Monday, January 21, 2013

Obama Caption Competition

Anyone else who produces a dangerous product can join Mr. McNerney in the punishment corner.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Alt-J @ Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, 11-Dec-2012 (early show)


I was excited to go to this show because it was at 6pm. Please can we have more matinee shows please!

Alt-J seem to me to be an easy band to like but a hard band to love. At the heart of the band are its idiosyncratic lyrics and folkish harmonies. I know they have been very successful very soon in their career, but I was surprised by how completely confident they were. There was not a hesitation even when relying vocal tricks to hold a song together.

I thought that the drummer was a hired hand as he seemed to play like a drum machine, following the band not pushing it. I was wrong however as he appears to have been present from the start. Perhaps what I was hearing was an aspect of a studio oriented band reproducing their stuff on the road.

Despite the intellectualism there were times when the band really go goiing and people began to dance. I would like to hear more of this aspect of Alt-J.

A recent NYT article entitled If You Like the Moody Blues, Try Alt-J seems to completely miss the point of Alt-J. They are not bombastic, but subtle.

Manic Street Preachers @ Hibernian Club, Fulham 12-Aug-1991

I wrote this for Facebook but am putting it here too.

What I remember:

  • This was as local as a London gig ever gets, I walked there and some of the women who lived next door were there too.
  • I wondered what that second guitarist actually added to the band
  • It was a good gig and this video shows that  it was pretty exciting but it did drag in the middle.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Guest Post: bike + coffee (#sanfranciscoproblems)

I run most errands on my bike. I stop at red lights. Every single one. So where’s my coffee while I wait? Andrew gave me a new insulated mug for Christmas, from that pioneer in safe reusable drinking vessels, KleanKanteen.

So how to mount a holder for the new, extra-wide insulated mug on my handlebars…? It's substantially wider than a regular waterbottle. Most hot-beverage holders for bikes are rings with a bit of taper, as if for a papercup of coffee, and the KK mug is perfectly cylindrical – not a good match. @KleanKanteen on twitter could offer me no help, except some advice to use rubberbands to keep it from dropping through…!

The insulated mug is bigger than most bike bottle cages – despite the photo on the company website showing someone's tea in such a holder – making it a tough and tight fit. You could shove it into a cheap aluminum open-front bottle cage – but do that ten times, and you’re looking at a very bashed-up mug, as metal grinds on metal.

Finally, I visited Valencia Cyclery and after poking around in their stock, the fellow there put this combo together for me (while insisting he was not a Bontrager company shill):

Bontrager RL Cage – a standard high-quality plastic waterbottle cage that’s open on the front and so more flexible, and Bontrager Waterbottle Handlebar Mount (plus a couple of screws to connect them). It ran me twenty bucks, but I was happy to get the human intelligence too.

I connected the two items with an allen wrench (don’t ask me the size). And mounted it on my handle bars, also with an allen wrench.
 The nifty thing about this arrangement is how the 12-ounce insulted mug fits perfectly under the lip at the top of the cage, holding it firmly. You pull it slightly away from the handlebar, and it pops out easily. (Video demo:)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tracey Emin