Tuesday, May 31, 2005
In three years time the whole underground network will be fully equipped for mobile coverage. Grumble? Joy? I do not mind the mobile coverage because sometimes I just need to get that text message or check my e-mail but it also means having to cope with chatter happy commuters or Crazy Frog ringtones.
Last week I was having a drink with two ladies from Hong Kong. The telly was on (we were in a pub) and there was this piece on Sky News about the missing Londoner, Jeshma Raithatha. Because Jeshma is an Anglo-Indian and is of the "right" age for marriage - 18 according to some - Ms. Wong (name changed) decided to butt in with a comment that the murdered teenager was probably 'done' by her family or relatives from "Pakistan or India". She then gave a lenghty commentary on how this is not surprising since most Anglo-Asians are being forced into marriages.
If this isn't a racial slur I don't know what is. And where the fuck did she get that information? She isn't even from West London (she's living in Manchester). What she said was totally out of the line. It is fortunate that I do not know her much therefore I won't have to meet up with her anytime soon.
I am aware that the Anglo-Asian community has landed in 'hot soup' in the print media during the past year due to issues of forced marriages. The backlash against Muslims since 9/11 by pretend 'newspapers' such as The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express did not help either. But come on, you can not generalised a whole community just because of the actions of a few.
By the way ShaolinTiger has an article up on the issues of racism in Malaysia.
White bands might be cool but it is not exactly the most ethical thing you can wear. For every one squid, 70p goes to the organisations. We do not know how much of these goes into the pockets of administrators before it actually goes into the charity piggy bank but we do know that the factories that make them employ forced labour. Workers at factories in China are paid only 9-16 pence an hour.
Make poverty history by taking direct action. Donate monies directly to local organisations instead. Apply pressure on the government to deliver the goods during the G8 summit.
This is not an anti-Oxfam post, don't get me wrong. They do wonderful stuff and I always donate old clothing to Oxfam because I can't be arsed to send it to African instead. And judging by reports, the stuff they did during the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami disaster was great.
But Oxfam needs to understand that many are disappointed that the white bands bought at their charity stores are manufactured unethically.
After two years connected to DVB-T, I am so glad that E4 has finally arrived on Freeview. More telly. No more secret longing for Sky subscription (I feel so dirty). What's not to like? There are more Big Brother shite of course but it only lasts for the next two months or so.
Speaking of Big Brother, this year's was the first I ever missed the launch show. I am no fan of the hit reality TV series but I would usually be curious about wannabees seeking fame on the series. Media TV is after all where my interest lies. It was quite liberating really and until today I have yet to know a single contestants name. The Guardian and The Independent obviously helped by ignoring the Channel 4 show.
Continuing with television, Desperate Housewives finally ends this Wednesday with its double bill season finale. I think I am going to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. No more No Angels, no more Peep Show, no more Teachers and soon no more Eva Longoria for at least the next seven or eight months.
Back to E4, I was surprised to find E4+1 has also made it to Freeview. E4+1 is basically E4 broadcasted one hour later, which is pretty good for busy people who are always late for their piece of telly.
More on Freeview... When I rescanned the frequencies on my WinTV Nova-T application I found loads of new channels. Most were bullshit stuff used by TV companies to promote their subscription only channels like Discovery, Cartoon Network and Bloomberg. I think about 30% of the channels found were occupied by such shows. Hopefully someone at OFCOM would sort it out before Freeview gets as messy as teh Interweb.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Besides I wasn't as hopeful as Red Ken that London's transport system could cope with the hundreds of thousands extra tourists. The Crossrail line even after decades of planning hasn't even begun digging yet. And Sebastian Cole was an idiot for his attempt to
Until of course I saw today's Evening Standard. Well I don't normally buy the Standard (I did not, I search for the image online instead) because of its link with the Daily Mail unless there are some important news/freebies. Anyway there was this piece on Kate Moss's support for the bid. A photograph taken by the famous Mario Testino of her in 'running stilettos' bending over the sprinting blocks was also on page three.
I went into a state of stupor as usual when I saw Kate. Nothing like Kate Moss to penetrate my stubborn mind. When I calmed down I noticed an image created by Sir Paul Smith in support of the bid in the form of a bid logo with the motif "Happy to have the Olympics here... Paul Smith".
So the coolest babe and the coolest man in Britain both supports the London bid. Yes London 2012 would be cool. This reason alone is why I am switching my allegiance from Paris 2012 to London 2012.
Au revoir Paris!
I was on the M25 today and the hot weather is really claiming loads of victims today. I think there were about an average of ten vehicles which broke down for every mile I journeyed. Most seems to be engine failure. Pity those fellas.
Still at temperature of 27C it was still alright. Without a fan sleeping will be a horrific experience this summer (which seems to equal 2003's record).
I was returning a pair of jeans to a high street store today.
Me: Hello, I would like to return this.
Chick: Huh? You stole it and now want to return it?
Me: Me? Steal? This is the receipt (wave at face)...
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Just when I thought the weather would be getting better and a long bank holiday weekend of warm sunny weather beckons on this tiny island this chum decided to announce Monday's weather. Thank you very much. And look at his red tie (and his grin). Another bloody scouser me thinks.
I was at my grand aunt's place near Wembley yesterday and we had this lovely chicken curry she cooked. No milk of any kind was added so it wasn't as thick or sweet as some would hope for but it was still fab.
There were only the three of us. The third was a middle age Anglo-Indonesian. Try to imagine me, a twenty something having dinner with some gossipy old ladies over the Champions League match! But it was a fun night and I did learn some nice gossips.
Okay, my last post update before I sign off the Interweb.
We often wonder why cases are often thrown out because of mere technicality, well here is a magistrate's reasoning on the matter. Middle England might not like it but I do agree with the Bystander. The CPS has all the chance it has to prove the guilt of a man, so they should do it right - and by the law.
When I was in Malaysia, I was caught up with the Sepet hype. The media was still talking about it. Malaysian blogs were raving about it. Being an ignorant bastard, I had no clue what the heck they were talking about because I have never heard of this thing called Sepet.
The film deals with the subject of interracial relationship between a poor non-religious Chinese boy who happens to write poetry and loves Malay films, and a middle class Malay girl who happens to love Chinese and Japanese films.
I have read somewhere that the Malaysian government wanted to ban this film. Obviously they did not. I am not sure if there are any substance in this rumour. Anyone who has a URL link to an official news piece then please post it in the comments area. If the ban rumour is true, it only proved what a backward country Malaysia is.
Was the subject of interracial relationship so taboo that it managed to court such controversy? I needed to find out. So after watching Liverpool beat AC Milan I flick PowerDVD on and started watching.
** possible spoilers ahead **
Sepet started with a sequence that pretty much sums up what this film would be. The pretence of being philosophical. The scene where the protagonist was communicating with his mother in Chinese while she replies in Malay was all so fake. There is an explanation for this, but was pretty unsatisfying. It was as though the auteur thought that such a scene would appeal to the arthouse community.
"Not all Chinese men cheat and not all Malay men are lazy."
And then there was the content. Was the early scene in the snooker bar really necessary? Personally I did not see how it would contribute to the narrative by showing an apparent idiot (who can't act) messing with 'Jimmy'. The filmmaker probably wanted to introduce the antagonist early on and the whole sequence ended up an utter mess.
"My father named me after this Chinese kung fu master, but he never taught me kung fu."
Then there is this major scene where Jason, the protagonist, meets 'Orked' for the first time. It will cause gooseflesh when you watch it the first time. Can humans actually communicate like that? I do not know. Sure it is love at first sight...but that doesn't make the whole scene any less scary.
"They make the best French fries..."
One thing the film got right is the highlighting of Malaysia's obsession with fast food. You got that right. They had their first date in a fast food eatery. Complete with a 'waiter' and short discussion of chips. The scene was excruciating to watch that I did not know whether to cry or laugh.
"I know you like movies..."
"I do? How do you know?"
"Because you bought my videos..."
By the middle of the film I was tired. Tired of picking flaws. I was very dissapointed. Perhaps I really wanted to like it. I would be lying if I said I didn't. The ending itself to put it mildly was farcical.
The acting was god awful that I forgave George Lucas for Samuel L. Jackson's performance in Star Wars Episode III. I have never heard more forced dialogues in any films. Even if the accent were faithful the fakeness in the dialogue is so apparent down to the forced "lahs".
Despite my peeves there were a couple of funny moments. I truly enjoyed those scenes where Orked's mum and sister were bickering with her dad. And that was it really. Maybe the filmmakers should have made a film on how the parents met instead. That would be a story.
The fact that by the end of the film I did not notice anyting controversial about it again proved that how living in London has skewed my mind. Here interracial and interfaith relations are the norm. In the end however, I believed the film gained notoriety not because of great (it isn't) filmmaking but because the filmmakers dared to tackle the subject. Which is commendable. But it is still a bad film.
Recommended films on interracial relations:
Japanese Story (2003, Sue Brooks)
Ae Fond Kiss (2004, Ken Loach)
Arghh I hate all those telemarketers swamping my phone with automated computerised calls!!! Yesterday I received five bloody phone calls from these scums! In fact I accidentally dropped my fucking mobile because of them. Now my JAM contains a gash half an inch long. Fuckers...
According to other clumsy owners at xda-developers HTC will replace the case but it will cost me 50quid! Greedy bastards. Not only that, it has to go to their service center in Dubai! The damage is mainly cosmetic but the plastic part is dangerously cracked. I am going to have to get some strong glue tomorrow to hold it together. Hopefully it can last.
I cant understand how the case can crack. It fell on a carpeted floor from a height of only two feet. I remember dropping my Sony Ericsson T610 onto hard concrete from five feet and it survived with only scratches. And my old Nokia survived a eight feet drop onto the carpet with zero injuries. Bah, all these Taiwanese products really lack quality.
Btw, congratulations to Liverpool on the win. The real battle however will be persuading the FA and UEFA to allows them to defend the title next season. Which looks pretty unlikely...
Recommended telly from today:
Middle Sex, Channel 4, 9pm
Antony Thomas's documentary on people who are born neither male or female and other transexual people including Thai lady boys.
Question Time, BBC1, 10.35pm
As France moves to the 'non' vote on the European Constitution referendum, David Dimbleby chairs a studio debate in Paris. Shockingly the elderly are more inclined towards the 'oui' vote. Personally I am for a European reunification but I think a more socially liberal referendum is more suited for Europe.
The Invisible Circus, Channel 4, 3.20am
TV premiere starring Cameron Diaz and Christopher Eccleston in this Jennifer Egan's film adaption. Based around the premise of a young teenage girl trying to retrace the footsteps of her sister who died in Europe years ago.
Rover's Billion Pound Blunder, BBC2, 7pm
Quentin Sommerville investigates the self destruction and subsequent collapsed of the Birmingham based British car manufacturer.
Big Brother: Live Launch, Channel 4, 9pm
Davina presents her sixth UK Big Brother. Watch. Laugh at the wannabees then switch to...
The Kumars at No 42, BBC1, 9.30pm
New series. Moved channels from BBC2 to BBC1 although still based in Wembley. The spoof chat show still features Sanjeev Bhaskar but this time is joined by new wife Meera Syal. Former hellraiser Alice Cooper appears.
Remember E4 will be on freeview from Friday
Tutankhamun Exhumed, Channel 4, 8pm
Documentary charting the exhumation of the body of the mummified teenage boy.
Pulp Fiction, BBC3, 9.50pm
Another chance to catch Samuel L. Jackson acting tough. Pitty his silly self in the new Star Wars.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The kitchen is run by Alex Scott 'executive chef', a self confessed Italain chef. The only problem was he knows "fuck all". And was cocky as hell (his car has the registration A16HEF).
The Polish helper has has an attitude problem and the front room is managed by Alex's girlfriend and his best mate, the likeable Gavin.
To top it all, they were in the red. And none of their ingredients are actually Italian ("as authentic as a fucking Chinese take-away").
Anybody who has seen the first series will know how the Ramsey is like when confronted with third world class kitchens.
So why the hell didn't Alex and his crew at the very least cleaned up the kitchen? And hide that damn instant noodles?
The funniest scene were the scene when Ramsey took the maitre d' and gave him a lesson in abusive showmanship of machoism.
Then there was that scene where Ramsey conducted a blind test on which noodled is to be served with the grilled swordfish. They did takes on linguine with blue cheese and spaghetti with herbs. Surprise surprise, the chef actually preferred the curry flavour of Pot Noodles. Laughable!
Btw, the Champions' League Final will be shown on ITV1 from 7pm. Avoid that with Holidays in the Danger Zone where Simon Reeves travels to the breakaway state of South Ossetia in Georgia full of Russian 'peacekeepers'. On at 7.30pm on BBC Two.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show follows that on 8pm includes reporting by Wesley Kerr from Malaysia.
Two architecture related documentaries later on in the evening. On 10.40pm Alan Yentob concludes the series on skycrapers and charts the rise of tall towers in Asia. Catch that on Imagine...a Short History of Tall Buildings on BBC One.
11.40pm on BBC Four, Stalin's Skycraper traces Stalin's obsession with American architectureand the subsequent construction of seven towers by German prisoners.
Update: I decided to merge my Sky News post into this post. Save some bloody space on my blog.
Sky News reconstruction on Michael Jackson case
I accidentally tuned in to Sky News and caught their coverage on the Michael Jackson case.
The court reconstruction was pretty pathetic and would prove suitable for poor souls thinking of committing suicide. The acting was so terrible I think thousands of my brain cells died in that two minutes trying to process the 'episode'.
If people still think that Sky/Fox News is a place for serious news or as an alternative to BBC News 24 they should have their head re-examined.
Who would believe it, hidden away from my public persona I am actually evil... (yeah I wish!)
Oh and for Harry Potter fans, Book six, Dumbledore = dead. Believe the punters, they know more than we do.
Something serious now, listen to this broadcast on forced marriages.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Me: er... (very badly) Je voudrais parler avec Jennifer Hardi, chambre quatorze s'il vous plait...
Me: er...uhm... Je ne parle pas français...
Hotel: Oui. (inaudible)
Me: (very slowly) Parlez-vous anglais?
Me: Oh, thank you...! Room fourteen please!
Me: Uhm... Est-ce que quelqu'un parle anglais?
Hotel: Oui. (inaudible)
Me: Je ne comprends pas. Please, room fourteen please, that is one four. Chambre un quatre!
Hotel: Okay. Hold on please.
It was pretty difficult speaking French with a fast speaking French who understands English but makes no attempt to communicate in other languages other than their own. To make matters worst, Jennifer wasn't in!!! Obviously having fun. Now I have to do the whole French thingy again tonight.
The film was shot in Super 16mm camera and the (lack of) quality shows. It doesn't matter since it is on DVD anyway.
The narrative is told backwards, Memento style, where each sequence starts the moment the next sequence ends. I have to admit that getting into the film was very very difficult. It wasn't the language barrier. It was the first 20 minutes. Everytime I sit down to watch it I couldn't get past the first 20 minutes.
** spoilers ahead **
This first scene in particularly was very difficult to concentrate. The spinning camera moves around, focused and unfocused, close up and then pull out etc. It was disorientating. According to IMDB, the first 30 minutes has background noise with frequency of 28Hz which causes nausea, vertigo and sickness among humans.
The movie continues (backward) where Vincent Cassel's character attempts to track down a person. The resulting consequence is almost too brutal to put on words here. However it is the next scene which proved to be the most controversial.
Yes, the famous rape scene where Monica Bellucci's character, Alex, is brutally raped. This depends on your boundaries might be just too difficult to stomach. This was the scene where according to the filmmakers, 200 people walked out during the premiere at Cannes.
The scene was very violent and done on a single cut. Alex was beaten up, raped and beaten up again. The whole scene was done so realistically. Presenting the sequence on a single cut also re-enforced the realism.
While the film starts out brutally and violently, because the film continues backwards, we are presented with a peaceful and beautiful final quarter.
In fact one sees why Gaspar Noé, the director, decided to structure the film backwards. The violent and rape scenes which were shown in the beginning of the film gives you understanding to the characters, particularly of Vincent Cassel's later. A more subtle message was whether revenge/murder should be justified.
Many films rated 18 are actually suitable for children. This isn't. The boundary of 'bad taste' in mainstream cinema has been pushed further. This is a French film after all and the French don't hold barriers when it comes to the subject of pornography (this receives a 16 rating in France). The most 'realistic' violent mainstream Hollywood film is The Passion of the Christ (not Reservoir Dogs - that's for kids) That should be your benchmark. Can't take that. Don't watch this.
I bought this album back in 2000 when CDs were still priced at £14.99 (they still do for most imports) and the world was mostly liberal and tolerant. Tony Blair was still okay and Bill Clinton was president of the United States of America.
Then people (in Britain) uses Yahoo! Auction instead of eBay. Most of us haven't heard of blogs. Instead we hung around Yahoo! Clubs and other Metal related BBS and IRC channels hurling abuses at 'club music fans' (ironically I am now a fan of club music). The backlash against Metallica began when they took on Napster.
I used to dress up in black Napalm Death t-shirts, had my limited edition Eastpak plastered with Obituary and Iron Maiden patches (I still have it minus the patches of course). I wore ripped jeans. My hair was longish. I read Terrorizer and other underground fanzines and attend gigs at the Brighton Gloucester.
Nasum was then one of the big names in the Grindcore genre. Grindcore was an art form. Despite what many with no experience in listening to hard music would perceive, Grindcore isn't all noise. It is related to Death Metal and some bands has fused the two genres (eg. Carcass' Necroticism) but is actually closer to Thrash Metal and 1980s the hardcore punk sound.
The genre first rose in the US in the 1980s through underground bands such as Repulsion. It came to the UK and the legendary Napalm Death (which I am sure some of you have heard) created what would be the basis (and actually coined the term) of modern Grindcore. The sound involves ultra fast and intense but simple riffing and thrashing drum patterns. The vocals are mostly vomit inducing grunting. Songs are mostly short - less than twenty seconds blast beats.
Lyrical content wasn't important but some of the pioneers of Grindcore sound such as Napalm Death has traces of their punk roots intact, hence the lyrics are often political.
I first got into Grindcore through Carcass, the British band who shot to fame when they invented gore-grind, a sub genre where the lyrics would usually dwell into gore related thoughts. Further recognition for the genre was cemented when John Peel invited Carcass to perform for one of his Peel Sessions. Carcass first few albums were pure grinding. Pure noise as some might put it. They changed direction during the Necroticism album, which was a technical and commercial achievement.
Their final two album, Heartwork and Swansong proved the turning point. Gone were the grindcore sound and in was the core and complex melodic Death Metal genre. In fact if the grunts were to be removed from Swansong, one would probably mistaken it for a Britrock album.
Back to Human 2.0. The CD was printed under the Relapse Records label and was imported from Germany. No wonder it was expensive. I suspect they are still in operation. Hard music isn't exactly lighting up the charts these days but the underground scene should be strong enough to sustain the label.
This was one of the last Grindcore albums I bought. I used to buy them by the bucketloads or download them from Napster (before Metallica shut them down of course). Small bands around Europe would send us sample CDs so we could promote it on fanzines and internet chatrooms. I remembered I was promoting (no affiliation, I was just doing it by myself) Anal Cunt by converting some of their tracks into MP3s and posting them on my old website.
Ah, Anal Cunt... What a band. Just thinking about them makes me weep. Their songs usually last a twenty seconds hence posting MP3s on the web ain't difficult. A typical album would contain roughly 50 tracks.
Hei, why don't I just get on with the blasted review? Well the album has only 25 tracks. The longest an amazing 2:57 minutes while the shortest was anembarrassingg 18 seconds (short of the Guinness Book of Records shortest song ever record held by Napalm Death - the 1.3 second You Suffer). You might think 18 seconds is pretty stupid but it does allow the three lines of Swedish grunting:
Sick - system built on suffering
Sick - system built on pain
It's a bullet in the head of every happy boy and girl
The production of the album was extremely well done. The technical riffing and the interchange between hard grinding noise and groovy Death Metal sound was well done. Brutal.
Anybody getting into Death Metal or Grindcore should start with an album, and this should be fine. The brutality isn't as over the top as in their earlier Inhale/Exhale. In fact you could say that this was almost a mainstream release.
Recommended Grindcore releases:
Carcass - Symphonies of Sickness
Godflesh - Godflesh
Impaled - Dead Shall Dead Remain
Napalm Death - Scum/From Enslavement to Obliteration
Monday, May 23, 2005
Did anybody caught Dispatches on Channel 4? It was an insightful documentary into the way New Labour press office and spin doctoring works and how New Labour is still operating like they did in 1997 - obsessed with media manipulation.
In one scene Alan Milburn, the election co-ordinator found that there weren't enough journalists who bothered to turn up. Faced with embarrassment, Labour press officers were sent to fill up seats pretending to be journalists.
Labour MPs were also spoon fed. Some can't even write their own letters and have press office create templates for them. Yes - templates. All the MPs has to do is to fill in empty blanks on templates such as this:
"xxx MP urges people to xxx area to become school governors."
Fake letters in praise of the government and NHS are sent out to regional papers. These letters are so similar that a paper in Barnet printed the exact same letters twice.
It also seems that New Labour had a strategy of sidelining print journalist. They get residents to write the papers condemning other parties such as the Liberal Democrats. No, that is wrong - the press office writes the letters for the residents.
This is because many people trust the letters in print more.
New Labour also sent out party activist to ruin walkabouts by Charles Kennedy. Such fake demos which are run anonymously and are called independent protest are actually done by Labour activists.
Jenny, the undercover reporter who works at Labour Head Office were forced to attend the launch of a Labour poster. The crowd were told to be 'ordinary local voters' but in fact were filled with Labour back room staff. ITV's Nick Robinson was at the event and heckled Tony Blair.
In the next event, the Labour press officers decided to use 'Labour supporters' to shield Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Even the BBC were shouting at the human shields (mainly Labour office interns) to get out of the way. You can actually listen to Andrew Marr, the political editor of the BBC grumbling in the background. Something I never knew Andrew was capable to doing.
Did Tony Blair actually met any real people who were unveted during the election? It looks like the answer is no.
It was a fascinating documentary. Very informative. In this media orientated world this is supposed to be normal (in the US it is), but should such deceptions really be allowed to happen at a supposed democratic country.
I have been listening to Razorlight's Up All Night for three weeks now. This album came out last year but my ignorance to indie rock and my general shield from the hype of NME magazine meant that this slipped through my radar.
The production is very good, the sound is reasonable. The indie rock sound is not overtly creative although it is pretty catchy. Originality isn't what it is.
If you are into bands like Snow Patrol, Keane, Kasabian then by no means get this. It will serve your need. However if you have yet to start your collection on any 21st century Britrock albums, best start with The Libertines, The Strokes or White Stripes.
As for me, this is not a bad album. Just sound tired. I won't be putting this on my ultimate playlist. It deserves play from time to time. After my dabble with other new wave (which were hyped up by NME as well) of Britrock bands like British Sea Power and Bloc Party I have to admit my expectations were a little higher. If I bought this album when it came out in June 2004 I might actually like it. Alas that did not happen.
Many people I know knows that I hate hip hop and rap (apart from fusion rap thrash metal inspired by the funny Anthrax's I'm the Man) so why the heck am I listening to this album? Funky beats, hip hop beats, drum n' bass - my brain can't process them all. Maybe I was trying to broaden musical experience.
Not many goodies released this week although someone recommended Audioslave's Out of Exile. I am not into Rage Against The Machine so I will pass unless someone can lend me. Maybe I can hold out long enough till June 13 when Foo Fighter's anti Bush 2CD album In Your Honour is released. Heard it's pretty damn good.
I am getting so bored with my playlist I am considering subscribing to Napster To Go. Anybody here renting music from Napster?
Tonight's Dispatches (8pm, Channel 4) features an indepth investigation into the dirty tricks used during the general election. An undercover reporter got a job in New Labour press office and reveals tactics used by election campaigners such as 'astroturfing' which was first used politically after the 9/11 attack by Republicans. New Labour party members would create draft letters which were then sent to local and national papers under the pretence as ordinary Brits while declaring their support to Tony Blair.
The Explosive 80s: How Heysel Changed Football (9pm, Channel 4) - a documentary which follows the The Heysel Stadium disaster where Liverpool fans attempted to invade the segregated area seated by Juventes fans, which then resulted in the deaths of 39 people. Liverpool was subsequently booted and banned from European football as were all English clubs for five years. The documentary will take us through other football related disasters and the exportation of English hooliganism to the continent.
Also on 9pm this time on five, The Boy with the Incredible Brain, a profile of Daniel Tammet, now 26, an extraordinary genius capable of seven languages (one of which he learnt in just a week), superb memory and mathematical capabilities (he is able to recite pi to 22,514 decimal places). All this since suffering from a series of epileptic seizures at the age of four, Tammet also suffers from autism. The seizure apparently rewired his brain transforming him into a 'savant'. While he has been gifted with such a rare ability because of autism, he has trouble communicating with people, could not understand jokes and understand people's emotions.
I know he didn't have a choice, but would you trade your social life if presented with a choice for such abilities?
Sunday, May 22, 2005
The last time I seriously sat down on the telly and followed a sports coverage was last year's Olympics (mainly to witness the demolition of the USA Basketball team). Not even Paula Radcliffe's 'toilet break' (which I caught live and not from the replay) during last month's London marathon could engage me back into TV sports.
Back to the Monaco grand prix. When I switched on ITV1, the first thing I saw was George Lucas grinning at me. What the heck was he doing on the telly? Only then I found out that Lucasfilm was sponsoring the Red Bull team. Shite. That should have told me that I should just turn the thing off. But I pressed on and let the whole Star Wars hype thingy wash down (Hayden Christensen - "I am a huge Formula One fan - this is my first race") while I lay in bed reading the paper.
By the time Jenson Button got into the commentary box and started yapping away I was in a complete state of stuphor. Few laps in (I remember this Indian guy going into the pits and something about Kimi getting the fastest lap and how Schumacher stated that he wouldn't get higher than fifth) I was getting weary. My room's light has gone out and I haven't changed it yet so it was pretty dark. I was intoxicated with tiredness and finally gave up and slept.
Jennifer texted me to announce her safe arrival at Rouen. I got up and look at my PC. The race was still on. And I went back to sleep.
I do think that £80 is a little too expensive even if it is just prepay and has a nice design (VS2). If they sell it for £50 or less, then this would be the perfect summer festival "throw-away" mobile which you can donate to technophobia relatives.
How the stadium will look like for fans walking down from Wembley Park tube station.
Parts of the exterior has been completed. It looks amazing.
A Welsh flag on the spiritual home of English football.
Wembley Arena, office building and Wembley Conference.
The new Wembley Park tube station.
Wembley market on Stadium Way every Sunday.
Hmm... the four Western Europe powerhouse (Spain, United Kingdom, France, Germany) got the final spots in tonight's Eurovision contest as Eastern European nations dominated the contest. This despite being the top contributors to Eurevision (so says Terry Wogan). European politics...no wonder many hate em.
I won't go into the politics of Europe since Eurovision is supposed to be just for fun (despite me having a grumble that one of the country that got into the top 10 is not even in Europe). The 50th Eurovision winner is a Helena from Greece (congratulations) hence next year's competition would be held in Athens.
To tell you the truth I wasn't really interested in the whole thingy. I watched Britain's performance but kept switching to other channels instead (I decided that Tom Clancy's Patroit Games, despite being the 12th time I watched this, is better than Eurovision). I would usually watch Eurovision with Jennifer but because she's going to Rouen tomorrow we didn't meet up this weekend.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
To those who happens to be in London, why not visit Oriental City today. There is a 'Pasar Malam Special' Malaysian 'Nite Market currently underway up till 8pm BST. Highlights include and I quote from the leaflet here: 'Malaysia's Most Popular Recording Band - Alley Cats' with 'VIP seats at 5quid for person in front of stafe' I have seen the seats. It's not much and you can stand and watch for free closer to the stage. There will be three shows up till 7pm.
On the outside in the car park where the durian and satay stall is situated, there would be food and deserts to try out. When I was there they were just preparing and the Pasar Malam style stalls were just being erected. I might head back there later in the evening if it is not raining.
Friday, May 20, 2005
I captured them today when I was out walking (I decided that jogging is too much so for me exercise is a 12km power walk around West/North West London) and parts of the exterior has been completed. It was an amazing sight. I was toying with the idea of climbing in but a group of four securities approaching me. I of course legged it. 15 minutes later I was at the car park on the South of the stadium. It was closed. There was another entrance and the fence was pretty low. Jackpot until I saw that other CCTV. Bummer. So you will have to make do with street level exterior shots. For now.
To those unfortunate enough to attend gigs at the Wembley Arena you will be pleased that there are some works going on there. You however won't be too pleased to hear that the Arena is only being refurbished and won't undergo a total rebuild like the stadium or Wembley Park tube station. Which is pathetic.
Wembley Arena must be one of the worst major gig venue in London. I hope at the very most they souped up the acoustic system because the last time I was there the sound system was so awful it was like listening through a washed up twenty year old walkman...in mono.
Back to FA Cup final. I know some of you lot out there dislike football. Some even hate it. While this is understandable, seeing that footballers are paid a week more than we earn in two years just for chasing a ball, I still maintain it is an exciting game. Well compared to watching badminton or baseball. There are ways to avoid it if you wish so.
Applies only to Londoners (I don't know the television schedule for other regions).
BBC One will be televising the final live on Grandstand from about 3pm. Avoid that channel then at all cost. Better still if you really hate football and for safety, switch off BBC One from 1pm.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (BBC Two, 2.55pm). The 1967 classic features Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as parents who has to deal with racial prejudice when their daughter (Katharine Houghton - Hepburn's real life niece) brings home her fiance - Sidney Poitier. Hepburn won an Oscar here.
By the time the movie ends at about 4.30pm, just boil your kettle and be ready for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace at 5.20pm on ITV1. I watched Episode I (on VHS) yesterday for the first time in two years just to freshen my memory. Man did I laugh. Well with freeview I will be able to enjoy laughing again. At DVD quality.
But wait! Junior Mastermind (the climax) is on air at 5.30pm (BBC One)! Six younglings will be questioned by John Humphrys. I just watched an older episode of Junior Mastermind today and these kids were terribly clever. Granted one didn't know who Eve was, but on the whole these kids are just amazing.. And after that - Doctor Who! Star Wars I or Junior Mastermind/Doctor Who? In the end both are for nerds.
If you wish to escape such childish acts, here is a recommendation. 7.10pm Channel 4 will be showing a documentary on Michelangelo's ceiling painting at The Sistine Chapel (you know, the one at The Vatican, and the scene of Angels & Demons finale). Apparently art critic Waldema Januszczak reckons that there could be hidden mysteries hidden under the layers of paint.
Probably the highlight of the evening would be the Eurovision Song contest at 8pm. No matter how pathetic it is I wouldn't miss it for the World. Terry Wogan is a genius. This year Britain would be represented by Javine who shot to fame when she defeated Jordan. That and her 'Janet Jackson' moment as well. Yahoogle it.
If you still need to avoid the FA Cup by the end of the day, make sure you mark out the one hour BBC One's Match of the Day beginning 11.40pm.
If you don't fancy being glued to the telly (I don't) then please do visit the London Eye. As some of you have probably heard, the London Eye would be evicted in July. Yes - evicted! Imagine Eifel Tower being served with eviction notice to move out to another land or Petronas Tower being dismantled and moved to somewhere else with cheaper rent.
This will probably be your last chance to visit the Eye because the owner of the land seems serious. Despite being in operation for only a few years the Eye has become a modern cultural icon of London as easily identifiable as any other London landmarks such the Big Ben and Trafalgar Square and other new buildings like the erotic Gherkin. Do it now.
I myself might actually be going to the British Museum. It is free and there are a couple of exhibitions I don't want to miss, such as the Mountains and Water: Chinese Landscape Painting, Making of the Master: The Art of Arabic Painting and Mummy: The Inside Story.
Before I forget, two awesome films will be shown on Tuesday.
A Simple Plan (BBC One, 11.15pm) by Sam Raimi (Spiderman, Evil Dead), a wintry tale of three men who stumbles across $4 million in a crashed airplane. The whole things leads from one crime to other crimes just to cover up the previous crime.
Chasing Amy (Channel 4, 12.55am) harks back to the old days when Ben Affleck could still act and Jason Lee was still funny (he still is, just a little tired). This was directed by Star Wars film nerd fan Kevin Smith (also as Silent Bob) and probably is one of his better films (along with Clerks and Dogma). In this comedy, Affleck falls in love with a female artist (Joey Lauren Adams) despite her being gay. Funny in a serious way, I would recommend anyone to stay up late just to watch this.
Bestival (Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight)
Line up: British Sea Power, Super Furry Animals, The Magic Numbers, Soulwax, The Earlies, Lee Perry, The Go! Team, Emiliana Torrini etc.
Tickets: 89 quid, 08700667753
Donington (including Ozzfest)
Line up: Motorhead, In Flames, Therapy?, Shadows Fall, Feeder, Garbage, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, Velvet Revolver, HIM, Anthrax, System Of A Down, Slipknot, Slayer, Papa Roach etc.
Tickets: 127.50 quid with camping, 08704000822
Isle Of Wight Festival
Line up: Faithless, Razorlight, Supergrass, Idlewild, The Black Velvets, Morrissey, Roxy Music, Goldie Lookin Chain, Babyshambles, Ray Davies, REM, Snow Patrol, Embrace, Starsailor, The Magic Numbers, Subways etc.
Tickets: 90 quid with camping, www.isleofwightfestival.org
Summer Sundae Festival (Leicester)
Line up: British Sea Power, Lemon Jelly, Idlewind, Patti Smith, The Bees, KT Tunstall, Mylo, Yo La Tengo, Sons % Daughters etc.
Tickets: 70 quid, 01162333111
T4 On The Beach (Somerset)
Line up: Kaiser Chiefs, Rooster, Athlete, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Garbage, Rachel Stevens etc.
Tickets: 20 quid, www.ticketmasters.co.uk
Wireless (Hyde Park, London)
24, 25, 29, 30 Jun
Line up: Moby, New Order, Graham Coxon, Bravery, Basement Jaxx, Roots Manuva, LCD, Mylo, Keane, Supergrass, Kasabian, The Others etc.
Tickets: 100 quid for all four days, www.wirelessfestival.co.uk
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Today's finale was about the evolution of human life and how we spilt up with our other ape cousins such as the chimpanzees millions of years ago. Most of the informations are textbook stuffs but it was still interesting and I learnt something new today.
Such topics are of course sensitive in this century where the World is slowly harking its way back to the other explanation of human life - that of the Adam and Eve thingy.
Well I just watched Star Wars Episode III. Since everyone is blogging their thoughts of the film, I might as well add mine.
I was planning on watching this alone because I couldn't get someone to join but luckily I met Simon, an old friend who was planning to catch the film. So film buddy settled.
The theater was 75% full. I reckon about 95% are males. Not many nerds today (they are probably in central London now in Stormtrooper atires) but I was surprised to see a couple of ladies there. Obviously because of Ewan McGregor.
The cumpulsary Orange Wednesday ad kicked in signaling the beginning of a 10 minute commercial plug-in. We had a couple of new trailers all of which are of big budget summer blockbusters.
Batman Begins has a completely revamped trailer filled with actions. Tom Cruise's War of the Words as well. And this wac the first time I saw footages from Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Looks to be a cracker of a film!
As expected Star Wars III began with the usual space battle sequence. Industrial Light & Magic obviously wanted to show off their CGI skills. And I was wholly dissapointed. The CGI was too 'perfect'. Everything is too shiny. Where is the dirt? Bring back miniatures!
On with acting. Any reputable actor who wishes to be told how to act badly should sign up for whatever George Lucas comes up next (my money is on a Star Wars spin-off). I tell you, the acting was terrible. So was the cheesy script. Ewan McGregor, a great actor actually, was wooden. And pay attention to Samuel L. Jackson's acting when he was confronting the Emperor.
I can understand where Lucas was coming when he said this was a Titanic of a movie. It would be a tearjerker. Er... The final love sequence between Darth and Padme is so laughable pathetic. Just like Titanic!
And what's up with Yoda? Speaks like that I know he is supposed. Annoyed why aren't the Jedis? If Yoda was my master switch to dark side I would. Kick his arse Kenobi should! English he must learn.
What did I enjoy? To tell you the truth I was busy wondering how Lucas managed to turn his Star Wars universe backwards. In Episode One things were modern. Vehicles were efficient. By Episode Three it seems everyone has gone retro. Aerodynamics is out. 70s is in. Boxy is in.
Before anyone writes in, I know! I know it was a streamlining process to match Episode Four's deco.
The perfect moment was in first half where I was actually nudging Skywalker to the dark side. Seriously Hayden Christensen is by far the best actor in the film, well compared to the crap the rest gave.
Still before I sign off I have to say I enjoyed the film. It was entertainment and it delivered. While I was dissapointed with the amount of sequences crammed into it, I thought it was a reasonable signing off to the film franchise.
As you can see (if you bother) I didn't do much sight seeing. Rather shop and eat!
In June 1989 China's government crushed and killed hundreds of protesters in the infamous Tiananmen Square. Condemnation rained from all corners of the World. Now the same thing has happened in Uzbek only now hardly anyone cares. Uzbek happens to be a country run by dictatorship and somehow escaped American censur during Bush recent visit to Eastern Europe. I wonder why? Care explain?
Hell even the story of Abigail Witchalls is receiving more attention and she wasn't even killed. For some reason, being attacked or getting breast cancer (Kylie Minogue) suddenly makes you a hero in the eyes of most tabloid journalism (and their readership).
There is currently a circulation war going on among British tabloids. The fight for Sudoku. A Japanese game. A game which is claimed to be addictive among harassed commuters.
Every broadsheet (or quality 'compact') I read are full of front page adverts of their Sudoku game. The Independent has launched a Sudoku championship with £1000 in cash prize. The Guardian's Saturday G2 has a so called hand made by Japanese Sudoku on every page.
The Times call it 'Su doku'. Claims and counterclaims has been unfurled at each other by the publishers on which paper has the most authentic or challenging versions. Sudoku is everywhere in Britain and truthfully I am beginning to get sick by all the marketing.
BBC's Top Gear returns Sunday. The new season will see Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's take on fast and mostly expensive automobiles. It is a funny series, one I wouldn't miss for the World despite my lack of passion for pollutants cars.
Continuing with the Beeb, has anymore here seen the new BBC weather program? I hate it. The new graphics with 'realistic weather' hovering over a 3D Britain is supposed to dispense information easier for discerning viewers but I found that there are not much to be gained with the new style.
Where are the simple informations like wind directions, wind speed and pressure? The new presentation seems dumbed down and I even found myself switching to ITV News to catch the weather report. Come on BBC. The old 2D version with its classic graphics are good enough. Don't follow the Americanised route! If you want to do 3D, do it right!
Update: You can see a mixture of old BBC Weather icons with some new graphics here.
And finally, E4 is to switch to freeview on the 27th May 2005. I blogged about this and this confirms it really. This is all thanks to Big Brother but don't let that put you off from turning off analogue and moving to DVB-T. You will still be able to get advance episodes of Desperate Housewives, West Wing, Smallville, The OC, old episodes of Friends, Peep Show, Sex and the City etc all in glorious Mpeg2.
Some idiot/terrorist/criminal/hooded anti-social kid released a CS Gas at my local station this evening. Caused some delays. I wasn't there at the moment but it did create distruptions down the Central/District Line.
If this was a "terrorist attack", then it wouldn't be the first time. Few years ago the town centre was bombed by the Real IRA. Woke me up from my dream even though I was half a mile away. It was so strong it flooded the damn high street. The next day we could see a huge hole on Uxbridge Road where the car bomb was.
Just installed Microsoft ActiveSync 4.0.0 (Build 4343). It did not break my connection with my Pocket PC as some previous ActiveStinks did. This is still beta but is very stable. Syncronisation speed seems similar to ActiveSync 3.8. Dissapointed that there are no GUI changes.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
London as a political, financial and entertainment city of Britain obviously attracts more tourists that other cities even when compared to some in Europe. And if there is one thing I dislike about some of them (tourist, not the city) is that they are terribly ignorant.
Yesterday I had to run a couple of errands around the city and was hiphopping through London's extensive network of buses and tube stations. So I had more than my usual brush with London's tourist population. So I am going to complain a little bit today.
To the many many groups traveling together. There are places where you all can chat and that is not on the sidewalk. And please please stand on the right side of the escalator. You can read right? It isn't even an etiquette, it is a rule. And not only in London, but also in your own country. Some people need to rush down in a hurry. This is London for gods sake. A couple of seconds will make a difference to our life you know. Just watch Sliding Doors. And let us off first! It is irritating.
To the American tourist (age 30-40, badly dressed, Green Park, 1pm) carrying that obviously fake Gucci of yours, please confine your bodily parts to yourself. Do not dangle your handbag on the center arm with your upper hand stretched outwards. The subterranean passage of Green Park station isn't that wide and you were obviously in lost. So please bring a map with you the next time or ask one of the many underground staffs present. I would have helped but Londoners don't talk to strangers. I know Green Park is confusing with three lines and broken lifts, but I still managed well when I was here as a tourist in 1996!
To that hottie oriental (China?) tourist with the silver Canon Ixus 40 on the number 14 to Tottenham Court Road with a group of six friends. There is no sun love. It was even pissing rain. So why the bloody shades? And you should have gone to Specsavers. You too.
And finally to all the new mothers. I know you are excited but come on, if your child is four years old and can run that means you don't need a buggy anymore! It is not easy trying to navigate through the empty buggies usually filled with a fake baby while your 'toddler' runs around.
To future tourists of London, please read The Mole's excellent Underground Etiquette guide. Enjoy your trip and try not to piss off the locals. Better still try to act like one.
I just applied the Rom update on my i-mate JAM (Rom 1.11.00, Radio 1.11.00, ExtROM UK 1.11.179). The new ROM supposedly contains audio enhancement for voice calls, improved Cell Broadcast and Sim toolkit, new MMS client and bluetooth bux fix. Dont know how good the MMS client is since I did not install it.
For those planning to install the new Rom update, it is okay to reinstall your Sprite Backup file over the newly updated JAM rather than going through the process of clean installing your applications. Some operating system hacks may not reinstall on Sprite restore but those are minor issues.
My JAM's upgrade did go through a couple of hitches. The update software hunged (I did not realised until 15 minutes later) when it was preparing to flash the PDA phone and I had to reboot my PC. Since my JAM was in update mode, it also froze.
It would not accept power from the battery and required me to connect via USB to reboot. For a couple of minutes I really really thought that I had ended up with an expensive paperweight because the mobile did not properly reset, rather just displaying the word 'USB'.
Anyway I calmed down and copied the software from my flash drive to my harddrive and executed the application from there instead. My JAM was detected even though it wasn't 'turned on'. Lucky.
20 minutes later the thingy was fully updated. I restored from my backup file and connected to GPRS to synchronised the time with an atomic clock.
A minute later I had five text by mates who were trying to raise me. I had an emergency damn it! I was resuscitating my bloody mobile?
Anyway a good news. Jennifer has decided to join me at the dark side and migrate to Windows Mobile. Come August/September she will take ownership of my JAM and will hand over her K700i and Tungsten T3 to her dad. I am hoping that HTC's 3G VGA WM2005 wonder (but ugly) 'Universal' PDA will be out by then. Fingers crossed!
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Bad film-making and media journalism. That was the topic of Stalking Pete Doherty (Channel 4, 10pm 17th May). That and Pete Doherty.
The documentary follows a 'four eyed Brummie Jew', Max Carlish, a lecturer in media in his attempt to film, get an interview and stalking the ex-Libertines frontman, Pete Doherty.
Carlish who is a former Bafta winning documentary maker suffers from a mental disorder and chose Pete as his comeback documentary subject. Acting like a crazed fanboy, Carlish slimmed his way into Doherty's inner circle during his widely published 2004 troubles when he was dealing with the abuses of heroin.
Soon due to Max's unsurprisingly attitude the whole venture starts to fall apart, was denied access and ended up with him selling pictures of Pete Doherty's heroin taking to the tabloids after Kate Moss entered Pete's life (which ignited the tabloids interest). Carlish was supposedly beaten up by Pete although all charges has since been dropped.
An enjoyable programme especially considering that there wasn't much on tonight. Me being a Pete Doherty/Libertine fan of course wouldn't pass this although I had to persuade Jennifer to the telly.
I thought that Max Carlish deserves a slap. Any deserving documentary maker wouldn't bring him/herself that low just to air a documentary. Carlish lives with his mum, dances in his own flat, has no friends and is a media lecturer who calls his students 'mates'. A general tosser was what I saw in him. I do pity with his disorder. But that doesn't make him less of a twat.
Pete Doherty appears on this seasons Arena Homme magazine.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
While on the number 13 to NW8, probably because of a headache and also being completely knackared, I had a sudden urge to receive a head massage.
Sitting on the back of the bus with the engine presumably behind me, I noticed that the bus vibrates like hell every time it was stationary during when passengers disembark or aboard. Being a complete nutter I leaned my head against the window which promptly gave the half-wit brain of mine a thorough orgasm of a massage. Wonderful! Soon we were all doing it. It was funny and we all looked like a bunch of twats.
When we got on another to NW9, a weirder sight occurred in front of us. Two ladies boarded and were chatting. Suddenly one of them started waving, doing it as an example to her friend of 'bad' etiqutte. Another waved. And again.
I shouldn't have eavesdropped but I couldn't help it. It seems that they were at an etiqutte class which taught them among other things how to wave! Fascinating.
Anyway this will be the last time I be taking the bus to/from central especially at night. We had to wait for our bus for 1/2 hour in almost January like chilliness. Plus I miss the tannoy announcements of disgruntled tube drivers picking on clueless tourists ("Oi, mind the doors!").
Composed on PocketBlogger and sent via w@p (2:50am)
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Like it or hate it we can't escape it. Yes we all have to join together and find out which ten tossers are about to reveal their entire life to the nation in order to win a pale sum of £70k.
ITV has been broadcasting Celebrity Wrestling for some time now. Yes I can choose to ignore them, but I can't choose to ignore those bloody ads they have decided to plaster over BT public phone boxes. And what is this...Celebrity Love Island! Good grief, another reality TV production full of D-list celebs I assume.
five is even more guilty when it comes to reality TV featuring so called celebs. The Farm features god knows who. I caught about five minutes of the opening night and they have this black bloke who wears fur and a giant clock on his front. Another weirdo was carrying some kind of green mutilated duck toy. The only "celeb" I have ever heard of is Emma B, a babe actually, the only D-list celeb on the list.
And remember five's All New Cosmetic Surgery?
There is no escaping dumb TV this summer. Even if we turn off our TV, the discussions will rage on on radios, magazines, teh interweb and papers.
It doesn't matter. In today's globalised world the 'elders' need to wake up and smell the fact that people are free to do what they damn well feel like, including blogging. My parents has never opposed to me blogging.
I doubt they are interested in what I have to say (politics, entertainment, tech, media etc. - I hardly blog about my personal life, but I do blog about my personal thoughts, sometimes thoughts which could get me in trouble with the higher echelons who runs my life) but I did set up bookmarks on my family's home PC and on my dad's notebook so he can visit my blog should he want to.
The conservatism of many elders worry me. Obviously there aren't as bad as some of the Anglo Asian families out here who forces their own child to marry someone of their (parents) choosing (and then killing them if they don't), but still. Besides we know that some elders (especially the aunties) are hardly saints anyway.
Mr.x in a reply to someone else mentioned that his family rather he keep a low profile and have as few friends as possible. What the...! Keeping a low profile? Not letting your opinion be known to the world. And what is this about making less friends? In my entire life I always wish I have more friends than I currently have. I do not want to live life as a recluse and I certainty do not want other people to be socially backward.
So to Mr.x, keep your blog open. We were taught when we were young that we should always respect the elders. It would be a sad day if a blog like yours is being password protected just because of some whining relatives. I have read some blog entries that have the authors trying to keep mum about their identity. You can't even get a name out of them except by going through some kind of domain registration search.
Why are many Malaysians so afraid to reveal that they blog? Even to friends? Why force yourself to be someone you are not?
*Chuckle* Okay, I am not really a fan of Manchester United (used to be, but I don't watch footie as often nowadays) so there you go. This is not surprising to say the least. Manchester United has been going down all season and even lost to Chelsea's 'reserve' team a few days ago.
Of course I am opposed to Glazer's bid. Football clubs should be that, clubs. Manchester United should be Manchester United Football Club. It used to be about footie. Now it is about building casinos and serving prawn sandwiches and whining rich footballers (Roy Keane) who earns a week what most earn in two years.
Read more of this fascinating development here and here.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Who do they think they are? Harrods?
Athlete's debut album was more Britpop than Britrock. Think Blur or Snow Patrol and you will know what I mean. Hardly worth a Mercury Prize nomination if you ask me.
Tourist aims to rectify that...a little bit. The first few tracks are the best. The first one Chances which features strings by a London Orchestra is very mellow, melodic and very easy listening. In fact most of the album follow what started of with Chances, not as in mellow but the experimentation by the band. The sixth, If I Found Out features a gospel choir for god's sake! Don't experiment for the sake of experimenting.
The album requires a couple of seating. I had to listen to this twice while on the bus today in order to concentrate. Serious. The second track Half Light is catchy, almost like Radiohead colliding with Deepest Blue. Most of the album is very Coldplay. Now that it is a bad thing, it all depends on your taste of music. This might be alright during a nice BBQ day but its not something I fancy listening to regularly.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
This is my first ever Morcheeba album. It was quite a shock really. I was expecting an alternative rock kind of sound but what I got was a fusion of soul, blues, rock and country. The so called architect of 'trip-hop' whatever that means, got me hooked from the first track. The tracks are downbeat, extremely catchy and melodic.
I can't name examples of other 'trip-hop' bands, but for the first track, Wonders Never Cease, I detected similarity of uhm... The Carpenters and that Casablanca song. Not sure which one. But anyway it was good and I like it. The new vocalist Daisy Martey was amazing. Next to Shirley Manson and Ana Matronic, she probably is one of the best lead female vocals in a band.
If there are any other bands with similar sounds with Morcheeba it would be Groove Armada, Massive Attack, Portishead and the venerable Dido. The guitar riffs, though barely audible, are mostly 70s influenced. Hints of Scissor Sisters are also present. The use of other instruments are also present: piano, trumpet, French horn, flute, picolo, trombone, tin whistle, just about anything weird.
I have to say it got a little boring towards the end. Maybe I need to give this album some time. I mean I only got this yesterday and having only had the chance to listen to it once this morning I shouldn't be passing any judgements yet. Few weeks ago I was composing the review to Feeder's new album and I wanted to give it a 3 out of 10. But I finally grew on their pop rock sound and I would probably give them 7/10 now.
Initial assessment: 7/10