Thursday, September 30, 2010

Listening in the car

Traveling Riverside Blues, Robert Johnson

I've been listening to Son House. I have mp3s in the car so as I ease out into the traffic into the 113 degree heat or the threatening rain (today) I can listen to the music of someone who recorded 80 years ago.

I was always a Robert Johnson fan myself. It was dee rigger, when I grew up in Britain in the seventies, to be an owner of a copy of King of the Delta Blues Singers volumes one and two, and although it took me a while to achieve it, I was eventually one of those. So I've lived with Robert Johnson for 35 years.

Son House, Clarksdale Blues. (I'm trying to avoid Death Letter and Grinnin' In Your Face, as I assume those are already known)

I'm reading a book, which I should have done before my recent trip to Clarksdale, about the blues. It was written in the nineties and bemoans a couple of times that no-one now records in the tradition of Son House. The book (which was written in the Robert Cray days) seemed a little bereft about it. They'd be glad to know, I'm sure, that the Son House tradition is being thoroughly followed up on by one outstanding blues guitarist and vocalist.

Later in that movie, It Might Get Loud, Jack White explains how all the gimmicks he employed in the White Stripes were to disguise the fact a couple of white Detroiters were playing blues music.

But people like what they like, and 35 years of listening to Robert Johnson has biased me. Son House's forte is his passion - and his lightly disguised struggle between carnal cravings and spirituality. But there's something about his music - for instance the fact that I heard most of those songs played by Lead Belly a long time ago, and I consider Lead Belly a folkie - that puts him behind Robert Johnson in my mind. And Robert Johnson's lyrics are a country mile ahead of any of his contemporaries.

I may have been unduly influenced by Nik Cohn's admiration of the line in If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day, but you have to admit that Son House's line about whiskey and women wouldn't let him pray is overshadowed by Robert Johnson's line about how, if he had possession over judgment day, "the woman I've been loving wouldn't have no right to pray."

No right to pray! And Johnson comes out with these gems all the time. Even the iPod generation can surely feel the frustration of "Stones in my Passway".

When Johnson sings:

a woman I know
took from my best friend
some joker get lucky
steal her back again
he better come on
in my kitchen
it's goin' to be rainin' outdoors
well she's gone
I know she won't come back
I took the last nickel
out of her nation sack
you better come on
in my kitchen
well, it's goin' to be rainin' outdoors

...You know you're not listening to regular delta blues lyrics. And when it comes to Hellhound on My Trail,

I got to keep moving, I got to keep moving
Blues falling down like hail, blues falling down like hail
Mmm, blues falling down like hail, blues falling down like hail
And the day keeps on remindin' me, there's a hellhound on my trail

Or Dust My Broom, or Cross Road Blues. Or try Terraplane Blues, or the Stones-covered Love in Vain. People love Terraplane, because of the car/girl metaphor later explored by Led Zeppelin in Trampled Underfoot, or for that matter 'squeeze my lemon' from his Traveling Riverside Blues that ended up in a Zeppelin song.

Led Zeppelin's Traveling Riverside Blues, my favorite song in all the world.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Science - it's not rocket science, you know!

This is a news website article about a scientific paper

There's a reason why many on-line non-scientists can't figure out the importance of scientific discoveries, and only 40% of it is due to them not having a clue about science, The bulk of it is due to the media. It's actually impossible to come to the right conclusion, given the media's take on scientific discoveries.

Spot on parody, although a little longer than the real articles, in my humble opinion.

Boardroom buzzwords, neologisms division.

It appears that my department has put out a document explaining ISO 9001 which tells our staff that we always listen to the Voice of the Costumer.

Image result for yves saint laurent mondrian dress

I thought we listened to the Voice of the Customer, but I guess that was last year's thing.

(I love that Yves Saint Laurent number, by the way. Though I could do without the hat.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Infusion Solution

A few days ago I started off a Limoncello infusion which will take about a month. Today Making Light pointed me towards an infusion technique that takes thirty seconds. It uses nitrous oxide, not as fuel injection, or for that matter as laughing gas, but as the pressurizing agent in whipped cream.

On the other hand, waiting a month seems more character-building.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Frank Zappa memorialized in Baltimore

Although I think of Frank Zappa as a Southern California boy, he was actually born in Baltimore. And said town immortalized him over the weekend. A honor for a musician is a wonderful thing.

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Zappa's Congressional testimony against censorship. He - and very few others - spoke before Congress on why musicians should have free speech. (I know, it's in the Constitution, but apparently there needed to be more reasons given.) He didn't succeed - which is why records need to have those "Parental Advisory" stickers on them that are so annoying particularly since nobody under 40 buys a CD. But he tried.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lemon Tree

We have emptied out our lemon tree and these are the results. Or rather, the beginnings of the results.

On the left, the zest of all the lemons, sitting in Everclear. After a month or so, I'll add syrup (2 cups of water boiled with 2 cups of sugar), strain it and bottle it as Limoncello. Apparently the BevMo lady said she'd sold three bottles of Everclear on Saturday. 'Tis the season, apparently, to be making Limoncello as Christmas gifts.

On the right, lemons cut into eighths and salted, and then covered with the juice of the remaining lemons. Leave this to ferment for a week, then transfer to the fridge for another month and you have Preserved Lemons which can be used as an ingredient in stews, particularly North African recipes like tagine. Preserved lemons are nothing like fresh lemons - they have a much milder taste.

The problem with both recipes is the waiting a month or more to sample the results thing. Oh, and the waiting six months for more lemons on the tree.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dead Weather Blue Blood Blues

In this piece I mentioned that United Record Pressing didn't seem to have a way to make one side of an album one color and the other side a second color. I underestimated them.

The trip to URP to watch vinyl being pressed failed to discover this clever bit of novelty pressing - The Dead Weather's Blue Blood Blues is available (in infinitesimal quantities) as a single trapped inside a 12 inch. Jack White explains it in the video below.

Road Trip: Nashville, Tennessee pics

Here is the Nashville White Castle, where we were unable, even after sampling, to determine what was in a Chicken Ring.

Tutwiler, Mississippi, Candy Store

Temember all those cocks on the street in Memphis and Nashville? Well, Third Man Records evidently knows about the tradition of big cocks and is trying to emulate the guy on the car a few blocks away in the Nashville photo, but it seems to have gotten the symbolism subtly wrong.

On the roof there - that's the wrong sort of cock, isn't it?

Road Trip: Mississippi and Tennessee - more photos

City Hall, Tutwiler, Mississippi

Hopson Bayou, Tutwiler, Mississippi

The train depot where W C Handy first heard the music that came to be called blues, Tutwiler, Mississippi.

Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee

Arnold's, best food in Nashville, Tennessee. Note the Pony. Her name is Lucifer.

Tutwiler tree

Truck, Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale

Road Trip: Clarksdale, Memphis, Nashville

Here's some photos from the recent Memphis/Nashville trip.

Hick's Tamales. Robert Johnson sang about Mississippi delta tamales. They're not like the Mexican ones, and apparently there's some debate over why they're a favorite food in the delta. I ate three sets, and Hick's (in Clarksdale) were by far the best.

Poster inside Hick's.

The crossroad, Clarksdale.

We came across this by accident. We were driving through Clarksdale looking for liquor - well, I was, Kali Durga doesn't drink. We found a little beer and wine store that appeared to be only licensed to sell 6% alcohol and under, so I bought a gigantic bottle of watered-down blackberry-flavored wine. Coming out of the store we saw the sign, which fails to actually appear in the photo, that marks the crossroad where Robert Johnson, among others, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play guitar. (I probably should have asked Old Nick for the ability to aim a cell phone in the dark.) The site is marked by a cheesy pair of crossed blue guitars and the 61/49 signs for the two roads that crossed there. You see this rune around a lot in these parts. (Just not in my photos.)

Oh, here we are. On the side of this building in the Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale, the guitar and numbers. And the unending flatness of the cotton fields.

By the way, I'd like to add that I throw around the story of the crossroads and the devil in the same enthusiastic way I recount the story of the Easter Bunny. I don't actually believe any of it and I don't think you have to in order to enjoy it/be in awe of it. (1)

Grave marker, Clarksdale cemetery. This was a lonely graveyard indeed.

Truck and delta, at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale.

My shack at the Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale.

(1) Actually I've no idea what the story of the Easter Bunny is. I know he leaves eggs under children's pillows or something. But you get the picture.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Road Trip: Touring URP, the Vinyl Countdown

On Friday we toured United Record Pressing, Inc. plant.

Friday's not actually a tour day, but people in Nashville are so danged nice that when we phoned, they said we could come around and if anyone was available we'd get a tour. We turned up and we did get one.

A record pressing plant is like a printer's, not like a publisher's. A publisher (or record label) signs an artist, but the printer or presser prints for many labels. URP worked with such labels as Motown, among a zillion others. URP has been in that building a long time and one major feature of the tour is the un-redecorated rooms where the Black Motown artists, among other Black artists, were lodged when they came to Nashville, so they wouldn't have to put up with any Southern segregated shit.

Once you get over the reason for their existence, those rooms are beautiful. The colors are completely wild and if I'd had a large enough handbag there's at least one rug and three chairs I would have smuggled out with me.

Then Adam, the guide - it's cool he was this young guy, in a vinyl pressing plant - took us to the label-making area. He said Third Man Records fans like us spent a lot of time in the label room. He was, as I say, young and probably didn't realize they were most likely memorizing serial numbers and trying to guess at upcoming releases for personal kudos and possible financial gain. And after that, we went to see the whole pressing process.

Which I didn't, alas, write down as I went through it. Man, it's complicated. I assumed musicians taped things, and then cut a lacquer which would be electroplated to make a reverse image, and that became the "master" and everything was stamped from that. Not so. There's about four steps between the lathe-cut original and the stamper, involving heavy chemistry and and at least two electroplating steps. Once the stamper is made, a machine you can imagine takes a handful of melted vinyl (a puck), puts the labels on both sides and then moves it between the stamper plates, where it is squished into being a record. Water then rapidly cools the stamped product. The swarf on the outside, which is not cooled, is trimmed off by a blade that runs around the outside of the closed stampers, and the waste goes into a bin. After a moment, the stampers open and the vinyl record is nudged up and on to a slide, where it is dropped on to a spindle for later collection.

The records are then inserted by hand into inner sleeves and piled up with flattening dividers every ten or so, and the albums await the outer sleeves, which I assume are printed elsewhere as Adam didn't mention them.

One thing that URP specializes in is multi-colored vinyl and Adam showed us exactly how pearlescent, glow-in-the-dark, bi-color and tri-color vinyls are made. Vinyl comes in small beads, so it's relatively easy to mix colors - throw in a few handfuls of different colored beads and when melted together, the puck is multi-colored or pearlescent. There's an automated way to make one half of a record one color and one half another. (I mean six inches of blue and six inches of black on an album. They didn't seem to have an easy way to make side A blue and side B black.) A tri-color puck has to be made up by hand and placed in the machine, so that's why they're rare and only sold as limited edition records. Since the pressing machine just squidges whatever's in the puck, every multi-colored puck makes a unique record.

And I'm ecstatic to report that the black-and-blue two-color albums they were pressing at that very instant were the Sea Of Cowards Dead Weather Live at Third Man Records records. Of which I'm getting two - on for being a Vault (fan club) member and one for actually being there when it was recorded. And frankly, I've waited long enough for that - it was May 3rd, so I'm glad to hear it's finally being pressed.

To my complete delight, Adam handed me a "rose" - a flower shape made by taking the still-soft (they aren't cooled, remember?) trimmings from the edge of a newly-printed album, and forming it into a spiral with a stem. So I have a "rose" from the black-and-blue album I'll be getting in a few weeks.

I loved this trip and the places I've been. I've seen cotton fields, blues groups on the streets, a luthiers' factory, a studio, a record-pressing plant. What I needed to see next was a retail vinyl outlet.

Oh, I'm in luck! The next place we went to, of course, was Third Man Records. Where I bought a bunch of vinyl records. Wonderful to see the culmination of everything we did on this trip, from stay in the delta, to make guitars, to record in a studio, to see records pressed - and now to buy them.

Next we went to the Chihuly exhibition at the Frist. Glassblowing seemed to fit the theme of blue bottles on trees/blue guitars on trees/pressing multicolored vinyl that had followed us around for a few days. I loved his Venetian and some other work and ended up with a bit of an issue around what he calls 'plant' or 'organic' shaped - don't think he has a grasp of the utter beauty of plant growth, but then again, not everyone does. Another exhibition at the Frist was of a Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Golden Age of Couture - "The New Look". The captions puzzled the hell out of me by stating that the "Board of Trade" had condemned the New Look, as if they were culture critics and without going into why they weighed in. Well, it's because of wartime rationing. The entire country was starving and had no cloth to spare for full figured, pleated designs! Why can't the exhibit state that? (You have to look for the PDF download to find out that simple fact.)

Arty video - Will There Be Enough Water, by the Dead Weather. Shot while the Dead Weather toured URP.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nashville, post flood: The drying

Although I flew into Memphis in September in a cross-fire hurricane (in the Houston area), the weather in Nashville, once I got there, was benign compared with my earlier stay in May. That corresponded with major floods.
Joe's Crab Shack was under water in May.

The Hard Rock was under water in May.

But Joe's Crab Shack was dry in this month.

And the Hard Rock was also dry in September.

The latter photo doesn't show that the river should have beenbe about forty feet below the level of the walkway beyond the Hard Rock Cafe.

That was a hell of a flood.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cock of the Walk

For some reason, giant cocks seem to be feature of the southern landscape. Trouble is I can't help remarking on them out loud when I see them.



To be fair, the second one has a sticker on the back that says something like, "The biggest cock around", so it's not just me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Road Trip: Kali, Aqua and Lyle go to White Castle

Yesterday was a full day, especially considering three hours of it was spent in a car being driven between Memphis and Nashville - and a trip to the airport and back to pick up a third member of our party. There was the Sun Studio tour, the Wanda Jackson/Dex Romweber show at the Mercy Lounge and a whole bunch in between.

Chris Giffy of reviews and illustrates the Wanda Jackson show here, with pictures of Dale Watson as well. He must have left before the Dex Romweber Duo came on stage, so here's a not-very-good cellphone piccie of Mr. Romweber.

This show was a delight to me - I'd heard of his reputation, but hadn't actually heard any of his music. I have no idea why I hadn't been forcibly exposed to it by some obsessed hipster. He inspired me to try to do that to others, for sure. Go out and see them! Dale Watson, the opening act was pure country, with a classic voice, a songwriting flair and a smooth and confident band including a fiddle and a pedal steel. I knew I was in Nashville.

Between the Sun Studio tour and 10 pm when the Mercy Lounge show started, we packed some other stuff in. We went to the Memphis Gibson Guitar factory, a small (for Gibson) manufacturing facility that makes the hollow-bodied and semi-hollow-bodied guitars. I don't know if the one here in Nashville (which makes the solid-bodied guitars) has tours, but either way I'm glad I went to the Memphis place as the process for making a hollow-bodied guitar is more complex. And anyway, I once made my own solid-bodied guitar, so that's old hat.

Once again the tour guide was a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable woman, but in this case one who was capable of bellowing over the sound of sanders, band saws and presses. The construction of the guitars wasn't what I expected - I've never actually picked up this type of guitar and assumed they were put together like a more than usually slim acoustic, and they aren't - they have far more inner structure, with a wooden piece running from a tenon joint with the neck down to the strap-holder. The sound reverberates through this wood, as it does in a solid-body guitar, as well as in the sound box, as in an acoustic. The type of wood makes a difference to the sound, which I guess I knew but hadn't really realized that piece was in there. There's much more to it, which I'm sure you can imagine.

The Civil Rights Museum was a very sobering experience, which we took in slowly, trying to come to terms with the fact that people treated other people that way, not in the distant past, but during my own lifetime. And as the litany of lynchings, beatings, shootings, bombings and burnings unfolded, I remembered with a creepy feeling down the back of my neck that at that very moment some crazy pastor was threatening to burn the Quran, out of some atavistic - at least I hope it's atavistic - urge to other the brown people. Divide and conquer has been the tactic of tyrants for thousands of years. When someone foments hatred and fear of other people, before I fall for it I ask myself who might benefit from it.

It took until the show that evening to fully shake that sober feeling off. But after Dale/Wanda/Dex and Sara, I was a lot less sober in several senses of the word. When the show finally finished around 1:30 am, we went out for snacks and, never having been to a White Castle (even though I have seen the movie) that's where we went, where I ordered, I believe, "A number one sack" or "bag" or something and then we noted to our increasingly hysterical laughter, that the menu included not only Fish Nibblers but also Chicken Rings. "WTF are Chicken Rings?" we wondered. We may never know. Laughter was not extinguished when the driver of the van in front of us at the drive thru staggered back down to the take out window and slurred, "Ahhhhh...ummmmm...What did I just order?"

Today I fancy collard greens. I am, after all, in the south.

Mercy Lounge, Americana Music Festival 2010

Just back from an evening of watching Dale Watson, Wanda Jackson and the Dex Romweber Duo in Nashville. What an excellent time, particularly seeing a bunch of under-21's (judging by the magic marker on their hands) grooving to a rockabilly queen. You may recall my astonishment at the advanced age of the people we've seen so far on this trip - well, 73 year old Wanda attracted the exceptions.

Oh, there was one old timer boogeing by the side of the stage. Jack White was there. You know you've picked a decent dance club when someone like that turns up. (LJ was around as well, which proves the groove.)

More in the morning...oh, it is the morning. Well, more later, then.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Road Trip: Memphis, Here Comes The Sun

Today in Memphis we took the Sun Studio tour. "Tour" is a strong word for something that is actually only one room big, if you don't count the secretary's desk and the control room (which you don't tour), but it was far more interesting than I thought it'd be.

I mostly think of Howling Wolf when I hear the words "Sun Studio" and so it was a little odd to be pressed in with about 25 over-50 year old white people on this particular tour, but all was revealed when the guide asked how many of us were Elvis fans and everyone bellowed yes (in a refined way) except for me and Kali Durga, and when she asked if all of us had been on the Graceland tour everyone said yes, except for me and Kali Durga. I felt like some sort of infiltrator in an enemy camp...but the information was all good. The guide, a pretty blonde woman with a giant black letter text tattoo across her collarbone which I couldn't help thinking she'd end up regretting, enthusiastically recounted Sun and Memphis tales. These included insights on to why giant cocks seem to be a Memphis obsession (one of the artists whose name now escapes me used to have a big rooster that hung out on his shoulder and occasionally drank his whisky, until animal cruelty laws made him retire the bird), Elvis's Social Security Card with Aron with one "A", how to cut a demo acetate in Sun Studios (Elvis paid $3 for his, but Sam Phillips ignored it, and you can now cut your own for $30, but it's karaoke), and that the "X" that marks the spot where Elvis recorded something or other (I forget) was once visited by Bob Dylan, who kissed it and then walked out.

I didn't know Sun Studio had been closed for many years and re-opened in the 80's. Apparently the later occupants never replaced the floor tiles or the Popular Mechanics' 1948 article-inspired zig-zag acoustic ceiling configuration, nor the primitive acoustic tiles. The control room is off limits because the original room is once again a studio at night, and it is modernized. There are a dozen guitars banked against the wall, a drum kit, Elvis's original Shure mike (on a modern stand) which we were encouraged to pose with, although I passed on that, pleading old war injuries, and, in the museum upstairs a variety of ancient recording equipment which I'm sorry to mention was still state of the art when I first discovered music.

Wandering around the delta yesterday taught me a lot about the life in the South at the time, but I think when I was at Sun Studio I first got an inkling of how black and white musicians were mingling and rock and roll came to be. An epiphany of sorts - imagining how Sam Phillips, guy who wanted to record edgy black music, came to ask his white recording artists "Why don't you try it it this way?" And the record shop and gift shop were cool too.

Then we went to the civil rights museum, and I learned a lot more about that kind of thing, but it wasn't exactly fun. More later.

Oh, and I had some oysters at somebody or other's Irish oyster lounge, which has signs up about diving goats. We asked about the goats and their diving and the waitron said they no longer dove. They used to drink beer and dive enthusiastically, but animal cruelty laws meant that they were no longer allowed to drink. And at that point they gave up diving. First cocks, now goats. These animal cruelty laws have a lot to answer for.

Road Trip: Insomnia in Memphis

It's about five am - or three am my time - but I'm alarmingly awake and therefore have the brute force time to get pictures out of my cell phone camera (which stubbornly refuses to learn my email address) and on to the computer. (I didn't bring the big camera, which is good given Continental airlines' world class luggage mislaying capabilities.)

My brain is humming British pop, and although my traveling companion, Kali Durga, is quite dedicated to the Blues, I might have to switch the XM radio over to BBC Radio One in Lucifer on the next leg of our trip, from Memphis to Nashville.

Here's a grave marker from Clarksdale, Mississippi.

And a cypress stand from Tutwiler, Mississippi.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Road Trip: Memphis, Tennessee

Back from Beale Street, Memphis, which I'm told is not the original Beale Street, Memphis. I'm not surprised to hear that. It's about four blocks long and jumpin' in the way tourist streets are jumpin'. I was surprised to see that the average age of the people there was 65 to 75. I'm pretty old, but I'm not 65 yet. The average color was white, which I do cop to being.

They made me wonder what the average age of the blues listeners is these days. Or whether I'm misinterpreting wildly and the actual draw is the fact you can drink beer on the street, just like in wild Miami or wild New Orleans.

We saw a couple of blues bands in the raw playing on the street, and it's nice that they do. The smoky barbecue ovens, the sounds and the flashing neon make for quite an experience. But if someone asked me where to find the Blues, I guess I wouldn't say Beale Street.

Previously, this morning, we'd gone down to Tutwiler in Mississippi, a beautiful town of wooden American houses and cypress swamps that I'd like to kvell about, but can't, as I can't see the picturesqueness representing actual jobs. But dang, I'd like to live there. The houses are great, the delta is lovely, the people are just amazingly friendly and the food is good. But the overall vibe is of doomed. I'm reluctant to say that as I grew up forty years ago among farmers whose rusty equipment fronted their properties and who still, if not prosper, at least survive. But what the hell do I know, I was there for four hours. They've probably thought about it, y'know, at least as much as I have.

This is Tutwiler's city hall.

And this is one of Tutwiler's candy stores

Tutwiler is the resting site of Sonny Boy Williamson II, Rice Miller. It'd be nice if everyone knew and showed appropriate recognition, but that might take a while.

In the meantime, we saw catfish surface between cypress knees in deep muddy bayous between the remaining houses.

Road Trip: Walking into Clarksdale

I'm on me hols. Going to Nashville, ultimately, but so far have spent two hours circling Houston in a hurricane, two hours on the ground in Austin avoiding a hurricane in Houston, a couple of hours running from terminal to terminal in Houston, and an hour or so chasing down my luggage, which didn't make it on to the plane with me. (I'd blame the hurricane, but the system knew *I* was on the plane, so I'm not sure how it failed to get my baggage along with me. And also I didn't actually plan to check the damn bag anyway - they insisted I did because "the plane is full" by the time I got to walk down the jetway, which wasn't my fault (I suspect the $45 checked baggage charge has a lot to do with it). ) Oh, and I spent about three hours on planes actually getting to Memphis, which is where I am now.

After all that the plane shennanigans, we drove down to Clarksdale to stay in a tin shack (in my case) and a wooden shack (in my companion's case) at the remarkably well-done, well-marketed and all around fun Shack Up Inn.

That's the Pony outside a few shacks. Her name is Lucifer.

So far we've discovered:

a) The Mississippi delta is really flat.
b) They grow a lot of cotton here.
c) Apart from crops, the main export is selling Blues kitsch to tourists like us.
d) The Crossroads - you know THE Crossroads - is still there, sort of.

We've eaten catfish, and fried green tomatoes and hush puppies and deep fried battered green bell pepper rounds and hot tamales. Hot tamales (at Hicks) were essential, as delta hot tamales are legendary. Robert Johnson sings about them.

We went to the Delta Blues Museum, where I had a choice of harmonicas in C or in C - so I chose C; even though I don't need a C harp, I suspect Clarksdale needs the money. And we trawled a bunch of folk art stores - including Cat Head - with some wonderful pieces that wouldn't survive a trip in stupid Continental airline's stupid Baggage Losing service, so we didn't get any.

Then we went to Tutwiler. But I'll talk about that later. More southern food calls.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Wilderness Downtown

I thought this clever little video was spreading virally, so I ignored passing it on in case I was last on the bandwagon. But people are still telling me they haven't tried it yet.

Arcade Fire's video for their song, We used to Wait, is interactive. You tell it the address of your childhood home, and using various satellite maps and street views, it incorporates images of your home into a multi-windowed set of videos tied together by flocking birds and a faceless young runner. The song's okay too.

It was eerie to see my house again - well, not a house, a two-storey council home built above a store (called a maisonette, I think) - and eerier still to see that although the various maps managed to find exactly the right house, they had the street address down as being in the next town over.

Some people have reported it not working for them. I'm using Chrome, if that helps.

(Edit to add: Well, I wasn't the last. Boing Boing, usually first on the block, posted this nine minutes after I did.)


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