Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Imagine a person on the top of a moutain with a clear view of each of the peaks and valleys until the mountain range's end. Then, imagine another person strapped to a train track with a metal sphere around their head and an eight foot pole to look out through.
Friday, 7 November 2008
Calchus, a Celtic soothsayer was said to have predicted the moment of his death. On getting to it and finding himself still breathing, he chuckled to himself, before starting to laugh so hard he choked himself.
Greek philosopher Chryssipus fed his donkey wine. It seem watching the drunken mule try to eat figs tickled him so, he laughed until he dropped down dead.
King Martin I of Aragon died from indigestion after eating and laughing too much at once.
Pietro Aretino, an Italian playwright suffocated from getting the giggles.
Nanda Bayin, King of Burma, Nanda Bayin laughed to expiration after being told Venice was a free state.
Scottish aristo Thomas Urquhart died laughing after hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.
And the most accurate, on 24 March 1975 Alex Mitchell, a bricklayer from Kings' Lynn laughed himself to death watching an episode of The Goodies where a Scotsman battles a black pudding with bagpipes. After twenty-five minutes of hysterics Mitchell died of heart failure. His widow sent The Goodies a letter thanking them for making Mitchell's final moments so amusing.
In 1989 Ole Bentzen, a Danish audiologist died laughing at A Fish Called Wanda. His heartbeat was estimated at between 250 and 500 per minute before he succumbed to cardiac arrest.
In 2003 Damnoen Saen-um, A Thai ice-cream seller died laughing in his sleep. His wife tried to wake him up but he stopped breathing after 2 minutes of the giggles.
Monday, 3 November 2008
Time is a sausage and thyme is a herb.
Time is a doing word but not a verb.
The present divides the future and past
What could happen next and what happened last.
Black holes, mountains tops or the equator
Force us to make time early or later.
Linear, cyclical, dilation, space,
Pastimes and good times or one moment’s grace.
The time of the season or of our lives
Nothing which makes up these things will survive
Running and passing and ticking on clocks
Metering out evenings with each of its tocks.
We live in a bubble where time is squeak.
But you will forget that this time next week.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
The people within are in fact Mic on guitar, Mark, in the dodgy sheepskin and Mic's daughter, Melanie on tambourine.
I was stalking my friend Daniel Treacy on l’internet and found out that this guy called Jowe Head from Swell Maps played bass in the TVPs for a bit. So then I started perving on him and found a record label called Topplers [http://www.topplers.net/] that gave you all sorts of my favourite sort of terrible music for free. Going through all these bands, I found these guys: Pioneers of bad music, a band determined to make not a penny out of their songs, they gave away free cassettes, played free shows and sung about it. Meet my new love, The Instant Automatons.
Maybe completely by chance I downloaded their most FAMOUS song (ha ha). You can have it too....http://www.instant-automatons.com/mp3/albums/well/04-PeopleLaughAtMe.mp3
Record company people are shaaaady. So
kids watch your back
cos I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it.
Look at how they ackt.
I found Mark Automaton and decided to grace this terrible blog with its first interview. I hope, that in reading it you can’t tell that I was ever some sort of professional journalist. I hope the information contained herein in confusing, misspelt and without any sort of preachy, argument about what everyone chooses to do with their lives. I just like this. Here is mine and Mark Automatons conversation, all but unedited.
Me: You always put your music on cassettes. Cos, I guess, if you were making it yourself, that was all there was. Peeps now have a thing about collecting vinyl, as if its better (me) than MP3s, or cataloguing their CD collection. Do you think the format of music matters? At all?
Mark: As an ex-practitioner of music (as opposed to merely a listener), I’ve always thought that the medium is very much not the message. When the Automatons began their recording career, technology – even “state of the art” technology, which was about as far as you could get from the gear we were forced to use – was pretty crude. By today’s standards, anyhow. Some people, in hindsight, have referred to us as “lo-fi pioneers”, but really we were just doing the best we could with the equipment we could afford. We didn't want our recordings to be drowning in tape-hiss; it was an unfortunate by-product of our sub-standard equipment and methods, and we just put up with it or attempted to reduce it as much as was practicable. I can’t deny that cassettes were a boon when it came to taking control of the means of production and distribution of our work, but if CDs had been around at the time I’m sure we would have utilised them instead. Having taken the time to write what I hoped were meaningful lyrics and construct a suitable musical framework to hold them, I wanted my songs to be conveyed as clearly as possible to whomever was going to be listening to them and I didn't want tape-hiss and analogue mud getting in the way (although inevitably it did).
MP3s are an even better and more immediate way to deliver music, short of injecting it directly into people’s brains. Although I don’t currently own an iPod or similar device, I like the idea of being able to carry around your whole music collection in your pocket. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that the only difference I perceive in those various music-delivery methods is the extent to which they “get in the way” of the music itself – if that makes sense?
Me: You called your gang Pioneers of Bad Music. Why do you think, even people who kick against the pricks still feel the need to name movements, genres etc etc
Mark: Humans have an innate need to name and organize and classify everything, because we (as a species) just can’t handle the idea that everything is just random chaos. We’ve even “classified” this process by giving it a name (taxonomy). It’s only natural, therefore, that the arts fall victim to this process along with everything else.
More often than not, “movements” in the arts are identified and labeled by critics and/or the public, rather than the artists themselves, unless the artists involved are trying to make some sort of point (like the Surrealists or the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood). I suppose the term “Bad Music” was coined ironically to second guess what a lot of people would think of it anyway. Personally, I never liked that particular label because I felt it implied that proponents of so-called “Bad Music” had to be unable to play instruments or construct recognisable “tunes” – which wasn’t the case. The main philosophy behind this movement was (as I saw it) similar to conceptual art – that the initial idea is more important than the final product. If the attitude of the “Bad Music Movement” could be summed up in one sentence, it would probably (unbelievably enough) be in a line from a song by Lisa Loeb:
“I will not judge you by the way you play your instrument”
Me: Wait! I have missed things. I am guessing most people won't know who you are. I barely know who you are. so, who are you? I should have put this at the beginning.
Mark: I suppose I could be lazy and just point you to either the Biography page on the Automatons website (www.waterden.net/history.asp) but I’ll give you a potted history:
The Instant Automatons were me (Mark Lancaster), Protag (Martin Neish) and Mic Woods. We flourished between 1977 and 1982 and were instrumental in the establishment of the cassette-swapping network that formed the backbone of the so-called UK DIY Music scene. Geographically, we came from North Lincolnshire (or South Humberside as it was called then) and Woolwich (Mic). Artistically, I suppose we were originally forged in the crucible of Punk – although the mix was considerably adulterated by influences from other musical areas.
Me: Done. And, do they still exist?
Mark: Only in the hearts and minds of those who remember us! We all still exist as people – in that none of us are dead yet – but the band no longer exists, and it’s highly unlikely – for multiple reasons – that we’ll ever play together again.
Me: Free music. Should all music be free? If you had to explain how you think music relates to the music industry, as in um, a spoon is to lighter as ovaries are to sperm....how would you describe their relationship?
Mark: How about “music is to the music industry as Eastern European prostitutes are to their Russian gangster pimps”?
More seriously: I have always stressed that my views on non-profit music are entirely personal – I would never presume to preach to anyone who wanted to make a living from their art; it’s just not what I want to do.
Me: What is the problem with punk?
Mark: Is there a problem with punk? Does “punk” even still exist? If there was ever a “problem” with the original movement, I think it was possibly that it was eventually overwhelmed by wannabes who didn’t understand the original motivating force and just wanted to pose at the 100 Club or The Roxy wearing safety pins and ripped bin liners.
Me: But they're not pressed in red, so they buy The Lurkers instead?
Mark: Earlier today I thought it was quite amusing to hear the lead singer of The Zutons launching a pathetic attack on The Sex Pistols after playing with them at the Isle of Wight festival. The core of his discontent seemed to be the fact that John Lydon had once appeared on “I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here” – nothing to do with the music at all. Of course, there’s a venerable tradition in music of new bands slagging off their predecessors – the Pistols did it themselves – but the Pistols were at the core of a movement that irrevocably changed the face of modern music. Exactly how much have The Zutons changed the music scene, with their extensive catalogue of incendiary, life-altering songs such as…er…um…? I wonder: will The Zutons be playing the Isle of Wight festival in 30 years time? I think we all know the answer to that.
Me: Can you take out bets for that? Make some money? Cos K.A.$.H. you gotta do something for it. And you gotta do the things you love too. So, you do both, together, separately, what?
Mark: I think the point that Protag makes exceptionally well in the interview we did for Chainsaw fanzine is totally valid; that no matter what you do, if you do it for money you'll end up at some point not wanting to do it. So as far as getting money is concerned, I do it in a way that has little or nothing to do with artistic endeavour. My artistic efforts (predominantly photography nowadays) are still created as and when I feel like it, and usually given away to people I like. If I wake up one morning and decide I don’t want to take photographs any more, I don’t have to. No one’s going to starve or be made homeless. I suppose my philosophy was neatly summed-up by George Eastman (founder of Kodak) when he said, “What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are.”
Thursday, 24 April 2008
i can only find two answers so far. there is the pacific, comes from the latin mare pacifium, meaning peaceful sea. the modern version was bestowed upon it by Ferdinand Magellan, a Portugese maritime explorer in the late 15th/early 16th century. He was also the first known man to successfuly circumnavigate the entire globe. He discovered the Pacific by going through a strait of water passing through Argentina, now named the Magellan Straits. Obv why. (i think he might be a new addition to my dream dinner party list).
the other one i found is the atlantic, which isn't as interesting. during the period when ancient greece dominated the world, people assumed what part of the atlantic they could see was not an ocean but a river, flowing around the entirety of their flat discus of a world. so, it makes sense that the first part of the word atlantic refers to atlas - the guy whose job it was to carry us round on his shoulder.
i can't believe the indian ocean is only called the indian ocean, i mean, it is the 3rd biggest (but also the calmest) ocean in the world (which is why the East India Company was so wildly successful and I guess why Britain then conquered and ruled the country, since trade across the waters dividing them was so easy). It was known as the Western Ocean by Chinese traders, but even that seems weirdly Anglicised. Maybe I am being spastic. What is Chinese for Western?
It does seem strange it should be named after the country on one side of it. Why isn't it the Madagascan Ocean? And what did people call it before westerners discovered India? Or before Indians knew there was something waiting to fuck them over on the other side of it?
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Charles Holden was the architect responsible for nearly every London Underground Station built in the 1920s and 1930s, mostly the Northern and Piccadilly Lines. Some of his designs were only built in 1940s due to lack of funds, those are mostly on the Central Line out west. He also made Senate House, London's first skyscraper - though it seems teeny now. Much as I appreciate ole Norman Foster's attempt at designing buildings which are supposed to symbolise what exactly modern London is, I don't think he comes close to Mr. C. Holden's Tube. Art Deco for public buildings - no lumps or bumps or superfluous bits, each section functions perfectly and none of them have fallen down. They might only be ticket halls but I think they are nicer to sit in than Buckingham Palace. Even if Buckingham Palace was shrunk down and put inside the penthouse of the Gerkhin (which, if you didnae know is still on the market. no one bought it cos it is crazy expensive but you can make appointments with Foxtons, if you pull of pretending to be loaded, they will show you round it.)
Who designed London's Victorian sewers? Bazelgette. Almost like a simile.
Friday, 28 March 2008
Thursday, 6 March 2008
Lots of people I know are having babies. Someone I met but don't know had a baby who was born completely deaf. She has these huge speakers that sit on her kitchen floor at home and her little one got up, wobbled over to one of the speakers and pressed his whole body right up against it. After a few seconds he started bouncing to the bassbassbassline cos he could hear it, just as vibrations.
Friday, 22 February 2008
"Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!"
"Where am I...What the hell? Oh God dammit no!...I couldn't find the left foot sock. Is it under the chair?"
"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go."
"I can't sleep."
J. M. Barrie
"Does no one understand it?"
The entire universe is made up of matter in different states. All matter is made up of atoms and atoms of subatomic particles. I know from school that every subatomic particle has a positive or negative charge.
For every particle with a positive or negative charge, there must be a particle with the opposite charge to balance its existence. So all existing matter has antimatter as its counterpart.
If that is the case, then where is all the antimatter in the universe? You cannot see the two side by side cos, when they come into contact they repel or cancel each other out and boom! disappear.
But how can matter exist without antimatter? the physical universe is existing, unbalanced. The solution to the mystery can only be that there are two planes of reality coexisting in the same spacetime but out of contact with each other. *** i did not figure any of this out on my own. But, i do understand that this is why life always seems so unfair.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
i did forget it was valentines today and went for a walk in a cemetery. i have never seen it so full. people standing by the lovers', wives' and husbands' gravestones with flowers.
Saturday, 9 February 2008
another dumb one. generally accepted music started in africa right? as drumming.
out of that have evolved 2 quite disparate things. first you have the MODERN POP MUSIC INDUSTRY in all its glory. but you see, drums were used for parties and prayer and all that but ALSO as communication between tribes, far flung around jungle and desert. SO......the second thing, which, if you follow the chain along, which has evolved from ugga bugga's early sonic efforts is...YES!!! the mobile phone.
two evils of the modern world? or what we have all been living for all along.
it all comes together in the rather awesome form of. yeah. you know.
OH MY DAYZ blud HAVE YOU HEARD MY NEW RINGTONE???
it's all so fucking poetic.
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Most people know Maurice Sendak. Where The Wild Things Are... and Mickey in the Midnight Kitchen has become the default slip-in-to-conversation pieces if you are talking to someone of your own age who is cool enough for you to have little in common with.
PLus Spike Jonze's decision to make Where The Wild THings Are... into a feature film SOON TO HIT THE BIG SCREEN has sent a lot of us back to boxes in attic's to dig out childhood favourites. Quite how he intends to turn the 10 minute read into a hour+ long film without adding incredibly irritating plot sequences and morals, I don't know. We shall see.
Spike is, however, not the first at having a go at bringing Sendak's creations to celluloid and while I am not over the moon about his attempt, he at least had the grace to include the book's original author in the credits.
Many of the same generation who gazed in awe at the ink Sendak put to paper have the fellow cornerstone of their development of David Bowie in Labyrinth. Loads of people's favourite film. Oddly, writers Jim Henson and Dennis Lee take full credit for the story. They seemed to think that when they fell upon what they obviously imagined to be the 'lesser-known' Sendak story Outside Over There....that no one would ever have heard of it. So true to human grace the pair simply lifted the story....which, to those who know neither goes...
|While Ida is busy playing her wonder horn faceless goblins come in through the bedroom window and kidnap her baby sister. So Ida puts on her mother's yellow rain cloak and sets off on a mystical journey into outside over there, to rescue her sister and save her from having to become a nasty goblin's bride. But once she finds the goblin's hiding place she has to employ a very special, clever ftrick before she can carry her sister home to safety. |
I won't spoil the end.
|Buy the book, steal the film and compare. You would think Jim Henson and David Bowie would have enough original ideas of their own. The audacity of success if ever I saw it.|
Monday, 4 February 2008
"I decree that history shall be rewritten. This time without any punctuation so that it is just one sentence linked together by the phrase "And then what happened was..."
It is odd that US citizens so bemoan their lack of history especially in comparison to the UK but also, more generally when using Europe as a frame of reference (they rarely dare line themselves up against the ancients of the Far or Middle East).
Human history can be traced in two ways. Either through ancestry, in which case theirs is a rich as ours, being one and the same thing until the infamous split of 1776 and conjoining of The Thirteen Colonies. Otherwise, by geography, in which case America can boast a far more varied history than us. Only in their pursuit of freedom, they seem uncomfortable to include the rather awkward point of mass genocide and decades of bullying, starvation and theft (not that the British have that missing but it is a less considerable part of their founding, more their evolution).
hHistory is what it is, there isn't a right or wrong because who can really enforce, punish or reward what goes on over generations, if in their lifetime? If you or your peeps have been (metaphorically) fucked in the ass, all you can really do is lie down, enjoy it and walk like a rudeboy ever after. You can also take some enjoyment from realisation of guilt on the part of the the perpetrator, which usually takes the form of repetition and denial.
"I mean, it is just so sad that we have nothing other than Hollywood and rock 'n' roll to fall back on." It really is just bizarre.
- more on repetition and its convictions through blurred meaning later. and the sorry state of modern rock 'n' roll. which would be fine if it acknowledged it roots. bloody roots.
Friday, 4 January 2008
i love inventors. and inventions.
there is a story (which i can't back up) of the first ever british man to make a million going to Lion - a company producing safety matches telling them he had an invention which would save the company millions every year. He asked for £1mil for the idea which was a lot of money for - when shall we place it? The 1960s. Lion umm'ed and ahh'ed for a while but eventually decided to give it go. Having already done the amateur patent (posting his idea in an enveloped to himself, postmarked and kept sealed on receipt) he revealed his eureka moment. only putting the striking pad on one side of the match box. annoyingly simple but with a patent, the deal was sealed.
so, it was with great excitement the other day that i discovered it is possible to patent new punctuation marks!!! imagine the goldmine one could be sitting on.
the most recent application for new punctuation was in 04 with the invention of the Question Comma and the Exclamation Comma. The application read...
Using two new punctuation marks, the question comma and the exclamation comma: and respectively, inquisitiveness and exclamation may be expressed within a written sentence structure, so that thoughts may be more easily and clearly conveyed to readers. The new punctuation marks are for use within a written sentence between words as a comma, but with more feeling or inquisitiveness. This affords an author greater choice of method of punctuating, e.g., to reflect spoken language more closely. Moreover, the new punctuation fits rather neatly into the scheme of things, simply filling a gap, with a little or no explanation needed
i am not convinced of the necessity of these two new punctuation marks. they seem to reflect the only level of inventiveness everyone in the 2000s is capable of; a lazy amalgamating of that which already exists...
so, on that note i leave you with the promise that should i come up with anything better, after it has been signed, sealed and sent myself, any shattering ..., ---, *?! or """/""" i can come up with which may add to the clarity of expressing the written word will be revealed here.
(that is the most obscure and to my mind most uninteresting opening point i could think to make in my first post. its not gonna get any better. nor, more succinct.) [there might be better pictures though].