Friday, 28 March 2014

28/03/14 - JuicyPips Guide to Pets

Human beings are – and I’m happy to be corrected if you know any different – the only animals that keep other animals for amusement and companionship. Whether they’re fluffy, scaly, feathery or slimy, pet ownership is something that almost everybody either does now or has done in the past.
But if you’re new to the game, how do you choose which kind of animal would be right for you? Well, count yourselves lucky, for here is a handy JuicyPips guide to pets, written from the helpful perspective of somebody who, er, hasn’t had that many and doesn’t know much about them.

Cats
In general, you’re either a cat person or a dog person. Some people are both, a few are neither. Me, I’m firmly in the cat camp. Fluffy little scamps, they can be incredibly affectionate when the mood takes them. Nuzzly, cute little fluffy-wuffies.
They’re little bastards too, obviously. Aloof, judgmental creatures – you never really own a cat, you just give it somewhere to eat and sleep before it wanders off into the neighbourhood to get up to things you’ll never find out about. They treat you with utter disdain until they want something. Every now and then they might curl up on your lap and purr in a heartwarming way, but they’re probably just building up to giving you a good old poking with their claws when you realise they’ve given you two dead legs and you try to get up. (Or maybe that was just my grandma’s cat.)
It’s no wonder they own the internet. They cannot be argued with.

Dogs
I’m not so sure about dogs. It’d be enormously controversial to be so bold as to say I don’t like dogs, because dog owners can be quite militant about that kind of thing. They’ll take it as a personal slight, like you’ve just insulted one of their children. (Mind you, some dog owners seem to think their dogs are their children. Is there anything more gross than seeing somebody kiss their dog on the lips, or let it lick their face?)
Don’t get me wrong, there are dogs I’ve got on with in the past. My uncle’s Labrador is quite sweet. (Is it a Labrador? Christ, I’ve no idea.) Another uncle has a little yappy dog that’s friendly enough. They’re not all bad. Once you get to know them, they can be rather likeable.
But still. If I knew more about dogs I’d be able to be more specific, but there are some kinds of dog that really let everyone know they live with a person, even when they’re nowhere nearby. Some people just smell like dog, don’t they?
Also, dogs are bloody needy. A cat will look after itself. A dog always wants your approval. ‘Look, look at this random object I’ve brought you!’ Oh, sod off. Slobbery airheads.

Hamsters
I used to have a hamster when I was about five or six. The only memories I have of it are the time we had to move the cage because it was too close to the curtains and it chewed a big hole, and the time it escaped its cage, got under the floorboards and ate through all the wiring. So my analysis would be: they eat stuff. Stuff they shouldn’t.
I don’t know a whole lot about domestic rodents, to be honest. If you put a hamster, a gerbil and a guinea pig in front of me I reckon I could have a game stab at guessing which was which, but I wouldn’t be totally confident.
There are two main reasons to buy such a creature: firstly, they look hilarious running around in their wheels. Secondly, they’re a good way to teach a young child about the concept of death and grief. Because they don’t live very long.

Fish
Ah yes, I can get on board with fish. Great pets. But they take a bit of looking after.
When we were kids, my dad acquired a great big fish tank along with a heater and various other bits of aquatic bric-a-brac, and filled it with tropical fish. I loved it – neon tetras shoal, guppies are born folded in half, Siamese fighting fish chew each other’s tails, golden gouramis think they own the place, kuhli loaches keep the plants clean… fascinating creatures. Don’t buy any angel fish though, they’re evil little fuckers. They just eat all the other fish.
I got a bit carried away, and insisted on having a goldfish bowl in my bedroom. I wasn’t as good at looking after fish as my dad was. I learnt some valuable lessons: if you overfill the bowl, you’ll come home from school to find it devoid of fish – they’ll be on the floor, dead. If you leave the bowl on the windowsill in summer, they’ll boil to death. If you don’t clean the bowl regularly, your room will smell like bad drains. The key to proper fish maintenance is this: just don’t be a dick. Clean ’em out occasionally, yeah? And don’t overfeed them either, they’ll eat themselves to death like that fat dude in Se7en.

Birds
Birds are cool. My first pet – I think – was a canary called Custard. This really helps me out when people say ‘hey, what’s your porn name? It’s the name of your first pet, then the first street you lived on.’ Which gives me Custard Devil. Well, Devil’s Lane was the first street I actually remember living on; otherwise I’d be Custard Rainbow, having lived on Rainbow Avenue as a baby. Either way, it’s a movie worth watching.
I digress. My sister had a grey budgie called Levi as a teenager, and he was a brilliant little chap. They’re friendly, very pretty, and flap about the place like lunatics.
They do tend to shit everywhere though. Watch out for that.

Rabbits
Aw, I’d love a rabbit one day. We like to take our daughter to the pet shop – or ‘the cheap zoo’, as we call it – and the rabbits are always the highlight, she loves them. Their motorised noses are hilarious. Everything they do looks cute, little flolloping guys cuddling up and chewing on carrots.
A friend of mine had a house rabbit when we were younger, and it was the softest thing in the world. You could stroke it for hours. Although it did have an unfortunate habit of shitting out maggots, and then it died. Bit nasty. But hey, it probably wasn’t doing it on purpose.

Tigers
Fucking hell, don’t get a tiger. They’re too big.

Degus
Another small rodent in the hamster confusion, but I know what a degu is because they have them in the cheap zoo. The principle reason for buying one of these would be that they’re hilariously dirty little bastards. Last time we were in there, one of them was fellating itself.
This’d be the ideal pet for someone who smokes a lot of weed.

Chickens
My parents have chickens, and so does my sister. If you’ve got a big enough garden, they’re a pretty good idea – they’ll eat all your kitchen waste, and give you limitless eggs in return!
…although I don’t particularly like eggs. And I live in London, so am gardenless. You can’t really keep chickens in a flat, I don’t think, so I’m out.

Monkeys
This is probably illegal. Remember Marcel, the monkey from Friends? That taught us all two valuable lessons: 1) that monkeys can be taught to be slaves/butlers, to a degree, and 2) they’ll ultimately get taken away by the authorities and you might get arrested.
Funny how Marcel never flung his shit about the place, isn’t it? I bet that’s a hazard of simian curation.

…and that’s all the pets. (I don’t want to get into reptiles, they look like old men trapped in little scaly bodies. Creepy.) Key take-out from all this, I reckon, is that you should get some fish, but you might also like to get a rabbit, and get a cat to look after it. Or whatever, I dunno.






*sniff*

The creepiest six seconds on all of YouTube.

Fly Art

The magical fusion of classic art and contemporary hip-hop. Click here.





Snickers - 'Builders'

Very nice work for Snickers here.

Army rations of the world

Interesting. Clicky.




Generic brand video

HASHTAGADVERTISING, etc.

Space colonies

Some excellent art here from the 1970s, depicting human space colonies of the future. Annoyingly this has all failed to come true as yet. Still, we live in hope. Click here.




Tiny Worlds

A trilogy of litter-based micro-shorts. Cute.

Tiny Worlds from Rushes on Vimeo.

'Unbelievable Bus Shelter'

Pepsi's great new ad. Always fun to terrify the public.

Friday, 21 March 2014

21/03/14 - Strickland

The theme of a recent JuicyPips centred around celebrating the LP as an entity, lamenting the buffet culture of downloading a track here and a track there, and suggesting that today’s music consumer doesn’t appreciate the craft of the album in the way that their parents did. But there’s one recent album that spins this concept around; that proves that there are still people who have the wherewithal to clear forty-five minutes out of their day, sit down and just listen to an album from start to finish. I’m talking about Plan B’s ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’.

This is arguably one of the greatest albums of the twenty-first century. The most impactful element of its launch was that it was so very unexpected; Plan B’s critically acclaimed first album, 2006’s ‘Who Needs Actions When You Got Words’ was a rather gritty hip-hop album (albeit with enough indie nods to give it pan-genre appeal). For his second long-player to be a soul record was something that shocked and surprised many, and he didn’t enter into it lightly either – it wasn’t a Robbie Williams-esque ‘yeah, I’ll have a pop at that, it’ll rake in some cash’ effort, he went all-out in pursuit of perfection. He polished up his singing to an obsessive degree, he assembled a solid backing band, he did his research to get the whole thing musically spot-on. And then he cloistered himself away to craft a concept album.

Now, the phrase ‘concept album’ always brings mixed results, but there’s nothing to fear here. The concept of 2010’s ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ is relatively simple: it’s an album that tells a story, with each song representing a chapter of the tale. So while some tracks were released as singles (as is a major-label necessity, natch), it makes most sense if you listen to the whole thing, in order.
Strickland Banks is the fictional protagonist, a sort of Generation Y Ziggy Stardust. He’s a suave and successful soul singer, and the album tells the story of his downfall as he’s imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. The whole thing is brilliantly written and beautifully crafted. And here’s what happens, track by track:

Love Goes Down / Writing’s On The Wall
The first two tracks on the album are songs being sung by Strickland Banks in concert. They’re fairly traditional soul numbers that set the scene for the narrative. (They also serve to really confuse any fan of the first album who buys this one, unaware of the back story, and wonders if the distributor’s put the wrong disc in the case…)

Stay Too Long
This chronicles the after-party. Following the show, Strickland and his entourage go out on the town, get drunk, cause a bit of mischief. He meets a girl, they get in a cab, they go to a hotel, they get it on.

She Said
Following the one night stand, the girl turns out to be an obsessive fan. She’s telling him over and over that she loves him, that ‘when I first heard ‘Love Goes Down’ something started burning in my heart’. Strickland is understandably disturbed by this, and he shows her the door. She doesn’t take it well.
The next thing we know, Strickland is testifying in court, having been accused of raping the woman.

Welcome to Hell
…and so he finds himself in prison. A famous face surrounded by criminals. ‘I put my brave face on,’ he says. ‘Can’t let them know that I’m scared.’

Hard Times / The Recluse
These two tracks illustrate how he’s having a really bad time, becoming increasingly psychologically damaged by his incarceration and the irreparable damage that the allegations have caused to his lifestyle and career. He’s frightened, alone, losing hope.

Traded In My Cigarettes
Harassed and abused by other prisoners, he saves up his cigarettes and uses them as currency to purchase a shiv on the black market in order to protect himself. 

Prayin’
Strickland is attacked by another prisoner. Using his shiv to defend himself, he inadvertently kills his assailant. As a second attacker approaches, Strickland is saved by another inmate who kills the second man. This ally is serving a life sentence and offers to take the blame for both killings, given that Strickland is serving a five-year stretch. He agrees, but is wracked by crushing guilt.

Darkest Place
Unable to cope with this guilt, Strickland spirals into depression. Months of nightmares and soul-searching lead him to lose his faith. All hope is gone.

Free / I Know A Song
He becomes increasingly consumed by the injustices that have resulted from that initial wrongful accusation, yearning to be free, incensed by the loss of everything he had. He slowly comes to accept prison life as a reality, but cannot accept the circumstances that landed him there.

What You Gonna Do
…and finally we find Strickland back in court as new evidence is brought to the case. His loneliness is exacerbated by his loved ones’ absence from the courtroom. He’s given up on himself; ‘you can set me free or bang me up, just stop torturing me, tell me what you’re gonna do… you can cut me loose, or you can bind me up, ’cos to tell you the truth, I don’t really give a fuck’.
And his fate? Well, if you know the album, you’ll know. If you don’t, I won’t ruin the ending.

‘Defamation…’ really is the complete package – compelling plot, beautiful arrangement, sublime production. It’s one of the great albums of our time. Go on, clear forty-nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds from your schedule this afternoon and revel in the pure cinematic splendour of it all.
Albums are still being made as albums, rather than just collections of songs. And this one’s a masterpiece.

(Sorry, JuicyPips will go back to trying to be funny next week, promise.)






Spook Train

'Claysploitation' - the next big thing. Looks genuinely good.

Interviewly

Reddit AMAs extracted, organised, prettified. Have a look: http://interviewly.com/



Close calls

Jump out of your skin, over and over again.

Bygone TV

This excellent Twitter feed offers a ramble through the archives of television. All 100% accurate, honest. Click here.




When do memes stop being funny?

Interesting, this. Engaging too.

Jane & Peter

This'll take you back to your schooldays - click here and here.



Superman with a GoPro

One of the most-shared things this week. Quite good.

An amazing guess

Wes Anderson tropes

Two short compilations here that celebrate Wes Anderson's signature motifs.

Wes Anderson // From Above from kogonada on Vimeo.



Wes Anderson // Centered from kogonada on Vimeo.

Friday, 14 March 2014

14/03/14 - Lyric meanings

The internet, it’s a truism to say, is studded with hilarious buffoonery. I was recently doing a little recreational Googling to find some lyrics, as one does, as it had occurred to me that I’d never actually worked out what was being said in a particular song, and this Googling led me into a comically dumb corner of the web: lyrics meaning sites.
The song in question was Placebo’s ‘36 Degrees’. I was listening to their first album the other day, and it reminded me of the many conversations that took place at school back in the nineties around what on earth Brian Molko was singing in the chorus. This was pre-Google, pre-smartphone, it was all just teenage guesswork. So having listened to the track countless times over the years I’d never known what the lyric was - but it’s 2014 now, we live in a shiny digital future, and such questions can be answered in seconds. I looked it up, and it turns out that the lyric in question was ‘Someone tried to do me ache’. No wonder we didn’t guess it, that’s a really weird thing to say. Here, take a listen, see if you could have got it: http://youtu.be/Dgv7bngXe5Y
Anyway, being a fastidious kind of soul, I looked on quite a few lyrics sites to see if they were all in agreement, and in doing so happened across songmeanings.com. Now, this isn’t a site that scientifically analyses song lyrics. They don’t employ a panel of linguists and poets to pick apart the nuances, imagery, construct and references that are inextricably intertwined within any given song’s lyrics. No, it’s basically just that same conversation that me and my teenage chums were having back in the nineties – this is a site full of unfounded guesses by uninformed kids. And so it was that I found myself scrolling through a hilariously shit series of interpretations of ‘36 Degrees’, increasingly amused by the idiocy of it all. For example: ‘I read somewhere that 36 degrees is the temperature that your body drops to if you have drunk way too much.’ ‘Actually, I believe the 36 degrees refers to a 36 degree angle because he has his shoulders touching his toes and he is bent back with his knees being the centre point.’ And my favourite of all: ‘Supposedly this song is about the perfect temperature to have sex at.’
I mean, come on. What a bunch of fucking clowns. The last one there was presumably written by someone who’s never attempted to have sex at 36 degrees Celsius (or indeed at all, ever, probably), or they’d know that the first thing you’d do would be to find an air-conditioned room. 'Supposedly'? Supposedly according to whom?
This stupid guesswork amused me greatly. So I plugged a few more songs in to see what the berks of songmeanings.com had to offer…

David Bowie – ‘Space Oddity’
‘To everyone who said that this is a response to the Apollo 13 film with Tom Hanks, it is simply not because Space Oddity was written in 1969, whereas the film was made in 1995.’
There is much confusion on the site – some people think that ‘Space Oddity’ references the Apollo 13 space mission; this is unlikely, given that it happened a year after the song was released, but they don’t let anything as frivolous as a fact get in the way of arguing their point. This has naturally evolved into some people thinking that the song was a response to the movie Apollo 13, which came out an impressive 26 years after the song did. Cue much facepalming.
Also, this is insightful: ‘It's obviously one giant metaphor’. Great, cheers for that.

Eminem – ‘Stan’
‘I don't think anyone should get offended by the way Stan killed his girlfriend.’ Blimey. That misses the point somewhat. I’d suggest that perhaps the offensive shockingness of the subject material is what gives the song its power. But maybe there’s something deeper afoot?
‘Stan could be a combination of the word stalker and fan. Stalker + Fan = Stan.’ Ah, thanks professor. Tricky concept you’ve formulated there, I appreciate the detailed explanation. Anything more from the community?
‘i LOVE THIS SONG! it's so deep and makes me think about things... That's all i can really say about the song... But i love it, and i love you, Eminem! (Marry Me, Please!)’
Right. OK, thanks.

Blur – ‘Song 2’
It’s worth remembering, before you read the following analysis, that ‘Song 2’ was a deliberately frivolous and shallow track, intended to parody and lampoon the American rock (and, more specifically, grunge) scene of the era. It is purposefully devoid of deep meaning. But check out this guy’s attempt:
‘I always thought the song was about fear of flying. Perhaps it's him telling about the first time he flew on an airplane. Every noise and every bump is terrifying: 'I got my head checked, By a jumbo jet, It wasn't easy, But nothing is, No' I think the next bit is him hearing the engins and feeling the terror (pins and needles) of something happening. Who knows maybe he was on a plane that had engin trouble (heavy metal) when he was younger: ‘When I feel heavy metal, And I'm pins and I'm needles'. The next bit he's telling himself that everythings going to be alright and talking to the person in the neighboring seat to help keep calm: 'Well I lie and I'm easy, All of the time but I'm never sure When I need you, Pleased to meet you' I think the ‘I got my head done when I was young’ means that the whole thing is past tense and just him remembering it or telling a friend what happened. Ultimately the, 'Woo hoo' is just the terror he feels every time the plane bumps and jostles. It also is probably exilerating to know he survived and to think back on it.’
Come on. If you haven’t got a clue, you shouldn’t just guess. You’ve taken a cheery little throwaway song and turned into some kind of shit sixth form poetry there.

Kelis – ‘Milkshake’
Picture the furrowed brow of the person writing this one, deep in concentration, perhaps with their tongue poking slightly out of the corner of their mouth.
‘Taken on a literal sense, this song generally means a woman who is "yummy", like a milkshake, it taste good and brings you pleasure when you are enjoying it. On a more context level, it could mean that milkshake is using the body to tease the boys and they like it, so she flaunts it.’
Good-o. Thanks for giving it to us on a ‘context level’, that was starting to get quite cerebral.

The Beatles – ‘I Am The Walrus’
This should be an open-and-shut case. The genesis of this song is that John Lennon had received a letter from a fan, a schoolchild, telling him that their English teacher was analysing Beatles lyrics in lessons. So Lennon set out to craft the most befuddling, random set of lyrics he could, designed specifically to be impossible to analyse for deeper meaning. Because there was no deeper meaning. As such, presumably the folk of songmeanings.com will be aware of this, and there will be just one entry that explains the situation, right? I imagine they hold the song up as a sort of icon of impenetrable wordsmithery, the yin to their very yang? Let’s see…
‘I heard that there is a British- (or something) folktale that when you see a walrus it is the ghost of someone who recently died’.
‘everyone in their lifetime is at one point the walrus, the eggman, and even.. the goo goo goo joob. so i suppose the walrus is the leader, the eggman is the follower, and the goo goo goo joob is just undecided. this song holds all the answers.’
‘The first part, " I am he..." has four pronouns, and four lines. There were four Beatles. They are the "pigs from a gun", since everywhere they went they had to run, or fly to, since Beatlemania was in full effect. A cornflake is a very fragile thing, and sitting on it would cause it to break. Fame is very fragile, and one false move could make or break your career. The next part refers to the various media events the Beatles were always a part of, like TV, radio, etc. Since they were first a "boyband", their sponsers always wanted them to be cheery and fun. John was not one to smile, hence the"face grown long", and would have a fake grin when asked to smile...’

Oh dear. That last one goes on like that for some time.

Spice Girls – ‘Spice Up Your Life’
Sometimes the sheer depth of analysis within songmeanings.com becomes quite post-modern, entirely transcending conventional critiques to enter a whole other realm of literary wisdom:
‘I LOVE THE sPICE gIELS THEY ROCK i'M 15’
‘YOUR A FAG’
‘shut the hhhhhhhhello up you are just a freakin queer’
‘Ya'll both suck cock-a-dooodle-dooo! wuhahahahahahaha!’

Deep.

Lady Gaga – ‘Poker Face’
‘Maybe it has to do with blowjobs. Poke her face’
Actually, yes, that’s probably correct.

I could go on all day. Why not have a go yourself? It’s really annoying and you’ll wish you hadn’t.








Sylvain Chomet’s couch gag

Teleporter

Bored of staring at your office wall? Click here and teleport yourself outta there...




The slide of competence

Worried about plane crashes? Fear not, should the worst happen there will be professionals like this to assist you.

Literally Unbelievable

A magical showcase of stupid people on Facebook not realising that The Onion is satirical. Clicky.




Dulux - Change Your Story

Lovely LA Noire feel to the new Dulux ad.

Obama - Between Two Ferns

This is so well judged - Obama's social team really get popular culture. Nice.

Dancing with towels

TEDx - Marco Tempest

What a brilliant smartarse. This is ace.

300: Abridged!

Never seen 300. But I enjoyed this very much.

Juiceboxxx - 'Like A Renegade'

Wow. This is some astonishing talent.

Friday, 7 March 2014

07/03/14 - Ode to the Album

Thanks to the iPod, music just isn’t special any more.
Wait, no, that’s a horrible thing to say. Sorry, let me explain myself…

In the good old days - the sixties and seventies; before my time, but the time when my parents were growing up – recorded music was something special, something to be cherished. Each album was an event, to be hunted down and appreciated holistically and repeatedly. There was none of this ‘download a track here, download a track there’ nonsense – you had to actually go to a shop and buy the album you wanted. You’d devour it whole, appreciating the album as it was intended by its creators; the first track is the opener for a reason and there’s method behind the running order of the subsequent tracks, the cover art has depth and significance, and so does whatever liner notes they chose to (or not to) include. It was a thing. And because vinyl was chunky and substantial, you had to have somewhere to keep it, and it was always obvious. You couldn’t buy an album and forget about it.
This specialness helps to attach memories to music. On the day that Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ ‘New Boots & Panties!!’ album was released in 1977, my dad went to every record store in Canvey Island trying to find it, asking each baffled proprietor ‘excuse me, do you have New Boots and Panties…?’. Picture that. He was lucky not to get a thick ear, cheeky sod. In fact, when you think about it, half the stories of that generation have some sort of ├╝ber-cool musical significance; my wife’s parents, for example, actually met at a Beatles gig at the Cavern Club. How rock ‘n’ roll is that? You can be sure they think about that every time they flip ‘Rubber Soul’ onto the turntable. The rhythm was all-pervading, it was everywhere in everybody’s lives.
I remember when I was growing up, my parents had maybe a hundred records. (Compare that to the amount of music on your iPod right now…) I knew every one of those long-players inside out. Still do, in fact. The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Let It Bleed’ and ‘Exile on Main Street’, Graham Parker’s ‘The Up Escalator’ and ‘The Real Macaw’, Led Zeppelin’s ‘II’, Budgie’s ‘If I Were Britannia I’d Waive The Rules’, Nazareth’s ‘Hair of the Dog’… we knew them all by heart. Because that’s what we had.

Broadly speaking, we can say that the sixties and seventies were the vinyl era, the eighties were all about cassette tapes, the nineties (and early noughties) were the time of CDs, then it went online. I was lucky to straddle the cusp of tape and CD, wherein the ideals of the vinyl album still held but the music was a little more portable.
Recordable cassettes allowed us to share music with friends. ‘Home taping is killing music’, cried the industry, but they couldn’t have been more wrong; home taping perpetuated kids’ fascination with music, broadening horizons that ultimately bolstered the industry as a whole, encouraging another generation of adolescents to spend their spare time going to gigs and hanging out in record shops.
Most of my pocket money was spent in Gatefield Sounds and B-Side the C-Side, respectively the local independent record store and a second-hand music exchange – it was the latter that spawned my fondness for rarities and collectibles. You see, I had this ingrained love of the album – these snapshots in time created for us by our music idols, representing their own perspective on that particular period, captured forever in a bundle of musical memories – and, once I had sufficient spare change to start collecting my own, I became obsessed with completism: if I’d bought an album I really liked (Mansun’s ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’, say, or 60ft Dolls’ ‘The Big 3’), I’d collect all of the associated singles in all their forms, as well as any demos and imports I could get my hands on. These were the times, remember, when releasing a single actually meant something – when people would have to make the effort to go to the shops to buy it, and bands would reflect this effort by releasing a single on two CDs, cassette and 7” vinyl, with different b-sides on each. You could be really snobby about it. ‘What, you haven’t heard the acoustic version? No, not that one, the demo? You mean you only bought CD1? Huh…’

I hate downloading music. If I’m going to buy an album or a single, I’ll buy a physical copy of it and store it in a rack, so that if I want to listen to it I’ll have to find it and make the effort to play it. The band went to great lengths to create it in exactly that format, so it’s the least I can do.
In my whole life, I’ve probably downloaded no more than around twenty songs, and they were all from MySpace in about 2005. (And, to be fair, they were by bands like Milburn and Bromheads Jacket, whose CDs I then went out and bought in a shop.) I’ve only ever bought two tracks from iTunes – they were ‘Damn Damn Leash’ by Be Your Own Pet and ‘Bug Powder Dust’ by Bomb The Bass – which are now lost on an old, scrapped version of iTunes on a defunct laptop. I object hugely to the shitty strategy of only allowing you to listen to things you download on an Apple device – I’ve paid for the fucking track, why shouldn’t I be allowed to burn it to a CD and listen to it in the car? I should own that copy of the track, not just rent it from Cupertino on a limited basis.
(Don’t worry, I tracked down an original promo copy of ‘Damn Damn Leash’ on CD - complete with cover hand-painted by the band - on 991.com, and the Bomb The Bass album ‘Clear’ was sourced from the play.com marketplace – they’re mine now. I can listen to them wherever I want.)

So anyway, back to my opening statement about the iPod. Now, it’s a bloody clever little device, and I love mine to bits. I use it every day. However, the gadget’s ubiquity adds to the maelstrom of musical indifference demonstrated by a lot of people these days. This is illustrated most vividly by the people you see who are still using the fucking awful white earbuds that come with iPods. These are so crap for listening to music with, you might as well be hearing reel-to-reel tape, underwater, through a tin can attached to a bit of string. They’re horribly weak and tinny, and they have no bass whatsoever. None at all. And no dynamism. You lose all perception of the magic captured in the studio, you’re just listening to a faded and discoloured facsimile of the music you’ve paid for. People who use these earbuds don’t really want to listen to music in any meaningful sense; they want a background noise that they can ignore, to drown out reality. They could just as easily be listening to white noise.
So the equipment’s all wrong, but so’s the attitude. Downloading a song here and a song there and smooshing them all together into a little music box is sacrilegious to the creative process that spawned the tracks in the first place. There’s nothing special in treating music like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s disrespectful.

I said earlier that ‘the rhythm was all-pervading, it was everywhere in everybody’s lives’; you could argue that this is still the case today, that people spend far more time listening to music than ever before because the versatility and portability of technology allows them to do so. But it’s not the same. Listening to it and hearing it are two very different things.

Maybe I’m just a crotchety old sod.








Evolution

...using graffiti and litter. Amazing.

World’s greatest 404 page

Rather than just leaving a message saying 'this page doesn't exist', developer Romain Brasier rewards your mis-clicking with a game of Lemmings. Look.


Save The Children tearjerker

Excellent work here.

miserable_men

These men didn't want to go shopping. They didn't want to go at all. Look.






Jonny & the Baptists - 'UKIP'

Nigel Farage is trying to shut down JATB's UK tour. Because he is a tool. This is golden.

Biochip implant

OK, so this man basically has a massive phone in his arm. IN HIS ARM.

Rotary phones

Some rather sweet reactions.