Monday, September 29, 2008

Gimme Some Money - the Federal Bailout

A Ponzi scheme is one in which the thing on sale is valueless. Instead, the first tranche of people to go in the scheme are paid by the next tranche to go in. The third tranche pay for the second wave. The last set of people to buy into the scheme pay their money and eagerly await the next round of suckers. If there isn't a next round of suckers, then they lose their shirts.

They ought to teach people about Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes at school, because people fall for them.

Bankers, for instance. They've been selling each other rounds of increasingly worthless paper based on one concept – that house prices can only increase. It turns out that this eternal verite is not true – who knew?

Under the circumstances, it is vitally important that they convince the next round of suckers – Congress – that taxpayers should put money into the scheme. Financiers are depending on this money, or they will lose everything. They are fighting for their very Lamborghinis, and are very, very persuasive on the subject of why we need to put money in. Just a little more, and everything will work again.

George Bush says we need to bail them out, which seems like an excellent reason to look twice at the deal. He's panicked America into paying no-questions-asked money to his friends so many times that simply hearing it from him is enough to make you think. His cronies hollowed out the entire treasury in eight years and now we have to give more?

They have a great sales spiel. Buy this paper off us or we're all gonna die! But with their Jacuzzis and private jets at stake, they would say that, wouldn't they? Americans are strong, have a good work ethic, want to pay their bills. They'll make more money. China isn't going to completely pull the plug as the Chinese internal market is not well developed. It has to sell to someone to make money, and America is where it sells stuff. The collateral – housing stock - is still standing, even at reduced prices, and eventually it will free up. Lots of bankers will go tits up, but man, they didn't give me any money when they had it and I don't see why I should give them any now.

We don't need to bail the financiers out. They sold worthless paper to each other hoping against they wouldn't be the ones left holding when the bills needed to be paid. They are professional risk takers. They took a risk. It blew up in their faces. Let them learn their lesson.

The real argument for the bail out is that the money for these loans is gone, evaporated into thin air (that's why they call it a bubble) and isn't going to be replaced, but – and it's a big but – the banks are now frozen into place, unwilling to lend anything to anyone, including each other, and without cash to lubricate the system, it will never move again.

I guess if we have to do it, we have to do it. Generally speaking, I don't have much enthusiasm for giving money to people who got themselves into debt over mortgages and mortgage backed loans. However, I have about a million times more sympathy for giving them money than I do giving Paulson and his friends the right to spend $700B at a time without any congressional oversight by giving it to bankers who once earned hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions each - all while losing billions on behalf of their customers.

Especially after reading this article, Let's put this bailout into perspective, ok? . A little sympathy, there.

Charlie Stross says,
Never mind bailing out the banks: what needs bailing out is the human beings behind the collateralized debt obligations. The money would be better spent keeping roofs over their heads (and servicing those currently-non-viable mortgages, which action would, incidentally, keep the banks liquid).

In my more cynical moments I look at the demands for money emanating from the White House and what I see is the Mafia hoods running up the lines of credit on a business they've taken over before they complete the bustout. Eight years of asset-stripping and looting, and finally the coup de grace: $700Bn in no-questions-asked, no-oversight slush money.

I don't want the people who ran the financial institutions into the ground playing with any more of my money. Ponzi schemes don't work; there's always someone left holding the paper, and I don't see why it has to be me.

No Led Zeppelin Tour

Some official words at last, from Robert Plant's site.

Official Statement, September 29th 2008.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are currently touring the USA on the last leg of their 'Raising Sand' tour. They played a benefit concert in Oklahoma City for victims of Hurricane Ike last Friday; Austin,Texas last Saturday and tomorrow they play Portland, Oregon before finishing the tour in Saratoga, California on October 5th.

After those dates, Robert has no intention whatsoever of touring with anyone for at least the next two years. Contrary to a spate of recent reports, Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin. Anyone buying tickets online to any such event will be buying bogus tickets.

“It‘s both frustrating and ridiculous for this story to continue to
rear its head when all the musicians that surround the story are keen to get on with their individual projects and move forward,” Robert Plant said.

“I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham nothing but success with any future projects,” he added.

On the group I'm on this is being hailed as a sign something is happening and that after all, jokey statements about there not being enough doctors to support a show were made by Plant only 2 months before O2. Ah, fans. Hope springs eternal.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Use found for Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman

A researcher has discovered Why Loneliness Feels Cold and Sins Feel Dirty. There's a write up of his research in Scientific American at the link.

The researcher Zhong says,

"I came across this popular 1970s song on YouTube called Lonely This Christmas written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. It goes, “It'll be lonely this Christmas, lonely and cold, it'll be cold so cold, without you to hold.” It just occurred to me that maybe what the song describes is more than a metaphor but a real psychological connection between loneliness and coldness."

He goes on to show that loneliness does indeed make people feel cold, moral issues make people feel dirty, and belonging to an out-group (e.g. "non white") brings together larger mixed groups than belonging to an in-group (e.g. "Latino"). Interesting stuff, and worth the read.

I wish he had asked people from hot countries about "the cold shoulder" and people from non-Christian cultures about the "immaculate" (unstained) soul, though. I would love to know if this is universal or just picked up along with such trivia as Christmas being red and green.

The unbelievably popular British hitmakers Chinn and Chapman provided a soundtrack of the seventies with 19 hits in the UK Top 40. Nineteen!

I'd like to get the following Chinn and Chapman songs out of my head.

Suzi Quatro – Devil Gate Drive
Sweet - Blockbuster
Mud – Tiger Feet
Toni Basil - Mickey
And approximately 14 more.

(Seen via Velcro City)


I just read this comment. The blog post is interesting – Roger Ebert on the death of irony and the dawn of credulity - but the comment is fascinating.

"I'm just afraid that we've transformed this culture, collapsed it down to a xylophone shape, and nobody has the time, the inclination, the temperament, even the desire to see what lives within those folds."

Isn't that true, though? The world has collapsed to a xylophone shape. Not, as many people have assumed in the past, an accordion, or the bellows thereof.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Song Remains The Same

I have another Led Zeppelin movie. Well, it's same one, kinda.

According to YouDopia, the coolest shit ever can be found on a walk in the woods. I abandoned my previous hobby of fellwalking near Blea Tarn with Jimmy and Roy, and headed out for the woods, where I, too, became proud owner of the Song Remains The Same: Fan Edition.

It's a lot like The Song Remains the Same: Special Edition, which I've reviewed here before, except pretty much everywhere where I say "loses momentum" or "lags" or "drags" or "I-can't-believe-the-director-did-that", the offending piece has been taken out, replaced by concert footage or glossed over. The fan editor did a wonderful job - the series of concerts that Jimmy Page thought were mediocre – “Obviously we were committed to putting this album out, although it wasn't necessarily the best live stuff we have. I don't look upon it as a live's essentially a soundtrack” – and were made even more mediocre by the inane 'backstage' footage, are revealed as a stonkin' concert of the type bands don't do anymore.

And don't bother me about it. I paid to see the movie in the theater, and I've paid for two different DVDs of it. I can't see that watching a recut version is doing anybody out of any money.

In news brought to me today by my favorite Led Zeppelin site, the organ used in John Paul Jones' fantasy sequence is the mighty Organ at Alexandra Palace. It is now sadly damaged and fallen into disrepair, and there is an appeal for restoration funds at The Alexandra Palace Organ Appeal.

Here's the organ as it looked in 1970, unrestored but whole.


Here's what it looks like in a frame from TSRTS – click thumbnail for full size picture.

A close up of the keyboard from the movie.


It's good to find out more about this film, now more than 30 years old and still filled with wonders. I'd describe the Shepperton reshoots except I think the pictures still belong to individuals.

I've mentioned it many times before, and here's a round up of links.

Original DVD of TSRTS - review
Remastered DVD of TSRTS - review
Jimmy Page's eyes in TSRTS
The garden tapes

Information identifying the Ally Pally organ with the Song Remains the Same organ is from Steve A Jones via Lord Jagged.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Woman's Work

Researchers compared the salaries of men who held 'traditional' views of women in the workplace, men who held 'feminist' views, women who held traditional views and women who held feminist views.

In the salary game, the men who held traditional views won - earning
71% more than women with traditional views.

Startling stuff. Read the rest in Time Magazine.

Judge and Livingston analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study, a survey of 12,686 people who were interviewed four times between 1979 and 2005. In 1979, the study group ranged in age from 14 to 22... The salaries that researchers analyzed ranged from $22,795 on average for egalitarian-minded men to $34,725 for men with traditional attitudes. Women with egalitarian attitudes made $21,373, compared with women who held traditional attitudes and earned $20,321. The findings were published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

In case you're wondering, women with egalitarian attitudes earning little more than the women with the traditional attitudes.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Out of Mars Bars

One of my favorite blogs tackled the Rolling Stones Redlands bust recently.

In 1967 the police busted the Rolling Stones at Redlands, Keith Richards' beautiful country estate. Among other things, they found Marianne Faithfull wrapped in a fur rug but otherwise naked. They also found a small quantity of speed, for which Jagger and Richards were convicted of drug possession. The story put about at the time was that MJ and MF had been engaged in chocolatey-goodness-flavored hanky-panky with a Mars Bar. (English Mars Bar, not American. More like an American Milky Way, which is different from an English Milky Way.)

I found this (later) comment from Marianne's biography interesting:

"The Mars Bar was a very effective piece of demonizing. Way out there. It was so overdone, with such malicious twisting of the facts. Mick retrieving a Mars Bar from my vagina, indeed! It was far too jaded for any of us even to have conceived of. It's a dirty old man's fantasy... a cop's idea of what people do
on acid!"

So for a rock band in 1967, speed was normal but shennanigans with Mars Bars were a dirty old man's fantasy – a very revealing comment on the mores of the time.

The full article is on Another Nickel In The Machine here, and there is a lovely picture of the World in Action program where Jagger discussed drugs and other pressing issues with such establishment figures as William Rees-Mogg (the editor of the Times) and the Bishop of Woolwich.

The incidents were parodied in the Rutles movie All You Need is Cash. Unfortunately the Rutles clip is not available on YouTube, so you might take a look at this one instead. This is on the evils of tea.

Is fiction always more fun than the real thing? Probably.

Here's the Rutles' fake headline.

Rutles film frame

And here's the real headline, being carried by the real Marianne.

Marianne Faithfull with newspaper

Keith Richards had this to say: "The fur rug - yes. The Mars Bar no. We were out of Mars Bars."


Interview with Jimmy Page, Edge and Jack White

The Toronto Film Festival press conference for It Might Get Loud, featuring Jimmy Page, Edge and Jack White, is online. The video is available from the TIFF website, on the Press Conferences section. Go here, and click on the picture of the three of them playing guitar.

Jack White is pretty funny. I've heard so much about this movie I'm looking forward to it, which is more than I can say about any other film so far this year.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In Other News, Water Wet, Say Scientists

The Washington Post reports one of those common sense studies that sounds as though it was made up by a scientist's mother. Apparently no, it was verified in the laboratory.

Startle Response Linked to Politics

People who startle easy are more likely to adopt a conservative position than people who have a more measured response to a percieved threat.

The finding suggests that people who are particularly sensitive to signals of visual or auditory threats also tend to adopt a more defensive stance on political issues, such as immigration, gun control, defense spending and patriotism. People who are less sensitive to potential threats, by contrast, seem predisposed to hold more liberal positions on those issues.

The researchers questioned the volunteers on such things as their attitudes to the war in Iraq, same-sex marriage and school prayer. Weeks later, they were tested on their 'startle response' to threatening images such as large spiders or a face covered in blood, and other stimuli. People who held conservative views had a stronger startle response.

This seems almost a given to me. So much of a given that I wonder if the researchers just found something they were looking for.

Being even-handed sorts, the researchers say that equanimity is not always the best way to react to a new stimulus, and the conservatives may have the right idea.

"We could spin a story saying it is bad to be so jumpy, but you can also spin a story saying it is bad to be naive about threats," he said. "From an evolutionary point of view, an organism needs to respond to a threat or it won't be around for very long. We are not saying one response is more normal than another."

It does give another boost to the term "kneejerk" conservative, except in this case it's a galvanic skin response conservative.

"Look, immigrants!"

"Eeek! Where? Make them go away!"

That sort of thing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Marc Bolan, 30 September 1947 – 16 September 1977

Late September again; time to remember Marc Bolan, who died on 16th September 1977, 31 years ago. Marc was my first pop crush and I remember those times well. I remember waiting for a record to be released so I could buy it, knowing the exact time and day it would be available. I remember buying crap newspapers like the Daily Mail and appalling teen rags like Jackie just for the Marc Bolan articles to cut out and keep. I can clearly remember working on a T. Rex scrapbook by the light of a home-made oil lamp during one of England's frequent 1970's attacks of industrial action that cut off the power for hours on end, several times a week. I remember the TV appearances, his elfin look and impish grin. Above all I remember the music. I still play it often, both T. Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex. The latter, which many people find difficult, if not impenetrable, is easy listening for me, literally child's play.

I visited Golders Green Crematorium last year, to say Hi to Marc (and to Paul Kossoff, also commemorated there). Here's a picture of Marc's plaques in 2007(click on the thumbnail to enlarge):

Here's Metal Guru from 1972.

We miss you, Marc.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jimmy Page's Biggest Influence?

That's Wildwood Flower, with Larry Collins, Joe Maphis and Merle Haggard.

Look at little Larry. He has the doubleneck; the silver MSG jacket with epaulets; the silver stars on the pants; the little dance moves Jimmy does, and the sheer joy in playing.

Visual Evidence?
Jimmy's epaulets

Jimmy's doubleneck

Jimmy's Stars

Ramrod, Joe Maphis and Larry Collins

I know what you're going to say. But could Larry shred? Yes, he could!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Joe Maphis and Larry Collins!

Well, that's my dose of guitar pickin' genius for the day

Large Hadrons and Lyn Collins

Large Hadron Rap: A sort of Old Skoolhouse Rap including all you needed to know about Higgs Bosons and the stuff that holds the universe together. In verse, with the "Whoo - Yeah!" sample that adds guaranteed pizzazz, even to nerds rapping about extra dimensions and dark matter.

The first big "Whoo - Yeah!" rap song was the legendary Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's 1988 platinum-seller It Takes Two.

The awesome sample with a life of its own is from James Brown and Lyn Collins' 1972 hit Think About It. A tour de force in itself, the song provided rap - certainly Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock - with quite a lot of material.

The sample itself is taken from 1:24 to 1:36.

Lovely song.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Feeding the kids twice.

Someone asked us, "What do you think about musician's smashing their expensive gear? Whether they be guitars, drum kits, keyboards, amps. Do you think it makes the show or detracts from it. The Who were famous for it as were a lot others."

In the answers I saw that concept of "expensive" came up a couple of times. It was a "waste" someone said, the money for a guitar would "feed a lot of kids".

Perhaps I've lived in Capitalism Land for too long, but I really didn't get that bit at all. If a musician buys one guitar, it feeds the guitar maker's kids once. If a musician buys a guitar and smashes it, then buys another, it feeds the guitar maker's kids twice. The "waste" angle is odd when one is talking about refretting a speaker cab and putting a new neck on a guitar. It's a tiny piece of wood. The average American probably junks more packing material in a month than go to make up one neck and fretcloth. Every American, every month.

I remembered that Pete Townshend learned of Auto Destruction at Ealing College of Art. So I looked up Townshend's destructivist influence, who I found initially named as Metzke. Townsend first heard the visiting Austrian artist lecture at Ealing Art College. In The Last Party, a history of Britpop, John Harris writes:

Perhaps most importantly, Townshend was keyed in to theories of an Austrian named Gustav Metzke, the mind behind 'auto-destruction'. Metzke talked about sculpting statues that would intentionally fall from their plinths; at one lecture, he methodically destroyed a double bass.The result was that Townshend was the first rock musician to bring a conceptual vocabulary to what he did. His Britishness meant that he had no deep-seated ties to the music's roots: what may or may have not been "authentic" did not even occur to him. He steered The Who through a stream of contrivances: 'Pop Art Music', 'Rock Opera', the onstage frenzies of instrument-smashing that he squared with Metzke's theories. "Pop music is art, and it's vital that it should be understood as art," he said in 1965. These were not the kind of words that tended to be expressed in an American accent.

It was easier to find out about Metzke when I spelled his name the common way: Gustav Metzger. He was a member of the Fluxus movement (as was Yoko Ono before she met John Lennon), and his auto destructive art has been traced from Tinguely's Machine Happening of 1960 all the way through to Survival Research Labs (SRL). There's a long article about destruction art here on line. Note that it's been translated so it's a bit difficult to read. Selected Comments on Destruction Art.

Destruction art bears witness to the tenuous conditionality of survival; it is the visual discourse of the survivor. It is the only attempt in the visual arts to grapple seriously with the technology and psychodynamics of actual and virtual extinction, one of the few cultural practices to redress the general absence of discussion about destruction in society.

I remember hearing this line as a kid and thinking it was bollocks. The middle classes – the sort of people who go to art schools – may have not heard much about destruction at their wine and cheese parties, but the masses of people, the working class, deal with destruction, death and degradation every day.

Appreciation of getting pigs' guts thrown over you by a sneery artist who wants you to be shocked out of your complacency is limited to people who don't kill pigs for a living. I believe it was Ozzy Osborne who once said, "I used to work with animals. I used to kill them." I'm sure he had heard some discussion about destruction in his society.

Onwards, though, with Destructivism:

In this regard, one of the key psychoanalytic dimensions of destruction art is the charged emotional reaction to the anger and frustration these three experienced as the disempowered 'other' within the Western male culture to which they belonged and which they theoretically controlled. This sense of being 'out-of-control', in part, accounts for the violence of their rejection of the deceptive conventions of Western 'creation' and the repressive sublimations it demands. The range of their destructions and the objects or human actions upon which they were visited, however problematic, must be characterized as parody, a profound disgust and rejection of the patriarchal models of discipline, punishment, violence, and authoritarianism so accurately theorized by Klaus Thewelei.
Metzger was not a pigs' guts guy himself. At the time, his talk was of statues that would be programmed to self-destruct. Metzger's concept of art that destroys itself – auto destructive art – is still in demand. He was at Instal 08. He's in his eighties now.

But harpist Rhodri Davies will be collaborating with Metzger on a performance involving auto-destructive harp. There will also be sub-bass experiments in the bowels of The Arches looking at the way acoustic science allows sound to be generated and destroyed in the same instant. (It's how they proposed suppressing the noise of generators and pneumatic drills; I distinctly remember Judith Hann in a hard hat, shaking prettily but quietly on Tomorrow's World.)

Sound that destroys itself, self-cancelling sound, would be the ultimate 96 decibel freak-out. I hope it worked; I hope it was more successful than the infra-sound William Burroughs threatened to experiment with in his interview with Jimmy Page in Crawdaddy Magazine in 1975.

I brought up the subject of infra-sound, that is, sound pitched below 16 Hertz, the level of human hearing; as ultra-sound is abovethe level. Professer Gavreau of France developed infra-sound as a military weapon. A powerful infra-sound installation can, he claims, kill everyone in a five-mile radius, knock down walls and break windows. Infra-sound kills by setting up vibrations within the body so that, as Gavreau puts it, "You can feel all the organs in your body rubbing together."
SRL, who combine pigs and skulls with machines that roar and clatter themselves into flaming graves, are a burningmaniacal summit to this type of art. Talking of SRL, I have seen their DVDs but I have to make it to one of their shows before I die. Or before they die, which is increasingly likely given quite how much destruction they can pack into one show.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Internet cafes - again.

Tonight I'm sitting rather grumpily in an internet cafe, catching up with my email after a seven-hour power outtage at home.

I lived in England in the Seventies. I lived through the Three Day Week, the Rolling Blackouts and Industrial Action so 'ard it would crisp your socks into little nubs of wrecked nylon. I'm used to such things as e.g. making a T. Rex scrapbook with rubber glue, copies of the Daily Mirror, and scissors, all by the light of an oil lamp made from a bit of lit string dipped in a glass of cooking oil. I was once moseying around the Pyramid of Cheops when the lights went out. I know power outtages.

Both Britain and Egypt were rather apologetic and embarrassed about it. Anyway, it was thirty years ago. It's astounding to live in a supposed First World country in the 21st Century and not have any guarantee that the goddamned power will stay on for more than a few days at a time. I have UPS devices. I have battery back ups in everything. It's almost as though people expected the transformers to explode with the regularity they do in my town.

If they don't explode on their own, some tosspot crashes into them with a SUV. The earthquakes take out the others.

The formerly frozen food, the formerly refrigerated meat and vegetable and the formerly nice and warm iguanas are waiting for me to think of something to do with them, and anyway Borders is closing, so farewell.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Sad Commentary

This article about a brother and sister's sexual relationship with each other provoked more than 400 comments.

One of them was:

Of course the children of Adam and Eve had to sleep together to produce children. This will not happen if evolution is true. Yet another clear sign that it is NOT.
virginia, Brisbane, Australia

Hear hear, virginia. As I've often said myself, The Bible is right. The moon is made of green cheese therefore how can the universe be older than 6,000 years? The moon would of gone moldy. QED.

I love reading stupid comments[1]. Why would I bother with this Firefox extension, YouTube Comment Snob, that cleans up the more moronic YouTube comments (i.e. 95% of them) leaving just a vast energy-wasting white space displayed on your screen instead? If I didn't have YouTube commenters I'd have delusions of species grandeur.

Luckily for people like me who like to get to the good stuff, there's always some bad-tempered masochist around who can find the very worst comments on the web and then piss on them from a great height.

Speak You're Branes is such a site. It takes comments from the racist-magnet BBC Have Your Say site and has its wicked way with them. Sample:

A TASTE OF MY LIFE “The chef on the programme stated that ‘a bog standard sponge would do’. He used the term ‘B.O.G standard’ incorrectly. ‘B.O.G standards’ means British or German standard, this goes back to WWI. Such errors should not be made on BBC programmes.”
Aha. This makes a lot of sense because British and German stuff was pretty much interchangeable at that time.

As I have been saying for many years now, the Labour party are merely Communists in disguise. Topsy Turvy, England, United Kingdom
It’s a VERY fucking good disguise.

And many more. And more every day. Perhaps I will get YouTube Comment Snob and just read the fine ones other people have pre-sorted for me.

[1] On other people's sites.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Group - singular or plural?

Since it's been brought to my attention, I'll mention here that a group or a team can be singular or plural.

"Led Zeppelin is headlining tonight."
"Led Zeppelin were these four young guys..."

Ref: Should I use a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun?

Brits are far more likely than Americans to choose the plural over the singular when the individuality of the group members is not addressed.

It's just one of those crazy things about English.

Update: caught this lovely phrase today 11/08/09

"Yet for all his commercial success, Bon Jovi have to date had little critical credibility with anyone other than their accountant. "

It's from an English newspaper here, and I suspect the subeditor saw "Bon Jovi has" ("the group has") and wrenched it into the plural ("Bon Jovi have") to align with British orthography ("the group have") and missed the "his" preceding it that meant it referred to the man, not his group.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

No Led Zeppelin Tour...

I'm not surprised, and I'm not particularly disappointed. I saw Zeppelin, and they were these four young guys playing songs they'd written a couple of years ago. I've never thought that three older guys playing songs they wrote 30 years ago would be anything like the same thing.

Jimmy Page and Jack White at the premiere of It Might Get Loud yesterday.

Jimmy Page, who usually equivocates when asked, was cornered at the Toronto Film Festival during the press conference for It Might Get Loud. Apparently journalists had been told not to ask about Zeppelin, but one persisted in asking the "R" question - Reunion - and finally, Page said, "We’re not actually really recording. We played at the O2. That was our reunion.” He added, "It's nothing as monumental as what people are speculating and projecting.”

“If you’re going to do a reunion, you need four members,” he said, apparently meaning that Plant was off playing with Alison Krauss and Pork Chop Burnett.

Reuters Story.

Edited to remove dead link 06/13/2014 Story

On the other hand, after nine months of saying "probably", "possibly" and just plain looking mysterious, a straight "no" seems out of character. Maybe it means yes. Page is the consummate Dom - I'm sure he enjoys thwarting expectations more than almost anybody in music.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Internet Rumor Mills

The internet rumor mill has ceased to amaze me, but it's still entertaining. I first talked about it here, discussing how a badly worded article could end up fuelling insane speculation.

Here's a more deliberate evolution.

Contact Music had an article today (4th) about Jimmy Page and the Olympics. It's entitled Led Zeppelin - Page Defends Olympic Performance.

It says,

He says, "We got so much criticism and I really don't know why. I think we did a great job - it was an honour to be there. People just need to be less cynical. You know we went out there, we only had ten minutes - what did people expect?"
But Page is adamant that the experience has not put him off performing at the Olympics and admits he would love to be a part of the forthcoming 2012 games in London.
He adds, "If they asked, it would be an honour."

The NME ran a story as well. It's called Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page to play at London 2012 Olympics? See the difference there?

It says,

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page has said he would be "honoured" to be asked to perform at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The guitarist told The Independent that he hadn't been asked about appearing yet, but strongly hinted that he would accept if offered the gig.

"I don't know about that [performing in 2012] yet," he said. "If they asked, it would be an honour."

The ever reliable Gigwise put it this way in today's story. Led Zeppelin To Reform At 2012 Olympics? Mmmm! That's better! The 'R' word!

It says,

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has said he would be honoured to perform at the 2012 London Olympics – fuelling speculation that the full band may reform for the event.

Then, when asked if he would play at the London games, he replied: “If they asked, it would be an honour”.

Talk of further reunion shows has been constant since Led Zeppelin played a one off concert at the O2 Arena in London last December.

All of these are from the same few words of Page's. I like the question mark at the end of the headlines. No one's lying; they're just 'speculating', as Gigwise says. At the end of the day, they have to sell papers. Except they don't, because they are online outlets, but you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Censorship Update

McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, tried to have the local library cleaned up to better suit her crazy-ass ideals[1]. When the librarian baulked at this stupid request, she allegedly threatened to fire her.

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

From Time Magazine's article, Mayor Palin: A Rough Record

In fact, trying to get people fired who didn't do her Imperial Bidding seems to be a recurring theme throughout the article.

[1] Looking carefully at the wording of the Time article it seems her crazy-ass ideals in this case weren't her Creationism, her belief that God requested the Iraq war, or her intention to force women to turn the control of their bodies over to the government, but her other crazy-ass ideal, getting herself vOtES.

Here's a vid of a couple of conservative commentators talking about McCain's choice, not knowing their mics are still live. They don't sound bowled over.

Singing to a Notion

I've mentioned the gym-goers' habit of listening to music while climbing to nowhere on the stairstepper before.

Today I saw a new phenomenon - the two women next to me were singing out loud as they listened to their MP3 players. Not in a quiet mumble or accidental lyrical leakage either, but while flinging their arms around and doing facial contortions, in fact performing the full singerly mannerisms as normally seen on TV. Unfortunately, cellphone cameras are banned in the gym so I can't show it to you. Anyway, I don't have a cellphone.

It occurs to me they were trying to drown out the sounds of the Republican National Convention on the gym's TVs. Which is probably a smart move.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Forever Young

What will the world be like in 20 years time, when all the current teenagers are angling for jobs as managers, politicians, gynecologists and any other professions where people attempt to check if you're an asshat before hiring you? This question came up on James Nicoll's live journal, stirred by the fuss over Whatsername Palin's pregnant 17 year old daughter.

When I was growing up, most of the crap I spouted was either to friends who were in no chemical state to remember it, or confined to paper notebooks I have under lock and key. Today's kids live life online. Each person's Facebook tells more about them than everything I have out there, including my embarrassing love letters and the soppy letter to the Beatles asking them not to break up. Under those circumstances, it's hard to imagine anyone passing a background check. Everybody does something that is, if not illegal, at least severely irritating to prospective employers or voters. Now it'll be online forever.

Yes, it will. Even if Facebook goes bust tomorrow, there's the Wayback Machine, which stores everything ever written on the web.

On James' LJ, there are a number of opinions. Some say that today's indiscretions will not be a sin tomorrow - underage drinking? Premarital sex? No one will care. Others feel that savvy kids will be cagey and not disclose these things online, even going so far as to avoid being photographed near a keg at college in case it's used against them later.

I think that something else will happen. There'll be so much information, and it will be so scattered, that most people will assume it's fake. If someone tells you John Smith fathered a baby with a 15 year old and here's a picture of the baby, you might believe it - now. I don't think people in the fyootcher will give it a second glance. They'll apply a cui bono test to any disclosure of information.

Of course, a population trained not to believe evidence is vulnerable to many other sicknesses. I'm not saying that's what I want; I'm saying that's what we'll get.

Courtesy of a link from James' commenters, here's a lovely song wishing MySpace and Facebook hell on tomorrow's parents.

MyHope, by sweetafton23.


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