Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rage Machine, August 29th.


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We start with a little light housekeeping, including comment from Spike’s eldest sister and Brendan the Iremonger, both with some wise words about last week’s show.

Scandal of the month features a not-gay whacky shoe-tapper with a wide stance in the smallest room and a crazy voting record looking, allegedly, for a good, lewd time to the sound of someone stepping on ducks…

After the results of “Cancer Idol”, will smoking Britons become non-smoking Britons after gazing at pictures of diseased lungs on their fag packets?

Why was hose-faced Princess Diana, the right royal queen of England’s girl’s hearts, so popular abroad and so loathed at home? Spike’ll tell you why.

And Diamond John Edwards, multi-millionaire 3rd-place candidate for the Democrats prez pick, he of the $400 haircuts, wants us poverty-stricken hobbledehoys to give up our SUVs and buy expensive hybrids instead. You know, to save the environment.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Rage Machine: August 23


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The critics agree; The Spike Nesmith Rage Machine kicks significant backside! 1nkling says, “Wow.. spike was everything I’d been promised for weeks”. Even Spike’s older sister gets in on the act, “i’m enjoying it. it’s like shooting the shit with you, but without having to concentrate on paying enough attention to contribute to the conversation“.

We begin with a brief word from Spike’s daughter Spikette, a “where the hell were we?” update, why the show is worse (or, at least, more frightening) sans Old Spike, some news about poor Mrs Spike’s ailments, his mid-life crisis and “two chicks at once”.

Should we laugh at death? Yeah – why the hell not? The department of ironic deaths claims another victim that Spike tries hard not to laugh at. Hey… it’s a slow news day. DID! YOU! KNOW! That one in four Americans read no books last year? None. No books. Good? Bad? Flawed survey…?

Bom bom bom! This is politics! Republican Mitt Romney takes some chunks out of Rudy Guiliani over the immigration “sanctuary policies” of some cities. Spike wants to know why you left your birth country (if you’re an emigrant) or what would make you leave if you’re still there. Email your thoughts to TheRageMachine@gmail.com

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Am Utterly And Abjectly Bummed Out.

Tony Wilson, owner and genius behind Factory Records, has died... and I think I killed him!

I quoted him twice last week; once to add a quote of his to my email signature, and again in a chat to a friend, and then the bugger goes and dies! I didn't even know he was sick!

His death is tragic and significant because his contribution to music and, in turn, late 20th century British culture was immense, acting as mentor and manager to groups that may not have had similar success elsewhere, and his devotion to music over money was evident in the decisions he made. Who else would be willing to lose $1 per copy of the twelve-inch single of New Order's Blue Monday - which ended up being one of the biggest selling twelve-inch singles of all time - purely to get the complex design of the gatefold sleeve right...?

If you ever get the chance, rent "24 Hour Party People". Watch it once, and then once again with the Tony Wilson commentary for the real story. It's not a perfect movie by far, but it's worth looking past that to get to what is an amazing story about an amazing bunch of people at an amazing period of musical history. Even moreso once you understand the "when the legend becomes truth, print the legend" moments which are pointed out through winces and, at least once, gritted teeth. The portrayal of Wilson is unkind but carried out with unconditional love and respect, the guys who play Ian Curtis and Shawn Rider are eerily dead-on and the soundtrack is totally unbeatable. They don't spend enough time on the individual elements (Curtis' heartbreaking story is an entire movie in and of itself) and there are many parts of the movie that are just plain inaccurate, but it's well worth a watch. I hated it the first time I saw it, and ended up loving it and all its flaws after watching it with Wilson's sarcastic input. Call him pretentious, call him - as the movie poster did - a twat, but there's no denying the man's vision, or his passion and belief that he was right about most decisions. Undoubtedly the smartest man in most rooms he graced and at least a decade ahead of everyone else.

I'm not an overtly emotional fellow, but when radio legend John Peel died, Sirius' First Wave channel put together a slapdash rip-and-read Wiki-fact tribute and played "Love Will Tear Us Apart", one of the many singles Peel championed. I found myself rather unexpectedly overcome and had to pull over to the side of the road so I could bawl like a baby. I really, really hope I don't hear it again in the next few days...

Incidentally, the Tony Wilson quote I added to my email signature: "I used to say some people make money and some make history - which is very funny until you find you can't afford to keep yourself alive." Little did I know at the time he meant that literally and not figuratively; The Happy Mondays and other Wilson-backed bands were springing for the $7,000 per month experimental cancer treatment that wasn't covered by the National Health Service. An unusual turnaround that the Mondays be paying for Wilson's drugs...

Here's to you, Anthony "don't call me Tony" H. Wilson. May he go to the great Ha├žienda in the sky bearing the final FAC code.

Unsecured Wireless Networks Are The New Newspapers.

This is one of the reasons I love the twenty-first century. Oh sure, there are some who whine and pine for simpler times, but give me the choice of two unsecured wireless networks whilst I'm stuck in a doctors' waiting room (one that doesn't use leeches) and I'll show you a happy man with his finger on the pulse of the world. That there to your right is a picture of me reading the Scottish headlines via the BBC News site on my PSP. Admittedly, not a great picture, because whilst we have up-to-the-minute medical practices, wireless broadband internet access and hand-sized machines capable of accessing it, putting a digital camera with more than .03 megapixels and a half-decent lens inside an affordable cellphone is apparently still the stuff of Robert A Heinlan's wet dreams.

Time was a blokey like me would take a newspaper or a book into situations where I'd be sitting somewhere for a long time, like a waiting room or heaving out a particularly stubborn Greyfriar's on the cludgie. Now, a quick scan to see if there's a lingering Linksys or two and I'm in like Flint for some time burning off-goofery whilst I wait for some Lexus-driving quack to bend me over the table and shake the last dimes from my trousers. The twenty-first century kicks ass, there's no doubt about it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

O tempora! O mores! O ego clementia!

So, I'm thinking of opening up another blog to completely ignore.

Insomuch as this one has become little more than a not-read propaganda/distribution tool for my little listened-to podcast rather than a 'me and the incredibly interesting fings what i fink' sort of outlet, which was my original intention, I wonder if I could force myself to write more (and, with any luck, improve my utterly atrocious writing skills) if I had an actual subject I was interested in. See, the 'fings' theory falls down on two counts. Firstly, I'm really not that interesting. I don't do interesting things, I don't think interesting thoughts. Secondly, what I do do that's interesting either in my professional or private life, I'm not going to put in here. I am me. I don't hide behind a fake name (you really thought 'Spike' wasn't my real name?) to write hyperbolic tabloidesque tell-all stories about what REALLY goes on in my workplace, I don't expound thrilling stories about my salacious personal exploits in a TMZ-stylee. I won't even write one of those "here's what my perfect kids did yesterday" memoirs, mostly because... well, it's none of your bloody business and I find it mildly creepy that anyone other than my immediate family would be in any way, shape or form interested in the comings and goings of my kids. So without all that, what's left? A daily dose of depression? A look into how I truly believe that life isn't worth living? Hell, if people really wanted to sit down and have some loser with weird hair bum them out, they could circumvent ol' bloggy and buy a page-a-day calendar with Smiths lyrics.

So this, as you can imagine, leaves me in a bind. The want, the need, the desire to sit down and write again... But about what? (Eagle-eyed readers may notice that this entry is fast becoming a carbon-copy of the very first blog entry) WELL! I think I've found the solution.

Everyone knows that the reigning king of the internet zeitgeist is YouTube, the dubiously legal video sharing site that Google bought for the price of a hundred hospitals because their attempt to copy it went Hindenburg. I bloody love YouTube - not so much the eight second clips of cats getting chased by turtles or zit-faced hobbledehoys singing along to their favourite songs at fifteen frames per second, but the genuinely interesting stuff. I can waste hours on it watching all manner of nugatory nuggets, and frequently do. So, inspired by an awesome post at Chris James' "A Sour Apple Tree", I'm thinking I might do something along those lines. Spend some time examining interesting or important clips and what makes them interesting or important. Gawd knows if I can write paragraph after paragraph on ANYTHING, it's interesting or weird telly. So I'll play around a bit. See what strikes my fancy. See what comes out.

No cats being chased by turtles. Promise.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Rage Machine, August 1st


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A little housecleaning for Spike and Old Spike as they consider two late “Desert Island” movie lists that were submitted to TheRageMachine@gmail.com for the first hour and then get into some meatier topics. Hey… What’s that buzzing sound? Oh well, never mind.

“Socialised healthcare”? Balk if you may, but Spike and Old Spike are more than happy to pay a little more per month to make sure you and your kids don’t have to make medical decisions based on whether you can afford it or not. You’re welcome.

And they discuss Thatcher’s legacy as the US Republicans scramble for her altzheimers-riddled approval. I guess it’s the closest they can get to a thumbs-up from Reagan. Old Spike, an old-school leftie stalwart, discusses what was wrong with her.

And guns.


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