Monday, February 26, 2007

The Departed vs. Infernal Affairs

I have now seen the first two Infernal Affairs movies and The Departed. I rate them:

  1. Infernal Affairs
  2. The Departed
  3. Infernal Affairs 2
We all know that Scorsese really got the Oscar for Mean Streets and Taxi Driver. And Jack Nicholson is pretty bad in The Departed. I've never really liked him much.

Alan Hansen

I like Alan Hansen. But I was amused by his two columns. For the BBC he wrote:

I don't think it's great for the competition when clubs don't select their strongest side but it is difficult to have any complaints about Wenger's policy when you see how close they came to winning the cup.
For the Torygraph he wrote:
However much you admire Arsene Wenger - his Midas touch with young players, the way his teams pass a football - you can only argue that he has disrespected the competition by fielding what was an admittedly very talented second XI.
Only a subtle difference but it amused me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Police

The first proper rock gig I went to was by the Police on 11 December 1979 at Deeside Leisure Centre. I was surprised that it was a grrrl that asked me if I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure, after all, weren’t they a bit pop? I was glad I went, it was hot and sweaty and loud.

Now the Police are reforming. Here is a fun article describing their rehearsals, and a bitchy but accurate piece about Sting’s foibles. From their one song performance at the Grammy Awards we can see that although Sting looks good it is Stewart Copeland who has signed a pact with the devil.

I don’t think I have ever seen a group that has reformed. I would only be tempted by groups that play medium sized venues, like the Gang Of Four (as recently seen by Ian) or Dinosaur Jr.

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day family outing

Thrift stores often have sales for President's Day. We went to two in a morning, spent less than $20 in each and came away with this stuff:

  • A Barbie SUV which is to be converted into some sort of public bus
  • A jigsaw puzzle (with teddy bears)
  • 5 books
  • Assorted glasses and measuring spoons
  • 2 glass bowls which are intended to be part of a solar oven
  • 2 Banana Republic shirts, a sweater and a tee shirt
  • Cute kid's clothes as chosen by the kid.
The main thing is that it is fun to shop this way. The challenge is to find something that you want amidst all the junk. It is more rewarding than just clicking on what you want and having it delivered.

We have also been watching that Ray Mears's Wild Food TV show where we learn about what Mesolithic hunter gatherers would have eaten in Britain. I guess there is something about scavenging that appeals to us.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pathetic new radiation sign

This is the best that the International Atomic Energy Agency can come up with.

Introducing the book

What happened during the upgrade to the book (in Norwegian with Danish and English subtitles).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Which Super Villain are you?

Your results:
You are The Joker

The Joker
Mr. Freeze
Dr. Doom
Green Goblin
Poison Ivy
Lex Luthor
Dark Phoenix
The Clown Prince of Crime. You are a brilliant mastermind but are criminally insane. You love to joke around while accomplishing the task at hand.
Click here to take the Supervillain Personality Quiz

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Rolling Stones and Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor joined the Stones in 1969 after they had dumped Brian Jones. He was there the first time I ever saw them on TV on a repeat of the famous Granada film of the Hyde Park concert. He quit in 1974, tired of not getting songwriting credits for his contributions. His replacement was Ron Wood who came from the Faces, who I have recently discovered to have been just as good as the Stones. The weird things about Ron Wood is that not only does he look like Keef, he plays like him too. Since 1974 the Rolling Stones sound is based on two guitarists constantly switching between rhythm and lead (Keef calls this the Ancient Form of Weaving).

So between 1969 and 1974 Mick Taylor was in the Stones while they recorded three of their four best records: Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. But you don’t notice him. Why is this? Sometimes (on parts of Exile) he is actually playing bass, at other times I assume Keef as co-songwriter and co-leader) plays all the guitar parts.

I’ve been listening to a fantastic live bootleg from 1973 called ‘Brussels Affair’. It is a very clear recording: the rumour is that it was officially recorded and then not released. There are all sorts of fun things here: Mick is sarcy about Keef’s singing (or something), the band are playing with a hot sax player (perhaps Bobby Keys?), the band is shit hot. But best of all you can hear Mick Taylor soloing all the way through. Keef is playing rhythm all the time, cutting like a knife, and this leaves space for Taylor’s liquid slide playing. It is another way of hearing the Stones, showing a bluesy direction that they retreated from.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

In California we lead the way

Soon all the rest of you will want mud floors too.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The first genius of YouTube

Artists must deal with limitations of their medium. Frank Sinatra was the first to really exploit the LP. What are the limitations of YouTube? Yes, you can edit videos, and use proper lighting. That’s the classic mistake of a new medium, to treat it like the old one. One way to do it is to embrace its simplicity. Ysabellabrave films herself singing with karaoke records of classic songs. The video is done in one take – I wonder how many she has to discard. Without cuts she fills the screen all by herself, using her expressive face to occupy our attention all by herself. Yes she’s cute, she’s an OK singer, but the genius is that is all works in that little screen on the computer.