Saturday, June 16, 2007

As You Were


Sometimes a picture says so very much more than some would want it to. Although, in this case you have to admire the manufacturer's brutal honesty.

If only such candor extended through the manufacturing world.

Neither of these pens worked.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm a man with a mission / in two or three editions

My friend Andrew Dubber has a fascinating interview online at Hometracked Amongst other things he says:

The record industry has convinced the world that it is the music industry. It’s not. It’s just one bit of it. The major labels claiming to be the music industry is like the lions claiming to be the zoo. Music business is a wild and interesting place where all sorts of different people can make all sorts of different money in all sorts of different ways. But to get the punters in, you need to let them hear the music, live with it, learn to love it and become fans. Then you can have a sustainable and ongoing economic relationship with them.

And if records are the way you want to make your money, just think of it this way: it used to be that you’d press 1000 copies, give away 200 promos, and hope to sell the other 800. Now you can press 1000 copies, give away a million copies and sell the thousand.

He' s right y' the whole thing here, and then tutu over to his site for a copy of his superb online book 2o Things You Must Know About Music Online

sing any song you want me to

Two things I found today that which pushed my button....firstly over at Headphone Sex is this rather good remix of Unique 3's glorious The Theme, (it's about 2/3 of the way down the page) which I was totally besotted with back in nineteen something. I had a big early bleep phase and it ran counter to my obvious nightclub owner's urge to fill the dancefloor. We used drop into serious northern bleep mode about 2am. To be honest it scared the bejesus out of many of our patrons, but persevere we did and eventually Rhythmatic's Take Me Back became something of a Box anthem, having the perfect bass bins to handle to subsonic throb. Having a fairly highly regarded sound engineer as a business partner had it's advantages. I love my bleep..... Secondly, my brother Alister fired this over ...its not obscure, its not underground, but fuck me its cool...still.... after all these years:

Monday, June 11, 2007

matter of fact its true to say / they would rather switch than fight

We sat at the traffic lights today, waiting patiently, unlike the honking large yellow overloaded truck (which probably had badly painted pictures of semi naked girls on the back as most seem to) behind us, for the green, to turn right. We were, as is our habit in the late afternoons, taking our two eager dogs down to Sanur Beach for their walk, which we then use as an excuse for a beer at the Bonsai Café as the sun sets.

Then further behind us something rowdy started. There was, initially, a faint siren wailing and as it came closer there was a chorus of car horns accompanying the staccato siren pulse and I could see a swag of flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror. In a flash, three or four brown clad bodies, complete with jackboots and white helmets rushed out into the intersection in front of us and furiously started waving us forward. I proceeded to begin my rightwards turn but the policemen closest waved me to proceed in a straight. Since I was not going that way, and the dogs were getting very beach anxious, I ignored him, in the full knowledge that he was in no position to follow or wave me down, panicking as he was.

As so he was….one of the days more important traffic events (aside from raising lunch money from passing motorists) was happening: somebody extremely important was passing, and the world, and all the traffic in it, had to be stopped or be diverted to allow them to go by at quite some speed. You get used to it, the stopping of traffic when somebody very, very important needs to pass. Police are stationed every hundred metres or so, often dozens of them. As often as not, of course, it’s some General’s wife taking the mother in law shopping or a major player from Jakarta heading down to look at his villa investment. But these people are different and the traffic must be stopped so the VIP can get to where they are going.

I guess it’s a hangover from the bad old authoritarian days (and yes I know that other nations use motorcades but not for minor officials' families or the military), or, indeed the colonial distant past, when some people are deemed more important and need this sort of being made to feel important to confirm their status to both us and themselves but especially us…. after all they already know it. And it’s sadly out of place in the democracy Indonesia proclaims itself to be now (and they have come a mighty long way in ten years). Then again so much of what happens here seems rather out of step with a democracy at work. There seems to be a grasp of the rough idea but not the detail. For example a working democracy does not charge its citizens a fee to leave the country, especially when said Fiskal Exit Tax is more than most of the populace earn in a month.

But all that aside, the police are very efficient at moving the very important people through with much waving of hands, flashing lights, flashing lights and escorts. I hope she finds something worthy at the mall.

What truly does bemuse me though is that they seem nowhere nearly as efficient at directing traffic at intersections when the power goes down, and they simply disappear or disinterestingly watch from afar.

I wonder why….

Sunday, June 10, 2007

i could be so good for you

So the final Sopranos is tonight. No please, don’t tell me….will I be able to avoid it? What with the USA being the only place on the planet that actually matters, will the American media be able to extract itself from the most important news story of the decade (Paris Hilton…it took a full twenty five minutes of the Fox “only news that matters” bulletin that was playing in the Gym yesterday…with the promise of further indepth analysis to come) and consciously avoid telling the other 95% of the planet who have yet to see it, what happens in the final of the greatest TV series ever. Since Minder that is….

I love The Sopranos, I love the fact that the lesser made guys are such comical thugs. Take Silvio….he is such a calm measured consigliore who just happens to be a mouth clenched cold as fuck thug driving Adrianna to her death muttering “cunt” as he pulls the trigger. Or Paulie, a comical moron, who seems perfect for an episode of Green Acres until he smothers the old lady whilst robbing her house. Or Bobby….a bumbling incompetent grossly overweight schmuk of a father and husband to the grossly overweight breast tattooed strip maller Janice with stupid grossly overweight children…who happens to take pleasure and sees no wrong in killing people for business. The genius of David Chase made these scumbags loveable, at least for a moment, and lets one forget their real business…….and that’s the wonderful thing about The Sopranos. Tony is as much Arthur Daley as he’s Michael Corleone.

And of course he’s the main act, Tony Soprano. It sounds wrong but Tony is my hero. I love Tony Soprano. So much so that he almost makes up for fifty years of almost unrelenting appallingly bad American television. There is a charming cheese factor about some American TV shows, and every now and then you find a Simpsons or a decent NY based crime show but, when you consider the vast volumes produced, mostly they don’t do it very well. When Alf was the highpoint of American TV in the eighties…….

I like Tony because he’s a hard man and I miss hard men. The British have always done it so well and James Gandolfini fits happily into the great, and missed tradition of Bob Hoskins and, when he’s not in one of his countless shockingly bad straight to videos, the great Michael Caine. There was something about Get Carter that nobody in Hollywood was able to quite grasp, let alone remake. But it seems a lost art, even the British, witness Layer Cake, seem unable to avoid turning the role into anything more than a vague caricature anymore. Perhaps after Minder that was inevitable. As I miss classic hardmen, I miss the British film industry too…..I liked Helen Mirren in both Elizabeth and The Queen, but when that is all the BAFTAs have to crow about, something is amiss.

Perhaps that’s part of the attraction of The Sopranos. Set in Jersey it may be but it’s so damned British….it’s humour is layered, twisted, wry and subtle, something very un-American and it’s lineage is so very, for want of a better word, BBC. The genealogy of The Sopranos does very much not include Miami Vice, NYC Blue or LA Law.

So do I pull a sheet over my head and wait for the DVDs to arrive…I’ve pre-ordered them..because the Indonesian censor will only leave about 20% in. The pirated DVDs of Season 6 Part One were around within weeks of it airing which may allow me to come up for air before the proper things turn up, or do I just assume that no amount of post analysis or spoilers on an America-centric global media will take away the thrill of watching the last episodes of the greatest TV ever made.

Or of course I could simply start The Sopranos backlash…it wasn’t all that……