Best Of Blog 2007
Best Of Blog 2005
How to be Happy,
Misty's Big Adventure,
Street Furniture Stickers,
Weird Internet Animations
Other People's Blogs
Danger! High Postage,
Silent Words Speak Loudest
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Sun 29th Oct
Fun with Graphs
Well, kind of fun anyway. I'd kind of forgotten about Google Trends until a collegue reminded me. It's a very simple idea, but beguiling. You enter a search phrase and it shows you a graph of how popular it's been over time.
Mp3s or CDs?
YouTube or You Tube?
The rise of internet empires
But does netfame last?
Notice the very different shapes of the curves. Looks like the Artic's have peaked.
Who's more famous?
The UK version is a bit less godly :
Christmas is (already) coming...
What beautiful curves!
Diwali vs Eid(s)
Diwali wins out, but then there are two Eids.
Sat 28th Oct
The Photophonic Experiment - The MAC
Sonic weirdness. High voltage electricity. The odd explosion. That's what you get when you put together Pram,Bliss Body and Project Dark. There was some pretty sweet music too.
Not a single experiment this, we're led through a series of investigations, each with their own equipment including the Theremin (which I'm sure you're familiar with), the Jacobs Ladder (the thing which the mad scientist always has buzzing and crackling away in his lab), a Spark-o-phone (electrical sparks in perspex tubes of differing lengths for resonance) and many many more.
I think my favourite piece was the Quadrille for Light Emitting Diodes in which the light from spinning tops covered in flashing LEDS was photophonically converted into sound. I had a clear view of the tops, which I was very glad about, as it's not just about the sounds generated, but the process and the techniques. Unfortunately, most of the audience couldn't see this section well as it was hidden behind a large "Jar of Charge". We did however, have specially created visuals which showed recorded examples of some of the action.
The Photophonic Experiment is on tour till the 4th of November - check out their website: The Photophonic Experiment
See also: Guardian interview with participants
Thu 26th October 2006
Upcoming: Photophonic - Sat 28th Oct
Pram, Blissbody and Project Dark get together at the MAC to do something which I strongly suspect will be very interesting... http://www.dotcog.co.uk/cmn/photophonic/site.htm
Upcoming: Dufus - 12th November
Dufus are coming to town again Although the lineup seems to change continually, they always make a great noise. Get down to the Jug for a great dose of anti-folk! Dufus' MySpace.
Upcoming: Jeffery Lewis / Kate Goes... - 25th November
Another great The Catapult Club gig - this time at the BarAcademy rather than the Jug.
Sat 21st October 2006
Misty's, Kate Goes... and Micronormous
After a few worries that the BarFly was sold out (caused by them releasing a very small number of advance tickets, which then did sell out, but reserving most of them for the door, and not saying anything about this on their website or booking line) I got down fairly early, but not early enough to catch the start of Micronormous. Visuals were provided by Scott Johnson (filmficciones), and featured a lot of early film (e.g. Metropolis, Faust). Very nice set which got a lot of audience attention.
Things really started to heat up once KateGoes... appeared on stage with their new Bassist (Susie) replacing Oli. As a band who had a logo (of band charactures) before they had a name, I guess this is quite a change Anyway, new Kate Goes... t-shirts with the new logo were available. They also had a very prettily designed CD available for only 3 quid! This will get you copies of Heartbeat, Boomshdilak and Yoyo.
Susie added a third female vocal to Heartbeat, lifting what I consider to be their best song to new heights. I'd say my second favourite was Don't you throw your friends away!
Some crazy moves from Kate added to the performance feel without interfering with the musical and vocal quality. A truely versatile band, already touring with Misty's, looks like they'll go far!
Oh! I almost forgot... where did Kate Go today? Kate went to the beach, with 1920's style stripy swiming costumes, Joe taking a break in a deckchair for a song or two, and Beth wearing a hula outfit complete with coconuts!
Misty's Big Adventure headlined, with most of Kate Goes... taking to the dancefloor to lead the crowd in a lot of wild and energetic bouncing up and down I've seen Misty's so many times that it's hard for me to say something new about them, especially given that I've given it nearly a week before writing this! All I can say is that they were fantastic, tight as ever and really got the crowd going. I think Fashion Parade, their new single, was done as an encore.
Hopefully we'll see Misty's again in Brum soon - they're getting a bit too popular for their traditional haunt of Jug of Ale though! (or are they...)
Tues 17th October 2006
Misty's Vs (the) Teats
A MySpace battle has now commenced between Misty's Big Adventure and (the Teats) . The Teats starred in Misty's latest video not realising that it was effectively a piss-take of themselves! Oh dear. Check out their blog + some of the fans and friends of The Teats too if you fancy a laugh.
I did see The Teats play as 1st support to Misty's last year, but I can't say I was too impressed.
Upcoming: Defiance Ohio
Defiance Ohio (MySpace ) are playing at The Sunflower Lounge this Thursday. I saw them in Reykjavik and the crowd went wild! Dancing ranged through everything from Pogo to Polka with a bit a crowd surfing thrown in for good measure. They've fast guitars, violin, cello and a line in alternating word lyrics which gives a special sound.
Upcoming: Shell - tales from the front line.
Also this Thursday, there's a talk at Friends of the Earth in Birmingham on
Shell's impact on the environment, wildlife and people
Thursday 19th October, 7:30pm, Warehouse Cafe, Digbeth, B5 5TH.
"Front line Shell activists from the Niger Delta in Nigeria; Durban in
South Africa and Co. Mayo in Ireland will be speaking on their
campaigning against Shell in their communities. Speakers have
significant knowledge on Shell's impact on people's human rights and
quality of life, wildlife and the environment. They will link this in
with their views on Shell's sponsorship of the Wildlife Photographer
of the Year Awards 2006 at the Natural History Museum."
A special menu will be on in the cafe from 6 til 7:15pm for around
£5/£6 per person. Complimentary drinks and nibbles also available
during the event.
Why Shell activists are working with Friends of the Earth
Saw this one today on the BBC news website, I just liked the urgency of the breaking news...
Sun 15th October 2006
End the Bland Age!
Misty's Big Adventure's new video for Fashion Parade is out now on You Tube. That's something to brighten up your Sunday. Gareth looks pretty cool in that hat!
As an aside, it was announced on MySpace yesterday at about 7pm, and it's had 2,404 plays by 10:15pm today, and 10 mins later it's down to 2193 (!??)... It will be interesting to see how that figure changes over the next few days.
You can also see their more boisterous live performance on YouTube too.
If you want to know more, here's some little know facts about the video.
Misty's play the BarFly next Saturday (21st October), with support from the wonderful Kate Goes.... Be there or be bland
Sat 14th October 2006
Over to Warwick Arts Centre for this matinee performance of Euripedes' post-trojan war play. Helen returns with Menelaus from the wars, to find her sister Clytemnestra murdered by her own children: Electra and the eponymous Orestes. The populus are enranged, and they are sentenced to death for their "unnatural" crime. Euripedes uses this background to expound on topics such as political ambition and corruption, belief in a personal destiny, the concept of honour and the ultimate inevitability of death.
Friday 13th October 2006
Lynne Jones MP
I met up with Lynne Jones, my MP to talk about the Friends of the Earth "Big Ask" campaign on climate change. Lynne is generally a very good MP on environmental and social issues, so it was no suprise to find that she fully supported the bill we're trying to get through parliament.
After lots of pressure and the other two main parties saying they back the FOE bill, the government said it will (probably) introduce a bill on climate change targets, but exactly what form this will take we don't know yet...
Missing Kate Goes...
My meeting with Lynne Jones over ran, so I missed Kate Goes... at the Jug of Ale. It was their one year aniversary gig. Still, they're on at BarFly next weekend
Thu 12th October 2006
John Peel Day
John Peel day rolls round again, and a couple of nice people put together a night at the Jug of Ale. DJ's included Geoff from Static Caravan Records and Mike in Mono / Brian Duffy of ZX-Spectrum Orchestra and Modified Toy Orchestra fame. There was also a John Peel quiz, and it was all for charity (Shelter I believe).
Sun 8th October 2006
Veils, Hijab, Burqas and Chadors
So Jack Straw thinks he should control what his constituents wear? What happened to MPs being there to represent local people, not to criticise their clothing choices. It's not too long since many people in the UK would have thought it improper for women to wear trousers - a good position for UKIP I'd think. Hopefully the next stage in this saga will be for the Lib Dems to jump on the bandwaggon by declaring that catholic women should all wear mini-skirts. It makes about as much sense....
Meanwhile, the BBC has published this handy pictorial guide to muslim veils - slightly bizare, but actually quite useful.
A(nother) bit of politics...honestly, there'll be more arts and music soon!
Sat 7th October 2006
Vintage is Back!
Well, some would say it had never gone away, but last night at the Sunflower Lounge I spotted a poster for Urban Village, the shop which used to be next to the Custard Factord and the groovy Oxfam. After going online/mail-order only for a little while, they've reopened in Hurst St. I popped down to have a look today, and it's still the same, a bit smaller though, so they've got less stuff - particularly the 60's and 70's furnishings. Not that I ever bought a sofa there, mind.
Next stop was a new, large, and bright yellow vintage warehouse place on Digbeth. A lot more stuff there - I don't know where they get it all from. Well, actually, I suspect quite a bit comes from Germany, seeing labels for entscheidendes hemd and similar. There's tonnes of stuff for women, with prices around 12 quid for a dress. Bloke's shirts are around 8 to 12 quid. It's certainly a place to watch.
Fri 6th October 2006
Transformer - The Small Extensions
Went to the opening of this exhibition by Feng-Ru Lee (Milee) at Periscope. Transformer is a series of small modifications to existing buildings, rooms and spaces. At both Periscope and the Sunflower Lounge, you can see lights with symbols on them. The Periscope set includes happy and sad faces, symbols for people etc. The grass next to the pagoda at Holloway Circus features a newly planted bed of "windflowers" - small windmills with clear sails. Birmingham Institute of Art and Design at Margaret St, hosts a brightly painted box which, when you open it, asks you to feed it flowers. A set of pre-drawn flowers (and also plain paper) is available to help you satisfy its desires. Other locations include the Ikon Gallery, Victoria Square, and Oddbins on Colmore row! I'm pretty sure that that last two are outside.
Sun 1st October 2006
Your 1000 Votes a Year...
Democracy. What's it all about? You put a cross on a bit of paper every four years, and if you're in a marginal constituency, and the party you vote for has a chance, it might just influence who gets elected. Your MP, of course, is then much more likely to tow some party line rather than represent you, but still, you did get to vote. "You have control." "You have influence." "You get to decide what happens." - That's what they tell you at least.
However, you do have another vote, and it's not just every four years. At a conservative estimate, it's over 1000 times a year. And this vote really does decide what goes on in the world.
So what is it?
Every time you buy something you are voting for that company to continue to exist, to continue to act in the same way, to retain its influence on the world. And lets face it - most of the world is run by companies, they even provide the funds for political parties! For example, if everybody suddenly stopped buying McDonalds' food tomorrow, McDonalds would very soon cease to exist. No question. Nothing McDonalds could do about it. Without our financial vote, companies die.
I think there's two main places where it's easiest to use your financial vote. Firstly, big finance - mortgages, bank accounts, savings, loans etc. You only need to change your bank to one with an ethical policy, and you've made a big change to who runs the world. Secondly, everyday purchases - who gets the money from your lunchtime sandwich, what about your beer money - does it go to a soulless chain?
By using our financial votes, we can really change the world. They depend on us - lets make them behave!
Watched this video for Freezepop's _Parlez-vous Freezepop?_, very funny if you've ever tried to speak a language you're not familiar with. Nice blippy 80's style music too
Some where in Iceland I lost the BenniHemmHemm CD I bought at their gig However, they do have a couple of tracks on their MySpace Unfortunately their website only has 10 second clips of their songs - not a lot of use!
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