Friday, March 21, 2008

The Boredoms @ The Fillmore 18-Mar-2008


The Boredoms equipment was set up in the middle of the Fillmore’s auditorium. The stage area was about 20 feet by 15, raised up a couple of feet. I have never been to a standing concert that was ‘in the round’ before and the first thing to decide was where to stand. The Boredoms have a special instrument called the Sevena which is made of seven electric guitars joined together with the heads sticking out sideways. I reasoned that this was a good thing to stand near. I was proved right as Boredoms leader Yamantaka Eye stands just in front of the Sevena. There are three drummers, all playing trap kits. Fans of Yoshimi P-We should note that her kit is set up diagonally across from Eye. Another member of the band has a job playing occasional keyboards and propping up and retuning the Sevena after Eye has beaten on it. This guy may have been Shinji Masuko the creator of the Sevena. I couldn’t really see the third drummer but the one to Eye’s left is a monster player.

The music was psychedelic. The Sevena is basically a percussion instrument which Eye hammers at with sticks. The three drummers produce an overwhelming noise. At times I was irresistibly driven to ecstatically bang my head. Sometimes Eye moves to the centre of the stage, throws his head back and screams like a shaman. There is a lot of noise in the sound, but it is there for a reason. This is music and it makes total sense when you are in the middle of it.

The Fillmore is still one of the friendliest places to see a band in San Francisco. Unusually the security staff put a lot of effort into preventing people from taking photographs. I assume this is an attempt by the band to maintain the sacredness of the performance space. For any other band this might seem pretentious but I buy it.

At the end the band went right by me as they threaded through the crowd. Eye was on crutches. He seemed smaller off the stage. As they passed people shouted congratulations and there were pats on the back and handshakes. It seemed to me that no one dared to touch Yoshimi, who trailed the others. She was smiling and saying “Arigato”. In reply I give my thanks to the Boredoms for a fantatstic gig that I feel lucky to have been able to attend.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Best of the Chic Organization

Chic were the greatest band of the disco era. They are an anomaly as the producer is often the auteur in a disco song. To fully appreciate Chic you have to look at their production work for other singers. Luckily for you I have put together a one hour showcase of The Best of the Chic Organization.

  1. Spacer by Sheila & The B. Devotion
    This was written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. The drummer is Tony Thompson. So basically this was Chic with a different singer.
  2. I'm Coming Out (Chic Mix) by Diana Ross.
    Again, this is Chic with a different singer. Unfortunately Diana Ross is nobody's puppet:
    When the master tapes were submitted to Motown, a nervous Ross had resident Motown engineer Russ Terrana remix the album, toning down the funkier elements of Chic's playing, removing extended instrumental passages - and most noticeably, speeding up the tracks to give the singer's voice a brighter, more youthful sound.
    You can get the original Chic mixes now, they aren't really all that different (shhh!) but they are much cooler.
  3. My Forbidden Lover
  4. Good Times
  5. Le Freak
    All these are from Dance, Dance, Dance: The Best Of Chic. You have probably heard these before, but if you think you have you should listen again. They are so simple, so perfect. You may have heard the bass line of Good Times in a few other places too.
  6. 26 from The Best Of CHIC, Vol. 2.
    This very much a lesser known track, but I like it, the lyrics are funny.
    26, my baby's a 26 On a scale of 1 to 10, my baby's a 26
  7. We Are Family by Sister Sledge
  8. Lost In Music (1984 Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers Remix)
  9. Thinking Of You by Sister Sledge
    These are all from the We Are Family album. Sister Sledge were a real group who had chart success. Here though they are just the latest singers to use Chic as producers and band. Actually that's a little unfair as there is some great singing here, especially on the album version of We Are Family.
  10. I Want Your Love from Live At The Budokan.
    This is here to show that Chic could cut it live. This was Bernard Edwards last performance before his death the next day. What a great group. I wish I had seen them.

My Vista SP1 snafu

I upgraded to Windows Vista SP1. After the install it wanted me to activate Windows. It then told me that my license key was already in use. I had three days to buy a new license. Tick tick tick. It was then I remembered the time critical project another family member is engaged in. Why was I an early adopter of SP1? I then remembered that I am a professional computer whiz and I engaged my super powers. I rebooted Windows. This time it didn't complain. I tried to activate Windows again but this time it told me that I didn't need to as it was all in order. Is the problem fixed? Or will the carpet be yanked out from under my feet in three days time? Tune in next week for another exciting episode.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

I am Rabbit

I scored 15 Ego, 15 Anxiety, and 16 Agency!

IT was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days. As soon as he woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him. It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought About It. It was a perfect morning for hurrying round to Pooh, and saying, "Very well, then, I'll tell Piglet," and then going to Piglet, and saying, "Pooh thinks--but perhaps I'd better see Owl first." It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody said, "Yes, Rabbit " and "No, Rabbit," and waited until he had told them.

You scored as Rabbit!

ABOUT RABBIT: Rabbit is generally considered Clever by his many friends and relations. He is actually a much better reader and writer than Owl, but he doesn't consider it worth mentioning. Instead, Rabbit's real talent lies in Organizing Plans. He organizes rescue parties, makes schemes to reduce Tigger's bounciness, and goes on missions to find out what Christopher Robin does when he's not at the Hundred Acre Woods. Sometimes, however, his Plans do not always go as Planned.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are smart, practical and you plan ahead. People sometimes think that you don't stress or worry, but this is not the case. You are the kind of person who worries in a practical way. You think a) What are my anxieties about and b)what can be done about them? No useless fretting for you. You don't see the point in sitting around and waiting for things to work out, when you could actually work them out today and save yourself a lot of time and worry. Your friends tend to rely on you, because they know that they can trust you help them work things out.

You sometimes tend to be impatient with people who are less practical in their ways. You don't have much patience for idiots who moan about things but never actually DO anything about them. You have high expectations of everyone, including yourself. When you don't succeed at something, or when something goes wrong despite your best efforts to prevent it, you can get quite hard on yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and accept that everyone has their faults, even you, and THAT IS OKAY. Let yourself be faulty, every now and then, for the sake of your own sanity.

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Keef in Louis Vuitton ad

Keith Richards is the new face of Louis Vuitton

Keith Richards in an ad with a custom-made Vuitton guitar case. Because I am a better photographer than Annie Leibovitz I have done done some photoshop (actually work to make this a better image.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gary Gygax has died.

gary gygax

Gary Gygax has died. Here is a good article about him from trendy magazine The Believer. The interviewer and friend get GG to run some D&D for them.

The author of Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t much care for role-playing: “If I want to do that,” he said, “I’ll join an amateur theater group.” In fact, D&D, as DM’ed by E. Gary Gygax, is not unlike a miniatures combat game. We spent a lot of time just moving around, looking for the fabled Teeth of Barkash-Nour, which were supposed to lie in a direction indicated by the “tail of the Great Bear’s pointing.”

I first read about D&D in an issue of the long defunct magazine Games and Puzzles. I spent a lot of a family vacation in France wondering how I would get to play it. Once you understood the concept it was easy to make more games of the same kind. I'm still playing those games (occasionally) today. So, thanks Gary for a lot of fun you created.