category: Blog meme

Jan 2008

Accentuate the Positive

I’ve just been tagged with a blog meme by Justin from his temporary home on blogspot. It’s a simple enough premise… list seven things of which you are in favour. And no tricksy inverting of negatives… no “I’m in favour of George Bush being [insert something nasty]”… after all, that’s just a way of saying what you’re against. This meme’s a sort of “let’s get those positivie vibes flowing in 2008” kind of thing. If I didn’t already know better, I’d have suspected that it was designed by a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (that’ll be funny to about three people, to the rest of you; “sorry”).

Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts.– Buddha

So yeah, in no particular order, here’s seven positives about the world in which I find myself today. I am in favour of…

  1. My course. I’m digging it.
  2. The Wire. Best thing on TV right now. Maybe ever. Though the jury’s out on that.
  3. West Cork. Just generally.
  4. Hot showers. When I think of things I’d miss most in a world gripped by an energy crisis, long hot showers rank high on the list.
  5. Dolphins. I’m very much in favour of dolphins.
  6. Smoking a little pot and watching a Marx Brothers film. Laughing ’til you cry is a good idea now and then.
  7. Kindness, compassion and basic decency. Sorry to go all hippy here on you at the end, but what can you do?

I’m now supposed to tag a bunch of other bloggers. Have at it, if you fancy it, Gyrus, Rachel, Zoe, L, Merrick, Rochenko and David (on the off chance).

3 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Jul 2007

var about_me= Math.random()*8

Apparently what the internet really needs is “eight random facts about me”. Eight facts to clog up google and slow down everyone’s search for nude pictures. Yes, it’s another one of those memes. And this time I’ve been tagged from two separate directions. Larry “nice arse” Teabag and Justin “light my fire” Yoghurt, employing a classic pincer manoeuvre, have inflicted this upon you dear reader. Please remember this fact should you want to vent your spleen at anyone. As is traditional on these occasions, one of the eight is made up…

  1. I was arrested and interrogated by the KGB while in Leningrad during the 1980s.
  2. I have seen 357 of The Guardian’s One Thousand Essential Films. This means that despite being — statistically speaking — roughly halfway through my life, I’ve only seen a little over a third of “essential films”. That said, I’m not entirely impressed by the thousand chosen. Takeshi Kitano has three films in the thousand which is more than I expected to be honest, but still less than he deserves. And the fact that Violent Cop and Zatoichi, excellent though they are, are on the list instead of Dolls and Hana-bi makes no sense at all. Also, where’s Manhattan and Stardust Memories? Why do Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain and El Topo make the list, but not Santa Sangre? And how the hell can the list find room for a ‘Carry On…’ film but not include Stalker, 2046, Dances With Wolves or Yojimbo?
  3. I have an interview at Trinity College tomorrow afternoon for a place on an M.Phil course. Eeek!
  4. I once had to “take the controls” of a helicopter in flight because the pilot wanted to do a line of speed.
  5. When I was in highschool in Athens, myself and my friends used to play a drinking game called “Zoom, Schwartz, Figliano”. I remain undisputed champion.
  6. I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
  7. When I was 17, a friend of mine sent me a bag containing a number of very powerful mexican psychedelic mushrooms. He included a note which read “2 of these should sort you out”. Unfortunately, thanks to his illegible handwriting, it looked very much like “20 of these should sort you out”. Having only had experience with psilocybe semilanceata up until then, the number “20” didn’t seem all that unrealistic. That’s almost two decades ago now. I’m still hoping to come down some day.
  8. The first record I bought was the 7” of Ray Parker Junior’s Ghostbusters. The first album I bought was Remain In Light by Talking Heads. The first compact disc was Scoundrel Days by a-ha.

And now apparently I’m supposed to tag a bunch of other bloggers and invite them to join the memery. But that seems willfully cruel. Instead just let me say; if you’re on my blogroll and you want to continue this thing, then consider yourself tagged and have at it.

7 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Mar 2007

Being most uncertain: And This Remains

It’s the old ‘first lines blog meme’ again. You know the drill by now; I set my music player on random, took only one track per artist, and obviously no track where the title is in the first line… leave your guesses in the comments (feel free to check out if one of them is bugging you, but please don’t look one up on a search engine and then post the answer here). Instrumentals have also been cut out for obvious reasons.

  1. I listen for your footsteps, coming up the driveThe Beatles: Don’t Pass Me By – PMM
  2. Searchlights on the skyline, just looking for a friend
  3. Well, I’ll just skip the boring parts… chapters one, two and three
  4. Belligerent ghouls run Manchester schoolsThe Smiths: The Headmaster RitualPhil
  5. One summer evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifelessThe Pogues: A Pair of Brown EyesPhil
  6. Well since she put me down I’ve been out doin’ in my headThe Beach Boys: Help Me RhondaChris Brooke
  7. Revolution never comes with a warningSpearhead: Yell Fire!Merrick
  8. All the towers of ivory are crumblingNick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Straight To YouGyrus
  9. Since I met you, this small town hasn’t got room for my big feelingsBjörk: Violently HappyRachel
  10. The myriad choices of his fate set themselves out upon a plate
  11. This is nothing like it was in my room, in my best clothesThe National: Mr. NovemberZoe
  12. Amplifiers and old guitars, country music sung in bars
  13. I’ve been watching you for ages, you’re like a boat without a mastThe The: Gravitate To Me – RA / PMM
  14. Alcoholic kind of mood, lose my clothes, lose my lubePlacebo: Nancy Boy – RA
  15. I heard a girl one day, she had these long tight legs
  16. Take me to the station and put me on a trainRolling Stones: No ExpectationsMerrick
  17. Well come along and walk with me, and learn the songs that lovers sing…
  18. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Oh you are the groove, you’re like the planets when you move
  19. Little Johnny’s all messed up, ’cause first he jumped and then he lookedSpiritualized: Come TogetherPhil
  20. Watch your step! They’re all out spying.
  21. Where’s the love song to set us free?
  22. These things you keep; you better throw them away
  23. He like to frequent this club down up on 36th.
    Pimps and thangs like 2 hang outside and cuss for kicks

I’ve given you the first two lines of that last one… but it’s just such a glorious opening couplet that I couldn’t split it up (from an album I’ve threatened to rehabilitate in the past, and may yet try at some point in the future). I’ve also grabbed the seven that failed to be guessed last time I did this. It’s possible that an artist may appear in the list below who has already appeared above. Possible, but not guaranteed. Bonus points and all that.

  1. Y’say you’re lookin’ for a place to go where nobody knows your nameJohn Lennon: I Don’t Wanna Face It – Mahulahoop
  2. There’s comin’ a day when the world shall melt away
  3. We got into their little black book, so they came in a spaceship to take a look
  4. Don’t sleep ’til the sunrise, listen 2 the falling rainPrince: Free – Mahulahoop
  5. Oh my Lord, I am so boredDaniel Johnston: Held The Hand – Mahulahoop
  6. There’s space in my car… speed you to heaven
  7. My soul is in the mountains, and my heart is in the land

And an extra ten million bonus points for anyone who gets the reference in the post title. It’s not a first line.

18 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Sep 2006

25 first lines (again)

It’s the ol’ 25 first lines blog meme again. You know the drill by now; music player on random, one track per artist, no track where the title is in the first line… leave your guesses in the comments (and yes, we can all use search engines… obviously look one up if it’s bugging you, but don’t pass off the knowledge of google – or – as your own).

  1. Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhoodBilly Joel: New York State of MindPisces Iscariot
  2. Y’say you’re lookin’ for a place to go where nobody knows your name
  3. You’ll be… magnet for money. You’ll be… magnet for loveTalking Heads: Papa LegbaPhil
  4. Wise men say, only fools rush inElvis Presley: Can’t help falling in love – Chris Y
  5. Childhood living is easy to doThe Rolling Stones: Wild Horses – Chris Y
  6. A diamond necklace played the pawnThe Beach Boys: Surf’s UpPhil
  7. Well, you didn’t wake up this morning ‘cos you didn’t go to bedThe The: That Was The DayPhil
  8. There’s comin’ a day when the world shall melt away
  9. She had a horror of rooms, she was tired, you can’t hide beatDavid Bowie: Scary MonstersPhil
  10. When she said, don’t waste your words, they’re just liesBob Dylan: 4th time round – Chris Y
  11. Here come old flat-top, he come grooving up slowlyThe Beatles: Come Together – Chris Y
  12. It’s an idea, someday in my tears, my dreamsSyd Barrett: Dominoes – Tom Mac
  13. When all the numbers swim together and all the shadows settlePsychic TV: The Orchids – Simon
  14. We got into their little black book, so they came in a spaceship to take a look
  15. Don’t sleep ’til the sunrise, listen 2 the falling rain
  16. Hey ho, let’s go! Hey ho, let’s go! Hey ho, let’s go! Hey ho, let’s go!The Ramones: Blitzkrieg Bop – Lucas
  17. Oh my Lord, I am so bored
  18. I’d like to drop my trousers to the worldThe Smiths: Nowhere FastPhil
  19. There’s space in my car… speed you to heaven
  20. My soul is in the mountains, and my heart is in the land
  21. If I ventured in the slipstream between the viaducts of your dreamVan Morrison: Astral Weeks – Chris Y
  22. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheelThe Doors: Roadhouse Blues – PMM
  23. I lost my heart under the bridgePJ Harvey: Down By The WaterPixie
  24. Don’t you have a word to show what may be done?Nick Drake: Way To Blue – Nick and IronMan
  25. They all see you off at some point… I was always preparedStina Nordenstam: StationsPixie

A couple of relatively obscure ones, but plenty from the main stream of my collection. Oh, and I turned off my plugin for the duration of this. So you won’t find out any answers by checking here.

24 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Aug 2006

Life Experiences Meme

Yeah. Another meme. Sorry about that. This time it’s from here. It’s a long list of stuff that you copy and then highlight the ones you’ve done… adding comments should you feel so inclined.

I’m not entirely sure why it caught my eye, but I’ve no intention of inflicting it on anyone else… 150 items? It’s kind of over the top. But it’s been ticking over in my ‘drafts’ for a couple of weeks, getting added to whenever I run out of steam on another piece.

So I may as well dump it on the website now before unleashing my next pseudo-philosophical musings on you my dear, long-suffering, reader. Without further ado…

  1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
    More than once. Though usually – thank christ – in countries where you don’t need to take out a mortgage to get involved in pissed-up extravagance of that sort.
  2. Swam with wild dolphins
  3. Climbed a mountain
  4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
  5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
    I became incredibly claustrophobic and didn’t stay long.
  6. Held a tarantula
  7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
  8. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
  9. Hugged a tree
    More than that, I even wrote a haiku about it… Middle-aged couple / discover me tree-hugging / all a bit awkward
  10. Bungee jumped
  11. Visited Paris
  12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
  13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
  14. Seen the Northern Lights
  15. Gone to a huge sports game
  16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
  17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
  18. Touched an iceberg
  19. Slept under the stars
  20. Changed a baby’s diaper
    It was an emergency and I was the only person available. I don’t think I did the best job in the world, but I did at least use the word “nappy” and not “diaper”. Fricking Americans!
  21. Taken a trip on a hot air balloon
  22. Watched a meteor shower
  23. Got drunk on champagne
    I no longer drink… booze just doesn’t do it for me anymore. But I’ve got the kind of curious nature that’s meant I’ve been drunk at least once (and ususally only once) on just about every drink you care to mention.
  24. Given more than you can afford to charity
    ha… ahh ha ha ha! One day I’ll tell that story.
  25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
  26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
  27. Had a food fight
  28. Bet on a winning horse
  29. Asked out a stranger
    Never got a response in the affirmative, mind.
  30. Had a snowball fight
  31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
  32. Held a lamb
  33. Seen a total eclipse
    Well, it was damn near total… ninety-something percent… London about six years ago.
  34. Ridden a roller coaster
    But man do I hate the things. I prefer to get my ‘intense experience kicks’ in other ways.
  35. Hit a home run
  36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
    Pretty much every time I’m moved to dance actually.
  37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
    I was Scottish for a day while my Scottish friend was Irish. Leastways that was the theory… I think most of the time we were both Welsh-Pakistani.
  38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
    Hell yeah! Lots and lots of moments. Without wishing to be too gloomy, it has been a fairly long while though.
  39. Had two hard drives for your computer
    Right now I’ve got three. But what’s that got to do with anything?
  40. Visited all 50 states
  41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
    Yup. And I think… if I worked it out… I must be at least breaking even in the “had to be taken care of” Vs. “taken care of someone else” stakes (which is – as everyone knows – the only test that matters when St. Peter decides whether to let you into heaven or not).
  42. Had amazing friends
    All my friends are amazing! (you’ve no idea how far an attitude like that goes when you’re asking to borrow money).
  43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
    Yup. And I’ve danced with a foreigner in a strange country as well.
  44. Watched wild whales
  45. Stolen a sign
    A sign? ‘A’ sign, you ask? Myself and A.R. stripped an entire suburb of road signs one drunken teenage night and placed them all in a local (drained) pond. To this day I’ve no recollection of the moment we decided on that mission, but I’d love to recall the conversation that led up to it.
  46. Backpacked in Europe
    Technically every time I go to the shop.
  47. Taken a road-trip
    Starting to get a bit mundane now…
  48. Gone rock climbing
    … I mean, ever climbed some rocks? What’s that all about…? Seriously, what’s next? ‘Ever eaten some food?’
  49. Midnight walk on the beach
    Oh come on!
  50. Gone sky diving
    Ah, now we’re in better territory. Of course I’ve never gone sky-diving. I’m not a freaking nutter! The decision to jump out of a plane is – inherently – one you take as a matter of absolute last resort.
  51. Visited Ireland
    Clearly not expecting too many Irish respondents to this wee quiz.
  52. Been heartbroken for longer than when you were in love
    What? You mean it can pan out any other way? Really?
  53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
  54. Visited Japan
  55. Milked a cow
  56. Alphabetized your cds
    Oh man, you wouldn’t believe the time I’ve spent re-ordering my music collection. The male brain has an inbuilt tendency towards autism… and that’s where I let that little side of me run riot.
  57. Pretended to be a superhero
    Yes. But I was, what? 6 years old at the time?
  58. Sung karaoke
    No. And I never will. People don’t understand my objection to this… I don’t have a freakishly objectionable singing voice or anything. It’s just, when you’ve heard ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ butchered by an angry red-faced drunken middle-aged wino in a Cricklewood pub, the whole notion of karaoke loses its innocence and becomes something dark and unpleasant, filling your memory with little links and associations that you never asked for and can never ever escape.
  59. Lounged around in bed all day
    If whoever compiled this quiz had been really hardcore they’d have specified a week! That’d separate the men from the boys.
  60. Posed nude in front of strangers
    I posed nude (in crucifiction pose no less) for an artist when I was at college. But she wasn’t a stranger. I guess it all depends on your definition of “posed”. I was filmed by a van-load of policemen running nude across a bridge. It’d be stretching it to describe that as “posing” though.
  61. Gone scuba diving
  62. Kissed in the rain
  63. Played in the mud
  64. Played in the rain
  65. Gone to a drive-in theater
    When I was living near Chicago I hung out a few times at an old abandoned drive-in. It had an incredibly apocalyptic atmosphere and I was vibing on that at the time. Never saw a movie at a drive-in though.
  66. Visited the Great Wall of China
  67. Started a business
    More than once.
  68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
    You’re shitting me right? That really happens?
  69. Toured ancient sites
    Oh yeah, I’ve contributed to ‘tourist erosion’ at ancient sites all over the world. The Great Pyramids beat the rest hands-down. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. I dig lots of others too, don’t get me wrong. But the pyramids are a bit fricking special.
  70. Taken a martial arts class
  71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
    Probably. But I wasn’t a D&D geek for very long before my music-geekness kicked in and I stopped having time for anything that didn’t involve loud guitars and beer.
  72. Gotten married
  73. Been in a movie
    I was an extra in some WW2 mini-series starring Kenneth Branagh. Can’t even recall the name of the thing. I was a British soldier dying in the background. I’ve also been in a couple of low-budget student films. I was credited as “The Hippy” in the first and “Stoned man” in the second. Arguably the roles didn’t stretch my acting abilities all that much.
  74. Crashed a party
    I’ve crashed a fair few parties. Though none recently.
  75. Gotten divorced
  76. Gone without food for 5 days
  77. Made cookies from scratch
    I’ve made them from other things too.
  78. Won first prize in a costume contest
  79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
  80. Gotten a tattoo
  81. Rafted the Snake River
  82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
  83. Got flowers for no reason
  84. Performed on stage
  85. Been to Las Vegas
  86. Recorded music
  87. Eaten shark
    I was a fully fledged carnivore up until my 16th birthday. Ate a lot of stuff that makes me think “hmmmmmm, not sure about that” these days.
  88. Had a one-night stand
  89. Gone to Thailand
  90. Bought a house
  91. Been in a combat zone
    Not exactly. But we did get occasional bomb-threats in some of the countries I grew up in. My dad worked for a high-profile US corporation in some places where anti-American feeling could get violent. Mind you, this was back in the 80s… I suspect the kids attending (for instance) Cairo American College today are experiencing a whole other level of paranoid weirdness.
  92. Buried one/both of your parents
  93. Been on a cruise ship
    For all the more like ‘jazz heaven’ from Stardust Memories.
  94. Spoken more than one language fluently
  95. Performed in Rocky Horror
  96. Raised children
  97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
    And my second-favourite, and my third-favourite, and bands that probably struggle to make the top 20 these days.
  98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
  99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
  100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
  101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
  102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
    I was a motorist for about a year and a half in my late teens. Where possible I’ve done my best to avoid cars since then. However, during that brief time, it’s fair to say that I was rarely in the car without either Bowie or Talking Heads playing right at the edge of distortion volume. And it would be rare indeed if I wasn’t singing along. These days I must content myself with singing along at home… I still don’t give a toss if anyone’s looking.
  103. Had plastic surgery
  104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived.
  105. Wrote articles for a large publication
  106. Lost over 100 pounds
    Remember the dot-com boom? And the biotech boom? A chimp with smack habit could’ve made money in the stock market in the late 90s. I did anyway. Round about mid-2000 however I heard about a small UK tech start-up that was having its IPO. They were going to be the next big thing. They worked in the field of nano-grinding and I believed they were absurdly underpriced. Turns out they were absurdly overpriced. I lost a wee bit more than 100 pounds.
  107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
    Huh? Well, I’ve talked people down from some seriously bad trips. Does that count?
  108. Piloted an airplane
  109. Petted a stingray
  110. Broken someone’s heart
  111. Helped an animal give birth
  112. Won money on a T.V. game show
  113. Broken a bone
  114. Gone on an African photo safari
  115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
    Been stabbed. Does that count?
  116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
    Never in anger I’m happy to say.
  117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
  118. Ridden a horse
  119. Had major surgery
    That’s the only kind of surgery I’ve ever had! Minor surgery is when it’s happening to someone else (to steal a line).
  120. Had a snake as a pet
    Anyone with reptiles or insects for pets needs to deal with their issues in a more healthy way. And pet birds are pretty damn borderline. Though fishtanks I kind of understand on a purely aesthetic level. Sorry but there you have it. Pets are about companionship. Companionship implies empathy. Empathy with non-mammals is pretty fricking weird in my book. I’m not saying repressive legislation needs to be drafted to deal with these people or anything. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just suggesting they wear some form of identification so the rest of us can shun them.
  121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
  122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
  123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
  124. Visited all 7 continents
    A question restricted to the handful of scientists stationed in Antarctica. Talk about exclusive!
  125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
  126. Eaten kangaroo meat
  127. Eaten sushi
    Not high on my list of favourite foods I have to say.
  128. Had your picture in the newspaper
  129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
  130. Gone back to school
  131. Parasailed
  132. Petted a cockroach
  133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
  134. Read The Iliad and the Odyssey
  135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read their work
    Not quite sure I understand this.
  136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
    Indeed. Mackerel. I have caught, gutted and pan-fried them over an open fire.
  137. Skipped all your school reunions
  138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
  139. Been elected to public office
  140. Written your own computer language
  141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
    Sadly not in a good way.
  142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
  143. Built your own PC from parts
  144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
  145. Had a booth at a street fair
  146. Dyed your hair
  147. Been a DJ
  148. Shaved your head
  149. Caused a car accident
  150. Saved someone’s life

1 comment  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Jul 2006

Social Media (short reprise)

YouTube has come up trumps again. I mean, fucking hell, how fast is culture evolving? (maybe we really are about to reach a McKenna-esque moment of infinite novelty). Perhaps I’m missing something here. Perhaps everyone else has been aware of this phenomenon for weeks. But it’s completely blown me away.

I rewatched a couple of rare Bowie vids on YouTube as a result of Justin‘s meme. The video for Strangers When We Meet was quite nice. The song is from the mid-90’s and it’s one of the best he’s ever recorded in my view… the lyrics containing little snapshots of an internet relationship.

But as I was watching that video, I noticed something strange in the “related videos” list… a whole bunch of X-Men related music videos, including one for Strangers When We Meet. “That’s odd”, I thought, “but maybe the song’s been re-released for the movie with one of those montage from the movie vids”.

But that’s not what’s going on. Apparently it’s one of a growing number of “fanvids”. People are cutting up footage from existing movies and editing them into new music videos for songs they like! How fricking cool is that!?

Or am I the only one who thinks so? Check this out.

3 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Jul 2006

Social Media? Bollocks more like

Justin imagines me to be knowledgeable and interesting on this kind of thing. Hey, he said it, don’t look at me. It’s another fricking blog meme though, so I don’t feel quite as chuffed as I would’ve done if by “this kind of thing” he’d meant “theoretical physics” or “lovemaking” or “energy policy” or “being a bloody great guy”.

So instead of requesting a treatise on any of those subjects, he instead expects me to list my “Top Five Social Media Websites”. Kind of a curious request really as I’m one of the least “social” people you’re likely to meet (assuming I deign to meet you). That’s not to say that I’m quiet, shy or introverted in person. Far from it. I merely find the vast majority of people exhausting to be around. It’s not, as JWL said, “You wanna save humanity, but it’s people that you just can’t stand”. I don’t dislike people. I just find them difficult.

And not all people either. Just most of them.

But despite that, I am a regular user of some social media websites (is it just me, or does the phrase “Social Media” sound like a highschool class taken by kids who couldn’t hack the hard sciences?) This blog, for instance. And the U-Know! messageboard (though I’m far far less active there than I once was). So yeah, I’ll take this meme out for a spin. And in return Justin can begin fretting about which piece of pointless web-flotsam I decide to bat his way in the near future.

In no particular order (and duplicating three from Chicken Yoghurt)…

  1. WordPress. Let’s face it, there’s no finer blogging tool. I wrote my own blogging software in ColdFusion for my first online journal and it was adequate for my purposes. Then I switched to blogger for my next one, and found it seriously inadequate. Little things I could do with my own software; like listing the most recent comments by date in the sidebar or managing categorised lists of links; couldn’t be done in blogger. So for my third blog, I decided to update my own CF application. And then I discovered WordPress. As I say; there’s no finer blogging tool.
  2. YouTube. I discovered this site when someone (Gyrus I think) emailed me the link to The Indian Beatles. I spent the better part of three hours at YouTube that day. It’s a wonderful site… like the internet in general it’s filled with dross and weirdness, but with a bit of perseverance you can unearth some real gems. It was when I typed “David Bowie” into the search that I realised the true depth of YouTube. I mean, the video for Hearts Filthy Lesson? Yes!
  3. This is a lovely little site. You download a plugin for your media player and it uploads information about what music you’re playing, building up various charts based upon your listening habits. The site also has customisable streaming radio stations and all manner of other interesting bits and bobs for music fans. If you’ve got a lot of music ripped to your hard-drive, then you should have a account. Incidentally, something weird happened with my old account. HERE is my new one.
  4. U-Know! This is my online political messageboard / forum of choice. It’s part of Julian Cope’s Head Heritage website though unrelated to his music. The site has four message boards covering the various aspects of Copey’s activities… Unsung (music), The Modern Antiquarian (sacred sites and the like), The Village Pump (general chat) and U-Know! (direct action and politics). I was once a regular on several of the boards, but these days I’m more of a lurker, occasionally compelled to add an opinion or two. As with all public forums, the occasional troll or asshole shows up and there’s quite a bit of politically naive idealism but – by and large – it’s frequented by groovy folk (i.e. people I broadly agree with). Also, Merrick edits the U-Know! section and Holy McGrail is the webmaster of the whole Head Heritage site… both excellent chaps.
  5. I’ll split my last choice between four sites; none of which I use very much but all of which I respect greatly for one reason or another. There’s Wikipedia of course. Though unreliable when it comes to any vaguely controversial subject, it’s still a useful resource and the idea is fantastic. Then there’s Flickr. Great site, but I don’t take anything like enough interesting photos to make much use of it. Urban75… again, not somewhere I visit very frequently, but it has a lot going for it. And finally, the daddy of them all… Indymedia. Great great site, let down by a tendency towards intolerance of dissenting opinions by many of the contributors (I recall insisting that the invasion of Afghanistan had nothing to do with oil pipelines, and getting roundly savaged for being off-message). Still, a fine idea that works well from time to time. Indymedia Ireland is here.

I’m not going to tag anyone else with this meme. It’s pretty damn geeky and I don’t know too many geeks (Gyrus and perhaps L are the only two bloggers I read regularly that have geek / nerd credentials). But if there’s a great ‘social media’ site that I’m overlooking here, I’d be interested to hear about it in the comments. Though if anyone does want to keep the meme alive, then obviously knock yourself out.

Update (noon, 30-7-06)

Doh! What an idiot! Despite wasting half a day with it earlier in the week, I completely forgot one of the most amazing “Social Media” sites of recent years. Check out the Remix Area at Brian Eno and David Byrne’s My Life In The Bush of Ghosts website. One of the seminal albums in recording history, the re-release is celebrated by allowing people to download all of the multitracks for two of the pieces on it (under the Creative Commons licence no less). These can then be imported into any multitracker software (an old version of Cool Edit Pro being my multitrack software of choice, but there’s lots to choose from) and remixed. I’m talking proper remixed.

The finished article can then be reuploaded to the site where others can listen to it. There’s already a huge number of genuinely amazing remixes up there, but why not try your own?

2 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Jul 2006

Graduation singles

Way back in the days before blogs, people would sometimes receive an email from a friend which contained a questionnaire. Most often in the form of “end of year round-ups” (there was a big spate just before the millennium) they’d usually be a mixture of pop culture stuff; favourite song of the year, top 10 movies of the 90s, top 10 Buffy villains… interspersed with more personal and/or vaguely psychoanalytical questions; favourite food, what’s under your bed, your happiest moment of the year, the one thing you wished you’d said this year and to who…

Fast-forward to the present day however, and enough of the people who sent and received those emails are now bloggers to have pretty much killed off the phenomenon of the questionnaire email. It evolved into blog-memes.

Once in a blue moon, however, I’ll still receive one of those old-school emails. Usually from A. Today her email came with a Word document attached…

List the Top 50 singles from the year you graduated highschool. This website can be used:
[URL here]

Highlight the list as follows…

Italicise all those you like. Bold all those songs you own. Strike-out all those you hate. Mark in red all those you liked then, but cringe at now.

There then followed the list of Top 50 UK singles from 1990 (the year A graduated 6th form). Plus instructions to do the same, return it to the sender and mail it to your friends. The thing is; it turns out that 1990 happened to have several quality singles that sold well. So A could write a short paragraph about the first time she heard Groove Is In The Heart or Nothing Compares 2 U.

Step back two years to when I graduated highschool though. To the cultural desert that was 1988…

  • 6 of the most popular songs of the year feature Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, or both.
  • 4 were by Bros.
  • 1988 was the year Prince’s Alphabet Street was released. It doesn’t feature in the Top 50 though. It was outsold (by the shedload) by singles from Tiffany, Glenn Medeiros, Robin Beck, Brother Beyond, Taylor Dayne, Billy Ocean, Sabrina, Milli Vanilli, Climie Fisher, Rick Astley. And Krush.
  • Also let’s not forget Phil Collins and Chris de Burgh.
  • Alphabet Street isn’t the only conspicuous absence. Also missing from the top selling singles of the year are Nick Cave’s The Mercy Seat, Morrissey’s Everyday Is Like Sunday and People Have The Power by Patti Smith.
  • But it’s the year Enya got really famous.
  • To top it off though, the best-selling record of the year was… wait for it… Mistletoe and Bastid Wine by Lord Cliff Fucking Richard.

There’s just no excuse for it. So yeah, I decided against continuing that particular meme. But if any of my fellow bloggers discover their graduation year contained some singles worth writing about, then please feel free to take this meme and run with it.

16 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

May 2006

Return: The Music

I decided to go hunting for a musical blog meme. See, for reasons which are too dull to explain, I’ve had no music on my PC hard-drive for a couple of months. Now however I’ve finally restored my collection from back-up in my first-generation Creative BigBrick mp3 player (once in while a piece of technology comes along that may as well have been custom-designed for me… the first 40GB hard-drive mp3 player; the Creative Jukebox; was one such item. Four years on it’s still doing the business).

Now, because I have pretty much all my music on CD, I’ve not been listening to less music lately, but I have been listening in a subtly different way. When I’m listening to CDs, I’ll usually decide what I want to hear before I wander over to the CD collection. And I’ll tend to listen to the entire album; often several times; before putting on something else.

With almost a thousand albums digitised on my hard-drive, though, the selection process is very different. Some mornings I’ll just hit “shuffle” and wait until something catches my mood. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of an album and I’ll notice another one close by due to an accident of alphabetisation and get the urge to hear it. Obviously, there’s still plenty of times when I’m in the mood for something specific… afternoons when – quite frankly – only Sign ‘O’ The Times will do. Nonetheless, like is so often the case, the medium influences the experience.

And so – in celebration of the restoration of my music – I struck out across the frozen datascape of the worldwide internet in search of a music meme that would take advantage of that fact. With my own blogroll as the starting point, I took the quickest route I could find to a livejournal site (the primordial ooze from whence all blog memes emerge). Glancing down the page I discovered this post. Paydirt.

If the meme fits…

Step 1: Put your media-player on random play.
Step 2: Write down the first line from the first 20 songs that play.
Step 3: Let everyone guess what song the lines come from.
Step 4: Cross out the songs when someone guesses correctly.

What could be easier? Guesses can be left in the comments.

  1. It’s hard when folks can’t get their work where they’ve been bred and born.Christy Moore: Dalesman’s LitanyRob
  2. I was nothing. It didn’t matter to me.
  3. Ya know one day the indigenous people of the Earth are gonna reclaim what’s righfully theirs.Spearhead: Of Course You CanGyrus
  4. Jesus will you pity this insomniac, it’s almost dawn, there’s nothing on TVThe Legendary Pink Dots: Chainsurfing – Lucas
  5. Lord knows we’ve become scientific
  6. Procession moves on, the shouting is overJoy Division: The EternalPisces Iscariot
  7. I see the clouds that move across the skyTalking Heads: Don’t Worry About The GovernmentPhil
  8. While riding on a train going west, I fell asleep for to take my restBob Dylan: Bob Dylan’s Dream – Nick
  9. He moves efficiently, beyond securityR.E.M.: AirportmanGyrus
  10. Don’t talk of dust and rosesDavid Bowie: Big BrotherPisces Iscariot
  11. Everyday you must say, “so how do I feel about my life?”The Smiths: Accept YourselfPhil
  12. Couldn’t sleep a wink last night, Oh how I’d love to hold you tightRoxy Music: PyjamaramaPhil
  13. No shit Sherlock, the gun is loaded and primedJulian Cope: Don’t Call Me Mark ChapmanJustin
  14. I didn’t die for my country, I didn’t die for my roast beefPhilip Jeays: The SoldierMerrick
  15. When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slideThe Beatles: Helter SkelterJustin
  16. Don’t want to be free of hope
  17. Pardon me, I wanna talk 2 UPrince: Do It All NightJez
  18. Fell into a sea of grass, and disappeared among the shady bladesJane’s Addiction: Summertime RollsGyrus
  19. The Sunday morning gospel goes good with a songThe Beach Boys: Add Some Music To Your Day – Nick
  20. As soon as I wake up every day, I look at the papers to see what they say

Wow… it really brought home how many instrumental tracks I have (skipped). Oh, and also just how many tracks contain the title in the first line (skipped). I also skipped multiple tracks from the same artist (the “random” function on media-player seemed to have a bit of a thing for Bowie tonight). Anyways, some are easy, some are very obscure. Any ideas?

Oh, and we can all use google. Obviously look up the answers if you’re curious, but if you want to post a response, try to be honest.

20 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme

Apr 2006

New meme

Via PigDogFecker (as we in Ireland would say), who cites d-squared, comes this lovely idea…

If I started using the term “anti-Semitic” as a general term of undifferentiated disapprobation like “lame” or “gay” (as in “god, those trainers are pretty anti-Semitic”, “The first few series of Friends were quite sharp and funny, but it got really lazy and anti-Semitic toward the end”, “I don’t know; there’s nothing specific about Shoreditch that I don’t like — it’s just a bit anti-Semitic”), how long do you think it would take to catch on? And what sort of reaction would I get in the meantime?

Well I like it.

3 comments  |  Posted in: Blog meme