Dance Music Triple
Nov19

Dance Music Triple

This week Spotify shuffled up some tunes for me as part of its regular Discover Weekly and one song in particular just sent shockwaves through my head as it tumbled through the headphones; that was Hey Music Lover by S’Express, a song I’d not heard since it probably charted in the very late 1980s and which I can only assume I didn’t really care for at the time. My music tastes towards the end of college and prior to university were eclectic but dance and pop weren’t really in the mix. However, listening to it again, decades later… The passage of time clearly affects appreciation for things in the old days. Sometimes it’s bad – old wankers and idiots who’ve never studied history (or probably much at all) voting the country back into a poorer, more oppressive era, for instance – but sometimes, like now, it’s wonderful. S’Express led to a bit of a musical journey through other dance and acid and house tracks this week and here are...

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Diary Of A Portsmouth Freedom Fighter
Nov17

Diary Of A Portsmouth Freedom Fighter

Day One And there it is. The notification. That cold-blooded figurehead that quietly slithered into the top spot in the country got her way. She wants what a lot of people want; she wants to keep them out and throw some of them already in out too. And she wants to monitor everything. She’s clearly unhinged, totally unsuitable to represent the huge variety of people. A lot of people – stupid people, naturally, because this is my narrative – want what she wants as well, but not the majority, and definitely not the “very clear” majority she insisted and insisted made her Ice Empress of the Free World. Do you want to leave the European Union? That was the question. I don’t remember it asking if we wanted to be led into darkness by an entity crafted from vengeance but there’s always small print somewhere in those documents. In a pie chart you could barely make out the difference that very clear majority of people who could be bothered to vote selected and we’re not supposed to include the non-voters so there you have it. The country barely wanted to be free of beneficial meddling and now we’re getting free. And the people in my city apparently wanted to be free of beneficial meddling too and so I’ve decided I’m going to help them. I love this city and I hate its people. Do you know Portsmouth? It’s a city on an island. Three road routes on and a few foot-bridges plus a rail line. After that the only way on or off is by water. There’s a naval dock and a commercial port but the water’s shallow so the size of vessels is limited. We’ve got some ferry services to the Isle of Wight off the south coast and to Gosport to our west. What I’m trying to say here is that to isolate my city, to free it from any of that horribly useful interference from outside influences, you don’t really need to do much at all. I commute to and from work by car and it takes me on and off the island every single working day. I’ve seen what happens when there’s an accident on one of those three road routes, mostly because it’s almost a daily occurrence. Hell, everyone in Portsmouth has seen what happens. Stationary chaos. Thousands of metal, motorised marvels idling away with increasingly stressed humans idling away inside them. The vehicles start diverting from their preferred route and quickly overload the second route and then the third. Everything slows, even more than normal. Those traffic maps start filling with deepening red....

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The Women Of Kilobaud Computing
Sep26

The Women Of Kilobaud Computing

Computer programming is seen as a mainly male profession which can probably be attributed to the rise in home computers in the early-to-mid 1980s that were then marketed almost exclusively for boys. I can remember lusting after a Sinclair ZX Spectrum as soon as I saw one in operation and I know that all of my male friends ended up getting a computer of some sort within the first few years of that decade; female friends and relations, though… not a clue. However, prior to the most recent 30 year period computer programming was certainly more equal, if not heavily leaning towards women in the industry. To illustrate this – and just because they’re so full of retro gorgeousness I can’t resist them – here are some covers from Kilobaud Microcomputing...

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Video Smorgasbord
Aug29

Video Smorgasbord

And now for a selection of videos I’ve been watching recently, partly to show the sorts of things that interest me, mostly to put something on the site since it’s been bloody ages and I really have no excuse other than bone-idleness. Insert annual “I really must post more often” statement of intent here. First up is my favourite episode from season two of The Katering Show, the only food-based series you ever need to see on the internet. Hosted by Australian comedians Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, a food intolerant and intolerable foodie respectively, this episode – The Cook and The Kates – sees the pair channel their inner Maggie Beer (Australian chef/presenter/something) to appeal to a wider audience and attain an inner calm missing in their lives. I look like laundry. Yes, I feel like a wealthy ghost. Watch to find out why there are so many lemons. The second video is one for fans of The Prisoner who want to know where the inspiration came from. The answer is that it came from an episode of Danger Man called Colony Three. The ending of this episode is really quite dark. Finally, a bit of music that I discovered as the album version formed the background audio to a tutorial on painting weapons for steampunk (I’m going to a fancy dress later this year and I need all the help I can get). This video, though, is a live performance of the track This City Means No Love by J.Viewz featuring vocals by Noa Lembersky. It’s just such a great song performed and sung so well, and a real...

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Floral Photography Of Emi Nakajima
Jul30

Floral Photography Of Emi Nakajima

Someone I follow on Google+ and whose photography always fills me with joy is Emi Nakajima. Her photographs of flowers have such a fabulous, tranquil feel to them; a dream-like quality that comes from the very shallow depth of field and gorgeously smooth background and colours. And while I don’t usually like people watermarking their own photos there’s something about the wording of her name across each image that makes you believe each picture could be a book cover. A small sample of some of her wonderfulo photos is below. If you ever need to ease off the stresses of daily life you could do a lot worse than scroll through Emi Nakajima’s...

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Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film
Jul09

Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film

Graham Weevilface is not a name that’s particularly well-known these days but in the mid 1970s he was one of the leading producers of public information films on behalf of the British government. He was a recipient of numerous awards for films such as Danger! Slow Worm! and Chalk Cliffs: White Trauma but it’s his 1976 classic Say No To Toddlers that arguably had the most impact on a British public on the cusp of emerging from the darkness of high unemployment and unending energy crises into a brave new world of European integration and booming prosperity. A massive sense of relief following World War II, the rise of promiscuity in the 1960s, and long, dark nights with nothing better to do in the early 1970s led to a state of what was described in government documentation at the time as “too many blasted babies” and so a number of programmes were accelerated in order to reduce the birth rate in the British Isles. Alongside adding bromide to the water supply and inventing a new craze called “aerobics” that was designed to tire people out making sex less likely the services of Weevilface were sought out and in very short order he was able to produce the following classic film clip. Shown in cinemas and on television – particularly before and after schools and colleges programmes as children were most open to the message within – Say No To Toddlers was initially received with the kind of stupefying horror associated with all British public information films; the creepy music and stark voiceover messages were requirements of government-sanctioned movies but Weevilface excelled in the craft. However, in follow-up interviews with childless men and women during the 1980s and early 1990s it’s this specific film warning the dangers that toddlers and children possess that most often came out with a sense of warmth; many interviewees claimed that had it not been for the consideration of the British government they might have inadvertently unleashed swarms of adult-killing, car-stealing babies into the general...

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