Monthly Archives: January 2006

On Plymouth Argyle

Oh yes, sweet, sweet justice. 2-1 defeat of Southampton. Paul Wotton is my new hero. After Southamptons 70th minute equaliser I was, I admit, expecting the inevitable draw. That puts us above Southampton by 3 points, still with a game in hand over most teams. 3 wins in a row. Tony Pulis has earned our confidence :-) Welcome to the middle of the table Argyle – finally we’ve been waiting all season to get out of that danger zone. 2 more wins we’ll be a top 10 team. I like the way commentators are currently describing us as ‘in form’. Yay!

And in business news..

I don’t tend to read much business oriented stuff, on the grounds that I don’t have enough money to invest, and I’m a long haired hippy academian anyway. Corporate stupidity however, I can read that kind of stuff all day long.

So thankyou CNNmoney.com for its 101 Dumbest Moments in Business – 2005’s shenanigans, skulduggery and just plain stupidity.

Who could forget such wonderful copy as: “It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell.” – courtesy of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, whose ad in the National Journal depicts the CV-22 Osprey in an assault on a mosque.

or how about Burger King? On launching an ad campaign for its new Chicken Fries it featured a faux heavy-metal band called CoqRoq. Coqroq.com initially features photos of female fans captioned “Groupies love the Coq.” After the captions are removed, Burger King spokeswoman Edna Johnson tells Advertising Age that they were written and assigned randomly by computer software that has since been disabled.

Yeah right! Some funny stuff in there if you like taking a chuckle or two at the unquestionably shady and stupid world most companies inhabit.

Changing views of Newcastle?

I’ve noticed recently, whenever Newcastle is mentioned on the news, the ‘traditional’ shot of the Tyne is now a shot of the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, the Baltic and the Sage Gateshead. In fact barely any of Newcastle is seen, the view is mainly of the development of the south side of the river. As I rather like Gateshead, this makes me smirk a little bit. Yes you all talk of Newcastle, but we in Gateshead have the best concert venue, the best art gallery and the best shopping centre. If only we had the best restaurants and bars, I’d only ever need to go north of the river to work….

Arctic Monkeys

So I’ve been waiting for the Arctic Monkeys album for a little while now seeing as their everpresent press coverage has been leading nicely up to the album launch. Bowing to little peer pressure I sampled the album today on the way to and from work on the trusty ‘pod.

So is it any good?

Yeah, they’re pretty damn good actually. Suddenly you can see that the fuss around them is somewhat deserved, but I wonder why they are so popular. The sound, vocally typifies what I love about British music – self-deprecating, observant, rather downbeat, but the AM’s play it with a little bit of hope. You can trace the sound and the sentiment back as far as you like, in certain sections echoes of early Radiohead are apparent, some very Pulp like twists are in there, and there’s still a bit of Smiths in there for good measure – but backed up by rather frisky, sometimes punk-like guitaring.

And I think this is why they stand out. This is not an album dripping in studio production values. The amped guitars do actually sound more like what you expect from a gig rather than what you get in a studio. The effects are used sparingly, they sound quite vintage, a little overdrive here and little crunched distortion there. They sound like a great live band.

There’s not a single duff song on the album, and I rather like this trend – not many artists can pull it off, Kaiser Chiefs did rather well with their debut album (but sound desparately overproduced compared to this), I am Kloot never put a foot wrong (even with 3 albums).. but the whole album has that wealth of personal experience of the band draped over it. I do wonder how long it can last. If all this has come out in the first album – and then you’re propelled to stardom – what on earth do you put out next?

Of course they’re touring now, and one rather wishes he had gone to see them before they hit the big time, but whilst we all still knew about them. Their gig in Newcastle is at the Carling Academy on Sunday. Needless to say, long since sold out.

Great album, can’t wait to give it some repeated listening.

Congratulations Nic

Well Nic completed his crazy desert challenge (See Link exchange post a couple below). Apparently he ran at least 22km of the run with a sprained ankle…

Clearly this new found lease of ultra-determination has now led him to sign up for the Reading half-marathon and 100 mile off road mountain biking event!

I suspect this will not be the last of his adventures now he has a taste for the adrenaline junky lifestyle ;)

MSN conversation gone wrong

A short discussion between Chris and I has just taken place:

Dan says:
thats 10″ bigger than mine
Item 54… says:
but look how BIG it is!
Dan says:
and mines huge
Item 54… says:
it’s so BIIIIIG!
Dan says:
id love to have dual head on that…

You’d just never believe we were talking about a monitor

Link exchange ;)

Having noticed Nic signing up to post comments here, I thought I’d better plug his blog..

He’s been training to do a Saharan run/cycle for The Princes Trust charity, but it appears he’s had to transfer to a later challenge owing to.. well you can read for yourself…

http://nicsaharatraining.blogspot.com

For the record Nic is everyone’s favourite French expat. The most quintessentially English foreigner you will meet. I still can’t get the idea that he now runs half marathons into my head though..

The way we wore – A life in threads (Robert Elms)

Ah yes, Christmas – the only time I seem to get books these days and actually have the time to read them.

Anyway I first came across this book as I’m pretty sure it was serialised on Radio 4. Consequently it was then reviewed in The Chap. With endorsements like that how could I refuse?

The book is a sartorial autobiography of Elms, from Notting Hill street urchin to writer for Face magazine and general trendsetter. Certainly if you’ve ever had an interest in the evolution of fashion trends of the 70’s and 80’s this is a wonderful exploration, the sartorial detail certainly edging towards Patrick Batemanesque at times. It’s quite clear that Elms moved in eventually quite influential groups who went on to lead the 80’s avant garde of music, journalism and fashion.

From a personal perspective (not particularly smartly dressed) it was interesting to see how fashions became mainstream, and also how some of the heinous fashion crimes hoisted on me as a small boy by my parents came to be. It’s also fascinating to see where the ‘must have’ labels that arrived with the Casuals now sit in the pecking order of modern day fashion.

I loved this book, so much so that all I really have to do is offer a couple of mild complaints. Firstly there is no coverage of Goth – an enduring fashion (although mauled by todays Emo brethren) is dismissed out of hand as a spin off of New Romanticism and not explored further. The second complaint is that it ends in the mid-1980s. It’s clear that at this point Elms considers himself too old to be keeping up with youth culture – his entry to a mid 80’s rave in 3 piece suit to find a roomfull of sweaty, gurning, loved up kids dancing to house really highlighting this, he then dismisses everything subsequently out of hand. To an extent the commercialisation and high street availability of fashionable clothes has made fashion more meritocratic – this I can agree with, it doesn’t mean fashion is forgotten about. For someone as obsessed with details as Elms is, the devil really *is* in the details these days. Those £20 jeans may look like £120 jeans, but they aren’t – and the label still rules. Fashions, especially youth fashions, are still there – endlessly recycling looks from the last 4 decades much like Elms himself was doing.

Dance music culture and fashion has been and gone, watered down and farmed out to the masses as every trend is and Elms too acknowledges, but adherents of the more esoteric forms still exist, still produce, still play, still dance even now as the mainstream fills back up with lanky, pouting, skinny frontmen with angsty lyrics and teenage girls walk round the street proud in their Converse trainers, tight black jeans and 80’s revivalist haircuts.

We all know what the greatest fashion crime is anyway – and thats not baggy t-shirts and cargo pants as Elms seems to think, but sportswear – worn as casual wear, yes the tracksuit. Something bequeathed to fashion by those very people Elms admires so much, the die-hard football fan.

Great book, riveting, fascinating, informative!