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.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0517051blog1.html

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.

Imageshack:



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

zzz....

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
UKIP -9
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?