the c & b diaspora

Hobo Dreams, part deux. (and trois)

Posted on: August 12, 2008

Well, it would appear that my most recent post attracted a little outside attention! It’s always nice to have new visitors. And if it is at all possible that my peculiar rambling has convinced you to come back again, I hope you enjoy your stay.

For the record, I shall share with you, the fact that the founder of King of Shaves, Mr. Will King, called my last article of writing ‘unusual’ and ‘well written’ and stated that he ‘enjoyed reading it’. This is awesome. You can see proof here. I’ll just take a second to allow you to tick the “endorsed by the founder of a major company” box on your good blog checklist.

This endorsement goes both ways too, I think King of Shaves products are the business. Hopefully you all back in New Zealand get to try the Azor soon too. While you wait, try some of their shaving oil. Shaving your face becomes a trance-like state as hair glides off your face like your patio furniture did in that recent storm. By recent, I now mean a few weeks ago. This particular piece of writing has been maturing in an oak barrel for at least a week. It will reach its peak in around 15-20 years, much like a bottle of Penfold’s Grange. Just so you know, I am not employed by King of Shaves, and any product endorsement contained within this work is not financially influenced in any way.

So in this update I think I shall cover a few topics. Firstly, the job front. Its annoying me now. I think I have applied at HMV about five times now, and I’m working under the theory that if I keep applying, they will be forced to give me a job because my CV is continuously cluttering their inbox. Plus, I have the habit of being a good employee, one that you should hire to do good work for your company. I have been informed by one of my flatmates of a less mainstream area of Manchester in which to work, an area that will probably be graced by my presence tomorrow. Shit, I’ll even work in a cafe. Am I really that unappealing that nobody wishes to hire me? I’m relatively unexciting on paper, I admit. But in person, I am strange and wonderful. I say that in complete modesty. Mildly tamed mane of brownish near-curliness, gargantuan lopsided ear holes, thick, dark, and well kept bearded face. Whats not to like? Perhaps I should mention my thick, masculine eyebrows just as a side note. Do you think that I should add these details to my CV? Please leave a comment.

Through reading other blogs, I have come to the conclusion that people like lists. Ranked lists of popular things in particular. Have you noticed things like the E channel constantly bombarding you with lists of whatever they deem to be hot that week? Who decides these lists? What relevance do they actually have to reality?

With that note, I will now share with you my list of things that I like this week. I’m not going to rank this list, because well, its stupid. Completely unrelated things that interest me should not be compared with each other, because it would then devalue said things. Think of this as more of a bulleted arrangement of various subjects, each with some value to my current state of being.

Number One:

The new Star Trek movie. I admit that I am actually more of a fan of Star Wars (the original films.) but this just seems so damn cool. It’s not a sequel, its a popular hollywood fad going around at the moment called a ‘re-imagining’. Long winded explanation with examples:

Its a fancy term for remake, but without the negative connotations.  Batman Begins, and its sequel, The Dark Knight are both a part of the current version of the Batman character. They completely ignore the four films that preceeded them from last century. (Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997)) I am glad of this, Batman & Robin is a complete and utter abomination. At least George Clooney redeemed himself. Ok, another example. The current version of Battlestar Galactica (which is above excellent) is a re-imagining of the original series. Its not cheesy, its dark and serious, fitting for our post-modern society. Even if you are not a fan of science fiction, at least check out the mini series, so it will get you hooked.

So back to Star Trek. What got me crazy about it was actually just seeing some posters. I’ve been following it for a while already, but sometimes all it takes to convince you is a picture. (Or in this case, eight pictures.) TrekMovie.com has them up on their site, so I wont go ahead an hotlink the images this time. Click this link to see posters of Kirk, Spock, Uhura and Nero, and click this link to see images of Sulu, Scotty, Chekov and McCoy. Ok, so you are an old-school Trek fan, and you think you will hate this. Here’s a list of reasons why you should check it out:

  • It’s directed by J.J. Abrams. Yes, him. The guy behind Lost, Alias, Cloverfield, and to a lesser extent, Mission Impossible III.
  • Simon Pegg. You’ve seen Shaun of the Dead? Then you should already be sold.
  • Zachary Quinto as Spock. He’s Sylar from Heroes. One of the few redeeming things about the second season.
  • That’s all I’ve got. I’m not working for the publicity department at Paramount.

If you were fan from way back, I bet the first thing popping into your head is “who the hell are these people and what right do they have to touch something so fantastic?” You have to remember that back in 1966, everyone in the series was not well known either. Nobody will ever replace William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius Kirk, that was set in stone a long time ago. Shit, he is still Kirk. Even when he is doing commercials for World of Warcraft, he is Kirk.

And for the record, the Shaman is the class I play in World of Warcraft.

I think that, if anything, the new movie will attract more people to the older incarnations of Star Trek. More people to argue whether Kirk or Picard was better.

One would have thought that the whole list idea implied a concise, short article. Wrong. This blog is exciting, and blowing apart your narrow minded misconceptions about articles containing lists. This isnt a study guide, this is the whole enchilada.

Section B:

I’ve been expanding my musical interests both horizontally and vertically lately, and I thought that I would share some of the fruits of my labour with you. Admittedly, the band in question is not new to my collection, and the album is not that new either… It was released about four months ago. But, to make my first and second sentences not contradict each other, I’ll explain that my affection for this particular album was invigorated by the newer additions to my collection. So, Torche – Meanderthal. I’ll start with the packaging of this particular release. As a collector of vinyl items, I shall refer to this, instead of the inferior (although still awesome) compact disc release. I’m gonna insert some photos here, courtesy of the cool information source that is DeadFormat.net

Actually, you know what, I am just going to link to the pressing information that they have on there, because WordPress’ method and functionality of inserting images into this post is ridiculous and stupid. I want three images in one section, all horizontally aligned with each other. Apparently, this isnt possible in today’s technologically advanced world. So here, click this and visit the photos page. Make sure you check out the packaging, its awesome.

‘So Chris, is the music they play as awesome as the album packaging?’ This is the question on your lips. The answer is a resounding yes. The amount of press that they have been getting has recently been increasing, given the quality of this album, and perhaps even due to the almost radio friendly nature of some of the tracks. A lot of stuff I’ve been reading describes them as ‘stoner-pop’ or contains the terms ‘crushing’ or ‘thundering’. Shit, while looking for examples I just found ‘doom pop’ and ‘thunder rock’. As much as I hate band hype blurbs, gimmicks, and unneccessary shit like that for music that already speaks worlds, some of it is actually true. Sorta. A few years ago, when nu-metal bands were seemingly cool and popular, the rage was for bands to be described as ‘without a genre’ in a sense. That their sound was somehow so good, that it was beyond something so confining as ‘rock’, or ‘my parents are mean to me’. I think now, bands are taking the next step beyond that and giving birth to their own genres. There is all sorts of ridiculous shit out there now. Deathcore, ElectroGrind, and Emotronic are just some of the things kids are listening to these days. I can imagine bands sitting down and talking about it:

“Hey man, so like, what sort of music shall we play dude?”

“Bro I was thinking, like, Brutal Darkened Eskimo House”

“Thats good dude, like I was thinking Swedish Grinding Operatic Death Folk, but yours is sweet.”

Shit. I get so off track sometimes with these elaborate descriptions and scenarios.

I was reading a review that offered an insight into the sound of Torche:

“Two words: “Bomb String.” While other bands tune to dropped D or even C or lower, Miami quartet Torche take things a step further, tuning the low string of their guitars so slack that the sound emitted isn’t even a discernible note. The bomb string’s din can best be likened to the infamous ‘brown note’.” – Crustcake, 2007. [See brown note here]

Their actual sound is quite interesting. The qualities of the genres that they seemingly fit into are often not what they sound like at all… Tradtionally Stoner based and sludge/doom based bands play slower paced songs, the latter with an emphasis on thicker sounding notes and lyrics with a ‘darker’ nature.  Obviously these guys listened to a bit of Black Sabbath in their younger days, but also more recent bands like Neurosis, The Melvins and Kyuss. They seem to get compared to Queens of the Stone Age a lot, most probably because that is the closest mainstream band that is similar. The music is fast, yet sometimes slow, but heavy, and loud, but the vocals are often harmonic and pleasing to the ear. The juxtaposition of these sounds is a strange, yet brilliant combination.

I hope that they continue to release such quality work. You can listen to samples and read up on the band here.

In the immortal words of my friend and former colleague, Justin Lewis,

So stoney bro.

This leads me on to my next point, which I will call

Chapter the Third:

I was doing a little research for the things I wrote above and managed to come across this article from the Miami Times. Given Torche is a band from Miami, I might be one to cut them a little slack, but is this what passes for an item of journalism these days? Its almost a blog on a blog. The particular article is basically just reporting on the Pitchfork review of the Torche album I discussed earlier. See here. Pitchfork is renowned for being quite pretentious and, just like the Miami Times article does, criticised for favouring particular obscure genres, or reflecting a ‘hipster’ attitude. Shit, I don’t care.

I much prefer reading an overly pretentious review of a band who’s name I can’t even pronounce than reading what is essentially a regurgitation of said unpronounceable band’s album review.

So Pitchfork reviewed ↓↕↘ff≈√∞ʵ‰’s new album, (which is thankfully self titled.) and they gave it a 6.6. We disagree, especially since they gave €⁾⁸℮⅙Ș (their previous work) a 7.6.

The End.

Do you think I could make it as a journalist writing like that?

So, given that Blogging is now a mainstream thing, and everyone can do it, even if it is just airing all your family’s problems on the Trademe messageboard, the New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz (which is often rife with spelling mistakes and other stupid errors (See here.) features blogs written by various people. I caught this wee video on one writers ‘Hit List’: (Thus revealing the motives behind my own list of things.)

I’m a little curious, and I love the pretentious way that he pronounces his name. Yes, its Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords and Eagle vs. Shark. Apparently its a new film from the makers of Napoleon Dynamite. Oh yeah.

I think that will be all for now. Gentlemen, continue to not shave, Ladies, continue to love beards.

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