staring at the sun…

February 28, 2007

Since I posted about Nine Inch Nails, I keep on listening to the Downward Spiral and the Fragile. They’re amazing LPs, NIN are just dismissed by a lot of people but as albums, as pieces of art, I just think they work so well.

Anywho, while I was on YouTube (legitimately for work I might add), I stumbled across the video below. The song, Sunspots is from With Teeth, the most recent album (until a month or so’s time when Year Zero hits). Admittedly Sunspots is not my favourite NIN track but it works so well in this context. The creator, rjgfoundry, whoever he is, has edited a Mars pathfinder animation to the song with great skill and aplomb. Listen to the song’s development and rhythm and it works really well with the video.

I think it’s worth 4 mins or so.

J.

celebrity skin.

February 26, 2007

goody.jpgI don’t wanna get on my high horse about celebrity and all that but this is just so transparent. So I am. Now Jade Goody, the prat off Big Brother, is in India. “A private visit.” If it’s so private, why are the paparazzi following you around everywhere? They couldn’t have been tipped off by your agent could they? You could go on a private visit, get a private plane, go into a hotel and tour the place. Don’t make a public entrance and tell everyone where you’re gonna eat a curry.  This is a woman who got £250 K or something like that (unaccurate stat) siphoned off her bank account before she even realised. She could fucking afford a private visit if she wanted.

This is a violent, aggressive, bully who was meant to represent an anti-bullying charity?

This is a lass who was accused of being racist, was stage-managed to an easy exit, got an easy ride in an interview that hardly even broached the subject, came out, went into ‘rehab’. Why did she get an easy interview? Who cares if her and Davina McCall have the same agent? This incest-esque relationship shouldn’t affect the programme. And now this new stuff about going to India. It’s everywhere, it was on the news.

Why do people eat this shit?

The celebrity skin is the persona, I suppose.

J.

Ok… so I know Nine Inch Nails isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this is very interesting from a marketing POV and use of the Internet.

Their forthcoming album, Year Zero, is going to be concept album set in the future about the end of the world, with a bleak vision of the United States, its military and the way in which it treats citizens – drugging the population on two substances, dependent on who they are.

Trent Reznor (who is Nine Inch Nails and controls musical and artistic direction) has always been involved with the Internet, running a detailed blog for registered users of NIN.com, the band’s website.

Currently on tour, Reznor has started deliberately leaking a few of the new album’s tracks, leaving them on Flash Drives in the venue’s toilets. So far this has happened in Lisbon and Madrid. Naturally, these tracks have appeared on the Internet to fans. This is not all.

Parallel to this, fans on the website discovered that the latest range NIN merchandise had highlighted or marked letters on it, spelling out “IAMTRYINGTOBELIEVE”. Someone then tried this as a website…  http://www.iamtryingtobelieve.com/

You need to highlight the text in order to read it on the sites.

The fan section of the official website then discovered further related sites to the original…

http://anotherversionofthetruth.com/  (which features a faked forum and audio clips) – highlight the picture and draw over it, more will be revealed
http://105thairbornecrusaders.com/
http://www.consolidatedmailsystems.com/citizen_unknown/
http://bethehammer.net/
http://churchofplano.com/
http://www.uswiretap.com/71839J/

These websites suck the reader into this world, there is even the mention of a hand – known on the album as ‘the Presence’ – that comes down to earth from above.

This “alternate reality game” (as it’s called on Wikipedia) was designed by the same group who make the computer game, ‘Halo’.

It’s definitely a unique marketing campaign that’s attracted a good amount of interest in America.

Reznor says this will be the first of two concept albums, so wait and see what the next viral marketing campaign will be.

Much much more on the details of this in this MTV article (very well researched… http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1552470/20070215/nine_inch_nails.jhtml)

J.

Scroll down and press play on the video. It’s just the song with one still image, listen & read.

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Nick Drake’s Place to Be is one of the most compelling and longing songs I’ve ever heard. One of my favs.

place to be. Nick Drake.

when I was younger, younger than before
I never saw the truth hanging from the door
and now I’m older see it face to face
and now I’m older gotta get up clean the place.
and I was green, greener than the hill
where the flowers grew and the sun shone still
now I’m darker than the deepest sea
just hand me down, give me a place to be.
and I was strong, strong in the sun
I thought I’d see when day is done
now I’m weaker than the palest blue
oh, so weak in this need for you.

Immense. Three chords and the mood of longing, melancholy suits the expressions of the words and Drake’s fragile voice perfectly. Admittedly, the romanticism associated with the now-deceased musician helps, but you just believe it’s true. It sounds like it’s his words, like he means it and this is him. It has soul.

It’s a popular thought that he speaks of his head at the start of the song. Drake goes from childhood innocence to adult knowing very quickly. In each verse; the first lines conveying innocence and exuberance (‘younger than before’/‘greener’/‘strong’) to darkness and knowledge (‘older’/‘darker’/‘weaker’). The juxtaposition of idealistic nature, then the ‘deepest’ and ‘weakest’ blues illustrate how far he has come from his youth. Each verse, Drake doubts his youth and sees the dark, he realizes ‘the truth hanging from the door’ and realizes the pain before him.

It’s the ‘place’, unknown and unclarified, that stays with. The longing for a place to be. The desire. To rest, be grounded and content.

The beauty of this song arcs higher with the proclamation that he’s ‘so weak in this need for you’. It is undefined, layering it with connotations. Is it a person? Death? Sanity?

You will never know; the song’s ubiquitous in its longing and desire for the ‘place’. Just hope he has it now.

ADDITIONAL: For gee-tar aficionados… go to here … where Robin Frederick talks about Drake’s unique take on finger work and song construction.

Listen and enjoy – x, J.

place to be

running with the bulls.

February 17, 2007

This is where I’m going in July. There’ll be six of us, cruising in an RV across Spain, stopping off here, then following onto Benicassim. Might need to get some dodging practice in (see right hand side of the screen, 00:58 min).

Running with the bulls…

J.

supporting scatman john.

February 15, 2007

Right, so I was reading Prefix, and then I saw this post… Awful Album of the Week: Scatman John ‘Scatman’s World’

I think it’s harsh. Yes, his album may have been made up of early-’90s-pseudo-trance disco-pop-rubbish but I don’t like the way they talk about the chieftain. They talk about him like he’s some kind of paedophile pop star. It’s so lazy.

The dude was an old jazz musician, with a stutter that embarassed him. He turned that around and with the help of some A&R music executives (you’re picturing them as evil henchmen now, aren’t you) reinvented himself as a perculiar popstar.

He deserves plaudits. Firstly (and maybe this should be an ongoing feature), who else has a better moustache in pop music. Second, watch his videos, the guy is so bizzare it’s amazing. His movements are mental.

If I’m honest, the thing that offends me more than anything is the bloke playing the trumpet in the Scatman video, when it’s clearly a synth. Oh, and the worst drum miming I’ve seen.

Praise the Scatman – give him a break. Actually he died in 1999, which is a shame because I was thinking it’d be great to get an interview with him now looking back. I wouldn’t get one, but it’s a nice idea. Shame.

The bloke was a hippie for the early 90s techno age; a prophet if you will…

“Everybody’s talkin’ something very shockin’ just to
Keep on blockin’ what they’re feelin’ inside
But listen to me brother, you just keep on walkin’ ’cause
You and me and sister ain’t got nothin’ to hide.
Scatman, fat man, black and white and brown man
Tell me ’bout the colour of your soul.
If part of your solution isn’t ending the pollution
Then I don’t want to hear your stories told.
I want to welcome you to Scatman’s world…”

Do you want to watch him now? Below…

RIP Scatman.

J.

Scatman’s World

Jees, people just keep on getting them at work in the office. Mental stuff. Having said that, work is 80-odd per cent women. I suppose you’ve got to though really, aint you, otherwise you’ll be in serious trouble.

It is the only day of the year where people have to pay to get laid, though.

Am I really that cynical?

Dunno, nah, probably not actually. It’s weird being single at Valentine’s though, your role is to make those in love feel better about themselves. By being bitter and unhappy you can ensure that others feel better to be together. That way they can all feel happy and joyous in their own love.

I was thinking though, I haven’t sent out a ‘Love ?’ card in ages. Maybe I need that kind of weird excitement? I dunno. I think the people I love know I love them. At least sub-consciously at least if they can’t read me…

Wish I had shares in Interflora though – make a fucking bomb today!

J.

it’s never a good idea…

February 11, 2007

An egg, not the one I used but an egg, nonetheless…to participate in a boiled egg challenge unprepared. You have to have some form of drink to help you out, preferably not gin n’ tonic.

…to be lured into snorting whisky. My nose has been weird all day. Bit crusty and that. I think it was a trick, as soon as I mentioned that I’d snorted vodka before, she immediately said whisky was a real challenge. She was right.

y, J.

paul draper.

February 10, 2007

I like Paul Draper, visit him. He was Mansun, along with Chad, Andie and Stove. They made some very important music, to me at least. I recommend them to anyone, I love them. Six is one the most amazing things I have ever heard. He is recording solo now and has posted a dance song he collaborated on. He also wrote for Skin (ex-Skunk Anansie) when she released some solo music.

Anywho, Paul and co. were very important to me and I can’t wait to see some intimate shows (hopefully) once he’s done. Just bear him in mind, he may just give you some amazing music. Again.

J.

Click banner to visit Paul Draper's MySpace page

Well… my mate Decanus tells me that he checks every Friday now that I’ve done two posts titled ‘Something for the weekend’, so it seems I may have to do this regularly.

Well, he loves Bowie too, so in honour of the great man, today’s two YouTube’s are two great Bowie songs. The first, Oh! You Pretty Things, is taken from a BBC performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Now I always thought this song was about parents and their children and generational change but after having a quick look at SongMeanings.net, some people have taken it a bit more deeply. Oh, it’s also about aliens. I haven’t been able to stop singing it for about three days now.

The Heart’s Filthy Lesson, the second video, is taken from his Outside albu. The video is cool and very weird. This was the stage when he was friends with Trent Reznor though… maybe that explains it… it’s almost like a Tool video but with posturing. Completely bizzare, I’ve only watched it twice, but I cannot understand the fucker…

J.

Oh! You Pretty Things

 

 

The Heart’s Filthy Lesson

 

policing the Internet?

February 7, 2007

I posted this on my work blog yesterday but it’s not open to general IPs yet… so I’m thieving it to my blog…

Yesterday, three paedophiles were sentenced Southwark Crown Court for planning to rape two teenage girls and more than 50 other related charges between them. Then planned their crimes over the Internet. The three, who met via a website chatroom and never met in person, even intended to do a “Holly and Jess” – a reference to infamous Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The case is only the second set of prosecutions regarding the use of the Internet to conspire to rape.

It’s a story that’s been covered by the media a lot today so I don’t feel we need to relay all the details of the court case – the story can be read via the following links…

Times Online story Guardian Unlimited story Channel4.com story

However, it does bring up some interesting issues about the Internet and responsibility of those companies that host websites. An investigation into the website at the centre of the plot (which shall remain nameless due to its content) by Channel Four News yesterday found that the host was shared by huge multinational organisations and their different factions, including Disney and Fox.

As was relayed by an expert (who’s name escapes me, apologies) to Jon Snow in last night’s broadcast, he stated that due to an EU directive and legislation in this country, hosters cannot be held legally responsible for the content of their websites unless they have looked at them. It is the same in the US. Whilst legislation holds a host responsible, it only kicks in if they have seen the content. Understandably hosters avoid doing this as it leaves them open to legal action.

Is this really the way to police the Internet? Surely companies will continue to use this procedure and ‘unacceptable’ sites will never be subject to moderation?

But should the Internet even be policed at all? In theory, the Internet is a horizontal model of communication, unique to other media, as a user can communicate direct without the need of a ‘middleman’ or additional layers of communication. This is what defines the essence of the Internet. Would policing the Internet represent an infringement on freedom of speech? Is the Internet even a representation of freedom of speech? After all, there are still millions all over the world people who are yet to go online for the first time.

Without going into too much of my degree, the Internet can be argued to represent ‘the public sphere‘ – a concept that Jurgen Habermas, a German philosopher, tried to convey to the world. His idea – of a ‘place’ where public opinion is formed by the interaction of all society – can be discussed with a view to the Internet, surely unimaginable when he conceived his thesis.

This simple sentencing of the three offenders opens up a world of debate surrounding the Internet and how it can be managed – but who should decide how, what and of whom?

Would it be true to say that without testing boundaries, you’ll never find out what they are. Is it through public interaction that opinion is formed? How much should we restrict from general consumption? The things that we have already decided are wrong? And who decides what’s ‘moral’ in a society and what is not?

Either way, should the host of a website be forced to look at their customer’s content? After all, the responsibility must lie somewhere. I would lean towards a need for clarification- at least instead of keeping a legal loophole for companies to jump through…
J.

times-front-page.jpgSo the Times relaunched their website this week. I think there are bugs as some of the pictures are missing etc. but I have other issues…

Two things, why have a lime green header if all the headlines are in blue? Surely that’s a bit estupido? It just looks crap.

Second of all… they have this new ‘Times Recommends’ banner… I kinda think they should be a bit careful what they put in there… or at least attempt to phrase it a bit better! What do you think?

times-banne-400r.jpg

Bit inappropriate?

However, they do have some respect with me (despite being Murdoch-ised) – I do like this from John Henley in the Guardian about the website’s launch…

“We just adore the new Times website! So lime-green, so unlikely! Also, for most of yesterday, so down, and, on Sunday night, so entertaining! “Sorry, Times Online has gone to the pub,” it said, above a picture of a pint of beer. “We have finished building our new-look website and are having a drink while our friendly geeks connect it to the internet.” Bless”

At least that’s a good sense of humour… shame about the website.

J.

mental t-shirt

This t-shirt is mental. It has its own graphic equaliser that changes with whatever sound is around you! There’s a demo of the actual image changing, accessible via the link.

p1458ex1.gifThis has got to be the ultimate ‘LOOK AT ME’ t-shirt. I’d be all hoity-toity and bitchy about it – but then no-one will treat me to one… be good for gigs!

BTW, I saw this on Prefix – unfortunately I can’t claim credit for finding this.

Buy it here: http://www.firebox.com/product/1458

J

something for the weekend.

February 2, 2007

Even better if you’ve seen the Big Lebowski… which is exceptional.

J.