Thursday, June 30, 2005

Looking Stupid Through Lack of Attention to Detail

A quote from Labour MP, Austin Mitchell on the passing of Richard Whiteley today:

'Whiteley left "a host of sad friends and a world less colourful for the passing of his five vowels and 11 consonants," said Mr Mitchell.'

R-C-H-R-D-W-H-T-L-Y = 10 consonants.

Why do people do it to themselves?

Countdown tune.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

5 Years

Friday, June 24, 2005

Song of the Day - Hallelujah!

Now everyone knows this song. Most people would have sung it in school or maybe in Church as a child if they went, but not many people know the history and significance of it.

In the 19th Century slaves were transported to Europe and America from Africa on large ships that they were forced to row themselves. Most of these slaves had already been converted to Christianity at this point by white missionaries. Any that hadn't would have been converted at some point on their arrival in the new land, as part of their "civilising".

Now the role of Christianity in slavery is a huge topic in itself. Some would say that converting these people would have helped make them accept their position in life. After all the Bible has specific guidelines for dealing with slaves, which can easily be taken as divine endorsement for what was being done.

While I think this is true to an extent, these people were enslaved by technologically superior people, they were in the minority, and were thousands of miles away from home; they really had little choice but to accept their position. Their spiritual faith, however, gave them hope. Hope of deliverance.

This song is about hope. It's also about faith.

The main line of the song, "Michael row the boar ashore" is aimed at the archangel Michael, patron saint of Mariners, who they're singing to in order to ask him to carry them to land safety. It must have been terrifying rowing the South and North Atlantic, surrounded by nothing but water, with no idea where you were going, and under the constant threat of violence.

Next are three simple verses:

1. Sisters, help to trim the sail. It was common in old spiritual songs of this time to include the different parts of the congregation in this way: sisters ...., brothers .... , fathers ...., mothers .... In the modern version of this song this is the only line like this that still exists.

2. The River Jordan is chilly and cold. Chills the body but not the soul. Crossing the River Jordan is said to take you to heaven. Here they're using the idea of crossing this to remind themselves of the eventual emancipation that lies ahead. And "chills the body but not the soul" shows the courage, faith and dignity with which they approached their plight: no matter what can be done to them phyiscally, the soul belongs only to God and cannot be touched.

3. Jordan's river is deep and wide. Milk and honey on the other side Many many religious traditions use this phrase 'milk and honey' to refer to heaven. It's only in the age of mass breeding of cows and mass production of honey that these have lost the value they used to have. Up until the 20th century these were considered luxurious and the idea of a land where these flowed freely was considered the epitomy of heaven.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the use of the world Hallelujah, meaning praise God. You'll note this is used at the end of absolutely every single line. This song is about crying out to God, feeling encouraged by God and praising God, and doing all of these things under the most challenging of circumstances.

Whether you're a spiritual person or not, that's moving.

Michael Row the Boat Ashore

Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah

Sisters help to trim the sail, Hallelujah
Sisters help to trim the sail, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah

The river Jordan is chilly and cold, Hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah

Jordan’s river is deep and wide, Hallelujah
Milk and honey on the other side, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, Hallelujah

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Song of the Day - I'm Your Only Friend

Now this song's special. It's from one of my favourite years for music - 1990, and in my opinion is one of the most original and creative songs of the last 30 years.

It tells the story of a bird-shaped night-light plugged into an electrical socket from where it surveys the room of the child it loves and provides light to.

They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse in Your Soul

At night the canary is the only company the sleeping child has. As such it recognises it's important in the child's life, but also accepts that it doesn't really have the relationship with them that it would like.

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

I have a secret to tell
(of love)
From my electrical well
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
So the room must listen to me
Filibuster vigilantly
My name is blue canary one note spelled l-i-t-e
My story's infinite
(as it's never turned off)
Like the Longines Symphonette
It doesn't rest

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am

There's a picture opposite me
Of my primitive ancestry
(a lighthouse)
Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free
Though I respect that a lot
I'd be fired if that were my job
After killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts
Bluebird of friendliness
Like guardian angels it's always near

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

While you're at it
Keep the nightlight on inside the
Birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Song of the Day - I Don't Know Where But She Sends Me There

OK, today's song of the day is actually 2 songs: 2 versions of the same song no less - Good Vibrations.

This song was originally written / recorded in 1966 by The Beach Boys as part of an album project entitled Smile. Because of quibbles in the band at the time the project was renamed Smiley Smile and sadly didn't fulfil the vision that Brian Wilson (the creative force behind the Beach Boys) had for it.

However, the song Good Vibrations itself was a hit. More than that in fact, it was, and is regarded as possibly the greatest pop song ever recorded. After all it cost over $40,000 to record (a phenomenal amount for the time), was recorded across 6 different studios and over 70 hours of tape.

The song, written by Brian, is about meeting an attractive woman while on an acid trip. His Mother used to tell him that some people give off bad vibrations and some people give off good vibrations. This is why dogs bark at some people and not at others.

Anyhoo, after the Smiley Smile album was released Brian started to have some quite severe emotional difficulties. These, in the form of a series of breakdowns, took their toll on Brian over the next couple of decades.

To cut the story short from here, in 2004, after a tour consisting of the material from the Smile album, Brian Wilson re-recorded the entire album with a new backing group and released it under it's original title of Smile. One of the songs that was re-recorded was Good Vibrations.

Now, here for you I present both versions of the song for comparison:

Version 1 - The Original

Remember what I said about this being considered as possibly the greatest pop song of all time. I think part of that is the downright beautiful and evocative lyrics.

I, I love the colourful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

Close my eyes
She's somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She goes with me to a blossom world

Absolutely beautiful, especially with way they're sung. It's worth really listening to the song with the lyrics in front of you. I find that you are then free to listen, not to what the lyrics are saying, but how they're being sung. A terrific experience with a lot of songs.

Version 2 - The Re-Recorded Version

I, I love the colourful clothes she wears
And she's already working on my brain
I, I only looked in her eyes
But I picked up something I just can't explain.

I bet I know what she's like
And I can feel how right she'd be for me
It's weird, how she comes in so strong
And I wonder what she's pickin' up from me?

Now at first glance / listen these lyrics appear much less flowing and beautiful than the original ones, which is sad, although it was wise for him to keep the classic first line. I think perhaps the content of these lyrics reflect more the aged neurotic Wilson, as opposed to the younger, more potent him.

Musically this version's quite fascinating. He's struck a wonderful balance between maintaining the original sound of the era, but has utilised modern recording methods to achieve a clarity, a depth and separateness between the different instruments and contrapuntal parts.

An especially beautiful part for me is the new vocal section that kicks in at 2:53. It's really quite remarkable and, like the rest of the song, really could have been recorded in 1966.

Anyway, I've gone on quite a bit about something that I doubt anyone reading this will be interested in, so I'm going now.

Hmmph, bye.

More Words I Don't Like

1. Gingerly - What a stupid word.

"He smiled gingerly..." "She sauntered gingerly..."

What? Like ginger? Like a pungent root spice? Like red-hair?

I thought I had an idea of what this word meant, until I looked it up today and discovered that it mention 'cautiously'. Why not "He smiled cautiously..." then, or "She sauntered cautiously..."?

2. Wad - It just sounds gross.

3. Solutions - There's nothing fundamentally wrong with this word. It used to mean purely - the answer to a problem, or the combining of two or more substances. Unfortunately it's now been stolen by the Corporate world and it used as a key word to suck in customers.

Now, instead of buying a product or service, you're buying a 'solution'. That is: "You have no idea what the Internet is, how it works, where it's going or how to exploit it for your business. We do and we will set up, manage and maintain your entire Internet presence for a massive fee".

The most successful Internet company in America a few years back was successful (or at least as successful as it was) for one reason alone: they called themselves 'Internet Solutions for Business'. How much more straightforward can you get. As the web was still very young at the time this company was set up, they answered the prayers of all the companies and corporations who wanted to get their slice of the cake.

Yep, cleverly named business.

But still, totally gotta hate the word, even if I can't remember quite why right now.

Monday, June 20, 2005

24 Days to Go

Post Secret

Make sure you check the updates on Post Secret.

A couple of them nearly moved me to tears this morning.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Having a 'Grown Up' Weekend - Tidying

My flat's in plentiful need of a mopsticking at the moment, and I've set this entire weekend aside to do nothing but that.

It's a real shame that this is going to be the hottest weekend of the year, with the temperature on Sunday being hotter in the UK than it will be in Tunisia!

But, still, got to be sensible. I've got to take a whole pile of stuff to the tip on Sunday with Brian, which will clear space in my spare room and enable me to get the whole flat in order.

The only break in tidying will be Saturday night where I'm off to the house of James to whup Paul and Philmop Herring at Poker.

Anyhoo, make sure you're careful in the sun: drink lots of water and wear plenty of suncream. We don't want any deaths now do we?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Guess What Arrived in the Post Today!!!

Go on guess!!!

Go on, try!!!

Can't do it can you!!?!?!?

My plane tickets!!!!

At the copa! Copaca-Cyprus!

Song of the Day - 16th June 2005

This is one of my all time favourite Bluegrass songs: the vocal performances and production are classic, the inherent contradiction in the heart-breaking lyrics and style of delivery is wonderfully representative of the genre, and they demonstrate that it's not just Guns'n'Roses who can have three blinding guitar solos in a song.

OK, maybe one of them is a banjo solo. Guns'n'Roses never managed that.

Ricky Skaggs - Little Cabin Home on the Hill

Tonight I'm alone without you my dear
It seems there's a longing for you still
All I have to do now is sit alone and cry
In our little cabin home on the hill

Oh, someone has taken you from me
And left me here all alone
Just to listen to the rain beat on my window pane
In our little cabin home on the hill

I hope you are happy tonight as you are
But in my heart there's a longing for you still
I just keep it there so I won't be alone
In our little cabin home on the hill

Oh, someone has taken you from me
And left me here all alone
Just to listen to the rain beat on my window pane
In our little cabin home on the hill

Now when you have come to the end of the way
And find there's no more happiness for you
Just let you thoughts turn back once more if you will
To our little cabin home on the hill

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dave's "50 Times" Song of the Day

Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone?
They paved paradise; put up a parking lot

They took all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it's gone?
They paved paradise; put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer, put away the DDT now
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone?
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

Late last night I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone?
They paved paradise; put up a parking lot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone?
They paved paradise; put up a parking lot

I've Had My Life Rated

Much like Mr Des I've had my life rated, and while Mr Mondo comes out as an 18, I come out merely as a...

Click to find out your rating!

What do you think of that, eh?

Go and have your life rated here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I Still Want a Band, You Know....

Do you, like me, often find yourself at work listening to the same song literally about 50 times in a row?

I thought you did.

And doesn't it make you want a band of your own?

I thought so.

I remember discussing with James back in 2001 how great it would be to put a band together. We'd meet regularly for rehearsals and would practise mainly classic rock 'n' roll numbers, as these would help us to get really really tight. And it'd be soooo much fun.

But, sadly, nothing came of it. Mainly because most people can't be bothered to commit to such a thing as a band, and also because it's damn damn hard to find a drummer, especially one who can actually play the drums.

Maybe it'll still happen. Perhaps it's down to me to inspire people into action. Or maybe it's destined never to be.

Maybe I'll just go back to listening to my fifty-times-a-day songs, like this one.

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Californ-i-a
You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' U.S.A.

You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Trestle
Australia's Narrabeen
All over Manhattan
And down Doheny Way

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

We'll all be planning that route
We're gonna take real soon
We're waxing down our surfboards
We can't wait for June
We'll all be gone for the summer
We're on surfari to stay
Tell the teacher we're surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Haggerties and Swamies
Pacific Palisades
San Onofre and Sunset
Redondo Beach L.A.
All over La Jolla
At Wa'imea Bay

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Not Guilty!

In your face Space Coyote!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Weekend! Sick of Coughing!!!

It's only 2 1/2 hours until Friday. How cool am that???

I've got a busy weekend ahead:

* Saturday morning - to my parents house to fix my neice's laptop and stuff.

* To the 'House of Noo' - to chill for a few hours.

* To Bribone McShanny's - to undertake some short to medium term life-planning.

* Sunday afternoon - San Bo round for a few hours

* Sunday evening - Computer McRepairus (that's Scottish Latin)

My current plan is to ensure that next weekend I have nothing booked in to do. That way I'll be able to do all the stuff I've life-planned with Brian. This will consist of taking a load of stuff from my flat to the tip, and unblocking my kitchen sink. I could do some of that this weekend I suppose, but it's probably best to leave it until it's been life-planned.

And yeah, I'm sick of coughing. I was poorly earlier in the week, and while I don't feel Lamo McLamey Lame any more, I am coughing repeatedly and agonisingly. To the extent that I'm now pretty headached up. Of course I'm ejecting all the phlegm I can into tissues, but I don't think the people who work around me approve too much of that.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

There is a club on the Internet that you can only join if you're attractive.

You have to submit a picture and profile. For the next 72 hours you're voted on by existing members of the opposite sex and if they let you then you're allowed to join.

Lovely eh?

(Note: I will be keeping a suspicious eye out for any of you trying to join. Not that I'm a member.

"And the baby?" I hear you ask. It just came up when I searched Google images for the word 'suspicious'.

2 Links

This is the most exciting webpage in the history of the world.

Also I think you should bookmark this and use it instead of your usual Google page. It'll be like going back in time to search the information of the present in order to make a better future. No?


EDIT By the way, you should definitely check out the Google logos page, showing the cumbersome evolution of the Google logo.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Seeing as You're All So Lame...

... these are the answers to the quiz, although not the order of the original pictures. This means that you can play 'match the name to the face' instead of 'recognise the face'.

However, that doesn't mean that you can go and cheat and look up pictures of the people.

Billie Holiday
Joan Baez
Merril Bainbridge
Joss Stone
Lene Marlin
Aimee Mann
Joan Armatrading
Nina Simone
Suzanna Vega
Lisa Loeb
Beth Orton
Melanie Safka
Janis Joplin
Sarah McLachlan

There you go!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dave's Incredible Quiz

OK, it's the quiz everybody's talking about, it's Dave's "Name the Female Vocalist from the Picture Quiz"!

Here are 15 pictures. All you have to do is name the female vocalists, simple as that. The first of you to succeed, wins! They're all fairly well known. You will all know at least some of them.

The picture quality's a little low a I had to compress them right down or this page would have taken years to load.

Here we go!!!
















Good luck!

Post Secret

I know Des has already posted this site on his blog, but I want to post it here so that people who don't know Des can read it too.

Click the words 'Post Secret' to go to the site.

Looking Forward to Cyprus? Yes. Yes I am.

Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to that jetskiing, so I am.

My tickets are thoroughly and completely booked now and there are just 37 dull English days left until I go!

My plane flies on 13th July and gets me into Paphos at about midnight. I then fly back on the Thursday morning (21st, just) and arrive in England at about 4am, at which time one of my loving and generous friends will collect me from Nottingham airport. Hopefully I'll have slept on the plane and will be relatively fresh. If not I'll just grump all the way home, and say 'woteva' repeatedly.

So you think I should take suncream? I've never burnt in the past, not even in Africa. In fact not even on the long EVIL dry dry dry dry parched road between Zimbabwe and Zambia where the soldiers stare at you and the icecream sellers are mirages. OK, they're not really mirages.

But then when I was in Africa I was dressed in jeans most of the time and wore a big hat, whereas in Cyprus I intend to wander freely in shorts, hatless.

Maybe I'll just use this week as an experiment into not using suncream.

So yeah, I'll no doubt go on and on about Cyprus for the next 37 days, and for a while after I've come back, straight back, straight outta compton back.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Jack White Gets Married

Yep Jack White of the White Stripes has got himself enmarriaged.

F to the Riday

I'm looking forward to this weekend! And it's only about 5 1/2 hours away!

Tonight I'm going somewhere with Heather, probably to the cinema, to do some floaty chilling. Then tomorrow evening it's "Poker Night 2"!

So far the participants are:

Mr Dave (me)
Mr Paul (him)
Yosemite Bob
Phillmop Herring
Fincho the Frog
Phil's Mum
Cool Hand Luke

and other people I can't remember.


What else is good? Well last night I started with my new T to the Herapist, as part of my ongoing college studies. That was a lot of fun, apart from eating 4 packets of Tic-Tacs in under 5 minutes. That wasn't so wise.


Also I've been reading 2 really great books:

Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About by Mil Millington

A Certain Chemistry by Mil Millington

You will of course recognise the title of the first one as it's the same as his cult website. However the book is a novel, albeit with characters based on him and his girlfriend.

I would heartily advise anyone to buy these books, cos they're great and really really funny (even though I haven't finished the second one yet). An alternative to buying them of course is to borrow them from me, like Paul has done.

In fact, let me summarise for you. You can either:

1 - Stingy - Borrow them from me.

2 - Frugal - Buy them from eBay here. This is cheap, just a couple of £s. You get the thrill of ownership but without the joyous feeling of supporting the author.

3 - Spendthrifty - Buy them from Amazon here and make the author smile.

And don't forget, he lives in Wolverhampton so you're kind of supporting the local community by buying his books.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Nizlopi - JCB

Instead of posting this song here I've posted it to Louder Than War.

Check it out here.