Tuesday, 27 January 2009


I recently heard this band for the first time, although I'm certain they've been around for some time now. However, I guess everything's new in a relative way, to different people at different times. Corky and The Juice Pigs write and perform fantastic songs, they're very funny (in my opinion) and do excellent parodies of famous groups. Here's one of my faves for y'all to enjoy.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Gentle Sunday

It's a typical wintery, Sunday afternoon - cold, windy but with clear blue skies, perhaps a dash of wispy cloud here and there. This image needs a song to complement it, and here's a candidate for the position :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Are you in my tree?

This song sums up my mood today. No matter how many times I listen to it I never get tired of it. and, between you and me, I'm still not sure what it's all about - but as I think I disagree...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Please countermand me!

Rich in intelligence, sparkling in wit, eloquent with words. Who could it be? Well, it's Messrs Fry and Laurie.

The post-modern nightmare

To begin let us enjoy a wonderfully delicious, musical hors 'd'oeuvre to whet our appetite for the main meat of the discussion.

Ah, the post-modern nightmare. What is it and where is it in evidence? Well, it's far more insidious than you may think; we can see it in supermarkets (or malls to our Trans-Atlantic cousins) to local government offices, hotels to educational institutions and from the smallest cities to the largest metropolis'. Its apparent purpose is to keep us in a state of confusion and helplessness, bound to ask for help from an authority which is itself nowhere to be found.

Let us cast our minds away to find an example that many of us will have experienced. Ever been in a supermarket and, for some unexplained reason, they've changed the location of the cereal/fruit/snacks/toiletries aisle? But... whuh..weren't they here last week?! Why am I now looking at half-price DVDs when I should be undressing fatty snacks with my eyes? Perhaps I'll just find an assistant to point me in the right direction. Nope no sign, oh hang on!, there's one. You don't know you say? Yes, yes I know they've changed the location, sigh. Ad infinitum.

I've recently started University and you'd think that the institution would be organised and efficient, right? Sadly friends, no. The different blocks there are given letters, so you have A-block, B-block, etc. Easy-peasy. A few years ago they gave them names as well so you have Ely, Taff and Crawshay but bizarrely these names do not correspond to the letters of the block, so Ely is D-block, Crawshay is A-block and so on with no semblance of order. On top of this the buildings themselves are a veritable labyrinth where I have to leave bread crumb trails just to find my way out again. In fact, I'm sure that somewhere within the dusty corners of these buildings the bodies of former students who trusted in the logic of the architects and planners are wasting away into oblivion, perhaps even laying slain by the fabled Minotaur. Remaining true to form, when you seek out authority it is no easy task, and when it is found you'll more than likely be given useless directions, forwarded to another department and perhaps shot a patronising glance which makes you feel like you did after you'd peed your pants as a child - puzzled, helpless and a tad humiliated.

In all the places where the post-modern nightmare has taken hold you'll see hordes of puzzled and confused faces, all looking for the way and forgetting why they were there in the first place. Romero's films spring to mind here, he was on to something and was way ahead of his time with his 'Dead' series.

So, what's the moral? If there is one then perhaps it's just to be aware of what goes on around you. For, like propaganda, if you recognise the nature of the beast for what it is then it will cease to have its desired effect, i.e. to make you stop thinking, to give-up, to submit. Most important of all, maintain your sense of humour about it all :)

Rage Against The Machine you say? Well, why the devil not sir! Now, if I could just find it...

Monday, 19 January 2009

The Ferret

With fiery feet a ferret rides
Through murky subways in your mind;
Upon a lemon-liquid plane
And past the misty quantum vein.
It’s colourless but shiny red;
It’s odourless yet smells of bread.
Unbreakable but you can bend it -
The strawberry-coloured milky-ferret.

On searing planes of mustard ice
Or crunchy clouds in paradise.
By babbling boglets ‘pon the heath
Or cosmic contours, resting ‘neath.
It’s seen the word and heard the light;
It’s tasted moonbeams, touched the night.
So on-the-ball it doesn’t get it -
The strawberry-coloured milky-ferret.

You’ll seek it in the glacial fog
But only find a cat-like dog.
You’ll hunt for it in lofty depths
And see a wolf-like lioness.
To reproduce and multiply
It takes the form of platypii.
So down-to-earth it’s esoteric -
The strawberry-coloured milky-ferret.

The ferret digs with lazy zeal
And burrows like a sonic seal.
It builds a tree within your heart
To keep the earth and sky apart.
It makes you smell the future days;
It coats your past with honey glaze.
Distorting life so you can bear it -
The strawberry-coloured milky-ferret.

With gloating eyes it now resides
In glitt’ring grottos in your mind;
Upon a solid-gaseous plane
Beyond the misty quantum vein.
Now colourless - once vibrant blue;
Now odourless - once honeydew.
Eroding life to be poetic -
The strawberry-coloured milky-ferret.

States of mind

Let's follow-on from the previous post in a roundabout way. Is the metaphorical glass half-full or half-empty? The boys from Liverpool shed some light on the question in a way perhaps only a Brit could - using rain as an analogy.

Incidentally, in my opinion the mark of an excellent band or artist can sometimes be gauged by the strength of their B-sides. In the case of The Beatles - and this song in particular - this excellence is self-evident.

The one truly philosophical problem

Some of you may recognise the above quote as coming from Albert Camus' philosophical treatise on the issue of suicide 'The Myth of Sisyphus', and if not then that's ok - it's hardly a topic that's discussed freely in society. In fact, many would baulk at the prospect of considering suicide anything other than 'an easy way out' or a coward's death.

Over the next few weeks I'll be discussing this topic as openly and honestly as I can and I'd love to hear people's opinions on the matter. In the meantime, here's a beautiful song by Johnny Mandel which many of you will be familiar with. Listen, enjoy and ponder.

P.S. Below is an example of Japanese 'Engrish' which displays an endearingly optimistic view on depression

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Nan desu ka?

Ok, I'm a big fan of all things Japanese, I admit it. I love the 'manuals for life' like the Hagakure, the beautiful haikus of Basho and Issa and the fantastical films and anime of people like Kurosawa and Miyazaki. The overiding theme in Japanese culture seems to be refinement and simplicity, qualities which, I believe, many of us aspire to.

Many westerners have become enthralled, even heavily influenced by this weird and wonderful Land of the Rising Sun. It is said (perhaps apocryphally) that upon seeing imported Ukiyo-E from Japan Vincent Van Gogh set out to capture the vivid and sensual feel of those paintings and incorporate it into his art, going on to paint the famed 'Sunflowers'.

So, given the above I feel I have to set the record straight a little and point out that not everything from Japan is artistic, spiritual or inspiring. Nay, some of it is just damn weird and disturbing. Feast your eyes upon the attached vid and let me know if you agree. (My god the crowd loves it, and what in the 9th circle of hell is GREENL?!)

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The suspension of disbelief?

A funny look at how Star Wars IV could have ended.

Monday, 12 January 2009

The F Word - Norsk style

As a follow-on from the previous post, here's an example from over the North Sea to illustrate that English doesn't have a monopoly when it comes to versatile expletives.

The F Word

Another much maligned thing, this time from the realm of the english language. It has a whole host of grammatical uses from adjective to verb and noun to expletive, and is almost always guaranteed to raise an eyebrow or two in the public forum. But why? Surely it is just a word like any other - it is not inherently offensive, nor does it mock a minority or 'non-normal' group of individuals in society. Nay, it has become abhorrent to us merely as a result of socially accepted norms. So, let's reclaim our beautiful Old English word and reap the rewards of a life free from conformity. Watch this lil' clip and enjoy :)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Mage the Vage?

OK, to open my blog I've decided to praise one of the most reviled popular artists of our age - Madonna. So she's inventive, ever-changing and pragmatic in her approach to music. It could be argued that this is merely evidence of her lack of individual artistic talent, i.e. she merely latches on to a style of music that's currently popular and milks it for as long as she can. whatever you think, she's given a lot to the field of music with her cheeky, sexy and often thought-provoking lyrics. Here's an old classic from the 80's for all you late 70's/80's children out there.