Saturday, February 28, 2009

Guilty, though not charged - internet freedom

New Zealand has a law, due to come into effect yesterday, which says that if you are accused of theft of copyright materials over the internet (like music files), then your internet service provider is obliged by law to cut off your internet access. That is, if you are *accused* (not proven guilty), your service provider (your ISP, your local coffeeshop, your local bookshop, your school and so forth) are required to prevent you from accessing their services.

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!
Not surprisingly this silly law has come under intense fire. Last week, the government backed down a little, saying that the law's backers should explain exactly how this could work. If they don't, within a month, the law will be struck down.

TVNZ says:

After weeks of protest the government has delayed introducing controversial copyright laws. It has told the industry to find a way to make the legislation work or it will be dumped altogether.

The government has announced it is delaying the controversial section 92a that critics say will force internet providers to cut people's connections without proving first they have breached copyright.

The Prime Minister has told the laws backers they have a month to figure out how they will make it work, or it goes.

"Let's see if that code of practice can be achieved. They've been promising it for some time, they say they're close, we're giving them another onth to do that," says John Key.

No need to get smug if you're not in New Zealand - Australia has Clean Feed censorship, in America President Obama (along with failing to end the Iraq war) is appointing RIAA-tainted men to the DOJ, and in the UK, censorship has been around for years and is set to expand.

Governments do not like the internet. They don't know how to make money out of it and they don't want people speaking to each other without their permission. If they get their way, they'll kill it. If you want an internet that is purely for buying taxed goods at big websites, you can have it. If you want it for anything else - start preparing for a battle. We didn't have it 20 years ago and we could well not have it in 20 years' time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I do not think it means what you think it means

The title is from the 1987 movie, The Princess Bride, where Vizzini keeps on using the word "inconceivable!"

[Vizzini has cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Here's a couple of people with Vizzini Disease.

First, a video about dirty pillows. Did you watch it? It was about mites and fungus in your pillows. You thought it would be about breasts, didn't you? So did I. Ever since the movie Carrie (1976) "dirty pillows" has meant breasts to pretty much everyone. The announcers on CBS never used the phrase and possibly knew. But the naughty website designer either didn't know or, more probably, thought he could get away with it.

Here's the famous clip from Carrie:

(Note: Google wants you to know this clip might be objectionable. This might
be so if your Mormon great-grandma is watching over your shoulder.)

More weirdness: Here is a fascinating video of Lawrence Welk and his guests Gale and Dale singing

One Toke Over the Line

I really want to climb through the screen and ask them what they thought a toke was. I mean, do they sing every weird hepcat lyric that someone puts in front of them without looking it up? Did they ever do Walk on the Wild Side? Their version of Anarchy in the UK must be rockin'.

I was alerted to the Lawrence Welk song by the fun blog Power Pop. Now, you might ask yourself, since the dateline on the dirty pillows video was 2007 and Peromyscus is not mentioning why she saw it, was she intentionally looking up the words "dirty pillows" on the interwebs? Guilty as charged. Someone on yet another website was quoting the P J Harvey song Sheela-na-gig.

I've never heard it myself. This is what "sheela-na-gig" means to me. Odd thing to write a song about.


Sunday, February 22, 2009


The Thieving Magpie guy claims that Jimmy stole his violin bow schtick from The Creation.

I'd never heard the Creation and assumed they were buried in Mod history. Not so! YouTube reviveth those who have otherwise passed on, and they have The Creation in living B&W, of course. First, the claims.

From Thieving Magpie:
Page was not the first guitarist to use a violin bow. He was a favorite session musician of famed producer, Shel Talmy. Talmy had used Page on session work for the Who and the Kinks among others. One of Talmy's pet projects was a band called the Creation. Eddie Phillips, lead guitarist of said group, had employed a violin bow on his guitar on two 1966 singles, "Painter Man" and "Making Time." It's worth musing over whether Page ever happened to see Phillips use the violin bow in the studio.
Talmy himself had no doubts about it. In the book, Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll, he shared his views on Eddie Phillips and Jimmy Page with author Richie Unterberger. "He [Phillips] was one of the most innovative guitarists I've ever run across. Jimmy Page stole the bowing bit of the guitar from Eddie. Eddie was phenomenal," Talmy said.

(If you want to read a more balanced set of notes about Led Zeppelin's 'plagiarism' or borrowing, try the huge selection at

Eddie Phillips, The Creation's guitarist, has no doubt how Page's violin bow technique was discovered. In Guitar Player Magazine, April 07 it stated:

When did you begin playing with a bow, and why?
That was around 1964, and it began with a desire to create sustained notes. I tried using a hacksaw with the blade replaced by a .046-gauge guitar string, but that didn’t work, so I tried out the bow. That didn’t work at first, either, until I realized that I had to rosin it!

Did Jimmy Page steal the idea from you?
Jimmy Page feels differently.

Interview in Guitar Player, July 1977
g.p.:When was the first time you used the bow?
j.p.:The first time i recorded with it was with the Yardbirds. but the idea was put to me by a classical string player when i was doing studio work. One of us tried to bow
the guitar; then we tried it between us, and it worked. At that point i was just blowing it, but the other effects I've obviously come up with on my own - using wah-wah and echo. You have to put rosin on the bow, and the rosin sticks to the string and makes it vibrate.
In a 1986 Interview with Steven Rosen Jimmy Page said:
At times, the sounds you create with the bow and the wah-wah [his main effect
during the hewing sequences] and the Les Paul seem to be generated by a guitar

JP: Yeah, that’s it. Except it’s immediately controllable like that [snaps fingers] with a wah-wah. Obviously it’s a hit-and-miss approach sometimes with the bow—it doesn’t always react if there’s humidity in the hall, which is a bit of a drag but you can keep rosining it [the bow]. Obviously, it’s not an arched neck like a violin or a cello, but sometimes you can come close to hitting a full chord with it. And that’s alright. But if it’s a humid atmosphere, it doesn’t. I’ve never spoken to a violinist about it actually; whether the humidity can affect the rosin to the bow to the strings. I’m sure it must, though.

The Les Paul lends itself better to the bowing than the Telecaster or a Stratocaster?

JP: It works on them all, really.

[Tim Marten interjects that it relates to the ‘Physical aspects of the curvature of the bridge.” To this end, Marten sawed the Les Paul bridge to create a more violinesque-type housing and raising the strings to allow for more accurate bowing.]

Yeah, he did that. And it was purely because it was so hit-and-miss. Sometimes it would be dead on and then you wouldn’t change a thing and it wouldn’t work. Last night [referring to The Firm's performance at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida] I didn’t think it came off at all. Not as well as it should have done. It’s almost like pulling at it and that’s alright but when the bow just goes right across the strings it doesn’t work. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t—but you’ve got to try it.
Jimmy Page Interview with David Fricke in Rolling Stone June 2008
What attracted you to the bow? It is the signature sound in "Dazed and

It was proposed to me when I was doing studio work. One of the session violinists was the father of David McCallum, the actor in the TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. String players would keep to themselves, but this guy was quite friendly. He said to me one day — we'd just finished a session — "Have you ever tried bowing the guitar?" I said it wouldn't work. The strings aren't arched over the guitar, the way they are on a violin. He said, "Have a go." He gave me a bow. I tried it and realized there was something in it. I don't remember if I used it on any sessions, but I certainly used it the minute I was in the Yardbirds [notably on the 1967 single "Little Games"].
Anyway, here is The Creation playing Making Time in 1966, i.e. before the Yardbirds did Dazed and Confused. Violin bow ahoy at about 1.40. Isn't that guy perfect? He's like an ultra-Mod, outmods even Pete Townshend. His hair is so hip, you could wear it that way today.

But this song, Painter Man, is the clincher. Not only does this feature a violin bowed guitar, but it also has the guitarist guy whipping the singer with the horsehair. (1.50 Singer looks nonplussed.) This is obviously where Jimmy stole his whip thing from. And the lyrics are about a guy who went to art school to do fine art and ended up a mess - clearly inspiring Jimmy page to leave art and become a famous musician.

History is nice and simple.

Actually, his bowed guitar sounds great. Much more musical and integral than Jimmy's eerie effects.

Chris Welch, in Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused : The Stories Behind Every Song, reiterates the David McCallum story and adds:
In Page's hands, the bow became not only a symbol showmanship, but a magical device, creating extraordinary sounds never heard before. He used the technique with the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and his 1985 band The Firm.


Saturday, February 21, 2009


The White Stripes reformed, if that's the word, for Conan O'Brien's last-show-for-some-time yesterday evening.

Judging by the YouTube comments (I know that's a bad idea at the best of times, but sometimes you have to break down and look) it didn't universally wow the masses. It was an intense, but quiet, version of We Are Going to Be Friends, played with a nod to Conan O'Brien's favorite lullaby. I thought Jack White was about to cry. Clearly it was carefully chosen for the occasion, and it worked well for Conan, who who leaned over to Jack and said, "That means the world to me."

Meg for some reason was not personning[1] the drums but instead strumming a striking red and white Truetone guitar played through a Fulltone tte echo unit to supply a rhythm that was part guitar and part percussive. The analoguefullness was terrific - and signalled early on, as while Conan was still introducing the band you could hear the portentous hum of classic amplification. One wonders if the TV crew tried to get rid of it and couldn't or if they were asked to leave it alone. I love that electric crackle, the sound of a rock band about to manifest.

I've listened to it a few times now and the way they chose to perform this has really grown on me. I thought it was wonderful. I'm not sure why Conan moving two thousand miles west is an occasion for quite such a lot of emotion, though. He himself was a bit choked up when he thanked his producer, soundman, applause-button guy, dog, God, his mother etc at the end of the show. In fact my PVR recording cut off, he took so long over it.

We Are Going to Be Friends, 02/20/2009

[1](c) Philip K Dick


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Classic Rock turntable

From the fabulous blog Photoshop Disasters, we learn of a turntable which will rip your records.


Photoshop Disasters says:
Under 30: Huh? What's wrong with it? Tchoh.
Over 30: Argh! Looking at that makes my teeth hurt!
I'm over 30.

As commenters there point out, it may be intended for those who want to listen to the Back Masking.

By the way - free tip - I rip my vinyl records by finding them on YouTube and recording them using Freecorder. It just gets you an MP3 but easy as pie and good enough to hear in the car. If you wanted to hear them in hi-fi [1] at home you'd use your record player, wouldn't you? Well, wouldn't you?

[1] That's what we used to call it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Same Old Rock

I've posted these videos before, and I'll post them again. This time, with much added information.

There are three lovely videos of Jimmy Page and Roy Harper singing and playing Same Old Rock and Hangman, along with an interview by baby-faced Old Grey Whistle Test cutie Mark Ellen. Mark gets short shrift from our musical friends who seem alternately irritated and amused by him. The OGWT was originally broadcast November 1984.

The group is walking on the border of Langdale, where it goes into Blea Tarn. This is near Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain.

These photos are reputed to be from this shoot, but having found them on the internet I can't either vouch for them or credit them. They certainly look right.

The first video is Same Old Rock

The interview

And the third video is Hangman

Here's a higher quality, but possibly edited, version of the videos:

Got it? The details will become important later. There will be questions.

In a recent (January 2009) web supplement to Uncut magazine, Roy Harper said this about that day:

I was down at Jimmy’s place in Windsor and I’d got naked for Sundays. I’d got my girl with me, you know, we were enjoying it. Then suddenly I’m getting bitten by gnats, as we were by the water. I didn’t think much of it, so we got dressed and everything. Two days later, Jimmy and I are doing TV up in the Lakes, for Whistle Test. By then, I’d come up in eggs all over my arms and legs. It was my first allergic reaction to some pathogen I hadn’t come across before. So at lunchtime, I went into Jimmy’s room. The previous night, we’d been pissing around with the TV crew. We had some white snuff, which they thought was cocaine. It was comical.

So when I went into Jimmy’s room on the day of the shoot, I showed him these eggs and he said “Ah, I’ve got something for that”, and he gave me some antihistamines. We were due to film a couple of hours later, but just as we get up there, I decided to drink a can of Holsten. But it reacted with the antihistamine and I couldn’t play. I realized really quickly what was happening, so asked my girlfriend to run down to the stream with an empty water bottle and fill it up for me, so I could wash it all out of my system. But it didn’t wash out in time, so the TV people, of course, thought that Jimmy and I were both completely stoned. That we were being rock’n’roll crazies and were totally out of it. And they decided they weren’t going to have anything to do with us. It was a virtual write-off. I tried to say tell producer Trevor Dann that we should give it an hour, because then I’d be able to play again. It was just the antihistamines, but they didn’t believe us. They told Jimmy and I they had a dinner party to go to in London. And the dinner party won.
But it was a terrible thing, a real catalogue of errors. Talk about bad luck. It’s a strange memory, but a really good memory.
For a change of narrative pace, here is Jon Holmes, extracted from his book Rock Star Babylon - Outrageous Rumors, Legends & Raucous TRUE TALES of Rock & Roll Icons.

Time now for a recipe for disaster. In the very early morning, take one out-of-it and not-slept-all-night Roy Harper and Jimmy Page and add one mountain. Then take a small film crew and drop in a plan to record the hairy legends playing an acoustic version Harper's `Me and My Woman', on a hillside, for broadcast on BBC2's whispery show The Old Grey Whistle Test. Stir until thoroughly mixed up.

[...]The plan is to climb England's highest peak, Scafell Pike, early in the misty morn and shoot the piece against a background of a mysterious mountain. The first thing then is that Jimmy ignores the 5 a.m. wake-up call to his hotel room. This is because he hasn't been to bed yet and thus doesn't technically need to wake up. Instead of getting slumberous respite from the tribulations of being a Rock God, Mr. Page has chosen to stay up all night imbibing a cocktail of hotel minibar miniatures, a somewhat powdery `sharpener' and a young female acquaintance of unknown origin.
He goes on to say that eventually Jimmy was persuaded away from his young woman's arms, and the pair of them were marched up the mountain by the film crew. The young lady accompanied them on their climb. Since the film rolls were ten minutes long, the song should be ten minutes long also. This was explained to them.
They were handed their guitars and the camera began to roll. Nine minutes and 30 seconds later they still hadn't reached the chorus. The director called, `Cut,' explained to the boys that the ten-minute rule wasn't a joke but a fact and could they please try to concentrate because they needed the song, start to finish, to fit exactly on one roll of film. Roy and Jimmy continued staring at the grass.

The camera rolled again. It was then that Jimmy got up, mumbling something about `going for a piss.' The camera stopped. Jimmy wandered over to a nearby drystone wall with some sheep on the other side, taking his hitherto spectating young female acquaintance with him. Without words he indicated that she should help him with his ablutions. The camera began to roll again. She then undid his trousers and took out his penis. There then followed a fantastic few moments where she, with the practiced skill of a veteran, directed the piss of Page, hoselike, wherever and at whatever he indicated, including the wall, the sheep, a bush, herself and finally his shoes. When he was sated, she shook him dry and tucked it back inside his leather trousers. They wandered back, Jimmy picked up his guitar and he and Roy performed an awesome version of `Me and My Woman' start to finish, note-perfect, within the allotted time.

One wonders where Mr. Holmes got his information – presumably from one of the camera crew. It doesn't quite match Roy Harper's recollections - or the video's songs, or Jimmy's footwear on the video - but it sure makes a helluva story. Do film crews really only run one camera at once without a covering shot? Do they really forget to film untoward incidents like sheep-soaking? Oh well, it could be true.

But the Scafell Story is marvelous, isn't it? Do you think it's true? I've read a few tales in this book and I have to say they go from the hackneyed (The Spaghetti Incident; The Shark Incident) to the not-very-outrageous. If you like this sort of thing it's the sort of thing you'll like.

For those wanting to hear more, there's an audio file of the studio version song mentioned above, Me and My Woman at YouTube. And Roy Harper's records are available from Roy himself at


Monday, February 16, 2009

Black Zeppelin

An interesting article from Mark Levine in the Huffington Post (and elsewhere) claiming Led Zeppelin as the first black rock group (as in funk, not as in skin color).

I can remember when Led Zeppelin were regarded as the whitest group of all. I guess the years of reappraisals that led to John Bonham being recognised as a swing drummer has also led to descriptions like this one:

The great funk, blues and jazz musicians have always known this about Zeppelin. At one of Zeppelin's early festival shows, James Brown's rhythm section reportedly watched stupefied as these long-haired white kids from England played the meanest funk imaginable, with John Bonham's drums in particular blowing them away. I've been fortunate to meet or work with many well-known funk and blues artist, and invariably in discussions of music the subject would turn to Led Zeppelin. Few of them didn't shake their heads when asked how they managed to be so funky, bluesy and so intensely rock n roll at the same time.
It beats me, no pun intended, that people now say these things, but why argue? Clearly The Crunge (listen here) has gone from being the not-at-all funky song that no-one can dance to, to a song that is known to have deliberately taken funk a step further to make it post-modernly undanceable. (The jury's still out on whether that's a funny enough joke to make it worth taking up space on an album.)

Lots of examples in Levine's article. YouTube videos and stuff. Go read.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stimulus Package

I'm told one of the provisions of the "stimulus package" is that executives of bailed out financial institutions should jolly well show willing and try to muddle along on half a million bucks a year or less. It's a toothless provision, since there are many ways of compensating executives besides salary. But it hurts.

This man, for instance, believes it will start small, with salary caps, but soon it will lead to handicapped lesbians of color being offered jobs. How vile. And the rot won't stop there, he says. Apparently this will all come about because the people who own the firms - us, we paid for them - will want some sort of say in how they're run.

But it's the salary cap that worries people the most. When I say people, I mean the people currently without a cap, the people who recently caused $3 trillion to disappear out of the economy. They are whimpering in fear. Not fear of the new owners of their banks (us), but fear of living on $500,000 a year. The ever obliging NY Times set down the reasons for their wholly legitimate fear. Among them are these overwhelming concerns.

Barbara Corcoran, a real estate executive, said that most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes. Total minimum cost: $16,000.
A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year. The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala. “Going to those parties,” said David Patrick Columbia, who is the editor of the New York Social Diary, “a woman can spend $10,000 or $15,000 on a dress. If she goes to three or four of those a year, she’s not going to wear the same dress.” Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000.
Each Brooks Brothers suit costs about $1,000. If you run a bank, you can’t look like a slob.
Candace Bushnell said, “People inherently understand that if they are going to get ahead in whatever corporate culture they are involved in, they need to take on the appurtenances of what defines that culture,” she said. “So if you are in a culture where spending a lot of money is a sign of success, it’s like the same thing that goes back to high school peer pressure. It’s about fitting in.”

Possibly Candace, or at least the NYT, has forgotten that we all live in the same culture, the one where spending a lot of money is a sign of success, and yet most of us earn a tenth as much as this earnings cap. Other people are unable to spend that sort of money - unemployment, or even regular normal-person's employment, puts a crimp in that sort of ambition. And that is the whole point of spending money like water. You can't do it.

The reason why we are "in a culture where spending a lot of money is a sign of success" is that the conspicuous throwing around of money is a way to distinguish yourself as better than a miner, or a farmer, or an auto worker - and, for that matter, as better than a disabled lesbian of color. If ski vacations were free for laborers, or gowns were made cheaply for waitresses, the rich would find something more exclusive to do. The exclusivity of the purchase is the main reason for making it.

Conspicuous consumption is a trait I find despicable even in people who have worked hard and produced nice things.

Imagine how much I like the idea of people who have literally bankrupted the entire world treating regular workers this way.

Now try to imagine how much I like the idea of those people getting to treat workers that way by spending money I have given them, as a taxpayer, out of my own pocket, because they said they needed it or they wouldn't fit in with their friends any more.

I doubt if you can imagine it; even I can't imagine it and I thought of it. Let's just say I don't like it very much at all.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

John Bindon by Page 3

For some reason four separate searches with the search terms "John Bindon's cock" (some with the word "photo" in the search) have led someone to my blog. I don't know why JB's famous endowment is suddenly popular with searchers.

No pictures here - and I don't know of any. Bindon was a part-time actor - he played a London gangster in Performance, for instance - and an accused murderer (he was acquitted). He died allegedly an addict, of AIDs, in 1993. He was generally thought of as a hard case, and lived on the fringes of gangland London. He had a party trick, allegedly, which you can find out all about in the video below.

"John Bindon" appears on the blog because he was hired by Peter Grant as a minder for Led Zeppelin, during the later years when the entourage seemed to be overcome by that peculiar cocaine sensibility that makes people think they are above criticism and at the same time paranoid. It seemed logical to hire someone from the fringes of London gangland at a time like that, I suppose, but the conclusion was pretty much foregone - he was involved in an assault on one of Bill Graham's workers that led to charges against him, Grant and Bonham, among others, and this is generally regarded as the first major incident in the downfall of Led Zeppelin.

Punk band Page 3 (Ray "Roughler" Jones and Ian "Class War" Bone) sing their song about the legendary appendage. Not work safe. No pictures, but the lyrics are...interesting.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Persistence of Vision

From a comment received yesterday from sjhart regarding this post and the embedded video of the White Stripes' Hardest Button to Button compared with Marcel Duchamp's Nu Descendant un Escalier:

Synchronicitously, when I saw your blog I was half way through re-reading “The Myth of Persistence of Vision” ( which one of my holography gurus recommended to explain aspects of my experiments in holographic movies AND which yesterday’s was discussing in a debate about the Pulfrich effect and last weekend’s Super Bowl in amongst the fact that the recently departed Lux Interior was a well-regarded stereophile. And tMoPoV recommends Norman McLaren's “Pas de Deux”, [it's cheating to only watch the end], which my dance guru recommended I make a holographic movie of in the first place. Small world.

"The Myth of Persistence of Vision" by Joseph and Barbara Anderson is a paper which goes to great lengths to explain that the apparent motion of objects in a film is produced by a processing area in the brain, and has nothing to do with "images persisting on the retina". The latter has been trotted out as a reliable old warhorse for approximately a hundred years, is found in modern film books and film courses, and is quite wrong.

The relevant passage is:

A typical explanation of persistence of vision went something like this: when the human eye is presented with a rapid succession of slightly different images, there is a brief period during which each image, after its disappearance, persists upon the retina, allowing that image to blend smoothly with the next image. Such an explanation might begin to account for a sense of constancy of the light source (flicker fusion), but it is, of course, a totally inadequate explanation of the illusion of motion in the cinema. The proposed fusion or blending of images could produce only the superimposition of successive views, as in Marcel Duchamp's painting "Nude Descending a Staircase" or a frame from Norman McLaren's Pas de Deux. The result would be a piling up of images, or at best a static collage of superimposed still pictures, not an illusion of motion. It is the obvious inadequacy of the explanation, coupled with its recurrence in film literature for almost a century, that arouses one's curiosity about the origins of the notion and the means by which it has been perpetuated.

In other words, if persistence of vision were true we would see people moving in real life as if they were a tube shape carved out in the air – like Marcel Duchamp, above, descending a staircase in the same manner as his earlier nude.

The movie mentioned, Pas De Deux, is by Norman McLaren (1967), and is of two ballet dancers filmed against a black background to an accompaniment of pan pipes. Optical effects are used to make previous images of them persist as the new images appear, which produces the effect I'm rather denigrating by calling a "tube shape" and I'm sure it won't help at all to describe it as the type of trail you see moving objects leave when you're tripping. (Allegedly.) If you can take 13 minutes of black and white trippy ballet, it's a beautiful piece of animation. A still does not do it justice, as it's a film specifically about motion, but what the hell, here is one.

The movie is available for watching here.

And Lux Interior, RIP.


Button Day

Coraline's out. It's in 3D, as is the new fashion. I won't be seeing it – I don't like movie theaters – but I'm jealous of those who will be. It's about, among other things, a hidden world where everyone has buttons for eyes. A little girl finds the entrance to the world and meets her "other mother".

Here's Neil Gaiman with a creepy little piece on koumpounophobia - fear of buttons - and Coraline.

He doesn't discuss the hardest button to button (the family member who does not fit in). We have the White Stripes to thank for that concept.

Excellent video – when I first saw it a few years ago I'd never heard of the White Stripes and it just floored me. (In truth, I'd never heard of the White Stripes until fa few months ago, despite the video. My mind is quite capable of compartmentalizing something into a class, like a video, and not realizing it exists outside that boundary.)

The drumkit-on-the-stairs sequence (starts around 23 seconds) was reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp's lovely futurist Nu Descendant Un Escalier

- except Duchamp's nude is an attempt to show a period of time in a single frame and the video appears to be an attempt to retain history in a series of frames already simulating a period of time as they move on beyond the initial image. If that's the case, it's a shame the director had to use 32 drumkits to simulate the retention rather than it just happening in some cool unexplained way. It must have been one of the most annoying and arduous videos to film ever.

Edit: for more on nudes, staircases, Duchamp and apparent motion, see a post based around a comment received below here.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Brand new Led Zeppelin footage released

Completely new, never before seen footage of Led Zeppelin has been released on to YouTube.

Uploader ddimatteo attended the first Led Zeppelin concert at the Fillmore East on January 31st, 1969 and took about 50 seconds worth of silent footage.

Its appearance on YouTube has floored the Led Zeppelin online community. Imagine, he kept it for forty years - and then released it for free!

It's beautiful too - full color, shot from close up, with Robert at his young puppyfat best and Jimmy in a leather jacket playing the Dragon Telecaster with a bow. Dig the oil-wheel psychedelic light show behind them threatening to come alive and eat the band.

A fun find - no, a treasure!

Today's Picture.

Jimmy Page sitting on the rail of the Boathouse. He must have had good equilibrium as there's nothing below that rail but a long drop into the Thames.

No reason. Someone cool shared it with me so I'm sharing it with you.


If you want it, here it is, come and get it, but you'd better hurry 'cos it's going fast

ZOMG! Controversy!

Amanda Palmer on 'Oasis':

my label in the UK has been gearing up to promote “oasis” as a radio and video single.a few days before i left for london i got this email from someone at roadrunner:
”Hi Emily/Amanda,Hope you are both well, I just thought I’d let you know that we have been met by fierce opposition on the Oasis track. Which is disheartening, as combined with the video, we all felt it was a great promotional tool and track. All our TV outlets have refused to play the video due to it “making light of rape, religion and abortion”. This is the audio as well as visual. Many of the stations like the track, and even the video but are bound by strict broadcasting rules. I personally find this quite ridiculous.”
dude.wasn’t this the UK, land of black humor blacker than blackest black itself?i emailed back and asked which outlets. the reply:
”NME tv, Scuzz, kerrang, MTV, Q, the box … to name a few. There is only a few networks: bauer, chartshow and MTV. They control all stations and they all had the same issue….”
and i sat there thinking, wow. here we go again. why can’t ANYTHING just be effing EASY this year?
Here's her video. It's about abortion, rape, art and humor, at least that's the title of her blog. Warning adult subject matter and all that jazz.

The song is poppy and upbeat, nice hook, but dated and a bit tired. The video looked like a Saturday morning kids' TV sketch with added ass-rape and coathanger abortions. A bit of a mixed bag, I thought. Ironic, yes. I got it, but do I want it?

The bass-player's hot, though.

I'm big on condemning censorship, but on the other hand I can't work up a flying fart about the NME etc refusing to promote the song. We have a fundamental right to speak, but no one has a fundamental right to using someone else's property to get heard. If it pisses off their readership, they probably won't want to run it. Boo hoo.

Offensive? Censored? Mr Big stamping out the struggling little guy?


Friday, February 06, 2009

Judge Dread

Those of us who have read Charles Stross' book Halting State will get a little chuckle out of this. Those who haven't will get a little chuckle out of this also.

Halting State is a techno-crime thriller that starts with a team of Orcs raiding a bank in cyberspace. Not, but a virtual bank, inside a role-playing game world online. The scenarios are so near-future some of them are actually happening today and the rest are expected shortly. This one wasn't in the book, but it could have been.

An Orange County Justice, William Bedsworth, writes in A Criminal Waste of Space, of Japan, where:

…this nice, quiet, 43-year-old piano teacher in Sapporo created an avatar for a game called Maple Story, described by the Associated Press as one in which players “engage in social relationships and fight monsters and other challenges.” I can’t speak to the quandaries encountered in Maple Story, but I’d rather fight a monster than engage in a social relationship any day. And sure enough, the social relationship part is what got this lady thrown in jail. […] Apparently unable to retain a virtual Gloria Allred, Ms. Doe released her own statement: “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry.”

But as commonplace as her public statement might have been, Ms. Doe’s revenge was a tour de force of imagination befitting someone with a background in monster eradication. Using login information she obtained when their characters were happily married – virtually – Ms. Doe logged in with her virtual husband’s password and caused his avatar to walk in front of a truck.Yep. Flattened him.

Dead before the virtual paramedics arrived.

She is now in jail, awaiting sentencing. Justice Bedsworth goes into some diversions here and there on the arcane sentencing laws in California, and the headaches it brings him contemplating the ever more arcane sentencing laws it will take to bring justice to someone who arranges to have a virtual character 'killed'.

It's not often I read a blog on a website by the Orange County Bar Association, but this one's worth it.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Hee hee. I win the internets. A nice pick-me-up on a cold and worky Monday morning.

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