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The World’s Best Drummer

Drummers are interesting lifeforms. In my experience, they’re always late, they’re always hungry, and – crucially – they always hit drums hard and repeatedly to provide some kind of framework on which to hang the half-arsed song you’ve just written. But when they’re onstage, they’re often worth watching. Half-hidden behind a towering Marshall stack and very much out of the spotlight, you can often get to see a fantastic form of exhibitionism – an exhibitionism that’s all the more authentic, because they don’t actually imagine that anyone is bothering to watch them.

But then you have the drummers who wish that they were centre stage. If they’re big and scary enough, they might even have persuaded the rest of the band to allow them to take centre stage. You have Moon The Loon. You have my personal favourite, Christian Vander, of French prog-rock band Magma. And then you have this chap. At some points, you think that he’s going to just start running around the studio squealing, so thrilled is he to be in a slightly inept and unremarkable Korean function combo.

I love the fact that, in the absence of an audience, they applaud themselves at the end. Misplaced self-belief, there’s nothing like it. [Thanks to Iain Aitch]



I Had An Accident

OK. You’re working in adland, and you’re trying to sell car insurance on the TV. You’ve discounted all the obvious options: sincere, middle-aged man with clipboard talking about premiums; young couple sitting in front of a computer and looking ridiculously gleeful at the quote that’s just appeared on the screen; a nodding bulldog; some out-of-work actor dressed up as Horatio Nelson. So, in a moment of derailed genius, you get some real customers of the company in question, and sit them next to a celebrity who’s well known for making a certain noise. And get them to make that noise. Rather than try and explain it, let’s just have a look. Here’s a car insurance customer and Don LaFontaine:

Oh, but that’s just the beginning. We have Michael Winslow (Larvelle Jones from the Police Academy films), Peter Frampton, Glady’s Knight’s Pips, a rather worse-for-wear Burt Bacharach, and the batshit insane Little Richard. I couldn’t care less about the quote, I don’t care about not being a US citizen – sign me up right now. [Thanks to Elliot.]



There’s nothing fundamentally funny about Christian rock music. I’ll let that settle in for a minute or two.

I’m only joking, obviously – Christian rock music is, not because of its faith but because of its sheer pomposity and lack of self-awareness, one of the most preposerous genres of music in existence. But how about some slightly ditsy Christian ska, made for 5-year olds? How does that sound? Well, let’s have a look.

This video, currently soaring up the YouTube charts, pushes all the right buttons – 80s retro nostalgia, appalling haircuts, sheer mind-blowing unlikelihood of such a thing ever having been created, and – I say this with a hint of guilty pleasure – it’s actually a pretty good tune. But some people derive no satisfaction from seeing an archive bit of TV posted on the net and subsequently enjoyed by several hundred thousand people; they have to call it as a fake. Of all the things you could devote time to analysing, he has chosen to highlight barely perceptible or even relevant inconsistencies in a TV performance by a Christian ska outfit.

As I say in the book, accusing something or somebody of being a fake is a ridiculously easy response when you’ve got a keyboard and an internet connection. The internet has, it seems, managed to create one massive group of gullible idiots, and another colossal and highly vociferous group who simply won’t believe anything. Well, I’ve seen Sonseed. And I’m a believer.

(via scissorkicks via damnspynovels.)


Alice In Slumberland

This video is pushing the million views mark on YouTube after just six weeks online. And, of course, the longer it’s up, and the more views it gets, the more likely it is that it’ll be taken down. But it’s a stunningly beautiful cut-up of music and animation, all from the Disney film “Alice In Wonderland”.

Once the copyright police inevitably get to it, you should still be able to download an mp3 of the track here – although you won’t have the relaxing visuals bobbing about the screen to soothe you into slumber. [via amuchmoreexotic]


When Musicians Sell Objects

I don’t really have a problem with musicians earning a quick buck by appearing in commercials. Of course it’s possible that the Lord Our God doesn’t actually want them to – after all, why else would Michael Jackson’s hair have caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial? – but actually, I’m more annoyed by those musicians who state categorically that they would never endorse a product on the television or in the press, lest it somehow compromise their painstakingly constructed edifice of artistic credibility. No such airs and graces from our very own George O’Dowd who, about six years ago, shamelessly and publicly gave the thumbs up to this novelty phone in the shape of a chameleon that played a tune by Culture Club. I wonder which tune that might have been?

I dunno about the phone, but I’d certainly pay good money for a few certificates of authenticity signed by Boy George, and just slap them on random objects around my flat in order to give visitors something to coo over. The king of product endorsement, however, has to be Blixa Bargeld, former right-hand man of Nick Cave and driving force behind cheery industrial noise combo Einsturzende Neubaten. For some inexplicable reason, he was chosen by a German DIY firm called Hornbach to star in a series of adverts where he just read out items from their extensive catalogue. This particularly beauty extols the virtues of a Schmutzwassertauchpumpe, as if we didn’t already have them memorized.

Yippy ya ya, yippy-yippy yay.


They Go Up-Diddle Up Up

I'm not a big fan of flying. In fact, I hate it. But, as was noted in Allen Carr's book "The Easy Way To Enjoy Flying" (which was basically his book about smoking, but with the references to cigarettes taken out and references to aircraft inserted) this fear is often down to people trying to fly the plane from their seat in row 32. I'm like this. We're unable to allow someone who we've never met – and who might well be wearing a moustache – to guide us to the safety of the ground. If we could, we'd rather pore over instrument readouts of the aircraft – altitude, thrust, wind speed, number of wings intact – than read a book and attempt to enjoy the flight.

So I love this. I couldn't tell you exactly why it was designed, who by, and precisely what it is, but it appears to be a real-time map from Swiss air traffic control showing incoming and outgoing flights. Click on the plane, and it gives you the flight number, its destination, speed, altitude, and even a little picture of the aircraft. So if you would excuse me, I have to spend the next 4 hours flying dozens upon dozens of aircraft. Thanks to missfairchild.

Football + Accents = Embarrassment

This clip of Steve McClaren doing an interview on Dutch television while adopting a bizarre, pan-Benelux accent has been doing the rounds over the past few days, and poor old Steve has been hammered in the way that only an unsuccessful former England football manager could be. But come on, let's offer him a sliver of sympathy. Which of us haven't been guilty of doing a bit of the old upwards intonation or similarly ridiculous diction in an attempt to make ourselves understood when we're abroad? Luckily, when I've done it in a Bilbao bakery or a Nimes nightclub, the TV cameras haven't been there to capture it. Steve wasn't so lucky. So the thing gets placed out of context on YouTube, he looks like a bit of an idiot, and the insults start to fly.

But that clip looks particularly benign when placed next to this monstrosity. As the description so efficiently informs us: "It's the day of the 1984 FA Cup Final, and as Watford prepare to take on Everton the BBC decide they have no issues with a comedy sequence in which Bob Wilson interviews a blacked-up Michael Barrymore impersonating John Barnes, complete with a Jamaican accent that veers dangerously into Geordie." Brace yourselves, everyone. Painful moments are on their way. Just be grateful that it cuts out just as he appears to be getting going.

Don't Mention Refractive Indices

This one has clearly been around for a while but, as with many memes, hasn't seen fit to wobble over in my direction until today. A woman from California, baffled by the appearance of a rainbow in her sprinkler, chooses not to do any elementary research, but instead reaches for her video camera to make a profound ecological statement which she hopes will resonate down the years and lead to her inevitable Nobel nomination. "We as a nation have got to ask ourselves what the hell is going on," she says, with much gravitas.

Obviously it's impossible to be quite this stupid on the internet without copping serious amounts of flak. And people can be cruel. "Idiot", reads one succinct comment on her now empty YouTube channel. A blog which she started briefly on the Greenpeace website attracted a distinct shortage of admirers. Thing is, it's highly likely that while people are happy to diss the crazy conspiracy lady, some of them are perfectly happy to believe equally preposterous theories about disappearing aeroplanes, collapsing buildings and shape-shifting lizards. [Via offensive_mango]

Except Graham

From the always-wonderful Passive Aggressive Notes:

Although "Except Graham" is the undeniable punchline, I can't help being fascinated by the notion that "many styles will be played". Ska. Metal. Military Two-Step.

Who Was Phone?

I can't stop reading this. It beautifully sums up the gleeful pointlessness of Web 2.0: someone posts something barely readable that they believe is incredibly profound – despite the fact that the basic premise could be deduced by a 4-year old on the verge of dropping off to sleep. Still, it's wonderful. If it was short enough for a Facebook or Twitter status update, I'd just leave it there for ever.

via scissorkicks via Graham Linehan.

The Book

Rhodri Marsden, technology writer for The Independent, is your almost fearless guide to skate-boarding dogs, Icelandic songstresses with a domestic violence obsession, and Arnold Schwarzenegger photoshopped into a swimsuit and sat on George Bush's lap.

FWD This Link brings together the biggest online distractions of the past decade into an addictive, user-friendly Rough Guide. Warning: this book will not help you to clear your inbox.

The book is published on October 1st 2008; order it here, and find out more about the author here.

Oh! And you can add this blog to your LiveJournal friends list if you like.


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