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The Rambler :: blog

Friday, February 27, 2004


We like this.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004


I should have linked to NewFrontEars long before now. Remiss of me.



And a quick 'hats off' to Paul Abbott. Shameless, which finished last night, was the best thing on TV since, well, State of Play, actually. Loved it: a 'dead' Frank being slapped about in his coffin by a debt collector was hilarious; the last act scenes between Steve and Fiona were heart-rending. Well done sir. (And please keep casting James McAvoy, ta.)



Michaelangelo picks up on this, which reminds of something I came across yesterday: this.


You poor man, you poor man 


Here's a poem by Attila József to keep you going. Something for everyone, I think.

That's not me shouting

That's not me shouting, it's the earth that roars,
beware, beware, for Satan is raving,
better lie low deep in a clear stream,
flatten yourself into a pane of glass,
hide behind the light of diamonds,
among insects under stones,
go hide yourself inside the fresh-baked bread,
you poor man, you poor man.
With the fresh rain seep into the ground,
it's useless to plunge into yourself
when only in others' eyes can you bathe your face.
Be the edge of a small blade of grass,
you'll be greater than the world's axis.
O machines, birds, leaves and stars!
Our barren mother is praying for a child.
My friend, my dear, beloved friend,
it may be horrible or splendid, but
that's not me shouting, it's the earth that roars.

[Taken from Winter Night: Selected Poems of Attila József, trans. from the Hungarian by John Bátki (Budapest: Corvina, 1997), poem originally written 1924]


Hide behind the light of diamonds 


Spot on. Following up on his previous post, Kyle Gann puts up responses from two composers. The second particularly hits the nail on the head: "Every generation believes civilization will die with it. It's a mystery to me exactly what the classical music establishment gets from its members-only doomsday scenario." You can do a quick scan around and find plenty of people bemoaning the parlous state of concert music these days: what baffles me, as too Gann's correspondent, is that all the bemoaning is done by people who claim to love and support the music. The standards of composition and performance have clearly not lessened, nor has access to the music. I've said it before, but I've been at concerts where Ligeti's Chamber Concerto has received a standing ovation (from an audience 500-strong) between movements. Is that evidence of a problem? To me, there only seems to be a 'problem' if your terms of reference don't include non-orchestral music or living composers, say. Or if you would rather judge musical success in terms of units shifted than the pleasure it gives to people (yes, I have heard this from people who are professional advocates of music!). Or if you want to spend your life searching for some (non-existent) key to what the Great Composer was thinking when he applied pen to paper (because, y'know, this small coterie of dead old white guys were constantly thinking of something profound, and specific, to be passed from generation to generation like sacred knowledge). Or if you think that this search, this propogation of tired old clichés substitutes for the visceral joy of just hearing something. What it sadly looks like is precisely what people from the 'outside', as it were, expect to see: classical music is run by fogies who care more about the desperate preservation of values and ideologies that are long out of date and irrelevant/meaningless, at the expense of all else. That whole attitude of 'you have to understand it before you can appreciate it'; or even just 'appreciation' above 'enjoyment'. It's not difficult to find people who say that they don't like concert music because they feel inadequate in some way, and this response has come from somewhere - most likely the concert music community themselves who insist upon the sort of exclusive language and mythologies that Gann and his correspondents have rightly highlighted. It's hugely frustrating, when actually all you have to do is sit and listen. The rest is up to you, honest. I promise, it's as simple as that.

But you all know this, readers, because you're all smart people who love music, so excuse the soapbox posturing. ;-)



The Grey Album reaches The New York Times. [You might need to register, sorry]


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Grey Tuesday 


Oh yeah, and don't forget that today is Grey Tuesday. So if you haven't downloaded the album yet, now's your best chance, what with about 100 or so servers hosting it for the day.

Although, that said, the copy I've got clips the end of some tracks, so I've tried finding another one - the first five or six sites I tried all have "account suspended"/404/something similar messages on them, already. So I might have to stick with my clipped versions.

And FWIW, I think track 10, 'Justify my Thug' is easily the best.



Resonance have just played a track off the album of recordings of this guy Deon Mac Gregor talking in his sleep. It's amazing - I've got another track recorded from an old Mixing It show. He talks completely clearly, and relatively lucidly, in his sleep, and his flatmate, I think, started recording the things he said. In the track just on Resonance he's going on about mythical creatures ... "Try putting a price on a Phoenix. You can't. It's inestimable ... no, you may not ... no, he doesn't want to rise in flames ..." Remarkable stuff.



The most interesting thing I've read all day.


On seeing Air in Southampton 


I received the following summary from a friend:

"Woeful. Vapid as opposed to bracing."

You have been warned.



Yes!

And re. Charlize Theron ('The best actress award proved more predictable. It went to Charlize Theron, who put on 13.5kg (30lb) to play the serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster.'), I'm reminded of what John Gielgud said to Robert de Niro when told that de Niro had been putting on weight especially for his role in Raging Bull:

"But my dear boy, why don't you just act?"


Monday, February 23, 2004


Matthew Guilford claims to be the first blogging bass trombone on the planet, and I ain't gonna argue with him.


Thursday, February 19, 2004


Disappointingly limp article on Steve Reich in the Independent yesterday. Glass Pärt and Reich the three composers who changed the face of classical music in the 20th century? Hmm, not sure about that - what about Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Debussy, Bartók, Messiaen Stockhausen and Cage, for starters? And the most influential on electronic music? Stockhausen again, maybe? Or Pierre Henry, perhaps? Oh well, it's just a puff piece, but a shame because the Indy have plenty of music writers who could have done a better job.


Wednesday, February 18, 2004


This is splendid.

These people make an operating system built around Linux, with the name 'Lindows'. However, because of a court order brought by Microsoft, who allege trademark infringements, they aren't allowed to use the name in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Here's their brilliant solution.

[Thanx to milady for the tip]


Haul 


What a lark! What a plunge!

Skipped off at lunchtime and found myself in Avid Records, Oxford. Unfotunately, since I don't have a turntable (I know; anyone know a secondhand one going cheap?), in places like this I have to grit my teeth and walk past the racks and racks of lovely LPs which I would dearly love to thumb and own and make do with the altogether colder business of the CD section. Still, the following 6 quality items set me back a mere £20, so you can't complain too much:

Goldie: Timeless (about time I got a CD copy, even if it doesn't have the extra tracks on)
Mercury Rev: Boces
Spiritualized: Let it Come Down
Missy Elliott: Under Construction
Soul II Soul: Vol. II: 1990 A New Decade (another one I've had on tape for years)
Lou Reed and John Cale: Songs for Drella

Quality. Pay Avid a visit if you're ever in Oxford. Great shop.


The Brits in onomatopeia 


Yawn
Yeek
Bleurgh
Hurrah!



Politics, eh? What a charming business.



< soapbox title="Generalising whinge">

Rundown of the Grey Album hoo-ha at Downhill Battle. Not the first farce perpetrated by Big Record Co. (see the joke that is 99p-per-track downloading), and surely not the last, but this one's building some critical momentum at least. Milady knows more about the legal ins and outs of this than I can possibly imagine, but whatever the status of the law (which in cases such as this is desperately reacting to shore up long-outdated legislation in defense against new technology, rather than developing new legal parameters in line with what is actually happening) something needs fixing, because it seems that the right people (the artists and the listeners) are the ones who get the rough end.

< /soapbox>


Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Yes yes yes. Alex Ross makes all the right points at the New Yorker.


Monday, February 16, 2004


Hmmm. That looks a bit better - at least from the Win2000/IE6 perspective.

W3C, anyone?



Apparently not everything works: tried the new design on my Win2000 machine, with IE6, and it's all gone hoopla.

Harrumph.



Which means that the below-mentioned feed thingy is down there on the left, now. And not in a green box.


My boy's growin' up 


Three columns. The holy grail, apparently. With a lot of help from glish.com, that's what we have here. I feel like an HTML Jedi.

I also feel like a bit of a lie-down. Phew!



Horrible. I'm going up that line at the weekend. Hard not to feel like a rubber-necker.



I've put up a new feed thingy, down there on the right, in a green box. That's it. It's drawn from the deli.cio.us directory on music, so there'll be all kinds of random links to websites on 'Hey Ya' and networked music search engines appearing there from now on. Kind of like news, but not.



And shame on you BAFTA for ignoring Johnny Depp. Most enjoyable performance since McKellan's Gandalf, perhaps. [Both of which come with the benefit of drawing attention away from that Bloom buffoon.]

By the way, in spite of the apparent bile, I actually had a pretty splendid weekend, so you can't read too much into what people write down.


Monday things 


Bear in mind ...

David Jennings posts a (belated) John Cage weekend review.

rgable on terminology and influence.

The Architectural Dance Society unpicks Outkast tokenism.

Kyle Gann on how music is useful.

Most miserable, miserly words I read over the weekend? "A book is a list, a list of words placed in an order favoured by the writer to tell a story. A film is a list of images. A piece of music is a list of sounds and rhythms. A song is a list of words and notes. A human being is a list of cells and mysteries." (Paul Morley: Words and Music, p.351)


Friday, February 13, 2004


Just noticed that Dizzee's been added to the line up for this. Oh my. See you there!


Strange 


Tattoos.



Esoteric. (Spotted at the splendid The Eyes Have It)



Now there's interesting. A wishy-washy memorial this is not.



Yer too kind. I should add, for the sake of clarity, that I'm only Cumbrian by default - family moved there a while back; I'm really a Watford lad by birth, but I know where I'd prefer to end up.


Music of Today: Royal Festival Hall, London, 12th February 2004 


It's a remarkable bit of music history that tells how the dry composerly academicism of Boulez in the 1950s morphed into the perception-oriented exuberance of the spectral school in little more than two decades. This is part of the legacy of IRCAM. The precision and pseudo-scientism of integral serialism (pieces such as Boulez's Structures for two pianos) contributed to the formation of IRCAM, which subsequently turned its compositional research towards the properties and modulation of sound itself. This is heavy theory, and important acoustical research is done at IRCAM, but when deployed by composers as a compositional resource, it became tremendously liberating. At least, that is certainly the effect of the music.

All three of the composers played this evening (Tristan Murail, Hugues Dufourt and Gérard Grisey) worked at IRCAM, but sought a way foward and out of the strictures of total serialist composition; the irony is that they found it through following a path opened up by Boulez himself.

Murail's C'est un jardin secret ... is a short piece for solo viola, written to celebrate the wedding of two of his friends. It's a gorgeous little work. It begins from a near-silent breath of the bow brushing the strings. A lilting 1-2 rhythm is set up, and harmonics and other pitches are gradully added to the breath, until at one point there are three separate layers of sound from a single bow stroke. The centre of the piece is like a gently melodic cadenza, and then we return to the waltzing breaths, in, out. In, out.

Dufourt's piece Hommage à Charles Nègre was second. Dufourt was present, and, with Julian Anderson, had given a short introduction to the concert. It was he who coined the term 'Spectral Music' in an article written back in 1979. Hommage is a later piece, written in 1986, the 'mature' period of spectral music. It was conceived as music for a film about the 19th-century photographer Charles Nègre, so it's very restrained, and written to remain in the background, as Dufourt himself puts it. It is a nice enough sequence of sounds, played almost without rhythmic definition - there are no extended rhythmic patterns at all, really; just a sequence of slowly-paced sounds - so the entire life of the piece is within the shifting and evolving timbres. Think Selected Ambient Works vol.II and you're sort of there. It really came into life, for me, in about the last third, when bassoon and E flat clarinet swapped their instruments for contrabassoon and contra bass clarinet respectively. Suddenly, the sound became much thicker and richer, and more interesting.

Grisey's Talea was the real show-stopper. Also written in 1986, Grisey at this time was starting to address the question of movement (and rhythm in fact) in spectral composition. What makes spectral music so interesting is that for all the theorising that there may have been about sound, harmonic series, partials and so forth, relatively little time seems to have been spent theorising about form and structure, the traditional concerns of the composer, and the obsessions of the late modernist varieties. Grisey's music is some of the most vital and invigorating composition I know, probably for this very reason. Just to take one small moment, the opening of Talea is breathtaking. The beginning of late-twentieth century works has become clichéd, but this ... Fierce eddies of notes are shot through with almost-nothing. Just piano strings reverberating, the touch of bow against catgut. A sort of sudden tinnitus. It's as unpredictable as it is effective, and the rest of the piece continues this high level of inventiveness. As if designed to reiterate a point I made yesterday, in Grisey's music the shift of focus from the intellectualised concerns of form etc. to the perceptual, timbral concerns, the play of noise on the ears of the audience has liberated this music, given it life, just as I suggested was the case with pop. To think about your audience is not necessarily to enslave yourself: it can spark real creativity.


Things 


Some things I saw yesterday:

Docklands Light Railway - a man with an iPod and a Rubik's Cube
Outside Waterloo station - three teenage girls hanging out of a limousine waving at people

The London Eye is lit red at the moment. Bloodshot.

Went to Greenwich in the afternoon, picked up the following records in Music and Video Exchange:

Matmos: The Civil War, which is laugh-out-loud funny. What I love about Matmos is they strike that precarious balance between po-faced, arthouse electronica, and sheer daftness. Lots of pictures on the inside where they look like they're playing Blackadder, as milady observed.

Aphex Twin: drukqs, which I hadn't bothered to get yet, but for £7 I wasn't going to say no.

Missy Elliot: 'Pass that Dutch', promo

and a CD of works by Kenneth Gaburo, whose name rang a bell for me, but I still haven't figured out why.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

Sonoristics 


Bloody good point.

The problem someone like Copland would have had with music as sound rather melody, rhythm and structure, though, is that in the end he says "I do not mean to suggest that sounds in themselves, taken out of context, are of any use to a composer. Interesting sonorities as such are scarcely more than icing on the musical cake." Every producer from at least Phil Spector to Timbaland has recognised the central place of sounds to Popular music. The classical world still considers 'sonorism' (a term associated particularly with Polish composition in the 1960s) a term of derision. For classical composers, as for Jack White it seems, the quality of the sound you make is secondary to its place within a structural framework. (Although, the problem with White's kind of rockist position is that your structure is usually not that interesting either, since you're usually tied to the same chord patterns and verse-chorus form as Pop is. Pop's liberated itself from sameyness by elevating the sonic dimension to a higher status.). As a result of several factors, not least of which was the invention of music recording and the studio, it could be argued that the most important musical development of the second half of the century has been this re-evaluation of the qualities nuances of sound as a key compositional factor. So much music, from Motown to free jazz, to Górecki, to ambient, to hip hop, of the last forty years or so has been created with sonority at the forefront that it seems ridiculous to me to continue to marginalise it and pretend that it's not important.

On a slightly related note, there's been surprise noted elsewhere over Sasha's observation in his NYT piece that Timbaland never learned a musical instrument. No cuss to Sasha, because his was a relatively small point in a great piece of writing, but for people to be surprised by his observation, I find a pretty classicist thing to say, too. Just because Timbaland never had violin lessons as a kid means nothing: the simple fact is that decks, ProTools and mixing desks are instruments. Pretty difficult to get lessons, so you're self-taught. And Tim plays his studio better than most other musicians can play the piano. The difference is that when you're playing your studio, you're working with sounds first, melodies and rhythms second. When you learn the piano, it's the other way around: in fact getting a good tone out of your instrument only comes after four or five years of learning. Two totally different ways of thinking about music, and for all that Aaron Copland said, he and Jack White are on one side, Timbaland, Górecki and Brian Eno are on the other.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004


New blog. I like the name .... ;-)

[P.S. - that is you Rob, isn't it? Welcome to the fray!]



Wynton Marsalis twice in two days? I predict a lot of disappointed Googlers heading my way.


Genre busting 


The thing is, the more you try to put music - or any creative endeavour - into boxes, the more it resists. What I did below was just sketch out how things fall apart when you try to do this (and thanks to Mwanji [who has more on genre-type stuff here which is worth a peek] and Eppy for the comments). Any such definition will always be unsatisfactory because, in part, you're trying to impose your categories without consideration for the musical material itself. It's one thing to say that something that sounds 'poppy' is (probably) Pop - this is relatively quantifiable, and is at least definable (to an extent) in terms of the music [ie Pop is heavily reliant on verse-chorus structures, lyrics are written with a strong rhyme and rhythm scheme and tend to be about a small collection of themes (love, loss, etc.), verses are usually sung by one singer at a time, the music is rarely discordant - and if so, for local effect only ('A Day in the Life', say), the same can be said for the rhythms - which are almost exclusively in 4/4 or triple time (5/4 is not a Pop time signature), the harmonic vocabulary is limited to three or four principle chords, there is a strong emphasis on riffs, ostinati and groove structures, rather than conterpoint or declamatory homophony, etc. etc.], but it's quite another to say talk about 'Classical', or 'Jazz' in the same terms, since it is almost impossible to draw up a comparable list of qualities (musicologists have been trying to define Jazz for decades, then Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Evan Parker and Sun Ra all came along. Then came Jamie Cullum which confused everyone. No definition fits in all cases.) Trying to define Jazz in terms of musical aspects turns you into Wynton Marsalis - you end up with a pretty narrow definition of what it is about, and you reach the limits of creativity and innovation very quickly indeed.

And, I should add, there is this danger with any definition of Pop, too, even though it is - perhaps - easier to draw up some kind of list of necessary elements. Once you've defined your checklist, what do you do if Britney suddenly releases a record in 7/8 time, setting verses from e.e. cummings? Her usual producers gave worked on it, and she still sounds like Britney, so it's familiar, and it charts well. But suddenly my definition starts to break up again.

The alternatives, as I see them, are:

(1) We could all stop worrying about such things. But we're human, and we can't.

(2) We could come up with some different ways of categorising things; categories that are sensitive to the actual musical content, rather imposed from without (as it happens, I think this is, to some extent, what has happened with the micro-genres of dance: each different category is defined in purely musical terms, depending on beats, types of samples, vocals or not, etc.). [I've actually touched on this before, apropos of the Pop vs Classical worldview.]

(3) We could follow Wittgenstein's lead and talk about family resemblances rather than nessary conditions, as he does when trying to define what a 'game' is.

I think (3) is the one I'm happiest with, as a theory, since it has something to do with how people create anyway. On the whole, you don't sit down and say 'I'm going to write a Pop record that conforms to a certain genre template'. Most conscientious artists write what they feel inside, and this is usually part reaction against, part borrowing, part development of things that are already there. In this way you don't get stagnant genres, because check boxes are being ticked, unticked, ignored, invented, turned into circles all the time.

There's a lot of fun to be had making and filling containers - and it makes our lives easier in a lot of ways - but be careful not to screw the lids on too tight.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Yeah, 'Art' music's a horrible word. For me it's shorthand for 'music that has been written for the sake of writing a good piece of music', so yeah, there's a whole bunch of Pop that fits this criterion. And you're left with the question of whether people wilfully put out inferior bits of music simply to make a buck, or complete a task. Undoubtedly some people do, but I wouldn't want to say how many.

What I will say is that when I say 'Art' music, it's not a quality judgement - you can get bad art as much as good. It's just a (probably bad) way of delineating things.

This hole's getting bigger. Anyone got a ladder?


My two penn 'orth 


Eppy opens up the can of worms that has been sitting on several people's desks for some time now. First of all, he's absolutely right that Popular Music ('Pop-I', music that is popular) is not the same as Pop ('Pop-II', music that sounds like pop). One is a definition based on socio-economic terms, the other is a genre description, and therefore related to musical form and content. They're both interesting phenomena, and overlap considerably, but they are not the same thing.

However, I've been drawing Venn diagrams all morning, and I can't seem to say any more than that with any clarity. I started with two circles, that don't touch, for Popular and Art music. Everything else, I figured would be a subset of one or the other of these. But of course, since they don't touch, you have this undefined space in the middle.



So I made them into two rectangles, and put almost everything else as an overlapping subset:



Pop, I figured, is almost by definition not Art music, so you can safely say it doesn't overlap, and can be safely included within just the Popular music set.

But, as Eppy points out, a Guns 'n' Roses tribute band, and acts like MPath are not strictly 'Popular', so they go somewhere else - but (without meaning to diss MPath, who I haven't heard) they're not really 'Art' either. So our 'Pop' subset overlaps outside the boxes, which is a bit awkward.

To accommodate this, how about two new main sets: 'Music written primarily for its own sake' (ie art music) vs 'Music written primarily to serve a particular function' (ie muzak, cynical money-making, theatrical music, tribute bands, jingles etc.). Then you get something like this:



But then this is an even bigger can of much nastier worms. Sure, a jingle for PC World is not music written for the love, but I'm not going to be the one to say where Britney, or John Adams, or Howard Goodall, or Wynton Marsalis, or the Chemical Brothers sit. Somewhere on a line between total (commercial) functionalism and pure aestheticism, but whereabouts anyone can guess - and on what side of the line between art and function no one wants to say. Perhaps I should just get rid of the set theory altogether, and just have a line with points on it.



But, this is all built around supposition (who am I to say that Beethoven wasn't just a cynical money-grabber who got lucky?), and neither reliable or useful, or interesting. And, I think, it has taken us far from where I came in, which was that the reason for confusion seems to me to be because of the two definitions of pop music; one, the statistical 'Popular' definition, and the other, the musically-defined 'Pop' genre definition.

So I've got nowhere. Someone else's turn.

P.S. - yeah, I know, I'm hardly Tony Hart am I?


Monday, February 09, 2004


Liking the look of Jim's new one.



Hmm.


Quadrasite 


I'm not normally in the business of plugging my friends' work (alright, maybe I am), but for this, I'm making an exception. When I heard that my mate Dom was working on a new internet browser, I have to be honest I did wonder about his judgement - haven't we got enough that work pretty well as it is? But then, last week, I saw his idea. It's called Quadrasite, and it's just been released on the net. It's early days, so it's only in a version for Windows at the moment, but if that's OK for you I urge to you try it out. Words don't really do justice to how great an idea this is, but download the program and you'll see what I mean. It's one of those ideas that when you see it, you go 'Oh my god, that's so brilliant, why has no one thought of that before?'.

The whole idea of Quadrasite is that it essentially opens four web pages at once. A bit like Opera, you say, but bear with me. Because the difference is that this is the first browser to think of everything four times over. So when you enter something in its inbuilt search box, you search four engines at once (and you get to set these). Or you can hit the 'I feel lucky'-type button, and get Google's top four results. So you don't have to be that lucky. And if that doesn't work, hit it again and you get the next four, and the next four and so on. ie very fast searching indeed.

Or, alternatively, you can have one page open in one pane, and drag and drop the links into the three other panes. None of this going back and forth to get anywhere, you can see where you've been and where you might be going at the same time. It doesn't sound much, but it means you can read a blog, if you do that sort of thing, and all its links out without losing track of what the person was saying in the first place. Imagine the possibilities for reading hypertext novels like 253 like this.

Or, you can set up your 'quadralink' favourites. Instead of one homepage, you can have four. Or, you can click your 'music' quadralink and get four record shops at once. Or, click 'news' and read all four British broadsheets together.

It really is very, very cool. But enough plugging, just click the link already.


Sunday, February 08, 2004


Favourite bit of that 'Raiding the 20th Century' thing (yeah, yeah, I'm hardly Colin Jackson off the blocks, y'know): Eminem spliced with Joplin's 'Black and White Rag'. Very funny, very clever.



Been reading a lot of Joyce in your absence, Scott?

P.S. Saw that Arni Arason save yesterday on telly. W-ow.


Friday, February 06, 2004


Now, I may be able to name some poets I like, but when comes to actually talking about poetry, I am way out of my depth. So I'm watching this one from the sidelines for now. (Just for now, mind...)


How his Soul came Ensnared 


Favourite poets, then?

Always had a soft spot for Robert Herrick (1591-1674) myself. Partly, I'm sure, because he's one that I discovered for myself. There's a complete(?) collection of his works here, but personal favourites are The Argument of His Book and Delight in Disorder.

I came across Herrick completely by accident. I read his poem 'To Daffodils' in a random anthology that was lying around my parent's house, and it seemed familiar:

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong;
And, having prayed together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die,
As your hours do, and dry
Away,
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

And then I listened to 'Decay' from Ride's Nowhere, and there, out of the blue, were several lines from the second stanza. Uncredited, no apparent connection, but here were my favourite band of the time quoting this (fairly obscure) 17th-century poet. From then I was hooked, and even more pleased to discover that the Oxford-shoegaze connections aside, he was also a pretty fine writer to boot.


Thursday, February 05, 2004


Thought that might wake Scott up.

All that, and a Mcr FA cup derby to follow. Football eh, indeed. Bloody hell.



Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Va-va-voom 


Thierry Henry, a John Coltrane tribute, and Animal from the Muppets. It's the new Renault Clio advert - what more could you ask for?



... and now they've all gone again. Definitely looks like something at my end though.

Yuck.


Answers, please! 


Just noticed that my blog text is getting covered with links (to a so-called ntsearch engine) that I didn't put up there. This is obviously pretty alarming - is anyone else getting these? I haven't investigated further yet, since my computer is apparently swarming with QHost Trojans (getting blank looks from the IT department here), so I'm trying to stay away from the 'net for the moment. Funnily enough, this NTSearch thing (which proudly advertises some pretty nasty 'most popular searches') looks like the only search engine QHost will let me use, so caution is strongly advised. Any explanations gratefully received

I'll keep you posted.

P.S. If you get any weird error messages when trying to use Google, MSN etc. - I'd stay well clear.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004


So a friend of mine got me a ticket to a bash last night in aid of the London News Review. It was OK. Bit like being in a student bar, but full of 20-something meeja types like yours truly. DJ downstairs playing a bunch of flattened-out James Brown remixes (bland). Disappointed not to hear anything more adventurous (I thought London meeja circles were supposed to be hipper than that?).

Did, however, meet the owner of this blog. I don't tend to run into other blggers in the real world, so this was something of a first for me. I figured posting a link was the decent thing to do.


Monday, February 02, 2004

The kids are alright 


"Twenty trillion out of a septillion."


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