Google Reader

I tried Google Reader a while ago but it seemed a bit… clunky. Now, thanks to orangeacid spotting a rather nasty php error via it, I’ve got to know the handy RSS aggregator.

It’s much improved, both graphically and in ease of use. There are a lot of blogs I like to keep up with but who don’t update that often (hello Robbie!). Sticking them all into Google Reader means I don’t miss new posts if I get bored of checking a seemingly frozen page.

The other nice little touch is that you can share fave blog items and then Reader makes a new page of your articles. Yep, it’s a blog about blogs, a metablog. Click here to see what I’ve been reading lately. Or you can click direct to an article via the little green widget on the right.

Smells Like Team Spirit

Team Spirit!

(This post is probably of minimal interest if you’ve never been in a band)

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came
and those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball
(Janis Ian, ‘At Seventeen‘)

There is grand tradition of manichaean myth when it comes to our schooldays. It’s most expressed in countless US teen films where the plot reliably treads the old geeks versus jocks road. When I were a lad, we didn’t use that kind of slang. A jock was a Scot for a start. I guess swots or spods versus sporty types was our version.

Traditionally, most musicians have come from the spod / geek side of that divide. We’re usually the fat / ugly / spotty / asthmatic / loser / weirdo / brainiac kids. We end up writing songs about the girls / boys we couldn’t get. We feel outcast and marginalised and so a lot of us end up writing songs like ‘Popular‘ and developing a lifelong antipathy to those remembered sporty types.

I’m head of the class
I’m popular
I’m a quarter back
I’m popular
My mom says I’m a catch
I’m popular
I’m never last picked
I got a cheerleader chick
(Nada Surf, ‘Popular‘)

And yet…

What is a band but a team? It’s our little team, no different to the teams of footie kids or rugger buggers. We think we’re more individual and free-thinking but we’re no different.

If you start thinking of a band as a football team instead of some kind of fantasy anarchist enclave, a lot of the problems bands have become easily revealed and resolved. Issues of authorship, authority, responsibility, laziness all fall into place.

I know for a lot of musicians reading this, the last thing they want is to think of themselves as a jock / sporty type. But a think about it, think of all the bands you’ve been in. Think of the feeling of elation, total happiness you’ve had after playing a great gig. Isn’t that the same feeling someone has after scoring a goal?

Okay, now I’ve got that one past you, how about my other band theory: being in a band is like going out with (n-1) people at the same time? (n=number of people in the band.)

Too soon?

Bleak House

Kevin Perry

The other day, I watched Kevin And Perry Go Large. It was like some kind of vintage newsreel of flappers doing the Charleston. All that shitty mainstream dance culture – did it ever happen? What were people thinking? Just how much terrible music can you blame on Ecstasy?

And now, on telly, we have Ibiza Rocks, courtesy of Manumission. With Zane Lowe. Yes, Zane Lowe.

I find it hilarious that people who ten years ago would have been dead-eyed, coke-snorting dance fuckheads now have to get NME haircuts and pretend they like guitar rock.

It wasn’t about the music back then and it isn’t now. They simply go where the money is.