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Part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place. A bigger part of me wants to sit on the sofa, drink tea and play through old Nintendo games.

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Category : Music

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21/12/09 : People power at Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I started writing a post about music that I used to listen to, had since forgotten about and then recently re-discovered. I was going to post a YouTube clip of one such example: Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine. By a bizarre coincidence the song has now become the Christmas number one, thanks to a Facebook campaign to prevent the X Factor winner taking the top slot for the forth year running. So, here it is - enjoy!

I wasn't that heavily into "Rap-metal" but I love the ultra tightness of the band (same reason I liked Megadeth). I never really got into Audioslave though (same band, different singer) so maybe that's something I'm going to have to check out.

Anyway, to quote from Facebook campaign: "Are you getting fed up about the possibility of ANOTHER X-Factor Christmas No.1? ...us too...so we're going to do something about it!" - it's the sort of thing that restores my faith in humanity. And it's for a good cause, so pop along and make a Christmas donation!

Posted by Tim at 00:38 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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20/10/09 : Quote of the day

The number of people who thought that the equipment wrote the song for you - "Well, anybody could do it with the same equipment you've got" - Fuck! Off!
- Andy McCluskey (OMD)

That possibly slightly odd quote was from the rather good recent BBC documentary Synth Britannia, about "synthpop" in the early eighties. I was seriously into electronic music at the time, until the rave/house/dance music stuff came along and spoilt everything (at which point I started listening to rock). It always used to annoy me that if I was talking about any type of synthesizer or drum machine or whatever someone would always say, "isn't that one of those things that does it all for you?".

Ignorance is sometimes understandable, but ignorant people who seem to have an opinion on the thing they know nothing about really piss me off. Another example I frequently came across (some years later) was on the mention of the band Iron Maiden somebody would always say "aren't they all devil worshippers?"

No, they're not. (Do genuine devil worshippers actually exist?)

Anyway, back to the synthpop - here's a great early example for your listening pleasure.

[UPDATE: Here is the Synth Britania documentary on YouTube].

Posted by Tim at 18:03 [ permalink ]
Categories: Miscellaneous ramblings, Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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13/05/09 : Playing with one's organ. And blogging.

Sarah keeps telling me that I should blog more often. So, this is especially for her 'cause I know how much she loves the smooth swirly tones of the Hammond C3 . . .

I just don't understand how anyone can fail to love the instrument (come on, at least watch it to the end. Just ignore the irritatingly enthusiastic bystander).

Seriously though, the main reason I don't write often is that I am the world's worst procrastinator - I think of something interesting to write about but by the time I get around to actually writing it the inspiration has gone. And anyway, Sarah does the everyday stuff better than me. I never think that anyone would be particularly interested in my day-to-day activities (although I am often fascinated with "ordinary" blogs written by people I don't actually know).

I still like the whole idea of blogging though. Twitter doesn't appeal to me (writing about every insignificant thing you do is more that a little weird) and neither does MySpace (horribly designed pages - as though CSS was never invented - from people desperately trying to get as many pretend friends as possible in order to appear popular) or Facebook (lots of people all attempting to contact people they once knew even though they probably didn't like them much in the first place). I may have run out of things to write about on my original blog (rambling social/political rants) and my first anti-religion blog just got silly (getting hundreds of comments per post was an ego boost until I realised that no one was commenting on what I'd actually written about) but I'm not giving up on this blog yet.

So, business as usual - occasional postings to follow.

Posted by Tim at 01:43 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music, Blogging, webstuff, programming
Comments [ 1 ]


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15/09/08 : Jesus is his friend

This has been posted on a few blogs recently, but I couldn't resist the urge to add it here too. It made me nearly piss myself laughing. Actually, I was still laughing about it the next day.

I always thought that Christian rock was rather an oxymoron, but Christian, I don't know, Ska? It's just embarrassing (presuming it's genuine that is).

BTW, Jesus is NOT my friend. Especially if he's going to try to "touch me down inside".

Posted by Tim at 18:30 [ permalink ]
Categories: Humour, Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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22/07/2008 : Steal EVERYTHING!

This made me smile, although Mr. Rock is actually making a valid point about illegally downloading songs.

Stealing music is hardly new. When I was a kid I used to "tape" - i.e. record onto analogue tape cassettes - stuff from the radio, other people's tapes, CDs if I was lucky, even computer games before disc drives became less expensive. My parents never stopped me or pointed out that it was illegal (and immoral) - in fact I'm sure they did it themselves. As did pretty much everyone else. Yet if I had have walked into my local branch of HMV, picked up the latest hit album and walked out of the shop without paying, it would have somehow been a completely different thing.

In my ideal world however everything would be free. People would only need to work for the minimum amount of time it takes to get everything running (no need to over work to make a profit, no middlemen, pointless competition or corruption) and could just help themselves to whatever they needed. They'd have plenty of free time to make whatever music or art or whatever they wanted, free from the restraints of having to following trends to keep selling their material. There'd be no theft, greed would die out along with most of the other problems in society. Somehow I can't see my utopia becoming a reality.

Posted by Tim at 16:20 [ permalink ]
Categories: Humour, Music, Thoughts and rants
Comments [ 0 ]


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17/06/2008 : Bush and Blair at the Gay Bar

This has obviously been around for a while; I found it by accident whilst searching for articles on the recent visit of the warmongering chimp boy to the UK.

There is probably a phrase in common use to describe bits of video stuck together over an unrelated song to be funny or make a point. Knowing of such a phrase would make this post rather less messy, but whatever the phrase is, this is a perfect example. I nearly pissed myself anyway.

The song is "Gay Bar" by the brilliantly bizarre Electric Six BTW.


Posted by Tim at 18:14 [ permalink ]
Categories: Humour, Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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16/06/2008 : Vagabond Kiss

I came across an old photo album whilst sorting out a cupboard recently. Behold: Vagabond Kiss in early 1996.

Vagabond Kiss 1996
(click for bigger)

People still occasionally get to my sites by googling Vagabond Kiss, which always surprises me as we only had local success, split up shortly after the above photo was taken and weren't actually that good.

I'm in the middle, to the left is Johnny (one of three bass players we got through) and to the right is Andy (one of about ten drummers). Gav, now my brother-in-law is at the back and at the front is Jim, the lead singer.

Looking back I think we were actually better when we started out a couple of years earlier. We still had the big choruses but a more unique sound - big chunky guitar chords, tinkley piano, funky bass (from a guy called Luke, not pictured below for some reason I can't remember) and ultra-tight drumming from Jim, who sang lead vocals from behind the drum kit. I can understand why he wanted to get another drummer and be at the front, but none of the other drummers we had were a patch on him.

It was Jim that led us towards the more "80s hair rock" sound we had when photographed above. He was a weird guy really, the sort of person who would be your bestest mate until you disagreed with him over something, which he would take personally as if you have done whatever it was just to piss him off. Totally self-centred and misanthropic (I seem to attract such people) but a pretty good singer and songwriter, and the best rock drummer I've known.

Vagabond Kiss 1994
(click for bigger)

UPDATE : Just googled the band myself and found out that some of the former members have "reformed" the band with a female lead singer . . . I wonder if they're doing the same kind of stuff as before or whether they just couldn't be bothered to think of a new name? Seems a bit odd to me.

Posted by Tim at 18:36 [ permalink ]
Categories: Memories and nostalgia, Music
Comments [ 13 ]


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10/03/08 : Servers, php, heavy stuff

Bear with me while I sort out the comments and stuff - things aren't working properly since the server this site is on upgraded to php version 5.

In the meantime, here's a little light music.

Actually this is the least "light" of all the music I've got; ultra-tight speed metal band Megadeth when they were at their best (1991 I think, but I can't be bothered to reach for the CD to check). Strangely, this has a lot in common with the Shostakovich on my last post as both have an aggressive, almost violent, energy to them.

I do like "nice" music as well . . .

Posted by Tim at 20:55 (edited on: 13/04/08 22:44) [ permalink ]
Categories: Blogging, webstuff, programming, Music
Comments [ 5 ]


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13/02/08 : Crashes and bangs

Well, my resolution to blog more often started well . . .

I seem to have picked up some new readers via Sarah. So, hello, welcome, stick around - I'm bound to write something fascinating one day soon.

In the meantime, here's something a little different from my usual musical offerings. This is a poke in the eye to the people who continually market all "classical" music as beautiful, relaxing etc. (Classic FM I'm looking at you).

Go on, just watch it . . . it's only four minutes long . . .

This was from one of last years more interesting proms, featuring a youth orchestra from Venezuela. Apologies for sounding racist, but they're a weird looking bunch who I'd guess spend almost as much on hair gel as instruments. The second half of the concert featured music from Venezuelan composers and they dressed up in traditional costumes. Entertaining, but not what I'd programme after Shostakovich's intense tenth symphony. Still, this performance of the violently dramatic second movement is possibly the best I've heard.

It's a shame there isn't a video of the last bit of the finale, where old Shosty goes around the orchestra defiantly banging out the notes of his initials, almost as if he's metaphorically jumping up and down on Stalin's grave. Fantastic stuff.

Sarah just dismisses it all as "crashes and bangs", the philistine.

Posted by Tim at 20:52 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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11/11/07 : Top tunes

More YouTube-ery for your viewing pleasure. I thought some individual songs would show a bit more variety to my musical tastes than the best albums ever I listed previously.

Part two to follow next time I'm sat in a darkened room in front of a computer screen at two in the morning (while I am a bit of an insomniac, I think it's more of a case of my body clock being out of sync with everyone else's. A bit of a bummer if half the week you have to get up at just past four).

Still got the blues - Gary Moore

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a slightly clich├ęd, melancholic blues-rock song. Watch until the end and you will see a fusion of human being and guitar. No one has more soul than this guy.

Hit me with your rhythm stick - Ian Dury and the Blockheads

One of the first songs I remember liking as a kid (I would have been 5 or 6 when it came out). Still an amazing song, with more groove than any disco track of the era. I can never understand why this song tends to feature in "songs you're embarrassed to admit you like" lists.

Jump - Van Halen

Simple but perfect peformance-style video. Dave Lee Roth was the ultimate rock god. I'm not gay, but it I was . . .

My baby just cares for me - Nina Simone

Simple, mellow jazz with a great piano solo. Re-released in the 80's (hence the video).

LDN - Lily Allen

Something a little bit more up to date. Cute chick, great song.

Turn it on again - Genesis

Genesis may have "gone pop" by this point, but they've always kept that progressive feel. Another simple performance video.

Love action - Human League

I was seriously into synthpop in the mid 80's, until the rave thing started and I started listening to rock. My favourite band was probably the Pet Shop Boys, but this, from earlier in the decade, is probably more interesting. Known as "the one with the synthesized cat intro".

Lay your hands on me - Bon Jovi

People take the piss out of Bon Jovi a lot, probably because of how they looked in the 80s (when they were at their best). I chose this particular video - recorded at Wembley Stadium, June 25th 1995 - because it's got a seriously cool keyboard and drum intro, and I was there!

UPDATE - forgot this, my favourite song of the last few years.

UPDATE 2 - and how could I have forgotten this?

Posted by Tim at 20:20 (edited on: 13/04/08 22:43) [ permalink ]
Categories: Memories and nostalgia, Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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20/08/07 : How not to perform a duet

Do you have to be a musician - or know Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 - to find this funny? And does anyone these days know who Victor Borge is (was)?

(It gets better as it goes along, so watch it to the end, it's under 3 minutes).

Posted by Tim at 18:47 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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03/07/07 : Turn up the radio

A lot has happened in the news recently, but as usual I just can't be bothered to write about it. Instead, here's something far more entertaining.

Cheesy 80s rock probably comes under the "guilty pleasures" banner, and this is about as cheesy as it gets. The song comes from one of the more obscure albums I've got - Sign in please by Autograph (virtually unknown here, a one-hit-wonder (?) in the US).

The video is so bad it could almost be a parody - they all look like complete dicks. Great song though, nice guitar solo too. Enjoy!

Posted by Tim at 18:44 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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18/04/07 : Best. Albums. Ever.

Sarah always thinks it a bit odd on the rare occasions I buy or download something current, like I'm having an early mid-life crisis or something and am trying to get down with da kidz. But out of all the music I own, there are about 20-30 albums I listen to regularly - and they are all rock and all at least 15 years old.

The exact contents of my top ten will vary, but these are the most likely candidates.

Number of the beast Piece of mind Powerslave The three best Iron Maiden albums - The number of the beast, Piece of mind and Powerslave.
Classic British metal at its finest.


1984 Van Halen - 1984
This album manages to sound like classic rock, modern rock and 80s rock all at the same time, is well produced yet sounds live, and is structured but with an improvised feel. Perfect for playing loudly in the car on a hot day.


Jam Little Angels - Jam
Great songs, great sounding band. This was a number one album, yet no one now seems to have heard of them. This bothers me to the point where I feel the need to provide a sample [UPDATE: original file removed, find song on Youtube]


Close to the edge Yes - Close to the edge
Perfect prog rock. The title track is of symphonic proportions, yet it never sounds overblown.


A day at the races Queen - A day at the races
Yes, I like this better than A night at the opera. It's just fun and jolly and a little bit silly. Look, I don't have to explain myself to you anyway, so just shut up, right?


Sex and religion Vai - Sex and religion
I'm not a guitarist - I'm not even overly fond of Steve's playing (a bit over the top and not heavy enough). But, if you skip past the filler, there are some fantastic songs on this album.


New Jersey Bon Jovi - New Jersey
80s heavy but melodic rock at its best.


Appetite for destruction Guns 'n' Roses - Appetite for destruction
Attitude fuelled rock (from a time that needed it).


I actually had to redesign the blog template to get this post to work. I did have the sidebar set to float:left so that the main column flowed around it, but it was too problematic with other floating elements (like the pics on this post) and couldn't line up lists properly. Sometimes this web design malarkey can be a real pain in the arse.

UPDATE (some time later) - how did I manage to miss off Images and Words by Dream Theater? Or other early prog (Genesis, ELP)?

Posted by Tim at 18:17 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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27/11/06 : Filling a gap between proper posts

One guy who can't actually play drums or piano and some timeline editing - this is cool!

[via Crooked Timber]

Posted by Tim at 17:44 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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31/08/06 : Proms and stuff

I'm currently enjoying the televised proms concerts on the BBC. There's been some good stuff - Tchaikovsky 4, Sibelius 5, Shostakovich 7, and Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto nicely played by someone I'd not heard of before - who unfortunately is one of those people that pulls the kind of faces while playing that make him look as if he's constipated. Which reminds me of a bad joke:

Q. What's brown and sits on the piano stool?
A. Beethoven's last movement...

More good stuff to follow - Beethoven 9 on Sunday, Shostakovich 10 next week - and then the last night to look forward to ...

Actually, I hate the Last Night of the Proms. I'm just not the flag waving type (as this post shows). I'm not going to go on about it here - I posted about it on my old blog (here) and there's an interesting Comment is Free post on the subject here. This comment, from "WillDuff", pretty much sums up my feelings:

... the dreadful impression this gives of the UK, and the dreadful impression this gives of classical music. Classical music is marginalised and derided by politicians and the media ... this is partly because it is perceived to be middle-class, elitist and irrelevant. So if the main view that people have of classical music is a bunch of pompous idiots creaming themselves over Land of Hope and Glory - which undeniably belongs to a long-gone era - what hope has music got?

I'll probably still end up watching though.

Posted by Tim at 16:52 (edited on: 13/04/08 22:39) [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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22/05/06 : How to spoil a good rock song

I like the Mark II Deep Purple line up, but I'm not so familiar with the really early stuff. The song Black Night is generally well known, but I knew it from a live version. On listening to the original recording (on a greatest hits album) I discovered to my great annoyance that it is one of those songs spoilt by one thing.


I'm not talking about the electronic clap sounds that littered 80's pop songs; this is the feeble, not completely in time clapping performed by a few people who were probably just hanging around in the studio at the time of the recording.

Why the producer thought that this would be a good idea I don't know; perhaps he thought that it would give the song "a lift". It doesn't. An interesting drum part is obscured and the whole song gets a "singalong" feel.

If anyone knows of any other songs that commit this dreadful crime, let me know! Off the top of my head I can think of two others:

Boston - More than a feeling
The Beatles - I Want to Hold Your Hand

Posted by Tim at 16:23 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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