29 July 2009

An Experiment in Bacon

Back in February, I made a brief comment about Spotify in which I said:
Not sure what to make of Spotify yet. I tend to like music applications that present me with random stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise known about. From what I can tell, it doesn't do that. But then I haven't read the instructions for it yet, so maybe I'm talking arse.
I still haven't figured out if Spotify can pluck random music from the ether and pipe it directly into ones delightfully-formed ear-caverns, but I have discovered a rather interesting and neat work-around.

In the second podcast from the excellent Piley (if you haven't checked out his site yet, do so now) he briefly floats the concept of a bacon-themed podcast. Intrigued by the idea, I immediately Googled bacon-related lyrics and found a significant number of songs.

Then, however, it struck me that Spotify might be a better resource for searching out bacon music. A few clicks and keystrokes later, I had a huge list of bacon songs on the screen in front of me.

Rather than just paste the whole lot into a single playlist, I painstakingly listened to each song and, if it grabbed my attention within the first 20 seconds, it made the list.

The result, dear readers, is my Bacon Playlist - hopefully, an interesting diversion containing an eclectic selection of music. Consider it a delicious, bacony amuse bouche.

Install Spotify if you don't already have it (it's free) then open the playlist up. Please note, however, that for some strange reason it doesn't work in Firefox.

For those with an interest in the minutia, here's the track listing:

Bacon Fat - Taj Mahal
Babyskin & Bacon - The Bandit
Blackened Bacon - Neal Schon
Bringing Home The Bacon - Procul Harum
Sweet Bacon - Julien Covey
The Bacon Bunch - Bill Frisell
Bob's Bacon Barn - The Japonize Elephants
Making Bacon - The Pork Dukes
Bacon - Mary Liz McNamara
Bob's Bacon Barn Train #2 - The Japonize Elephants
Bacon Martini - Whiskey Daredevils
Danish Bacon Baby - Instant Sunshine
Bringing Home The Bacon - Porter Wagoner
Bacon & Eggs - Beatnik Turtle
Fake Bacon & Electronic Music Hot Line - Negativland
We Don't Want The Bacon, What We Want Is A Piece Of The Rhine - Ben Lessey

So, the lesson we have learnt today is as follows:

To randomise Spotify in an interesting and entertaining fashion, enter whatever search term jumps into your head and just pick your way through the list. Huge fun, and it doesn't cost a penny. You may thank me later for my delightfully altruistic gesture.

26 July 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3

This is a test. Please ignore it. Normal service (i.e. no posts for weeks, then several all at once) will be resumed shortly.

EDIT: I was testing the excellent sharing website 'Divshare'. Amazingly, it worked, so there may be music and videos and joys of that nature in future blog posts.

Oh, and the first person to correctly identify the film from which that music hails wins a special prize.

14 July 2009

The Downward Spiral

I rarely watch terrestrial television.

Generally speaking, it's a terrible mish-mash of pointless, putrid, lowest-common-denominator programming which does nothing but give malteser-munching sofa-cattle something to look at while they silently creep, slack-jawed, towards an inevitable heart attack / bowel cancer related death.

There are, of course, exceptions. I'm a sucker for Dr. Who, and anything with Charlie Brooker in it is well worth a look. For some reason, I identify with his caustic brand of hatred and disdain. In fact, I'd venture that they're probably my favourite two emotions after extreme rage, scathing bitterness and schadenfreude.

Brooker's new show 'You Have Been Watching' was on this evening at ten, so I wandered into the living room, blew the dust off the remote control and put the TV on. Unfortunately, I was several minutes early and had to endure the closing moments of Big Brother.

Some sort of Wolverine lookalike was laying next to an instantly forgettable, generic brunette, engaging in a vigorous bout of 'personality-jousting', each vying to be the most memorable and/or important. Moments later, I discovered that four people are up for eviction, one of whom is inexplicably and ridiculously called 'Dogface'.

Apart from instantly flickering into my usual state of intense irritation, I was suddenly and astoundingly jolted into a rare moment of sadness as I realised just how much Channel 4 has become a shadow of its former self.

Way back in 1982 when the station went live, it was a breakthrough in British television. It had an impressive record providing programming on the performing arts, and made a significant contribution to film. Indeed, I seem to remember such highlights as Alejander Jodorowsky's 'El Topo', various works by The Brothers Quay (usually co-funded by Channel 4) and a host of other amazing programmes and movies. It was providing content that wasn't available elsewhere, and wasn't afraid to take risks.

Now, the jewels in Channel 4's crown are Big Brother, Embarrassing Teenage Bodies, and Hollyoaks. What the hell happened? Where are the challenging programmes? Where is the worthwhile content?

Sadly, it's all gone. Channel 4 has, in common with the other channels, become nothing but a combination of banal serials, carbon-copy reality TV, and cookie-cutter game shows.

Jan Svankmajer has been replaced by Brian Belo. Aki Kaurismaki is gone, Noel Edmonds has stepped up to the plate. Peter Greenaway has left the building, Chris Moyles has installed a beer cooler in his dressing room. The music of Michael Nyman and Philip Glass has been forgotten; instead we have Lily Allen being piped into the ironically-decorated lifts.

Yes, Channel 4 probably have more viewers as a result of their dumbing down, but I genuinely believe we're very much poorer for it.

9 July 2009

The Stupidity of Others, Part 1

This is the first in a long running series* wherein I will rant about people and how stupid or ignorant they are. Please note, they may not actually be particularly stupid or ignorant at all, but it makes me feel more intelligent by comparison, and I get to experience the vicarious thrill of anonymously belittling them.

*By 'long running' I mean that I'll do it a couple of times then lose interest and not bother anymore.



Today, at work, chatting to colleagues.

Me: So, what browser do you use at home?
Colleague: Just Google.
Me: Ah, Google Chrome, yes?
Colleague: No, just Google.
Me: You mean the Google home page?
Colleague: Yep.
Me: (after a pause) You don't know what a browser is, do you?
Colleague: No. No, I don't.

On this particular occasion, I don't think I need to elaborate further.


That Film

Colleague: I saw the fourth Indiana Jones film in HMV today. It was only a fiver. I think I might buy it.
Me: This conversation is over.

Quite how I stopped myself launching them out of the window at speed, I'll never know.

That film (I refuse to acknowledge it's name) is a hateful, pustulent, ill-conceived, badly-scripted, poorly-directed pile of shit. It angers me almost to the point of cardiac arrest just thinking about it. If you own a copy, go away immediately before I trace your IP address and pay you a brief but memorable visit.


How To Ruin A Joke

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone tells a joke in mixed company, hilarity ensues, and then one of the group suggests you repeat the joke you told them the other day?
Of course you have. Everyone has. It's a perfectly normal thing to happen.
You then proceed to tell the joke, everyone laughs loudly and is absolutely amazed at what a truly amusing and pleasant person you are, and what a wonderful time they're having in your excellent company.

Unfortunately, there is a particular breed of person who, for some strange, unknown reason, can only remember a joke by its punchline. In and of itself, not a terrible thing, I suppose. However, they take this minor character flaw and compound it by deciding to ask you to tell the joke by giving away the punchline.

Colleague: Dan, tell the Patrick Swayze joke.
Me: (pause) No.
Colleague: Go on, it's really funny.
Me: Not anymore it isn't.
Colleague: Eh?
Me: You have, in the depths of your stupidity, just announced the punchline. Everyone here is now aware of how the joke ends. They can see where it's heading before I even open my mouth. When I speak, all I will be doing is, effectively, explaining the journey to a destination that they've already reached. They will smile politely. There may be a nod of understanding or, more likely, a groan. What there won't be, however, is laughter. Now, perhaps I'm being unnecessarily anal about this, but my opinion is that the entire point of telling a joke is to elicit laughter. If no laughter comes, then I have failed spectacularly to achieve my goal. Do you understand now, why I'm not going to tell the joke?
Colleague: OK, tell the one about the nine-year old weiner.
Me: Boh.

(alright, most of the tail-end of that conversation never actually happened, but I think my point still stands)