Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Joe McCarthy meets the Brass Eye paedophile special

A shady self-appointed group of six censorious zealots are trying to prevent you from seeing anything on the internet that THEY don't like. What's more, anyone with access to an internet connection (though critical thinking skills and a brain are not deemed necessary) can report any website they like to this unelected, unaccountable Ministry of Truth and they will zap it.

Yesterday, the intervention of this body of six individuals, the Internet Watch Foundation or IWF (so far, so Orwellian), over a 30-year-old album cover by naff German hard rock group The Scorpions, left (warning: potentially NSFW) the album's Wikipedia article and corresponding image page blocked and 95% of the United Kingdom (warning: also has the image) completely unable to edit the encyclopaedia. The rationale for this block was that the IWF deemed the image to be "potentially illegal".

The problem with this reason is, virtually anything you can name is "potentially" illegal. Cars. Pieces of wood. Icicles. A leg of lamb when wielded (in)correctly. Steak knives. Prescription medicine. Any electrical equipment. And so on. The category of things that are "potentially illegal" is either based on such skewed semantics as to be unworkable, or so broad as to be completely nonsensical.

Anyhow, the image isn't illegal. Not even the IWF assert that it actually is, not to mention any credible sources. It has never been banned. The album, and its cover, are still freely available on Multiple copies are two clicks away, by simply typing "Virgin Killer" into Google Image. The cover is on the band's website. It was reissued uncensored as part of the In Trance/Virgin Killer collector's edition box set in 2004, with no fuss from anyone. It is regularly reprinted in rock books and encyclopaedias, and even appears in many an online article, ironically, on the topic of Worst Ever Album Covers. And presumably, at least some people bought it when it came out and at least some of those still have it, so there are actual real-world tangible copies going about in 12" vinyl and CD sleeve formats in attics and the backrooms of second-hand record shops the country over.

In short, while the image is crass and in poor taste (then-guitarist Uli Jon Roth now concurs, regretting the album cover), it has never been deemed even remotely close to any of the five categories of child pornography in the UK.

(Incidentally, the IWF is also keen to eliminate the actual term "child pornography" in favour of "child sexual abuse images", on the basis that the inclusion of the word "pornography" in the former term somehow legitimises CP images. Erm, what? Since when has a reference to pornography conferred respectability on anything? If that were the case, deeming something to be CP would be enough to placate the rabid morons of the News of the Screws/Scum reader ilk, and not precisely the other way around. Dunno what any other linguists reckon of the IWF's argument here, but as a holder of an MA (Hons) in English, i think it makes about as much sense as eating your own shoes.)

The point of the image's widespread availability elsewhere, both on the web and in meatspace, was put to IWF spokeswoman Sarah Robertson by Jim Naughtie on yesterday's Today programme, where their unconvincing defence was "oh, well no-one reported any of the other sites, just Wikipedia". Hmm. Does that sound like a system that could be open to... i don't know... abuse, at all? Their description of the decision elsewhere as "pragmatic", as noted by WP spokesman David Gerard, seems to basically translate as "it's easier to go after Wikipedia than Amazon as they are a user-funded educational charity and not a corporate behemoth with a phalanx of lawyers that would put Monty Burns to shame".

Meanwhile, thanks to the Streisand effect, page views for Virgin Killer went from less than 1,000 a day in early December to over 126,000 on December 7. The Scorpions' band page went up sixfold. No doubt the lion's share of those 126,000 hits were from people who had never heard of Virgin Killer, or maybe even The Scorpions, before the controversy. Heartening proof of the law of unintended consequences, but something of an own goal, one might think, for an organisation trying to limit the spread of images they deem objectionable. In fact, pleasingly, two Australian ISPs have apparently since opted out of content-filtering because of the pig-eared fiasco this has become.

Anyway, watch out for this, and be prepared for what these clowns might try to nuke next. (Indeed, the dependable wags over at 4chan have already started a contest among themselves to determine the most innocuous thing they can get the IWF to block). The law they tried to break Wikipedia with only applies to "photographs and pseudo-photographs", so Michelangelo's David and Lolita are safe (for the moment, presumably until someone decides they "potentially" aren't). But Blind Faith might not be. Nor might Pretty Baby. Nevermind? Kids? Houses of the Holy? The first Bow Wow Wow album? Hard Candy? Thirteen? The original cover of Yesterday and Today? Quoting J Biafra, "where do ya draw the line?"

It'd be nice to wake up just one morning in the UK these days without having to seethe at another news item on either more hysterical "will-somebody-think-of-the-CHIL-dren!" bollocks or another attempt to curtail our civil liberties by some unaccountable malcontents.

But until then, beware...

Friday, 21 November 2008

50 Cent vs. Peter Gabriel: thank-you, Joe!

My friend Joe, aka Germlin, Ben Butler and Mouse Pad and one half of gay against you, wrote a pretty interesting blog the other day about an interview with Kanye that he'd read in the Grauniad, wherein 'Ye confessed that he was tired of hip-hop's perceived contemporary simplicity and formulaic basis, and how with his new one, 808s & Heartbreak, he is in fact attempting to "transcend" h.h. altogether in favour of something called "pop-art" (tho as the Grauniad article points out, surely "art-pop" would have been a little more modest, notwithstanding Mr. Warhol, Mr. Liechtenstein, Mr. Johns, etc.)

While i had my doubts as to either Kanye's ability to spearhead such a movement or, indeed, the sincerity of the challenge itself, Joe's interpretation, in seeing the worth of it all as being in "pop music holding a mirror up to itself again", convinced me. He (Joe) ends with the thought:
Let's hope it provokes a bit of competition too - If Kanye is aiming to be the noughties Phil Collins, maybe 50 Cent can get way into world music and take on the mantle of Peter Gabriel.
Well, Joe - while i am obviously (so far) incapable of making such a collaboration happen in reality, i can at least do it virtually. Here's 50's "I Get Money" getting the Gabriel treatment. The oddest thing about doing this was actually making me realise what a well-written song "Sledgehammer" is.

And yes, i am aware of the potential irony of this tune falling into the very same "generic hip-hop" category that Kanye lambasts in the Guardian article. For that reason, i'd prefer to think of it as "generic mash-up" instead ^_^

MP3: 50 Cent — "I Get Money (30KB Hammer Party edit)"

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Apparently the Royal Mail have trademarked the colour red™.

Got a card from the Royal Mail in the letterbox today, informing us about their convenient new Christmas services. These include waiving collection charges for sorting office visits, longer opening hours over the Winterval period, and free redeliveries if you're out, etc. Pretty good stuff, i thought, although i wondered how they were funding such helpful new measures. Then i saw the back.


Gotta say, that's a pretty audacious way to raise money, alright, and especially around Christmas! i forsee an appeal on behalf of Father Christmas to (my favourite commission) the Competition Commission.

MP3: Yoko, Oh No! — "Reds for the Blue Sun"
MP3: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — "Red Right Hand (album)"

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

30KB album streamable on!

30,000 Leagues Under the Scene (Amoebic Industries AMP006) is the first album by 30KB, the group i do rapping and production for. It's coming out soon as a bona fide real-life holdable CD and everything, but until then users can peep it on the said site at this address. All tracks available for free full-length preview. Dunno what happens if you try and play it and you're not already a member but you might as well give it a go.

The cover above is an edited version of the full artwork spread by the fantastic Mr. Tom Schwarz. This is just the portion that will appear on the front cover, but when you see the full spread you will silenced by sheer awe. Yeh, it's that good.

Obviously we're dead chuffed to get this one out there, both so we finally have something tangible to put our names to and also, importantly, so we can start getting on with the next one. Ohhh yeh, baby... no sleep til' bedtime.

Track listing
  1. "30KB Sting" – 0:21
  2. "Welcome to Nothing" – 3:05
  3. "Toleracist 2008" – 4:44
  4. "Fuck 'em If They Can't Take a Joke" – 3:00
  5. "Care Less" – 2:01
  6. "N.W.W." – 3:08
  7. "Beat the Rich" – 3:04
  8. "Meet Is What I Like to Eet" – 2:54
  9. "Carnival of Horrors" – 3:06
  10. "Dancehall" – 3:49
  11. "Crewd Sons (Ghost in the Machine)" – 2:40
AcheZen Pains — vocals, turntables
Diss-1 — vocals

Recorded late 2007 to mid 2008 at: Crewdson Studios, New Cross, SE London; E-stunSounds, Spital, Wirral; Peet St., North Wales; a bedroom in Che-town.

Guest vocals by Ava Leigh (2, 4, 5, 10) and Living Larceny (6).

Produced by Diss-1 (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10); Artikal-10 (3, 6); Crewdson (5, 11); Test Subjectz (9).

Guitar (5): Dunk of Laffin.
Chorus vocals (8): The Boron Tabernacle Choir (
C. Carlsson, M. Dring, H. Jones, A. Officer, J. Patchett, T. Redfern).

Artwork: Tom Schwarz

PS: Wanna see us live? Got an upcoming show at Liverpool's Carling Academy 2, a drummerless bacchanal also featuring White Trash ana Halfcast, Killa Flaw and The Jolt. Check here or here my friends!!

link: 30K @ myspace

Monday, 3 November 2008

The joy of criticism.

An abject lesson (to anyone who might have doubted it) that sometimes, criticism of pop cultural artefacts can be of a lot higher quality and more rewarding than the film, book, play, etc. it's actually critiquing. Don't believe me? Read this Slate article (as reprinted below) on the filmmakers responsible for Scary Movie, Shit Movie, Rehashed Spew Movie, and all the rest of 'em. My particular favourite diss is highlighted in dark red, but you may take yr pick of the riches on offer.

Disaster Movie, the latest spoof from director/writer tandem Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, hits theaters on Friday. Despite the fact that no Friedberg-Seltzer movie—their previous works include Epic Movie and Date Movie—has received anything close to critical acclaim, the duo continues to churn out films at a spectacular rate. Earlier this year, in an essay pegged to the release of the 300 takeoff Meet the Spartans, Josh Levin called the Friedberg-Seltzer movies "massive consumer fraud" and asked why audiences continue to patronize these terrible films. The article is reprinted below.

Meet the Spartans. Click image to expand.Meet the Spartans (20th Century Fox), the latest spoof from Scary Movie/Date Movie/Epic Movie auteurs Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, begins with King Leonidas from 300 getting crapped on by a dancing penguin who exclaims, "I'm about to make you my bitch!" It ends with—spoiler alert!—a Stallone impersonator gyrating in the outfit Britney Spears wore to the MTV awards. In between, there are thousands of bad gay jokes (Leonidas' battle plan: "I'm going to take them in the rear"), thousands of even-worse gay jokes ("It looks like backstage at an Elton John concert"), and "fake" in-movie commercials for Gatorade and Dentyne Ice. The action regularly stops so the characters can be evaluated by the judges from American Idol, America's Next Top Model, and Dancing With the Stars. Those who stick around for the closing credits are treated to the sight of George W. Bush getting kicked in the nuts. Judging by the respective approval ratings of Bush (31 percent) and the Friedberg-Seltzer comedy team (between 2 percent and 3 percent, according to Rotten Tomatoes), audiences would have preferred to see Bush, or perhaps even Stalin, kick Friedberg and Seltzer in the balls.

Various news sources have declared that Meet the Spartans has a running time of 84 minutes. Some online reviews peg the actual running time at 68 minutes. I went to a 5:30 p.m. screening. After previews, the movie began some time between 5:44 and 5:47. The closing credits started at 6:47. After a cast-performed rendition of "I Will Survive" (note: this was a reprise of an earlier performance) staged on the American Idol set (note: not the real American Idol set), the credits ran over a black screen. Perhaps two minutes later, the credits gave way to scenes that weren't strong enough to make the first 60 minutes, including Spider-Man removing Donald Trump's toupee. After about five minutes of these deleted scenes, the credits started again. They moved at about 10 lines per minute. And, considering the movie is about an hour long and probably took about six hours to make, they included a surprising amount of names; I'm guessing 8,000. By the time the credits had been slow-rolling for several minutes, the other 15 people in the theater had gone home. As the credits continued, I put on my headphones and listened to some music. At 7:09, more than 20 minutes after the credits began, I was rewarded by the aforementioned five-second, fake-Stallone-as-Britney bit. The lights went up and I left, shaken and depressed.

Isn't it massive consumer fraud to charge $10.50 for a barely hour-long movie? Perhaps, but it would've been unforgivable to make Meet the Spartans any longer than an hour. This was the worst movie I've ever seen, so bad that I hesitate to label it a "movie" and thus reflect shame upon the entire medium of film. Friedberg and Seltzer do not practice the same craft as P.T. Anderson, David Cronenberg, Michael Bay, Kevin Costner, the Zucker Brothers, the Wayans Brothers, Uwe Boll, any dad who takes shaky home movies on a camping trip, or a bear who turns on a video camera by accident while trying to eat it. They are not filmmakers. They are evildoers, charlatans, symbols of Western civilization's decline under the weight of too many pop culture references.

As Bryan Curtis has pointed out in Slate, the spoofs of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker—the team behind Airplane! and The Naked Gun—are characterized by their facility with the tone and detail work of genre films and their genius combination of straight-faced B-movie actors with lowbrow punch lines and sight gags. Friedberg and Seltzer, rather than tweak the clichés of the movies they parody, take a NOW: That's What I Call Movies! approach, using farts and leather underwear to not-critique a collection of pre-chewed moments from recent blockbusters. In Meet the Spartans, the mere act of referring to Transformers, Happy Feet, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Rocky Balboa, Stomp the Yard, Shrek, Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Federline, or Deal or No Deal is presumed to be hilarious. (If you'll indulge me for a second, I will pause to crack up Friedberg and Seltzer: "Paris Hilton.") An example of this soft-hitting mashup style: After Leonidas punts American Idol's Sanjaya into the "pit of death," a Simon Cowell impersonator declares the kick "utterly dreadful," whereupon he too goes spelunking in the death pit. Take that, Simon Cowell!

Friedberg and Seltzer have also failed to absorb the Zuckers' understanding of the power of the straight man. While Sean Maguire declines to wink or mug through his portrayal of the mighty Leonidas, the filmmakers betray their lead actor by having him shout "Paris Hilton!" or "Dane Cook!" every time one of the film's copious celeb impersonators makes an appearance. Not content to merely insult its audience by charging full fare for a pastiche of sub-Mad TV-level sketches, Meet the Spartans dares to presume that it's smarter than the people watching. In anticipation of writing a piece on the decline of the spoof genre—a project that has been aborted, because forcing me to watch the entire Friedberg-Seltzer canon would require Slate to spend millions in hazard pay—I rented one of the duo's previous titles, Date Movie. I made it only halfway through, but I did notice that the DVD included an option to watch the film with a laugh track. I'm not kidding, and I don't think Friedberg and Seltzer are, either—they think we're too stupid to know where the stupid jokes are.

Here's the great irony of the Friedberg-Seltzer phenomenon: These two churn out crap, then brazenly parade the crapitude in trailers and commercials, essentially daring America to stay away. Instead, we reward them by making Meet the Spartans the top-earning movie in the country, the second straight Friedberg-Seltzer film to earn that honor. The movie's $18.5 million take has a lot to do with its release date; even in the dumping ground of late January, something has to be No. 1 at the box office. The film's success, though, is not a sign that popular opinion diverges from that of the critics. On its opening weekend, Meet the Spartans played to the audiences most predisposed to like it: frat boys, middle schoolers, the actors' parents. Considering that crowd, the movie's C- CinemaScore—a rating compiled by querying the exiting audience—is appalling.

I don't blame Fox for releasing the likes of Meet the Spartans—these movies are so cheap to produce that they're guaranteed moneymakers. But why do audiences keep encouraging the studio by coming back for more? My theory is that Friedberg and Seltzer have managed to stay just anonymous enough that people in the mood for a good spoof aren't aware that they're about to subject themselves to the hacks behind Date Movie and Epic Movie. As soon as the duo becomes better-known and better-reviled, they will have only one recourse: self-parody. Hitting the screen in 2009: Not Another Friedberg-Seltzer Movie.

A man ate this

Jamie Oliver is currently weeping into his watery health-chicken.

After losing the title of "world's biggest burger" to the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, New Jersey, which introduced a 12.5-pound hamburger called "Zeus" in early 2005, Denny's reclaimed the crown a few months later by unveiling the "Beer Barrel Belly Bruiser", a monstrous 15-pound burger featuring 10.5 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, a cup-and-a-half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers. On a bun.

In October 2008, Brad Sciullo of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, became the first Denny's Beer Barrel Pub customer ever to polish off one of their "Beer Barrel Belly Bruisers" in one sitting, consuming the 15-pound burger (20.2 pounds with bun and toppings) in 4 hours and 39 minutes.

On a similar tip, cheers to Miles for putting me up on the Heart Attack Grill of Arizona, taking the whole thing just that bit further by offering you side-orders of "soft drink of elite hackers" Jolt Cola and unfiltered Lucky Strikes. Awww yeh! The nonchalant combativeness of their press coverage/skirmishes page fills me with great joy, as do their non-medically trained nurses.

Finally, who knew an ostrich burger looked like this?

MP3: Judi Chicago — "Burger Joy"

Joyz N The Hood: a poetic celebration comes to pass.

So, improbably enough, the Che Standard actually printed my letter from mid-October on the topic of contemporary fashion and specifically that modern sartorial demon The Hood.

Full credit to them: i really didn't see that happening when i wrote it. i figured if the pro-hood, anti-moral majority stance didn't do for it, the vigour of the "how dare you" and my branding of Mr. Billy and his ilk ignorant, prejudiced and disrespectful probably would (yeh, i know he pretty much did the same in his letter and they printed that; but since when did minority opinions get given equal weight?)

And if either of those reasons weren't enough, surely they wouldn't take kindly to me pointing out the unusual use of the word "aroung"? After all, the misspelling of "around" is almost certainly a typographical error on the part of the paper's staff, not the kid himself (even though that wasn't gonna stop me using it against him for comic effect). Would the Standard print a line that so egregiously dissed their own typesetting skillz?

...Well, yes. Apparently they would.

For that, i can only take my hat off to them. The Chester Standard: the local paper that can officially Take A Joke. Kudos.

(Still wish i'd left in the stanza where i dissed his inconsistent use of question marks, mind.)

Thanks to Tim for the clipping.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Weird collabo of the arbitrary time period

Guess what! A new album by purveyors of tripped-out percussive indie-dub-noise crew (and performers of my current ringtone in the shape of "Oxygen Demo Riddim", uninteresting trivia fans) Gang Gang Dance is here.

Its name is Saint Dymphna, and on initial listening it appears to have progressed in a more electronic direction from their first one,
God's Money. Seems to be a slow burner rather than anything instantly overwhelming, but then again i only listened the once, and i seem to recall the same thing about God's Money – a dense psychey sludge-out that took a bit to get into but then just kept on getting better and better over the following months.

Probably the most immediately noticeable about the record is that, weirdly, East London grime head Tinchy Stryder turns up as if wandering in from another record altogether. Eh? For once a record company press release tells no word of a lie:

“Princes” is the real shocker of the bunch. The first appearance of London-based MC Tinchy Stryder and his “Oh shit! Gang Gang!” toast will cause more than a few moments of “Did I accidentally switch records?” before the conclusion that this stuff is smashing apart genre conventions in a way that few bands have been willing to experiment with. The song plays like the weirdest Grime track (or the weirdest Gang Gang Dance track for that matter) you’ve ever heard. Either way, it re-emphasizes the group’s club potential, experimental success and beyond all, true understanding of good music no matter what label critics decide to obsess over on a given day.

Hm... maybe some words of an exaggeration, though. But they're right about the "huh?" factor of TS's arrival.

And Saint Dymphna? The press release pegs her as the patron saint of "outsiders, taboo subject matter and general disorder". Well, um, sort of. She actually accounts for those who suffer from mental illnesses and nervous system disorders, epileptics, mental health professionals, happy families, incest victims (the last two a pretty strange combo, if you think about it), and runaways.

A lot of that is accounted for by her own life story: when her mother died at fourteen, her father searched the world in vain for an equally beautiful replacement, until someone pointed out that his daughter looked quite like her mother (duh) and he decided to cut his losses and try and have a crack at her. She fled to Europe with her priest mentor, but was followed by the father who cornered them in the temple, beheaded the priest, demanded that Dymphna return to Ireland with him, and beheaded her too upon her refusal. Her burial place has long been associated with "miracle cures" for mental illness.

Phew, eh. It's a wonder Christian types spend time getting het up about aspects of modern culture when their mythology is rammed full of stuff like this.

: Gang Gang Dance feat. Tinchy Stryder — "Princes"

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

News in brief (scanning thru Beeb website)

Concern over Katona TV appearance
An erratic appearance by former pop star Kerry Katona on ITV1's This Morning caused viewers to call in with concerns about her health.

The singer's slurred words prompted host Phillip Schofield to say: "You don't seem right to me... Your speech is a bit slurred, how are you feeling?"

Katona seemed surprised by the question, but blamed prescription drugs she had taken to help her sleep.

Former pop star does drugs, you say? Gosh, This Morning viewers are an incisive bunch. Still less of a concern, i'd say, than the continued pollution of our screens by tossers like J. Oliver, J. Clarkson, J. Kyle, Heston "Jellyfish and Banana Quiche" Blumenthal* et al.
* (for instance)

Also, Phil Schofield is one smooth bastard. i'm definitely trying out the line "you don't seem right to me" next time i hit the town.

Police 'exaggerate demo numbers'
Police "over-egg" the number of people taking part in demonstrations to justify the amount of cash they have spent, a climate protester has claimed.

Phil McLeish, from Climate Camp, said police used to "downplay" the number of protesters at demonstrations.

But now they were "colluding" with protest groups to make demonstrations appear bigger than they were.

A police source told BBC News: "This is a bit rich. They always criticise us for underestimating the numbers."

That last sentence is like a customer in a restaurant telling the chef that part of his food is still frozen, and the chef replying with "That's a bit rich. You usually criticise me for burning it." The point being, neither are really particularly desirable.

Bad policeman, no doughnut.

Naked man found wedged in chimney
A naked man found wedged in the chimney of a supermarket in Wigan has been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Police officers discovered him trapped in a chimney breast of a Tesco Express store on Ormskirk Road, Pemberton.

Firefighters were called to rescue the man who had become trapped in the chimney as he tried to get out.

Police said that because the man was naked he was taken to hospital as a precaution but was treated and discharged before being arrested.

A GMP spokeswoman said: "It is believed some of his clothes came off as a result of him struggling to get out of the chimney."

Not a lot to really add to the awesomeness of this one, except i quite like the idea that someone being naked is now considered a sign that precaution should be taken.

And finally, Mohammed al-Fayed may be a child sex offender. Don't worry, i'm sure it'll only be a matter of hours before it turns out to be all a conspiracy to discredit his good name, planned and executed by MI6, Prince Phillip and the Loch Ness Monster.

MP3: Aesop Rock feat. Rob Sonic — "Dark Heart News"

Monday, 20 October 2008

(SAY WHAT, SAY WHAT?!?!) I'm a baaad, baaad man

Another installment in the somewhat vague and irregular Awesome '90s Verse of the Day series, today we revisit the crucial question of what the scenario is. Now, everyone in the world already knows the original "Scenario", whether cuz of Spike Lee's ace old-skool video or simply due to its status as arguably the best ever posse cut.

However, not everybody knows that nestling on the flip of the original 12" (also: rather gratuitously tacked on to The Love Movement seven years later) is the "Scenario" remix, featuring brand new verses from each of the five MCs on the A-side, plus previously absent LONS member Cut Monitor Milo (Busta's cousin) and one Kid Hood.

Hood, born Troy Anthony Hall, was a friend of Q-Tip's that the latter intended on introducing to the world by having him open up the remix, which he does in glorious storming fashion (shirtless and in one take, according to Tip), even beating out Bus-a-Bus for Best 16 (which on a '91–'92 posse cut is no mean feat). Hood and Tip were also supposed to do an album together, apparently. On this evidence, this would surely have been ace.

But we can only ever speculate: the "Scenario (remix)" opener turned out to be Kid Hood's last recording as well as his first, as he was beaten and shot in the head only two days after taping it. Which is sort of cringily ironic given some of the lines in his verse (the bit where he promises to "pump slugs in your face, and dump that ass in the river", for instance).

Q-Tip paid tribute with a sleevenote on the 12" and the line "Peace to Hood, baby, from the midnight crooner" in his verse. Phife would later pay his own tribute on "Peace, Prosperity and Paper" from the, erm, High School High OST, with the line "Kid Hood restin in heaven, I hope to see you soon". The eminently quotable "bad, bad man" bit line from the end of the verse turned up scratched into "Gimme the Loot" off Biggie's Ready to Die. And that was just about that.

The gap left by the extreme shortness of Hood's recorded career filled up with back-and-forth speculation about his wasted potential among hip-hop followers. Today, descriptions of him still alternate between "one of the most promising MCs of the 1990s" and, bizarrely, one of its most overrated (purely as a result of the said speculation). Whatever, 16 years on he still smacks the shit out of this verse. RIP Hood, we hardly knew ye.

[Hood] (ATCQ & LONS)
Check the vibe, walk that ass or get got
Eff it (SHIIIT!!) I lick buckshots
Hood, madman, I rip up stages
Lay down all your wages, I'm wild like Larry Davis
Extra, extra, pick up a clip
I'll tear ass out the frame (HUH?!) and grab my dick (OHHH!!)
I'm a Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Robot kid, I drop bombs
I'm rugged and deadly, so I shit on the petty
I baseball bat a bastard, I'm bad news
I'm crazy and clever, cut those of crews
Death on the phono, my skills are porno
You say "oh no!" you bitch-ass homo
I bag up waste, electrifying, I'm prime time
I slaughter a slime, I'm the greatest of all time
Sick-ass brother, nasty-ass nigga
Pump slugs in your face, and dump that ass in the river
Two tears in a bucket, fuck it, kick the can
(SAY WHAT, SAY WHAT?!?!) I'm a baaad, baaad man...

Other ace factors in this remix:

• The way it tests the very concept of the "remix" by not actually including any of the elements of the original at all, except for...

• The gang vocals and interplay. Including but not exclusive to: "C. Brown, are we in the clear? — YEAHHH!"... "RAWWR, RAWWR, RAWWR!" as Busta's dragon returns... the fine rendition of Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time"... the "HUH?!... OHHH!!" when Hood warns you that he'll tear ass out the frame and grab his dick... the bit during Brown's verse where they all just get rowdy for a couple of bars... pick your favourite.

• "Vanilla Ice platinum? That shit's ridiculous!" Tell them, Phife.

• Shaheed hooking up Kool & the Gang's "Soul Vibrations" several years before Just Blaze did it on Joe Budden's "Pump It Up".

• Busta's intro: "Whereas there are seven MC's, six which are in physical form, one which is in spiritual essence, and he goes by the name of, uh... HOOD!"

• Tip's roll call: "Eight black brothers in the public eye, If you listen very close, I will tell you why /(HOOD!) Phife, Milo, Dinco and C. Brown, Shaheed, myself, and Busta Bust Down"...

MP3: A Tribe Called Quest — "Scenario (remix)"

Thursday, 16 October 2008

In defence of noted fashion staple the hood.

Here's a ridiculous letter written to The Chester Standard by one Billy Mason of Little Neston, concerning hood-wearers and why he views them all as criminal scum, allied to a redemptive message of hope that all those of us afflicted by hood-wearing can one day "come out of our shell" because "society needs ya(sic), you can bridge that distance". Well, erm, thanks for that, Billy, i'm sure i'll bear it in mind next time i'm out clothes shopping.

Also included: my mildly tongue-in-cheek poetic response, written off-the-cuff on the back of a Highland packet while "assisting" in filming a new OFA video and actually submitted to the Standard in response to Billy's little diatribe. Let's see if they print this ish.

Hey i'm just trying to be me and nobody else
That is why i pick the clothes i like best for myself
But some ignorant folk claim i'm "up to no good"
Just cuz i like to wear a hood.

How dare you judge me? You've never even met me.
So how could you possibly say correctly?
Prejudice lies at the heart of your argument.
(That, and my hooded garment.)

You wouldn't write poetry packed with such loathing
Directed at others' selections of clothing.
You'd be making a crude generalisation
The clothes make not the persuasion.

(Although MPs wear suits and start unlawful wars
And bankers wear suits, gambling money that's yours,
And half-dressed "celebs" invite national shame.
And you figure hoods are to blame.)

And i'm boundlessly creative. i'm not "in my shell".
i don't wear a scarf. i behave very well.
Don't lazily label me "misunderstood"
Cuz i enjoy wearing a hood.

These baseless slurs just raise up my cholest'rol.
i terrorize nobody. You're disrespectful
For calling folk "coward" and "stuck in the mud"
Just for choosing to wear a hood.

A hoodie goes nicely with T-shirt and jeans
(And i'm not "walkin' aroung" — whatever that means)
If people "despise" me, their ignorance is tragic.
A hood's just a piece of fabric.

In summary, then — i will say it once, loudly:
No-one's hiding in hoods. We're wearing 'em proudly.

MP3: gay against you — "I Put My Hood Up"
MP3: Mogwai — "Like Herod (Hood mix)"

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Bear market rally: Wandering Bear

The slightly mysterious Wandering Bear is the self-described IDM project of one Edward Newton, described by his record label's site as "an electronic dude from Canberra, Australia".

Don't know if he's named after the Native American guy who asked Cheryl how her vagina was in that one Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, or alternatively for a real-life wandering bear — such as the hapless wild black bear in Franee, Mississippi who got a 2½-gallon plastic jar stuck on his head and was then shot for his troubles after he wandered into a nearby town during its local Turkey Days celebration (a sad story indeed. Although, let's face it, you don't fuck with Turkey Days) — though at any rate, he makes great electronic/IDM/breakcore-type music.

So here's three to check out from Wandering Bear, for people who dig the said styles and those similar. i particularly like the plunderphonics on "Derk Simsauns Hicks", although in view of its title and general contents, it shouldn't really have taken me two plays to work out the sample source. Must have not have been listening properly or something.

If, perchance, you want to listen to or own the whole of the parent album of these tracks, its name is Pencil and Paper and it is obtainable for free from the aforesaid record label, Glitch City (or click the album cover to the left).

Glitch City continue to put out quality noise, plunderphonic, breakcore, etc. releases with an almost terrifyingly regularity, so expect more dispatches from them on here in the near future.

MP3: Wandering Bear — "Derk Simsauns Hicks"
MP3: Wandering Bear — "Luca Native Bear"
MP3: Wandering Bear — "Midbreak-Lunchbreak"

Thursday, 18 September 2008

100 dumplings & 1,000,000 peas: the further adventures of Mr. Greedy

I used to have a tape of kids' songs themed around Roger Hargreaves' deathlessly wonderful Mr. Men characters. There were about five or six songs on each side of the tape, i seem to recall, up to a total of about twelve.

They were mostly third-person narrative tales about the adventures of the better known Mr. Men or some of their character traits: Mr. Happy's track, for instance, was a (rather soppy, i recall) paean to positivity, while Mr. Bump's chronicled his accident-prone nature. The odd few were told from a first-person perspective, a highlight being Mr. Nosey's painful account of the consequences of constantly sticking his ample nose in everybody's business.

(Thanks to this ace site for the cover scan.)

The best song, however, which ended side one, concerned (and was entitled) "Mr Greedy's Little Light Lunch".
One hundred dumplings and a million peas
Twenty marmalade puddings and a cheddar cheese
Bread and butter and a roll or two
Bread and butter and a roll or two, three, four

Then boiled beef and carrots in a casserole stew
And a bucket of custard, vanilla cake too
Bread and butter and a roll or two
Mr. Greedy is having a little light lunch

And then a treat for him to eat
It's roly poly pudding...

Apparently, Greedy also ate "ice cream in tons", "a gallon of soup", "bunches of bananas", and, somewhat underwhelmingly after all that lot, "plum duffs". Dunno about you, but to me that sounds like a hearty meal.

An unhealthy appetite was also the downfall of Mr. Greedy's namesake this week. The suitably rotund-looking Clive Greedy (right) was suspended from his job as a paramedic on the Isle of Wight after eating a stick of celery while attempting to revive a patient suffering from a heart attack.

According to the Beeb:

Darren Claydon, an emergency care practitioner... told a hearing in London on Monday: "My attention was called to Clive Greedy, by him saying, 'Nice celery'"...

This story just gets more and more improbable. Not just because at the time of the celery consumption, Greedy's partner paramedic John Jones was also "jesting with a prawn" and speculating as to whether said seafood would be cooked if the patient was defibrillated while it was on his chin; but also because, who, i ask you, has ever used the phrase "nice celery" before?

Obviously i wanted to give away "Mr. Greedy's Little Light Lunch" with this post, but my Mr. Men tape got lost about fifteen years ago (there's good money in it if you can get me a rip. More for a hard copy) so that went out the window. So here's some good general songs to go towards your five-a-day instead.

MP3: Minor Threat — "Salad Days"
MP3: Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention — "Call Any Vegetable"
MP3: The Vegetable Orchestra — "Greenhouse"

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The first in an occasional series of giant wankers

A Ryanair flight carrying British holidaymakers has been forced to make an unscheduled landing due to a loss of cabin pressure, the company has said.
Probably experiencing a sudden extreme blast of turbulence from Michael "Cunt" O'Leary's gargantuan, shit-puking ego.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Take that bass out your voice, you talk to me in treble.

The first in an irregular series(?), today's Awesome '90s Verse of the Day is from Talib Kweli on Reflection Eternal's "Chaos", from the Soundbombing II comp.
[Talib Kweli]
Call us Liberty like the Bell in Philadelphia scenery
Me and Bahama-D style free like Mumia need to be
Seein me, feelin me, we right here on the level
Turning hard rocks to pebbles, exposin the devil
Lyrical Olympian like John Carlos winnin gold medal
Take that bass out your voice, you talk to me in treble
I'm "Serious" as Steady B so you know I ain't playin
I'm stimulatin, makin crowds move like organizations
in Philly
. Keep it positive, my prerogative is exercise
See through the chaos with my third eye, Word I
Exhibit the exquisiteness, since a child I was vivid
Throw your hands in the air if you with it, dig it

...and every time some windbag fence-sitter from the International Olympic Committee or whoever comes out with some bullshit platitude about how the Olympics are above criticism because sport is like waaay too important to be affected by trivial real-world concerns like people's imprisonment and torture or forced disappearance or people's countries being invaded and occupied or funded for self-destruction or people having to apply for unattainable permission to speak their minds or the general quasi-Fascistic suppression of views that don't fit...

i think about how much we need a John Carlos.

Although Talib got it slightly wrong:
Tommie Smith got the gold, Carlos the bronze.

MP3: Reflection Eternal feat. Bahamadia — "Chaos"

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Endearing bungling; more Dark Knight

To Birmingham, and the news that the council there has printed up 720,000 leaflets to thank the residents for their diligence in recycling, but unfortunately illustrated them with a picture of the wrong Birmingham — the West Midlands city's redneck American counterpart of Birmingham, Alabama.

Sparing literally no expense whatsoever, they also appear to have lifted the image of the Birmingham, AL skyline directly from the aforelinked Wikipedia article:

Here's a picture of the Birmingham, UK skyline for comparison purposes:

Hmmm, yes. You can maybe see their point. Personally, i'm wholly in favour of this sort of thing; you can't fault their commitment to recycling stuff, at least.

However, the most charming bit about the whole story was the authorities' initial insistence that nooo, of course they hadn't made a mistake! Y'see, they were planning to display, ummm... a generic skyline "intended to symbolise an urban area"! Yeh, that's right! Any old skyline, that'll do! And... erm... it was just unfortunate coincidence that the skyline in question was from a city with the same name as theirs while also not being the right one. Yeh! Coincidence!!

That line of reasoning lasted for nearly a whole 5 minutes, until presumably everybody who'd heard it had been fully incapacitated with laughter and told the Council to stop pretending they hadn't been going in the biscuit tin, as everyone could plainly see the chocolate plastered around all their mouths. Sterling effort.

In other news:

Dear All My Friends,

I would very likely have come to see The Dark Knight with you if you'd told me Maggie Gyllenhaal was in it.

YouTube: Gang Starr — "Nice Girl, Wrong Place"

Monday, 11 August 2008

The world is burning down, kids, watch it on the TV.

Cracker of a remix today, with El-P flipping Kidz in the Hall's "Drivin' Down the Block (Low End Theory)", itself pretty decent to start with, from a debonair summer breeze into a bug-eyed apocalyptic noise-funk whir via the addition of an extra verse and some ace subversive paraphrases of Naledge's original second verse.

Original KITH lyrics from so don't blame me for getting those wrong (just El's bits).

[Chorus: Masta Ace]
Driving down the
Driving down the
Driving down the
Driving down the...

[Verse 1: Naledge]
[Driving down the block] It's the flicker of the year
Flicker on my ear make a hater shed a tear, When I'm
[Driving down the block]
Got my seat on recline, turn up the Alpine
with the [Bass crazy kicking and]
[Driving down the block] See my black lady gossip
Passenger side with my hand on her thigh, while I'm
[Driving down the block] Chuck a deuce to the sky
For the boppers in the stands rubber necking on my ride
[Driving down the block] My Low End Theory tape in
Playing number six "Show Business" is my shit, when I'm
[Driving down the block] Bass kicking man sorta like Fred A-do
And I'm looking blessed like I said A-choo
I'm so damn clean, polo rugby and Jordan 16s while I'm
[Driving down the block] Wifey feeling intimate
Park up at the lake and turn the car into a cigarette

See the wheels on my car go round and round (uh-huh)
See the wheels on my truck go round and round (uh-huh)
See the wheels on my car go round and round (uh-huh)
See the wheels on my truck go (rouuunnnnndddddd)

[Verse 2: El-P] [Masta Ace]
[Driving down the block] Past a military cop
Got his blickers in his paws it's a
Blackwater op, when I'm
[Driving down the block] See the cinders of the city
Try to get to higher ground before the riots set off, well I'm
[Driving down the block] Whether the hooptie or the Ranger,
Debasement is the fashion, i'm lashed to the great danger
[Driving down the...] not until petroleum drops off
from 4 dollars a gallon, you can suck on my cock, watch...
The summer was hot shit, the city could shapeshift
Cops'd just spray ways, get off every day quick [And they...]
[Driving down the block] Humming a irrational anthem
No crackers in bags, scram and run to the van,
Grab your handgun and scoop up your fam; this land's done.
Try to make it out the section 'fore they notice you've run [They got me...]
[Driving down the block] They barricaded every corner
Got a creeping suspicion i might not make it to the border...

[Verse 3: Naledge & El-P] [Masta Ace]
Polo on my back, Nike on my heels
D's on my Caddy, nigga I'm so trill
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Low End Theory tape cause I'm so hip-hop, when I'm

[?All pulled out?] again, more likely to kill
Shackles on my ankles baby, life's so real
Drama's coming back (back), innocence is shot (shot)
The highway is a vein and i whip in a metal clot, when I'm

[Driving down the block] lights, camera, spotlight
Feel like the
Howard marching band at the stop light
[Driving down the block] see the cameras like scanners
Feeling like a [digi-pet?] with invisible handlers

Yeeeaah, my car like a shop right?
Got cheese, got bread, yea yea I shop right

Yeeeaah, food is getting sparse right?
No cheese, no bread, no rice, not nice
On stoney in the turning lane tipping
Down 87, my presence is a present
Pimp in my own mind, bumping my music
Brainiac dumb dumb, [Yo!] got a degree stupid!

Not a degree human, robotic consuming up
Any and every privile-, keep him from thinking busily
Is he that little dot on that grid? Oh god, fuck no,
Producto with a middle finger waving out the truck. (Go!)

[Driving down the block] I'm stunting like David Blaine
Oh look, it's
Major Payne sorta like Damon Wayans
Girls fantasize bout having labor pains
Cuz they see my ride and they thinking that I make it rain
Got a Cadillac car and a dream girl
Merrily merrily, my life is a dream world
Two miles an hour so everybody see me
The world is burning down, kids, watch it on the TV...

See the wheels on my car go round and round (uh-huh)
See the wheels on my truck go round and round (uh-huh)
See the wheels on my car go round and round (uh-huh)
See the wheels on my truck go round

[Chorus: Masta Ace]
Driving down the block, Low End, Low End Theory tape in
Open up the trunk, ba-bass crazy kicking
Driving down the block, Low-Low End Theory tape in
Low End Theory tape, bass, bass crazy kicking
Driving down the block, Low-Low End Theory tape in
Open up the trunk, ba-bass crazy kicking
Driving down the block, Low-Low End Theory tape in [See the...]
Open up the trunk, bass crazy kicking

PS: Swerve the West Coast remix, it's rubbish.
PPS: Reading this on Facebook? Go here, it'll make more sense.

MP3: Kidz in the Hall – "Drivin' Down the Block (Low End Theory)"
MP3: Kidz in the Hall – "Drivin' Down the Block (El-P mix feat. El-P)"

Unsurprising breaking news: PETA still morons

The clever souls at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are at it again, continuing to collect the public's unflagging sympathy and support for their worthy cause. Yep, the organisation that gave you such sane comparisons such as slaughterhouses with The Holocaust have apparently now decided that comparing every meat-eater with a psychopathic killer is really going to play well with the public. Genius. Hey you - enjoyed a tasty burger recently? THEN YOU'RE JEFFREY DAHMER!! Watch the membership requests flood in after that one.

People who genuinely care about animals – as opposed to slaughtering them while pretending to give a fuck – must surely be embarrassed to near-suicide every time PETA issue a new statement and make them, to a (wo)man, resemble some kind of insane cross between Bobby Sands and Beatrix Potter.

Personally, i just hope Ingrid "i'm getting my body made into meat, see what i did there?" Newkirk carks it soon, so i can order a load of "Newkirk Nuggets" and then shun them in favour of something tastier. (Let's face it, she looks like a stewed old boot, and there's no reason to suppose she'd taste any better.)

Like a big fat kangaroo steak, for instance. Mmmm... game-y.

MP3: The Meat Puppets – "I'm a Mindless Idiot"

"Peace to Biggie, Tupac, Big L, and Big Pun..."

 border=...and now Ike Hayes also. Goodnight Shaft, we will miss you.

Here's Wu-Tang's RZA flipping Isaac's "Walk on By" into one of the most heart-rending hip-hop tracks by anyone ever.

MP3: Wu-Tang Clan feat. Isaac Hayes – "I Can't Go to Sleep"

Monday, 4 August 2008

Keith Vaz fucks up / Starbucks fucks off

Another example of the current government's uncanny ability to deal with the really important issues in our society, the ones that affect us all, the ones we all carry so close to our hearts.

Yep, that latter-day Roger Cook Keith Vaz has fearlessly stuck his neck on the line, weighing in with his usual integrity and passionate on the deeply troubling and incredibly important issue of the cinema rating of the new Batman movie. Holy Totally Significant Issue, Batman!

According to the Beeb, Vaz told The Independent, "The BBFC should realise there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I certainly would not take my 11-year-old daughter. It should be a 15 certificate."

Uhhh, got news for you, Keith. A 12A certificate actually doesn't admit an 11-year-old (the clue's in the numbers) unless you specifically ignore the BBFC's advice and take the kid in with you as its legal guardian. So, um, your 11-year-old daughter wouldn't in fact be able to see the film anyway, unless you were a wilfully negligent parent. So if you don't want her to see it, don't take her to it. Just don't try and impose your misunderstanding of the ratings system on the rest of us for cheap political points.

How does such an egregious dunderhead get to lead a Select Committee, anyway? Presumably "Select" is like a Labour euphemism for "backwards", like "special" or "cerebrally challenged" or something.

In other news, three cheers for the Aussies! Apparently they've largely driven Starfucks out of the country altogether, corporate monolithery and shitty coffee and all.

When i got my mobile a few years ago, the inbuilt T-9 dictionary could accurately complete the word "Starbucks", but not "Shakespeare". So this news is not before time at all.

MP3: Don Caballero: "You Drink a Lot of Coffee for a Teenager"

Sunday, 3 August 2008

It was too bad for Marie Antoinette, and now it's gonna be too bad for you

Decapitation is apparently no longer the exclusive of religious terrorist groups; in fact it seems, worryingly, to be somewhat a flavour of the month at the moment. You'll probably be aware by now of the case of Tim McLean, whose assailant cut off his head on the bus before gleefully waving it at the other passengers, thus prompting exactly the same argument on Wikipedia that they have every time there's an even vaguely unusual death. (The fifth comment down on his MySpace is also a little unfortunate).

But worryingly, now it seems the procedure is also being used to settle garden-variety love rivalries (admittedly, the "36-hour pornography and cocaine-fuelled party" that apparently occurred prior was probably also a factor). And while not strictly decapitation (more just amputation), pulling children's fingers from your bag in court is definitely an original way to try and prove your innocence when being tried for, um, fraud. (No, no, it does make sense! The curse she was under that caused the kids' fingers to drop off also made her commit the £925,933 of tax fraud. Obviously.)

Enough grimness, here's some light relief in the form of a picture of a man with a full English breakfast tattooed on his head.

MP3: Teeks – "Decapitated Orchestra"
MP3: Beck – "Cut Half Blues"

Saturday, 2 August 2008

lolwut / my famous friends

So i appear to have started a weblog, mainly because i tend to think of a lot of things, and then either write them down or forget them. So i thought in a straight-up choice between forgetting them and writing them down and maybe seeing what someone else might think, i went for the latter. So, so far, so self-regarding, then.

i shall also give away selected musical tunes and other goods, sometimes by me, but mostly by other people (for tryout and sampling purposes only, natch). "Otrogenerica" is a fake Latinised Spanish word meaning "other things". "Life Just Bounces" is, of course, a treat from The Mighty Fall. Not my favourite version of this song, and Christ knows where that bizarro dancing-plasticine-eggs video came from, but great anyway.

Anyway, to kick off with, some plugs for some pals.

Live-ass electro-rock hybrid-merchants Out From Animals have been added to the Reading and Leeds Festival bills, playing this weird little stage at the bottom of the poster that'll nonetheless probably be dope. So if you're attending either of those fests this August bank holiday weekend, check out these fellows: they're a beast live and on a stage like that it's not like watching their set is going to eat into your day anyway.

Here's Andy Animals' enthusiastically altered pictorial:

(Note that you'll probably need to right-click "view image", esp. in Firefox, owing to its massive size, to actually see his scribblings.)

Hear their music on (dubious new-look) or the inevitable myspazz.

Meanwhile, Ava Leigh had a single out last Monday... "Mad About the Boy" (not the Dinah Washington one) backed with "Mas Que Nada" (yeh the Sérgio Mendes one) which you might also have seen in a recent Next TV ad, of all things.

Anyway, here's the video for the A-side. Buy it, uh, to the extent that anyone buys music in any way any more.

More ramblings later, inevitably.