And Why Not…?

So, Dave has issued an interesting challenge this afternoon and it’s a corker;

1. Pick up the nearest book (and do be honest).
2. Flick to page 123.
3. Move to the fifth sentence.
4. Reproduce the next three sentences in a post on your blog then tag three other people.

Dave has specified that you do not “…dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.” And I think that’s fair enough. But bearing that in mind I’m not sure that anyone will believe that the first book I could find with 123 pages (the first being “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers” by Beatrix Potter which has a mere 82) is this one with fifth, sixth and seventh sentences on page 123 that read;

“So they got their tails fast in their mouths. So they couldn’t get them out again. That’s all.”

That was taken from “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll which is both cool and arguably intellectual. I’m tagging Rob, Greg and Maz but feel free to start to begin your own inquiries.

The State We’re In

I’ve taken this title from a track Beth Orton did with The Chemical Brothers on their album “Come With Us“. A fine song which had the lovely Beth lending her wondrous vocals to an electronic creation that fizzed and spluttered into the next track “Denmark” which built to become a pounding, helplessly energetic and thoroughly storming tune (whose Latino infused trumpets had little to do with Denmark but what the heck, it was great fun when they kicked in). I thought about the track the other day whilst trying, for what must be the eighth or ninth time, to get into Beth’s latest album “The Comfort of Strangers” and once again not finding what I’m looking for. When Beth first appeared on the scene back in 1996 her sound was founded by the fusing of a lot of arguably disparate genres and it sounded fantastic and everyone discovered what they had been missing all their lives. The folk music blended with electronica and other studio wizardry was unexpected and profoundly exciting. At the time I was also enjoying other bands who were emerging such as Portishead and loving the metamorphosis that Everything But The Girl were going through when they abandoned their reliance on the acoustic guitar and got on with experimenting with their sound. Ten years later things are very much back to a narrower palette of sounds. Beth Orton switches labels and puts out a folk album that’s just a folk album – the songs are still well written and her voice is as lovely but the album as a whole feels flat. I doubt I’d have bought this if it were a debut and there’s certainly no room on the singles for a lively or interesting remix or collaboration; it’s almost as if she has been put on a short lead in response to the current market. Lou Rhodes formerly of Lamb records a solo album that’s stripped down and devoid of any of Andy Barlow’s electrical influences and a far cry from her work with 808 State. This year’s Mercury Music list is utterly devoid of any artists who embrace any sort of cross over sound (no Helicopter Girls; no Martina Topley-Birds) and go in favour of a no frills guitar-based feel. These days that KT Tunstall sound is where it’s at (even Dido dabbled with some interesting production on her first album!). Can anyone explain what’s brought about this distinctly regressive step??

Maz Shack

Hello and Welcome to Maz Club! Nice…” Ms McGowan has a shiny new blog here. Go and check it out and leave friendly comments. Just don’t let her try to inform you that the site can be found at a domain called “bogspot” as that’s either somewhere for collecting peat or a place for relieiving oneself of waste.

Come And Have A Go If You Think You’re Aard Enough

Tragically, despite the fact that my interview had gone well and I thought I was in with a chance, Aardman finally got in touch to say that I had been unsuccessful and they’d gone for someone else. Since I had heard nothing for two weeks I had come to realise that they were not eager to engage my skills. The mistake I had made was in e-mailing the HR department to have this clarified once and for all. I had an apologetic e-mail back saying sorry and that the powers that be were “…still reviewing applicants.” This naturally raised my hopes again before someone got in touch the next day and informed me that I had definitely been unsuccessful. I got the impression that any decisions had been made quite some time ago as the person apologised again, claiming that the production office had thought that HR were doing rejection calls and HR thought that the production office were the ones to do this.

The interview had been for a production secretary gig on a children’s flash animation series called Planet Sketch which was a co-production with Canada and involved a lot of co-ordinating of departments and arranging artists voice-overs. The actual job sounded fun and the Aardman studios would have been an awesome place to work (the signs on the walls had super helpful things written on them like “This Way” and one memo informed staff that Friday was “Wrong Trousers Day” – an annual occasion designed to raise cash for charity by partaking in a pub crawl suitably attired in trousers that were just not right). The fact that it was based in Bristol was another thing that I had been Über keen on (you know my feelings on that place). But it was not to be and I just wished that they had let me down sooner rather than the two torturous weeks I spent thinking that I could get my life back.

I hate this year.