Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Category: music (page 2 of 4)

Moan, Moan, Moan

I’m actually working quite hard today, so no time for a full post. In the meantime you can enjoy the dulcet — and slightly bizarre — tones of the Complaints Choir of Helsinki. Andy W will be in heaven.

Favourite lines in the comments.

Ciao!

Kirsten introduced me to Ciao! a few days ago, as she has been using the German variant for a while. It has proved highly addictive in a productive sort of way. The community site focuses on reviewing products of all descriptions — films, books, games, electronics, make-up, food, the works! — but uniquely it actually pays members for the reviews they submit, based on ratings by others. These don’t have to be journalistic masterpieces, but merely useful opinions on products that will help others make decisions. Since I already have several fully fleshed out film reviews right here, I figured it was worth a go. I soon found myself pumping out product reviews of the other things sitting on my desk too! The site brandishes the slogan “make your opinions pay” and although it’s not much, it’s still worthwhile, particularly to a student! It’s an interesting diversions and, for those like Andy W and Luke, a forum with a captive audience for the occasional rant. A slightly higher level of revenue can also be earned by filling in targeted surveys based on your interests, but this is strictly on an opt-in basis. Sign up and give it go!

The weekend was not particularly noteworthy aside from fixing Charlotte’s abomination of a computer. Luke swears the test machines he leaves unprotected intentionally to become corrupted by malware aren’t quite as hideously mangled as hers. With the installation discs mailed by her dad we resorted to wiping it and starting afresh although it graphics card is, in technical jargon, teh screwzorz. Still, I learned a fair bit more about locking down a machine to protect the user from both outsiders and, more importantly, themselves. The more security minded may be interested in the free Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer utility.

Globalist-wise a new Annual edition has just been released featuring contributions from six chapters (Yale, Cambridge, Peking, Jerusalem, Sydney and Toronto). Perhaps most interesting is actually the layout which serves the need for three different languages to cover all these regions. It is quite a feat and has been deftly handled. Meanwhile the name change is now official with the Global21 banner now appearing on the foundation website. Unfortunately this busy period has prevented the latest Cambridge issue from going online yet. I do know, however, that there will be special coverage on the UN handover shortly as I have just produced the banner for it…

I now find myself staring at a not-very-modern article plucked from the Modern Law Review. It leads me to wonder whether it is time to turn my hand to starting up another new publication. The Postmodern Law Review would feature articles in a style that — well, no one really knows what postmodernism actually is which makes it editorially complicated at best. Jean-Francois Lyotard suggested, “Postmodernism is incredulity towards metanarratives.” I rather preferred the astute description, “Weird for the sake of [being] weird.” from Moe Szyslak of The Simpsons (speaking of which, full trailer now available). Strangely it does actually have a legal context in the form of the theory of Judicial shamanism. Perhaps this publication is best left alone after all…

The Savage Jazz

First a big plug for The Savage Jazz, Rich Homer’s band based in Guildford. Upon listening their eclectic tastes and varied backgrounds in music are immediately clear — it’s not jazz, but a rather funky sound emerging from the same mindset while musically drawing together rock, reggae and blues. Coming up is a major gig at the Rock Garden in Covent Garden this Sunday at the Platform event (2:30 – 7pm, £4 entry). For a stupidly cheap entry price and cheap booze all afternoon it sounds like a perfect pre-uni weekend. At the very least check out their site, particularly the great video for Mockingbird.

Daniel Craig had a fairly negative reception from Bond fans who, to be fair, were unlikely to accept any replacement to Brosnan’s flawless delivery of the character as Fleming wrote him. Being a fan of Layer Cake and more recently Munich, I have been vocally pro-Craig and I think the full Casino Royale trailer shows he has the gravitas and the subtle charm to pull it off. It’s different, it’s darker, and it looks damn good.

Our final installment of the popular Sausagewatch was delayed by the fact Kirsten kept a vital part in Germany. However, she was kind enough to post it over so we can proudly present the first ever illustrated edition. So without further ado…

Thuringer RostbratwurstSausagewatch: Thūringer Rostbratwurst is a regional variety of the famous Bratwurst sausage. Named after a state in Germany, the “rost” in its name denotes that it is grilled. Commonly served as a heavy snack with ketchup and/or mustard accomanied by a toasted slice of bread. I should perhaps point out that the drawing was Kirsten’s sketch on a train in Berlin and was not intended for public consumption. I, however, feel its rough artistic brusqueness rounds off our segment on German sausages perfectly.

My Third Eye (Tool Live)

ToolOn the tube I chatted with an amiable chap named Mike from somewhere around Stoke (it was suitably northern, anyway) who remained cheerfully buoyed by the gig despite the fact he had to spend the night on a station platform until catching a train the following morning. We had both been worried that the audience looked rather young, as though they may all have just discovered Tool with the new album. Fortunately our fears were unjustified as they sang along with virtually everything, albeit seeming not to recognise Sober. It’s now very difficult to deduce who will have heard of the band and who will not. Four years ago it was easy, no one had unless you knew they listened to them. Now the band are rapidly reaching a more mainstream status, at least within alternative music circles.

The setlist had been greatly altered from the previous night which I think is a good thing. Opening with Rosetta Stoned (indeed playing it at all, one might argue) was an odd choice, and I think our Stinkfist start worked better. The Pot was a welcome addition, aside from a brief screw-up at the beginning, and a nice surprise as I had not been expecting it live. Of the new material what really impressed me was Jambi, which live is filled with a charged energy that is truly electric. Right In Two was an etherial experience that highlights just how exceptional Tool’s live show can be. The visuals, the lighting and the music combined to form something truly otherworldly, particularly with the enchanting rhythm of Danny’s drumming — if you take one thing away from seeing them it’s that he is a monster of a man with arms as muscular as most people’s legs! Maynard, meanwhile, sported shades and a new spiked Mohawk, sometimes crushing it with a cowboy hat that, sadly, was not thrown out to the crowd.

Maynard suggested the band would be returning to our shores as early as November, adding credence to the idea this was still something of a warm-up tour. I would love to hear Wings live, but to arrange that 18 minute epic into something that works (how exactly does one appropriately sing about their own mother’s death?) is a serious task and I wonder if perhaps that is what they are working on. The end result could genuinely rival their Salival live version of Pushit.

Returning home it seemed as though a quarter of the people travelling that evening had attended the Tool gig. Not only near venue but later while waiting 40 minutes for a train to Cambridge I ended up chatting to a few fans and later still when being transferred to a coach due to a diversion I bumped into another couple who were heading back from the gig. Bear in mind we were in Stevenage by this time. Fortunately one coach went directly to Cambridge so I was able to avoid the bus from hell, stopping at every little village between Stevenage and Cambridge. It all would have been okay if I did not have to be up before 7am to get back into London again for a training day with Bird & Bird…

Two Down…

With two exams down and three to go, it does not yet feel like “almost halfway through”. Nevertheless, a few days’ respite is welcome before tackling the big two, Land and Contract. They have gone reasonably so far, which is to say they could have been far worse. When it comes to predicting tripos marks, I find it’s virtually impossible, so I shan’t try to guess.

Sparkie has completed his list of 28 procrastination techniques, which we mentioned previously. He considers it more of a “don’t do” list, with three items inspired by this very site. Worryingly, many of them sound far too familiar and I have engaged in the entire top six over the last few weeks.

Popular torrent site ThePirateBay.org, much loved for its humourous public derision of legal threats it receives, is rumoured to have been raided and shut down, although this may well be a hoax as a similar story was posted exactly a year ago when their servers were taken down for maintainance. Corroborating articles would suggest otherwise. It will undoubtedly provide much publicity for the newly established political party which cannot hurt.

In todays “things to browse and watch” category, I was recently directed to the “Animusic” Pipe Dream video. While I wouldn’t really consider buying their DVDs, the idea is interesting and certainly well-executed. For fear of overdoing it, I shall not dwell on the release of yet another Superman trailer, but suffice to say it exists in our reality.

I had hoped to wish everyone luck before exams commenced, but what with revision and pre-exam stress, it didn’t quite happen. Nevertheless, good luck with the rest!

Good Luck!

Heat Vision and Lej

About a week ago I heard a rumour that Lej had vacated Cambridge for the even wetter city of Portsmouth to attend a top secret recording studio session after penning an all new England World Cup anthem. Teaming up with Beauty and the Geek co-star Will Goodhand and a Royal Marines band, Edmund Bolton UK has done us proud once again with the horribly cheesy and inexplicably catchy We’re England. It’s replete with an insistant head-nodding rhythm and several silly voices — Will says his is supposed to be a cross between “Giles Brandreth and Timothy Claypole off Rentaghost”. Apparently. The duo’s combined geek star power and the song’s trashy contagiousness might just be enough to pull it off. Be one of the first to know, tell your mates and get ’em keen. So suck on that, Ronaldinho.

On similarly trashy note, Ben Stiller introduces this truly shocking canned 1999 pilot for Heat Vision and Jack. The story follows ex-astronaut Jack (played by Jack Black) whose rocket flies too close to the sun causing his brain to deform so that he becomes hyper-intelligent in the sunlight. His sidekick is talking motorbike Heat Vision (voiced by Owen Wilson), imbued with the voice of his former roommate. Ruthlessly hunting them down is Ron Silverman (playing himself) as they keep moving across the USA. Trust me, it gets even sillier from there. Yet somehow this camp send-up of 70s and 80s pulp action TV shows manages to be entertaining.

Having supervisions in the week before exams start is less helpful than inconvenient, particularly when getting to it on Wednesday involves trekking to the opposite corner of Cambridge. Admittedly the afternoons are not my most productive period, but a 40min hike each way isn’t exactly an improvement. Until then I’m mostly holed up in my room poring over folders and tricking out my statute books with iridescent Post-it index tags. Plans for a Cambridge-targeted Pimp My Textbook are, no doubt, already in progress.

Best and Worst Tickets in the House

Alex Grey avatarMore than making up for the fact she’s not around when I finish my exams, Kirsten has bought me a ticket to see Tool at the Hammersmith Apollo on June 14th, a live experience for which I have been waiting more than four years. The band’s Lateralus tour coincided with exams so I was unable to see them (Gorchin went anyway and bagged one of Danny Carey’s drumsticks!). Maynard then moved back to his second band, A Perfect Circle, resulting in no further opportunity to see them until this 10,000 Days tour. It would sound remarkably shallow of me to tell her that I love her more than ever now, but it’s true anyway. Joining a Tool forum to read about their other gigs and to see if I could meet up with some other fans before the gig, I ended up designing a new avatar based on Alex Grey’s COSM work, which combines his psychic and spiritual systems with a real human face.

The new Da Vinci Code film seems to be everything its detractors could have hoped for. Despite the high-profile contentious source material and A-list actors, Ron Howard has somehow managed to put together a bizarrely luke-warm thriller that’s unlikely to impress anyone, whether they have read the book or not. Audiences laughed at unintentionally comic lines like “I have to get to a library — fast!” which hardly aids in mounting tension. Apparently the only thing it has served well as is an Opus Dei recruitment video, as interest in the society has exploded ever since the controversy arose. Also for those who plan their winter wardrobe well in advance, this year the albino monk assassin look is sure to be in fashion. You heard it here first.

And who would have guessed that this year’s Eurovision winners would be a Finnish zombie rock outfit. Actually, quite a lot of people, I guess.

Th Grat Gadsby

If youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn’t constantly run across folks today who claim that “a child don’t know anything.? A child’s brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult’s act, and figuring out its purport.

-Ernest Vincent Wright, Gadsby

Remember how you always thought E was an important letter, besides being the opening gambit for most hangmen and hangwomen? Hangpeople? People who play hangman. E’s considerable prevolance in the English language has elevated it to a position of esteem, often considered first among vowels. Enter Gadsby. In an attempt to deflate its ego (or perhaps in a subliminal anti-drugs stance), this 50,000 word story does not use a single E. Although undoubtedly done as much “because he could” as “to prove it could be done”, it does highlight some interesting linguistic peculiarities and since it is all properly written, it holds good examples of complex sentence construction while avoiding ambiguity.

The band who played at Jehan’s birthday at the beginning of the month now have a website where you can listen to two of their songs, including a great cover of Black Magic Woman. So go check out Funkin’ With The Lights On. Don’t be shy, I already told them you’re coming.

Something tells me that ie7.com has not been developed exactly as Microsoft might have envisioned. Whilst I disagree with such cybersquatting on principle, to claim that it is anything less than hilarious would be specious at best. Unaffiliated with either corporation, a WHOIS search reveals that it was actually registered by a Brit who decided to do something far sneakier than merely attempt to sell it to Microsoft.

Lastly, the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has leaked but has yet to be released officially anywhere, which is odd because it certainly looks complete and very polished. In the meantime WWTDD has given it a home. My only complaint would be a slightly excessive slant towards the supernatural, though I’ll never turn down a good Kraken!

Tool Return In 10,000 Days

10,000 days in the fire is long enough;
You’re going home.
-Tool, 10,000 Days

Net of BeingIt being official release day, I’ve been proudly wearing a Tool t-shirt all day, although I’ve had my hands on the new 10,000 Days album since Saturday. Tool albums are complicated affairs and it took me some time to appreciate the subtler nuances of Lateralus (second only to Thirteenth Step and The Downward Spiral) but I’ve had enough time to form my first impressions on their new opus. Looking first at the packaging, givent the last two releases I was hoping for another high-quality innovative design and they have delivered with more of Adam Grey’s fantastic artwork, this time appearing 3-dimensional when viewed through the attached stereoscopic lenses. If you are not familiar with Grey’s work, I suggest you check out the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors immediately.

Vicarious is an excellent opener as an almost perfect continuation of the Lateralus-era Tool sound making it instantly accessible to fans. The usual progression between Tool albums is then found throughout the remainder of the album from the moment Adam Jones’ guitars kick into Jambi, dominating with an insistant power while Maynard’s vocals fall back to a more minor role. Indeed it is the vocal changes that dissidents will find jarring, particularly the very different style featured in The Pot. The core of the album consists of Wings For Marie and 10,000 Days, the former really an introduction to the latter. Together they form a 17 minute epic that stands as a vulnerably honest triumph, as Maynard sings of his mother’s unfaltering faith despite her paralysis for 27 years (approx. 10,000 days) and of the ascension she deserves. Rosetta Stoned is the album’s heaviest track and probably the most musically complex, while Right In Two provides a simple (the lyrics are less veiled this time round, though still powerful) description of angels looking down upon humans. Less heavy but with a rythmic intensity running throughout the album, this is another fantastic collection and proof that Tool certainly have not yet lost their edge.

Mozilla have announced the winner of the Firefox Flicks campaign, in which entrants were asked to direct a short clip to advertise the browser, my personal favourite being This Is Hot. In a similar vein the BBC have launched a new project, looking for people to submit redesigned versions of their front page, including new ideas for new interactive media features for the next incarnation of the site. Opinion is divided as to whether this marks a bold consumer-centric approach or a way to buy a million pound facelift for the cost of a measly laptop prize. Head over to reboot:bbc.co.uk for more details.

The Mighty Moshin’ Emo Rangers

I was at first non-plussed when Jehan pointed me in the direction of Emo Rangers on MySpace but the satire is spot on. If anything the result is simply too accurate with their episode mimicking the original Power Rangers series blow for blow (perhaps an unfortunate metaphor given that the original show was pulled by several networks for being too violent). By the end I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at the fact that despite the attempt at satire, the result was still better than any of the recent (read: last decade’s) attempts to revitalise the tired Rangers franchise.

“Emo” still strikes me as one of the more inane genres that modern music has thrown up, or perhaps it is merely sad reflection upon the fact that the vast majority of music released today is utterly devoid of any emotion whatsoever. Not that the average emo band is much more sincere in their sound necessarily, but at least their attempt isn’t to sterilise music in typical bubble gum pop fashion. Or maybe I just crave more like Tool after hearing Vicarious’ impassioned message about how we thrive on violence in the media and yet shy from this ugly truth when faced with it in real life. It may be argued I am overdoing the not-so-subliminal buy 10,000 days messaging on the Tool front but I have no remorse.

For discusssion: Scrubs — revision aid or revision plague?

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