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2010-03-16 20:26

Smrgsramblings all on my mind

1. Stupid Knight Riders

Indian Engleesh isn't exactly like other kinds:

Pacer Justin Kemp took three wickets for 12 as Chennai Super Kings capitalised on some pathetic batting display by Kolkata Knight Riders to score a 55-run victory in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.

Sadly, as an EnglandandWales cricket follower of long standing, I am entirely familiar with pathetic batting displays.

2. British bladets considered rubbish

By the Economist's Charlemagne

When I arrived in Brussels, six daily newspapers from Britain had staff correspondents in town. Now it is three. Part of it is hostility to the EU: to quote one foreign editor, talking of one of his paper's most senior figures: "xxx hates the EU so much he never wants to read about it." Part of it is that too many British newspapers have spent the last five years or so chasing each other downmarket, leaving little room for foreign news that might require readers to engage their brains and think about stories that are important but unsexy, or require empathasing with foreigners (as opposed to gawking at them or gossiping about them). In fact, I think the true situation of British foreign reporting is even worse than it looks: there are still lots of correspondents in all sorts of posts, like Brussels, Paris or Rome, so it all looks reasonably healthy. But ask those same correspondents what sort of political stories they get to write: too often they most easily make the paper with stories about Nicolas Sarkozy's height, Silvio Berlusconi's love life, or how much Catherine Ashton is paid.

When we left Blighty, the Doshbladet was the only daily krant or 'bladet that passed the laugh-test. Ironically, Charlemagne is said to be one of the few redeeming things in the Dismalbladet by those who continue to endure its post-Iraq decline.

3. The margins of metal

We recently had occasion to acquire an album by the semi-legendary stoner-rock/doom-metal Orange Goblin, and very good it is too if you like that sort of thing.


But then we were lately reading Rock Tribune, which we fondly imagine to be Flanders' finest heavy metal magazine, and found an interview with Raven's Creed in which it turns out that they had been sharing a singer with said Orange Goblin, but that since the Goblins were on the way up and their singer also had a family, a season ticket for the Liverpool Reds Foopball Club and a full-time job, in order to make ends meet, he had had to curtail his Ravenly Creedences.

And these such metal magazines are full to bursting with reviews and features of bands and albums substantially less famous (and yes, it is very possible) than Orange Goblin. And plenty of them have been at it for twenty(20)-odd years and cheerfully admit to having nothing or thereabouts by way of cold hard cash to show for their endeavours.

This is still vastly more dignified than the pyramid scheme[1] that is classical music, of course, but it is also almost a little sad.

[1] Approximately everyone who makes a living from classical music makes their money from teaching aspirant musicians one or more levels down the hierarchy. That's a pyramid scheme. (See also: writing, creative in general and poetry in particular.)

2010-03-09 19:45


1. Moggel

Boris van 't Blad likes the swings. But he is less keen on the Dutch word for it: schommel, so he has substituted moggel for it.

There's a fancy greek linguistics term for this, but we forget what it is.

2. Camel of Doom!

Also available (gratis en voor niks) in album form.

Apparently the genre is called Stoner Rock and there is a great deal of it. Our tinnitus-ravaged lug-holes are reeling from the implications, for sure.

3. And back to things we could profitably have been told:

Proto-stoner-rockers Loop's But really, there are limits.

2010-02-28 12:59

Oh Belgium!

RTBF Sat is het derde televisieprogramma van de Franstalige Belgische omroep dat via de satelliet naar heel Europa wordt uitgezonden. [...] Op 15 februari 2010 werd de zender opgedoekt wegens besparingen binnen de RTBF.

RTBF is the third channel of the Francophone Belgian broadcaster that broadcasts across the whole of Europe by satellite. On 15 February 2010 the channel was opgedoekt as a result of cuts within RTBF.

This makes us a little sad: we rarely watched it, but we enjoyed being able to and now we're not.

2010-02-22 19:10

Things I could 've profitably have been told about but wasn't

Imagine the Laibach/Young Gods sample-driven totalitarian heavy rock played Alice-Cooper straight rather than Art School arch and you pretty much have Rammstein:

As a bonus, they go further towards fulfilling heavy metal's manifest destiny to be growled in Cherman than the Scorpions ever managed.

2010-02-15 13:12

Monday review of stuff

1. Line 6 Pocket Pod Express

So, with our listening habits tilting metallic, we rediscovered a desire to play electric guitar.

We already had an electric guitar (a red one, even), but what we lacked was a means of making a horribe noise with it, without irritating Boris van 't Blad and the Countess, neither of whom are great fans of horrible noises, and both of whom are light sleepers.

Luckily for us all, for EUR 60 you can get a little plastic nodule that makes all kinds of magic guitar sounds (just add guitar!) and which works over headphones:

In the space of a week we have come to love this thing dearly.

2. Gitarre und Bass Magazinne

We bought this because it was the thickest guitar magazine in the local shop (which is quite cosmopolitan: they also stock German computer magazines).

We only read these things for the adverts, really, and from reading the adverts we notice that the digital modelling revolution is now firmly entrenched, but guitaristes - being resolutely stupid - still insist on combining it with old-fashioned valve amplifier technology.

Idiots, is what they are.

3. Aardschok and Rock Hard magazines.

Heavy metal has apparently devoted the last thirty-odd years to inbreeding, producing ever more pointless, humourless and charmless rackets.

We find that kind of sweet, really, although presumably that wasn't quite what "Annotions of an Autopsy" or "Anal Vomit" (and that's just the A's) where trying to achieve.

Also, did you know that the most lucrative US tour of 2008 was that of Bon Jovi?

4. Misc.

We saw another video on YouTube which suggested we'd been Doing It Wrong for the last 25 years (during which we remained resolutely a beginner at electric guitar). Armed with a stock of Dunlop Jazz III plectrums and GTick, a software metronome, we are trying to ("re")build our technique.

It's more likely we'll get frustrated and give up first, but what can you do?

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