Thursday, 24 December 2009

Up Against The Wall XVI: I Wuv You!

I wuv you!, originally uploaded by mithering.
Obscene, angry and pointless graffiti has been a bit thin on the ground recently, so here are some sweet, fluffy, bunny-hugging scrawlings in the snow outside the Lowry Hotel in Salford. Just because it's Christmas and all that. Back to the rude stuff soon.  Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Ice Ice Baby.

Redwing, originally uploaded by purplerabbits.
I've been on twitter since February 9th this year.  It took me two days to realise its potential for list-making/diarising.  On the 11th of February I listed the birds I saw on my walk into work between the car park in Salford University (where my wife works, and I get [or got - more later] a lift to on appropriate days) and work.  It became a regular habit, and later I added my other route, the one I take when a lift is impractical or impossible, the 96 bus into town. The two routes eventually settled down as Peel Park to Dolefield and Boddies to Dolefield.  Last week I did my last Peel Park to Dolefield.

Today, snow-willing, I probably did my last Boddies to Dolefield.  It was, appropriately, and weirdly, the day I saw more species than I had on any other day when taking that route.  The highlight was seeing twenty or thirty redwings in a tree opposite the berry-laden bushes which skirt the cheap carpark seated where Boddington's brewery used to be.  It even outweighed seeing a gorgeous drake goldeneye on The Irwell.

Thanks to purplerabbits on flickr for this fantastic image of a redwing guzzling berries in Edinburgh.

I'll edit this into coherence over Christmas. Posting drunk after spending hours wrapping presents is not a good thing.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Nine to Five. Overtime.

Mistle Thrush, originally uploaded by NEdwards1.
Following on from the theme of the post from November 24th, the shifting pattern of bird dominance has seen the mistle thrush lurch into the limelight recently. There are a particularly beautiful and prominent pair who hang about in and around the hidden little park between Chapel Street and East Ordsall Lane in Salford. The recent bright sunshine brought them both out into the trees, onto the balcony of the flats opposite and, one morning, onto a street lamp high above the Chapel Street morning rush hour traffic.

Thanks to NEdwards1 for the photo.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Disco Inferno.

Is this possibly the first ever 18-rated video game based upon a poem?

We were in The Arndale yesterday (fifth level of Hell; inner-city shopping centres on any Saturday in December) and EA Games had a promo stall set up, from which The Eldest picked up a brochure.

Had a quick look through it last night and all the usual things were there - football games, tennis games, boxing games, Sci Fi games, war games - and this, "based on part one of Dante Alighieri's classic poem 'The Divine Comedy', Dante's Inferno is a 3rd person action adventure game that takes Dante on an epic journey through Hell as he seeks to rescue the soul of his beloved Beatrice."

In a way it makes sense - death, destruction and levels. Measureable, achieveable levels of activity. It's almost a no-brainer. "Just like the poem, players will descend through the nine circles of Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery."

The perfect Christmas gift for the poetry fan in your life.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken (Alt)

I'd had this idea, that I've been mulling for a while, that I would post something about 'Indie' Answer Songs. This came about because I've been listening to a lot of Camera Obscura lately - mainly since My Maudlin Career was released. Before then, they'd been almost unknown to me, lost in the endless sea of music I never get the chance to really sit down and listen to. However, 'French Navy' acted as the catalyst and on hearing the LP, 'Swans' became a big favourite. Since then I've moved backwards and hit upon Let's Get Out Of This Country which opens with the track above, which gave me the idea to write about Answer Songs. Or, to widen it out a bit, songs about or referencing other songs, but not cover versions.

I thought that the average 'Indie' (I know it's a devalued word, but I take it to mean bands or acts who should be on labels which record and release music without direct influence from the majors, whether they are or not. If you know what I mean?) mindset would lead to loads of them. You know, that impossible to ignore urge to quote, parody, pastiche and copy songs you love. A hidden code of reference and sub-reference. A great example is Edwyn Collins dropping the 'guitar solo' from Buzzcocks' 'Boredom' into 'Rip It Up' and letting us all know that his favourite song is entitled ‘Boredom’. (That 'Rip It Up' then went on to become Orange Juice's only real hit single foregrounds that reference, but it's one we all know).

However, when push came to shove I hit a massive brick wall in trying to think of more than a tiny handful. The two above and 'I Can't Get Bouncing Babies By The Teardrop Explodes' by The Freshies, in fact. So, instead, I’ll not write about them.