal rhythms. The first single off the album, Once in a Lifetime, was one of the band's most successful releases. It describes a man 'living the dream', who is just coming to terms with where he is in life.
"And you may find yourself in a beautiful house. With a beautiful wife. And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"

-"Hey, let's make sure that we have a really cool
cover for our next album!"
-"You know, we could spend 15 minutes fucking
about with it in MS paint and head to T.G.I fridays."
-"Okay, deal."
Do you ever do this? Abruptly waking up from your unconsciousness to ponder where the last few years of your life went? I did it just 5 minutes ago. I told myself I needed to pee before to university. And then a little while later I sort of came to consciousness, finding myself outside the university toilet. But just now I'm thinking about it on a grander scale. It barely seems like I've spent 3 years in university, in the back of my mind everyone looks, sounds and acts exactly the same as they did from high school. It's a bit of a shock when I find out that it's otherwise. At a time where I'm asked in countless job interviews where I think I'll be in 5 years time, I'm just starting to look past the mindless programmed answer I usually give and actually wonder. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I woke up tomorrow, 5 years old again, staring at my dinosaur posters and my burglar trap. People say that life is simple when you are young, and it pretty much is. But it doesn't make a difference because we adapt. The spelling test and getting onto the next level of Spyro are on par with financial problems and essays on law and journalistic technique. It's the same sort of level of challenge, because you don't know anything harder. My first day at school. My first interview. My first kiss. My first exam. The first time I guided Spyro into Crush's dungeon. My first essay. My first blog entry. They all gave me the same sort of feeling of heading into the unknown.
I was insanely terrified of James and the Giant Peach when I was younger, and now it just seems like a pretty flawed (although fun to watch for nostalgic reasons) kid's film. And one of the weak lines that came from the weak script was
"Try looking at it differently!!!!"

Peach Schnapps anyone?
Conveniently, this vague phrase applies to all the protagonist's problems and somehow makes everything alright. And usually I slate this sort of thing for misleading children. But I think this line is actually pretty relevant. People are very concerned with where they are heading in life. When pressure rears it's ugly potato head, a lot of people cry 'depression!' or 'stress!' If you just blame an unfair life or some non existent illness, then everything is pretty daunting. Try looking at it as another challenge. How did I get here? Who knows. Just forget about it and enjoy yourself for the time being. Life and its experiences are worth all the money in the world. Although my bank can't seem to agree with me on this.

The spell-checker doesn't work (it listed 'but' as a spelling mistake) so although I'm taking extra care there will probably be something silly regardless. Still no zombie photos. Hurry up Adrienne. If you folks give me an hour or so I'll upload 'Remain in Light' to mediafire so you can have a listen.

What I'm currently listening to > \Click-clack - The busy law students typing (I'd be listening to Talking Heads but loading up youtube crashes this shite computer)/

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

When the Wind Blows

This explosion was supposed to happen in the sky.
Shortly after this was taken, one of the fireworks hit
a window and the bushes were left smouldering.
Sorry to disappoint, but I'm having no luck on locating the few pictures that were taken of my flyboy outfit for Halloween. I feel that I did a pretty good job, apart from the fake blood that was clearly purple when seen in the light. I also spent a fair amount of time preparing for and travelling to my placement interview for the local paper (including a very last minute dash to buy a new shirt after discovering I had accidentally dripped fake blood onto my good one), only for it to last a grand total of about five minutes. I really have no idea how I did, although I can't remember saying anything too stupid. Other things; here in the UK we celebrate Guy Fawkes night (Hey, celebrating a terrorist nearly blowing up parliament isn't much worse than celebrating the arrival of religion in Ireland when you live nowhere near the place), and that went well. My experiences with fireworks aren't always the most safe, so if you guessed that me and a few others didn't follow the safety guidelines, accidentally launched a  very powerful firework at a house, ourselves and some very singed bushes, then you wouldn't be far off the mark. Also. If you ask Domino's very nicely, they'll cut a pentagram into your pizza. Who'd have thought it?

[POLITICAL/SERIOUS POST WARNING, I know this can bore some people, so sorry]

I was reading an article today, about how the UK government is backing US proposals to halt the ban on cluster bombs. To a lot of people this may not seem significant. My image of the cluster bomb is playing 'worms' and bombarding a particularly annoying opponent with multiple little explosions. That's what you get for that holy hand grenade, you bunch of twats. And I mean, war is war, right? Does it really matter *how* someone dies? Saying as how we never have any say in the matter if we go to war or not, I think it's a little better to know we aren't being as stupid as we used to be. There are a lot of things that are plain stupid about the cluster bomb. The most stupid is probably the fact that the multiple bomblets it releases lay unexploded (yet still active) for decades. In 2008, it was reported that there were still 78 million unexploded bombs in Laos, from the US's bombing missions between 1964 and 1973 in the Vietnam war

I don't seem to be able to recall this level
And we really don't have to go back far in history to see it being used. In the Yugoslavian war in 1999, the UK and the US dropped almost 1,400 cluster bombs in Kosovo. The thing that particularly disgusted me, was that the bombs were coloured with 'bright yellow and red plastic...which is particularly attractive to children'. Weapons manufacturers are arguing the case by saying that the weapon has a 1% fail rate. I'm sorry, but that's not really good enough. When these bombs are dropped, they are dropped in their millions. Are hundreds of unexploded bombs okay? This is assuming the manufacturers are telling the truth. Even if this campaign isn't successful, British weapons manufacturers will still create these bombs for countries that can legally use them. Morals go out the window where there's money to be made.

Now again, I'm sorry for the serious/political nature of the post, it probably isn't what you read my blog for. But countries like the US and the UK feel as if they have the right to bomb countries and police the world when they feel like it. We are shocked and appalled when terrorism touches our countries, even when we don't face threats of being bombed daily. The government will ignore some conflicts and openly involve itself into others. So when our countries feel the need to sign a 'less restrictive treaty', which will effectively legalize cluster bombs again, the least I can do is express my frustration at such a backwards practice. 

Heading off to the hospital radio now, need to fill out an application form for something as well. I really need a haircut now too, although it always makes me look about 10 years younger. I better hop to it. 

P.S - If I've made any mistakes or assumptions then please let me know

What I'm currently listening to > \Underworld  - Beaucoup Fish/

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Press Darlings

My costume choice for this year - 'flyboy' from the
original Dawn of the Dead. If I'm lucky, one person will
know who I'm going as 
You may be a Christian, a Buddhist, a Sikh, or a Rangers supporter. But even if you don't believe in something, there always seems to be the nagging feeling that there are forces at work. The bus always seems to be pulling away from the stop, the one day it rains is the one day that you put a great deal of effort into some zombie make-up, and the day you suddenly decide your lifelong ambition is to bring back 'Jim'll Fix It', you click on the BBC news page and bawl your little eyes out. For me it's a case of everything being pushed into next week. Two friends are celebrating their birthdays, my second news day (complete with an 8 o' clock start) is on, it's Halloween, where I want to take another stab at a decent costume, I'm request collecting for the hospital radio, I have an interview with a local paper regarding a 6 week placement, and I have another early start in the form of advanced media law, which also requires a fair amount of preparation. I'm not complaining though. It's better to have too much on your plate than to be clawing at scraps and procrastinating.

I'm not going to claim to be a full blown journalist. That's why I'm eager to get out on placement - I want to be under proper pressure in a news room, I want to find people's stories, I want to see some of my words printed out and sold to hundreds. But my course really has allowed me to dip my toe into the whole thing. I've not just been sitting in a darkened room typing up essays on the theory of journalism. Dealing with real people and real problems is excellent. I've had a problem in the past, being sensitive to anything people say. But when I had a councillor flaring up and shouting about how only junkies visited the local park, I smiled inside, thinking about how great the footage was. I have political opinions, but these days it's harder for me to reach a conclusion. There are very few cases where we have the hero on one hand, and the classic villain stroking his cat and flexing his scar on the other. When you properly listen to everyone's opinions it's hard not to repeatedly fall off the fence onto one side, get back on, fall on to the other side and repeat. But that's the beauty of it - letting people decide for themselves.

Paperboy got points and bonuses, I got a roll and
square sausage and £30 a week
I can't remember the exact moment where I said to myself  "I want to be a journalist" but it was probably when I was doing my paper round at half past 7 in the morning. It wasn't a particularly fun or eventful job, but it meant that by the time I dragged myself into school at 9 o' clock I was well versed on the day's headlines. People say print journalism is dying, and people also say there will be those who want the day's news in their ink-stained hands. It doesn't make much of a difference to me either way, it will all simply move online. I will be slightly sad to see newspapers go, I think. If an average joe makes the paper, they may proudly stick the newsprint page onto the wall where it will remain for years. Clicking your way through an online archive is arguably not as satisfying. It'll be the end of an icon. But I don't even know if I'm going to go into newspapers. Radio and TV journalism is also on the table (and I might not be employed at all). But regardless of the format, the honest and slightly cheesy desire to get out a story and uncover the truth, educate, or warm people's hearts will remain. Twitter is never going to take over from journalists, thank god.

50 posts, 70 followers, which is some sort of an achievement. Don't know why y'all keep coming back, but you do so...

[What I'm currently listening to > \Talking Heads - Fear of Music/]

...thanks for reading!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Someone's pinched me winkles

When I went to Belgium a few years back, my family and I went to a brewery, and had a tour around the place. I remember the guide describing 3 ways of storing alcohol. The glass bottle. The keg/barrel. And the can, where he winced a little and described it as a "sorry excuse for storing beer". He probably would have fainted if he'd seen the dirt cheap 2 litre plastic bottles I usually purchase when guzzling cider. It's not the most attractive thing to drink, and some would say that isn't exactly milk from an angel's tit, but it goes down easy and fucking hell it's cheap. So naturally, cider has become a good friend in my student years. But sometimes I like to treat myself. The treat is still cider, but the taste is a little more refined. The other day I noticed that my local supermarket was selling some toffee apple cider, my favourite alcoholic beverage. When I went today however, it was out of stock. So instead I came home with three different quirky ciders, all brewed by Magners.

They look lovely, but quite frankly, they
don't kill enough brain cells
Right here I have a 'Spiced Apple and Rhubarb' one, a 'Pear and Ginger' one, and a 'Spiced Apple and Honey' one. And tonight, I'm going finish them off and give each a review whilst playing some outdated but nevertheless fun PS2 games. If you are expecting a proper review, turn away now. I won't be 'detecting any hints of blueberry and pinewood', and nor will I be swilling the stuff around in my mouth pulling quizzical faces. I have no idea how to properly review booze, so we'll just see how this goes.

First up; Spiced Apple and Rhubarb accompanied by some 'smart price' chocolate digestives and Max Payne. I can't find my proper PS2 controller, so I have to use the tiny substitute that the last person in the room gets if I'm playing multiplayer. Bit of an awkward start trying to get the cap off, but what a lovely smell. A bit like a combination of mulled wine and rhubarb & custard sweets. The taste isn't very strong at all. Like a weak mulled wine. But it's nice to not be overpowered. It ain't too sickly. I could probably drink this all night. Max Payne's voice actor is as monotonous and shitty as always. And seriously, how did anyone ever think these graphics were cutting edge? His face looks like it was drawn while riding a bicycle, with the resulting artwork being stapled onto a head by a one eyed gorilla. Cider verdict - pleasant, but not outstanding. 7.5/10

Looks like he's holding in a particularly awful shit.
Which is probably why they got Mark Wahlberg
to play him in the film.
Pear and ginger now. I hate pears generally. They're pretty much like skanky, shitty apples. The cider they produce is generally alright, but not quite in the same league as apples. Let's see what going posh does for it. Ohhhh, what a lovely ginger fragrance. Nice one, the ginger overtakes the pear, rendering it pointless. I'm not complaining. Max is running through some medical lab that's about to blow up. Save a scientist, shoot a roomful of people in the face, rinse and repeat. I'm having fun for now, but I may put on a new game soon. Alright, what the fuck you piece of shit. I think the game has glitched. I'm stuck on top of a poorly rendered lift with a metal grate floating above my head, with no means of escape. Right. Timesplitters 2. Again this cider is nice, but inoffensive, so I suppose it's the Michael McIntyre of drink. It's pretty great, but there's that little voice in the back of your head that wants a little kick, maybe the occasional dead baby joke. Another 7.5. Surprise me, Spiced Apple and Honey.

First impressions of the last bottle aren't great, because I spilled some of it and cut my hand trying to open the fucker. I taste a little bit of the spices, but where the fuck is the honey? Ahhh, there's a tiny, tiny little aftertaste of it. Same as the others in terms of inoffensiveness. It's still nice, and because it isn't sickly I can down it at a fair rate. Moved onto Timesplitters: Future Perfect now because TS2 is insane. Really. I've never tried cocaine before, but I imagine that it gets you a little bit close to the pace of that game. Future Perfect is essentially a slightly dumbed down version (but still just as fun) so it's the better option in my current state. So yeah, the cider. Nice, but lacking in punch. Same as the others. Won't be wasting £7 on that garbage again.

What I'm currently playing > \Timesplitters: Future Perfect - Gladiator mode/

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Self Prrrrrromotion

If you've ever been to university, then you'll know how quickly deadlines come up. You tend to ignore the lecturers warnings about the importance of completing assignments in good time. Hell, it's a month away, that's forever! And then abrafuckingkadabra you have to pull an all-nighter to start and finish that 3,000 word essay, fuelled by little more than reheated pasta, an icy grip of pure panic, and the nastiest coffee your local 24 hour supermarket provides. I'm not quite at that stage yet, but I do have the feeling that the previous sentence will give me a fair amount of deja vu in the coming months. Me and a partner have to find a local story in a designated area of the city, and prepare TV and radio news based on it. I always feel guilty waving about a massive camera, but at the end of the day it's completely legal to film and photograph in a public place unless children are involved. Some act as if the camera is loaded with 50 caliber rounds, others can't stop trying to get their toothless grins in plain view. It's pretty fun though. I'm also being kept on my toes with an essay, some advanced law media law research, my CV for my 6 week placement next year, and my voluntary work at the hospital radio. With the occasional break to drunkenly swear at the TV as Rayman drowns in swamp water.

This what I imagined a 'trip' to be like when I was
first given the drug talk in school
If you approach different people that are acquainted with me and ask them what I am like, you'll get a fairly wide spectrum of answers. Some will say I'm a 'nice, funny guy'. Others will remember me as an anti-social creep that draws willies and violent cartoons over his work. But like it or not, it's the opinion of your educators and potential employers that really count. Right now I'm looking at my first ever school report. I was 4 years old.
Duncan tends to have a very short concentration span during listening activities 
This is still a problem for me today
Duncan shows good understanding of numbers 1 to 10
That's about as good as it got in terms of my mathematical ability
Duncan has poor body control
Anyone that has seen me dance will know this is also still relevant. Lets move forward a couple of years.
Duncan's imaginative stories are super with a lovely turn of phrase. He engages the reader and makes them eager to read on. 
I've always loved writing. But it's always lovely to see that your enthusiasm for something goes waaaaaaay back. I feel warm inside now.

I wouldn't complain about self promotion
if all bands had posters as cool as this
I've actually wasted a substantial amount of time looking at my school reports. People do change and mature as they grow up. But it's pretty surprising how relevant the recoccuring points are. Throughout the years all my reports rarely seem to stray from
'Good attendance, well behaved generally but with a short concentration span. An imaginative writer, not bad in art, okay at everything else.'
I really didn't know my concentration span was so awful, I seriously think I had some form of ADHD while I was growing up. Anyway. I'm currently working on my CV, and I'm trying to compress my achievements and skills into a form that's easily digestible and attractive to a potential employer for a job or a placement. I'm not very good at self promotion at all. If someone asks for my strengths, it feels like I'm bragging or lying, even when I'm plainly stating facts. People often frown upon promotion of any kind. If someone spams their blog link on a forum or if someone puts a ton of posters up for their band's show and harasses everyone and their dog to attend, then regardless of how annoying they are being, people will come. Word of mouth doesn't always cut it. Sometimes you have to be a knob end and tell the world about how great you are.

This was a little shorter compared to my other entries, I know, but I have work and you have that art project/inflatable bed/mathematics work/beer in the shower/daily sentence/tv show review/phat beat/cello to work on. So hop to it. And yes, Duncan is my name, just in case you know nothing about me other than what I write on here.

What I'm currently listening to > \Tears for Fears - Songs from the big chair/

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Yet another unexpected turn of events

Like a lot of you, I spent a reasonable amount of time in front of the TV when I was young. I didn't exactly plaster myself in front of the glowing box 24 hours a day, but nevertheless I seem to remember a huge number of shows. Power Rangers for example. I loved that as a child. But looking back, it's plain awful. The action is pathetic, the costumes are silly and garish, and the dialogue would make a wheel of Gouda blush. Not to mention the questionable costume colour choices (the Asian ranger gets the yellow suit, and the African-American ranger gets the black suit. Come on now, really?) And there are countless others. X-men, Dragonball Z, Pokemon - some stand up well to the test of time, others fall like Gordon Brown's political career. And even with the shit ones, it's hard for me to criticize when the familiar theme tune plays and nostalgia runs up my legs like a bad case of rickets.

So what I've decided to do is look at a show I'd never so much as heard of in my childhood. An opportunity like this came up recently in the form of 'Road Rovers'. Airing for one season in 1996-1997, it would have caught me in my cartoon watching prime, had I heard of it. The way I found out about it is decidedly dodgy, so we won't go into that, but the important thing is that the hesitant calamari is geared up for a no holes barred, non biased review.

Had to always turn the volume down really low when
 watching this while my parents were asleep, Goku and co
always spent half the episode screaming 
So we'll start with a brief overview of what the show is actually about. Road Rovers follows the adventures of six crime fighting anthropomorphic dogs (one is technically feral but let's not get fussy) that go out and save the world, following orders from a scientist know as 'Master' a la Charlie from Charlie's Angels.

The introductory theme song is made up of maniacal xylophone and a chorus of voices giving sung descriptions of the characters. Very similar to other Warner Brothers cartoons of the time, but nowhere near as good. Taz-Mania had a wonderfully upbeat and entertaining theme song, as did the likes of Animaniacs and Freakazoid. But the Road Rover's one is just instantly forgettable. It may seem harsh to judge the theme song so critically, but where would the likes of Inspector Gadget be without it's fantastic theme? Regardless. In the first episode we are introduced to dastardly villain General Parvo, who tricks a scientist into handing over a formula or something that transforms traditional dogs into 'cano-sapiens' (essentially an anthropormorphic dog with superpowers). The scientist expects his dog back in return for the formula. But instead he gets a bomb, lol. The show fast forwards 1 year (or 7 in dog years, har har) where we find that the scientist is still alive. He uses the formula to create the Road Rovers, while the mean old General uses the formula for more evil purposes.

His balls finally dropped/looks like he loves his balls
pick one
The concept doesn't seem too awful until the dogs transform and open their mouths. Some characters, particularly Blitz, the Doberman, have both irritating voice-actors and a weak script. Many of the reasonable jokes are lazily turned into running gags throughout the series. A good example is Hunter, the leader of the Rovers who often proclaims "I could not have predicted this!" whenever there is a plot twist of sorts. Rather than using it as a clever, self aware one-off joke, it is milked constantly, usually multiple times in one episode. That said, Hunter is one of the more likeable characters in the show. His witty lines often break the fourth wall and are usually pretty amusing. He also has a decent voice actor behind him him, and his friendly personality makes the show a little more watchable. The only other saving grace for the show is Colleen, who is voiced by the talented Tress MacNeille (Mom in Futurama being one of the hundreds of characters she has given her voice to), and Muzzle. Muzzle doesn't have any dialogue, which is probably partly why he is one of the better characters. The only feral dog out of the six, muzzle is muzzled, wrapped up in a strait jacket and attached to a trolley, much like Hannibal Lecter. It's always amusing to see him bounce from place to place in his little trolley like a demented kangaroo trapped inside a tent. But even 'unleashing muzzle' eventually turns into a running gag, which is sad, but not unexpected.

Road Rovers had an 'adult' moment similar to the Animaniac's
fingerprints/finger-Prince joke, where a song featuring
'sonofabitch' was cut from the show. Nowhere near as
good as Animaniacs though.
The show has to get by on the few decent moments it has. Joke after joke is unleashed, and only about 20% of them are original or humorous in any way. There are many plot holes, continuity errors, and any kind of emotional moments in the episodes are quickly killed off with cheesy music and a running gag. There's no point in dwelling on things like why the dogs risk their lives for practically nothing, how 'Master' has the means to supply these dogs with multi-billion dollar aircraft, or why dogs were even chosen to sort out the world's problems, because it's a kids show at the end of the day.

Still, that's no reason to give it too much slack. Watership Down, Batman: The Animated Series and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? are all classed by most as 'kids' stuff, but none of them get worse as you grow up. I didn't expect too much from Road Rovers though, and I have seen worse. Hell, I'd rather watch it than Family Guy. Fart jokes, half arsed political rants, and 'remember that time when I...' jokes that go on for 10 minutes annoy me more than a Siberian husky impatiently saying "Quit Russian me".

I'm so inconsistent with this blog now, but I'm blaming it on my 'muse'. I write when I feel like it. And can someone let me know what they prefer me writing about? A couple of people have complained that the review parts of my blog are boring, which is worrying because it takes up about 80% of the blog. So yeah, let me know.

What I'm currently watching > \Watership Down, forgot how good it was/

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Let me put ya in the pitcha'

Aftershave is really fantastic, isn't it? In the past I've never really take shaving seriously, since my facial hair doesn't really grow terribly fast. Whenever my hair has become noticeable, I've really just hacked at my face with cheap and nasty disposable razors seconds before rushing out the door. I still use the cheap and nasty razors, but I am now equipped with some lovely aftershave balm which now ensures that blood doesn't dribble from my chin and also that my face doesn't reek of dry pus and stale sweat*. I've also finally got 90% of my stuff now thanks to a generous friend who held onto my things for a couple of months and delivered them right to my door. Making do without all my shit has made me a little more less materialistic, and it's odd having everything back again. Nevertheless it's nice to have important documents at arms length. I've also got a whole load of essays and research to do, and I'm happy to get into the swing of doing things again. I'm riding on the wave of my newly found organisation skills so I'm actually getting some of this stuff done in advance. I'm really hoping things stay that way.

Ah, what rutgered, sorry, rugged good looks
Music to me, is what films are to my boyfriend. He has a few CDs. I have a few DVDs. I have a shit ton of CDs, he has a shit ton of DVDs. Recently he leant me a few films, and I've watched all of them except one. So on my blog tonight, I've decided to step outside my comfort zone (music) and attempt to review the 1986 version of 'The Hitcher'. Reviewing this film isn't *that* relevant to anything going on at the moment. But the antagonist is played by none other than Rutger Hauer, who starred as the Hobo in Hobo with a Shotgun (released earlier this year). So if nothing else, it'll be interesting to see the man clean shaven and in his prime. Here we go.

An awkwardly worded description on the back doesn't leave a good first impression-
'However, his nightmare has only just begun as a terrifying and psychotic game of cat and mouse ensues with all who pass on the road becoming unwitting victims of The Hitcher'
Throughout the film I kept getting reminded of this
Hitcher. Fortunately Rutger Hauer wasn't green, so
there was minimum confusion.
although the DVD cover itself looks pretty swish. Borrowing from classic horrors such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills of Eyes, the film's protagonist, Jim Halsey, finds himself travelling through rural Texas. He picks up the Hitcher (I doubt the film would be as exciting if the camera simply followed the teenager through Texas for 1 and a half hours as he wordlessly listened to the radio, occasionally picking his nose or overtaking other cars) and finds that he isn't the nicest of individuals pretty quickly.

Hauer is fantastic as the Hitcher. His calm yet intense stare is a more than a little unnerving at the best of times, and gets the very best out of a slightly clich├ęd script. C.Thomas Howell  fits well into the role of the eighties adolescent protagonist. At times he's irritating in his flaws, at times his actions seem far too heroic for such a normal teenager, but it works. We share his fear, we share his anxiety, we share his relief. I'm surprised that director, Robert Harmon, hasn't worked on anything really noteworthy aside from the Hitcher. He's no Stanley Kubrick, but he did a great job creating a tense atmosphere in many of the scenes.
The plot was inspired by Doors classic 'Riders on the Storm'

I'm a little annoyed, because I wanted to do a negative review for something for a change. But the Hitcher, unfortunately, is excellent. It's more of a thriller/action sort of film in the end, but it borrows enough from from horror to appeal to fans of the genre. Hauer is by far the real star, and if you were impressed by him in the likes of Blade Runner (or even Hobo with a Shotgun) it's definitely worth checking out his performance in this.

It's been a while since I've updated this, again. I was going to post this a week ago but I got heavily distracted with a few things. I won't bore you with all the university work I have. Oh. And a quick clap for Steve Jobs, my walks home would be a little less eventful without my malfunctioning ipod. We could bring up the suicidal Chinese workers that manufacture Mr Job's products, but we'll keep quiet about that. Respect for the dead and all that. Dead Steve Jobs I mean. Not the workers, obviously.

What I'm currently listening to > \The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu/

*I am a very hygienic person, but you all come onto my blog for the vile imagery, don't ya

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hey Kids, Rock and Roll

Ever heard of Banksy, the graffiti artist? Don't worry, I'm not going to blow some generic diarrhoea  over your eyelids about the morality of graffiti writers (if it's art or a crime or whatever), but I was reminded of something he said in his book 'Wall and Piece' where he talks about something known as 'Broken Window Theory'. The term was created by a couple of American social scientists. The theory blames small problems in society for the bigger ones - if say, a window was broken in a small community, people would care less and be encouraged to vandalise the area, and the result would be that people would be encouraged to commit more dastardly (isn't that a fantastic word?) crimes. In short, the theory says people would develop a "hey, this area is really shitty, so a few cases or arson or rape won't make a difference" kind of attitude. I've grown to appreciate and agree with this theory over the past few weeks, and not just because I live in a wretched hive of scum and villainy. I've finally locked myself into the habit of vacuuming every week, cleaning my room daily, washing my dishes as soon as I have eaten, and actually hanging out my washing instead throwing it in a damp pile to fester. And as a result, I'm much more productive generally, which is good timing because my course has just started. I don't really have a point to make here, I'm just a bit more optimistic for the future. 
Banksy is fine for his humour and political statements, but
if you actually fancy checking out a decent grafiti artist
look up ROA

I promised that I'd review a more contemporary album, and I was going to until about 30 seconds ago when I changed my mind. But I just remembered that R.E.M  broke up a couple of days ago. This isn't really news, but I'm still a little bit disappointed because they were still producing good music, and I really wanted to see them on tour one day. I can't really say they were my absolute favourite band, and they probably aren't even in my top 10, but they are one of the few major mainstream bands around toda- oh yeah, that's right, shit. Regardless. I like them a lot, and at first I wasn't sure what album of theirs I wanted to spunk over with kind words. Out of their 15 albums, there are many significant releases - 'Accelerate', their 2008 'return to form', their fantastic debut (and possibly my favourite album by them) 'Murmur' or 'Out of Time', when the band hit huge commercial success for the first time. I have decided, however, to ultimately go with my first proper introduction to them - Automatic for the People. Long before I had discovered the likes of Amazon or even record shops, it was the first album I really, really wanted and it took a great deal of effort to find. I paid a ridiculous amount too - £14 (It wasn't even special edition, just HMV being cunts), but it was worth it. 

Monty Clift himself. Looks a bit like the action man
I had, minus the army jacket and the pen and
crayon marks across his face
Automatic for the People is a very approachable album, and could not be considered obscure in any way due to the fact that it featured 'Everybody Hurts' (along with 4 other hit singles) and went to no.1 in the UK album chart. For such a commercially successful album, It's extremely dark, musically and lyrically. 'Everybody Hurts' is of course, about suicide. But other tracks like 'Sweetness Follows' seem to come across even stronger. It's taken from the point of view of someone burying their dead parents, struggling to find an emotion as they remember how distant and hollow the relationship was with their mother and father. The song could easily have broken free from the strumming of the acoustic guitar and the organ chords into some power ballad, but the musical arrangement clearly strays away from this - the track has no drums whatsoever and the electric guitar feedback that is occasionally heard doesn't spazz out into some solo that pisses all over the emotion of the track. 'My favourite song about the actor Montgomery Clift' may not seem like an award where a hard decision is needed, but I have to admit that The Clash's 'The Right Profile' and a track from AFTP, 'Monty Got a Raw Deal' are both fantastic songs that deal with the actor's troubled life. On R.E.M's take, the song is like many on Automatic, dark, but not dull or cheesy in its sympathy. But some rockier songs on the album buck the trend a little, especially 'The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite', an extremely, bouncy and uplifting track. Peter Buck, the band's former guitarist noted -
"Given that the record dealt with mortality, the passage of time, suicide and family, we felt a light spot was needed"

The cover photo was apparently part of a motel sign near
where the band were recording, but this is uncited information
from wikipedia, so it could be a fucking spaceship
Nightswimming, for me, is the best song on the album. As that piano line plays now, I can feel my hands sweating and the electricity running up and down my arms (and no, that isn't my laptop fucking up, I checked). A fantastic string arrangement by ex Lep Zep bassist John Paul Jones and lyrics looking back to carefree times create a wonderful track. It doesn't quite finish the album chronologically, but it's the true emotional closer, with Find the River moving the tone down a notch and meandering it down to an end.

All I can say is wow - I remembered liking the album, but giving it the first proper listen in years has made me appreciate album twice as much. Experimenting with this multiple images thing now, jazzes things up a bit eh? Well, this tea is stone cold so I better empty it out. 

What I'm currently listening to > \R.E.M. - Fables of the Reconstruction/

Thanks for reading you sly old dog

Friday, 16 September 2011

Forest Gump

Today's current post is done from the university library once again. The wonder of free, unlimited internet, has once again become a glamorous dream because something fucked up. The majority of us have been in a position where we've been on the phone to a call centre with someone barely able to speak English on the other end. For those of you unfamiliar with the scenario, there is nothing satisfying about trying to unscrew a phone socket that has been stuck to the wall with an unholy force, while a voice tuts and clucks impatiently into your ear as you struggle to understand their most basic commands. Predictably, none of their advice helped. So I decided to wait until the end of the call where an automated voice asked how I had found the service, and if the problem had been resolved. I answered with "shite" and "useless" respectively.

Something we can all learn from. Apparently.
In times like those, I loose my respect for humanity a little. So to discover a little about the world away from humans, and to pass the time without internet, I invested in the complete series of Planet Earth for a measly £11. Which I think is pretty impressive for 15 hours of David Attenborough narrated goodness. I've only dipped my toe into the collection so far, so I don't really have material for a full blown review. But nevertheless I'm going to dither on about how breathtaking it can be. Planet Earth took over 5 years to film, with a £16 million budget. On that information alone, it's nice to know that not everything on television is a rushed pile of shit. And in the 2 hours that I watched it, I started to care more about the environment than I ever have done in my 19 years on this planet. The series never directly grabs you with U C THat PoloaR br? itz dieYing from gloBal warminG!!!11 but watching a Snow Leopard desperately trying to make a kill actually makes it seem more real than it ever was in a leaflet posted through my door or a speech make by Al gore (Poet and I didn't know it etc). Overall I'm very glad I'm a human. If you look around, you can see we have achieved stupid amounts. And it's thanks to humans that I've been able to watch Planet Earth. But when things aren't in our own interests, we get absurdly lazy. And we are still a crazily prejudiced (myself included at times) race. In the first episode of Planet Earth, an exotic bird in a rainforest does a display for a female. The female turns away in disappointment.
"It's hard not to be deflated when your best isn't good enough" observes Sir Attenborough. But, unfortunately, in the case of the human race, the same thing cannot be said - we don't exactly try our best all the time.

On a lighter note, I've volunteered for Hospital Radio, and I should be starting that in a couple of weeks. As well as getting me some experience working with radio equipment, it should be fun being able to create my own playlists. If I was a more twisted individual, I'd have the perfect music collection to potentially inflict more misery into patient's lives -
"For the man in ward 16 recovering from that brutal mallet attack here's Peter Gabriel's mega hit, Sledgehammer!"

What I'm currently listening to > \The Who - Quadrophenia/

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A Walking Disaster

When I was younger, I was quite the fan of charades. I didn't know, however, that this hilarious game would be an essential tool for a certain period in my life. The period I am referring to is this past week, and most likely more weeks to come. On the 3rd of this month, I moved into my new flat. The landlord of course, had forgotten I was moving in that day. After a number of phone calls (made while dragging a heavy bag and my bass across town for hours on end) I was reassured that it was okay and that the flat door could have been left open. It turned out it was - how reassuring. I mean who locks the doors in a neighbourhood where the shops have thick bars on the windows? Later on I met my 2 flatmates. Elated with relief about actually moving in, I greeted one with a long, babbling introduction. He responded with a blank face and
"Speak English not good".
Since then arm waving, miming, and pointing have been my main forms of communication. And I've just had to show more people around the flat who also don't know much in the way of English. I was advised by the landlord to 'show them the single room'. Upon arrival they told me in broken English that they were told the single room was unavailable and that they needed a double room anyway. All the rooms were locked. And did I mention that 90% of my possessions are locked up in a flat owned by a friend who is away for 3 weeks? And that I still don't have a job? Yeah? Just checking. Anyone fancy a game of charades?

I could have done with the Demolition
 Man himself to help me move.
Unfortunately I don't yet have Sly's
number. One day.
The Police were a band that I hated for the longest time. Or at least, that's what I told everyone. Coming out and admitting I loved them was harder than admitting to myself that I was gay. All I'd really heard of the Police for a while was Roxanne and Every Breath You Take. From this information I came to the conclusion that they were a generic soft rock band that lay slotted in between U2 and Whitney Houston in mothers' CD collections everywhere. But one day I heard the opening jangly guitar riff to Message in a Bottle, and my curiosity was stoked. The discovery that the drummer composed the soundtrack to Spyro 2, one of my favourite childhood games, tipped the scales and I checked their Regatta de Blanc album. I have been hooked on the band's infectious energy ever since. My favourite album by the group has to be Ghost in the Machine. Guitarist Andy Summers once said that "With the horns and synth coming in, the fantastic raw-trio feel—all the really creative and dynamic stuff—was being lost" and I have to say he is talking out of his arse. I have always preferred bands that change their sound. The Ramones have never stuck with me partly because they played the same shit over and over, album after album, which gets boring quickly. But maybe I'm just a slut for synthesisers. 

I always love a good, ballsy, drum injected introduction to a song (see Janie Jones, Born in '69),  and Spirits in the Material World has an extremely brief but nevertheless perfect little burst to kickstart Ghost in the Machine. The biting little bass line that follows is ridiculously infectious, and the chorus hook and bouncy synths create one catchy opener. This is followed by the biggest hit off the album (it topped the UK charts and went to no.3 in the US), Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. I won't lie - it's a soppy little love song. But it's one of the few soppy love songs I actually like and the humming double bass combined with the playful piano weaves it into a lovely little number. Up until Ghost in the Machine, Police songs never strayed away from darker lyrical themes (Can't Stand Losing You certainly didn't beat around the bush with "I guess this is our last goodbye/and you don't care so I won't cry/but you'll be sorry when I'm dead/and all this guilt will be on your head"), but the bouncy melodies always sharply contrasted with these themes. Because of this, Invisible Sun was somewhat of a  departure. The sinister synth bassline and Sting's mournful vocal melody fits the lyrical theme of war torn countries like a glove.

Further on is Rehumanize Yourself, 4 minutes and 50 seconds of Copeland composed joy. Demolition Man (which was later bastardized by Sting for the film of the same name) has one of the most fun bass lines in popular music. Hungry for You is an extremely passionate song about sex, made all the more passionate by the fact that the majority of the lyrics are in French. But the real star of the album (and the Police in my opinion) is drummer Stewart Copeland. Copeland is one of the few drummers whose sound is instantly recognisable. His reggae influenced style is surprisingly fast and punchy, and works very hard to bring the songs to life. He also happens to be an excellent composer and has done many excellent projects outside of the Police. The album itself is a fairly easy listen. The songs have enough pop sensibility and hit singles to grab your attention on the first listen, and the interesting lyrics and fantastic drum parts give the album enough weight to keep you coming back for more. But next time I write about an album I like, I promise I'll do something a bit more contemporary. And should I start reviewing albums generally, instead of just picking my favourites? I'm not really sure if I should. Please let me know.

What I'm Currently Listening To > \The Cure - Disintegration (GITM has had enough spins for today)/

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Advertising and Cocaine

Come Saturday, I shall no longer have to bend to the will of a little blinking light wedged into my laptop. No, I don't have robotic genitalia that I enjoy inserting into my usb ports. I am currently using mobile broadband and it is the source of much stress in my life. Not content with charging me ridiculous amounts far too often, on days like today it will connect me to the wonderful world wide web for an unknown period of time. Perhaps it will be 5 minutes, perhaps it will be 30 seconds. U R conekted!! thnx 4 using our serviC3s! But then little dongle grows weary. Lol joaKing!!1 there i5 no netWurk! lol! I am usually then disconnected, and have to spend 10 minutes moving around the room, removing and reinserting the dongle, where maybe, just maybe, my almighty master shall grant a mere mortal the possibility of 30 seconds more internet time. Who else loves technology? But yes, I move in on Saturday, woo. The flat comes with internet which is paid for by my future landlord, a decision he will probably regret upon seeing the Terabytes of porn illegal music lecture slides I download.

Advertising at it's most evil
and dishonest.  
In the the immortal words of Minutemen's D.Boon, "let the products sell themselves, fuck advertising, psychological methods to sell should be destroyed". As you probably already know, I hate people that try to sell you things. Sometimes the subject of adverts comes up in conversation when I'm around others. They might discuss their favourite advert. I have no favourite advert, because quite simply, I hate all of them. Okay. I confess that occasionally an advert will make me laugh, or maybe I'll be impressed by how clever it is. Although it may entertain me, it's not going to decide if I buy a product or not. Even if I am won over by a particular advert's wit, I'll get sick of it when I inevitably see it another 50 times before it runs it's course. And it will be wedged in between the other 99% of adverts that annoyed me from the very beginning. And those of you reading this may be nodding your heads. Which apparently means fuck all, because we're being showing time and time again that some of you idiots are going out and proving that advertising gimmicks work. And in turn, this makes me look a bit silly. Increased sales means more jobs for everyone and a better economy. Which is good. Very good. And without revenue from advertising, many newspapers and magazines would be left floundering financially. It would be nice if adverts were a bit more honest, though, wouldn't it? Yes, your cereal may be wholegrain and it may have no artificial colours, but it's 35% sugar and it's turning your children into a gaggle of Jabba the Hutt lookalikes. I suppose honesty doesn't sell though. And I suppose moaning, 19 year old Scottish bloggers don't run the world. 

I can't use my fingers to count the amount of places I've slept in the past few weeks. I'm a lot less fussy when it comes to finding a place to rest my head now, but all the same I'm looking forward to a bed that I own. So a big thank you to anyone reading this who has let me crash at theirs from the last month. I'll pay everyone back in some way, I promise.

What I'm Currently Listening to > \Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime/

Thanks for reading!

P.S - Let me know what you think of my new banner and my new layout in general. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Another Record

I keep getting annoyed at myself for not updating this often enough. The days have really been going by pretty quickly. And it makes me think about what I have achieved in the summer. In terms of enjoying myself, it's been fantastic. T in the Park was excellent. I've secured myself a great boyfriend. I've been putting my past self to shame in terms of alcohol consumption. I've watched acclaimed motion pictures such as Zombie Flesh-eaters, Sharktopus, and Hobo with a Shotgun (courtesy of said boyfriend). And I've found a flat to move into soon. Fantastic. Hours of looking up shady adverts just so I can plunge myself into debt more. And at the start of the summer I told myself I'd start learning French again. Past me is an idiot and he needs a punch.

I don't even know what they are talking about,
but it's probably something you've never heard of
You know what was a huge disappointment for me? The book/motion picture High Fidelity. The story has its  moments, but it failed to live up to my odd little expectations. Having heard a little about it, I assumed it was going to be about 3 guys in a record shop that made top 5 lists all day and got up to a whole load of hi-jinks. And to an extent it was. But then it decided to slide down the piss covered little chute of a romantic comedy. And the protagonist's constant moaning got on my tits (fair enough I moan on this, but by christ I don't go out and make a whole book of my my smug little views  on whether eggy bread should be called french toast or whatever the fuck). But despite my disappointment it made me want to work in a record shop. I've given up on this pursuit due to the fact that whenever I ask such places if they have positions available they snort derisively and look up from a stack of limited edition Sonic Youth records just so they can say 'no'. Nevertheless I love the whole atmosphere of these places. Sometimes I'll hear something that's playing on the shop's sound system, I'll ask about it, and I'll be opened up to a whole new world of bands/musicians. No matter how much music you listen to, there's always going to be doors you haven't checked out. That band you don't like that much? You might just start to love them. Or you could just hate them even more. But it's good to be informed about bands you don't even like (this comes from someone who has been late more than once because he was looking up the discography of a band he'd never even listened to before). Another thing about record shops I love is the fact that the experience isn't just an audio one. Walking through the second hand section can be like walking through an art gallery. The more inspired album artwork is something to really admire. And it's probably something I do as a complete creep, but I just love the smell of that cardboard and vinyl. The scent of a record shop isn't one of 'buy this' it's one of warmth and history. Or maybe febreeze.

My last blog makes out that I think news stories are pretty close to fantasy, which isn't really what I aimed for. I just think that it's hard to grasp the concept of goings on in space when you are sitting in your living room, and that despite the fact that news outlets usually make every efforts to stick to the facts there's always the possibility that they fucked up or exaggerated, so sorry if I didn't make that clear. It's incredibly hot in here, so I might just watch some b-movie horror from my boyfriend's massive pile to entertain myself for the time being. I also have the horrible feeling that I've done a blog exactly like this before, but if that's the case then maybe I just really like record shops so fuck the police.

What I'm currently listening to > \The Clash - London Calling/

As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Faith No More

Now there have been riots going on throughout the UK recently and the subject has been blogged to death. Just about every single opinion is out there for everybody to hear, so I'm really not going to bother with a post about it at all. I've been a little inactive on here recently, but I actually have an excuse this time. I've been extremely busy trying to find a job and a flat. I signed the contract for my own room yesterday, and was contacted about a job interview, which is tomorrow. The whole thing has been a real growing up experience. Which is rather ironic, because me and some companions were doing the least mature things we'd ever done a couple of nights ago at a friend's 21st birthday party. These included such shows of adulthood as a game of pass the parcel, lifting someone out of their room bollock naked shouting TOGA TOGA TOGA (while dressed in bedsheet togas of course), and lighting fireworks wedged in the groin and the gluteus maximus. I'll let you guess which one resulted in injury.

WOOOOOOOO - a recreation of the
events that took place outside my
bedroom door 
If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know I'm not particularly religious. But we humans generally have a lot more faith than we'd like to believe. If we hear something on the news about a meteor that's hurling itself across some galaxy at 50,000 miles per hour, a lot of us, probably even the majority of us, will just believe that it's happening. The only evidence we have is that someone on the news told us about a number of folk that live thousands of miles away who apparently saw something happening billions of miles away. But we don't really have to go that deep. I was watching a documentary on otters not so long ago. Apparently in the UK there are people that get employed to walk up large areas of river to check for signs of otters and make sure everything is okay for them. And I just believe this, even though I've never met someone who does such a job. So why the sudden deep blog about belief? I suppose it was partly inspired by what I saw, or what I thought I saw last night.

Not long after I'd gone to bed, I was distracted by something out the corner of my eye. Through the frosted glass of the room door, I saw a tall, white-grey shape moving past the door. Now my first thought was this - the window behind the bed is right beside a road, so fairly often a car will go past and the light will reflect off the opposite side of the room and glide across. But in this case there were no cars outside, the curtains were pulled shut, and there wasn't really anything outside that could produce such a light. So I watched from my bed as it walked from one side to the other and then back again, and it suddenly dawned on me that this shape was rather like a a person pacing up and down the hallway. Turning away for a while, I wasn't too bothered because I figured it could be anything. I then looked at the door again - there was a huge black shape just behind the door. Again, this could be anything, but I've slept in that bed for almost a month and I'd never seen anything like it. As my eyes adjusted, I was more disturbed as I realised the black shape was pulsating. At one point while I was watching it my skin turned cold in a way it had never done before and my penis shrank a little. I can safely say I was freaked out. This happened for about 5 minutes until I realised I couldn't stay up all night and that I wanted to sleep. So I said;
"I've had enough of this, please fuck off"
Still scared out my wits I ran across the room and turned on the light. I checked the hallway and there was nothing there, which means little I suppose. Now most of you will probably snigger. There are probably a hundred explanations for what I saw and I was probably being an idiot. But it just made me think that people are quick to laugh at things like belief in a god or spirits or whatever, but they'll happily believe something they saw on TV even when they have nothing else to back it up. Whether it's a ghost in your hallway, or the belief that otter shit smells like jasmine tea, it's faith, ladies and gentlemen. Faith.

Apologies for the length, hopefully y'all still liked it. I think I'll wash the dishes and read up on this place that's going to interview me. I'd like to go out to the shops to get some decent food, but my flatmates have the keys, and they are elsewhere so half a tub of this was my brunch for today.

What I'm currently listening to > \Faith No More - Angel Dust/

Thanks for reading!