Music Blues

You know you’re getting old when songs that were hits when you were in high school are getting used in chain store commercials.

The song in question is Two Princes by the Spin Doctors (off the album Pocket Full of Kryptonite*), and the chain store in question is the ubiquitous K-mart. Apparently getting sick of the eighties track they’ve been using for the last few years (the name and artist momentarily escape me – something by the Steppers I think) they’ve jumped forwards a few years, and grabbed a hold of the “doob-ba-doop, dooba-doop ba-dooby-dooby duba-duba-duba-duba-duba-duba-duba-duba-duba” bit, which is annoying because it was one of my favourite songs of 1992-93. Heck, it was so popular that even the severely pissweak cover band they booked for our graduation ball played it!* And now it’s reduced to a funky backing track for cheap leisure wear adds. Damn but that’s depressing.

Similarly depressing is the fact that Get Your Juice by Starburst seems to be hovering at about 18 on the charts. What’s so disheartening about this is not only is it a pathetic rip off of Kylie Minogue’s latest single (stripped of even the small amount of talent that makes that vaguely listenable) but it’s not even a real song! It’s a promotional campaign for a confectionery company!

About a month ago “teaser” adds started appearing on TV with skimpily dressed women gyrating around on giant bits of computer generated fruit, alternately moaning (you could hardly describe it as singing) and whispering seductive phrases such as “Come and get your juice boy!” then licking their lips*. After a few seconds of this wiggling it cut to a colourful “Starburst!” logo. Since the company has been running adds suggesting that Starburst is a band (as opposed to a range of sweets) for some years, I instantly recognised this as a further development of this rather stupid trend, and dismissed it from my mind, as I am generally wont to do with such trash.

Not long after this however the next set of adds started, which were longer, showed more of the so called “video clip” (revealing it to be ripping off Holly Valance as well as Kylie, which frankly doesn’t bother me one iota), and finished with a voice over man groaning “You’ve heard the song, now go and get the hot new single Get Your Juice from Starburst!*”.

It was at this point that I started to worry. “Surely” I thought, “Surely they can’t have released that derivative piece of horse doo-doo* as a single?”. Unfortunately they have, and according to the weekly ARIA chart I get in my email, it’s actually selling quite well. Which just goes to prove you’ll never go broke catering to the lowest common denominator. In the last week or so the adds have expanded again to finally include the product, a new range of “extra-juicy” jellies, but the damage has already been done. The modern music industry (not to mention the modern music buying public) just sickens me.

To complete my total disillusionment with the world of music, I got an email on Friday from Sanity explaining that the extended delay in shipping my copy of Rough Dreams is because they don’t actually have any copies, don’t plan to get any copies in the foreseeable future and they have no intention of fulfilling my order. They are refunding my debit card*, but this is still a major – well, annoyance isn’t quite the word all things considered. What gets me is that they actually had the CD advertised for order on their website, and I pre-ordered it, which I would have thought would involve them reserving a copy before the ones they imported sold out. If they imported any at all that is, and if they didn’t import any why did they put it on the website in the first place? Grrr!!

I went into town after work on Friday and scoured the CD stores trying to track down a copy – with no success. I think the few copies that made it to Perth were snapped up by other Shivaree fans in the first week after release, while I was happily sitting at home twiddling my thumbs waiting for Sanity to do what I paid them to. So now I guess I’ll just have to order it from Amazon or somewhere, and pay for international delivery. Bastards!*

Friday wasn’t a complete dead loss music-wise though. In my Shivaree motivated wanderings from CD store to CD store I managed to pick up two great albums going fairly cheap. The first is Flaunt It by Sigue Sigue Sputnik, a relatively obscure eighties group who recorded some of the most deranged sounds of that whole rather deranged decade. They’re sort of like sexually ambiguous New Romantics* with a campy tryhard cyberpunk edge who got in a nasty road accident with a drum machine and a mobile film library. You can’t really describe their work as music, it’s more like an assault by Japanese techno commandos with big hair, armed with electronic machine guns and the sampling deck from hell. It’s so unlistenably bad that it approaches a kind of magnificence by stealth. In other words it’s great! πŸ™‚

The other is Complete B Sides by the Pixies. There’s some great stuff on this, including the famous version of the lady in the radiator song from Eraserhead that they used to end their concerts with. But the three standouts for my money have to be River Euphrates, The Thing (basically just a jazzed up remix of the fade out from The Happening but very funky none-the-less), and the weirdly laid back “UK Surf” version of Wave of Mutilation, a song that you wouldn’t think could work as an acoustic ballad*, but does. Throw in the video clips for Here Comes Your Man and Allison and it’s a pretty good deal for only $17.00. Go JB’s HiFi! πŸ™‚

Finally (before I go and do the washing up) I must note that Helen has accepted my offer of a date, conditional on me making it to the UK at some point, and us still both being pathetically single. Cool πŸ™‚ Until then I suppose I can at least claim some slight amount of cred by saying that I asked a girl out and she said yes. Of course whatever cred I do claim will go out the window when my listeners ask “So what happened?” and I have to explain the circumstances and that said date hasn’t actually gone ahead yet, but still it’s got to be better than nothing πŸ˜‰

Anyway better go. Gotta get this place cleaned up. A pox on entropy I say! A pox πŸ™‚

* I didn’t have to look that up. Sad.

* On second thought they might have sung Little Miss Can’t be Wrong off the same album, but still.

* Did I mention that these women were coloured? Like purple women in purple clothing on giant blueberries, and red women in red clothing on giant strawberries? Yeah. No kidding.

* It seems incredible to me that adds can call a single “hot” when it’s only just been released, and hasn’t even charted yet. It’s even more incredible that saying its “hot” seems to ensure that sufficient numbers of people will think its “hot” enough to rush out and buy it – thus sending it up the charts and making it “hot”. It is just me who finds this entire process vulgar in the extreme?

* Not the actual word I used, but I’m trying to keep this log fairly clean πŸ™‚

* Frankly I would have got seriously grim all of a sudden and set fire to their Hay Street store if they hadn’t.

* So much for keeping things clean eh? πŸ™‚

* OK, more sexually ambiguous that usual New Romantics πŸ˜‰

* Well as close to an acoustic ballad as the Pixies can get I think πŸ™‚


I should not watch Rage. Or at least the top 40 they play on Saturday morning. It just depresses me.

For instance, in what can only be described as blasphemy of the highest order Atomic Kitten have covered Blondie’s The Tide is High. I say “covered” but I should say “produced a weak, banal and insipid pop karaoke version completely lacking any of the life, spark or fun of the original”. They don’t even have a Mariachi band for crying out loud! That song is nothing without trumpets, violins and moustachioed men in sombreros. They’ve even added new lyrics, presumably in an attempt to distract people from the fact that they’re talentless hacks who when unable to come up with anything original see fit to rip off the work of far superior artists strip it of all spontaneity and drag it down to their own “sing by numbers” level. I’d rather listen to Holly Valance!

On second thought I’d rather listen to the real song (to call it the “original” suggests that the Atomic Kitten version has some kind of musical value). Thank Bob I have a “best of the eighties” CD around here somewhere… Aaaaaah! Urge to kill fading… fading… Growing! fading….


Oh for the love of sanity…

The email newsletter registration and the competition registration can be the same responder. We don’t need 2 separate links, one will be fine. In this case, when they click on the competition button it should say that they are also adding their name to our email database. When they have clicked on ENTER and it takes them to the next page, we need to add this after the text:

Can you add this in please after ‘submit’…..

It is a condition of entry that all entries automatically receive our new e-newsletter. The monthly e-newsletter will inform you of any specials, new label releases, product information or special promotions that we may run.

Dale and James, as we are now merging these 2 things into one compared to your quote, I assume that you now should be able to do these 2 things in the time it takes to do one. Can you please requote on that change for me.

I got this email today at work from one of our clients who is revamping her website, and it just about made me beat my head against the walls at her sheer…. either stupidy or audacity, I can’t tell which. Her original specification, which we quoted on, and she approved called for two separate pages, one for the competiton, one for the email newsletter registration. Both of these have been created, and uploaded to her site. So what she’s proposing is like agreeing to pay a painter $1000 to do half a room in red, and the other half in white, then once it’s finished telling him to strip off all the paint he’s just put up, and redo the entire room in pink. Stupid sure, but would you then expect to pay only $500 for the entire job because the end product is half of what you originally asked for? Like Hell!!

Honestly, I sometimes wonder if the entire human race apart from myself and my friends are complete and utter imbeciles. Then I turn on the TV and see yet another repeat of Everybody Loves Raymond and realise that they are.


I know exactly what you mean

Hmmmm, tell me about it. I’m 26 and in the same situation. No girls anywhere near my horizon. Working in IT as I do the odds are against me, we’re still a very much male dominated industry*. And it’s not like I have any kind of social life, apart from occasional openings. So when it comes to meeting women, basically I just don’t.

I can at least say I’ve been asked out, once, but that only happened because the girl in question was seriously deranged*. I played the “just want to be friends” card (which wasn’t even true in fact) to get out it. So nothing happened there, which everything considered is no bad thing. Nonetheless I just wish a nice, mentally stable girl would display some kind of interest in me at some point. And if she happened to be a (in the words of Stephanie) “brunette science chick*” so much the better πŸ™‚

I tell you what Helen, if I ever save up enough cash to make it to the UK, and we’re both still in the same situation, we’ll go on a date. Nice restaurant, bouquet of flowers, the whole production. That way we can both claim at least one date and feel slightly less pathetic. Deal? πŸ™‚

OK, I’m going to go listen to Kasey Chambers and get all depressed now. That hidden track’s a killer eh?

* And overweight, nerdish male dominated at that, which at least means there isn’t too much competition πŸ™‚

* Well seriously emotionaly disturbed anyway. Severe self esteem problems coupled with an inferiority complex that she’d cover for with pathological lying and obssesive one-upmanship. Not the most attractive qualities in the world.

* Examples of “brunette science chicks” from the world of television include Miranda Fieglesteen from Mysterious Ways, Jorja Fox’s character in CSI and that Vulcan from Enterprise. Of course in the latter case that “once every seven years” thing would be a bit of a drag πŸ˜‰

Attack of the Street Signs

I’m not gonna watch much TV tonight. I’m sure everyone can figure out why. If I never see that footage again in my entire life, I’ll die a happy man. I can handle the towers on fire if I have to, I can hack the clouds of dust enveloping lower Manhattan – but the plane tearing into the building in that massive gout of flame, the towers imploding downwards – I just have to turn off the TV when that comes on. It makes me sick. And you just know they’re going to be playing that over and over and over again, just like they did last year.

Thankfully Channel 10 is doing the same, sane thing they did last year and running normal programing. Seinfeld at the moment (same as they went to last year), which could be seen to be in slightly poor taste. But at least it’s something apart from endless brooding on tragedy and classical dirges with George Dubya sound bytes over the top. Gah.

Anyway I forgot to mention something rather, well, not actually exciting, but about as exciting as my dull life ever gets, that happened to me last week. I was on the bus going back to Subiaco railway station after a hard day’s work at the office, sitting in the seat just behind the rear door because the one I like (other side, two seats up) was occupied. So, I’m sitting there calmly reading Resurrection Day by Brendan Dubois (excellent book by the way), and we’re pulling up to the station and there’s this huge WHACKK!! noise, and the window I’m leaning against shatters!

OK, the buses use safety glass so it didn’t actually shatter it just crazed all over and went opaque. But I was showered with tiny glass fragments (that managed to cut up my hand when I tried to dust them off a few minutes later). The driver had apparently managed to side swipe a “No Standing” sign. Various people yelped and gasped and stared at me, and then – after a stunned second or two of gazing at window – I satisfied them with a loud “Bloody Hell!”. Then the bus pulled up at the stop. So we all got out.

Bit of an anti-climax I know, but that’s what happened πŸ˜‰

I suppose I could sue or something, but the miniscule cuts on my hand have healed up rather nicely, so there’s no point. Unless I wanted to claim emotional trauma or something, but hey, it takes more than a brush with a “No Standing” sign to traumatise the Wyrm! (spiders on the other hand will do it every time. Or those Lollypop Guild munchkins from the Wizard of Oz. They’re just creepy!).

Oh, I’d better put in a weeping madona update before I go. They actually let some scientists from one of the universities have a look at it and, sure enough, a mysterious “someone” had bored a hole in the head, filled it up with oil, then scraped away the varnish on the eyes. Told ya. Bet all those weeping supplicants they showed on the news feel like fools now.

Don’t worship statues people. Not even ones that weep. It’ll all end in tears πŸ˜‰

Do it Yourself Weeping Madonna!

Woo-Hoo! Perth has it’s own fair dinkum, true blue, gen-you-ine weeping madonna! Down in Rockingham apparently. It’s good to see human nature is the same as it’s ever been. First aniversery of September 11, lots of fear and anxiety around, and suddenly signs and portents start popping out of the woodwork. Great stuff!

The owner of the miraculous statue is refusing to have it examined, they’re leaving it up to the church. The church of course is keeping mum on the propect of scientific investigation. Not surprising, weeping statues are insanely easy to make. You can fill the head with liquid and poke little holes in the eyes. You can stand it in a pool of water overnight, then scrape away some of the varnish over the pupils. If you want blood, you can mix red paint into some lard and smear it lightly over the eye sockets, as it melts you’ll get very impressive tears. Simple! You can even make statues drink if you want, like that one of Ganesha a few years back in London that was rather fond of spoonfulls of milk. Easy. Ask me about the blood of St Genarius sometime.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve written. I was planning to around Wednesday, but I had a horror day at work, and wasn’t up to it. The horror stretched over into Thursday and lingered into Friday, so I just watched TV in the evenings. And then I was busy over the weekend.

So what was this horror? OK, word of advice part one. No matter what you do, never drag the windows directory to somewhere else in the file tree.

Now, no intelligent person would ever do this anyway (unintelligent people are another matter entirely), but it is surprisingly possible to do anyway. Particularly if you’ve got a slightly wonky mouse. As I do.

Word of advice part two. If by some chance you do drag the windows directory out of place, don’t re-install another version of windows over the top. This makes it very difficult to get anything done until you re-install every single program. Even now I can’t use Internet Explorer, which normally wouldn’t worry me, but I need it for work.

Anyway I’m sick of dealing with it, and even sicker of talking about it. So I’ll change the subject πŸ™‚

Synchronicity, there’s a good subject. During her holiday travels in Africa* Helen visited a museum full of three wheeled Morgans, and some time in the last 24 hours or so wrote as such in her weblog. So, what did I see happily motoring it’s way down the road yesterday? A three wheeled Morgan. At least I presume it was a Morgan, I don’t know that there’s too many three wheeled cars around. I might have been able to make a completely positive ID, but the driver looked like exactly the sort of smug type who’d get a kick out of people gawping at his car as he sped past, and I didn’t want to give him the pleasure. So I just looked sideways. But it was definately a three wheeled vehicle with a front like a vintage racer and a back like a torpedo. And that’s good enough for me.

In other worldwide “Woo-Hoo!” news (to not so much change the subject as jump right back to the start), Russia, China, Canada and Japan are all onboard with Kyoto, which means it’s almost certainly going to come into effect. Finally! It’s about bloody time frankly. Of course the US is still holding out, which is typical, Bush seems to think his job is not just running the USA for the benefit of Americans (which is after all his job), but running the entire world for the benefit of Americans. Anyone else (Pacific islanders for instance) can apparently go to hell.

And we’re holding out too, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Howard government are a bunch of (sensitive readers will have to excuse my language here, but this is something I feel pretty damn strongly about) short-sighted, self-righteous pricks who’s heads would be firmly buried in the sand if they weren’t so irretrevably wedged up their own arseholes. Johny’s so terrified of George Dubbya that our entire foreign policy is pretty much controlled from Washington – when the white house says “Jump” the Australian Government doesn’t even bother asking how high.

And what makes it so doubly ridiculous is that Australia is so well positioned (both geographically and technology-wise) to be a world leader in solar power. If the Government would just throw a little bit of the money they’re spending on defending their stance on Kyoto towards alternative energy research we could make some breakthroughs and export solar technology to the world. But no, Howard’s far more interested in building a new nuclear reactor (on an earthquake fault in the middle of Sydney, yeah that’s a smart idea), and in addition to drowning the Pacific islands irradiating them by shipping spent fuel rods to Argentina. Add to all of this the Government’s record on welfare, indiginous issues and refugee rights and it’s enough to make me ashamed to be Australian. I think I’ll start pretending to be a Kiwi or something.

In not so “Woo-Hoo!” news there’s still no sign of my Shivaree CD. No dance of joy for me. I’m increasingly worried they might have delivered it to Unit XXYY Any Street as opposed to Unit XX, YY Any Street*. In all probability some complete Philistine* is listening to it, and not appreciting Ambrosia’s vocals anywhere as much as I would. I think I’ll chase up the Carthagians* at Sanity if it doesn’t turn up tomorrow.

OK, to quote the KLF, Over and Out.

* An in joke so obscure that even she’s unlikely to get it πŸ˜‰

* Yeah, like I’m actually going to publish my address.

* They were actually quite a civilised people. Descendants of the Minoans. They just got on the wrong side of the authors of the Bible, that’s all.

* Now they had problems. They used to sacrifice babies you know. True. Although maybe not in a giant brazen ox like the Romans claimed. Like they could talk.

Corn! Rich! Lucious! Nauseating Corn!

I need to buy corn things.

Not things made of corn, those, you know, corn cob holder things, that you stick into the ends of a corn cob so you can eat it without burning your hands. Corn things. I need to buy some.

I did have four when I moved in here, but since they’re fundamentaly just cheap plastic (moulded into very droll corn cob shapes, so you don’t get confused over what they’re for) cast around a couple of galvanised nails, they tend to break fairly easily, and I’m down to two.

Now this is of course enough to work with (unless I decide to eat more than one cob at once which would require more than two arms and is hence biologically unlikely), but it raises a problem in that I tend to only do the washing up every three days or so (unless people are coming around, but hey, how much does that happen?). So if I want to have corn on a nightly basis (and who doesn’t!) I have to find the ones I used the night before, and wash them. Which is a pain frankly. So I need some more.

I stopped into the supermarket at Subi on the way home to look for some, but couldn’t find any. This seems odd to me. True, I didn’t have a lot of time to search before my train came, but you wouldn’t think they’d be that hard to spot. I mean they’re usually bright yellow for a start. I could have asked I suppose, but the infrequent staff wandering the aisles possess a very intimidating air of sullen belligerance. Combined with the greenish lighting they rather resemble trolls, and I’m not messing with any troll carrying a pricing gun. I might end up reduced for quick sale.

In other news I happened to catch the premiere of Band of Brothers last night (when did the rest of the world see that, like last year?). Pretty good I thought, the airborne scenes over Normandy were bloody terrifying! But there was one sour note – David Schwimmer. I don’t care what kind of uniform you put him in, I don’t care what you do with his hair, I don’t care how much he yells at the recruits, and I don’t care how much of a bastard he’s being, David Schwimmer is Ross. Case closed. It was hilarious! He was screaming invective at the troops as they clambered up a hill, and any minute I expected him to wail out “We were on a BREAK!!”. I suppose watching Friends half an hour before didn’t help, but still πŸ™‚

I’m gonna shut up now. My corn is ready.

Cape Man!

OK, I haven’t updated in a loooong while. I don’t have much of an excuse really, apart from the psychic and physiological shock of going back to work after two weeks off. It’s amazing how getting up at 6:30 rather than 10:00 can take it out of you. Not to mention clients who change their requirements every freakin’ ten minutes for CRYING OUT LOUD!!!! Sorry! Sorry! Just the old webmastering rage getting to me there. Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean…

Anyway despite the horrors of returning to the nine-to-five (well nine-o-five to four-fourty-five really) lifestyle, I’m in a surprisingly good mood. The main reason for this is that Shivaree’s new album Rough Dreams is released in Australia today. I pre-ordered a copy from Sanity last week, so it should arive in my letterbox either tomorrow or Wednesday. Hooray! Now we do the Dance of Joy!*

Also improving my mood sufficiently to write an entry, is my discovery of two new web-comics. The first is Wigu by Jeffrey J Rowland. This odd strip about an odd family is so bizzarely good that I’m amazed it originates from Oklahoma City*. So far it’s featured a steroid enhanced slater (pill bug to Americans and other aliens), a giant vampire Hitler, and Topato (the interdimensional super-hero potato made of poison), and with the advent of Paisley’s attempt at gothic cheerleading things can only get better.

The second is Scary Go Round by John Alison, author of the now sadly departed Bobbins. It’s actually a lot like Bobbins (it features some of the same characters, and is set in the same fictional midlands city of Tackleford), but the artwork is better and it actually has a coherant plot (or at least it does so far). I’m looking forward to how it all turns out.

Before I go I just have to mention an article on NimeMSN today*. It was a fairly standard affair about someone abandoning a van on the forecourt of Parliment House in Canbera and sparking a major bomb scare and evacuation*. All pretty boring stuff. But then halfway down there was a major incursion from the parallel universe when the reporter decided to note…

The van was then towed away. Later in the day a man in an orange cape was seen dancing on the van’s location, but he was chased away by security.*

WHAT?!?!?!?!? A man in a orange cape and dancing?!?!? What the?!? Who was this man? Why was he wearing a cape? And why oh why was he dancing? The sadistic soul behind the article gives us no further information, and instead goes on about tourists being shunted out the back doors, but Cape Man is clearly is the real story. Forget the van, the journalist should have been chasing him down! The public has a right to know!

The Dancing Cape-Man of Canberra is now my hero πŸ™‚

* You either get the reference, or you don’t. If you don’t, then feel very happy indeed.

* I shall not defame Oklahoma City.
I shall not defame Oklahoma City.
I shall not defame Oklahoma City…

* It’s evil, but it’s the only halfway decent Australian news portal I know.

* Apparently he was protesting telephone fees and the closure of a local speedway. The fun never stops in the national capital!

* Quoted from memory, but that’s the gist of it

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