Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beach Baby

I get notified whenever a blog says the words "Jimmy Page". (I'll probably get notified of this one too.) Recently this has netted me very little apart from 10,000 bland reviews of It Might Get Loud. But today, I learned something I didn't know.

The blog Top Twenty Club, unpromisingly (for those of us not from Bridgewater) subtitled A history of artists that appeared at Bridgwater's Town Hall - 1960-1966 has a piece today on Carter Lewis and the Southerners.

Now any fule kno that Carter Lewis et al were one of the first bands Jimmy Page played in, just before he became a Face on the studio scene and gave up playing in bands (luckily not permanently). But who knew that Carter and Lewis eventually mutated into the Flowerpot Men and had a hippie, or possibly ironic-hippie hit, Let's Go to San Francisco in 1967, or that Carter sang lead vocal on Winchester Cathedral (New Vaudeville Band, 1966) and Carter was in the band First Class, which had a hit with Beach Baby in 1974? Or that they sang harmony on I Can't Explain, Hi Ho Silver Lining, There's Always Something There to Remind Me and It's Not Unusual?

I'd assumed they were one of the ten million touring bands of 1964 that never went anywhere, like the likely lads in the movie That'll Be The Day.

Apparently not.

Since YouTube embedding has been disabled for Let's Go to San Francisco, I won't give the uploader the traffic by giving you the URL. And Winchester Cathedral is so dire, I won't link to it on principle. Hm. Well, all right, here's The First Class with Beach Baby.



How annoyingly catchy is that?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roman Polanski

Just put him in jail.

As far as I can tell, this isn't a case of a hedonistic famous guy and a ditzy underage chick in the seventies when nobody cared. It's a case of a grown male drugging, raping and sodomizing a 13 year old child, pleading guilty and then fleeing before sentencing.

I'm not a fan of the age of consent thing, but this isn't even about that. She didn't consent in either sense of the word - she said no. He pled guilty, but fled justice. If that's the case, then he gets to serve the sentence now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

In My Time of Dying

Bootlegs, otherwise known as Recordings of Independent Origin (ROIO), not to be confused with illegal downloads of regularly released records, are most always proudly offered as flac files. For a couple of years I've been religiously burning every boot to CD to listen to it. It's very much in the spirit of boots to have a physical CD to listen to. However, on Saturday STB, searching for the zipless DVD ripper, discovered VLC Media Player.

Not only has it revolutionized the way we watch flvs, downloaded mpgs, mp4s and stray vobs, it also smoothly took over my flac files and plays them perfectly. No longer do I have to burn a disc and listen to it in the car.

I'm currently listening to Led Zeppelin's 1975-03-11 show at Long Beach, CA. It's known as Californication, from the EVSD release of the same name. Downloaded from a filesharing site (not a torrent) and played on VLC, it sounds perfect. Excuse me...I'm going to listen to In My Time of Dying now.

Bless the Weather

Here's some Dead Weather. The Outside Lands folks have put two of their 'live feed' songs from back in August 2009 on to YouTube. One is Hang You From The Heavens.

Watch Jack White's drumming the first minute or so. Keep an eye on his right hand. That's pretty show-offy, right? I hadn't seen him do that before. It's sort of understated and show-offy at the same time.



He doesn't do it during I Cut Like a Buffalo, the other official YouTube track, but there's some great shots of Dean in that, so it's worth a watch too.



If you want to download the video of the rest of the Dead Weather's live Outside Lands broadcast, it's here.

Bless the Weather - a song by John Martyn.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fashion week

It's fashion week, so this week I'm thinking about fashion. It's very confusing. The print LA Times had a piece on it today. This was the picture they used

fashion
Simone by Katie Nehra's First Date dress, $576 at http://www.simonecollection.com/, Current/Elliot shrunken shirt jacket in sun exposed, $330 at Jill Roberts, Beverly Hills; Brian Atwood quilted black patent leather Maniac shoes, $502 at http://www.brianatwood.com/

And this is part of the text of the article:
This season's retail scene looks like something out of "Wild Kingdom" with animal prints ruling as a major trend for fall. (snip)
Animal prints are a trend that should not be paired with other current trends -- meaning don't mix animal prints with shoulder pads or distressed denim.
Is that not distressed denim with shoulder pads?

Well, I have another 51 weeks before I have to think about it again anyway.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

But then again, too few to mention

A true "blog" today - a Weblog, a summary of interesting sites I've visited. Perhaps critical thinking eludes me, but at least I'm still doing something.

Picture of the day:

sheeple

Sydney is currently being blanketed in a red cloud like a Martian dust-storm, but dear god don't mention global warming or the deniers will be all over your ass. Here's one picture. There's many more here and here (National Post). They are creepy as hell.

Sydney Dust (c) Tomhide on Flickr

The Daily Mail, which is a terrible newspaper journalism-wise, is coming out tops in stories people send to me. They just get exactly the right ones for me. Here a grown-up leopard tries to nuzzle a cute rodent away from the leopard's food. Even the leopard seems to think the rodent's cute. Great pictures, too, here.

Ever wonder what cargo ships do, when no one is ordering goods? They hide offshore. This means no christmas presents for you - they'd be already on their way here if they were coming. Another story from the Daily Mail.

The Daily Telegraph, for it is they, goes with another story - a snake with a foot. Consulting with friends of mine in the Knowing Science Stuff business, I learn it is possible for snakes to have rear legs. According to one professor I know, snakes have have a head, body and tail but they have lost the HOX genes (that give the layout for the head-to-tail axis in verterbrates) for "neck". The neck section includes the part that develops shoulders/limbs. However, they have all the necessary genes for making a pelvic girdle and rear legs. The signals that cause the rear limbs to grow are lost when the tissue called "apical ectodermal ridge"(AER), which exudes a growth factor for the soon-to-appear limb buds, dies out too early in development for the limbs get going. You can see the effects in the pythons - they have little spurs in that region, a limb bud that is never finished, and in some other semi-limbless snakes. An unusual persistence of the AER could result in fully functioning limbs.

snake with foot

So a weird Chinese snake with a back leg is possible per standard theories, but a snake with arms would be impossible. Having said that, most people I've asked are skeptical that the snake in the article is not Photoshopped. Limbs generally come in pairs, and are not twisted on the dorsal/ventral axis like this one is. But, you have to admit the line about hearing the snake pull itself along with its claw is good creepy stuff....

Update edit 10/24/2016 - exciting new snake leg news! Researchers have fiddled with the genes for snake legs and made some major breaksthrough!

Here's a review of It Might Get Loud from a White Stripes fan, who comes out so enamoured of Jimmy Page he says, "I think the whole world would be a better place if we all got hugged by Jimmy Page." From your lips to god's ears, as people around me have taken to saying over the past couple of years (is it a new phrase?). Me first, Jimmy.

Or maybe this is the picture of the day:

Regrets

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Time Out of Joint

Netflix delivered as is its wont, and that means we were able to spend about five hours watching "The Work of Director Michel Gondry", which is such a boring title for such a fascinating DVD that I'll title this post something else.

Gondry directed The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie I found a little tough to take because it had Jim Carrey in it, and also because it seemed a little derivative. Even though Carrey was on his best behavior and didn't go completely over the top even once, it had a dampening effect on my mood.

As for the concept – the gradual realization that the characters had been through something together at some time in the past, but couldn't, or wouldn't remember it – it struck me at the time as the usual Hollywood Dick technique. No, not being dicks, though many are, but the technique of jotting down plotlines from Philip K Dick – We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Time Out of Joint, Martian Time Slip, Ubik – and mixing them up with cute couples and modern paraphernalia to create a feeling of vaguely unhinged memory and non-linear time. After seeing this DVD, I realize there's nothing derivative about Gondry at all – he LIVES Martian Time Slip. He IS Palmer Eldritch. If Gondry has an antecedent, it may be Chris Marker (La Jetee, 1962) and to a much lesser extent, the photographically-constrained time and spaces of JG Ballard in such pieces as The Sixty Minute Zoom. He's making music videos that take on Science Fiction themes and trounce the writers at their own game.

All of the pieces on the DVD are shorts, and most are music videos. I've gushed here before about The White Stripes Hardest Button to Button, but in context, it appears that video's theme - duplication while the original persists - is a common one for Gondry, which he carries out with breathtaking skill and innovation. One of the best examples is a Kylie Minogue video, Come into My World, in which the camera follows her four times around a circuit, a new Kylie joining in each time, and each action in the background is either duplicated or extended until your jaw drops at the audacity.

Embedding for that video is disabled by stupid request. You have to click here to watch it. However, you can watch the Making Of video (from the Gondry DVD) below.



Cibo Matto's Sugar Water is given a split screen treatment. In a single take, the women go through one single story which turns around in the middle to go in reverse. (This means each has to act backwards for half the video). Apparently it took some extra takes to get this perfectly timed so that they are at the exact equivalent point in each other's timeline, but the overall result is stunning. If I hadn't already known Sugar Water, I wouldn't have heard a note of it, I was concentrating that hard on the timeline.

A Rolling Stones' video takes place in linear time, but with space distorted in an entirely novel way. Massive Attack's Protection appears to be shot by Spiderman with a Steadicam, climbing up and down the walls of an apartment block to peer into different windows – but even Spidey can't have shot the upside-down rooms, the impossible geometries and the cutaway elevator! In another video, what appears to be early 80s Quantel effects – that effect where the image turns into a plane (or many planes) and whirls around while the original image continues to play on the primary screen – turn out to be real, physical objects which dancers use in their choreography. And in the Chemical Brothers' Star Guitar, a continuous shot out of a train window seems to be a series of repetitive loops until you realize that the structures the train passes correspond to the music, all seamlessly integrated into one long take.



There are two long interviews with Gondry, and there are also several short early movies on the double-sided disk. In one, La Lettre, a young boy is using the length of a corridor as a darkroom to make an enlargement of the girl he loves. It's a 28 minute exposure, and a fair part of the film takes place with the characters moving in front of the projected negative image. ("Don't bother ducking – your shadow won't show up.") Apparently it's a real chapter from Michel's life and is about 5,000,000 times more interesting than most film-makers' early shorts.

Weirdly, the other Netflix movie we had for the weekend was Donnie Darko, which is, of course, about a young man shunted into a siding in time while the heavy traffic clears and then sent off again on his dark journey. Must be Time Slip week.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work

From No, Not You, a list of sexual assault prevention tips that really do work.

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry. Do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

The writer says, "As I just did a college RA training yesterday, re-reading this made me laugh. I mean seriously, the “tips” they give potential victims are so condescending. It’s fun to turn the tables."

If you think they're kidding, try this page from the government which lists the usual, less guaranteed to work, tips. Or this one, from a police department.

Cat Mother

My friends at the JG Ballard mailing list recently unearthed a 1989 article in Spin Magazine by The Man, in which he said, among other things, "I think there should be more sex and violence on television. I don't think there's anywhere near enough. I think sex and violence are powerful catalysts for change. They are powerful energizers of the imagination."

Here's some of both - The Dead Weather's official video for Treat Me Like Your Mother. Directed by Jonathan Glazer and featuring Alison Mosshart and Jack White, it was released back in July 2009. This copy, from the band's official channel, has attracted almost 700K hits, which is about as many bullets as were fired during the making of its four and a half minutes.



I was brought up on Russ Meyer movies, so, although I get the high concept thing Glazer was going for, I can't say the look and feel was new to me.



That's from Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! I adore Tura Satana's boots. I've entered several competitions to win Jack White's or Alison Mosshart's costume from the TMLYM film - haven't managed yet - but I've just realized what I really want is Tura's boots. They say Quentin Tarentino is doing a remake. I hope not. Get your own film, Tintin. It wouldn't exactly take long to write a similar script. You could do it on a napkin over lunch.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's the internet's fault, again

The New York Times has an opinion column on Joe Wilson's outburst on the floor of Congress - shouting "You lie!" at his president - and concludes: "That [*] country is gone. And in terms of biases that have faded, that’s a good thing. But partly due to the Internet, the standards of behavior in this new country are terrible. If Beaver and Wally were around today, they’d likely be writing snarky, revealing blogs about June and Ward. "

Yep, I blame teh internets. If the damn thing would just go away and leave the country to proper role models like the NYT, we'd all be doffing hats and saying "ma'am" a lot just like in the good old days.


[*] "That country" = "the country that they grew up in is not going to be the country that their kids and grandkids grew up in."
No, I don't know what that means either, but that's what it says.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Art House

We've been scouring the junk shops the past couple of weeks looking for frames. On the hunt we came across this spectacular example of poor art, Ghoul on the Beach. We don't usually buy unsigned pieces but this one fitted our collection so well we had to have it. Besides, it was half-price art day.

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We do pride ourselves on having a collection that is in its own way as bad, and as diverse, as the collection in the Museum of Bad Art itself.

I wanted the frames because I needed to frame my Dead Weather posters, preferably without spending a red cent extra to get fitted frames. This worked out perfectly for the smaller posters sold at the gigs, but not so well for the cinema posters, which at 24" by 36" are an odd size. One of them ended up with mats at the sides but not at the top and bottom (in a 24" by 39" frame), one was almost exact and one perfect except the pre-existing mat was a fetching pink. I hereby declare fetching pink to go wonderfully with the expanse of bluish sky on the poster.

Now that I look at it carefully the poster has a blemish in the rather faded blue (at the top of a fuzzy shot) that looks like a defect in developing the film. If they've - the art department, not The Dead Weather - carefully faked the blemish with a digital camera I wouldn't be surprised, just as I assume the fuzziness and composition is deliberate. I'm not putting up a picture of mine as a picture of a picture would be silly, so here's a shot from the web, again. My poster is identical - water drops about two thirds up the sky, between Jack's head and the lamp-post.

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Here's the frames for the gig posters. They are not on the wall yet.

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That's because I don't have that many square feet of wall space left in the whole house, except in the gecko room, where everything is sprayed with water once a day - not the best place to put fine art. Here's a longer shot of Ghoul showing my problem.

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No, I don't deliberately tilt the pictures. I have people to do that for me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Get off my lawn

We went to the local all-you-can-stuff-down-your-neck sushi place this weekend. The food's good...if you slow down enough to taste it - but the music does tend to suck. They play a Sirius radio channel which is entirely Auto-Tune.
I don't know how it's programmed. There's a lot of catastrophically bad R&B in there, all auto-tuned into a slippy, slidey mess like a vocal Mazola party, but there's also a lot of that 'rock' that sounds like it was thought up by committee, all with the same vocal treatments. It's almost as though Sirius used a computerized detection system of some sort, and filtered tracks into its playlist purely based on the characteristics.

Anyway, on the way out I mentioned this to the man manning the cash register, and he sympathized a bit. "All of the songs nowadays have it," he said, looking agreeable and tutting slightly under his breath.

When we got outside STB said, "Did you realize he was looking at you with that old-people-don't-understand-our-generation's-music look?"

Well, no I hadn't, as it happens. But geesh, youth of today, are you really asking for Auto-Tune?

Under Great White Northern Lights

Now that It Might Get Loud is out of the way - for me, at least - it's time to look forward to the White Stripes film, Under Great White Northern Lights. It documents the White Stripes 2007 Canadian tour, which was planned to take in "the far reaches of the Canadian landscape. From the ocean to the permafrost. The best way for us to do that is ensure that we perform in every province and territory in the country, from the Yukon to Prince Edward Island." (Jack White)



It premiered at the Toronto Film Fest today, September 18th. The first review of it I've seen is thoroughly positive. Hitfix.com says:

The film is very rough and hand-held, but Malloy has a sharp eye, and more than that, he seems to be very good at capturing a moment without distorting or manipulating it, and the film sounds amazing. This is one of those things that I'm glad I saw theatrically, because at home, you won't really get the same visceral response that I got from this wonderful film in the theater.
Among other things.

Why don't I have a film fest? Everybody else has one. The Lyle Hopwood San Juan Capistrano Chili Cook-Off and Film Fest (LHSJCCCOFF) sounds as though it could be a go, although I think maybe the local tavern has a lock on the yearly chili cook-off. Hey, we could combine. That might mean I could get biker security for my film fest, and that always goes down well.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More Database Frolics.

While we're on the subject of helpful databases...

Google has an "autocomplete" feature. It estimates, from your keystrokes, what you are going to say next based on what people have said before. You can start typing and see quite quickly what other people have put, and switch to that query rather than completing your own.

I have it switched off permanently, as it's not helpful to me to know what searches other people are doing.

Someone who has it enabled clued me in to this. Is this really the most popular query based on those first few letters?

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So says google. So, who asked those questions often enough to get them in the popular searches?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Paging Dr. Internet

Teh interwebs are buzzing about a new database called healthBase, which invites you to enter a condition and have the program search the internet for causes, complications and cures of that disease. It's gained some notoriety because it isn't a very clever program; it searches Wikipedia with equal fervor to medical databases and can't tell whether someone is giving medical advice and information or just babbling at random.

It originally got in the news for listing one of the causes of AIDS as Jews. It was explained that the database cannot tell if a piece is talking about 'aids' as in 'helps' or 'aids' as in HIV disease. That seemed like a cop-out to me - too ingratiating to be true - but on the other hand trying to accuse a database result of being anti-Semitic is a stretch.

Rough Theory has a write up here. As with most of the write ups I've seen, people in comments give a list of the hilarious results obtained by putting non-medical terms (and in some cases medical terms) in the search box to see the causes and cures.

As shall I.

Laundry
Complications include Grisly death and Disparage Barack Obama
Causes of Laundry include Construction, Earthquake and Excess Iron.
There are foods and plants that can help with laundry, including American coffee and butter.
Oh, and water.

Handwriting
Drugs include Levodopa, Clozapine and Caffeine
It can be caused by alcohol intoxication (this is in fact true, as I can attest), E-prescribing software and Jerking movement.
Complications include Death and Academic Failure

Death Metal
Caused by Athens, Fort Lauderdale and Fredrik Nordstrom. Fortunately, it can be cured by Amon Amarth.

Truthiness
The complications include Tearing apart country. While we're on the subject the pros of "Colbert" include "Activate God Machine" and "Bring French luxury industry". The cons include "Annual humor issue" and "Attack member".

Recycling
Caused by EastEnders and CLIPR-59 overexpression. Complications include BSE. It can be treated with Protein, Iron, Glucose and Aluminum.

Humor
Caused by ciliary epithelium and can be treated by laughter. Humor also degrades H202.

Latino
Complications include Beavis and Butt-Head.

Probably not ready for prime time.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Robots

In this week's We're Doomed segment, a look at our future masters.

Oddly, STB and Jack White both pointed this one out to me. (He has a blog on The Vault. JW that is, not STB.) It's probably the first time their interests have ever coincided and neither of them said whether they actually liked what they saw. One imagines that both of them clearly envisioned the end of the human race while watching this otherwise routine YouTube video.




My god, it's fast. And so inhuman.

STB sent me this one too. This robot actually runs, as in picks up both feet in a human style that results in both feet being off the ground at the same time during part of the cycle. It's a first, and, assuming you want a robot that can run, a breakthrough. Bipedal running makes it seem quite human. A chicken might surmise it was a very chicken robot, of course.



Here's an even more likely end of days scenario. With a shrinking, aging population and a dislike of immigration, Japan is developing ways to care to for people without using people. This is not at all human, in a way that is far creepier than the robot hand. RIBA gives me the willies but I have a feeling I'll be seeing that face again sometime.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Honest I do

Unreachable Wilderness

I work in a National Unreachable Wilderness Area and today it was on fire. The two lane highway to the buildings was closed as it often is (the cycle of life in So Cal is: torrential rain, mudslides, fire, all of which close the road). Being medical personnel we got a pass up to our buildings, and spent the day with the smell of smoke in the air and some vague concern that the fire would escape and get near our building. Arson, they say – the last two fires nearby were considered arson too.


I didn't know John Paul Jones was the commander of Zeppelin. At least not until I read No Fear of the Future's piece on the history of Zeppelin pulps. He says the 1930s comics were developed to make Zeppelins sexy, and the Commander of the Navy who led the stories was called JPJ. History of Zeppelin comics here. I suspect he's making it all up, but how would I know? Anyway, Zeppelin pulps sound like something we should have had, even if we didn't.


It says cheetah but it looks like a jaguar to me
Just like a Jaguar you're pleasing to behold.
(Yes, I know Marc said he was talking about the car.)


My poster arrived yesterday from Print Mafia (motto: Cut Paste Destroy, in Ransom Note font). It was in a cardboard tube which Mr. Postie threw over the garden gate, where it rolled to the lowest point, i.e. the place where the run off pools when the sprinklers go on. I discovered it there while I was trying to work out why the sprinklers hadn't sprinkled that morning. I still don't know, but I have to assume they didn't fire because it would have ruined my $30 poster. Oddly, it's not numbered. (It is signed.) I shouldn't say that, should I, or it'll never be worth millions. Nice poster. Now I have five Dead Weather posters to frame.




Got my download of The Dead Weather live at Pomona. It's out on the internets if you want it. If you can't find it, give me a shout in comments. There's that amazing bonus of them playing I Just Want To Make Love to You, buried like an ichneumon fly larva inside of No Hassle Night. Baby Ruthless makes it sound like something a Morlock might sing to an Eloi shortly before dinner. Jack White doesn't help, screeching out a guitar line like the damned screaming for relief. Which reminds me. I'm making plans to marry Baby Ruthless. For all of you with your finger hovering over the 1-800-DOB-IN-A-STALKER speed dial, don't panic. I'm not planning to marry Alison Mosshart. I'm sure she's a lovely lady, but I've never met her. I did spend several hours in Baby Ruthless' company recently, though, and she's definitely my type.

The last person I had this crush on was Darth Maul, and I think they're probably similar characters. Murderous, single-minded, pretty. You might assume that Darth Maul was less likely to get beaten up by his boyfriend than the Dead Weather singer, but that's not the case; he ended being cut in two and dumped down a mineshaft by his Jedi squeeze. All in all much like the men BR sings about. Maul had a few physical advantages – horns, for instance, (most probably) physically male – but there are other things to consider in a marriage. I could go shopping with BR, for instance. And I bet she can cook.

I told a friend of mine of my wedding plans and she said she'd beat me to it. She plans to take Baby Ruthless out skeet shooting, horseback riding, handpicking holes in t shirts and portrait painting. She'll make a wedding ring out of spent bullet casings. I said I will take her on a midnight picnic under an oak tree in the waning moonlight where we'll drink red wine and talk about imaginary pasts. We'll take Polaroids of the band and crew and pressure treat them and line the bus with dripping, malleable portraits. We'll go shopping for new boots and sharp metal jewelry. We'll tease the boys until they run away.

Mind you, neither of us have anything in the poetry line on this guy, or girl, who says, "I want Alison Mosshart and Robert Plant to go on a cross-country road trip together in a 1966 VW bug with lots of drugs and Blind Willie Johnson cassettes, stopping in the Utah Salt Flats to spell out poems with rocks and driving 125mph through snowstorms in North Dakota. I want them to stop in Ann Arbor and find a mystic guru who tells them to stop having so much in common. I want the car to run out of gas where Sun Ra once fired his trombonist and I want Robert Plant and Alison Mosshart to make out on that spot. Everything about [The Dead Weather's] set is swathed in lubricate and entrails, and Mosshart hits every downbeat with jolts and lurches." He has a nice photo of her too.

I wonder if my friend will notice if I rip off the excellent idea about spent brass? There's no point telling me to get a life. This is my life.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

All the Way From Memphis

This came up on the shuffle play in the car this morning.

I didn't appreciate Mott The Hoople when I first heard them. I saw them as a rival to T. Rex, and as such believed they should be deprecated as much as possible (especially after the crack about "who needs TV when you've got T. Rex" in All the Young Dudes). Looking back, they had some great pop tunes, sounding a little like Bob Dylan backed by the Stooges with AC/DC writing the riffs. At times they could be solidly commercial. All the Way from Memphis is one such song, a strand of that skein of rock and roll that uses saxophone and piano, the acoustically LOUD instruments, as essential rhythm. On the non-acoustic side, Mick Ralphs gets some extraordinary sounds out of what I believe is a Les Paul Junior, an instrument I normally cannot stand.

The song is about a band and guitar traveling separately, the guitar ending up in Oriole when the band land in Memphis. The basis of the song is the sheer weariness and difficulty of touring a semi-successful rock band. To me, the stand out line has always been "you look like a star but you're still on the dole".

Wikipedia says the song contains a racial slur that was later changed to 'dude'. This is the original version. While we're on the subject, don't bug me about the cartoon. This was the only YouTube version I could find that's cut from the vinyl. The cartoon does have racial overtones. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another Day Another Dollar

At work I spent almost all the day in a meeting, which to us means a WebEx presentation. For those normally spared these, that is a period of time where instead of looking at your own computer desktop, you can look at someone else's. If you're unlucky, the someone else has cleaned up the desktop and has nothing on it except a presentation which you are now going to suffer.

In this case, to make it easier, the presenter's computer screen was projected onto a plain screen at the front of the room, and all of our places were equipped with intranet access. This means that all of us susceptible to these things had the double joy of looking at their own laptop screen while simultaneously looking at someone else's.

These meetings can be fun if the presenter isn't together and has left porn, or really any files or emails with interesting names and subject lines, on their screen. Unfortunately, this presenter was together, so all we saw was a demonstration of Quality Control.

At least, some of us did. I noticed that almost everyone was either checking their own email on their own laptop, or writing proposals etc. and only occasionally glancing at the presenter's screen. The totally hardcore were watching the presentation, checking their emails on their laptop AND checking their BlackBerrys with their other hand.

I hadn't brought either my laptop or my BlackBerry. I was writing longhand in a Steno notebook. I felt like Jack fucking White with the refusal-to-go-digital thing. What was I writing? Why, these words, of course. If I had to write a proposal or something I'd do it on a laptop like everyone else.

The advantage of the Steno books are:

a) Can tear out used pages
b) Steno book is optimized to stand upright on its boards so you can copy your notes on to a computer when needed.
c) Nobody can read my writing. (Even me.) This means I can write blog posts in meetings.

Everyone in the room had signed an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement, a swearing-to-secrecy document that's ubiquitous in today's business world) and so it was amusing to see fifteen people with 100 Mbps connections all typing away. I did check, as it happens, and no-one was visibly ripping off the presentation. (To do that, you have to have the presentation showing on your own computer screen and then hit "print screen" and paste the information into whatever graphics program you have, such as Paint.) It's my job to check - I'm Quality Assurance and Compliance. Also, I'm nosy.

I'm so glad to be out of there, and copying my nice Steno notes. In a minute I'm going to go do something not involving a computer screen.

The Dead Weather San Diego and San Francisco

Here are my photos from the San Diego Street Scene set of The Dead Weather.

Here is a download of the official live broadcast of The Dead Weather from Outside Lands. Stream captured by a wonderful person and uploaded here.

Here courtesy of YouTuber 1985wasagreatyear is The Dead Weather at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco this weekend.







You Just Can't Win missing?

So Far From Your Weapon missing?

Rocking Horse missing?











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