22 December 2007

12 November 2007

Paul Simon singing Brian Wilson

Ignore the annoying announcer bloke. This is just lovely...

29 October 2007

"Whaddaya gonna do?"

RIP Sopranos. Best. TV. Ever. (Even though the last series was a bit pants). Better swearing than the West Wing, better haircuts than the Wire, and less Lovejoy actors than Deadwood. Some of my random favourite things about it:-

1. Sil. The hair. The suits. The terrible Al Pacino impressions.
2. Paulie. Again with the hair. He loved his mum, the big cuddly psychopath. And the fact that he survived is kind of sweet.
3. Steve Buscemi. Turned an already genius series into the best goddam weekly fix that you've ever experienced.
4. The swearing. For me, the best swearing was one time when Tony was pulled over by a black cop for speeding. He tries to bribe him, but gets nowhere and a ticket anyway. As he pulls away and passes the cop he mutters "Affirmative action cocksucker". Not big, not clever, but it doesn't half trip off the tongue.
5. The music. The closing credits invariably had the perfect tune to come down off an episode with. If fucking Channel 4 hadn't trailed Big Brother and other shite over it that would have been perfect. Thanks, you idiots.
6. Lauren Bacall getting punched in the face. What other show could write that?!

And probably lots more. It got out just in time, the last series had a lot of padding but it picked up enough in the end to make me miss it now it's gone. Cheers Tony you fat fuck.

21 October 2007

In praise of gambling

Hurrah for the boks. For all the media hype about England's brave band of crocked old men, the best team in the tournament won it. I watched it with a friend who loves to gamble on sports. He's way more interested in it than I could ever be and has developed an approach that's left him significantly up after several years. Not enough to buy a yacht, but it's certainly kept him in beers. Rule number one is don't bet on horses, with baseball a close second, apparently.

The South African win last night was a triple whammy for him, and it's interesting to note what his winning bets were. He had a tenner on the boks from the beginning of the tournament at 9-1, which is fair enough, and then two other bets on last night's game, neither of which I'd have ever considered but both of which make perfect sense. Firstly England to not score a try (nice one, Mark Cueto's little toe), and then the total points scored to be under 38. Both no-brainers, really, when you look at the form. So, beers on him, then.

Any doubts I had about whether I'd soften my usual anti-England stance and support them even a little bit evaporated the first time they showed the princes. Fucking leeches. And what was with Gordon Brown, the French rightwing bloke and Thabo "AIDS isn't a big deal" Mbeki all up on the podium? Just weird. Surely Catherine Deneuve would've sufficed?

14 October 2007

Is it just me?

Front of the Observer Music Magazine today, Paul McCartney and Pete Doherty. Jesus. I don't know who to be more angry at. The Observer for printing this rubbish, Macca for being a publicity whore, or the smackhead for being a talentless, well, smackhead. What's the point? Who cares? When did this become worthy of an exclusive splash?

Ok, so the paper know people will buy it whatever they do. I do. But then I buy it for the crossword, and the sport. Macca knows it'll make him seem just a little less like a pensioner who spends too much on hair dye. And smackhead must just be a lunatic if he believes the hype.

Now, I admit, I never heard the Libertines. But they looked good, and made the right people make the right noises and fair enough. But since then what has he done? Where did he cross the line from tosser who's done a bit of music to troubadour in the lineage of Blake and Rimbaud? It's that bloody Kate Moss, that's who. The media now believe he farts Booker Prize winners. I wish he'd just overdose and put an end to it, frankly. Although that would lead to people calling it "the ultimate show of artistic self-expression" and putting him up with all the other corpses who punch below their weight, Morrison and Curtis and Cobain and so on. And that would that. The orthodoxy of iconography. And that would piss me off too. So I don't know. But he can fuck off whatever.

12 October 2007

Enter the Thirty Twix Chambers

No wonder Raekwon always looks a little chubby.

11 October 2007

Don't Believe the Tripe

This is what happens when you spend too much of your time down the pub discussing food-related hip hop puns. It could happen to any of us, I'm sure you'll agree.

08 October 2007

Mr. Aesthetic Archetype

So this bloke. Any ideas? He's probably northern European, he undoubtedly owns an Audi and has a thing for rimless spectacles and propelling pencils. He occasionally smiles to put small children at ease. He's old enough to think that black polo-necks are elegant and doesn't get out much on account of all the thinking he does. All his classical LP's are in date order.

The clue's in the picture, actually. He's Erno Rubik, inventor of the Rubik's cube, and doesn't he just look exactly like you'd imagine him? "Hmm, yes, if I put colours on the side of a cube I will create a most stimulating puzzle" he thought, tidying the paperclip drawer in his mountainside Bauhaus retreat, and the rest was history. He would definitely not approve of this cake.

The 25th World Championships was won by a Japanese kid in 13 seconds, incidentally. Bastard.

24 September 2007

I think we should be told

I've been bothered by a couple of resemblences for a while now. I wonder if they are by any chance related etc etc. First up, Mancunian drunk Mark E. Smith and wood engraver David Jones...

And secondly, rubbish painter Francis Bacon and Claudius the God...

So there you go. The first picture there is taken from the most pretentiously drammy picture I have ever seen. Kenneth Branagh on his own is quite annoying, but look at this. It's firing squad time...

Or maybe Claudius is idly wondering which wild animals will be tearing Branagh apart come Saturday down the Colosseum. It's a nice thought.

19 September 2007

Season of pissed-up mellow fruiters

It's damson gin time again. Four glass jars, about 5 litres of shit Lidl gin, lots of sugar and 2 carrier bags full of damsons. The liquid has turned purple already. Which is what passes for excitement round here.

In other news, the Guardian have been printing these little booklets of interviews with various famous types the last couple of weeks. This morning's was with Margaret Thatcher and of course it was in the bin before the end of the street. But yesterday's was with Hitler, whose rantings I was content to carry around in my bad all day. Now, it's not that I'm saying that I think Thatcher's as bad as a genocidal maniac, but one has to have some standards, eh.

13 September 2007

Serves him right

Today I have been mostly musing on how cross it would've made General Sherman, above, to learn that his name is mostly known as a euphemism for masturbation. Look at him. He'd be furious!

Would that all the gun-toting idiots in the world could be ridiculed in the same way, eh.

31 August 2007

Reason to be cheerful no. 4,076

Thelonious Monk playing table tennis...

23 August 2007


"The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or of a lack of verbal interest is just fucking lunatic" - Stephen Fry.

20 August 2007

Whisky galore

There are many reasons to visit Islay, there's the historic Celtic culture, there's the fluffy cows and there's the undeniably stunning scenery. But obviously for me it's all about the whisky. There are 8 distilleries on Islay and we visited them all. We only did tours of 4 of them, but we had a good look at the others and here are my thoughts, based on a completely futile and deliberately pointless scoring system.

The categories were: amount of stripped pine in the visitor's centre, quality of heritage photography, size of tour guide's beard, accent of guide, number of americans or japanese on the tour and pictureskewness, with bonus points for other things.

Laphroaig - 83% (50/60). Extra points for getting a taste from a cask and for being in the actual process of stripping pine to extend their visitor centre. Marked down for having a stairwell full of pictures of Prince Charles visiting in a kilt.
Lagavulin - 66% (40/60). My favourite whisky. Anytime anyone wants to give me a bottle of the 16 year old they'd be welcome. The mouldy shed full of casks quietly maturing will haunt my dreams.
Kilchoman - 66% (40/60). A brand new distillery that still hasn't produced any whisky, since to be whisky it has to be 5 years old. But plenty of stripped pine, charmingly small and owned by some of the islanders rather than a big company.
Ardbeg - 66% (20/30). Didn't do the tour but scored heavily on the quality of their steak and ale pie and for having waitresses in tartan flat caps.
Bunnahabhain - 66% (20/30). Wonderfully remote and staffed in part by a man with a wheelbarrow full of peat wearing a midge-net who looked like some kind of alien and gave me a right shock before he started talking in a broad accent. A barrel up the road says "Bunnahabhain" on one side and "other places" on the back.
Caol Ila - 50% (30/60). One of only two that were actually running, as they tend to close down in the summer for maintenance. This is because historically the workers would use the downtime to cut peat for their homes, fact fans. Crucially for this driver, the only one close enough to walk to from where we were.
Bruichladdich - 37% (11/30). The other Islay owned distillery and notable for having a much larger variety of whiskies in an attempt to get people interested, it only having been reopened a short time after being closed in the 80s. Barrels show the name backwards in the yard, inexplicably. But why not.
Bowmore - 33% (10/30). Definitely the poshest, as it's in the island's capital town. No beards to speak of.

Visitors to mod towers are advised to check pronounciations or they won't get any.

04 August 2007

The youf of today

The BBC website has a report on the rebranding of the Dandy, which is 70 this year. Nothing too unusual about that, even if the new publication, Dandy Xtreme, has a shit badly spelt name. Such is life. But here's what the Editor had to say...

"Following extensive research, we discovered The Dandy readers were struggling to schedule a weekly comic into their hectic lives. They just didn't have enough time. They're too busy gaming, surfing the net or watching TV, movies and DVDs... They required a guide, packed with the stuff kids need to know to stay in the loop - a lifestyle magazine attuned to their hectic lives, featuring all the latest trends, must-haves, must-sees and must-dos."

Phew. Those demanding kids, eh? Their lives are too hectic to read a few fucking words. I mean, it's a comic, the whole point of it is that it has fewer words and takes less time to read. The new issues appear to have the Simpsons on the front, which kinds of points to a lack of initiative and originality. I give it a couple of years before it folds because the kids are too busy buying the Beano.

26 July 2007

Copy, right?

Ok, so I shamelessly nicked the title from an MP3 blog of the same name (which is worth a look if you like cover versions), but anyway. The point is that I just found a link to the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft. Now I've never read any H.P. Lovecraft, but I'm aware that good and sensible people like Neil Gaiman have, and so here's the link. Link.

22 July 2007


FIP's back on the air. 98.5FM, Brighton people. Thanks for drawing it to my attention, Mr. a_non, whoever you are! (And who are you?!).

17 July 2007

A couple of things about the 14th century

I've just finished a superb biography of Sir John Hawkwood, who started out a squire in Essex and ended up married to the daughter of the Duke of Milan and one of the most influential men in Italy. After his death the above fresco was painted in Florence Cathedral. He more or less achieved this by failing to go home after the Hundred Years' War (actual length, 116 years) and instead heading to Italy to start menacing cities with his company of mercenaries. Italian politics were so insane that this kind of worked, with Milan and Florence and Siena and the Pope (and the other Pope) all hiring and firing or otherwise capturing and ransoming him while he changed sides more often than you can count and acquired huge amounts of property and cash. It's all hugely entertaining from a distance of 600 years.

The two completely trivial things that really got me, though, were:
1 - Knights in battle were often electrocuted in their armour during thunderstorms.
2 - Popular belief at the time held that if you had sex with a menstruating woman the baby would be a leper.

Who needs fiction?

12 July 2007

Another reason to hate Travis

I have specific reasons for hating Travis that predate their dire years of being rained on. One night in 1996 while having a pint before seeing Beth Orton we were asked to move from our table "so the band could have their tea". Thinking, well, ok, we got up, and 4 spotty students sat down and started eating. "Where's Beth?" we thought. They turned out to be this stunningly average pub rock band who went down like a lead balloon as the support that night. "I bet they become successful just to annoy me" I remember thinking, pissed off that not only was I having to endure this shite, but that they'd also nicked my seat.

So just to add another layer of annoyance, they've gone and ripped off the above photograph of Sao Paulo, which I randomly found on the net last year and have loved ever since. It's by Rennee Burri, who also took a fantastic picture of Che Guevara, here. And what do Travis do? They walk across a rooftop in New York and try and grab some of the cool for themselves. Well, it isn't working, lads, you will forever be a mediocre bunch of whingers who give Coldplay a good name. Now fuck off and don't come back until you have an original idea.

Aaaahh. And relax.

03 July 2007

Big and clever

Some sweary highlights from tonight's "The Thick of It" on BBC4...

"We are going to ram you so hard up Tom's arse that he'll have to shit out of his mouth."
"Ok, twatweasle, you got that?"
"It sucks cock so deep that the bellend is wearing your appendix as a hat."
"You couldn't organise a bum rape in a barracks."
"Normally you're about as secure as a hymen in a south London comprehensive."
"I will personally eviscerate you. Obviously I don't have your education so I don't know what that means, but I'll start by ripping your cock off and busk it from there."
"Oh God, it's like a prostate consultant's waiting room in here."
"You don't leak. Well, not from the mouth, anyway."

02 July 2007

My Pet Goat and other important state archives

Fark had one of their photoshop contests to suggest designs for Dubya's Presidential Library (hallelujah, he's almost gone). I liked this one the best. Although honourable mention must go to this one, too.

30 June 2007

An Army of Her

Glasto kind of passed me by except for some late night telly. The Arctics were noisy and fun, the Who weren't half bad (Pete Townsend sure plays a mean riff), but what really got me was Bjork.

I'm not a huge fan, but I'm always interested to see what planet she's currently on. Last week she had this sound going on that rather obscurely reminded me of an instrumental on an old Elvis Costello album Spike called "Stalin Malone", all dissonant brass and warm tones underpinning her usual beats and odd stylings. It was amazing. And of course it looked wonderful, two rows of pixie women playing french horns and the like with stars on their brows and flags apparently flying from their dresses. Just the best thing I've seen in ages. Nice one BBC4.

Youtube has a few examples posted, here, here and here. Give it a whirl.

Mod chuffed to be back online!

27 June 2007

Flogging a dead corpse

I can't get excited by the recent Nick Drake release, Family Tree, which collects family recordings and includes several examples of his mother singing. When I first heard Nick Drake in the early 90s, there were the three albums and a fourth rounding up odd studio quality tracks and outtakes. That was really all you needed, and you could definitely make a case for only needing the three albums, each perfect in its own way. Pre-internet, it seemed enough.

But of course capitalism and the cult of youthful death will have their way. Since then his fame has grown exponentially, which is great for convincing people that Coldplay haven't made a single note of interesting music ever, but then so have the magazine articles, biographies, anthologies and craving for new material. The tragic poet who died without achieving fame and the legend of a finite oeuvre have become an overwhelming clamour. So we get some teenage doodles, a bad Bob Dylan cover and him playing the clarinet.

Nick Drake recorded three of the finest and most moving English folk albums and then died of an overdose of antidepressants. Just leave it at that.

Mod out.

PS In case anyone has no idea what I'm on about, buy Bryter Layer. Now.

04 June 2007

Corporate English

A friend of mine was sent this letter after complaining about a meal they'd had. One the one hand, it's admirable that a complaint should be answered when most companies of Wagamama's size could care less, but one has to ask, where were they when the punctuation was handed out? And is there some house style which bans the use of capital letters? They're obviously massive e.e. cummings fans.

Been making me chuckle all week. Mod out for random carriage return soup.

01 June 2007

Welcoming Summer with the Candylion

I've just bought some music for the first time all year. Which felt weird, I can tell you. Tom Waits and the Arctics do what they say on their tins and shout about strange fish meals and annoying people in clubs respectively. Both recommended.

But the album I think I'll be mostly playing in the sunshine this summer will be Gruff Rhys' Candylion, a typically idiosyncratic collection of ditties and gentle strums. Less ambitious than the Super Furry Animals' stuff with none of that scary techno noisiness, it's deliberately playful (the sleeve features 70s kids TV style instructions on how to make your own candylion... fluff!) and a totally ego-free experience. Refreshing and almost as catchy as Mwng. Download tracks using the Hype Machine here.

My only gripe is that I wish more than a handful of the tracks were in Welsh. For some reason that makes it doubly catchy.

Mod i maes, look you.

24 May 2007



An appropriate expanse of black space to suit my mood...

20 May 2007

There's more, there's more...

God wallpaper

And to continue the theme, a screenshot following a recent game of (oh, the shame) online Boggle.

Overheard in Brighton

"I want to be a Goth! Can I buy these leggings?"

"When I worked at Fabric I got free alcohol, free drugs, free office space..."

18 May 2007

More banners

Nicked off the RAWK forum.

16 May 2007

The Road to Athens

The first in an undoubtedly irregular series of random Liverpool shit between now and next Wednesday.

Mod out in his brand spanking new Robbie Fowler scarf. Ooh. Which reminds me...
God has retired. Long Live God.

14 May 2007

10 May 2007

Terrorism Sussex Style

Someone I know was given one of these cards as he came out of Lewes station today. Obviously the investigation is not going well. As this article reports, since parking meters were introduced in the town in 2004 a steady stream of them have been vandalised and blown up by homemade devices. The last I heard was that police had done some DNA tests on a lager can found near the site of one attack, and managed to rule out a local wino. Fine work there, I'm sure we all agree.

Of course, this being Lewes, homemade devices are ten a penny. Half the town is involved in making things for the annual Bonfire celebrations, and the other half love the sound and fury it creates. So I don't think that CrimeStoppers are going to have much luck. It'll take more than cash to crack the omerta of the Bonfire Boys, after all they used to go to prison for their right to march.

The whole thing is alternatively hilarious and ridiculous. It's cool (I think) that people are taking the law into their own hands, and that a community as well-off as Lewes tacitly supports such activity. On the other hand, cars are shit and from my vantage point on the high street I have no doubt that the meters have made the town a lot less congested. So in conclusion, who cares. Only the Police...

08 May 2007

The Scary Man

"Bob Dylan reportedly scared the children at his grandson's kindergarten after treating the class to a live show. The singer has allegedly been dubbed the 'weird man' by children in the class, in the Los Angeles suburb Calabas, where his son Jakob Dylan's child attends.
A source told the New York Post newspaper: 'The kids have been coming home and telling their parents about the weird man who keeps coming to class to sing scary songs on his guitar.
He's been visiting the school just for fun, but the kids don't appreciate they are in the presence of a musical legend.
They just think of him as the weird guitar guy.'"

All puns gratefully received for a heading, I can't think of any.

30 April 2007


Twice a year Ford and I exchange compilations to keep us both more informed about the stupid amount of music we miss all the time. While I miss tapes and their 90 minute running time, I can't deny the future rocks, and since he's posted his compilation, I might as well post mine.

It's a broadly funky set, with only a small dip in the middle to allow for Jenny Lewis. Tracks below, get it here. And if you can't be arsed to wade through it all, I'd advise you to get on your good foot, fire up the P2P and download It's My Thing by Marva Whitney, cos not even JB himself can be that insistent and in your face.

Mother Popcorn - James Brown
It's My Thing - Marva Whitney
Change My Thoughts From You - Erma Franklin
Proud Mary - Solomon Burke
When The Meth Comes Marching In - dj BC
How High The Moon - Slim Galliard
Streetlife - Randy Crawford & The Crusaders
Bottom Of The World - Tom Waits
A New England (live) - Kirsty MacColl & Billy Bragg
Paradise - Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins
Liv pa Mars - Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Shinjiro ft. Mos Def - DJ Krush
Mr. Pharmacist - The Other Half
Memo from Turner - The Rolling Stones
Ya Ya - Lee Dorsey
Susie-Q - Dale Hawkins
You've Been Drunk - Champion Jack Dupree
Night Train - James Brown

23 April 2007

Happy Birthday Speccy

It was twenty-five years ago today that rubber-keyed goodness descended upon us. Clive Sinclair got a knighthood out of it before suddenly failing to invent anything decent ever again. At 8 I was totally blown away by games like Knight Lore or Alien 8, and while both the BBC and Commodore could be argued to be better, the Speccy looked way cooler, and was significantly smaller as well. I still sort of miss it.

10 Print "Mod Out"
20 Goto 10

Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out
Mod Out

22 April 2007

Bastard Bastard American Bastard Bastards*

Read this article from yesterday's Guardian. Go on. Written by one of the lawyers trying to help the prisoners in Guantanamo, it's a shocking indictment of how weird the US military is. Beyond the torture and the wider questions about how many of the men should actually be there, it details how hard they have made it for anyone to help them, let alone free them. Among the things he's prevented from taking into his clients are National Geographic and Runner's World; all his notes have to go via Washington where everything is censored, and they blatantly lie to him without seeming to care that he knows it.

What the fuck is their problem? This has gone so far through the looking glass and up the white rabbit's arse that I'm not even sure whether I know who to hate. Bush, Cheney, the US military, for sure, but what about the individuals involved at all levels? Don't they have a single bit of conscience? I guess you trade that at the door for a big shiny gun, and anyone who wants to be in an army is clearly psychotic to start with.

Although I do think that Runner's World looks dangerous. All those healthy people. It's not right.

*Not all of them, of course. Just the ones in uniform. And the rightwing ones. And the Dave Matthews Band.

17 April 2007

New Yorker quote of the day

I've just read a 4 page article on Kingsley Amis on the New Yorker website (like you do) and this made me laugh...

"Pornography was to British writers of the fifties what the Communist Party was to French writers of the time; they didn’t entirely approve of it, but felt that being attached to it would keep them from being seen as mere intellectuals"

Maybe you had to have been there.

16 April 2007

What about Paul and Ringo?

In scanning in graffiti photos for my fotolog, I noticed that I'd snapped two Beatles:-

It's going to really annoy me if I can't find the other two.

Fab Mod out.

12 April 2007

Good weirdness

My latest web-comic find is A Softer World, which has just started replacing Steve Bell in the Guardian while he goes off and trims his beard or whatever it is that he does. It's appealingly bleak and odd while little pockets of truth shine through and make you nod in agreement, and the photographic format is definitely a winner. So that's at least 3, if not 4, online strips I'm checking daily now.

Mod out to find a life.

11 April 2007

The Eye of the Duck Storm

David Lynch is doing weather forecasts. No, really. Every day on his site he sits there, peers up at the sky and announces the temperature, sky colour, passing cloud formations and other important data. Of course, being LA it's not very interesting weather, which is perhaps the point, but it's worth it for of his slightly out-there way of speaking and completely insane hair. I found it strangely comforting to be wished a good day by the director of Blue Velvet before I go to work.

Go see for yourself. It's the lower right button.

10 April 2007

Beer and bonkers behaviour

So I went to Yorkshire properly for the first time over Easter. There was a duck race, too much food and lots of good beer. Under the influence of said beer I found myself admitting that ok, sure, Yorkshire beer was better than the Sussex stuff. In particular Absolution Ale from Sheffield, which at 5.3% was both delicious and deadly and made me into a turncoat for my county. Oh well.

I can't say too much about the Pace Egg play, beyond what was obvious. Some kind of St. George related mummery, performed four times in increasing stages of drunkenness, a character called Toss Pot and a lot of in-jokes and heckling. The performance we saw was the third, and was notable for St. George accidentally getting twatted over the head during a (drunken) duel and blood rushing down his face. Luckily a local mother darted in with a wetwipe to save the country's national icon from having to go to A&E. And on it went, bad singing, lines being forgotten, plenty of shouting and a sword fight every 3 minutes. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed something as much. Maybe it was the beer.

05 April 2007


He's got a beard, he's the UK Beatboxing Champion, he's a Brightonian, and he cooks...

26 March 2007


Nope, it's definitely gone now. Both on 98.5 and 91. The man has won. Oh well.

Mod off to download another two Bob Dylan shows.

Edit - oh, it's back. I'm going to stop going on about it now...

22 March 2007

Pulp Fiction

From a time when small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, the cover art of Ron Turner. More unlikely spaceships and angry Venusians than you could possibly need of a day. Gratuitous breasts, 1950s chrome-finned optimism, giant hands crushing the Empire State Building, it's all there. Magnificent. And isn't Vargo Statten is a superb name for a scifi writer?

Mod out to dust down his kill-o-ray and replenish the duodenium cells on his space hopper. Or something.

21 March 2007

Dark Satanic Mills

I went to Yorkshire for the first time on the weekend. It weren't bad. Not as good as Sussex, or indeed Lancashire, but not bad. Nice hills and stuff. But I was mostly taken by the massive cooling towers right by the motorway going through Sheffield (above), about as dramatic a view as I've ever seen. They'd never allow that down south...

08 March 2007

Reep Feep

One of the best things about living in Brighton (apart from the sea, the pubs, the overpriced everything, the Londoners and so on) is FIP. A French radio station which for years we've been mysteriously able to pick up on normal radios on exactly 91 FM. It plays everything from Billie Holiday to Wu Tang, and being French, they very sensibly play all the tunes with the swearwords left in. So refreshing. No ads, and almost no talking (and what talking there is is in French. Parfait). About one tune in four is actually French, and a similar amount are jazz, especially when you really need it on a Sunday afternoon. It's the sound of Brighton, they even come over and DJ in pubs and people sit round drinking red wine congratulating themselves on their taste. More than they usually do, that is.

But now it's gone. 91 FM is a wasteland of static, and I fear that maybe one of the urban myths about it was true; that some kind soul was boosting the signal in his loft, and he's just been busted. We can still listen to it online, but it's not the same as having it on a transistor radio in the park.

RIP FIP. Mod out to buy half of Maplins and put this injustice right.

05 March 2007

Muse of the Month

Well, the last 3 months, really. Basquiat Scrawls' post on Joanna Newsom got me wondering why I haven't given her the time of day yet. The same friend that fixed her up pressed a copy of that album into my hand a while back, with what sound like the same fairly exacting listening instructions. And what have I done? Nothing. Because of Jenny Lewis. I only have time for one bewitching cute genius in my life, you see.

"Have mercy, have mercy, have mercy on me
Let's pretend that everybody here wants peace..."

04 March 2007

"And it's a Pink Moon..."

No-one tells me anything. I was in the pub earlier when I noticed some people in the street pointing at the sky. Either it was the start of a bohemian production of War of the Worlds, or someone was naked up a lamp post. So I went outside and lo, it was a lunar eclipse in progress. Why don't people tell me these things?

All over the North Lanes people were standing outside pubs talking and looking at the sky, some trying, and mostly failing, to explain it to each other. I shared a Bonnie Tyler joke with someone while drinking a Lagavulin. Had to be done.

I was going to name this post after the Pink Floyd album. But then I went and sat on a bench across the street and watched it turning pink, or perhaps orangey-red if you're going to be pedantic, and thought of Nick Drake. Pink Moon's going to get us all, people...

Mod out to check on the celestial alignments for Doomsday.

PS Ok, so I can't resist it. "There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact it's all dark".

02 March 2007

01 March 2007

Francis Wheen's Top 10 Delusions

Read this. He rants so much more elegantly than I ever could.

27 February 2007

Pun of the day

I went to a stamp meeting tonight. Don't ask. Really. But it was sort of a family obligation and it ended up being mildly interesting, if only because I got talking to this guy who'd been a botanist and lived for many years in Borneo.

Apparently there's a family of trees out there with the latin name Fordia - Fordia Splendidissima, Fordia Coriacea, and so on (google tells me). Apparently this chap's friend who was constantly discovering new species discovered a new member of this family, and named it Fordia Cortina.

Genius. And a joke that will only apply for a few more decades before no-one will get it. See Ford Prefect.

26 February 2007

From Shaolin to the Big Easy

I haven't checked out dj BC's site in a while, and there's lots of new mashed-up goodness to download there. Most thrillingly, Wu Orleans, a 10 track compilation of Staten Island's finest with various funky Louisiana grooves.
It's all a bit silly, but none the worst for it, and the final track "When the Meth Comes Marching In" does exactly what it says on the tin. Download it here.

I got the whole thing from a torrent, although it was sporadic and took a while to complete. In case anyone cares.

Mod out for gumbo, g.

PS In other news, I was right about 2000AD according to the BBC. And who else are you going to trust?

25 February 2007

Pictures of New York

Fantastic old shots here. Make sure you have plenty of time, there are loads...

22 February 2007

I'm So Excited...

...and I just can't hide it, yadda yadda. Marmite Guinness. Guinness in my Marmite. Marness. Guinnite. mmm.
Although I haven't tried it yet and it might be minging. Doubt it, though.

Next up, Earl Grey spliffs and pork crackling crisps (proper ones not pork scratchings, that is). Laphroaig chocolates already exist, hallelujah.

20 February 2007

12 February 2007

02 February 2007

Health and Safety would have a fit

Ever since seeing Inside Man I've loved the Chaiya Chaiya song, but I've only just found the video. Bollywood dancing on moving trains. It's just the newest thing.


Mod out to see if Southern Rail will allow bad body-popping on the 9.14 to Lewes.

21 January 2007

"Ralph Richardson got stuck in the lift"

Occasionally life throws up unexpectedly storming evenings that are above and beyond your normal "see your mates and drink a bit" type night out. It was a friend's birthday last night, and all I knew was that it was a joint thing in someone else's house on the seafront. We pulled up to find that not only was the party was being held at a beautiful mathematically tiled terrace house in one of the posher crescents, but it was the one where Laurence Olivier used to live. Tumbling out of a transit van clutching off-licence carrier bags was clearly the only way to arrive.

God, what a house. The stairs just went up and up, every floor full of antique furniture and so much space. Even the plumbing was posh, apparently. There was a dumb waiter going right from the basement to the (?)third floor, and one detail we picked up was that Sir Ralph Richardson got stuck between floors in it once. I'm sure he played many important roles in his long career, but I know him best as god in Time Bandits.

We mooched around and stood in the kitchen for a while before it got a bit crowded and so we liberated a few bottles and headed upstairs. A sitting room had a gorgeous oak dining room table in the back that amazingly no-one had colonised. Morrissey was singing "Irish Blood, English Heart", which made me happy. We set up camp, using pieces of paper as makeshift coasters (it was a really nice table) and got into it. Over the next few hours random people wandered in and out or sat on the sofas over by the windows. Some introduced themselves, sat down and had a few drags on our jazz cigarettes. Tales were swapped (one of the hosts had a good line in stories about free parties and festivals) and the world set to right. There was dancing downstairs which a few people indulged in, but mainly we stayed put, occasionally foraging for more wine. It seemed like the best table in Brighton, and probably was.

For the first time in my ungrateful life I might even write a thank you note after a party. Scenes like that don't come along too often for us mortals.

18 January 2007

Talking to a Scotsman about Serifs

In the course of my working day today I had a conversation with an old man about the typeface Joanna, designed by Eric Gill. We both agreed that the use of flat serifs on an otherwise classically-based font helped draw the eye along the page.

So there you go. Of course the thing about Eric Gill is that he used to regularly have sex with his children, which long after his death came as a bit of a surprise to the world considering a large portion of his work is religious in tone and he lived for much of his live in monastically styled artist's communities.

So does it affect his art and designs? Well, yes, because he had sex with his children. And no, cos they're some of the finest creative pieces of the twentieth century and art is art is art.

The biographer who uncovered all this in the 1980s writes a good article in the Guardian about it here, and as she comments, interest in him has actually increased since her book came out. The public love a bit of scandal.

But his influence was so widespread, and his sculptures and book illustrations so prolific, that it would be hard to get rid of them. Apart from the fact that his daughters grew up apparently well-adjusted, history is full of nasty shit that you can't escape. So I think it's all ok. And as you can see from one of his fantastically out-there wood engravings for the Song of Solomon below, sanctity and shagging were for him much the same thing. Genius is genius, even if it's not very nice.

08 January 2007

A Peek at Mod Towers

Some friends were over for dinner last night, and their little boy was clicking away with their new camera. He took this random shot that came out rather well, and I thought I'd post it with a brief commentary into why these people are on my wall, especially as recent developments combined with an increasing need for wallspace mean they won't be there much longer...

The middle one is the simplest. The Stone Roses. 'Nuff said.

Top right is her from Echobelly, not Audrey Hepburn as many people have assumed. I had a serious Britpop crush on her back in the day, and old habits die hard, not least cos it's been up in every room and flat I've had since 1994.

And on the left is a shot from the film If..., from right at the end where our heroes get up on the roof and machine gun all the people coming out of chapel. If that seems a bit harsh, I'd advise sitting through the whole thing, a savage indictment of Public school culture and conformity. Having had to listen to the Kipling poem from which the title is taken at the start of every term at my own boarding school, I can't help but sympathise with Malcolm McDowell every time I watch it. That's not to say that taking to the rooftops to machine gun people on Speech Days is necessarily the best course of action, but it does remind me who to hate. (The Church, the Military and all the other people who tell you how to think, in a nutshell). And not, as ever, to believe the hype.

Mod out of bluetack.

04 January 2007

Late Album of the Year entry

Ages ago Ford burned me "Rabbit Fur Coat" by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins. Being an ungrateful sort I didn't listen to it until last week, when getting a new hifi in our stockroom at work meant I could listen to cd's for the first time. So I put it on, and then put it on again, and it's pretty much been on ever since. It's just under 40 minutes long, so that's a lot of plays even since last week.

The first thing I noticed were the lyrics, pithy little verses with a certain cynicism and humour. Backing singers that chime in to emphasise lyrics, not just to make everything louder. And the tunes have catchy hooks and lines you remember ("my dad starts growing Bob Dylan's beard"), which is all I ask (is it so hard? Radiohead? hmm?). The songs wouldn't be out of place sung by either Emmylou Harris or some modern bunch of scruffy indie kids. Dolly Parton should definitely cover "Big Guns".
Late in the day, under the radar, Album of the Year round the Mod's place.

Hype Machine
will probably get you some tunes, "Rise Up with Fists" or "The Charging Sky" are my faves but they're all good.
Also, the "Rise Up with Fists" video, briefly featuring Sarah Silverman. Which is always a good thing.

Mod off to google the b-sides.