Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

As my close friends know, I used to be obsessed with mixtapes. I have a big box of them at my mum and dad’s house, made from about 1990 to only a few years ago, when I got my first i-pod and a car adapter for it too. See, up until I left Scotland in 2006, I’ve only ever had a car with a cassette deck: no CD deck up until I got my new card. Mixtapes my listening habits, even though I exclusively bought CDs. Almost every Christmas and birthday, I would get a big box of blank tapes knowing full well I would run out soon enough. Some were used taping music from the radio (naughty, I know), others were used to make tapes I could listen to on my walkman or take into school. Yes, school.
In my 5th and 6th year at school, I took Graphic Communication (basically technical drawing). Our teacher, Mr McKellar had an old tape deck which he used to play either Bryan Adams or a greatest hits of the Who compilation. He would give us a task for the lesson and then let us go, only talking to give one on one advice and help. Having  listened to these two tapes for two years, I finally asked him if I could play some tapes I brought in. He agreed and the floodgates were opened. I basically would try and make a new mixtape every few weeks, mainly because my class size was pretty small. I put together the Brtpop hits of the day and some dance stuff. I even made up a mixtape of all the songs people told me they didn’t like (I remember “On A Rope” by Rocket From The Crypt being very unpopular), bringing out my belligerent side. From then on in, I used to bombard my friends with mixtapes all the time with a “listen to this, it’ll blow your mind!” zeal.

The mixtape lasted me many years, before the “My Top Rated” playlist on my i-pod.  But now it’s making a comeback in two forms. Firstly, this delicious little USB Flash Drive encased in an analogue cassette case. It looks brilliant and it’s something I’d think about giving as a gift to someone who was in the mood for some new tunes.

mixape

The other is a brilliant concept; Muxtape lets you upload 12 MP3’s to a personalised page that other people can then visit and listen to the tunes within their browser. No media player, no downloads or logins required. Simply spread the link far and wide and let people listen. It’s so simple, I’ve made up a mixtape containing some of the tunes I recommended in my weekend article below. Just click here to visit the page, and hey! Make your own one and leave the link in the comments below.

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Sam Kinison sings a love song…

“The next person to wish me a happy St Pat’s Day will have their ISP anonymously informed that they download pictures of dogs fucking babies. I’ve slept with Irish girls and gotten drunk in Belfast, which makes me more Irish than 99% of you — and, whoops, here’s the clue train pulling up to the station, and it says I’m not Irish and neither are 99% of you so you can stick St Pat’s Day up your arse.”

(via Warren Ellis)

Thank God someone thinks the same as me.

Viva World Cup

Viva World CupI used to be fascinated with small countries. I think it stems from getting an atlas at Christmas and thinking “San Marino; what the fuck is the point of that?” But anyway, I read recently about the VIVA World Cup, a competition where some of the “countries” not affiliated with FIFA could compete. Now the reason “countries” is in apostrophies is because there is some doubt to the legal status of these regions, as most aren’t recognised by any government. Some of these are obvious, like Chechneya, Tibet, Greenland or the Basque region. None of these big hitters were avialable for the tournament, which was held in Occitinia (unofficial region in the south of France) in November last year.

In the end the tournament was won by Sápmi (more commonly known as Lapland) after they defeated Monaco 21 – 1 in the final. I think the Monaco coach obviously made a blunder by not adopting a more defensive approach after the 14th goal. Anyways, it just made me think about sovereignty and how people want a place to belong. After the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, you have to wonder if people’s lives got much better after they had a border and a flag of their own? It’s been playing on my mind a little, as I’ve been filling in forms to apply for my visa here in Australia. They’re fucking complicated, but then again I suppose they have to be. But will getting citizenship make me “less-Scottish”? I suppose I’ll still have the low self-esteem, high cholesteral and other Scottish traits that have been bred into me, but I suppose over time I’ll become more “dinkum”. Still won’t like fuckin’ cricket though.

A Look Back At 2006

Well I considered doing an end of year list of the best things in life. Thing is, I’m pretty disorganised so I consider Aereogramme’s A Story In White to be one of my favourite albums of the year, despite the fact it was released in 2001. Anyway, I came up with a better idea. Since I have now spent 8 months in this slightly scorched country, I thought I’d give you an idea about what I like about it and what I don’t.

Good Things

 

  • Triple J: Imagine a radio station that played all the good stuff Radio 1 plays, but without Christina Aguilera tracks inbetween. Imagine a radio station that plays mainstream stuff like the Killers and Gnarls Barkley but also plays album (yes, album) tracks by the likes of Thom Yorke and Tool during prime time shows. Imagine a radio station where a presenter calls a well know, odious politician a “prick” on air and there’s no media furore. Triple J does all of this without any commercials to. Brilliant!
  • Bigger Selection of magazines: ok, fair enough most of them are about 2 or 3 months behind but I never picked up copies of Geek Monthly, Alarm or Empty before. Add to that an Australasian edition of Dazed and Confused and the fact that if I hunt about a bit I can still get Arena, Filter and other top notch mags, then my bedroom has become as laden with mags as it used to.
  • Ali Baba’s Kebabs: quality kebas delivered with fast-food efficiencey. Top stuff.
  • SBS: Ok, it’s the least glamourous of all the TV stations and it spends most of it’s time broadcasting the news in almost every language imaginable. But it was the TV station that broadcast the World Cup and has a quality 4 hour football show on every Sunday. Add to that Champions League highlight, the Daily Show, Mythbusters and South Park, they’ve got some pretty good stuff. I turned it on two weeks ago at half ten at night and they were broadcasting Anime!

Bad Things

 

 

 

  • Mullets: and not just on booze-addled hicks either. Kids have fucking got them. Kid’s for fuck’s sake!
  • Celebrity fixation as rampant as Britain and the US: most of the girls shat themselves when they heard that Paris Hilton was going to be at Bondi Beach for New Year. Whoop-de-motherfucking-do!
  • Dodgy Cinema Release times: Big films are ok, Superman Returns, Borat, Casino Royale all got released round about the same time as everywhere else. Mind you, it’s good I saw the Descent (and got the DVD) before I came over; it came out here about 4 weeks ago. (Pan’s Labyrnth is out next year too).
  • The fact that all sports commentators refer to everything as football. Yes, that means AFL, Rugby League and Union are all football. I’m waiting to hear someone say “Hey, Fernando Alonso was good at the football at the weekend!”. Any claims that football is the true football are met with weak excuses like “well, goalkeepers use their hands”.
  • My accent: not that I’m ashamed of it, but it limits communcication a bit. I get a lot of blank stares and all I’ve said it “Could you pass a napkin please?. The other crap thing is if I’m getting served in a shop, the attractive young woman behind the counter gives me that look and says “Wow, I love your accent”. Fuck.

 




  • A Heart Full of Hornets

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