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anatomy · of · distance


don't be so oversure, my friend...

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It looks like Facebook ads are about to get much more obnoxious. We're talking huge, bandwidth-sucking full-motion video ads along the side of your page.

If this happens, I might start posting more on LiveJournal/Dreamwidth and less there. I don't like having animated M&Ms characters jiggling and attention-seeking on the side of the browser window like CPU-cycle-sucking charity muggers every time I wish to see what people are up to. That's of course assuming that there still are people here, or that other people might be willing to move to this slightly archaic though considerably less spammy platform. Hey, you can call it getting in early on the '00s revival.

Poll #1908956 Is there life on LiveJournal?

Anybody out there?

Yes
6(100.0%)
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It has been a while since I posted one of these.

Below are 10 lyrics from songs. For each one, if you know the artist and song title, post them in your comment.
The quizCollapse )
Please post replies to the Dreamwidth post, not here.
Once again, comments are screened; if you know the answers, post a comment and I'll update the post with the correct guesses. If you don't have a Dreamwidth/LiveJournal account, log in with another OpenID or identify yourself in the anonymous post.

Auto-crossposted from acb.dreamwidth.org; (comment count unavailable comments)
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Last night, I made a return to putting gigs on. So far, a once-off, though there may well be more gigs in the future.

I put on a gig by Laura Macfarlane (of Ninetynine), as well as Hong Kong In The 60s and Hissing At Swans, at the Betsey Trotwood in Clerkenwell. It went splendidly, despite getting off to an inauspicious start. </p>

We had a sound engineer, a woman named Cynthia, whose presence had been organised by the venue. Whilst setting up, she noticed that the cables were dusty, and having heard that the pub had had asbestos taken out of a wall elsewhere in the building, refused to go on just in case the dust was asbestos. (Which was unlikely, as that had been elsewhere in the building, and furthermore had been completed by professionals.) So we found ourselves without a sound engineer. Luckily, the venue owner was able to get the guy who fitted the sound system to come down and set things up, after which Laura (who has done sound engineering in studios) and Tim from HK60s took turns at the mixing deck.

The bands all played excellently. Hissing At Swans had ukuleles, a drum and video projections, as well as a few new songs, and were lots of fun. Hong Kong In The 60s played what may have been their best set so far (the rendition of the intricate instrumental Garma off their free Places EP was breathtaking). And Laura was brilliant; playing a borrowed guitar, glockenspiel and Casio keyboard, she put on an amazing show, playing songs from throughout Ninetynine's career, from Super 8 and Wöekenender to the new album over beats from her iPhone. Seeing her play The Process was one of the highlights of the year for me; it instantly took me back to the Punters' Club in 2002.

Between sets, I DJed, spinning a choice of tunes falling in the spaces between indiepop, exotica, understated electropop and similar. In the middle of the set, the girl who works behind the bar asked me what my night was called; she said that she liked the sort of "twee electronica" (her words, though I'm not disputing them) I was playing. Which led me to start thinking that perhaps I should make a regular night of this.

my DJ setCollapse ) Auto-crossposted from acb.dreamwidth.org; (comment count unavailable comments)
Current Location:
The Coffee Plant, Portobello Road
Current Music:
Something dubby
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I'm back in London now, having returned this morning from Indie Tracks.

Sunday's weather was, alas, nowhere near as nice as Saturday's. starting ominously grey and proceeding to rain. I slept in a bit, and then went to the site, catching the start of The School's set, but then bailing to see The Marshmallow Kisses. The School are, of course, the doo-wop-influenced pop group from Cardiff, and their new material sounds good (if you don't mind that sort of thing, of course). The Marshmallow Kisses are a Chinese/Japanese duo who do bossa-nova-tinged pop songs; they had Tim from Hong Kong In The 60s playing guitar, Brad from One Happy Island playing trumpet, and someone else on violin, and were quite nice in an understated way. After that, whilst having lunch with Tim, MeiYau and Chris (of HK60s), we heard 1960s folkie Nick Garrie making his return on the outdoor stage; he sounded a bit like Nick Drake.

I then saw US indiepop combo The Smittens play in the train shed, and then Hong Kong In The 60s play a nicely understated set in the church. After that, I saw a set from a solo electropop artist from New Zealand, who goes by the name of Disasteradio, who was quite animated and surprisingly entertaining for a guy with a table of synths. Apparently he's one of the Camp A Low Hum people. I also saw a bit of European electropop duo Stereo Total playing outdoors; by then, it had started raining, and people were standing around in their raincoats under umbrellas. The festival was closed by Art Brut playing in the train shed (which I missed, though I heard enough from outside, in the stationary buffet car that served as a bar outside), followed by Teenage Fanclub on the outdoor stage, and then two discos until midnight. I ended up catching the train after the last one to Butterley station (after it did a test run), and then sharing a taxi to Ripley with three girls who were going to Mansfield.

There was also a mix CD swap box; one put one's CD in a box, took a ticket, and then claimed another one later. I made a mix CD and put it in the box, and ended up fishing out a rather promising-looking one (it includes All-Girl Summer Fun Band, Mirah, and AIH's Scissors, Paper, Rock).

Some statistics: I bought two 8Gb memory cards before Indie Tracks, one for my camera and one for my audio recorder. The former, I managed to fill up almost completely (mostly by using the video-taking mode of my camera); the latter I recorded a good 4 hours or so of audio on; mostly recordings of sets, though I managed to also get some of the amazing vintage lounge/bossa grooves the Elefant Records guy queued up to play between sets, in the hope that I might get them identified at some point. (It is rather convenient that my audio recorder fits neatly in a top jacket pocket with only the microphones protruding; it's half of a quite serviceable gargoyle rig.) I also used about 200Mb of the 1Gb of credit I bought with the 3G wireless card I picked up in preparation. I imagine the rest will go pretty quickly when I'm on the continent next month.

Anyway, this was the best Indie Tracks so far. Assuming that I'm still in the UK or Europe in a year's time, I'll be sure to be at the next one.

Btw, photos are here.
Current Location:
W12
Current Music:
An Horse - Camp Out
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Yesterday, Colin Clary of The Smittens ran a songwriting workshop. I arrived a bit late, due largely to the train schedule along the line not quite syncing up with the event schedule, but it was good. He took ideas and suggestions from the crowd and started writing various songs with them, playing them on guitar, with people contributing lyric ideas, melodies and such. One thing I took away from it is that one needs to just sit down and do it, otherwise one will be stuck on all the songs one didn't write.

Bands/music I saw include:

  • Little My. A bunch of kids from Cardiff in animal ears playing chaotic indiepop. I saw part of their set, though left to go to see Sucrette.

  • Sucrette. A Japanese band, consisting of three girls (on keyboards, vocals and drums) and a guy (on guitar and laptop). They sound like classic Japanese pop; no other country would combine 1990s Eurodance drum patterns/synth arpeggios with jangly guitars in quite the same way.

  • Fitness Forever. An Italian lounge-pop band who sound somewhere between 1960s film scores and cruise-ship disco from the 1970s, and pull it off with panache. The guitarist (the chap in the captain's hat with the sunglasses and the cigar) is the unchallenged winner of the title of Most Stupendously Bad-Ass Motherfucker at the festival.

  • I caught part of Camera Obscura, on the outdoor stage as the sun was setting. They played well.

  • I saw Emmy The Great playing in the train shed. Though I was mostly towards the back or sides of the audience, not seeing much of the band, and the acoustics there aren't great. Anyway, Emmy and her band seem to be following a cue from a lot of other folkies, such as Jeffrey Lewis (and, indeed, Dylan) and rocking out more.

  • La Casa Azul, or a Spanish guy in a white jumpsuit who alternated between playing piano ballads and singing/playing guitar in front of a video screen projecting videos of computer-generated musicians playing backing parts or videos based on 8-bit video games. He was entertaining, even though I can't understand a word of Spanish.



The festival seems to be bigger than last year, with more tents, food and merch. The organic nachos from the Undergrowth Cafe (with bean salsa and olives) were excellent; there was also a curry place and the old burger shack from last year. And in the evening, someone set up a pork roast near the entrance to the train shed, and we were met with the gruesome spectacle of the charred, tortured body of a whole pig on a spit, its eyeless, notched face bearing witness to great agonies. The whole thing made me think more of mediaeval woodcuts of the suffering of martyred saints than of an apetising meal. As the night wore on, they cut strips off this porcine Saint Sebastian and sold them to people, until all that was left was the ghastly head. I can see why people become vegetarian now.
Current Location:
Derbyshire
Current Music:
Emmy The Great - Easter Parade
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I saw what will almost certainly be my last ever Lucksmiths gig last night.* And my second-last-ever one the night before.

They played at the Luminaire on Tuesday night, and the Scala last night. The audience was a mixture of expatriate Australians (not the bogans you find here who consider JJJ to be "alternative", the good ones) and the usual indiepop kids from London and all over England. They played a lot of their songs, and I was chuffed to hear my favourite one, Transpontine, on Tuesday.

I took my cameras, of course, and also took an audio recorder I recently bought. The nice thing about it is that it fits into a top jacket pocket with only the twin microphones unobstrusively protruding, and can get quite passable recordings. Anyway, here's a video from the Luminaire gig, with audio from the audio recorder.

There was an afterparty at the Lexington (a bar/pub/venue where a lot of the twee pop kids and Upset The Rhythm lo-fi noise hipsters hang out these days); I went there, and stayed until 3am, getting home as it was getting light.

Anyway, it was great to see them again, and a bit sad that a Melbourne institution is coming to an end; it's like the Punters' Club all over again.

* Well, not counting the possibility of my finding myself unexpectedly in Australia in the next few months, or indeed the possibility of them reforming in 20 years' time and playing a tour for former Fitzroy/Carlton coolsies, now working as executives in publishing firms and managers at arts institutions.
Current Location:
W11
Current Music:
The Lucksmiths - Requiem for the Punter's Club
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I'm currently in beautiful brutalist Birmingham at EuroPython. So far, I have seen a talk on RjDj, a platform for making generative/algorithmic music (which is based on Pure Data), which looked very interesting. And just now, I saw Cory Doctorow's keynote, where he gave a comprehensive overview of metaclass design patterns in Django. Actually, I lie; he talked about how bad copyright laws threaten free software and the right to innovate, with Python being essentially a McGuffin. Nonetheless, it was a good talk (though I've heard most of it before at Copyfighters' Hyde Park meetups and on Boing Boing).
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I've recently gotten into the habit of going for evening walks, typically after eating dinner. Which is easy enough to do in the midsummer, when the sun sets shortly before 10, and one often has a glorious sunset, or at least the wistful poignancy of the day's last rays, beckoning one out of one's room and into the streets. Which, I guess, is one of the advantages of living far from the equator (in the summer, anyway).

Today was a particularly splendid sunset; see below for evidence:
PhotosCollapse )
Current Location:
W12
Current Music:
Momus - Voyager 2006
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Whilst travelling through Australia in February, I found, as one does, that the total weight of my baggage kept increasing. As such, I stepped into the post offices in a number of places (Melbourne, Glebe, Narooma (NSW) and Bulimba (Brisbane)), packaged up my surplus belongings and mailed them back to the UK.

Today, the last of those packages arrived; it was the one I sent from Narooma, almost four months ago. The package I sent a few days later from Bulimba (also by sea mail) arrived some two months earlier.

No idea why. Did they end up on different ships? Was one of the ships held hostage by pirates on its way to the Suez Canal? Or did they, on a whim, send it the other way around the world?
Current Location:
W11
Current Music:
Ted & Francis - I Wish I Was Polar Bear
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This just arrived in the mail:

HELLO BUYER?

WE ARE AMERICAN CLUB BASED IN PHILPPINES,WE ARE EXPOTER OF COCAINE I.E WE SELL COCAINE TO ANY OF OUR INTERESTED CUSTOMERS AROUND THE GLOBE.IF YOU ARE INTRESETED TO ORDER THE PRODUCT PLEASE KINDLY CONTACT OUR SHIPPING AGENT FOR YOUR DELIVERY.WE WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU WANT THE PRODUCT TO BE DELIEVER TO YOU,THOUGH WE HAVE OUR OWN METHODS OF DELIVERY.AFTER YOUR ORDER THIS HOW WE GET THE PRODUCT ACROSS TO YOU BY OUR COURIER; NOTE IF YOU WANT THE PRODUCT TO BE DELIEVER TO YOU AT HOME WE DO ALSO IF YOU WANT THE PRODUCT TO BE DELIEVER TO YOU AT THE AIRPORT WE DO.THOSE ARE THE TWO METHODS BUT IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SUGESTION THAT YOU WANT THE PRODUCT TO BE DELIEVER TO YOU,YOU ARE FREE TO TELL US.HERE IS THE AMOUNT FOR THE PRODUCT,THE COCAINE IS JUST 5KG IN A SMALL BAG PLEASE NOTE THERE IS NO RETAIL. THE AMOUNT FOR THE PRODUCT IS;
$5000.00[USD] YOU WILL HAVE TO DEPOSIT $1500.00[USD] THEN CONTACT OUR SHIPPING AGENT,FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE SHIPPING/ DELIEVERY; MS.______ ____[__________@_____.com]

BEST REGARDS

MR. DON LUCAS[MD].
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Current Location:
W12
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