According to my high expectations, this autumn looks to quite awesome for musical enjoyment. Specifically, there are two albums and a handful of concerts to get radical about:
1 The Howling Hex – You Can't Beat Tomorrow
2 The Fall – Fall heads Roll (actually out now I think)
3 The Kills – Barcelona next month
4 Mercury Rev – Barcelona some time
5 Supergrass – likewise
As you can see, a rich and towelling tapestry of rock, roll and rock.
…over at Nick's site today. Proof, if it were needed, that the internet should be properly policed to avoid total anarchy.
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked international shock and controversy this week by calling for Israel to be 'wiped out'.
His words – while not unusual among neo-Nazis or Islamic fundamentalists – have done much to confirm Ahmadinejad's position as a premiere league nutcase, but they've also opened up a couple of interesting points.
At work I was surprised by how some colleagues took the president's speech. Perhaps they're right, and this is far less significant than I consider. But perhaps there's also the sneaking anti-semitism one comes across every week seemingly. On Sunday I heard a little bit from one of Gemma's friends too.
It's often reported that anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe and I think that's probably true. So is 'Islamophobia' (problem here: Palestinians are also a semitic people, but the issue becomes far too complicated when that's recognised). Perhaps it's because people just aren't educated enough. I was surprised to learn that my sister who is studying a GCSE in Religious Education will learn about Judaism at school, but only as one of the two religions they'll cover. The other is Christianity. So she does learn about Israel, but in turn learns nothing about Islam. In other schools, it's the other way around.
It's not for me to explain the intricacies of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the special status of the Jews or the fact that Israel is a completely different idea to 'the Taleban'. Some people won't listen to sense even if it bites them on the ass, and I can't be bothered to waste my breath. But I will say this: when racism of any sort is on the rise, it's nothing that's worth trying to be clever about. Racism whether against Jews, Palestinians, Americans or whoever is always wrong, never funny, and never minor. It's the culmination of the most detestable thoughts in mens' minds, and it should be fought at all times.
Those crazy Kills are coming to town. They were going to be supporting American ladies (and erstwhile friends of the late Elliott Smith) Sleater-Kinney but unfortunately, the main act have pulled out.
I'm not really bothered because I really like The Kills. My problem is that no one wants to go with me because it's the same evening that BarÃ§a play Madrid for the first time this season. And Gemma's going to manchester.
So if anyone nice wants to accompany me to the concert, please contact me. In fact, even if you're not nice, I'd be interested.
Bird Flu is the folk devil of our time. We're ALL GOING TO DIE.
Today marks 200 years since the Royal Navy defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar, CÃ¡diz. While I'm no British imperialist, I do think that this is an anniversary worth marking, because of the changes it effected.
There seems little doubt these days that Spain's defeat brought about the Great Disaster, a short era which saw the once all-powerful Spanish crown lose most of its possessions and colonies overseas. But this wasn't simply a matter of England having a better navy. Trafalgar marks the clash of two different types of imperialism: the militarism of continental Europe and the new economic ideals of England. The fact that modern economics drove change after Trafalgar is so important, it's almost impossible to quantify.
Besides which: we really kicked their arses, and being English we're not normally allowed to celebrate these sorts of things. So let us have one day of it, ok?
We went to Tididabo, the Mountain of the Devil today and enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather. I took about 100 pictures, and have decided that 28 of them were not completely awful. Notice lots of pictures of God.
I did take a picture of God's armpit, but I felt it would be somewhat profane to display this publicly.
Click here to view the new pics.
I've posted a couple of October pics to the gallery. More terrace stuff. The weather's abysmal at the moment.
Quite how this story isn't the top UK headline today escapes me. The Law Lords, Britain's top legal minds, meet today to begin the process of deciding whether it ought to be legal to use evidence in British courts that has been obtained by torture in foreign countries. The case has moved to the Lords after ten men appealed against their incarceration in Belmarsh prison – without charge – based on secret evidence obtained under torture at Guantanamo Bay.
The implication is obvious: while it is quite rightly unacceptable to allow anyone to undergo torture in this country (though I have heard that it does still go on), and while legally, we must abhor torture taking place in any country which is a signatory of the UN Human Rights Conventions, if someone we suspect of terrorism lets something slip while they are being tortured (in a dark and distant land), and if we happen to hear of this, and if then we happen to get hold of the torture victim, it's suddenly OK to profit from torture, in the sense that we achieve our ends.
I suppose that the Law Lords will discuss whether this could be legal under British, European and international law, but I get the impression that when they investigate this, they will really be looking to aid the government by finding a loophole which allows for British courts to accept such evidence.
The verdict is not expected for some time, but this issue is really central to the current 'war on terror'. If our top judges rule that evidence obtained under torture is admissible then they are ruling that torture is an acceptable form of interrogation, as long as it happens elsewhere. This would set an awful precedent and would leave the development of a genuine universal agreement on human rights in tatters. And it would confirm what some have been saying all along: our governments do not care about people or human rights in any way.
I will not stand by and allow the terms 'gay' or 'piss' to be bandied around willy nilly on my blog. Therefore, I feel that I have no choice but to partially unmask the man (cos it probably is a man) who has terrorized Nick's blog, and latterly my own, with obscene comments and vulgarities.
But I won't do it now because I've got some work to do. All I have left to say at this point is that I will not be cowed by terrorists. like Tony Blair, I stand shoulder to shoulder.
I like to complain about people's bad manners as much as the next well-brought up person with nothing better to whine about. But to blame everything on mobile phones, as Natalie Hanman does in today's Guardian is sheer silliness. In her directionless, unjustified diatribe, she comes up with a lot of vague examples of the way modern/mobile technology is to blame for people having bad manners these days.
These reasons include: someone on the bus might have more powerful headphones than you; people who have their phone 'on silent' to avoid distracting people are "smug"; and people might use email to write rude messages to other people. In response, I have to beg the questions: why is one person's music less important than your own? I suspect it has something to do with it being modern and something you therefore categorically dislike; aren't there smug people evrywhere already, even without vibrating alerts? Surely, adjusting one's phone so that it doesn't make a noise shows a greater degree of respect for one's neighbours. And finally, people have been capable of writing rude messages for quite some time before the advent of email or texting.
We can all tell hi-tech horror stories of the lack of modern etiquette: from being dumped or sacked via a text message, or having a cinema visit interrupted by a nauseating ringtone, to hearing our own delicate music compilation drowned out by someone's grating rap-thumping headphones on the bus.
Well, no we can't. I've never been dumped by someone via SMS, nor have I had a cinema trip interrupted by a mobile phone. I would suggest to Natalie Hanman that perhaps she's spending too much time with people who are always going to be rude, whatever technology they have in their hands.
So, this'll probably be the next model I get. My current iPod is stuttering occasionally, and will probably have to be replaced before too long.
From engadget.com, the latest news:
New iPod announced! The new iPod, as speculated, features video capabilities and the wider display, but itâ€™s still a music-first device.
The device will feature a 2.5-inch display, QVGA resolution (320 x 240), and will MPEG-4 h.264 (natch), and presumably Quicktime.
The new iPod will be 30% thinner than the current 20GB iPod (making it 0.44-inches thickâ€”say wha?), and will feature a 60GB version (which should be thinner than the current 0.63-inch thick 20GB iPod), and editions of both in black.
The 20GB should go for $299, and the 60GB for $399. Theyâ€™ll be shipping next week.
Whatâ€™s the device named, you ask? The iPod. Thatâ€™s it, just The iPod. Well spare you the Prince jokes. The iPod will have TV out.
Stevie has iTunes 6.0 up thereâ€”only about a month after introducing iTunes 5.0.
iTunes 6.0 will also feature video and the iTunes Music Store will feature video downloads (big surprise, right?)â€”at launch over 2,000 music videos will be made available at a cost of $1.99 apiece.
An interesting post on WebKey Design's blog has touched on a couple of issues with the web that I have been thinking about for a while now, namely: why can't anyone produce a perfect browser? and why do we still not have decent, genuinely user friendly, authoring tools that integrate with browsers?
As far as I'm concerned, WordPress is better than Blogger. But it's still not good enough, and you still have to be pretty good at coding to even consider designing your own template.
I agree with the idea that what we want is a harmony between production and consumption: my browser should empower me and allow me to create content while I'm browsing.
On a side note: England are playing tonight! And it's a bank holiday here! And the Video iPod still hasn't been announced! And this site still doesn't work properly in Internet Explorer… though I rarely use that browser, it still represents 75% of my visitors.
I know you thought that you would never change your mind
though things like this never happen with you
youÂ´re not a prisoner
you know what to do
if you could fly or collapse all of the time
then nothing stands in your way
but as you canÂ´t,
itÂ´s not question of fight
that was over when you came up here tonight