August 2005


American politics&British politics&Middle East31 Aug 2005 08:30 pm

Around 1,000 Shias have died in a stampede in Iraq.

“Hundreds, maybe thousands” have died in the New Orleans flood.

The Queen is really upset about the dead Americans.

She has yet to register any flicker of interest in the dead Iraqis.

Soundtrack to this post: No Surprises – Radiohead

Pop culture&Self28 Aug 2005 12:01 pm

(Enquiring Mind:) So, Fox, are you still going through your White Stripes phase?

(Urban Fox:) No, that’s all done and dusted. Now I’m having a Pavement revival. One of my favourite bands ever.

I’m glad you mentioned that, because I was going to ask you about guitar music. You said you don’t like any current chart guitar bands. Does that mean you mainly listen to other genres of music?

Yes, on the whole. Hip-hop, electronica, excellent pop, a dash of blues, a pinch of alt folk and a spoonful of classical music are all my cup of tea.

Were you a Britpopper back in the early-mid ’90s?

No. Britpop signalled the death of British music, as far as I was concerned. It never really recovered from the sudden hegemony of mediocrity until about 2000.

Ah. Not a big Sleeper fan then.

*Fox gives a withering look*

What about Suede?

I’d strongly dispute that Suede were part of what we call Britpop as their success started a couple of years before that. And because they were good (pre-Head Music). Arguably, they may have set the ball rolling.

Apart from those you’ve mentioned, are there any other guitar bands and artists you consider personal favourites?

Of course. The Smiths and Morrissey, first and foremost.

Nice choice.

Thanks. There’s more though.

Do go on.

Luke Haines, in all his guises. Polly Harvey. Pixies/Breeders (or Kim Deal in all her guises). Huggy Bear. Faith No More. Babes In Toyland. Les Savy Fav. A-ha, past and present. Le Tigre/Bikini Kill/Julie Ruin (or Kathleen Hanna in all her guises). The Slits. The Au Pairs. The Velvet Underground. David Bowie. Helium. Nirvana. Magnetic Fields/The 6ths (or Stephin Merritt in all his guises). Lush. Lilliput. Blondie. My Bloody Valentine. Penetration. Roxy Music. Gillian Welch. Talk Talk. There are probably more, if I thought about it. Did I mention the White Stripes and Pavement?

Once or twice. Finally, what’s your view on the current crop of guitar-y NME fodder like Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, Kasabian, Pete Doherty etc?

They should be boiled in oil until their derivative trousers disintegrate, then launched into outer space in a hermetically-sealed pod.

Righto. Thanks, Fox!

Don’t mention it!

Soundtrack to this post: Hotel Tell – The Sea And Cake

Pop culture&Self26 Aug 2005 09:24 am

Pat has tagged me to do a strangely Swiss Toni-esque “10 tunes of the moment” type thing. In balletic synchronicity, so has Swiss Toni.

In return, I’d like to ask the following SIX blog stars to reciprocate:

Le Moine Perdu
Lord Bargain
Radiohumper
Mark
Bo Peep’s Sheep
Aravis Arwen

It is, of course, completely optional. I shan’t be offended in the least if you decline.

Right, on with the tunes.

[Editor’s note: This could end up a very boring post, as I am going through a White Stripes phase right now. Can’t be bothered with any other chart guitar bands, but the Stripeys are pet faves of mine. You see, with the bands or artists I most like, I tend to go through short phases of total immersion, which end just as quickly. So this week I could easily fill up all 10 songs from their back catalogue. Nobody wants that. I will draw on the rest of the week’s accidental soundtrack for diversity.]

1. Jolene – Dolly Parton / White Stripes
Yeah, sorry. Stripes already. Both versions of this song are in my head this week. One minute it’s Dolly’s quietly mournful tones, the next it’s Jack’s barely-contained hysteria. The Stripes version is the best cover version of all time, and I’m especially keen on the live version from Blackpool. (Dolly’s great too though. Don’t go dissin’ Dolly.)

2. Red Berry Joy Town – The Wonder Stuff
This is all Mark’s fault for posting about them. Tsk.

3. Ooh La La – Goldfrapp
Ubiquitous and infectious, like bird flu. Lower death toll though.

4. Alison’s Starting To Happen – Lemonheads
Conjured up by reflection earlier in the week on the fact that Alison Goldfrapp (see above) is finding herself suddenly one of the pop megastars de jour, at the age of 38. I wouldn’t mind, but I never liked the Lemonheads.

5. Girlfriend – Pebbles
I’m quite keen on mid-80s chart dancefloor R&B. I have been known to play Alexander O’Neal’s two hits through choice.

6. The Joker Is Me – whoever sings it on the Kath & Kim credits
I have a couple of Kath & Kim-crazy friends. Consequently, I hear a lot of this theme tune. Look at moy ployse.

7. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Luke Haines
Flutters around my brain every time I read Lord B’s blog. He’s a prince among lords, innit.

8. Don’t Dictate – Penetration
If you like the Slits, you’ll love Penetration. If you don’t like 70s punk, you’re going to take that the wrong way. And probably that too.

9. She – Charles Aznavour
It was in a film or something recently. FoxFact: this song was no. 1 in Britain the day I was born. That doesn’t make it OK though.

10. Red Rain / The Hardest Button To Button / I Think I Smell A Rat / Blue Orchid / The Union Forever / The Same Boy You’ve Always Known – The White Stripes
Sorry. These ones are the main brain invaders this week. What can I say? I am an all-or-nothing kinda fox. And extraordinarily dull.

Happy bank holiday weekend, Brits. Last one until Christmas, so enjoy yourselves! (That sentiment goes for you non-Brits too, only without the Monday off work.)

Soundtrack to this post: All of the above.

Europe&South Asia25 Aug 2005 01:58 pm

Europe is flooded. At least 42 people have died.

South Asia (most recently Mumbai) is endlessly struggling with floods.

Still, global warming’s just a myth apparently, so lucky Bush didn’t waste anyone’s time signing the Kyoto agreement. Phew.

How many more generations will exist after ours, do you suppose? I can’t help but wonder.

Soundtrack to this post: Secret – Madonna
[it started off as Drowned World, but had mutated by the end of the post… a bit like river fish exposed to oestrogen-mimicking chemical byproducts of the plastics industry. Ka-boom-tish.]

Random life24 Aug 2005 02:39 pm

I know reproducing emails verbatim is the lowest form of blogging, but this one’s great. It’s a real art event happening on 9 October. I particularly like the PS at the end, and the line “There are drinks but you may want to bring a picnic, as the food is knitted.”

All knitters and their friends are invited to help us knit the first completely knitted wedding, and join in the celebrations! The knitted wedding is part of a group show “Ceremony” at the Pump House gallery in Battersea Park, London.

Everything at this wedding will be knitted, from the cameras, the dress, top hats, food, decorations, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Our bride is curator of the exhibition and Knitting Doctor, Freddie Robins.

Patterns for cameras, candles, cakes, and canapes, will be shown on our website www.castoff.info These patterns are merely a suggestion…. we invite you to knit what you like! If you have any other knitted items that would suit the wedding, we would love to use them. Please don’t worry about the quality of your knitting, Freddie and Ben will love it all.

The wedding ceremony is at 2pm. Please arrive a bit earlier. At 2.45pm we will throw the woollen confetti, and have group photos and more knitting. The champagne reception is at 3pm, with speaches and knitted cake. You may knit through the reception. There are drinks but you may want to bring a picnic, as the food is knitted. The 1st dance and the wedding disco with our favourite DJ’s will start at 4pm and continue until 6.30 when the Bride and groom leave, and a little bit more after that.

Please send work to the gallery before the wedding, ( the earlier the better) clearly marked with your name and a SAE. All work will be displayed, and also credited in a slide show on the walls of the gallery and later shown in a book ‘How to Knit Your Own Wedding’ published by ‘Cast Off’. We invite all knitters to be in the book, and to contribute patterns.

All work will be shown at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace 13th-16th October 2005.

Rachael and Annie will be knitting in the gallery, and showing films with weddings in, from 28th September to 2nd October, and 5th October to 8th October, 11am-5pm. You are welcome to join us!

For more info ring ‘Cast Off’ on 020 **** **** or e-mail
castoff@castoff.info

We will return all work, but we canĀ¹t be held responsible for it’s well being.

Please label your knitting with your name, (sticker or parcel tag will do) and send it with a SAE to the Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

P.S Freddie is a lady, not a man…sorry for any confusion, this is not a gay wedding. Thank you.

Soundtrack to this post: Do The Strand – Roxy Music

The art of blog22 Aug 2005 09:57 pm

OK, here’s the deal.

Sometimes I might post about politics, world news, international unrest, the ravages of globalisation and social injustice.

Sometimes I might post about… other things.

How does that sound? (Don’t all throw your rotten tomatoes at once.)

Soundtrack to this post: Feelin’ Good – Nina Simone

Self&The art of blog17 Aug 2005 07:30 pm

Is there such a thing as blogger’s block?

Well… It’s not really that though. There’s a wealth of material to write about. In fact, the sheer quantity of subject matter in recent weeks has somehow curtailed my will to express my views.

I still have views on politics. I just lack the motivation to write them on here, at this time.

It’s not laziness, or apathy. I was intending to post last week. Assaulted with a barrage of enraging news stories – my possible favourite of which was Monsanto Patents Pigs – I somehow couldn’t muster the ability to narrow it down to one thing I should write about. The fact that there were ten billion things to care about made me less inclined to write about them. I would have felt like the village buffoon shouting inanely at trees. It’s a curious thing.

I can trace this “what’s the point?” feeling back to the day the police shot Jean Charles de Menezes for, as it now appears, a laugh. When events of that magnitude occur, it makes the impotent tut-and-hmph of blogging seem irrelevant. This was an inward feeling rather than a reasoned response. I know many of you wrote superbly on the subject. I know I enjoyed reading your thoughts. And yet… still.

Somehow the national post-London bombing kneejerk hysteria made me lose the will to blog. The Day The Blogging Died.

OK, I’m being melodramatic. I will post again. In fact, I could easily post on all manner of non-current affairs subjects right now, but this blog has a fairly narrow remit. Perhaps that’s something I could reconsider. I don’t know.

This thing started initially as a way to write with no interference at all; a way to express the kind of uncensored, honest views that would never slip past an editor and, indeed, on subjects about which no editor would be likely to ask me to write. I have never been very tolerant of being told what to think, or what to say. I get vexed at the effortlessly amoral standards of most media professionals. The very act of global self-publication can feel like defiance, albeit on a limited scale. I suspect that is partly the motivation of many of us.

What was my point? Did I have one?

Oh yes. Blogger’s block. My mental block. Perhaps some more incoherent rambling will clear away the debris. I’ll do it offline, to save your yawns.

Soundtrack to this post: The Denial Twist – The White Stripes

Self02 Aug 2005 05:59 pm

Hello again all. I’m back. And weren’t you all busy bees while I was away? I am exhausted just glancing at your blogs. Looks like I have some catching up to do.

No energy left for posting, mercifully, so you’re spared my twitterings on any of the dramatic world events of the last couple of weeks.

Thanks for your birthday messages. Consider yourselves sweeties.

Soundtrack to this post: Feels Like Summer – Sing-Sing


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