Sunday, December 24, 2006

War Is Over

You will recall there was a war in Lebanon this summer. It seems that the country is finally back on its feet again, with Chateau Musar and Ksara wines back in the local off-license; so Christmas is not cancelled in Carwash Mansions after all. Still no sign of any arak, though some might see this as a good thing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Let us have a funeral!

Father of the Turkmen dies. The Turkmen constitution allows for the succession of the head of the People's Assembly to the presidency, should the incumbent die in office. Unfortunately, President Nizayov also held that office, leading to some confusion.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Buy This Record

Bizarrely, the only place selling it seem to be City Discs in Temple Bar, but they seem to have an infinite supply of second hand copies.

Check out the POPJUSTICE website. The link now points to it.

Learn to love the Pop.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

World's greatest headline found


Meanwhile, I am not sure whether to salute or scove at the avoidance of references to recent films and internet phenomena in this article: MASS MOUSE ESCAPE ON SAUDI PLANE

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do you want to party?

Do you know me or my beloved? Do you want to come to a party? Do you like fun? If so, you are in the right part of the internet. My beloved and I are hosting a party experience in Carwash Mansions on Friday 22nd December. Breaking with tradition, we have decided to go for a mulled wine style ambience, with cheese and crackers and hummus and pitta bread and mince pies and stuff. Mmmm.

We have also decided to solve the problem of Christmas presents by adopting a new regime - RANDOM SANTA. This is an opt-in game that everyone who comes to the party is invited to play, though no one has to. My beloved will now go all technical writer and explain how this works:

1. Come to our mullet wine partay on the 22nd of December.

2. Bring a present that you have wrapped. You can label it "from [you]" if you must, but we wouldn’t encourage this sort of thing.

3. TAKE a wrapped present FROM the big receptacle under or near the Christmas tree (we will put some presents there at the start of proceedings... we are not complete tightwads... so if you come along early you stand a higher chance of getting an amazing present from us as opposed to some used socks). This is your present to keep.

4. DEPOSIT the wrapped present that you have brought INTO aforementioned big receptacle.

5. (Optional) Unwrap the present you have just received, and try and guess who it’s from. Fun!

6. Drink mulled wine, demolish mince pies, feel yawning existential chasm, etc.

I must stress yet again that people are welcome to come along and party on without playing Random Santa, but we will not be giving any presents except through Random Santa, and any presents people give us will go straight into the Random Santa receptacle.

None more pink

Another gig I can remember going to was by ((((SUNN-O)))). They were supported by some dude who used to be in other bands (at least one of which might have been Napalm Death). For all that he just faffed away on a laptop I liked his set a lot, as it reminded me of music by shoegazers and proto-shoegazers. ((((SUNN-O)))) themselves played behind a wall of dry ice so thick that it took me ages to realise how many of them there were onstage – last time there were two, this time there seemed to be seven. They've gone a bit false metal by adding in a keyboard player, but they had also brought in a vocalist who did lots of that subterranaean glossolalic murmuring. The moving of his hands was the most striking thing about him, as the vocals sounded like a music instrument and nothing else of him was visible. The hands were moved in a very expressive manner.

So yeah, the gig was a bit different to the previous time we say them. Maybe not so loud, but there were still lots of people giving them the rock sign. I was the only person returning their rock salutes with my hand in the lock position - I don't know what it is with metal kids these days, can no one do the rock lock any more? I can't even find a good reference to the rock lock on the Internet. Goddamn Google.

I bought their White One album. The record features a good bit more vocals generally than the others, but is still of a piece with them. It has the track with Julian Cope doing vocals on one track. Check out ((((Sunn-O)))))’s website sometime, it is chortlesome the way they have to explain to their audience who Cope is (and they conveniently forget to mention his early success fronting a psychey pop band). Or so I thought... I cannot now find this webpage to link to.

But yeah, great gig, though somewhat marred by all the camera phone cockfarmers who seem to find photographing dry ice exciting. In the future cameras and camera phones will be BANNED from all gigs, like in the olden days when breakers of the law were ritually sacrificed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pinochet Dead!

Cockfarmer Augusto Pinochet died today. I feel like the people at the beginning of Tilsammans. Party on!

A concert where people remembered Palestine

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign managed to get former Planxty star Donal Lunny to headline a benefit concert for the organisation. They titled it Remember Palestine, because there is a sense in which Palestine has dropped off the radar what with the Iraq War and Lebanon stealing the headlines. Even the relatively recent shooting into a crowd of apparently unarmed women by Israeli soldiers elicited little more than reactions of "sure that’s hardly news, they’re always at it".

The first act up on stage was Roisín El Safty. She is from Galway, and sings songs written by her mother, in an Irish old time styleeee. She played three of these, finishing with one called 'An Phailistín'. This was entertainingly incendiary. Next up were some outfit called Band on an Island, who apparently feature some niece of Donal Lunny on an instrument. They played three songs and seemed to improve with each, though my favourite was the one about being chased by the Gardaí. They were not tradders. Shaz Oye is not a tradder either, but a woman who sings and plays guitar. She had a very loud voice about which I was undecided, but I was warming to her when she left. All of the acts from before the interval played three song sets, making opinion formation about them difficult.

After the interval, Iarla Ó Lionaird came out and did some of his sean-nós unaccompanied singing. Or maybe he had some accompaniment, it's so hard to remember. He was followed by the other Planxter on the bill, Andy Irvine, who played on his own for a bit before being joined by Donal Lunny. The two of them played away together like musicians who are comfortable in each other's company, which was just as well. If you know anything about Irish music you will understand that these two are giants, and not people who play together every day of the week, so it was nice to see them together. It was also interesting to see how Lunny, the ostensible headliner, never actually played on his own, played lead, or sang lead vocals. Yet, having seen Irvine on his own previously, I could see how Lunny filled in the spaces in the sound.

They finished with a rousing rendition of Irvine's song about Woody Guthrie, the one that 'samples' his 'All You Fascists Bound To Lose' chorus. Old Wobbler Irvine explained that, having recently been dubbed a fascist for playing the gig, he took especial pride in singing it. I did wonder, however, if given all the Indymedia posters in the audience it might have been better to change the line to 'all you facists bound to lose'.

So there you go. I went home and remembered Palestine.

Very small but very fierce

The Pygmy Shrew is Ireland's smallest mammal. Pygmy Shrews eat grubs and (small) insects. They are very territorial, and will defend their miniscule ranges from rival Pygmy Shrews.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Unlike web forum administrators, God loves a trier

Man is banned from internet forum. Man starts blog wherein he posts what he would have said on forum if not banned from it: In Lieu of Bowlie

Man has other blog (Chris Gilmour's Diary volume 12), where among other things he posts own advertisements. I can't find the one about anti-thrush remedies there, but this might be it on YouTube: Cillit Bang Arrgh

I'm not sure why I am referring to Mr Chris Gilmour as "Man".

Sunday, December 03, 2006

inuit bikini scarlet film club: "Children of Men"

You probably are aware of this. It is set in the future, and begins with the death of the world's youngest person, an 18-year-old Argentinean. For unspecified reasons people are no longer able to have children, and as the human race stares at extinction it turns nasty. The first part of the film sets up the world – one of pollution, miserableness, social dislocation, and the like. Illegal immigrants are being rounded up and sent to resettlement camps while billboards advertise euthanasia pills ("Quietus - you choose the time"). Everyone has pets, people's computers are covered in cuddly toys, and bombs keep exploding (planted either by the pro-immigrant Fishes or by the government as distraction, it is never established).

Then the plot kicks in. The protagonist (Clive Owen) is contacted by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore), now a leader of The Fishes. They want him to use his government contacts to help them transport a teenage illegal immigrant girl to the coast, for initially unspecified reasons. After that things start happening at such a rate that it would give too much away to say anything else. I nevertheless cannot resist talking about the last section of the film, set in the Bexhill Resettlement Camp during an uprising by the illegal immigrants resettled there. You will probably never see a depiction of modern urban warfare as gripping, and watching this made me feel like I was seeing Jenin, Beit Hannoun, or Fallujah.

I am up against deadline pressure, and as always I am having trouble expressing myself, but if you just absorb that this is one of the best films I have ever seen then you get the idea. This film is so emotionally involving that I spent the last portion of the film terrified that the protagonists would cop a stray or targeted bullet. It is a sufficiently bleak film that a down-beat "Oh dear, they’re all dead" ending would have fitted, so my fear for the characters was maybe justified, but I do not normally feel so for two dimensional projections of people on a cinema screen. The other great thing about the film was the way it genuinely makes you think about a lot of things, and not just ones related to the central premise. And it was good that it never got into explaining the sudden collapse in human fertility - unlike with V For Vendetta, say, there was no "Blimey it was the government what did it!" moment.

I should also mention that a lot of the last part of the film is set in the countryside around Rye, so if you have ever been to All Tomorrow's Parties it will look somewhat familiar.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Killer Whale Nearly Kills Trainer

Boars rampage through Bavarian boarhunting town

inuit bikini scarlet film club: "Our Man In Havana"

Recently shown in the IFI, this is one of those old Carol Reed adaptations of a Graham Greene novel. This is about spies, so I was watching it for work reasons. Noel Coward recruits Alec Guinness into the spying game (chortlesomely, in a public toilet). Alec Guinness' character is not really cut out for the whole business of running sub-agents, so he starts to just make it all up. At first this all great gas, but then things become that little bit grimmer.

If you have ever seen it, what did you make of the whisky miniatures game of draughts? Would you like to give it a go sometime?