Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Here's something unusual, and a bit of a throwback to the halcyon days of old school videogames when it'd involve huddling around a Moon Cresta machine in a dodgy seafront arcade, desperate white knuckles clinging onto one's 10p lifespan. Imagine that and listening to your favourite music and you've got Audiosurf, lots of addictive fun. See you on the high score tables.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


You can usually distil the essence of tragedy from a single detail notable only for its banality.

I witnessed a young twentysomething guy get hit by a bus as he was coming out of the supermarket with his groceries this morning - his injuries were not, thankfully, life-threatening yet naturally it was still shocking to see. But it was the sight of his scattered shopping lying ignored in the road, in the bright February sunshine, as the ambulance prepared to scream off, that got to me. The energy drink, the pizza, the pasta sauce, the bananas, the milk, the till receipt.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


It's with a rather heavy heart that I write to announce that the forthcoming dates in the UK this spring culminating with the May 30th concert in Nantes, will be the last that Philip and I do together. It's totally amicable and I have plenty of ideas and new plans for music and beyond, and PB will continue to do Consumer Electronics.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Facebook uses up more time than I'm totally happy about, however here's a small collection of a few of my movie mini-reviews there (since, neglectfully, I haven't posted any here for a while). Most concern recent releases, some are ones that I've just got around to writing.

The Assassination Of Jesse James (*****)
another high quality drama from 2007, a vintage year

Day Of The Dead (2008)(*)
my adage that a bad zombie movie is always better than a good vampire moivie is blown out of the water - absolutely and unremittingly atrocious

The Dreamers (***)
certainly has its moments, lacks mystery however

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (*)
a familiarly appalling Tim Burton exercise in cynical nepotism, bad accents, and false marketing - Depp is a prize ham once again

Rambo IV (****)
quite a surprise how good this is especially after the jingoistic 2nd and 3rd entries in the series - the 90 minutes seem to go past amazingly quickly (and the credits seem to last an eternity), in fact I only deduct a star for the story's puzzling underdevelopment and lack of a third act

Into The Wild (*****)
the more you find yourself staring in awe of nature, the further and more clearly you see inside your own troubled and perhaps tissue-soft soul

Hitman (*)
beyond mindless, even a video game deserves more than this

Love Lies Bleeding (*)
Slater has never made a decent film and this is no exception

Ghost World (*****)
what can I say? a perfect perfect movie

Persepolis (****)
worth removing the veil of scepticism to give this a go

No Country For Old Men (*****)
Coen brothers back to their very best

The Invasion (*)
I was praying that an alien invasion was going to save me from having to see this dreary nonsense through to the end

Gone Baby Gone (*****)
high quality drama with minor flaws that have little effect on the overall impact - more satisfying resolution than the book's

The Serpent And The Rainbow (***)
some nice scenes in Haiti ruined by the silly finale - better to read the fascinating book

The Pillow Book (***)
2 stars deducted for the wanton idiocy of casting a muppet like Ewan McGregor as the main protagonist

In Between Days (***)
quite touching (if you can stand its glacial pace)

Lost In Translation (*)
one of the most despicably awful movies in recent memory - a patchwork compilation of painfully unfunny skits dressed up as arthouse clever - I'll slap the next person to say how well it portrays Japanese culture

Broken Flowers (**)
it seems American movies just can't do existential, maybe it's just Jim Jarmusch that can't - I hated this only marginally less than I did Lost In Translation - all the oh-so-corny referenced 'clues', yuk; the wooden uninventive dialogue, yuk; Bill Murray, yuk - Mulatu Astatke's soundtrack is sadly wasted on this contrived nonsense

Last Seduction (****)
Fiorentino is a fantastic femme fatale

Vampire's Kiss
Nick 'Daddy's Boy' Coppola (oops, I mean Cage) in a vampire film - the omens couldn't be worse

Thursday, February 07, 2008


What did you do in school class that's had any real relevance in your life? That is, beyond jumping through hoops in order to do the same thing all over again in further education. I suspect we learn life's most useful lessons despite school and not because of it.

Within our academic system (both in schools and in universities) and beyond, I've always found the heavy emphasis on the analytical over the behavioural quite frustrating; and it was a significant moment for me when I decided to focus energy on learning how to affect things rather than how to do things or about things.

The topic of TRIGGERED is a good example because you can discover fascinating and useful behavioural implications to the analyses of the wider effects of having a bed called 'Lolita'. In fact, it was through the use of this knowledge that the New Britain album was deliberately and conceptually designed - often considered one of the most 'extreme' albums within the canon. I briefly alluded to this in the recent Whitehouse feature in The Wire magazine.

If you carefully deconstruct the components of New Britain, one would be hard pressed to find anything that's particularly contentious, and yet because of these filters and the overloading effect of multiple juxtaposition and the absence of an overt rationale, it creates the (intended) rather sinister aura, one which will captivate the imagination enough to drag the listener well away from their comfort zone. Or to the metaphorical forest that I often refer to. This is achieved through the careful design of the song titles, colour scheme, typeface, label logo all placed (unusually) on the front cover, and all set up before a note of music had even been recorded! (Ironically, Tony Blair's New Labour were to permanently adopt the 'New Britain' epithet a few years later.)

While I've used this technique on other occasions, never was it so successful as it was with New Britain.


Seeing the microscopic magnified can often be as awe-inspiring as looking into outer space - have a look at these snow crystals.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Within my own model of consciousness, the third level (of four) is the illusion of identity that is so crucial to a person's well-being - that being the gap between what we believe it is we want and what we would truly find fulfilling when we found it; now, if we look inwards (rather than outwards) to comprehend it then it likely becomes a pit of despair.

Friday, February 01, 2008


If this website is some kind of practical joke, then I'm very impressed - sadly, of course it isn't. My niece has got a cat named Lolita - better get it changed quick before the Raising Kids Brigade (RKB) find out. Dolores, Lola, Loli, or the diminutive form Lolita is a common girls' name in Spanish speaking countries - and the hispanophiles (watch it) amongst you will know its literal meaning as will fans of Nabokov its literary intent (the annotated version of the book comes highly recommended).

Exerting social pressures on others human beings do all the time (and I find such a disagreeable trait): it gives us a sense of importance; what I find interesting here is how these reflexes are affected by several powerful prisms.

PRISM #1 Morons
The RKB are clearly not linguists or particularly literary, or at best simply choose to overlook the absurd and illogical implications of their complaint made 'on grounds of bad taste' and no attempt is made to extend the argument beyond that. Heaven forbid we have bad taste (or friends or cats named Lolita). The Woolies' press officer's unblushing response: '... they'd never heard of the word and in fact, neither had I. I had to go on to Wikipedia to find out the meaning of the word.'

PRISM #2 Scratchers
This is a bed for children. Beds are for having sex. Lolita is the fictional girl in Nabokov's book. Perverts use this word a lot. A more tortuous example of complex equivalence you will be hard pressed to find. Who knows what the fuck it is we're buying at IKEA? Swedes must have so much fun at the expense of our ignorance.

PRISM #3 Celebrities
These beds are available all over the world - the RKB pick on Woolies because it guarantees exposure to their personal agendas. It reminds me when, of all the rock bands in the world who do Satanic backwards messages, it had to be Judas Priest that get pulled up in front of a judge.

PRISM #4 Taboos
Taboos are constantly shifting - and, where children were a century ago an expendable commodity, they now inhabit the domain of the most precious of all taboos. Or so you'd think. Yet it's interesting how even this now seems to be slowly shifting in new directions - read the comments at some of the tabloid UK websites (Daily Express for example) - you'll find a surprisingly relaxed attitude to the fuss the RKB are attempting to invoke. This shift and greater cynicism to the exploitation of the child taboo is noticeable in the Maddie McCann mystery, and in wider cultural and artistic senses too.

PRISM #5 Psycholinguists
Language is essentially an artificial construct, nothing means much beyond the ways in which we are triggered to understand it. This, of course, is a huge topic worthy of book treatment - however, the most interesting discovery for me is how the language we're wired to employ ourselves affects our own behaviour. So, in other words, in this example we see that the more the RKBers emotively talk about Lolita beds, the more we know about the kind of thoughts, images, and obsessions that they will be undoubtedly be experiencing in their own Hopens and Anebodas.