Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A little self-indulgent posting just for posterity.

I had a dream on Saturday night\Sunday morning that I was at the foot of a mountain by a lake. In the sky around me were huge white cranes with scarlet red wing feathers, wheeling around on the updrafts. I picked up my binoculars and tried to get a closer look at what they were doing. They were building nests, large flat discs made of mud, that floated on the lake. Around the edge of each nest the birds had planted a kind of cage of upright sticks and longstalked flowers, tulips and daffodils, which were being visited by iridescent green hummingbirds. In my dream it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and it made me cry. The rest of the dream descended into the usual pattern of me trying to do something (photograph the birds with my camera phone in this instance) and being massively, irritatingly, thwarted. Then I woke up.

I have a (probably not all that original) theory that the frustration theme in dreams, most commonly experienced as the "trying to run through glue" feeling, is the consequence of your body trying to move the parts of your body that have been deactivated by your brain as part of your sleep cycle. I had a good one once where I was trying to shout out in my dream and the frustration built up so much, stressing me out, that my heart sped up enough to partially wake me and enable me to spaz out, "Mwaaarrrdle!!". I sounded like I was brain damaged. And to a certain degree I had been.

Anyway, Sunday morning we set off to a carboot looking for junk (I actually picked up Wang Chung's Dance Hall Days on 12" for 50p - yessss) and as we pulled out of the drive, above me a huge white bird wheeled round and descended on the house opposite. It was a heron. No red feathers, but it was a big old bird alright.

Is it a sign, or is it just a coincidence....?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

**NEW web address alert**

We're now broadcasting from www.themightychew.com, so please update your internet girls and boys. Re-wire your Google-page and e-web downloads stat, because this Twit-feeder is going to be ripping up your Face-Space portal imminently. Web 4.0 coming your way in Y2K!

Right, onto the normal stuff...

You need Spotify in your life, if you don't have it already. Not just to play the (very slightly kitsch and embarrasing) playlist I just compiled of all the tracks that were No 1 on my birthday from 1971 to 2009, but also just because you need Spotify.

1. Times are hard. You need free stuff. Spotify is free music. What better combination could you wish for than free stuff that makes you forget the fact that times are hard? Exactly. Triple yay!
2. They have a lot of good stuff. Complete discographys of some labels. All the big names (bar Pink Floyd I've just discovered)
3. You can unplug your headphones so you don't have to listen to the (actually quite infrequent) adverts.
4. You can create playlists, which you either keep to yourself and load up even when you run Spotify on a different computer, OR, you can mail those playlists to other people.
5. If you liked my birthday playlist, give it a score here.

I read somewhere that Spotify is one of a slew of new web-apps that are set to herald a move away from 'ownership' towards true and proper on-demand access to shared media. Like I say, there are adverts unfortunately, so it's not all chocolate coated roses delivered by the naked model\actor of your choosing just yet, but it'll do until they arrive.

So, fancy a boogie? Here's "4 for the floor" from me. Why not post your own "4 for the floor" playlist URL in the Comments and we can all have a laugh, er, boogie.

"Pretty young things, repeat after me..."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Did you guess Monday's quiz question correctly? I suppose you won't know until I tell you will you? Durrr....

It's the Spittelau Incinerator in Vienna, Austria. Designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Give yourself a carbon credit if you got it right.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Forget about that other thing for now, this is better. Now I don't often see the point in blogging what someone else has just blogged, but (yeah, you know there was a but) this is worth 5mins 48secs of your life.

I have that very same Japanese record player that they use in the penultimate chain reaction :0)

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's this then...? Answer tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We watched Monsters vs Aliens in 3D yesterday. I must say that I was slightly blown away by the 3D - verrrry cool. Also very cool for the movie companies that will now look to re-releasing at the cinema all their killer back catalogue. Basically, think of your favourite film (possibly 'Heat' for me) in 3D on a massive screen. I'd very easily part with £8.40 for that.

Anyway, in the adverts before the main feature was a short promo film from the Scottish Tourist Board showing a model couple (ie they both looked like models) swanning round Scotland having THE most amazing time. To be honest the Tourist Board could probably be done under the Trade Descriptions Act, because it made Scotland look amazing (I'm half-Scottish so I'm allowed to say that). To be fair it was mainly showing the West Coast, which actually looks like an overcast Caribbean (true); white sand beaches, clear blue sea and idyllic, secret coves devoid of any form of humanity, and more importantly, tourism. They finished this rose-coloured montage with the strapline/URL VisitScotland/perfectday.com. Now, it may just be me (Shoulder Devil says, "it usually is". Shut up Shoulder Devil!!) but when I put the words, Scotland and Perfect Day (the Lou Reed song about drug abuse) together, I come up with the scene in Trainspotting where the 'hero' Mark Renton, played by Ewan McGregor, overdoses on heroin in a derelict squat, is dragged into the rubbish strewn street by his pusher and left alone, at death's door, to wait for the ambulance.

Like I say, that might just be me, but I don't think that that's the image that the Scottish Tourist Board is looking to conjure. Unless of course they have a shed-load of 'brown' to shift...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whilst cycling in to work today I started noticing an increasing number of small empty bottles lying in the road and occasionally on the pavement. About one every 500m or so. In the space of the last kilometre as I reached work, I saw 3 bottles, which actually turned out to be miniatures (shot-sized bottles of booze). This struck me as unusual and started me thinking about some of the possible reasons why these would be strewn around like this on the road into the business park where I work. I pictured:

a Hunter S Thompson type character weaving his dusty old convertible down the highway, sporting aviator shades and a cowboy hat with a laughing blonde draped round his neck and leaving a trail of bottles and exhaust fumes behind him

or maybe an alcoholically depressed CEO, slouched in the leather seat of his Jaguar, downing a handful of miniatures before he gets to work, his manufacturing business on the brink of bankruptcy. The tiny bottles travel from lip to lap twice and are then dropped carelessly out of the driver's window onto the road

or... and then I didn't have to speculate anymore, as I discover the source of the trail. Asleep under a bush next to a half-eaten kebab was a garden gnome.

Rough night's sleep I bet
he had.

More true stories next week listeners.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy (belated) Easter from Jedi Master Mace Windu.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'm off to see David Byrne in Oxford tonight. Just boning up on him (sorry?!) on Wikipedia and I came across a quote of his, which I think everyone involved in and into music needs to digest:

"The "industry" had a nice 50-year ride, but it's time to move on. Luckily, music remains more or less unaffected — there is a lot of great music out there. A new model will emerge that includes rather than sues its own customers, that realizes that music is not a product in the sense of being a thing — it's closer to fashion, in that for music fans it tells them and their friends who they are, what they feel passionately about and to some extent what makes life fun and interesting. It's about a sense of community — a song ties a whole invisible disparate community together."

That concept of music being, in essence, comparable to fashion, is genius. That plus a properly good listen to 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' has really got me looking forward to the gig :0)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sorry, do we live in North Korea now?

Massive sense of humour failure today and heartfelt sympathy for the family of Ian Tomlinson, murdered by the "friendly English bobby".

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A further addendum to my post of yesterday about distasteful terms, would be the use of the phrase, "frog in my throat". Whilst I admit that it is not in the same league as "that word" or diarrhea, it still conjurs up images that I don't need. Namely that of something green and slimy in someone's throat.

And that's exactly because, when someone tells you that they have a frog in their throat, they do indeed have a green and slimy object in their throat: a big glob of mucus. Well, great. Thanks for that mental picture. What do you have lined up for me next? A slug in your ear? An eel in your bowels?

So, a request for you all. Less of the imagery please and more drinking of water. Properly hydrate your body; be frog free.

More important than my bodily function\terminology hang-ups, I have to warn you of a possible Muslim fundamentalist "scam" (for want of a better word). I received the following e-mail earlier today from a humanist website:

"Hello, I Live in Quetta, Pakistan. I am male. I am 31 years old. I live in Quetta, Pakistan so I can’t publish my name. Whatever is happening in our Country? Everyone is very much aware from it. We are very sad and worried of this worst situation in our country. My heart is crying with blood tears.
I am a Secular and Modern Thought person. I born into in an orthodox Muslim religious family, but as I became mature and I started studies of secular and non believers writers my thoughts changed and now I believe that religion is creating lots of problems in our society.
I believe that religion must be separate from state affairs and equal opportunities must be provided to everyone without any discriminate of caste, colour, blood and religion.
I think our big problem is this, that our society is deeply involved in religion. Also they are not adopting new and modern approaches.
You cannot imagine that how much it is difficult to talk about Secularism and modern democratic ideas and thoughts in a society like we live in it. We paid a great price for talking about secularism in our Country. People boycott us, socially, economically and every type of relations they have cut from us. But to be honestly we will not stop for struggling of a Secular and modern democratic society in our country. Religion must be separate from state affairs. We believe that only and only secular and modern thoughts and approaches can bring peace, stability, prosperity and happiness in our country and in the world also.
We need help and guidance from people like you. You don’t know how much difficulties and problems we are facing in this fully religious type of country where we live. It is not only our duty to bring Secular and modern, democratic and human thoughts and ideas in Pakistan but it’s your duty also to help us and guide us in this noble mission.
I hope that I will hear soon from you with positive response."

Now, call me a skeptic (please do, I'd love it :0) but this sounds like a massive set-up. How about this for a theory - a fundamentalist (with the emphasis on 'mentalist') Muslim organisation in Pakistan decides to send out e-mails to humanist, secular, liberal, human rights organisations in the UK. These e-mails purport to be from a likeminded comrade who is currently evolving their forward thinking secular philosophy whilst living, trapped and in fear for their life, in a dangerously oppressive theocratic state. The bleeding heart liberal types amongst us (me) respond to the new "pen-pal" and strike up correspondence. The "pen-pal" then passes my address to some UK based terror cell and I get a special "parcel with a bang" that either blinds me or takes all my fingers off. This gets reported in the national press and people think twice about meddling in the affairs of the extremist state.

I've already put myself off....

Monday, April 06, 2009

We had some new people over for afternoon tea* yesterday. Not new as in, freshly cloned; new as in, new-ish acquaintances. Sarah made a big pot of tea, cucumber sandwiches with the crusts off and rhubard and custard cake - very English. During the tea-time chit-chat conversation which ended up on idiosyncracies, learning habits and general behaviour, one of the guests referred to themselves as "anal"…..[Me: "cough"]…..my hand, reaching for a mackerel sandwich, paused momentarily and my eyes dropped to the tablecloth. The conversation, thankfully, carried on without any noticeable recognition of my flinch.

A quick post then about "that word", and also a quick statement that in this post I will be avoiding all types of comical double-entendres and euphemisms involving "that word".

From what I can remember, "that word", entered the ring (fnarr - damn!) of popular parlance as an adjective about 7 or 8 years ago, possibly through one of the many US sit-coms whose characters use psychotherapy-type terms quite frequently. I'm thinking Seinfeld, or Friends, Larry Sanders\Garry Shandling etc etc. In that context of course "that word", as a contraction of "anally-retentive", generally means 'uptight' or 'obsessive', 'compulsive' etc. Prior to that, in England, it would have been used to describe something to do with bum-holes. Anyway, to me it's just a word that you don't bring up at the table. Like 'rape'.

Maybe my aversion to it is a bit "that word" too. Maybe if I start thinking about how uptight I get about "that word" I'll get stuck in some feedback loop and explode? Anally-expulsive? Horrible, but we're not away from that whole topic yet, so to speak.

The other term I don't like is "verbal diarrhea". Ugh. It conjures up images of mouths dribbling with runny poop (sorry, I had to be graphic to effectively convey my revulsion). So please, can I ask you all to start saying "logorrhea" instead?

Toby has logorrhea. Acute logorrhea. Coupled with his debating skills, already quite masterful at just 6 years of age, we're quite certain he's going to become a politician. Or a taxi driver. Actually, he wants to be a tramp (true) as, "they just sit on the pavement and people give them money". Added to that, they have dogs (bonus), don't have to wash (double bonus) and can go where they like (probably not very accurate) and eat what they like (hmm, more what they can find really). I can just picture him at the JobCentre now in his filthy oversized suit, rolled up sleeping bag under his arm and hob-nail boots with the soles flapping off. That's my boy.

Just to round up then. Whilst filling in an application form for car insurance last night (see Toby, look at all the fun you'll miss out on if you become a tramp!), I noticed that one of the occupations you could choose for yourself was (no, not tramp), jazz composer. Imagine that, jazz composers everywhere must be thinking, "at last, recognition!". What made me marvel was that the insurance companies must actually have some kind of risk analysis/probability ratio/matrix thingy set up that grades people's likelihood to make an insurance claim at a level so granular as to make a distinction between say, classical composer and jazz composer. Amazing. And now that I think about it, with jazz's sometimes free-styling tendencies and random improvisations, maybe a jazz composer is pre-disposed to make bad driving decisions, be more prone to accidents and therefore liable to pay higher premiums. If that's the case then maybe they're not the type of character you could trust to drive your kids to school or take you down the M40 in the pouring rain. Our anal friend is a jazz composer. I don't think we'll be seeing them again Sarah. Goodnight listeners.

*Tea is tea, as in 'pot of tea at four o'clock'. Some of you might use tea and dinner as synonyms. You would be wrong I'm afraid. You go 'out for dinner', you have supper as your evening meal. Tea, dinner, supper - got it? Good.