Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'Tis The Season, Part 2 - Eclectic Boogaloo.

So I've been thinking a wee bit more about Christmas music and I've decided to add a few of my favourites, just for balance. I could go on and on about the ones I hate, so how about some of the ones I like...?

What do you mean "no"? Please your bloody selves. I'm doing it anyway.

The Pogues and Kirsty McColl; "Fairytale Of New York"
Holy crap... what can you say about this one? Dysfunctional Christmas songs don't come any more dysfunctional (or, indeed, less country, given the subject matter). Sung by a drunk man from within the drunk tank of a New York City jail, he and his betrothed converse, including lyrics like "you're a bum, you're a punk, you're an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bad. You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot - happy Christmas your arse, I pray god it's our last". Awesome stuff - but despite the insults it's a song with real heart whereby two folks realise that despite their tumultuous relationship, they love each other.... and Christmas. Juxtapose, for example, the above example with the heart wrenchingly beautiful "can't make it all alone, I've built my dreams around you", delivered mere moments after the above string of abuse. Unhate-able, even if you're not averse to Shane McGowan's drunken, accented delivery.
Spike's download-it-now rank: 9/10

Elton John; "Step Into Christmas"
Alright... don't take the piss. You know you love this stupid song. Heh, OK. Just kidding. Maybe you don't love it, but you love to hear it at least once. Despite it being just as narcissistic as "Your Song" (the upshot of which is, 'look how nice I am that I went to the trouble of writing this lovely song for you') and, as music geeks will point out, being almost completely devoid of high-end (someone once called it "Tep Into Chritmah"), when you hear it... it means it's almost Christmas! Or Chritmah. Besides, how can you hate any song so deeply rooted in the last century that it invites its listeners to "hop aboard your turntable"?
Spike's download-it-now rank: 1/10 (because you probably already have it)

Chris Rea; "Driving Home For Christmas"
I touched on this briefly in the last entry, but this ranks as one of my all-time favourites. Not heavy on the jingleys, not heavy on sentimentalism, it's a sweet little song that perfectly encapsulates the familiar feeling that you're done with work and all you have to do is fight traffic to get home for Christmas. In a way, it retains the same feeling that "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays" portrays; that warm, fuzzy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach around this time of the year when you know all you have to do is get home to loved ones for Christmas to *really* start...
Spike's download-it-now rank: 10/10

Chris DeBurgh; "A Spaceman Came Travelling"
This one's a dopey choice because it's not that great of a song, and Chris DeBurgh is not that great of a singer. Even the premise is silly; the star that brought the wise men to Jesus' bed was, in fact, a spaceship and some space dude gets out, tells everyone not to be afraid, sings a wee "la la la" song and then pisses off again, promising to come back in 2000 years. Why's it here? Because I defy you to not join in with the "la la la la" chorus.
Spike's download-it-now rank: 3/10

Slade; "Merry Xmaz Everybody"
Few Americans are familiar with Slade. "Run Runaway" was their only hit here and few seem to be able to acknowledge their far superior (and original) version of "Cum On Feel The Noize". The Birmingham glam dudes have been knocking about for years and their festive offering is the perfect song to be belting out at the top of your voice into an empty vodka bottle on a bar. It also sounds particularly good at similar volume in the street after you've been kicked out. Not that I'm talking from experience or anything.... ahem...
Spike's download-it-now rank: 5/10

Wizzard; "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"
This one's a mish-mash of everything, every musical instrument under the sun (including, rather appropriately, a cash register) and a childrens chorus complete with a rather threatening introduction by Roy Wood, "alright, you kids... take it!". It's fun and it's cute, but it's not something you want to come round in rotation a whole lot. Listen once, maybe twice later, and then put it away til next year.
Spike's download-it-now rank: 5/10

Greg Lake; "I Believe In Father Christmas"
Ugh! What an horrifically middle England thing to say: "Father Christmas". One almost has to say it in a plummy posh toff voice. "Oh, Faathah Christmarse? May I heve a pony foh maiy Christmarse?". I have always considered Emmerson Lake and Palmer's 25-minute synthesised wank-fests to be something akin to Hell's muzak. In fact, I believe that on your first day in Hades, it's customary to listen to their appauling slaughter of "Fanfare For The Common Man" three or four times. But thankfully Greg Lake, the L in ELP, forgoes too much Yamaha in his only solo single. This one has many split; some (including Mr L himself) say it's a song that objects to the commercialisation of Christmas, others say that it's anti-religious because of its questioning tone, but you know what? I like that about it. People should question more things! It's got a nice, twinkley sound and incorporates, respectfully, one of the finest pieces of classical music ever written; Prokofiev's "Troika", a million miles away from when ELP pissed all over Aaron Copland. Hallelujah! Noel! Be it Heaven or Hell, the Christmas we get, we deserve.
Spike's download-it-now rank: 6/10

The Waitresses; "Christmas Wrapping"
You know you love it! Admit it! Sure it's not quite in tune. Sure it has some dodgy rhymes. Sure it's catchy....
Spike's download-it-now rank: 6/10

So there you go, a few suggestions for your festive i-poddery - assuming they're not already on there. If there's any others, drop me a line, removing the bracketed section, at: stinkerdoodle@[take this bit out]gmail.com - tell me what I missed and why and I'll do an update before Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2005

'Tis The Season, Crank It Up.

The day after Thanksgiving is, natch, the start of the holiday season and thus, the thoughts of a young, music-loving sexy beast turn to seasonal music. And let me just start by saying that whilst most Christmas music is well-intentioned and gets one in the correct mood, there are a few offenders out there who... well, let' snot mince words, suck. Mannheim Steamroller, I'm looking squarely in your direction.

I'm sorry, I'm sure there are a few weirdoes out there who like to think it's still 1978 and that electronic synthesisers sound "really awesome, man", but I'm here to tell you that the rest of the world moved on and what sounded new and futuristic back before Reaganomics now sound like prime shite. If I hear their wanked up Emerson Lake and Palmerish version of "Deck The Halls" ever again, it will be five hundred billion years too soon.

Another offender is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, an outfit who specialises in taking simplistic little holiday tunes and making them sound like Queen, The Darkness and Guns and Roses all rolled into one. That's three strikes right from the get-go as far as I'm concened. Electric guitars at christmas? Oh sure, that sounds festive. 15-minute wanky guitar solos at christmas...? No thanks. Keep it.

Other offenders include the Harry Simeone Choir, who can shove their shrill "pa rump pa pum pums" up their pa rump a pum bums, any version of the hideous song "Santa Baby" which epitomises everything that's wrong with some women, Roy 'warbling' Orbison who I can't stand at the best of time and who, I hope, chokes on his "Pretty Paper", that insipid Christmas Shoes song and any version of "Auld Lang Syne" that manages to mispronounce two thirds of the lyrics. It's neither "Old" nor "Zyne"; it's 'Auld', as in 'balled' and 'Syne' as in 'sign'. I realise it's essentially in a foriegn language, but get it bloody right or don't bloody sing it. You don't hear me siging "Vel-eesh Navee-did", do you?

So, rage suppresed, what's good this time of the year? I'm a cheese-ball, I love the cheesey ones so although "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Step Into Christmas" are hardly major musical achievements, they are affiliated with the season and with my festive childhood memories enough that they can still stir a smile. Same goes with the so-called 'crooners' whose music I can barely tolerate during the other 11 months of the year but whose festive efforts I love. What's good that's ignored? Chris Rea's "Driving Home For Christmas" is a personal favourite of mine that never seems to get airplay on this side of the pond. Find it. Check it out. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In 60 Minutes, Make Me Believe.

Well, it being the day after Hallowe'en, let's talk ghosts.

Plenty of documentaries have been made about ghosts over the years; some by skeptics, some by believers. Do ghosts exist? Who can say? Certainly, there are things we can't explain and phenomena that are beyond our ken, but whether the unexplained and unexplainable are dead relatives, invisible energies or figments of our imaginations will forever be up for debate. As much as I love James "The Amazing" Randi and the fact that he's not afraid to cry "bollocks" to the so-called magicians and psychics, I feel that both he and his like are too quick to discount that which none of us understand. I can't say I blame them, there are too many charlatans out there (coughcoughJohnEdwardcoughcough) whose skills amount to little more than the power of suggestion and a technique known as cold reading. But two recent TV shows are dealing with the subject with more of a hands-on approach, and from two different sides of the argument.

The first of these - and the better of the two, imho - is the Sci Fi Channel's "Ghosthunters", in which a team of investigators use technology to try and capture video or audio of paranormal activity. What is admirable about this show is that the two main investigators travel the country to try to debunk hauntings. Yep, you read that right... they try to DEBUNK. Despite their willing band of volunteers who are quick to scream 'ghost' at every piece of dust that floats past one of their cameras, the two main men in charge try to recreate anything that they can't explain and nine times out of ten a percieved haunting has a less exciting explanation. One house had a mysterious swinging ceiling fan. Was it a ghost? Nope - it was simply vibrations when someone walked on the floor above. Another location had a disused water heater that clicked and thumped all by itself. The work of an angry spirit? Nope - it was a water heater that worked perfectly and was connected to sump pumps. Another house had a really heavy door that opened and closed by itself despite the big ol' mattress blocking it from behind. That one they had no explanation for and couldn't recreate it. Same with the unmistakably human figure that appeared on their thermal camera inside a boat. Same with the person who ran toward and fled their night vision camera. There's been some pretty crazy stuff on there, but what's the most compelling part about this show? That nine times out of ten, they don't find anything. There are stories galore and plenty of anecdotal evidence like squeaks and bumps in the course of the investigation, but unless the team find something that is entirely unexplainable or bizarre, it gets put firmly in the "Who The Hell Knows" file and the case is closed. It's the paranormal series that people like me, who are neither belivers nor skeptics, have been waiting for.

The second spooky show, Most Haunted, takes a different approach. Each location is assumed to be haunted and every bump and thump is immediately stamped "100% GHOSTS". Helping the team of sound dudes, camera dudes and a former children's TV presenter along is a psychic medium called Derek Acorah whose 2000 year old invisible spirit guide, an Ethiopian man called Sam who was his friend in a previous life, passes along information about the locations and their deceased inhbabitants. (Stop laughing, I'm not making this up) Is it real? Probably not, and recently published reports claim that the crew are responsible for most of their findings, but when you really look at the show... at no point do they claim it's real. Nowhere is there a disclaimer that tries to convince us that what we see is unedited and untampered-with. I'm not claiming that it is... alls I'm saying is that they don't deny it or claim otherwise. It's great fun though and although, like Ghosthunters, anything they do find is purely anecdotal rather than convincing, it makes for some fun viewing, particularly when they run screaming from a room because they *think* they see something.

Since being picked up by The Travel Channel here in the US, the show has picked up a cult band of fans, most of whom will vehemently defend the show, the psychic and their findings. And that's OK. We all need something to believe in. The show has been such a hit for the channel that they carried their most recent live outing, in a hunt for Jack The Ripper. The "Most Haunted Live" shows follow an easy format. A large audience clap enthusiastically at the start of the show, at breaks and at the end but serve no other real purpose, whilst the team report live from a location and several semi-competant presenters . As I watched the 4-night Jack The Ripper special which came to... well, I was going to say 'conclusion', but that would imply a big finish. It just sort of... ended, mid-ouija. As it came to an end (hey, that works) I couldn't help but recall the notorius Ghostwatch, a BBC drama disguised as a live investigative show. The viewer emails and text messages suggesting that some paranormal activity was occuring in the homes of the viewers as a result of watching the show are almost identical in both "Ghostwatch" and "Most Haunted". The psychic residents spouted simiar theories, as did the resident skeptics in both. If the "Most Haunted" team got possessed and injured by the spirits, I'd cry out and out 'copycat', but - as far as we know - they all escaped unscathed.

As I write this, a strange breeze has whipped up around my hands (I'm not kidding) that feels somewhat frosty, like there's an outside door open. Is it the ceiling fan whipping up a cross-breeze that I didn't notice before, or is there the spirit of a long-deceased English teacher come to critique my spelling and grammar...?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Am I Ignoring You? Noooooo...

Heavens no, my wonderful deciples. I've just had to spend time on other things. this: http://theshowbizupdate.blogspot.com being one of them.

I'll be back. Don't worry. In the meantime, go there. Maybe one day (if I can gets me some web space) there will be audio updates.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

We're The Sweeney, Son - And We Haven't Had Any Dinner.

Something happened on the journey from childhood that I didn't expect. One of my favourite TV shows of all time went from being a punch-happy, flare-wearing, car-chasing, tough-talking romp to something more cerebral.

The Sweeney is, inarguably, one of the most important British TV shows ever made. Click the article for a much more eloquent description of why, but the short version is that it took UK cop shows from moustachioed policemen bending their knees and saying things like "'ello 'ello 'ello, what's all this then, sonny Jim?" and giving cheeky teenage scamps a clip round the ear for stealing apples, into... well... reality. The London Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad could take their time on a case, often heading it off at the pass before it happened. They could interrogate criminals, cut deals with them and set up stings. It finished a shameful 19th in ITV's recent survey of greatest shows from its 50 year lifetime (right above the legendary Tiswas, another show I should perhaps do an entry on). The fact that recent shows featured so near the top proves, once again, that the public should never be trusted with voting for anything.

Being merely a glint in the milkman's eye when the show debuted, I was too young to enjoy it's brief 3 years. I was always aware of the shows existance (it lived on in repeats) but it wasn't until we were connected to cable TV and dedicated repeats channel UK Gold started showing it in rotation. I got hooked. I was 18 years old, packed to critical mass with testosterone, in control and knew everything. Thus, the hard living of the Sweeney's main characters appealed to me; they were dangerous and unpredictable. Stopping at nothing to get results from the criminals, drinking 24 hours per day, sleeping with loose women and prone to getting in 15 minute car chases, followed by 8 minute fight sequences. Add to that the hilarity of the fashions, the clunky cars, the flared tousers, the matching shirt and tie combos with a knot you could build a house on... it was a kitsch wet dream in the early 90s.

Fast forward to nowadays (as opposed to then-a-days I suppose) and the dawn of DVD has spurned a massive retro fashion in the UK. Now you can buy your entire childhood back and own huge collections of every TV show you used to watch as a child. Network DVD, a company with an intrinsic understanding of the needs and wants of my backward-looking generation, remastered and repackaged all the episodes of The Sweeney and released them in season-long box sets. Looking cleaner and brighter than they did on their original transmission and featuring an intelligently mixed 5.1 soundtrack (although the original mono is also an option), I jumped at the chance to see it again. But in the ensuing years, something bizarre happened. The episodes had changed somehow, now they were smartly written pieces of drama with - dare I say - stunning performances not just from the principals, but from the guest stars. All of a sudden, this kitschy 1970s time bubble full of fisticuffs and screaming tyres was an intelligent show with impenetrable plots and performances reeking with realism.

Did someone change the show whilst I wasn't looking... or did I just grow up?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Spike, The Motion Picture.

More stupid blog-friendly internet tests talking shite: What will the movie of your life contain and who will direct...

Woody Allen
Your film will be 72% romantic, 38% comedy, 20% complex plot, and a $ 29 million budget.
Be prepared to have your life story shot entirely in New York City -- though lately Woody's been loving shooting in London. Also, your music soundtrack is all jazz from before 1949. Filmography: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Everyone Says I Love You, etc. Woody has released one film per year consistently for the past 35 years. For the past 15 years he's been trying to make films like his older, funnier ones, just like characters in his Stardust Memories film suggest throughout. Regardless of his personal life, his films are American classics.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on action-romance

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 64% on humor

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 1% on complexity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on budget
Link: The Director Who Films Your Life Test written by bingomosquito on Ok Cupid

Come on now! I HATE Woody Allen! (Well, alright... The Sleeper and Zelig were pretty good.)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nobody's Lazy In Lazytown...

I love kids' shows. I'm not sure why, maybe their simplicity appeals to my child-like mind. The psychologist in me says I have a bad case of passive regression syndrome, a desire to recapture my childhood, but I don't know if it's as simple as that. After all, you're talking to the guy who had a collection of bright orange Blues Clues VHSes even before he thought about breeding. (It doesn't half get you weird looks when friends drop by and peruse your movie collection. "Hmm... Das Boot, Withnail and I, Eraserhead, Blues Clues, The Usual Suspects, Citizen Kane...") But having kids has done nothing but boost my love for kids TV that's made well. And by "kids TV", I'm not talking about slack-jawed morons blabbering on at each other in between cartoons, I'm talking about honest-to-god TV shows made for kids and, it seems, the stranger the better.

One of my most recent discoveries is a show called "Lazy Town". It's a half real-life human, half CGI, half puppet mix from - of all places - Iceland. Don't worry, all you non-subtitle reading philmisitines, it's made in English. Long story short, it follows a familiar TV plotline to get the ball rolling: Character A is new in town and feeling depressed that he/she had to leave home to live with relatives, Characters B and C. Soon, he/she befriends Character D who shows her around town and introduces her to Characters E through G, all of whom posess stereotypical personality types. It's easy TV, but at least your audience won't be confused as the ins and outs of the characters are explained vicariously.

So, as the helpfully explanatory theme song documents, "Stephanie (Character A) is new in town, and soon she and Ziggy (Character B) are friends..." and before long, she meets resident bad guy Robbie Rotten (boo hissss) and resident superhero Sporticus (yaaaay). Adventures, as one might expect, ensue with junk food-loving Robbie Rotten (booo hisss) trying to get one over on the people of Lazy Town, for reasons never adequately explored. Because he's rotten, one can assume. Or maybe a bad childhood. (Perhaps, my innner psychologist suggests, the lack of any openings on his striped trousers has given him a suppressed libido complex.) What sets this show apart from average fare like... well, any live action show on Nickelodeon these days, is that health and fitness are the focus. Thankfully not in an overtly preachy way, it's all done very subtly. And here's the rub: it actually seems to work. At almost three, Spikette is already unusual in that she's a big fan of eating fruit, but she'll eat twice as much if she thinks Sportacus sent her "sport candy". (I swear to god, that's what he calls it in the show.) I used to call it "nature's candy", but his explanation seems to work better.

The bright colours and fast pace will probably put some parents off, not to mention the thumping techno music soundtrack, a genre which seems to be inexorably linked with gay men in this country. I'm surprised there hasn't been an outbreak of outrage from the fundies claiming that the abundance of hot pink and dance music is "infecting our youth with gay". The show is the brainchild of Icelandic fitness guru Magnús Scheving who, in addition to starring in the show as Sporticus, seems to inhabit every second credit including writing, directing and designing the puppets. Honestly, check the credits, the dude does everything but the catering.

Despite some hideous stage school acting from the female lead, it's a catchy wee show. Dali-esuqe moustache aside, Sporticus himself is some pleasing eye candy (sport eye candy?) for the assembled mothers and, possibly, gay men attracted by the music.

About Lazytown.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bwaa haa haa ha haa haa...

I dare you to click this link. It's the results of Ship Of Fools' scheme to find the 10 funniest (and most offensive) religious jokes. Some will laugh, some will wince, some will condemn the writers, the submitters and probably me to the firey depths of damnation for all eternity. Feh, it doesn't bother me. If there's a hell and it's a foregone conclusion that I'll be on the first bus there, I can, at the very least, be where the great jokes and good music are. And what a bus ride it will be...

Humour is one of those wonderfully subjective things. Funny to me may not be funny to you and to some, there are subjects that are off-limits to humour altogether. I'm spiritual and have my own personal set of beliefs - I don't believe in organised religion and I certainly don't subscribe to the "go to church every sunday, fear God and pray daily or go to hell" mindset of some. In fact, I feel pity for people like that. To me, the man upstairs is a cool kinda dude and if I was God, I certainly wouldn't want to be surrounded by sycophants for all eternity. But we share my world with people like that and to them, most - if not all - of these jokes will be way out of bounds. Some deal with Christian imagery, some with Christ himself and others beat the well-worn path of the priesthood and paedophillia.

The line is firmly drawn for some when it comes to topics for jokes. For me, there's no line to draw if the joke is funny. Do I find jokes about Scottish people funny... most of the time, no. Some of them I find downright offensive, some of them just aren't funny artistically. I mean, if someone else sends me the story/joke/song/poem about the Scottish guy who falls asleep under the tree and wakes up with a bow around his fun parts, I'll scream. But that doesn't mean that Joe Schmoe from Idaho won't find it funny. I'm sure there are people out there who find redneck jokes incredibly offensive, but I think they're hella humourous. For example, what's a redneck fortune cookie? A biscuit with a food stamp inside.

You're wrong, that's a great joke.

But I have heard some Scot-centric jokes that made me chuckle and some I have repeated both to Scots and to non-Scots. So click and enjoy the religious jokes. Or, indeed, click and repent should you feel the need. But here's the great punchline to the story that had me laughing even harder than the jokes themselves... Ship Of Fools, the website that brought you those wonderfully offensive religious jokes, is a Christian humour magazine.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

There, But For The Grace Of Pod, Go I.

Sometimes I wonder if only post these stupid things so I can make ridiculous puns in the headline!

So here's the update. Podcasting is still a possibility. John's in (since it *was* his idea, this isn't really a surprise), Paul is tentatively penciled in as a possible maybe and so, therefore, am I. Now all we have to do is find a solution to the problem of having all three of us on from three different locations. We have a few ideas as to what might work, but John and I will be testing Skype on monday to see if it's workable and anyone who has been talking to me in the past week or so will tell you that I'm a big fan of Google Talk, so we may end up using one (or both) of those. I hear Skype is pretty good and John tells me that BBC Radio 5 are starting to ditch traditional phone lines and using it for their correspondents out in the field. High praise for the product and, might I say, about damn time! This technology has been around for at least 2 years, it's a wonder nobody else has thought about using it in the world of broadcasting, instead relying on crappy old phone lines. Bizarrely enough, only firewall issues prevented John from joining us on 'ye olde 58live' via MSN messenger about 2 years ago. Further bizarrely, I was looking through some unlabelled CDs the other day and found 2 mp3s of when John was on with us in late 2003. It's a siiiiiign, man! A siiiign!!

Interestingly, John is still broadcasting part-time on the Scottish Night Network one night a week. Thursday nights (Friday mornings over there) he can be heard here from around 8pm eastern. Helluva broadcaster.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pod Alone Knows...

I've been making semi-decent radio for around 12 years now in three cities radically different both in location and culture. Recently my friend and radio mentor John Collins asked me if I'd be interested in trying out an experimental podcast with him. Readers familiar with the happy(ish) days of yore over in talk radio land will remember John as our international correspondent in the mornings and, latterly, sporadic afternoons. John's a born programmer and radio genius in addition to being an extremely gifted and natural host, so it's an offer I didn't shrug off. With the prospect of non-music broadcasting again, my mind automatically jumped to another friend and radio mentor Paul Wheeler, who has since retired from radio to do other, more important things as a natual addition to John's suggestion of "transatlantic politics, gossip and geekdom" Whilst I would love to work with my two radio idols again (wow, how very obsequious!) I question in my mind whether a return to the talk format is a good idea. Despite the fact that Paul 'n' Spike era-58Live has been offair for more than a year, he and I still get compliments about it. In radio, that's an achievement in and of itself, but in a market like Charleston whose listeners are fickle and forgiving at the best of times, it's practically unheard of. If Charleston radio listeners can be accused of anything, it's not caring when things change. As much as our egos would love to have seen a revolution at the gates of the Death Star when it all came crashing down, we knew it would never happen.

I'm excited by the prospect, but totally overwhelmed by the scope of it. Paul hasn't responded to the idea yet and the setup is very much embryonic, but I'm a tenacious dude when I've committed to something.

So here's the conundrum; Is it better to let sleeping dogs lie, ride the compliments until they fade and say no, or do we risk shark-jumping by pulling out our heaphones and headlines again?

I'll let you know what I decide.... when I decide.

Mum... Can We Keep Him?

Total brain-fart moment. I decided to get a blog-dog.

adopt your own virtual pet!

Give me a break, it's totally pointless fun. It reminds me of those pet screen savers you used to get back in the day. If you click on the treats bag, it will give you a wee bone. Hold it above his head and click and he'll jump for it. He barks when you click on him too.

Let's just hope next time I come back to the blog it won't be all torn up with crap everywhere.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Case Against: "The Rainbow Connection".

Remember that happy little ditty that Kermit the Frog was singing at the start of "The Muppet Movie"? That sweet little song about rainbows? Well folks - I'm here to tell you that "The Rainbow Connection" is, quite simply, THE MOST DEPRESSING SONG EVER WRITTEN. It's so damn... defeatist! "But no, Uncle Spike," I hear you cry, "Kermit the Frog wouldn't intentionally bum us out! You must be mistaken and you were listening to The Smiths. Or Leonard Cohen." No m'friends, I'm not. Let's take the lyrics to "The Rainbow Connection" and analyse them bit by bit, and you'll see why the song is worthy of a minor key Morrissey makeover.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.

Here we go, then. First line and already the tone has been set with a question asked in a semi-sarcastic tone. Why are there so many songs about rainbows? Because people like them, that's why. They are pretty anomalies of nature. They look nice. They're sweet. But, the song reminds us, they don't actually exist. You can't reach out and touch it or keep it. It's just an illusion. Optimists look at a rainbow and see something that looks beautiful. Pessimists, like the author here, look at one and say "pff! It's just light reflected off water particles." Well thanks, Mr Bum-Me-Out. Bugger off back to your half-empty glass.

So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

What does this actually mean? If you were going to be nice, you could say that the first two lines apply to the last verse. Is he saying that the people who choose to believe that a rainbow is just an illusion are wrong or is he saying that the lovers, the dreamers and him aren't all going to find this hallowed rainbow connection. The fact that these lines start a whole new verse makes me think that it's the latter option. F'rinstance, look at the last line. "The lovers, the dreamers and me", the inference being that he is neither a lover nor a dreamer, the sort of people in an idyllic state of mind who would look for the magic and mysticism in a rainbow. It looks to me that he doesn't believe there's a rainbow connection. Stick in the word "that" before the third line and you'll see what I mean. "So we've been told and some choose to believe it - I know they're wrong, wait and see - that someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me."

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.

Jack shit, that's what it's done so far - that's what he's saying here. He's being sarcastic! He's telling us, presumably the lovers and dreamers, that wishing on a star is pointless and just something that someone made up. His evidence? "Look what it's done so far." Has your wish ever come true? Are we millionaires? Are we successful and happy? Are we princess astronaughts? No! Wishing on a star, says the author, is, essentially, pointless.

What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

So he's alluding to the previous verse here. He's telling us we're looking up to the skies, trying to find something that's not there. In his rational and logical mind, he's chastising the romantics for thinking that there's something amazing about looking up at the stars. Nice pick-me-up, Mr Spock.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Your guess is about as good as mine on this one. All I'll say is take notice to the way he uses the word "probably". Is this more sarcasm?

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.

So now I'm getting really creeped out here. This is clearly a reference to Sirens - in Greek mythology, the Sirens were these pretty little creatures (sometimes birds, sometimes women, sometimes a combination) that sang sweet little songs to attract sailors. BUT WAIT! Before you non-mythology lovers say "aaww, that's nice - it was like the 'American Bandstand' of ye olde times", they did this for reasons above and beyond entertainment. They did it to attract young and innocent sailors to the rocky island they lived on, in order to kill them! Yes!! They sang sweet, attractive songs to sailors in order to get them to crash into the rocks and die! So what does this mean in the context of the song? He hears voices in his sleep and he thinks they are calling him to his doom. The writer admits that he hears them with a frequency that won't allow him to just mark it down to chance and that "it's something that I'm supposed to be". Hmm. What does this actually mean? Does he think that he is supposed to be a siren, or is he referring to something that the sirens are calling him? Is the theory that the sirens are tailoring a sweet song specifically aimed at him with the express intention of making him a past-tense person? Is he crazy? Is this a suicide note? Is he about to do away with himself and say "the sirens made me do it?" Tell me that verse isn't creepy as all getout and I'll tell you you're smoking crack.

And finally, we end with another

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

So there you go. Happy ditty, or the swan song of a schizophrenic? You decide!

Lyrics and Music

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Feeling, Sweet Feeling / Drops From My Fingers, Fingers....

well, check THIS out, m'friends!

The hot new malady du jour is Blogger Depression! Isn't that awesome? It even sounds like a real condition like Athlete's Foot or Diesel Penis (a very real condition of loss-of-feeling in the ol' family jewels caused by the vibration of a certain area, usually suffered by long-distance drivers) but what it deals with is the fact that the "OMFG!!!11 i luv teh bl0gging!!1" crowd often suffer sudden flashes of realism, and find that in between writing meaningless pish all the live long day, they are radically insignificant. So there's now a pamphlet to help repair their fractured egos.

Firstly; OK, OK... I know it's a fake. But swearing language aside, it looks pretty genuine and it's "teh funnay".
Secondly; why in the world do we want to stop these people from killing themselves?
Thirdly; was it me, or did anyone else read the URL as "The Onanist"? (Dorothy Parker once said she used to have a pet parakeet called Onan. She got rid of him because he kept dropping his seed on the floor. Cue rimshot.)

Have a read of it, it's pretty funny. Stick it in any public library or high school and I bet it would be taken seriously. Well if you'll excuse me, I have to cut the post short. I need a Wellbutrin.

Friday, July 29, 2005

I Drink, Therefore I 'Sham.

Shamelessly ripped from someone else's blog, here is one of those daft wee surveys. It's here partly because it deals with two of my favourite subjects (myself and drinking) and also because I've been so busy having to be creative at work (more later on that front) that I've been neglecting the ol' Blog. So here we go, then:

Name: Spike Nesmith. Ess Pee Eye Key Eee. Enn Eee Ess Emm Eye Tea Aitch.

Location: Charleston, wubbleyouvee.

Height: 5 10

First time you ever drank: Hmm... lemme think. No idea when, but it was probably something like Babycham at new year. Do you think they really make it out of babies? First time I *bought* alcohol was on my 19th birthday.

More of a beer or liquor person: Beer for social drinking, liquor for serious drinking. Both for *really* serious drinking.

Type of drunk you are: It depends on the mood I'm in. I can be happy, singy, dance-on-the-table drunk, or I can be miserable, depressing, maudlin drunk - hey, there's nothing like a depressant to chase the blues away, right? Mostly I'm a fun drunk though.

Ever been in an actual fight: Sure!

Favorite drink/shot: Shots? Drambuie. It's a drink that can be savoured, or it can be slammed back at the bar whilst they're pouring your guinness. DB was what I called my "travelling drink". I'd order the round at the bar and drink the DB before I left to see me back to the table. You've got to love a drink you can feel burning as it winds its way down.

Favorite beer (if applicable): Newcastle Brown probably doesn't count since it's technically an ale, but I'll say Tennants, despite the fact that it's what most of the neds, na'erdowells and general buffoons drink in Scotland.

Favorite liquor: Drambuie.

More of a Bar or Club person: Again, I'm split. Pubs for converation and company, clubs for jumpin' fun. Although that's not to say one can't have fun in a bar, like the time my best friend in the world and I experimented to see how many straws we could stick together and still be able to drink through them. I can't remember how many it was, but he needed to stand on a chair as I lay on the floor, so probably a fair few.

Alcohol you absolutely despise: Black rum. Blah!

Ever bought a stranger a drink: probably, but no specifics come to mind.

Been thrown out of a bar/club: no, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn express last night.

Ever make out with someone in front of a cheering crowd: um... yes. But don't ask for details.

Most amount of money spent in one bar/club: it's got to be in the hundreds of pounds. The tab at TGI Fridays for cocktails one Christmas eve came to 120+ pounds, and that was in the space of an hour. I had just ordered a cocktail and my friend asked to pay the tab. When the barman said "125 quid, mate", I thought that was the price of the 'summa this and summa that' cocktail I just had him make and almost crapped my pants.

Ever buy a round for random people: yeah!

Ever had to play the wingman: not that I know of, but then I have no idea what the hell a wingman is. i played "Spoonman" on the radio once, does that count?

Best song/band to hear while drinking: Anything singalongable. American Pie and Barenaked Ladies "The Wrong Man Was Convicted" go a long way, and I once had the entire upper floor of The Goose (see below) drumming and singing along with the hook from "Footloose".

Ever danced on the bar/stage: natch!

Best town/area to drink in: The Goose on Union Street, Glasgow. If you run out of conversation, you can flip through their display books for rude bits or swearing.

Do you forget a lot of what happens during a night of hard drinking: depends on how hard and what i've been drinking. I have some holes in some evenings that I can't remember, suffice it to say I now have a tattoo that says "Lotte" and I get letters asking for child support. Why is it always the fun ones that go missing?

Ever been drunk around your parents: Hell yeah. My dad watched me chug three beers in a row before he took me home from a barbecue one sunny day in 1997. We all got food poisoning. Lesson: never grill chicken drunk.

Come on you boozy buggers, cut and paste it and lemme know YOUR answers, too.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sweet Death, Embrace Me... (Or "How I Learned To Start Worrying And Fear Anthropomorphism")

I've had it. I've absolutely had it. Two of the most important components of life have decided that they hate me, so what chance do I stand?

One day I'll go into more detail over why all computers from my Commodore Vic 20 to any PC I put my grubby mitts on has a vendetta against The Spikester, suffice it to say that my death will probably be caused by one of two things; either I'll die as a result of a massive heart attack caused by the stress of dealing with my home computer or a piece of flying motherboard will impale me as I smash the living crap out of it for giving me one last defiant bluescreen. But as I say, that's a story for another day. So what else hates me, I hear you politely enquire? Cars. Bloody cars hate me.

Not *all* cars - that would be silly. Just the ones I own. So here is a brief automobillic ownership history and the problems I had with them. I never learned to drive in Scotland. Quite frankly, I never needed to. If the whim struck, I could get to work, friends' houses or the shops via a perfectly adequate public transportation system. However, when I came here and saw the sort of people who use Charleston's perfectly inadequate public transportation system, I figured I had better learn how to corrall a set of wheels pretty quick-bloody-smart, lest I be forced share my highly saught-after personal space with, literally, the great unwashed of the capitol city. So Mrs Spike taught me the basics and after just one failed test (oops, I pulled on to the wrong side of the road... how could THAT be unsafe?) I gots me my license and took over Mrs Spike's 1989 dog-poop brown Ford Taurus while she drove our new blue Ford Focus. Right from the get-go, I knew that the AC didn't work on the car I had inherited - which would soon be dubbed "The Arkansas Chugabug" (if you have to ask, you probably don't want to know) - but the cool spring air that came through the open windows was refreshing, so I figured I would deal with any AC problems come summer, totally unaware as a pasty-white Scotsman whose idea of a hot temperature was somewhere in the upper 70s that West Virginia summers are hot, hazy and humid and opening windows in a car just lets more *hot* air in, even at interstate speeds.

So already this vehicle was old enough to be out on its own but it was still alive and moving, albeit barely and without any AC. Then, things started to happen. I was reliably informed that the AC couldn't be simply recharged as the age of the car put it before any CFC restrictions were in place, so the stuff it needed to blow cold also blew a sizeable hole in the ozone layer. A new AC system would have to be put in, roughly costing an amount comparable to the national debt of Brazil. Not long after this devastating news, the powered steering started complaining and gave out not too long afterwards. Several fluid top-ups indicated in a very short amount of time that there was a leak - that got fixed. Then the radiator started overheating. That got fixed, broke again, got fixed again, broke again and then got fixed again. Then something else happened that made it not start. Twice. On two different occasions. Apparently it was battery corrosion both times.

So one day, about a year or so ago, Mrs Spike and I got an apparently unbeatable offer on a Dodge Caravan. It was an ex-rental vehicle, several thousand dollars below blue book price and in tip-top condition. Did it sound like I knew what the hell I was talking about there? I'm nothing but a parrot, this is what's been told to me. I know nothing about cars. Nuth-thing. Anyhoo, the AC on the van seemed awfully warm on the test drive, so we asked them to look at it before we bought it. They agreed, recharged the AC and sold it to us with another apparently unbeatable offer of a several year, several thousand mile warranty. Huzzah for us, you may think. Car problems are over, you may think. Talking like Yoda, you may think. Correct, you may be.

So long story short, The End.

Long story slightly less short, here's what's gone wrong with the van since we bought it, less than 2 years ago: another AC recharge, AC condenser replacement (not covered under the warranty, quelle sur-bloody-prise), AC recharge again, break pads and shoes, AC condenser and condenser clutch replacement (didn't even bother checking the warranty this time) and now, this weekend, AC AGAIN and some unidentified grinding noise which gets louder and louder the more I drive it. Grrreat. If it gets to the garage without grinding to a hault and stranding me in the middle of nowhere, it will be a bloody miracle. It sounds that bad.

So there you go. Cars hate me. It's that or someone's trying to tell me that I need to lose weight and sitting in a hot car for a third of my life is the way to sweat it off - either way I'm thinking that I'm doomed to spend the rest of my natural life with windows open and sweat in my arse-crack. But hey, when I *do* die, my flesh will probably be eatable having been slow-cooked for the past 6 years.

Friday, July 01, 2005

How Cool Is This...?

I irratated someone on the internet enough to get them to photoshop me! Happy day!

eeee! I've always considered myself a medium-sized Troll. No, wait. Scratch that. Not even medium. I'm a troll of little to no consequence. But in a thread on Fark about some girl who got splashed by a shark I made a comment about how unattractive she was amidst some easily-pleased "I'd hit it" comments and unleashed some sort of war.

Fraker illadelfian either loves me or has too much time on his hands. I'll go for a 50/50 mix. Anything but apathy, folks! ;)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cornbread Chords Appeal To Me, I Like Rustic Harmony.

There are a million and one reasons for me to hand in my Man Card at reception. I cry at non-sporting movies (and don't especially like sport movies) I'm not fascinated by cars and what makes them go and I don't think Cameron Diaz is attractive. But today, the main reason for my expulsion from the He-Man Woman Haters Club is the playlist on my MP3 player. It's not packed to the gills with hot, loud 'rawk' or so-called classics like Zeppelin and the Stones. No, my player (not an ipod, and I feel uncomfortable using that as the catch-all name for them) contains not just the hits, but the album tracks of The Carpenters.

So now that you're done throwing things at the monitor and questioning my sexuality, let me explain. Karen Carpenter is, for me, everything a female singer should be. Now, whilst certain vocal styles have their place, I find that you can't go wrong with KC. There's a purity to the voice, it's uncynical and seemingly untouched by the ravages of drugs and alcohol. The reason that made Janis Joplin so interesting is that it sounded like this spastic midget had lived a hard life, and you could hear it in her voice. The same in negative is true for Karen Carpenter, with her smooth and untarnished pipes. But it's not just the voice, it's the delivery. There is no point in any Carpenters song - love songs especially - that I don't believe she means what she's singing. Citing the most familiar example, could you ever imagine anyone else singing "Close To You" with as much sincerity? Some have tried, all have failed. If anyone else tries it, it just seems to come out sounding sarcastic.

So what, you may ask, is a grown man doing listening to love songs and elevator music? Well, if I were an emotionally stunted buffoon with no appreciation of good music or a job well done, I would probably ask the same question. There are two ways to look at the music of The Carpenters (or indeed any outfit tarred with the 'elevator music' brush); there is the easy shot of 'it's calming to listen to and inoffensive, therefore worthless' and then there's slightly more trend-bucking 'it's calming to listen to, it's been produced by people who believe in the product and have real talent and is therefore priceless.'

I'm well aware that arguing the value and merits of the music of The Carpenters to an unbelieving world is like farting against thunder. But if it makes you feel any better I put some Ice Cube in my MP3 player too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Keep Your Hands Away From My Shoulders

Growing up in west central Scotland means that the sun is sort of like those images of the virgin Mary. You hear stories of it appearing, but you've never seen it yourself. When I came over here to a place that has hot summers and clear skies, my pale-blue Scottish skin was totally unprepared for the onslaught of UV unfiltered by rainclouds and, sometimes, frost. Put it this way, if you see someone sunburnt in Scotland, the first question one would ask would be "where did you go on your holiday?"

So I have consistantly turned from pale blue to bright red when the sun comes out at least twice each summer I have lived here - I think it's because there is no sunblocking instinct. Whereas most people here see the sun, feel the heat or turn the calendar past April and instinctively run to WalMart to get some SPF 4 Banana Boat. I see the sun and, even after 6 years of living here, I stand outside and stare at this weird ball of fire in the sky wondering what it is, why the sky isn't its usual shade of grey or where the rain is.

Thus, I get burned. A lot. I'm getting better, I apply the sunscreen when I'm going to be outside for a while now... the problem is, I don't remember to re-apply. This weekend was yet another example of why I should just stay in and enjoy the air conditioning rather than go outside and be fascinated by the fact that I don't need a coat.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Sometimes I Surprise Even Myself... Sometimes

Check this out:

I am nerdier than 16% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

OK. Now that is surprising, but it was a little too computer-based for my nerdiness to show. had it concentrated on radio and social skills, I would have had top marks.

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Stupid!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

THAT is no surprise though.

In Their Defence: The Spice Girls

Ladies and gentlemen of the jukebox jury. The Spice Girls are innocent.

As the representative of a person or group who are guilty of other, smaller crimes, it's hard to put forth a convincing defence of the larger charges, so before we start, let's clear up a few misunderstood points about what they were, who they were and what they were supposed to do. Yes, the Spice Girls were a manufactured band. Yes, the Spice Girls' nicknames and personas were marketing ploys. Yes, the Spice Girls did very little, if any, writing of music and/or lyrics themselves. But, ladies and gentlemen, it was damn fine marketing. They were damn fine fake personas and - perhaps most importantly - it was damn fine perfectly crafted pop music.

Before we get to the meat and potatoes of the defence, perhaps it would be a good idea to make sure that everybody is on the same page over what the argument actually is, and it touches on something said a few moments ago. Whilst obstensibly the group was the five original members, the project was very much a team effort. Management played a huge role in what can only be referred to as slight-of-hand. Appearances and percieved attitudes were pushed to the front and the music slipped by underneath. There is nobody involved with the project or even anyone with basic intelligence who could claim otherwise, although it's a well documented fact that the main members of the group were instrumental in picking their manager in addition to rejecting requests from interested record companies that a "clear leader" be established in the group. This amount of control and choice in and of itself is both a remarkable and unusual feat in the music industry.

Aside from the management and marketing, the Spice Girls triumphed musically. Being two totally different genres, one couldn't feasibly say that classical music was better than, say, heavy metal. Blues over jazz or polka over country. The differences are too numerous, wo with that in mind, it's unfair to compare perfectly crafted pop music to any other genres. Perfectly crafted pop music is what it is. Where some genres are pure and rely solely on melody or lyrics, perfectly crafted pop music derives success from an amalgamation of different parts. It's part promotion, part market research and part image. When those wheels work together, the clock runs smoothly. Some music acts slave for years in nightclubs, some music acts are created and cultivated in the studio. You don't have to agree with the way it works or what those methods produce to acknowledge their existance and realise that it can be done well and it can be done badly.

So musically, the Spice Girls did what they were supposed to do and did it well. The music reflected the attitudes and message of empowerment that the group was designed to produce in addition to being radio-friendly and catchy. Even Christopher Reeve couldn't resist tapping his feet to "Who Do You Think You Are", for example. The ballads were dripping with emotion in the same way that popcorn drips with butter; it may not be genuine, but it tastes good enough to do the job in the three minutes it takes to comsume it, exhibit A: the swooping strings of "Two Become One" and the reflective lyrics of "Viva Forever".

The prosecution will bombard you with misunderstood points of interest intended to misdirect your attention away from the facts of this case. They weren't a true band, they will say. They put style over substance, they'll tell you. Their music was dreaful, they'll whine. Ignore them. They weren't supposed to be a real band, style over substance is what perfectly crafted pop music is about and the music wasn't dreadful... it's just not to everyone's taste.

And so in closing, I ask you - the fine members of the jukebox jury - I ask you to judge the Spice Girls solely within the context of what they were created to be and not what personal preferences and tastes decide they should have been. The Spice Girls were a perfectly crafted pop group, selling perfectly crafted pop music.

Good morning, thank you and girl power.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Opus Envy.

OK, so now I know my blog is pointless.


All it took was a month for infamy to set in. There is no hope for any of us anonymous folks with nothing to say....

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fear Of A Calm Voice

I had a great weekend, up to the in-laws for a state festival (beautifully small town stuff) and food a-plenty. As a radio geek, one of the great advantages of going up there to the middle of the state is that the radio reception is good so, when I remember, I pack my little short wave radio and scan about to see what treats can be pickled up from afar.

Short wave is entirely unreliable for anything other than geekery. The signals float around and are often unlistenably married with something else and the two fight for audibility. Other than that, it's intriguing because of the sheer range it has and that it seems to be almost entirely unregulated. It's full of little pockets of who-knows-who saying who-knows-what. Nothing like Stern... just weirdness.

And so there I was after a fun night of cotton candy, winning goldfish and "moooop meep meep, moooop meep meep" carnival organs, lying in bed with my radio. In amongst the preachers and languages was a calm, Donna Reed-type voice. You know the kind, a 1950s black and white TV housewife sort of voice that reassures a young, crying boy that she knows the broken vase was an accident and not to worry about it but be more careful. I think that's why it got so damned creepy as it went on.

The content of the piece which ran for a further four or five minutes by the time I had found it was basically.... don't wet the bed. Really. This woman was talking from what sounded like the point of view of a child, reiterating the importance of not wetting the bed and how proud the parents will be and even little puppy dogs (what a 50s phrase!) keep their beds dry. It was, for wont of a better expression, bloody creepy. I think because it sounded for all the world like propaganda radio. The way the same message was repeated over and over and over again, the importance of a dry bed, the importance of making your parents proud, dry beds are a step to being a grown up, I want to make my parents proud by keeping my bed dry... all delivered in a calm, steady, confident female voice. It was bloody eerie.

I didn't wet the bed that night, so I guess the propaganda worked. I'm just glad she didn't say something about walking across the street and murdering the neighbours whose pointless outside floodlight light shone right into my bedroom or I'd be writing this from jail.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Is There Any Tea On This Spaceship...?

a hot-tea drinking sexy beast, this morning

Quick note - if you're a hot tea drinker, I've got two words for you: Krogerownbrandtea Bags. I was running low on Lipton... oh, wait. That sounds like the first line to a song. Or at the very least a poem!

To the Rhymobile! GO!!

I was running low on Lipton
to make my daily cuppa

um.... ok, I can't think of a rhyme for "cuppa". Hmm... a limerick maybe?

There once was a man not called Bo
whose tea bag supply was quite low
(mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble)
to Kroger he's glad he did go

Damn. I guess I'm not in a rhyming state o'mind today. Anyhoo, frivolity aside, it's time to ditch the Lipton as tea-of-choice and pick up some of K-Roger's own brand tea bags. Good? GOOD? Hot damn. Three tea bags in your teapot and you're ready to go.. As good as Tetley, as good as Scottish Blend.... man. Top stuff.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Wow. Just Wow.

If you work in the media, and particularly in local talk radio, you have to expect opinions about you and what you've said to run high. It comes with the territory. I think intrinsically, I just want to be loved - we all do - but often for me, Monsieur Extraordinaire De Narcissisme, criticism is not only welcome but positively encouraged. Why? Because the more you criticise me, the better I look. No, really. Unless you're sitting down and objectively picking apart what I say or how I say it and making intelligent points, YOU are the one that looks like a tit. And so I take the ventlines and the WV radio messageboard haters and wear their badly spelled, no-grasp-of-basic-english comments like a badge of honour.

Wilde got it right in "A Picture Of Dorian Gray"; there is only one thing worse than being talked about... and that is not being talked about. With that in mind I decided to Google my name last night to see what came up, for no good reason other than for personal gratification. Chagrinningly, there is nobody talking about the Spikester anymore, but I did re-find some lovely comments from someone on a writers' board being quite depressed about the end of the old talk show and an item from Grafitti (snort) about some halfwit's recollection of where he was and what he was doing on September 11th. Apparently I had some "idiotic comments" about the first plane. I'm standing watching the blazing hole that plane number 1 made on the TV, he's driving around in his car listening and somehow *I* am the idiot for suggesting that it might be an internal explosion. Hey, I've accepted that I was incorrect. I thought a plane would make a bigger hole. I thought it was an explosion. But *I* was the one who was watching the coverage, not driving around listening to someone else's description on fuzzy AM radio. Hindsight may make you look smarter, but your twattyness increases exponentially the more you brag about it.

I shouldn't get upset about it. After all, it was only Grafitti. I don't even think parakeets read that before they take a dump on it in their cage.

I loved what Wheeler and I had built 58 Live into. Despite no support (and often hurdles placed by pure spite) from the company, zero publicity or advertising and little more than a good idea of what we wanted and how we could do it, we made what was, imho, a damn fine local talk show. I'll admit that sometimes we were, to quote Stan Ridgway, a little too smart for a big dumb town, but the combination of smarts and silly, politics and news, opinion and understanding was designed to be welcoming and unelitist. It all ended when Wheeler had had enough and left, finding another non-radio job rather than deal with the company's apparently unstoppable plan to dismantle the show (which was, for the record, in it's penultimate phase the day before he resigned). I'm proud of him, he has found more success and happiness in his new job than he ever did in 12 years there, but I sure miss the daily fun. But our trials and tribulations are a story for another day.

I've made no secret to those in the know that I didn't really want anything to do with the new unashamedly right-leaning show despite my fondness for the guys that run it. And despite that fondness, I've never disguised the fact that I disagreed not only with what the show had become, but what it represented. My poor little award-winning centrist "come one, come all" talk show had become a three-hour daily infomercial for the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign. And so, imagine my squeaks of guilty delight when I discovered this last night: http://wvpoliticalsweatbox.blogspot.com/ [you'll need to cut'n paste, i don't got no html skillz] a political blog which seems to spend every third post picking them apart. I love RJ and Mike, I really do. I have mentioned in public several times that outwith the confines of the show, Agnello is one of the nicest and most pleasant people on the planet. Take away politics and basic morality from any conversation with Mike and you get a genuinely nice, warm and complimentary guy with a wealth of stories and experiences. Hard to believe, I know, but the radio persona is almost diametrically opposed to what he's *really* like when you sit down and talk to him. RJ, too, is a blazing icon of pleasant to whom I awe a great deal professionally.

I wish them no personal ill will, but when someone who clearly has a brain takes pot-shots at what the show has become I can't help but get the warm fuzzies. Take a read of the WV Political Sweatbox and you'll see that it is run by someone who is smart and opinionated, two qualities that rarely work together. Sure the attacks on the show may be a little over the top, but they are - at the very least - rooted in smarts and like I always say, any good argument deserves a good rebuttal.

I have no idea who runs the WV Political Sweatbox... but I like 'em! I don't always agree with what he says, but I know that the opinions are at the very least well-considered. If need be, if it gets too nasty for no good reason, I'll jump in and defend 'The Good Lookin' Boys Of 58 Live' but right now I'll sit back and enjoy it.

I *do* think it's missing some Spike-centric compliments though. ;)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Blah blah blah, me me blah, blah blah blah blah me me me.

I've just realised how jealous I am of self-obsessed idiots. I opened up this blog basically to shoot the shit; essentially with myself. I mean, of all the blogs out there it's highly unlikely that mine will be read over others. Why should it? After all, what content of interest is there to John Q. I'mgonnareadsomeonelesesblog?

Over the years I've seen, if you'll pardon the language, some fucking corking blogs. I've seen blogs that blew my fucking mind - not only because of their content, but that people would write down such intimate details of their lifes in the single largest public form ever invented. I saw one which was a blow by blow account (often literally) of the life of a 19/20 year old Canadian girl with a ferocious drug habit and whose legs seemed perpetually open to her circle of male friends. It was fascinating and funny but at the same time there was a very deep sense of tragedy about it. She obviously had no real concept of the danger her lifestyle put her in and the one friend she constantly expressed her true love for treated her like a wet hole. He'd turn up in her life every couple of weeks or so, she would be all happy and excited, he'd score some drugs off her, they'd get drunk and high together (or he'd turn up drunk and high), she'd give him a blowjob and a night or two of wild sex and then he'd disappear and never answer her calls, leaving her miserable because she "thought that it was for real this time". I read another, purportedly from a Hollywood A-lister and even one from a prostitute who managed to balance a day job, a night job and a boyfriend who knew but disapproved. 'Blog' was even the big buzzword in the recent election cycle, where seemingly any fat, malodorous wanker with a computer and a political agenda could influence news and current events just by supplying contrary research that was at worst dubious and at best dubious but interestingly scandalous. And the media ran with it. The way things really are be damned; when the legend becomes truth, print the legend, right?

Where does mine fit in? Certainly not in the category of the biggies, more a sneeze in the ocean of me-centric blogs. Part of the vast array of blogs out there written by narcissitic jerks who think that the general public are interested in what they did that day, what they fed the dog for dinner or their latest self-pitying piece of shit poem.

Life, oh life - thou piss'd on me
I'm drowning in solemnity
the darkness comes to take the light
the dog and I had steak tonight.

Perhaps some day I'll be promiscuous enough to make compelling reading. Maybe my political views will be re-ignighted to the point that my thoughts will become ramblings that become vitriolic columns.

....or not.

Le Shaque du image.


Just hosted my dazzlingly attractive profile pic.

Ladies, try not to make out with the screen.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It's time to play...

AMERICAN IDOL BINGO! (after a long and unexplained chunk of nothing which is undetectable in the html.)

"dawg""I dunno, man""Karaoke bar"Ryan dismisses Cowell's comments
"Pitchy"Is Paula drunk?"Hotel Lobby"Paula pantomimes violence on Simon
"Cruise ship"contestants mime their phone numbers"the dogpound"Paula praises a dreadful performance
contestants point at the camera during a song"not your best performance""you're back"Paula is about to cry
"goosebumps"Paula stands to applaudPaula and Randy dance, Simon stays seated"at this stage in the competition"
contestant strolls off stage during songPauls talks over Simon when she disagreesPainfully unfunny all-cast commercial for Fordfree square


I have discovered that there is no more calming feeling in the world than being slept on. Whether it's by a baby, a toddler, a spouse, animal or whatever, the feeling of being comfortable enough to let someone sleep on you is an unrivalled feeling.

...unless it's a stranger on a plane with bad breath and they're drooling. In that case it's just horrid.

Boy, is my face yellowy-orange? ...with a bird on it.

The British general election is tomorrow and I took an online test to see who I should've voted for. If I was still in the country. I have to say the results were both unsurprising and surprising all at the same time. I know that after an albeit short voting lifetime my allegiances had switched from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, but the SNP's showing with a three point difference was a huge surprise. To me, the nationalists had always been as bad if not worse than the conservatives; a scurvy bunch of disillusioned, out of touch morons with a frighteningly committed fan base. I guess I was wrong, but I'd sooner vote for the monster raving loony party than be associated with a political outfit whose support seems to come almost exclusively from racists. They may not be the ultra radical British National Party, but some of their hollow-headed voters sure come close.
Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for in Scotland?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour -1
Conservative -34
Liberal Democrat 58
Green 55
Scottish National Party 55
Scottish Socialist Party 56

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

pff. Who knew?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Pointless Blog #565,782,345,287,901 takes to the skies! Huzzah, etc.

It seems like every bugger in the world has one of these things now. So, ever the trendsetter, I decided it was about time I had one. What can I say, it legitimises everyone elses' if I'm in on the act.

What will you see here, dear reader? Oh great... now I've managed to start the all-important first post like every brainless blogging moron in the world. Why don't I just surrender and say, "OMFG!!!11 Thz iz teh BlOg!!!1 Luv to..." and a bunch of screen names, first names and nicknames. Honestly, dear reader, if I ever reach that point, I hereby give you permission to shoot me. (my death, however, will remain a common crime without written confirmation that I have, indeed, turned into a leet-speaking buffoon. Application forms available at reception - one per customer, please.)

No, but really. What are you likely to see here? Not hellish much, I'll be honest. I'm being perfectly up front about who I am and what I do, so there's little to no chance of seing any great secrets or exciting information. I keep my sordid affairs, drug problems and insider information on my OTHER blog* - the one you're not getting the address to. I won't even keep a Pepys-like account of ever time I have a... well, let's just say that if you're familiar with the diaries of Samuel Pepys (the unedited editions) you'll know what I'm talking about - right, intellectuals? ;) eh? eh? SAY! NO! MORE!

OK then, here's a hint. I need glasses and, if his diaries are to be believed, so did he. Badly.

But what you WILL see are inane ramblings, random nonsense and a lot of spelling and grammatical innacuracies. Dictionaries are not only for cheats, they are for people who have the time and inclination to do research. Feh.

So what's the point? If there are no secrets, no rumours, no hand-shandy tabulation (well, there goes subtelty out the window) what will there be? Quite frankly I don't know. Spelling errors for sure... other than that, who knows? Let's find out together, shall we?

*Other blog may not exist.