Monday, May 28, 2007

"Radio Pyongyang: Commie Funk and Agit Prop from the Hermit Kingdom"

This is one of those "taped off the radio" Sublime Frequencies compilations. In this case, much of it is stuff recorded from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea shortwave radio station while on a trip to Beijing, while other bits of it come from other sources. It is all pretty mental stuff, unsurprisingly. Many of the songs seem to be about how great Kim Jong-Il is, often with lyrics like "KIM JONG IL! KIM JONG IL! AAAAH AH AAAAAH AH! KIM JONG IL!". There are also some excerpts from Radio Pyongyang (or Radio Free Korea, or whatever it is called) in which some very stoned sounding people talk about how happy Koreans are to have Kim Jong Il as their leader. And there is bit of a DPRK numbers station broadcast for me to practice my decoding.

One of my Internet pals was talking about organising a group trip to the DPRK… Maybe I will go, and establish myself as the workplace weirdo once and for all. This record is so awesome that I would put up with anything to visit the country from which these sounds came.

Dinosaur Jr. 'Just Like Heaven'

A cover of the classic track by The Cure. This version is very enjoyable, perhaps more so than the original given Jay Mascis' more pleasant voice, but the abrupt close means you cannot DJ with it without people thinking you cannot DJ.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Sweeney Todd"

I found Sweeney Todd in the Gate to be very enjoyable. I will say more about it, but such is the way of things that this will probably be after its run has finished. I therefore decided to say something quick about it now so that all the people who wait on my every word go to see it.

Inland Empire

This is David Lynch's latest totally mental film. Scott made a heroic attempt to analyse it in the last issue of Frank's APA, but I find that it defies any kind of reading and is instead better appreciated in the moment. There are definitely strands to the film that unwind through it, and at any given moment whatever you see on the screen kind of makes sense (but bears a questionable relationship to what has gone before or will come after). Overall though, the film is not really about the making of sense and instead goes straight to the subconscious.

It is, of course, very unnerving. No one does that kind of existential dread like Lynch. The haunted film idea is great too, partly because it is spooky and partly because you can have fun spotting when they switch into the earlier version of the film. The music and sound design was also very impressive; must check if there is a soundtrack album available.

I thought the rabbits were great. I wish there was an actual TV programme like that – I would watch it all the time. It reminded me a bit of some TV series called Heil Honey, I'm Home! that Kealo was telling me about once, this being a 1990s sitcom done in the style of a 1950s American sitcom, about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun's roffletastic home life. The rabbits programme had the same kind of dissonance going with it, in that the strangely detached and alienated comments of the rabbits were being reacted to by the studio audience as though this was I Love Lucy.

The Smiths 'This Charming Man'

Another reissue. This was The Smiths' first hit. Great guitar intro, great lines about not having a stitch to wear and so on.

The Great Game

Ammonite has invented a great game - every time you leave a comment on a Blogger blog, you must give a definition for the image verification thing that people turn on to screen out "HI DERE NIEC BLOG" comments.

God help me, I am taking part in a blogging meme.


World's greatest discussion forum thread found: SANTORUM.JPG

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Kingsmen 'Louie Louie'

This is the greatest single ever released. What I have is a reissue, obviously, but still lots of fun. There are so many great things about this track, but currently it is the drumming mostly rocks my world.

Why am I talking about this song? The latest issue of Frank's APA has a theme: A-sides. So I wrote about a-sides to some random 7" singles I own. And so I will have loads of inconsequential little entries for Inuit Bikini Scarlet Carwash for some time to come.

Ireland Decides

A strange election, I am sure you will agree - much promise of change, little delivery. I was struck by how rubbish the internet coverage of the election was. OK, it was fine if you want to listen to streaming audio, but if you want frequently updated text you would have been poorly served by the websites of either our national broadcaster or paper of record. I feel that in the future some kind of blog style provision of information the would be the way forward. Media outlets in other countries seem to have mastered this kind of technology, maybe one day it will arrive in Ireland.

Here is a picture of someone who might be smiling at Michael McDowell losing his seat:

I am however now officially sorry for Michael McDowell and thought it was a bit poor that he was jeered on leaving the RDS.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Taste sensation

I had a hummus and spicy potato sandwich for lunch today, in a newly opened restaurant called Byblos (essentially a cut price bit of The Cedar Tree). It was very nice. Now I want to find someone who will come and share vegetarian mezze with me some lunchtime.

EDIT: the restaurant is at 11 Andrews Street. The Cedar Tree is their fancy restaurant down in the basement, Byblos is the one upstairs, in what used to be Al's in the picture below. The decor inside is nice too - tiley pictures of the columns at Baalbek, the Cedars, and Deir al-Qamar (and not, as previously advised, the Byblos Fishing Club). They play Lebanese pop music at you while you are in there - RoXoR. I think I might be heading there for mezze in an hour or two.

Great Things

The Crying Eagle. This one is the best

Rick Santorum concedes defeat last November. I know, I am a bit behind the curve on this one. I refer you to my learned colleagues on ILX. And given that the polls have just closed in Ireland's election, we could be seeing some sadface action of our own in the near future.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Ancient Cry of Freedom Roars!

I have found the lyrics to classic Irish political tune Arise and Follow Charlie, which the Internet insists is actually called Rise and Follow Charlie. A prize for anyone who can get me the lyrics to the Fine Gael, Fine Gael song.

I have also found a disturbing news story that the mainstream media are, as usual, suppressing: Meth Addicts Demand Government Address Nation's Growing Spider Menace

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"the world is changing so fast"

I heard a great radio programme this morning about Irish elections of the past. When they were talking about the early 1980s, they played a bit of the Wolfe Tones' fondly remembered Arise And Follow Charlie, a hymn to then Fianna Fáil leaders Charles Haughey, who was running a highly personalised election campaign. Lyrics for this seem to be unavailable on the internet, but you can probably find it if you are one of those downloaders. They also played a bit of a less well remembered Fine Gael theme song, which turned out to be amazingly jaunty. I can't believe this was not a hit at the time, it sounded like the kind of song that would have swept to victory in the Eurovision. The lyrics went something like this:

Fine Gael, Fine Gael
[something that rhymes with Gael]
the world is changing so fast
don't look back to the past
Fine Gael, Fine Gael

I wish more political parties did songs. I would love to hear one about the Progressive Democrats or the People Before Profit Alliance.

You may be able to listen to this radio programme here: Bowman Sunday Morning

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Penguin gets lost

A Magellanic Penguin has left his own kind in the south of Chile to travel north to Peru, where he is attempting to integrate into a community of Humboldt Penguins. "Conditions in the park are not the ones it is used to. They usually seek out their own species, and it could suffer discrimination," reports biologist David Orisco. "It would be better for it to go to Chile". For more, see Confused penguin strays 5,000km

Can't Stop The Ming

John Waters has brought shame on the Irish nation.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lonely Albert

The BBC News has run a report on Albert the Albatross: No romance for lovesick albatross. He is this albatross who somehow crossed the doldrums at the equator and then rode the trade winds to the Shetlands and the Outer Hebrides, places that in their bleakness must remind him of his South Atlantic home. Albert is lonely because he is the only albatross in the northern hemisphere. He lives with gannets, and every year during the breeding season, he does what he would do if he were at home - he builds a little nest and he waits for a lady albatross to take a shine to it and him. And he waits in vain.

I saw him once on the television. It was very poignant.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Gamers Unite!

Even if you think the invasion of Iraq was a ghastly mistake for which we will all be paying for many years to come, you can retain a certain sympathy for the soldiers of occupying power, particularly when they are fellow role playing gamers. Apparently gamers within the US military in Iraq are organising a June convention in the shadows of Ur that they have evocatively called Ziggurat Con.

They are apparently looking for people to donate gamebooks and, particular, dice, with those little polyhedrons being in astonishingly short supply. Helping fellow gamers would normally trump politics, but I notice that they are not playing any Call of Cthulhu or Over The Edge, so they can shag off. I am nevertheless entertained by the convention having a session of Starship Troopers. Would you like to know more?

(story from an ILX thread on roleplaying games)

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Thanks to Mr Chris Gilmour for directing me to . It's like Amihotornot, except the people are all Members of the Scottish Parliament.

I can't imagine this working in Ireland.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Real burgers. Real fresh

I don't know if I am getting old, but I have started being really annoyed by the fatuous slogans by parties and candidates in this year's election.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Konono No.1 versus the Event People

Hey look, Konono No.1 are coming to Dublin and playing a free gig down in the docklands area. I have already mentioned these people: CONGOTRONICS

I suspect that this concert will be totally rammed with trend and event people. Cockfarmers. I have nevertheless entered the ticket raffle, even though this involves telling the organisers all kinds of things that are basically none of their business.

Visiting the "Batavia"

Maybe you have read Mike Dash's Batavia's Graveyard and as a result know all about history's bloodiest mutiny (and-the-mad-religious-maniac-who-led-it). Maybe you are also going to the Frank's APA 100th issue meetup in Amsterdam.

If so, then you will be able to travel to Lelystad, where they have a replica of the Batavia. I gather this modern retourship made the round trip to Australia a couple of years ago. I wonder did they also replicate the sanitary facilities the orginal ship had (I'm thinking in particular of the rope left hanging in the water (you will either remember this or you won't)).

In other Mike Dash news, I have started reading Thug, which is about the Thuggee cult in 19th century India. Apparently they weren't actually religious maniacs, they just liked killing people and stealing all their money.

Icebear Knut To Write Book

It says here: Celebrity polar bear Knut gets book deal

Some might be sceptical of Knut's ability to write a whole book all on his own, but he is already publishing a blog: Knuts Blog

Iperartuarpok Okk Orutit

An unusual birthday present.