Archive for the ‘You can't have it both ways’ Category

2009 not the decayed

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Seeing as everyone else is at it I thought I’d try and do a list of my bestest movies, music etc from the last ten years. However, I cast my mind back to the shiny post-grad student with nothing but hopes and great things ahead I was at the turn of the millennium. And, TBH, by the time I’d got to how all of that had turned to shit by the end of 2001 I decided it would be inadvisable to continue wandering down that memory lane.

So, instead, in alphabetical order, here are my things of 2009:

Brew Dog beers
Brew Dog brewery up in coldest Aberdeenshire are currently by far the most interesting beer producer in the country.

After initially dismissing the stuff as Aspecto-shopper chic bottles, it was when the local supermarket began stocking the excellent Imperial Stout Rip Tide. This became the beer of choice when we hit the supermarket.

Back in August we went to a food fair and were introbduced to Paradox definitely the taste of 2009 for me. Brilliantly over the year we’ve manged to taste the Arran, Springbank and (like Sy Bernard as part of an awful 3 hour journey home) Smokehead. I must try these malts now…

The summer tasted quite substantially of icy cold Punk IPA, just a fine everyday tasty beer. There was a brilliant blip where Asda got a box of the Hardcore variation by mistake. I reckon we mananged to get about 2/3 of the lot that was there (assuming one box). It’s crazy hoppt and just awesome.

We were pleased to find Trashy Blond on draught during the Edinburgh Festival. And have dabbled in a few of their other products, especially The Physics and splendid dark lager Zeitgeist. (In a drunken moment of weakness I even bought a share in the company.) Brilliantly we’ve merely scratched the surface.

Unfortunately the Tactical Nuclear Penguin I ordered didn’t manage to get bottled and delivered in time for Xmas. So, I’ll be in Colorado before it turns up and it’ll be next year before I get to drink it. Shame, it would’ve been a good ending to the Brew Dog part of the year.

The Coen Brothers
In a year I largely missed the film I wanted to catch A Serious Man was at least I fine example of what I hoped I was missing. Reminiscent of Ethan’s short story book, it’s a film that largely said nothing but all-is-shit. But, made me howl with laughter and keeps coming back for consideration.

No, I have no answers about it, but that’s whay it was so genius.

Richard Herring (& Andrew Collings)
It must have been last year I started listening to The Collings & Herrin Podcast, I can’t be sure. There was such an intense catching up period. Alongside Smodcast it’s become he one I look forward to the most.

As a result, I’ve started to enjoy Herring’s daily blog Warming Up. I enjoyed the description of the process of getting a comedy show together so much I had to go see Hitler Moustache at the Festival. And, seeing as I was doing that I caught the live podcast. All brill.

Then he did As It Occurs To Me, a live show written in the few hours before performance and performed as such. It was then podcast. It made me laugh out loud on the bus a few times – surely the benchmark for all audio comedy. I’m hoping to make the next series live show; despite the fact sending the money I would spend getting there would probably benefit the production more. I now have a serious crush on TV’s Emma Kennedy.

Also looking forward to see how the ‘tache show’s changed at the Glasgow Comedy Festival.

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine
I got to see Jello Biafra sing Holiday In Cambodia live in the all-too ample flesh. The gig in Bristol was worth the angst and extra expense it took to get there several time over. The ‘original’ stuff was, at points, almost better. Subsequent album The Audacity Of Hype gets mentioned for being essential to keep us on our toes. And, it has the cover of the year by a mile.

Law & Order
We got Law & Order UK and I really liked it. This got me thinking about the original series, which – to me – was something that turned up late at night and you caught one or two episodes. So, I decided to start watching the original and all it’s subsequent offshoots, in order. I’m currently at 2001 (eleven years in) with three flavours running in parallel.

I love a cop show. If you want to buy me enough beer I’ll explain to you how The Bill jumped the shark when it lost the half hour format, and killed itself with Don Beech – no matter how thrilling that was.

David Peace
I read barely anything this year. This makes me sad.

I wanted to read Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace.

Thankfully this seemed to be his year. The Red Riding Trilogy on TV was being advertised in cinemas. The Damned United was storming the critics and filmgoers. I’ve still not seen the latter. The former, was fantastic. Despite the fact it suffered a bit heavily from us being told it was dead good, and the who’s who cast, was very good TV. It could’ve been the best telly of this year. It was never up with the best ever, however.

Took me 6 months to read thart book. But, if I’m honest, I opened it at most six times. So when I was reading it I was feverish with it. I just avoided doing this very often.

I need to read more. Including more of his stuff.

The Phantom Band
Ah, here lies the beast. I first saw The Phantom Band couple of years back at a estival. Despite having thoroughly enjoyed them, they kinda fell off my register. This year they releases their debut album Checkmate Savage. I heard good things and decided to investigate.

I liked it very much, but found nothing exceptionable about it. I found myself returning time and time again, getting more, feeling depths and generally being subsumed by it. By the time I was going to see them at the Festival, I was convinced this was one of the most important (and best) albums I’d ever heard. It’s a record that could only come out of Glasgow. Romantic, but rooted in the industrial. Yet, still so heavily redolent of the west-coast it’s scary. Stunning stuff.

The gig in Edinburgh was cramped but great. The following Glasgow gig blew me away. The one a couple of weeks back, as xmas celebration, was near devotional. Wow.

As an aside, the caught the lead singer doing his solo Rick Redbeard thing. Was baffled by the ‘completely different from the Phantoms’ comments I got. It’s not it’s totally symbiotic to what I’m trying not to get too flowery conveying.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club european tour
What can I say? some friends came over from the states. Within 48 hours one had a broken arm, we’d been to Edinburgh and Argyll & Bute. I was sat in Sleazys talking to one of Trail Of The Dead and feeling the happiest I have done for christ knows how long. This was before the continantal leg involving absinthe in Brussells, the warmth or ‘parisienne arabes’ to americans and my first surreal visit to Switzerland and it’s beautiful people (and a couple of Austrians).

Memories. Ones I should’ve detailed at the time, but I’m keeeping just now.

Oh, and all soundtracked by the TOO AMERICAN TOO LOUD Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. Who I spent New Year with and shall do again in a couple of days.

The Thick of It
So early in the year In The Loop turned up. Basically Armando Iannucci‘s calling card to HBO. It’s very funny, and quite disturbing. But, there’s something not quite right about it. Which is basically the crowbar technique of moving the action to the States. It has one joke that made me laugh so loud I was nearly embarassed, if you’ve seen it I might tell you which. Also, it made the entire Scots contingent in the Curzon, soho cheer very loudly. Again…

Where was the telly series that spawned it going to go from there? (Let’s not mention the loss of the excellent Chris Langham.) What they did….OMG!

Not only did they have they make the astounding choice of Rebecca Front as the new minister, but they sneaked one of the most heartstopping storylines about Malcolm Tucker.

I do not have a TV. If there has been any finer this year than this I’ve missed it. However, I am quite willing to put this series among the best telly ever.

Thank fuck they dropped that Jamie character.

Twitter
As part of my job I had to look into Twitter. I looked, I didn’t like and I very much didn’t understand.

Nope, still not getting it.

Nope, still not getting it.

Oh, right!

Got it now.

The fact I can send a drunken text to no-one is the best thing ever. My friends agree.

I love it now.

Don’t make me ‘investigate’ Facebook, please.

I suppose malt whisky should be in there too, as this year I developed an appreciation that may well be ruinous.

Here’s to the new year; lord knows it can’t be any worse than the last one. Just a shame I can say that about the decade to. See, I am just an optimist.

Anyone that gets back to me on genuine typos, I’ll despise (but possibly amend them). Words that should’ve been picked up by spellckeck, but are actual words, have their own circle in hell for the pedants.

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It’s The Stupid Economy

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Comedy genius Mark Thomas has been interviewing a bunch of folk about the current financial apocalypse for his latest tour/show/book. This has been done in front of a studio audience, recorded and made available as a series of podcasts.

It’s actually great to hear voices of rationality in amongst all the nit-picking twaddle from the pundits and politicos. He’s managed to get a nice mix of activists, academics and politicians for this. There’s particualrly interesting input from gamekeeper turned poacher Sargon Nissan. There’s nothing too hefty to them, and Thomas’ presence ensures that not only do we get a good sprinkling of humour but also the layman’s clarification of points.

Interesting just how many themes keep recurring: The UK is a tax haven (thanks to the non-dom laws); the government are the cowering bitches of global finance (all of HMRC‘s buildings are leased from an offshore comapny); the need for governement run banking (and not just cleaning up the shit before handing them back to the shitters); and, WE TOLD YOU (yes we did. and what did you do? Pat us on the head and send us on the way to protest the war that we charmingly thought was based on lies and would be an unholy mess. Fuckers).

*and, breathe*

It’s good to know you’re not alone. It’s also such a shame that there’s not a hope in hell any of the sensible solutions being bandied about are likely to ever be taken up. Hear that whirring? It’s George Santayana.

Written by Tony Kiernan

27 February 2009 at 12:27 am

Red Rag To a Bull

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Red Rag To A Bull is a radical institution dedicated to the pursuit of “FREEDOM, TRUTH and JUSTICE in the art world and BEYOND”. And also overblown statements. It was founded by a cartell of rich and powerful light industrialists in the depths of the bleak winter of 2009 when the world was on the brink of total financial collapse.

Damien Hirst sues 16yr old for using a picture of one of his pieces as part of a collage. Some terribly cool artist heroes, including Jimmy Cauty, Billy Childish and Jamie Reid, create limited edition prints to raise money for his defense fund.

I’m particualrly fond of this one by Chaka Dimas & PliersTee-hee

Written by Tony Kiernan

17 February 2009 at 9:02 pm

So which party is Harvey Goldsmith bunging?

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All of them by the looks of it.

Interesting analysis of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee report into the secondary ticket market – or, touting as we all know it – over at The Register. Basically, if a proposed online subsidy for ticket sales comes into place, the punters will lose and the promoters will win. As it ever were.

Interestingly (despite the headline Artists ‘must benefit from touts’) the BBC emphasise the point that The MPs’ report calls for a voluntary industry code of conduct for reselling.

In general, I dislike touts. However, I have on occasion had to call upon them to get myself into gigs. A few of times I’ve paid nearly twice face value for tickets (usually when I’m kicking myself for not having got tickets for the second night). And, more often I’ve got into something at the last minute for less than face value (still the best way to see anyone at the Brixton Academy, IMO). And, we’ve all picked up tickets for something and then had to offload one when someone in the party Mics out for the gig. The one price has already been paid for one person to access that one event on the one date. You don’t go getting extra dosh cos some of us have feckless mates.

Do barbers really sell your hair to wig makers? If so, does it subsidise the prices we pay? Or is that a little something extra on top? And, does it matter. We have a parliament of almost exclusively free-marketeers. I just wish they’d remember that.

Written by Tony Kiernan

10 January 2008 at 4:46 pm