28 February 2007
I won't insult anyone's intelligence by trying to review Paved Country (My man Jefito might be eavesdropping and a skill-set comparison would be mortifyingly embarrassing.)
I'll just tell you how I got to like their music.
From country rock to roots rock/country to rootsy/Alt. country in 3 albums.
And if - after listening in - you find that my musical taste isn't utterly shot, go over to CDBaby and support the starving artists.And CDBaby, too.
They're not really my kind of band. - female singers, country. A bit lightweight, a bit harmless, but OK and if the other members of the team are enthused, that's OK too.
That's what I thought the first time.
Which was First Night in Boston at St Paul's in 1998. I was so underwhelmed, I didn't even spring $10 for the CD. I mean, it was nice enough - they had their kids in the audience and First Night atmosphere is always cool, but....
Pressure from the Team forced me to buy it from CDBaby later..
I could have done that
Dancing the blues
Second time was better.
Plough and Stars in Cambridge, Mass, October 2000. Totally inappropriately dressed - I was a Suit, briefcase and all, back then and I flew in from a conference in Chicago, picked up the Team (which had just flown in from Frankfurt) at Waterstones in Newbury St and headed straight over to Porter Square.
And they were good. And they didn't even give me funny looks. Which I thought very kind
Tight as tight, good guitarist, drumming that cracked like a whip, great new material, laser-sharp harmonies.
That's where I first heard "Surprise surprise" and it stunned me for its deep, deep emotion. Still does.
And then the 2nd CD came out and Marjie sent it for free (I got some demo tapes before that) and it was getting close to where I like my music.
3 tracks. Prepare yourself.
Peace of mind
Too much fun
And then they disappeared.
Weed-infested website, no performances, no press. Nothing.
And then the new CD pops up, which poses a lot more questions than it answers. But I'm still really happy have it.
3 tracks. Choice tracks.
Snowing In Boston
And they're very much where I like my music.
But the website's still a bit weed-infested.....
23 February 2007
Ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch
"Let me sum it up for you. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best"
Willin' (This one recorded on 19 July 1973 at Ebbet's Field.)
Which would never had got made if Frank hadn't slung* Lowell George out of the band. (The Mothers of Invention, if you have to ask...)
There are two stories. Take your pick.
Story 1 - Frank saw Lowell's potential and encouraged him to "pursue other opportunities" as they say
Story 2 - Frank was more than underwhelmed by the drugs references in "Willin'" and encouraged him to "pursue other opportunities" as they say
22 February 2007
21 February 2007
(It was about the time I bought my first PC - Intel 386 33kHz, 8MB RAM, 105MB hard drive. Bleeding edge stuff. Cost a fortune.)
Among the myriads of consultants these sort of projects tend to attract, we had one guy who was a real crack.
He could write macros in Microsoft Word 5 (right - the one that came on two 1.44MB floppies..), manipulate bits and bytes in hex right on the hard disk and do all sorts of wondrous things.
He had a body to match his brain. Huge.
And he used to talk about the amount of storage we'd need for the huge quantities of data we were processing.
Stuff like "Gigabytes"!
We had to look it up in the dictionary. A thousand megabytes, fer chrissake!
So that name stuck. Went with his body. And his brain.
I splurged on a Nikon D80 yesterday.
I bought 2GB storage on an SD card for the huge quantities of data I'll be processing.
It weighs 2 grammes and cost €40 and a bit.
I just looked at my desk.
I've got half a terrabyte of external storage sitting there.....
18 February 2007
In this country....
...it's illegal to drive without a seatbelt.
The law isn't enforced.
...it's illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.
The law isn't enforced.
I read of Helen Clark's reaction in a similar situation
"Bring me empirical and quantifiable evidence that there's a problem and I'll look at it. Then we'll see if we can enforce it and THEN will I consider proposing legislation."
15 February 2007
I'm not so sure anymore
It does .."proposes a neat kitchen" (which is the least I would expect. I'm a stickler for neatness.)
It's the "of soil traditional and regional" that's a bit worrying.
The rest of it sounds interesting, though
Room of restaurant with chimney evenings of winter
1 large veranda of 120 forks and spoons, the tables close to the fountain to refresh itself there in summer.
3 Menus with the choice + 1 small child
The menu has some interesting stuff on it, that's for sure.
Jumped of Calf Bulge, for a start.
But on second thoughts, I think I'll just have the 1 small child.
Medium rare would be just fine....
14 February 2007
New Music Strategies
is mostly a pretty clued up guy.
I think he's wrong on this one, though.
He reckons that the normal laws of economics don't apply to digital downloads.
I think they do
Then again - being an absolute exotic for my demographic grouping, where my contemporaries appear to be listening to muzak or Barry Manilow (is there a difference?), while I like the Pipettes, Weezer and the Decemberists and pretty much anything else I get thrown - I might be wrong
So - for what it's worth - here's my contribution to the debate.
You’re wrong in saying that the normal rules of supply and demand no longer apply digital music.
They do. It’s just that we’re all a little unsure of what constitutes supply and demand these days.
We do know that it’s not a zero sum game. (The beverages industry is a good example of this – drink more Coke, drink less coffee, tea, beer, whatever. Proven fact.)
I have more music than I can ever listen to from a wide range of sources – I’ve got a couple of months worth on iTunes, a basement full of vinyl and CDs, I stream Last.FM and I can rip that all day long if I want to. I’ve got Dylan’s TTRH, I can get all the music I can eat from Hypecast plus stuff from guys like you and Jefito.
It’s all free from a marginal cost perspective and almost free from a time perspective if you use something like DownThemAll on mp3 blogs
Where does demand kick in?
Right about when you start hearing stuff that clicks and you want to find some more of the same. Or when you look forward to Fridays for Jeffito’s Mixtapes and are prepared to go to great lengths to avoid missing a single episode. Or the daily Wireless fix.
So am I prepared to pay for a tidal wave of music of – in some cases - dubious quality?
Would I be prepared to pay for someone’s work/taste/expertise/access in providing music I’m likely going to like and – even better – hear new stuff that’s going to excite me?
So the demand is going to be for service –selective aggregation, taste guru, Good MP3 Guide, referral service or whatever you want to call it.
You don’t want to drink bad wine (or beer) any more than you want to have to wade through bad or mediocre (same thing) music.
Which is why there’s a plethora of Good Pub/Beer/Restaurant/B&B Guides.
Why do I navigate religiously via the Good Beer Guide? Because I’ve determined that it’s never let me down and I wouldn’t expect it to in the future. I’m quite happy to pay full retail for the book and – if they put up the price – I’d STILL buy it.
So how much to pay for your music?
Have a look at Library Thing
Seems like a fair way of doing things – you set the price that you’d like to achieve and find out whether the market agrees with you as to the value of the service you’re providing.
How do the artists get paid? They don’t directly.
They benefit from people like ourselves being pointed specifically in their direction by the Taste Gurus of this world and they set their own prices for their own delivery service (if they’re indie). Or they get signed up on the basis of market place demand.
13 February 2007
It's a herring that's been gutted, fried and marinated in brine. Very tasty. Seriously.
It's the pronunciation that's a bit tricky.
For Anglo-Saxons, it's "gathering" with a "b".
For Germans, it's Brat (fried) Hering (herring).
Two words, joined in the middle.
It'll trip you up every time when you're new to the game.
Turn the clock back 30 some years to my first week of work in Germany.
New to the game.
Totally innocent of these semantic nuances, I'm in the canteen where they have this strange object on the menu. (A lot of objects were strange in those days....)
So I ask the obvious question:
"Was ist ein Brathering?"
Anglo-Saxon pronunciation inclusive.
Much rolling around on the ground from the guy I was with.
You would have thought he would have forgotten it by now.
Not a chance.
"Let's go and have a Brathering, Johnny"
Anglo-Saxon pronunciation inclusive.
And then, of course, there's the
- Springtime Special Offer
Gets me very time. (Are they constipated for the rest of the year, or what...?)
*Buy them here
09 February 2007
a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.
c. The quality or state of an event being both coincidental and contradictory in a humourous or poignant and extremely improbable way.
This might fit the bill, then.
Tobacco plants outside the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. (Well worth a visit, by the way)
BUT DON'T GET ANY IDEAS!
Cue for a song
08 February 2007
07 February 2007
"However, the service was aimed at "transport disadvantaged" people, meaning many of its customers did not own cars."
I asked the nice lady at the council if it wouldn't be easier just to say:
"However, the service was aimed at people without cars"?
I soon learned that "transport disadvantaged" was a much nicer word, because it wasn't discriminatory against people who wanted to drive but couldn't.
Oldies, drunkards, imbeciles and the chronically uncoordinated, I suppose, although she wasn't specific on that point.
I proposed some promotional text for their next press release:
"Riding on public transport, one can "assess the positive visual amenities" along the route, meaning that one can admire the view."
Never heard back.
05 February 2007
Gave me flashbacks about buying the Honda in Auckland last year.
It honestly didn't occur to me that cars built in the last 10 years wouldn't have ABS or airbags.
But they're out there.
Mostly in Henderson
Lots of of them.
So the Must Have criteria went from "Younger than 8 years, less than $12k, fewer than 8k a year" to all that plus "and ABS and Airbags"
But the best sales pitch to compensate for the lack of one or both was:
"Well, if you drive safely and don't have any accidents, you don't need them"
Noooo, I don't really think so.....
03 February 2007
Please don't feel too bad about its demise, but to avoid future occurences of this nature, perhaps you'd like to limit me to a SINGLE catalogue for the above account.
The other accounts which contributed to the fatality this morning are A21657929 and A59984229.
If it's not possible to cancel the accounts, perhaps you could send me an email when you post them, so that I can temporarily rope in the menagerie?
Thank you for your email.
I am very sorry to hear that our catalogues are responsible for the demise of your cat.
Please accept my condolences.
I am pleased to confirm that we now only have one account for you, you will now receive one catalogue. I hope your cat can handle 1 kg, as this is what you can expect from now on.
Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any further queries.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Hitesh.
It's so good to know that there are kindred souls across the seas.
I'm relieved to learn that fewer trees will (quite literally) bite the dust for me and I'll be sure to keep the canary away from the door.
Its chances of survival have increased significantly since the cat got disappeared (funeral tomorrow, no flowers please) and I'd hate for it to get whacked by your goodselves.
All the best
sure) is your customer.
While I'll admit to occasionally going into shock with associated
double vision when I see the bills for the kit that she orders from
you, it's not absolutely necessary to send TWO catalogues to enable
me to establish the reason for my impending insolvency. And THREE -
arrived with the same post today - is definitely OTT.
Then again perhaps the cost of postage is the prime driver for your
cost-base, with the resulting incomprehensible (for me anyway - 35
quid for a bikini, strike a light...) pricing.
Then again I'm just a bloke so what do I know. Very succinctly put,
if I say so myself and I'm sure the statement will received nods from
the rest of the tribe.
Anyway - one's perfectly adequate. None would be better - financial
survival might then be a distinct possibility.
Thanks for your email which did brighten up my day but I am sorry to hear that you are so inundated with catalogues.
Having now investigated, I can see that there are several accounts set up in your wife's name. This is a technical issue at our end, I am afraid, but I am going to refer it onwards to the relevant department and we will do our best to put a stop to this.
Please let us know if you are inundated further with unwanted catalogues and I can assure you that it is not part of a cunning marketing plan - just good old-fashioned human and software errors.
On reflection, I have a better plan.
Send me more catalogues - 1000s and 1000s more. You'll thus go insolvent through the sharp rise in marketing costs before I do and the whole thing will take its natural course.
Shame about your employment prospects, though, although I have no doubt that someone with your sense of humour and the ability to write an error-free email (no mean feat these days, I assure you) will have no trouble in finding a meaningful niche in the working world.
All the best
02 February 2007
01 February 2007
Although the intelligence necessary to question perceived wisdom is rarely apparent in real life....
"Every one of you has at least a high school equivalency degree and not one of you has ever been convicted of a felony. You are the elite."
And it's not just limited to security, either.
Flying out of AKL to LAX a while back, the check-in agent discovered my residency permit for Germany in my passport.
"What's this, then?"
"Residency permit for Germany"
Detailed inspection ensues
"I'm not going to Germany. I'm going to the States."
"Is it valid?"
"Where does it say that"
" Here (Points to a random word) That means "Permanent" in German"
"Oh, OK then"
You are the elite.