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Friday, August 31, 2007

Flight of the Conchords

I'm enjoying Flight of the Conchords a great deal at the moment. I certainly didn't expect the HBO series to get a second season, but I'm glad to see it has.

Anyway, I like this song. It's got that melancholic tinge that infects so much New Zealand entertainment: all bittersweet reminisces and plaintive regrets. No wonder our teen suicide rate is so bloody high...

Carry on reading...


Could this be simply one of the greatest moments in television history ever?

David Copperfield Levitates Across The GrandCanyon - Funny video clips are a click away

I remember watching this when it was broadcast. All of his shows were such a big deal back then, each with it's showcase trick. He really was the perfect 80's magician, wasn't he? Which is to say, a bit shit.

Carry on reading...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Plug This In

iConcertCal is a fantastic plugin for iTunes (for both Windows and Mac) which finds upcoming concerts in your area and CD releases for artists you have in your music library. It then spits them out to a calendar you can view as a visualiser option. Well worth a try!

Carry on reading...

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Road

I just finished The Road, Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic gut-wrencher. Well worth your time and money.

"On their backs were vermiculite patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."

Carry on reading...

You Bloody Muppet


So anyway, I've been working my way through some more season two Muppet Show episodes and in episode 7, guest starring Edgar Bergen, I had another misty-eyed childhood regression thanks to this:


Also, in the following episode starring Steve Martin I had an entirely different kind of childhood reverie.

The set-up for the epsiode, y'see, is that the show has been cancelled for the evening and Kermit is auditioning new acts. Which made me think back to sitting on our lounge floor when I must've been around 6 or 7 I guess (maybe even younger), all excited about watching the Muppets. The very start is a sequence where Kermit comes out and announces that, bad news folks, there's no show tonight. At which point my dad got out of his chair (no remote control!) announcing "Oh well, it's not on tonight. Let's see what else is on."

I was distraught and disbelieving. "No, wait," I whined "It must be on!" At which point it cut to a shot of all the audience getting up and leaving the theatre. "There you go. They're all leaving. It's not on."

chuk chuk chuk *

Well, I cried, I'm not ashamed to tell ya. And even though years later (and while still a child) I got to see that episode, I learned two valuable lessons:
a) Contrary to my warm view of the Muppets as something we shared and enjoyed as a family, my dad did not, in fact, actually think too much of the Muppet Show, and
b) What a dick! (err...God rest his soul...)

"Heh heh heh...too easy...."

*Picture, if you will, a chunky analogue dial, thunking its way around a series of preset tuning positions.

Carry on reading...

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The more we know...

...the less we know.

Carry on reading...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kia Ora

I'm so out of touch with New Zealand music.

Headless Chickens - Gaskrankinstation

When I was growing up, New Zealand had a peculiar relationship with home-grown talent. Well, when I say "peculiar", I mean we didn't have much time for it. We had been spoon-fed all our media from UK and US sources. Anything not performed in an American or British accent of some description was generally considered a bit crap. We had a full-blown cultural cringe - curious for a country which is normally so fiercely, defensively nationalistic - and our music scene was all the poorer for it.

Bailter Space - Splat

Artists either struggled along in obscurity, or went over to Oz and struggled on there with at least the promise of making a living from it. There was the odd hit, and there was a thriving counter-culture around it, but on the whole New Zealand music was marginal and as such, was easily known. Regardless of your tastes, you always at least had some grasp on what bands were out there.

Supergroove - Sittin' Inside My Head

That's all different now. After a couple of decades of strong campaigning, home-grown music quotas on TV and radio and the introduction (some might argue as unfortunate) of a strong commercial music scene, the NZ music scene is thriving on all fronts. It's led, it would seem to me, by the kind of indie guitar pop that typified New Zealand music in the mid-late 90's, there are now all manner of flourishing scenes. Hip hop, metal, folk, dance and more in all their various permutations and flavours are going strong.

Head Like a Hole - Spanish Goat Dancer

And so, whenever I try to dip my toes back into the world of New Zealand music, I'm completely lost. Out of touch, like some doddery old fool. Okay, so I'm hardly cutting edge on the music front. But the lack of knowledge I have just serves to make me feel that little bit more alienated from my home country. And that's weird. Anyway, it's more just an excuse to put up some old NZ music videos that I really like. Because I can!

Dimmer - Evolution

Shihad - Derail

Straitjacket Fits - She Speeds

The following is the quintessential New Zealand yob song. Play this in a Walkabout on a Friday night and it would go off like an atom bomb. Which is my way of saying I'm not proud of this song, nor do I particularly like it, but rather put it here to give you an important insight into a particular traditional New Zealand male psyche. Mate.

Th' Dudes - Bliss

(I can't get too high and mighty: I do remember staggering about a field at the "Mountain Rock" festival in the early 90's, smashed out of my skull and singing along to this. But they're kind of taking the piss, so it's all okay...)

Oh, hell. How can I not finish with this?
Ahh, Netherworld Dancing Toys. How many New Years Eve music video shows have we shared?

Carry on reading...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Good Times, Good Times

So two days ago - after it being nabbed by customs, slapped with VAT and then hit by an £8 Royal Mail handling fee - I received this!

Like season one, it's all very hit and miss. But there's a real joy to watching it. Case-in-point: I'm only one episode in (Don Knotts) and I already get a golden, locked-in-my-childhood-brain Muppet moment:

Carry on reading...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Comics Photos for Comics People

Alan Light, original publisher of the Comics Buyers Guide, has put up a set of photos from the 1982 San Diego Comic Con.

It's a great look back at a time when the con was smaller and so many great artists were still about. Your mileage may vary...

Carry on reading...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Goodbye MySpace

Farewell and adieu.

It was fun while it lasted, but I guess I just woke up to the fact that you were a pointless, ugly waste of fucking time.

And yes, Facebook, I've got my eye on you too. You and your bloody zombies, vampires and werewolves. Step careful...

Carry on reading...

Lock Up Your Children

It's the bold, shiny future. Behold: robots with guns!

Okay, so they're just remote-operated chunks of machinery, but how long before they're given some kind of autonomous target-acquisition capability?

What would Asimov think?

And does this mean we're that much closer to a robot who can mix a decent mojito?

Only time will tell...

Carry on reading...