Monday, February 28, 2011

Book review : Witch & Wizard - James Patterson with Gabrielle Charbonnet 3*

I have read a few of James Pattersons's crime novels, including the excellent Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider, and to be frank, if I was him I would be embarrassed to have my name on the cover of this piece of puerile claptrap.  I don't know how much writing influence Patterson has on the W&W series beyond dreaming up a title and characters as the style of writing in this children's book seems so far detached from his adult orientated thrillers as to be written by another writer entirely, perhaps that is what happens, Patterson gives a title and plot sketch to Charbonnet (writer of numerous 'Disney girls' books) and she churns out the rest.

I also don't know what age group this is supposed to be aimed at, there are quotes on the back from readers aged 10-14, and the blurb claims it is aimed at 'younger kids.'  My 9 year old friend Stephen has just read The Hobbit, it took him a couple of days, the gulf between children's book such as The Hobbit or Neil Gaiman's excellent novel The Graveyard Book and this book is vast.

The book is narrated between brother and sister Whit and Wisty, although there is no point to this as they both have identical language styles and phrasing, there is essentially no difference between them.  They are supposed to be older teenagers, and in this respect they are are just as believable and realistic as the protagonist in Twilight, i.e. not at all.  The shame is that there are lots and lots of good authors out there whose work is suitable for children, but a big gun like Patterson puts his name to something of really poor quality and it will most likely sell by the truck load.

Baba Brinkman & Professor Elemental - What's Your English?

Album review - The Indifference Engine - Professor Elemental 9*

I accept that this sort of comedy record is going to be the sort of thing you either love or hate, and that often comedy records can have instant appeal but won't be the sort of thing you want to listen to time and time again.  Brighton based MC Paul Alborough's steam punk chap-hop creation though might just be something else.

Professor Elemental is an adventuring, scientifically minded, tea drinking man, he enjoys wild flights of fancy, sexy ladies in Battenburg cake dresses and employs an Orangutan manservant named Geoffrey.  As he narrates his adventures (and misadventures) in impeccably pronounced chap hop style you cannot help but be drawn into the splendid, hilarious and slightly baffling world that he creates.

The Victoriana hip-hop beats are superbly done, each story contains a wonderful little storyline and Elemental's rhyming style and word style is a real joy, "I'm a bright Brighton Pier, your rap's Piers Morgan."  The Indifference Engine is clever, charming, laugh out loud amusing sometimes and well worth spending your money on.

Professor Elemental

Swimming platform at Playa Blanca

A most exciting tie


England cricketer Andrew StraussImage via Wikipedia
Andrew Strauss
What a fabulous game of cricket that was, India launched themselves upon England's bowling, led by the magnificent Sachin Tendulkar with 120, and were effortlessly building a huge total until a sudden flurry of wickets brought their innings to a close foreshortened by a single ball.  England's captain Strauss led the way again with a magnificent 158, he was well supported by Ian Bell whose 69 may well have been a ton if cramp hadn't interrupted his batting.

Bell and Strauss fell on consecutive balls to Khan, and with Collingwood and Yardy scratching around for five runs between them, England's middle order had suddenly fallen away exposing the tail to India's bowlers and the rejuvenated sell out crowd.  Runs were suddenly hard to come by, from a rate of over six an over, the rate had soared to needing 32 from 13 when Yardy was out on 13.  Graeme Swann led the final charge, he smacked a six and tried to hold the strike, Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan, also the pick of the bowlers, was in defiant form and his aggressive 14 from 9 balls brought England within touching distance before he swiped at a ball from Chawla and was clean bowled.

Huddersfield lad Ajmal Shazad took to the crease, known more for his bowling than his batting, and England fans held their collective breath, he couldn't get the first ball away, and then boom, he hammers a flat six right over the boundary and the M Chinnaswamy Stadium falls almost silent.  The home fans (and a scattering of England supporters) have seen 675 runs scored in an enthralling match, and now England a single run from the final ball of the innings to tie a match that 15 overs earlier then were winning at a canter.  The wait seemed ages long, Swann and Shazad talking with Billy Bowden to ensure they had their maths correct.

The final ball came down with all results possible, Swann knocked it away and England make a safe run for one of the most exciting drawn matches ever in ODI cricket.  Many people are predicting that ODIs should make way for 20-20, but when they are played between two teams like this, and in such a spirit, they are a fine and thrilling form of the sport.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review : The Riddle Of The Sands - Erskine Childers 3*

This is a novel that has been picked for the '1001 Greatest Novels' list, and for the life of me I cannot imagine why.  Childers' pre WW1 spy novel moves at a tortuous pace as the protagonist Carruthers bumbles aimlessly around in a yacht with his companion Davies along the German and Dutch coastlines.

The plot of the novel, such as it is, is that Davies believes that he has uncovered German preparations for a future invasion of Britain, the Germans involved seem to include a Brit masquerading as a German and their cover story is that they are a salvage company looking for a sunken bullion ship.  This all sounds as if it should be tremendously exciting, but the plot is deeply buried beneath a never ending avalanche of detail about tides, sand banks, estuaries, train timetables and sailing lingo.

This is going to be one of the very few occasions when I commit the readers' cardinal sin and say - ignore the book and try to get a copy of the film, at least the film has Jenny Agutter in it so can't be all bad.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The 20 scariest movie monsters of all time

Cover of "Alien (The Director's Cut)"Cover of Alien (The Director's Cut)1. Alien – Alien
2. Jaws – Jaws
3. Predator – Predator
4. The Creeper – Jeepers Creepers
5. The Fly – The Fly
6. Crawlers – The Descent
7. The Thing – The Thing
8. Werewolves – Dog Soldiers
9. T Rex- Jurassic Park
10. Count Orlok – Nosferatu
11. T2000- Terminator
12. Gremlins – Gremlins
13. King Kong – King Kong
14. The Creature – Cloverfield
15. Triffid – Day of the Triffids
16. Godzilla – Godzilla
17. Frankenstein – Frankenstein
18. Bugs – Starship Troopers
19. Creatures – Monster
20. Worms – Dune

As voted for by British film fans,  article over at Pendragon's Post




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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Half holiday time

Barring any new last minute disasters, I'm off to see my wife and friends in Lanzarote, half a holiday is better than none.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Thing in 60 seconds

Predator in 60 seconds

A Jet2 financial director dines out...

Jet2 aeroplane landing at EDIImage via Wikipedia
If you have looked at this picture, there is a viewing charge of £20
Jet2 Man, speaking to the chef - "I think you've made a bit of a mistake with the bill here, the menu says that steak is £12 but you seemto have charged me £217"

Yorkshiresoul - "Yes that's correct, the price for the raw steak is £12 but you did want it cooking didn't you ?"

Jet2 Man - "Well yes but...."

YS - "Well that's 12 quid for cooking, 8 quid for chips, a fiver for the sauce, and then you didn't want to eat it off your lap with your fingers so the plate and cutlery charge is 15 pounds."

Jet2 Man - "But that's still only 40 quid ?"

YS - "Well yes, but you wanted to eat your steak at the same table as your wife and friends, so that's another 20 quid or you end up sitting in the alley with Stinky Bob the strange homeless dude."

Jet2 Man - "And that still only comes to £60, where do you get all the rest of the money from ?"

YS - "A tenner for me to write the bill for you, and another tenner for you to pay it."

Jet2 Man - "You're fucking kidding ?!"

YS - "Only if you are."

Jet2 Man - "And what's this last item, it looks like you've written 'thieving bastards' across the bottom of my bill ?"

YS - "Ah yes sir, that would be the thieving bastard charge."

Jet2 Man - "This is a disgrace ! I'm walking out."

YS - "Only if you've bought one of our 'Exit Door Tokens' at the bargain price of £25, and if you haven't, the seating charge is by the minute."
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Wolf Spider with babies



A quick quiz, when you watch this do you think...
a) Aw, cute
b) Get a rolled up newspaper

This means you are...
a) A cold hearted freak
b) A quite normal human being

Crackdust - "Deranged Psychopath"



I don't think that this is an awesome piece of music, I'm not really a fan of black metal, but, I had no idea that there was any sort of extreme metal scene in Africa, it's normally a pasty white Northern European thing.

These four lads are Crackdust who hail from Gabarone, the capitol of Botswana, and they are heavy, very heavy.

Bad joke flood

First thing this morning, there was a tap on my door.
Funny sense of humour my plumber has.
 
My Grandad fought in the war and survived mustard gas and pepper spray.
He is now classed as a seasoned veteran.
 
Capitalisation is the difference between "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse," and "I helped my uncle jack off a horse."
 
The missus just found out I replaced our bed with a trampoline.
She hit the roof.
 
I was walking through the park last night and one guy threw sodium chloride on me and another covered me in sulphuric acid.
It was terrible. I didn't know how to react.
 
I raised the alarm at work today.
The midgets were furious.
 
"The doctor removed my left ventricle and atrium," Tom said half-heartedly.
 
I was sacked yesterday for being a pervert.
I don't understand why, I'm always hard at work.
 
I had a stroke of luck on the stock exchange yesterday.
I managed to swap three Oxo cubes for a jar of Bovril.
 
I went bob-sleighing last week.
I managed to get Geldof and Hoskins before the police stopped me.
 
I walked down a street where the houses were numbered 64K, 128K, 256K, 512K and 1MB.
That was a trip down memory lane.
 
I put a couple of 't's in my beer last night.
I think it made it better.
 
This girl came up to me today and said she recognised me from vegetarian club.
I was confused, I'd never met herbivore.
 
I walked into BHQ at lunchtime yesterday and some old guy dressed in a red shirt with a green apron on asked me if I wanted decking.
Fortunately, I got the first punch in and sorted the fucker out.
 
My Wife said she wanted Chanel No. 5 for her Birthday.
She's going to be so happy, all I had to do was re-tune the freeview box.
 
Me and my mates are in a band called Duvet.
We're a cover band.
A wife asks her husband, a software engineer; "Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get six!"


A short time later the husband comes back with six cartons of milk.

The wife asks him, "Why the hell did you buy six cartons of milk?"

He replied, "They had eggs."
My wife said it would be nice if I could maintain an erection.

So I've volunteered to clean pigeon shit from Nelson's Column.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not holiday time again

With rather poor timing, and not that he can help it, but sous chef has fallen ill, and so I am not on holiday but stuck serving meals to the golfers, bugger.

Meg has gone away though, and we had a bit of a tearful moment this morning when the taxi came for her.  I'm crap at being on my own so I'll be rattling around the house in a restless manner for the next week.  Sod it, I'd rather be in Lanzarote.

Holiday time again


Flag of LanzaroteImage via Wikipedia
Flag of Lanzarote

We're off to Lanzarote this morning for a week's sun, fun and vino. We're taking three adults, John, Candice and my wife Meg, and three children, Stephen, Natalie and Michael (age 43).  It's going to be a lazy sort of week, we're not planning anything special except a day out at the water park, Stephen has asked that I bring my D&D stuff to make him a new character, and John suggested a simple dungeon hack would keep him happy so I packed Undermountain, well, there's really only one dungeon hack.


Vines growing in volcanic lapilli in the La Ge...
Growing grapevines on Lanzarote

John has also found a marvellous looking villa complete with huge pool, sauna and jacuzzi up on the hill close to the old town harbour with its wonderful tapas and fish restaurants.  I might be blogging a little over the next week, but if I'm not then don't worry, I'll either be running riot with the kids or too full of paella and Rioja to bother.


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An MP writes, and the public win

"Many thanks for your e-mail and I apologise for the delay in responding.

I met with the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, to discuss the points you and so many other constituents raised and I have also written to the Prime Minister on this matter.

I was therefore pleased that, last Friday, the Environment Secretary announced she was stopping the programme of forestry sales, pending a review.

However, this is separate to the ongoing consultation on the future management of the other 85% of the public forest estate which the Government announced on 27 January.

This is due to run until 21 April and I would encourage you to respond to this and make your views known. You can do so by clicking on to the following link: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/forests/index.htm

Please be assured that I will continue to raise these issues with ministers until we achieve a resolution which I hope will meet with your support.

Best wishes

Kris Hopkins"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fighting Trousers - Professor Elemental

In a Yorkshire classroom, the teacher asks a student, "If you have 5 pounds, and I ask you to borrow 2, how many pounds do you have left?"


"5."

Album Review : The King Is Dead - The Decemberists 6*

I must say that I am disappointed by this latest album from The Decemberists, not that I was expecting to get another blast of Black Sabbath riff inflected rock opera as the band delivered with The Hazards Of Love, but this country tinged album sounds flat and lazy when compared to much of the band's back catalogue.

Hazards was an album that divided the band's fans, a shocking departure from whimsical folk into prog rock for some, a welcome and cherished broadening of The Decemberists musical style for others.  It might also be a little odd to expect the band to put out another album that sounds like The Crane Wife with its epic 10 minute plus.  What could be hoped for though was something with just a little more life and verve than TKID possesses, both in songwriting and delivery, The Decemberists have done better than this.

As with Hazards, TKID features guest artists, Gillian Welch provides vocals on several songs, and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck provides guitars, indeed Down By The Water sounds very much like a song from Buck's full time job.

TKID isn't a dead loss though, on January Hymn Colin Melloy's plaintive vocals and the gently picked guitars combine to produce a beautiful and ethereal song, Rox In The Box sung with just a bit more pazazz would have been another Chimbley Sweep or Cautionary Song. Elsewhere though the album sounds tired and jaded, The Decemberists have scaled musical mountains in their earlier work, but TKID is dawdling in the foothills.

Book Review : The Woman In Black - Susan Hill 8*

This is a splendid ghost story, written in a style that is reminiscent of Bram Stoker.  When a friendless spinster dies, a young lawyer is sent to pick over the details of her estate, what Arthur Kipps finds is a malevolent ghost intent on seeking revenge against innocents.

There is nothing in the way of underlying story or political / social intent here, this is just a fine gothic ghost story in which the protagonist does all the things you really shouldn't in a horror novel - go to the big old scary house alone ? Why not.  Sleep over at the scary house despite everyone warning you against it ? No problem. Opening the door without a lock ? It's obviously a very bad idea just don't do it mate. A good read, spooky and scary, Hill keeps up a good level of tension and fear throughout the book.

The Woman In Black is being remade this year by Hammer Films, the film will star Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps.  The previous film version of the novel starred Adrian Rawlins, the actor who plays Harry Potter's father.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Secrets from the Rubble

Dessa "Dixon's Girl" Music Video

Hard Rock Hell

The QuireboysImage by thomasgeuens via Flickr
I have my fingers crossed for a decent line up at this December's Hard Rock Roll now that I have purchased tickets before any bands are announced.  The official website is now up and running with four bands confirmed so far...

The Quireboys
Dan Baird
Tyketto
Reckless Love

I love The Quireboys so that's a definite plus, Dan Baird is ex-Georgia Satellites so that might be alright, I cannot remember anything by Tyketto and I don't know Reckless Love (bit of google research - they're a Finnish hair metal band with a pretty boy singer).  Last year HRH had Airbourne and Helloween, I hope the organisers can get some big headliners this time around.

After Pontins collapsed and were bought out by Britannia, they are wild rumours circulating that the complex has been refurbished, does that mean farewell to the plastic mattress covers ?
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Meanwhile, in Lapland

Album Review : Riot In The Internet - Indonesian Netlabel

More Indonesian free music....

Survive - World Nasty Anarchy : a minute long hardcore punk explosion.

Intro / Does It Fit ? - A Sistem Rijek !? : three minutes of shouty hardcore punk, ferocious.

Angin - Rully Shabara & Wukir : folk chanting and wailing over a synthesized drum beat.

Flashback Documentary of Indonesian Independance Hegemony - Raden Anom Prakoso : if the music were more up tempo folk and less dirge like, this singer songwriter would sound passably like The Decemberists.

Berlin - Papa Onta Cult : Goth, the sound quality isn't so great on this track, but this band have a very 80's shoegaze / post punk / Joy division thing going on, I like this one.

Shure 5 - Nervous Breakdown : this lot also appear on the Pop Is Dead free compilation, and this is another blast of frenetic and enjoyable hardcore punk.

Palu Kaedilan - Kelelawar Malam : This is good, the song kicks off in Fields of the Nephilim fashion before mutating into a Misfits / stoner rock crossover, and their guitarist can play a nice soaring solo.

Burn - Coffin Cadillac : Another decent sounding hardcore punk outfit, they have an EP's worth of free songs over on their last.fm profile.

Belajar - Belejar Membunuh : Experimental noise punk, the music is alright but the vocal volume keeps bouncing up and down, otherwise a bit like Hawkwind with more screaming.

Kontradiksi Tirani - A.L.I.C.E. : Screamo hardcore with choppy guitars, pretty decent.

Yes No Wave Music : grab all the Indonesian netlabel albums here.

A hundred books in 2011 ?

Library PengoImage via WikipediaI thought as I've had such a quiet start to the year, work wise, which has allowed me a lot of extra reading time, I would see if I can get through a century of books this instead of aiming for a book a week.

I might cheat ever so slightly and read a lot of short novels, but still after saying that I have read Terra, I Shall Wear Midnight, Feed, Crash, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Breathless and The Windup Girl which were all longer novels, and I have just started on Rob Roy which is both long and has the tiny, tiny print common to all Wordsworth Classics.

I would also like to get 10% of the 1001 list done, which would require 18 more books from the list to be read this year.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fireworks

Book Review : Address Unknown - Kressman Taylor 10*

This is an astonishing little book, first published on the eve of World War 2 in 1938, Taylor's story was based on the letters that German American students were writing home warning of the danger of Hitler and of the atrocities already taking place in pre-war Germany.

The novel is entirely written as letters between two men, Max, the Jewish part owner of a successful art gallery, and Martin, his friend and partner who has returned home to Germany with his family.  At first the letters between the two friends are warm and happy, but Martin begins to write of the National Socialist movement in glowing terms, and an unpleasant and frightening thread of anti-Semetism becomes his norm.

Martin asks Max not to write any more, saying that even receiving letters from Jew could put him and his family in danger, but Max begs for help when his sister vanishes when touring Austria and Germany with her theatre troupe.  Martin's eventual reply is heartbreaking for Max, but it does not stop him writing to his former friend.  Instead, he uses a series of letters as a weapon against the man who has betrayed him.

For such a short work, this novel packs a devastating punch, Taylor's style is sparse but her words are chosen to powerful effect and the way in which Max carries out his revenge is wonderfully crafted.  Kressman's book was an instant success upon publication, tellingly it was banned in Germany and the Dutch edition was confiscated by the Nazi's upon the invasion of Holland.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review : Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe 8*


Chinua Achebe speaking at Asbury Hall, Buffalo...Image via Wikipedia
Chinua Achebe
Okonkwo is a proud man, he is the greatest wrestler and the bravest warrior in the district, but behind his fierce exterior manner Okonkwo is a man who is not always at ease with himself.  Okonkwo's father was a weak man, a bad debtor and ill thought of, and everything Okonkwo accomplishes is partly to try to push the shadow of his father further behind him.

Okonkwo believes that his strength of character derives from his physical strength and his emotional toughness, and that this is a way a man should be.  However, when he participates in the clan ordered killing of a young man who has been placed in his care, one of his friends speaks up and says that in his place he would not have done the same thing, and that Okonkwo may have brought down the wrath of the gods for his hand in the affair.

Achebe depicts the tribal Africans as a people with a strong cultural and religious heritage, and a common sense of decency and justice, although one that can be skewed by beliefs, such as the abandoning of twins born in the village.  When white Christian missionaries come to the area, the fine balance between the people is upset, their traditional religion is unfortunately usurped when they give a portion of the dreaded Evil Forest (where twins and those deemed unfit for proper burial are left) for the building of a church.  The villagers expect that the new god and his priest will be struck down by evil spirits, but this does not come to pass and seems to affirm the power of the new Christian God.

After Okonkwo has helped in killing the boy Ikemefuna, he accidentally kills a clansman at a wedding when his rifle explodes, he is exiled to his mother's village for seven years as punishment for killing in a woman's way.  Okonkwo bides his time, but when he returns the missionaries have divided the village and in his opinion the man have become weak and can no longer behave as warriors.  Okonkwo's stance does not fit with the new white governors and he is soon in trouble, humiliated and imprisoned, after he kills one of the District Commissioner's men and his fellow clansman do not rise up with him Okonkwo he is confounded and his spirit is crushed.

Achebe's novel demonstrates the culture clash that happened between black Africans and the new white settlers and missionaries, with both sides being in the wrong as they struggled to accept or understand the faith and culture of the other side.  In the novel the static culture represented by Okonkwo is destroyed when it cannot adapt, the adaptable culture represented by the missionary Mr. Brown is cautiously accepted because it seeks to understand and to meld the two groups, whilst the domineering colonial culture as embodied by the second priest James Smith causes tension and anger which escalates into arguments and violence.

Things Fall Apart is a powerful and moving book book, and has an ending which displays the breathtaking arrogance with which white Europeans saw the rest of the world and the shallow regard in which they held the people they had lived amongst.  As the District Commissioner considers writing his memoirs about his time in Africa, his thoughts turn to Okonkwo..."The story of the man who had killed a messenger...would make interesting reading.  One could almost write a whole chapter on him.  Perhaps not a whole chapter, but a reasonable paragraph at any rate.  There was so much else to include, and one must be firm about cutting out details."

82 books read from the 1001 list.
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Book Review : The Windup Girl - Paulo Bacigalupi 9*

The Windup girl is set in a possible near future, a dystopian nightmare where bio-engineered plant disease has run riot and destroyed many of the world's food crops, where fossil fuels have almost run out, and where rising sea levels threaten the coastal countries.

The Kingdom Of Thailand survives as a nation still independant of the vast global nutrition companies, but in a dark twist, it owes much of its current ingenuity and genehacking ability to one of the very people it professes to most despise.  Within the nation competing powers are at work to either shore up or destabilize the Kingdom, the powerful government agencies of Trade and Environment, always in competition, are now moving against each other as the people near the top sense the time for revolution is near.

In his kink spring factory, farang calorie man Anderson struggles with his workforce, bribery to corrupt officials, outdated equipment and his second in command, Hock Seng, who seems to be working as much for himself as for the company.  Anderson meets Emiko, a bio-engineered New Person, in a brothel and is entranced by her, Emiko dreams of running away from her programming and her humiliating life to a fabled village of new persons rumoured to exist in the jungle. Jaidee, the Tiger of Bangkok named for his upright and hard moral stance, and his assistant Kanya, lead the White shirts of the Environment Ministry's enforcement arm against illegal importers and energy users.

As tension between the government agencies and outside forces explodes into violence, everyone's plans are thrown into flux.  Anderson tried to seize the moment and push forward his companies plan to invade Thailand and gain access to the vital seed bank, the repository of gene pure seeds that they hope to create disease resistant strains from.

Paolo Bacigalupi has created an entirely believable and frighteningly possible future, a city where vast five lane highways built for hundreds of thousands of cars are now traversed by elephants and bicycles once more, a world where human avarice and science without morals has brought the world to its knees.  On top of this astonishing and well crafted background he has weaved a multi stranded storyline which, although a little slow at first, builds up a head of steam and then explodes into an orgy of violence and chaos.

Great storytelling and a thoughtfully crafted world, The Windup Girl tied with China Meiville's The City & The City for the 2010 Hugo Award, I have to say, much as Meiville is my favourite author, The Windup Girl is the better novel, really good sci-fi that examines the future possibilities of mankind's current actions with a gripping thrill ride of an action story to boot.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yorkshire CCC say no to Ashes Test

Headingley - The new east stand, members long ...Image via WikipediaBBC interview with Yorkshire CCC chairman Colin Graves

Yorkshire won't bid for an Ashes test for 2013, and won't have an overseas player for the 2011 season, it appears that the Australia-Pakistan Test has left us skint.
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Album Review : Music Beyond No Borders Vol. 3 (Yes No Wave Music)

Ok then, here we go for a second round of freebie Indonesian oddness...

Pissing Blood - Chapcha Terror : Frankly you'd be surprised with a song and band name like that if this wasn't a wall of noise, and it is, fuzzed up guitars, hammering drum machine and a sound not unlike Atari Teenage Riot, I like this.

Rat and Cat - Frau : Frau is pianist/singer Leilani Hermiasih, she sound a little madcap in the style of Nellie McKay, slightly breathy folk/pop.

In The Middle - Modern Day Sky : Experimental made in my bedroom claptrap.

Kejatuhan Rona Jiwa Yang Meronta-ronta Dalam Estetika Psikedelis (SL*T Cover) - Modern Day Sky : sets the record for having a song title longer than the song, otherwise, see previous comment about this act.

Warna - Rully Shabara & Wukir : Is this Indonesian folk music ? Nine minutes of drums and the odd bit of shouting and chanting, not bad.

Raindrops - Salman Aditya : Tuneless both in music and voice, just awful.

My Love - The Wispy Hummers : I think The Wispy Hummers are one person, guitarist/singer Joan Lumanauw, this track (despite the dismal recording volume) is quite nice, breathy folk with light guitar work, hints of Joanna Newsome here. 

1994 - 123SYF : Somebody shouting through a distorted megaphone over the sound of old refrigerators being pushed into a quarry, then the sound guy gets all over excited at the possibilities of loops and feedback.

Sekar Jupun Remix + Gadis Pujaan - TerbujurKaku : This guy is also known as Gagaltampan, I'll let his last.fm entry speak for him ..."this time he try to break some beat, chop - slice - cut - paste. Any music want to destroy? Just gave him, its INSTANT MADNESS!! YES! Spontanity Made him Immaturity!" Parts of this are ultra fast dance, other bits sound like Setsubun Bean Unit, it's odd but not entirely displeasing.

Yes No Wave Music - You can grab all 5 (if you're brave enough) of the Indonesian Netlabel albums on this link.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hot girls hit each other



This is strange, yet good, the girl from the Harry Potter dubstep video fights another girl to the sound of Lethargica by Meshuggah.

Harry Potter dubstep pole dance

musi

You could be mine...



On second thoughts, I'll pass.  The passing years havn't treated Axl all that well, he's gone from gorgeous rock god with the world at his feet to a wannabe famous fat bloke fronting a G n' R tribute band.

He was always nuts though. 

Zlata, Goddess of flexibility


That picture hasn't been photoshopped, Zlata is a very bendy Russian person

Zlata, Goddess of Flexibility

Her website isn't pron, but there might be one or two images that are close to the whatsits.

Sheffield Wednesday buy South American striker

EDL to become political party ?

Daily StarImage by secretlondon123 via FlickrWell, I suppose there only so much hypocrisy that even the EDL could handle.  They oppose the spread of Sharia law in the UK (which isn't happening anyway), Sharia does not provide for democracy, and the EDL are led by an unelected leader who takes as his public moniker the name of an infamous Luton football thug.

The piece written by Roy Greenslade at the Guardian asks whether Richard Desmond's Daily Star is giving political support to the EDL, worrying stuff.

Daily Star champions EDL
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Album Review : Pop Is Dead - Mindblasting Netlabel

This is a free compilation album of contemporary Indonesian music, if you fancy the album you can grab it from the FMA link two posts down.  As with the other albums available from the Free Music Archive link, this is a pretty mixed bag of stuff.

Nieve Fur Tinkle Bee - Bersekutu Dengan Disco : Ambient electronic folky weirdness.

Labyrinth Boy - Chamberlain : Accessible, English lyrics, chart styled pop rock.

Again - The Classic Cluster : Retro rock and roll with a nicely bouncy bass line.

Sounds-Sleep - Etza Meisyara : Lo fi / shoegaze, not quite darkwave, not bad, and she has more free downloads you can get from her last.fm page

Regret - From This Accident : Post hardcore/screamo, not bad if you like that sort of genre.

Bahtela Jelang Keram - Karbala Bukan Fatamorgana : 7 minute modern prog epic that opens with gunfire, has some shouty spoken word/rap, and a touch of folk chanting, despite the fact I cannot understand a word of this angry sounding rant, I rather like this track. This me in mind of two bands I have heard recently, the French prog outfit Ghostone, and Manatarms from Chile.

Tonight We Dine In Hell - Nervous Breakdown : 80's hardcore punk in the style of GBH / The Exploited, I like this short burst of aggression.

I Never Met Another September : Rest In Pain - In as much as this post hardcore/screamo outfit sound like hundreds of other post-hardcore/screamo outfits, they're not bad, not very original but decently played.

Hexagon - Social Black Yelling : This is good, metalcore / thrash metal, great guitars, one of the best tracks on the album.

Rave #01 - Twelve Insomnia : Bippy boppy keyboards, drum and bass, a bit different from the rest of the album, but not bad.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Coping with OCD


By Benito Vaselini over at b3ta.

Free Music

Provinces of IndonesiaImage via WikipediaIndonesian Netlabel Union

There are five mix albums available on that link for free, they are licenced netlabel releases not illegal downloads.  Each of the albums has been released by a different Indonesian netlabel contain a variety of music and have been collected on the hosting service Free Music Archive to try and bring the music of Indonesia to a wider audience.

Are they any good though ? I'm halfway through listening to Yes No Wave : Music Beyond No Borders vol.3, it is a very eclectic mix of stuff, some fast techno punk from Chapcha Terror which sounds like Atari Teenage Riot, some interesting Indonesian folk music, and then some quite awful experimental math rock with one of the most tuneless singers I have ever heard, step forward Salman Aditya.

I'll do a more thorough review later, if I can stand listening to it all.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I am Desire, I want you to want things

Desire is one of the middle siblings of the Endless who appear in Neil Gaiman's Sandman.  Desire is neither male nor female, or it is both, it is whatever you most want or need, but always with en edge of cruelty and danger.

Desire lives for sensation, and cares not who it may harm.  Capricious and passionate, Desire cares little for oldest brother Destiny's book, or for Dream's seriousness.  Desire interferes with Dream's plans by raping a young girl, Unity Kincaid, and later tries to trick Dream into spilling family blood by murdering his granddaughter.  Desire may be flippant and blithe, but it avoids Dream after Dream threatens it with war if there is any further meddling in his affairs.

Desire's closest ally in the Endless is Despair, and sometimes Delirium, Desire is not foolish enough to cross her eldest sibling Death.

Country Mohammed by Kultur Shock



If you like a bit of Gogol Bordello style madness then Kultur Shock will be right up your street.

Interpreter, n.

One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said" - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

The picture shows the Rosetta Stone, carved in three languages in 196BC.  Like many culturally and historically important artifacts from all over the world, the Stone ended up in Britain, although in our defence, the French had stolen it first, and we just nicked it off them.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Gary Moore with Phil Lynott - Parisienne Walkways (live)



Gary Moore died yesterday. Moore was a prodigious talent perhaps best known for his work with Thin Lizzy and the late Phil Lynott, but he also had a long running career as a blues guitarist.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Dear Kris Hopkins, please don't sell our forests

"Dear Mr. Hopkins

I'm concerned to see that you voted to support the forest sell-off. I am very concerned that if we lose any of our forests, or fail to care for them in the future, they are not the sort of resource that can be easily or cheaply re-created.

I hope that you can write back to me and explain your reasons, and that you will be willing to reconsider your position.

Kind regards, Michael Jarvis"

It seems that my MP is not a tree hugger, but I am.

Woodland Trust

38 Degrees - People. Power. Change.

Globaile Music Blog


Just a quick plug for an excellent world music blog, do pop over to Globaile for an eclectic mix of hip hop / afrobeat / rap / electronica and dance from around the globe.

Bhoot - ishQ Bector & Rakhi Sawant [OFFICIAL VIDEO]



This is rather different from my main musical diet of guitar driven music. IshQ Bector is a Canadian born Hinglish Hip-Hop artist, Hinglish meaning that he raps in both Hindi and English.

Belgian sets marathon world record

This is quite astonishing, Belgian Stefaan Engels has just completed a year of marathons, 365 consecutive marathons.

The Marathon Man

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Hot actress/goth chicks - Noomi Rapace





Noomi Rapace's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium / Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy is quite wonderful.  Salander is a fantastic literary creation, and Rapace has brought her to cinematic life as if the character sprung directly from the pages of the book, which is as it should be.

If you have any interest in seeing this trilogy of films, I would encourage you to watch the original Swedish films before the Hollywood remakes come out.  Director Niels Oplev has tried to keep the complexity and intelligence of the novels and has not succumbed to the temptation to make them into explosion filled action movies. 

Religion and revolution in Egypt



In Cairo's Tahrir Square as thousands of Muslim protestors say their prayers, a circle of Christian protestors forms around them to protect them from the pro-Mubarak elements.


On this day...

In 1953 the rationing of sweets and chocolate across the UK was ended after a period of more than a decade.  There had been a previous attempt to remove the sweet ration from the ration books in 1949 but this failed due to massive over demand.  The wartime ration of sweets and chocolate was 2oz per person weekly, this had been increased to 6oz leading up to the abolition in 1953.

Barley-Child

A word used in and around Shropshire to denote a child who was born in wedlock, but who arrived in the first six months of marriage.  The phrase may have as its root the time between the sowing and reaping of barley.

The painting is Wheat Girl by British artist Chris Chalk.

Chris Chalk site & gallery