Wednesday, May 29, 2013

nice one Stoke

hi there

it has always baffled me as to why Mark Hughes decided to press a button marked "ruin your name forever". after years as an admired striker and a respected manager, he bewilderingly quit doing a fine job at Fulham, insulting them by saying he wanted a club that "matched [my] ambitions". that in itself moved him from being a popular guy to being in the league of "widely regarded as a dickhead", a league which John Terry must have been rather glad to get some company in.

the icing on the cake, of course, was his ambtion taking him as far as filling a QPR team up with expensive mercenaries. he just slightly failed with his ambitous plan to make them the most expensive team to get relegated since Middlesbrough 1997, but made damned sure that the groundwork was there for it the next season, even if he did get fired.

everyone kind of assumed that was Mr Hughes finished in football management. i, and i suspect many others, were looking forward to seeing him as a TV pundit, as he is well spoken and has a lot of intelligent things to say about the game, even if he has failed as a manager. it is quite a surprise, then, to learn that Stoke City are ready to offer him the vacant manager post they have.

slightly less surprising is the reaction of the Stoke fans, or at least one of the fans.

you would have thought they would wait at least until he was actually appointed as manager, but then again why not try and get rid of him as soon as possible? if this appointment happens, no good can come of it, unless Stoke have a rather elaborate if not eccentric profit increase / tax dodge plan that relies on them being relegated.

bravo to the fan who did this one, it is much more impressive than, say, waving A4 paper around expressing your displeasure with a world class manager.

part of me doesn't really care what happens to Stoke, but i don't see why any club would unleash Hughes on their fans. not even, mindful of the last paragraph, was Mr Abramovich prepared to show his contempt for what the "fans" wanted by unleashing Sparky on them. hopefully all goes well for Stoke, then, but if not and this appointment goes ahead, well, there's one class train wreck we can all watch next season.

many thanks to the mate who alerted me to the picture!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everything Has A Sell By

hi there

well, to be honest, i probably should be right now getting on with some monumental sorting of "things". i was kindly reminded, however, by one Jonathan Granville that i owed him a review of his most recent album, Everything Has A Sell By. that is a good a reason as any to do some shirking, allowing me to listen to some quality music and do a spot of writing.

yes, Jonathan is a dear friend, so if you wish to go right ahead and say this review is biased, do not let me try to convince you otherwise. rather let his music do that - follow the links that will feature here and you can hear for yourself how good his stuff is!

his enthusiasm for appearing on this blog is because, he tells me, it's his own version of "being in Smash Hits". for those kids of today who do not understand what that means, well, once upon a time we had ace music magazines as well as music you could hold; it wasn't all "internet". it looked something rather like this

on to the album, then. on a broad level, it's an 11 track album that pretty much does what it says on the box. not, however, in the rather apt way The Rolling $tone$ should have called their current tour "Everything Has A Sell By", instead it does it in regards of the song themes. it finds JG picking things up, whatever they may be, reflecting on them and then shoving them into the box that is this album.

i was at some point going to write here that i cannot do a Sixth-Former "meta" piece of writing as it's been over 20 years since i was a Sixth-Former and the only person who writes like a Sixth-Former 20 years after ceasing to be that is Paul Morley and i am no Paul Morley, but i think i might have just done that. whoops, here's the album artwork to distract you a little bit.

of the many outstanding songs on this album i am delighted that a "final" version of the excellent Candahar St has made it on. somewhere on this blog you can find a post all about it. it really is an amazing track.

the album shows off an eclectic mix of original music that shows JG has a flair for composing a catchy, popular tune, backed up with sensational lyrics. his ability to match music and lyrics is dazzling, certainly leaving me in awe.

lyrically, one has to adopt "the rule of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out". that rule relates to one of the rather more infamous songs by The Smiths, featuring as it does lyrics that are divisive to say the least. some take the song as evidence just how "depressing" The Smiths are/were, others hold it up as a sign of both the observational skills and dry wit of the band, Morrissey of course in particular. the same is true here, really - if you probed a bit there's undoubtedly a smattering of personal pain in the songs - there cannot be anything but in something like Remember To Forget You - but the intention here isn't poor, poor pitiful me at all. no doubt this song in particular will generate an amount of empathy from some listeners, but it's far from a call for people to be sympathetic. it's just a great song, the humour in it making it bittersweet.

i'm not doing something where i compare JG to Morrissey, but since that came up in the above, here's another magazine cover for those who quite like pictures with the words.

what of the other songs on the album? well, Too Young To Die.... starts off with a cheeky bit of a riff borrowed from The Edge out of U2, but unlike The Edge one finds that JG goes off and does different things with the music rather than repeat the riff again and again. on a similar note the opening of The Man In Grey would appear to borrow the opening off U2's So Cruel before diverting into a thundering song that showcases the previously mentioned great lyrics and amazing music.

elsewhere on the album and The Who, The Where, The Why And The How is somewhat heavy and angry, yet doesn't go anywhere near the border of melancholy. it kind of suggests going towards that border every now and then, but doesn't move in that direction. the opening, Lets Watch The Satellites, and the closing, Satellites Fall, are also outstanding moments. well, the album is like a huge outstanding moment.

another magazine cover? sure.

there isn't a great deal further that i can add, really. i've had it on the stereo last night and for most of today and i've not got bored of it. it must be good, then - if you're just being polite to a friend then about two listens is the maximum, i imagine the unwritten laws on such things say.

you can follow JG and hear some of his tracks over on his facebook page, and indeed one can buy Everything Has A Sell By (as well as his other albums) over on his download store thingie.

should you follow the links and give his music in general and this album in particular a try, all i can say is thank you and i do trust that you will enjoy what you hear!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ocon Bricks - Kings Of The Road

hi there

a very big "thank" you from me and, oh, dozens and dozens of other drivers this morning to Ocon Bricks, the self-styled "kings of bricks", for making our journeys that little bit more challenging today.

on their webpage they declare that they are a/the "Leading brick manufacturer, Oconbrick is one of the largest suppliers of high quality clay bricks in the Gauteng province of South Africa." in fairness, i suppose, they do not state that they have really good drivers or a delivery system, hence this.

that, dear readers, is an Ocon brick truck making a delivery. it has decided to just stop on the road, presumably near where it has to deliver. in doing so it scored a "double whammy" of both blocking the entrance and exit to a complex and blocked a route into a school, where people were trying to drop their children off. well done.

eventually, presumably as the driver grew tired of being called a number of obscenities by people delayed for no reason beyond "we are Ocon we park where we like", the driver moved the truck on to the side of the road, allowing cars to move about in a conventional manner.

i understand that building things is important and that bricks are an integral part of getting that building done. but really, Ocon? blocking off a road right next to a school at 7:30 in the morning?

i am sure that Ocon are brilliant at manufacturing and selling bricks, they must be to have no care or concern at all about what people at large think of them. in this day and age most businesses and companies tend to worry a very great deal about their public image, as well as their name and reputation, amongst both clients and non-clients that happen to encounter them. it's somewhat refereshing, then, if not peculiar, that Ocon are a company who apparently buck that trend and clearly could not care less what anyone thinks of them.

cheers for causing the delays!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Stone Roses - Finsbury Park June 2013 update

hi there

well, for some reason a dozen or so people seem to prefer getting info about The Stone Roses off of this blog rather than any of their official site. what can i say to that but nice one, glad to help!

in news just in (at least as i write), the line up for the Finsbury Park weekend, Friday June 7 and Saturday June 8, has been announced. i know very little of the Friday support acts but i do know that the support on Saturday is amazing. have a look for yourself.

Andrew, my Modern Music Advisor, assures me that this Miles Kane fellow is quite class. i will take his word for it, and i am assuming that the names Johnny Marr and Public Image Ltd speak for themselves to just about all readers of this. for the one reader who has no clue - Dad, Johnny Marr is considered the greatest guitarist from the 80s, and you just won't like Public Image Ltd so don't bother.

i imagine it goes without saying that the headline act is something exceptionally special!

a limited number of extra tickets go on sale on Wednesday 29 May 2013 at 9:30am. you can buy from either Gigs and Tours or Ticketmaster.

best of luck to all of you trying to get tickets, if you have or get then i trust you will have an amazing time.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

farewell threads

hi there

well, this i suppose is a bit of a rather indulgent post, really. i will be surprised if this is of much interest to anyone, but you never know. in the main it's just for my amusement.

my sorting out of stuff continues on and i have now reached a stage where i am trying to sort out my extensive but hardly high quality wardrobe. i have a tendency, or at least have had, to not get rid of clothes that either no longer fit or are too much of a mess to wear anymore. the latter is of relevance here, as i have some shirts that i want to keep for sentimental / worship of band reasons, but they are in no fit state to retain.  a happy compromise, then, is to just pics of them here before they get binned!

here, and frustratingly with no close up possible (when i try to trim the pic to post it for some reason the image gets flipped and crammed), is my t-shirt, erm, celebrating the single Begging You by The Stone Roses. 

it would be really, really, really good if The Stone Roses released a new single. anything, really, as the legacy at the moment stands as having Begging You as their last single released.  it's not an awful song as such, but just simply not really single material. this was reflected in the poor, poor chart performance at a time when people still bought singles. ho hum.

from the era of Begging You comes the next t-shirt, and this one as you can see is truly battered to the point of being past it. behold, before it goes, my ace Second Coming t-shirt.

it's a bit of a shame that the Second Coming album gets next to no love in this world, not even from the band who, i think, limited songs from that whole era to two or three in gigs last year.  next year, i think, marks the 20th anniversary of this above average if not brilliant album; it would be nice if some sort of "anniversary edition" turned up. although i do already have three copies of it from the time, all of them being ever so slightly different.

for some reason this blog allowed me to upload a close up of this shirt without fiddling, so here you go. what a shame it's being overtaken by holes.

i have not quite hit all the shelves where i have shirts stored as yet, but i am hoping that my other Stone Roses shirts, Waterfall and She Bangs The Drums, are in decent enough condition to keep, although i very much doubt that they shall fit me too well these days. 

do i have t-shirts that are not tributes to The Stone Roses? yes, of course. here, ladies and gents, is one i am really sad to see go - my most excellent Suede one!

a number of you will not need me to tell you this, but that's the artwork off the excellent Animal Nitrate single. i seem to recall getting some peculiar and funny looks as i walked around wearing this. i don't think anyone actually took offence to it and spoke to me about it, though.

here's a slightly different view of that t-shirt for you!

i would very much like to have more Suede t-shirts in my collection, to be honest. they are just as stylish as the one above. i suspect, however, that they are not made to my size. i may find one, you never know.

i have found a number of t-shirts that look as class as these, but are very much being kept. very much at the top of the getting kept pile are my two infamous, offensive t-shirts from a band known as Tin Machine. i will take some pics of them and post eventually!

if for some reason you've found these images interesting or useful, most happy day!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

ahem, new shirt

hi again

well, as William got a treat recently in the form of some class Superman Lego (see previous post) it is only fair that James should get something that he wanted too. this would not usually be a problem as such, since usually he wants a new game or something like that, but this time it ended up being something a little bit more, erm, delicate.

he wanted a new shirt, you see. a very specific new shirt. i have tried to convince him that no, he does not actually want this shirt, but he assures me that actually yes he does.

here it is.......

yes, that is what you think it is, albeit (mercifully) free of the usual advertising on the front. sadly, one cannot by Middlesbrough shirts outside of Middlesbrough, and anyway James has expressed a reluctance to wear a Boro one. well, not until they have won the Champions League or signed Van Persie, anyway.

the lady in the shop where i bought this from was slightly puzzled about the fact that i was doing an awful lot of swearing as i voluntarily handed over money for it. she at least had the good sense not to ask if i was also a fan of the mighty Manchester United. i respect what they have done and that, but for me there is only one team.

oh look, it came with a baseball cap thing, too.

James also has on his class new "Predator" goalkeepers gloves. he asked me to get them for him "in case he plays in goal" at some point. i imagine before long i shall be sent off for the shin pads too.

to my friends and family, this incident is not all bad news. part of the arrangement i have with my exceptionally dear friend Shaun in respect of our families being formally united with James marrying his daughter is that James had to undertake to be a Manchester United fan. it seems our end of the deal has been met, then. as this was done without Moe Green being shot through the eye.

right, i am off to look at the receipt for this shirt and cry a little bit.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

construction time again

hi there

time to take a break from what i am so busy with these days and do an update here, methinks!

William has taken a real shine to building things with Lego. this is in particular the case with some ace Batman and Captain America sets we picked up for the boys a while ago. wanting all the 'super villains' (i think they only have Catwoman, but i could be wrong) as well as many more Batman figures William asked me to get him another Batman set.

i could not find one, alas, but i did find this rather smart set!

Superman is, at the least, a firm favourite of William, and so he was not too disappointed with a lack of any new Batman set. not disappointed at all, actually - he was thrilled with it. Daddy was somewhat happy to be given the task of constructing it all, with the fiddly bits sometimes being a bit problematic for my fingers, they being somewhat bigger than the target age market for this sort of thing.

as you can see from the box, it's sort of a tie-in with the imminent Man Of Steel film, as well as it being part of the current run of Lego Super Heroes range, part of which is the excellent Lego Batman film which i would suggest everyone watch. it's class.

here are some efforts of taking pictures of the set, with my better than the older one blueberry phone thing but still not perfect, sorry!

as far as i can see this Man Of Steel film is very much a Dark Knight-ing of the tale of Superman, so that means the boys shall not be watching it any time soon. i suspect, however, that the Lego set has little to do with the new film - exactly why would Superman or General Zod require a car? a snazzy yellow and black one with a difficult to attach windscreen, yes, but still i do not see why either would ever need to drive?

a minor gripe would be that General Zod and Superman are provided with the same face / head. yeah, i know you can't see that too clearly in these pics, sorry. after the efforts to give different characters different faces in sets from Batman as well as Star Wars and what have you this is a touch disappointing, but hardly end of the world stuff.

overall, though, this set, one of the smaller ones and thus indeed one of the most modest priced sets out there, this is a brilliant thing to have. it looks a lot better than the one which was nearly twice the price and 50% bigger, featuring Zod in some big black ball.

except, i must add, as William informs me it is not General Zod.  William isn't particularly interested in Superman II and thus he doesn't really know the class of Terence "kneel" Stamp. William insists, then, that this new Lego character is in fact Lex Luthor, despite the presence of hair.

on that note, i am not too sure i am  looking forward to the 'reimagined' General Zod in Man Of Steel. the General Zod that was cool in Superman II was the restrained, quiet one. the new interpretation looks all shouty and angry from the trailers and posters. Mr Crowe and Mr Costner look like they will be superb in it, though.

anyway, on to the more important things, and William as you can see is very much impressed with the new Lego set!

righty-ho, i think that will do for this update! i trust it has not come across as a selling job; i would imagine that Lego do not need me to market any of their products for them, let alone 'super hero' based ones!

i suppose i had better have a look around and see if i can spot any more of the sets. the Lego Joker, for a start, looks class! and if i can find an actual Lex Luthor, well so much the better!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

my class new cowboy look

hi there

wow, i really have not posted much here this May, have i? sorry about that - i assure you i am still active and will do regular updates soon. i just appear to be exceptionally busy with 'things' at the moment.

as a thank you for checking in to see if i have put anything of interest here, here's something that's not really all that interesting. behold, for want of a better description, my new cowboy look.

no, it really isn't much of a cowboy look, is it? i could not get my usual size boots in black, only dark brown. i am led to believe by the fashionistas that one does not wear any sort of brown shoes with black pants. this was somewhat problematic, as my pants collection is, bar one grey pair, black.

as luck would have it, i saw an advert featuring some dude building something or other. he was wearing brown boots with blue jeans and it looked pretty decent. i thus invested in the first pair of blue jeans i've owned since, probably, David Bowie released the song Blue Jean. i just prefer the black ones.

i will do my best to put a more exciting update here sooner rather than later!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Roberto Mancini, gent.

hi there

there's a common view out there that these days football is all about money, self-interest and business. gone, some say, are the days of loyalty, of remembering how important clubs are to fans and an appreciation of the beautiful game.

for the most part, that's been shown to be not the case with all the tributes and comments around the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. if, however, you want proof that decency still exists in football, take a look at this advert Roberto Mancini took out in the newspaper in Manchester today.

wow, what a gesture. i think the only other time i saw something like this was from the German national side after Euro 96, when they thanked England for the hospitality and a fantastic tournament.

some may interpret the above as a dig at Manchester City for dismissing him. to those i ask, where exactly is the dig? in showing the trophies he won for the club and, most importantly, the fans? i don't think so. my view is this is an incredible gesture from a thoroughly decent man towards a remarkable set of fans. and in remarkable, i mean that Manchester City attracted crowds in the tens of thousands even when in the lower divisions - something i doubt you would find at certain other clubs.

best of luck with your next managerial job, Mr Mancini. you will bring a touch of class to any side you take over, and i think everyone will wish you well.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nero and the two second gap or one long track problem resolved

hi there

well, what can i say - for my regular readers, major apologies for the delays in updates of late. i have been busy and, if truth be told, not had all that much to post here. well, yes, colleagues at verk, as it were, i will get around to posting those pics and those stories "soon".

in the mean time, though, i have at last solved a problem that no doubt many others have. no doubt they too have struggled with google searches to get it fixed, but hopefully google has brought you here.

with regards of the fine art of "burning" CDs on a computer ("taping", my Dad would say), Nero tends to be the best software. it has been for years the most user friendly and indeed does what you want. sadly, with regards to audio CDs, that stopped being the case at some point after version 7 of their software. i recently upgraded to 12 (platinum, no less) and found the same problem.

what problem? well, once upon a time you could burn a CD without the default 2 second pause between tracks and still play it as a "normal" CD. this was useful when making copies of "concept albums" (Misplaced Childhood, Tommy and so on) and live albums (The Who Live At Leeds and, well, any other live album that is obviously lesser than that) where there are supposed to be no gaps. you could still skip from track to track, though, if you so wished.

not so after Nero 7. if you removed the 2 second gap you got a strange effect. although the CD still came up with the number of tracks, in fact only track one had any music on it, and all the files are merged into one long bit! highly annoying.

adding a few things together, and after wasting a few discs experimenting, i have at last found out how to do it. here's how.

first off, use Nero Burning Rom. this is with all Nero versions. don't be fooled by the offers of "Nero Express", it is useless for this.

on the setting screen for new compilation, tick the "no pause between tracks" box. do not just remove the gap on the track screen later.

i am, by the way, using as an example here the rather excellent recording of the band Metallica doing a concert in Johannesburg recently. i purchased it from the ace Live Metallica website, mostly for the benefit of my chums Sinbad and Jason the "shorty dwarf" (don't ask) who attended the gig itself. i thought it would be best to record it as a free-flowing no pause disc, and yet allow for one to skip tracks if they wished. shorty dwarf shall no doubt do this in the hope of finding "the bits that they sound like the Pet Shop Boys", but that is another story.

right, phase two, and this is the most important part. there are warnings not to do this which we will discuss, but no harm shall befall your disc or computer by doing this.

on the burn tab, you must select "Disc-at-once/96" as the write method. want another screenshot? OK.

and then carry on as normal, selecting the tracks you want and so forth. simples!

so what does "Disc-at-once/96" actually mean? no idea, and i have not found much on the web. i can only guess it's meant to imply for 1996 standard disc recording? anyway, whatever it is, it works!

why are there warnings not to do it this way? well, the info i have seen suggests that although the CD produced on it will work on a stereo, it might not work on a PC, in particular the one you recorded it on. well, maybe, but the discs i have recorded work fine on both the PC i recorded on and indeed on one of them laptop things.

and for those of you wondering why one would bother making an actual CD when you can just shove mp3 tracks onto an iTwat or similar, go away, this is not the website for you.

it's odd that this advice does not feature anywhere (that i have found) on either Nero's official site or on any of the help forums. hey ho, the advice is here now, and if it helps you out, nice one!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

that Rooney transfer request

hi there

i would imagine most of you have already seen the latest transfer request from that waste of space that is Rooney, but for those of you who have missed it, here it is.

i am not convinced this is genuine, to be honest.the spelling is far too close, there's a basic grasp of grammar and it was written neither in crayon nor on the back of a receipt from a gentlemen's establishment catering for the more getting on in years employee.

good luck finding a club stupid enough to take you on, which is to say very good luck to either Chelsea or PSG!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

my sister in law the Bieblever

hi there

it is perhaps not as often as i would like that i can get my dear sister-in-law Tasha something that she would really cherish, but today was one day that i could.

today is a pretty big day here, as that Justin Bieber thingie is doing, well, doing whatever he does on a stage this evening. i am not 100% sure what it is all the Bieblevers (if that's the right term) go to watch. my only experience of the Bieber was seeing him in one of them CSI things. in that he seemed to be very angry with black people indeed, to the extent of trying to blow them up, and for his troubles he was shot a great many times, i think by every cast member the show had.

moving on, and here is Tasha with her gift, still wrapped.

that's Jade sat next to her, by the way. now at this stage you have to remember that Tasha has no idea that one of the things she wants most in the world is wrapped up and in her hands.

here she is having a little peek, trying to work out just what item of merchandising magnificence i have obtained from her through the conventions of retail engagement.

Jade certainly seems to think it's something explosive as she's backing off a great deal. 

when Tasha had the present open, she found it difficult to express the correct words to convey her enthusiasm for the gift. with words failing her, Tasha had to resort to excitedly throwing the shirt down and take some sort of lunge at me, presumably a kind of physical manifestation of thanks.

when Tasha found the courage of a voice, being aware that she now at last owned a Justin Bieber t-shirt, she made a vocal gesture in the direction of your humble narrator that sounded very much like "thank you". several times she said it, although the "th" sounded rather "ff" like. and the "an" bit came out a bit like a sort of "uc" sound.

presumably her excited state made her unable to say the right words correctly, but it mattered little, for i knew i had done the right thing.

here's Tasha showing off her t-shirt.

yes, it is upside down. i think Tasha did this for the benefit of my friends and relatives in Australia and New Zealand; they being in or around the land down under means that it has to be upside down for us for them to see it the right way round. i am not sure if Bieblevers populate Australia or New Zealand; i suspect that CSI is shown over there too and thus they will have been as entertained by seeing him get shot several times as much as everyone else did.

does Tasha have an "I'm a Bieblever" cup from which to drink some pop as Mr Bieber does whatever the hell it is he actually does this evening? but of course.

with so much excellent, if you will unBiebleverable things going on in her world today, poor Tasha had to take a little bit of a rest to settle down. as Bieblevers are unable, it seems, to sit on regular chairs after a certain point of the day, here she is on the floor in the kitchen, getting her voice ready for a lot of screaming at the Bieber later tonight.

as happy as i was to get Tasha a Justin Bieber shirt, whether she wanted it or not, i am left in something of a difficult spot, really, as i am uncertain as to what gift i could give next that could compare. it would be bloody handy if some One Direction merchandise turned up on the shelves here, or even a retro set of New Kids On The Block shirts. hey ho, i will do my best, and can truly do no more than that!

enjoy singing along to whatever it is that the Bieber sings, Tasha!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

random people at a random bus stop

hi there

this does what it says on the box, really. if for some reason you want to see some random people sat at a random bus stop, here's the picture you are looking for.

many thanks indeed to Erika for making this picture by Lyla available!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

always crashing in the same car

hi there

the really, really short version of this post would appear to be this - Sony. for many, just the mention of that name will see people shaking their heads and moving on. on that note, can we have a bit of applause for George Michael who, 20 years ago, clocked how anti-everyone they are with his legal case. we, or rather Sony, should have listened to him.

moving on for some detail, and David Bowie, who has sadly signed some sort of distribution deal with Sony, has released a new video from The Next Day, this time the impressive title track. it would appear not to be a new single as such, just a new video.

and what a video too, by the sounds of it! featuring no less an actor than Gary Oldman, it seems to have upset a few people with its graphic content. off, then, to the official David Bowie site,, to have a look at it.

can you guess what happens when you press the video button/link? you have to, really. it depends where you live in the world. the standard approach would be "we have spent a lot of money on a new video. people usually do this for music videos to sell a record/download in the hope of getting an even bigger amount of money back". no problem at all there - that's how business is supposed to work, and everyone needs to make a living.

Sony take a slightly different approach. they are of the opinion that they should spend a lot of money on a video, put it on the internet but then block people from seeing it.

that's just brilliant. despite the unusually polite message, this is not Bowie blocking it, it's Sony. how do i know? because they did the same trick with another artist sadly signed to them, the Manic Street Preachers. they spent a fortune on a video starring Michael Sheen and then blocked most of the world from seeing it. well, i should say tried to block most of the world, there are always ways around it. 

and the ways around it are not even as complex as changing your IP address/location/whatever it is to reflect a country that Sony has a preference for. everything always turns up on that you tube thing, and the new Bowie video is no exception to that. thank you, whoever you are Vevo.

not for the first time and i very much doubt for the last Sony have expressed a willingness to refuse to understand exactly how this thing called "the internet" works. if you do not want people to see something, then do not put it on the internet at all.

as a consequence of them not liking us at all, most people do not like Sony. that's fine, but that should be no barrier for us giving them money when they have something we want. it beggars belief that they go to the effort and hard work of blocking countries from their web things rather than leaving it open to all.

i would be pretty sure that my friends and readers in the UK, the USA and possibly Australia and NZ are baffled to read of something as simple as a music video - however controversial it may be, and it's no George Michael I Want Your Sex type of thing - being blocked by the people who made it to advertise their product. be thankful, i say, that Sony seem to like your money!

as for the video itself, it's OK, really. it does not particuarly say anything visually that Bowie didn't already cover in the Loving The Alien video some 30 years ago, to be honest. Gary Oldman and everyone else gives as good a performance in 3 minutes as anyone could! the content is certainly likely to upset a few, but there you go.

happy viewing, if you live somewhere that Sony say you can watch it!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

no fate but what we make

hi there

for reasons we won't go in to right now i am sorting through all my vinyl. a damned fine collection it is too, if i say so myself, although at this stage i am prepared to say it features rather more Bananarama than i recall buying over the years. never mind that for now, instead i invite you to behold one of the prize slabs of vibes in my collection.

behold, mortals, the soundtrack for the excellence that is The Terminator!

yeah, dig it! you kids with your downloads and mp3 things on your iTwats probably cannot quite grasp the idea of owning and holding a piece of music. i bought this on sight back in the 80s. it probably cost about £5 or so, no doubt purchased at HMV Middlesbrough. not that i would ever part with it, but this seems to have been a wise investment, going on what people seem prepared to pay for it these days.

as a single lp album it unsually comes in a gatefold sleeve. here's the best picture i could get of it

you have to remember how cool and indeed awesome it was to have just pictures from a film. this was all back before people really had libraries of home video tapes, and it was certainly before a rather helpful News At Ten episode showed me exactly how to wire up two video machines in order to let nature take its course.

is there much of a point to this post, other than showing off this record? yes, there very much is, so do bear with me. please. in the mean time, here's how the back of the record looks, or if you will how the back of the record looks with a big massive camera flash on it.

even more cool pictures from the film, and this time in colour! yes, OK, the point is coming up now.....

speaking of the back, here's the bottom of the spine.

did you spot it? yes, no or maybe? here is a close up of the important part of the bottom of the spine.

yes, that's right, it has "I'll be back..." written on it. very clever, you might think, an obvious reference to Arnie's celebrated catchphrase. except it's not that simple, as this wasn't Arnie's catchphrase when this record was made!

the vinyl edition of this soundtrack was only issued once, in 1984, as you can see here if you must. at that time, Arnie had only ever said "I'll be back" once, a bit of a throwaway line in a police station where Sarah Connor was being held by Bishop out of Aliens and that big black fella who got a worm put in his ear by Khan in Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan. and some desk copper writing things with a pencil.

it was hardly the most memorable line in the film - that honour must go to either Arnie's answer to the question of if he has a "dead cat" in his room, or indeed the bit where he asks Hudson out of Aliens for his clothes. just how the hell, then, did whoever designed the cover clock that either this phrase would become Arnie's signature line, or indeed a sequel would ever be made?

it's probably just a happy accident, or just part of a conspiracy that will one day see Arnie get some sort of political power and machines dominate daily life.

i hope this little oddity has been of some interest to you and no, not at all is my answer to anyone considering asking if i would part with this record!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

buying things for having Kubrick and/or A Clockwork Orange written on them......

hi there

the otherwise forgettable Mel Gibson film Conspiracy Theory had two redeeming was that scene where Mel is stalking the female lead (Julia Roberts, i think?) and he frantically tunes his radio around to work out what she is singing along to. good bit of film making, that was. the other was his characters' desire to keep buying copies of The Catcher In The Rye, a rather clever play on the various theories around that book.

in respect of the last one, i would confess to having a similar issue with A Clockwork Orange.  well, issue is the wrong term i suppose, as i rather like my Clocky collection and i do not think any item has been purchased as part of some mind control exercise.

my most recent purchase in this regard is this.

yep, that is one of those seemingly now defunct UMD video releases for the Sony PSP. i purchased it as i was around and about looking for something else, paying what i thought was a rather good price for it - about £3.50. as it turns out that's not all that great a price as in the UK you can get it for a mere £1.99 over at amazon, although with shipping i suppose i would have paid more than i did if i went that route.

for what reason did i buy it? well, James does have one of those PSP things, but of course there is absolutely no way he is getting his hands on this. as i held it in my hands i did think "there's no way i am ever going to sit and watch this on a PSP", but such thoughts did not see me return it to the shelf!

bought then, to be honest, purely as it has A Clockwork Orange written on it and it looks rather impressive.

i must say i am baffled by the choice of film one could or can get for a PSP. they all seem to be for a mature, adult audience really. not a Disney film in sight for the thing, and no Dreamworks either, at least as far as i am aware. yes, grown ups like games too, but surely the target market for a PSP is the young kids and early teens?

hey ho, the disc looks cute and pretty too.

as for the quality of the film playback, i have to say it seems to match the "DVD quality" it claims on the back of the box. i've tried to do some screens for you, apologies for my reflection featuring in them.

here's the menu screen, if i can call it such.

pretty basic - when you select Chapters off that it just gives you a list of numbers to click! oh well, i am from that generation that owned and loved VHS - there was no such thing as a menu back then!

on pressing play, one discovers that the default setting for the film is to make a mini-screen in the centre and widescreen the movie. a rather clever way of saving much needed space to get the film on to one disc, i suppose, but not the greatest way to watch a Kubrick film.

when you hit the zoom option, however, i must say it expands the picture very nicely to use the whole screen and does not give all that much distortion. the picture is so good on zoom, in fact, i have no idea why they didn't just make that the default playback option. oh, of course - Sony product.

as i said, however good the quality is of this PSP UMD thingie, it is exceptionally unlikely that i will find myself watching this Clockwork Orange disc on it. why would i, exactly, when i have one of them fancy LED sets and a Blu Ray player?

and yes i have the film on that Blu thingie format.

quite a nice set, really, the Kubrick blu ray box. missing one or two films, Dr Strangelove in particular, but it does the job just fine.

if for some reason i wanted to watch the DVD of it, perhaps on one of them portable players or just to see what a blu ray player does to a DVD, then i have that covered too. twice, as it happens - i have the first edition USA Kubrick DVD box set (thanks Dad), but somewhat easier to grab is the UK edition i suppose.

if for some reason i wanted to remind myself of the excellence of A Clockwork Orange during one of the frequent power blackouts here, assuming i have daylight or candles i can always turn to this rather splendid hardback edition of the Anthony Burgess novel.....

.....or indeed any of my paperback copies of the book!

why the infatuation with A Clockwork Orange? not sure, really. with my love of film stretching quite far back, in the mid-80s i was aware of a controversial and apparently banned film of that name. when a very dear friend suggested i read the novel as part of my education (hello Mandybabes if you are reading), i was farily quickly seduced by it. it's neither my favourite Kubrick film, Burgess novel or McDowell performance, and obviously it is not what i think of when i think David Prowse. it is rather brilliant, though. i suppose i love the sheer audacity of the simplistic "what goes around" story, and of course the controversy and mythology surrounding the film version.

people, every now and then, feel the need to get me some sort of gift. they shouldn't really, but if we get past that then they are often stuck as to what to get me. well, let the internet record that anything with Kubrick and/or A Clockwork Orange on it is the right thing. it matters not, apparently, if i already have it.

viddy well.

be excellent to each other, o my brothers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!