On Monday, I took a deep breath and bought a Virus TI Polar.
I’ve had my eye on one for at least a year. I love the small size and the sonic creation and mangling possibilities. But I also held off buying because there’s been much talk about the Virus TIs being crashy and unreliable. In fact, when I tested one out in London a year ago, it crashed quite horribly.
But I decided to take the risk because there have been numerous software updates since then. Plus, I bought it from a local shop so if I have any problems with it, I can easily get it sorted.
So far, I’m hugely happy with the little beast. It’s very easy to program and sounds great, punchy basses and sharply transient percussion patches show the power of its DSPs. It’s a shame that it comes with such un-inspiring presets – they all head into the same cliched trancey territory that every contemporary synth seems to pitch at. Using a Virus TI to create generic trance patches is like using a Stradivarius to play the Birdie Song. It’d be cool to hear some IDM sounds going on there, or funk, hip hop – whatever. Soundsets that demonstrate the versatility of the synth.
I love the knobular aspect of the Polar, it means that you don’t have to dig into menus for everything, something that stymies my creativity on other synths. Just messing around today, I came up with some fantastically stupid sounds that I would find very hard to create on any other synth I own. I can easily see the Virus TI making its own unique space next to my other synths, digital and analogue.
Click the pic at the top for some shots I got earlier! 😀
Woohoo! Loads more people tonight and I even had some requests! It was a lovely, chilled vibe in Big Blue and everyone seemed to enjoy chatting, scoffing yummy food and hearing some new music! 😀
The Narrator (pic by Ryan Russell)
Tonight’s top new song was the spiffy ‘SurfJew’ by Chicago-based (but not bred) band, The Narrator. It’s classic American indiepop in the Yo La Tengo, Pavement-mould, all thrumming guitars, sprawling vocals and a mega-catchy singalong bit. Really, if you’ve ever liked any indierock ever, this song should be playing loudly near you this summer. But why take my lunatic word for it when you can have a listen for yourself by clicking here (don’t worry, the BPI/RIAA won’t get you, it’s from their website). The album that ‘SurfJew’ is taken from, ‘All That To The Wall’ is deffo going to be one of my top albums of 2007. It’s out now and you can buy it here and here! Go on! BUY IT!
The dapper tapper, Enrico Nicola Mancini
The best old track was ‘My Manne Shelly’ by Henry Mancini (and featuring the sublime Shelly Manne on drums, natch). It’s a laid back track with a great swing and some fantastic twiddly drum bits. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a Mancini nut as I grew up being enthralled by his soundtracks. He’s just a great composer, arranger and conductor. Check him out if you love soundtrack music but make sure you go further than ‘Breakfast At Tiffanys’ and the ‘Pink Panther.’ As great as those works were, that’s only scratching the surface of Mancini’s loveliness.
Note the crapped-up screen behind the hired-in one.
Last week was the grand switch-on of the new carbuncle er… lovely huge TV screen in Derby marketplace. I popped along and got a few shots of the majesty, click the pic above for the gallery.
When we turned up at the already drizzly venue, it was apparent we had a 100% surfeit of screens. So I asked a steward why there was a truck with a screen in front of our oil-rig surplus screen. He told me it was a “soft-launch.” When I asked for him to elaborate, he said, “The big one’s bust so they’ve hired this one in.”
A normal liver on the left, a cirrhotic liver on the right. Mmmm… tasty fibrosis!
Dispatches investigates the medical profession’s warnings of a liver disease time bomb by organising a unique experiment – using cutting edge technology not yet available on the NHS to test the health of people’s livers in London and Birmingham.
In all, 70 passers-by take up the opportunity to have the test – with shocking results that suggest the incidence of liver disease is even higher than doctors had feared.
Dr Rajiv Jalan, who supervises some of the testing is astonished by this snapshot of the liver health of the nation, saying: “I’m stunned. We are looking at an epidemic that’s going to face us in 15/20 years which the health service will find impossible to deal with.”
One doctor says: “We’re seeing more and more people who work in the City or work busy jobs who drink socially, with meetings, entertaining clients, come home in the evening, have half a bottle of wine or more just to relax after a busy day’s work. They’re not getting drunk, they’re not dependent, they have high-profile, high-powered jobs and yet they get liver disease.”
(Source: Channel 4 – Dispatches)
I’m watching this edition of Dispatches now. It all seems terribly familiar to me…
The journalist has just interviewed an industry spokesman, asking why the alcohol industry has lobbied against The Anderson Report, a comprehensive scientific study that recommended treating alcohol in the same way as we now treat smoking.
But the industry doesn’t want increased taxes, advertising bans, warnings on their drugs.
And this is where my deja-vu comes in. I’m reminded strongly of the tactics the tobacco industry used (and continues to use) to protect their peddling of cancer sticks.
There’s another industry PR cunt on now, rubbishing all the health warnings. I hope he can sleep soundly at night, knowing that his job is to help cause misery, disease and suffering for millions of people.
The startling thing about this programme is that it’s not pointing at the extreme drinkers, it’s singling out the people who have a few glasses of wine at the end of a long day. The “normal” drinkers. It’s these people that are the ticking time-bomb of future liver disease.
I got drunk when I was a kid, I enjoyed it for a while. But I gave up 25 years ago and I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. In truth, the only reason I started was peer pressure. Drinking itself is pointless and illogical. Moreover, if you need a drink to enjoy a night out, then that’s precisely the time you should stop. I’m amazed people spend so much money on getting habituated to a drug which is both enormously physically damaging and an obvious emotional crutch.
But I guess I would say all the above, being a loony, commie straight-edger, eh? 🙂
I’ll leave you with a few more loony facts:
Total Health Impact
* Alcohol is responsible for 7.4% of all ill-health and early death in the EU (after taking account of any benefits to health), which makes it the third most important cause behind tobacco and high blood pressure and ahead of factors like obesity, high cholesterol and illicit drugs.
* Alcohol is responsible for 115,000 deaths in people who die before the age of 70 (after taking into account any health benefits), and is the leading cause of death in young men in the EU.
* Alcohol is a cause of harm to others than the drinker, including some 60,000 underweight births, 5-9 million children living in families adversely affected by alcohol, 10,000 traffic deaths to people other than the driver, and 2,000 murders in the European Union each year.
(Source: Anderson Report)
Yaaaay! I haven’t DJed since last year and I’ve missed it! Now I’m DJing at Big Blue every Saturday, 8pm – 12. Last night was very quiet (only had a day’s notice to get the word out) but still great fun.
There’s so much fantastic new music I want to play, from loads of different genres. I’m hoping to play more non-English, non-rock music in the future and I made a little start last night with some German and French hip hop plus Swedish and Spanish indiepop.
The best new track this week was by the chaps above, The Fall Of Troy. ‘Problem!?’ is a fantastically ambitious track, starting off screamo-y hardcore but then morphing into what I can only describe as ultra hair-metal, complete with ridiculous soloing and falsetto vocals. It’s not often you hear a contemporary rock band this startling, this willing to fuck with genre conventions. ‘Problem!?’ is off TFOT’s new album, ‘Manipulator,’ and if you’ve ever liked anything shouty and heavy, I reckon you should give it a listen.
The best old track was ‘Machine Gun’ by The Commodores. This is the sound of a band at its peak, in terms of both composition and performance. There’s not one wasted note, everything clicks together to make one of the best instrumentals I’ve ever heard. And the beat! My god, if this song doesn’t make you want to boogie, you might want to check your pulse.
Click above to see some colouring in from Saturday…
And click Mr. Burgerman himself above to see a few pics from the last day, Sunday. I’ve also added a stitched panorama of the whole mural. You can’t really see much detail in the Flickr version but the finished pic was 30,000+ pixels wide so I haven’t uploaded that.
It’s there, though, as a record of the finished artwork.
Apparently, the mural is going to be left up, unprotected, until September. This seems a tad barmy to me: if you’ve paid an internationally-renowned artist to make some artwork, surely bunging a perspex box over the top of it wouldn’t be that un-warranted an expense?
It was wonderful being a small part of the creation of the mural, I had a lovely time colouring in my bit of sky and some orange. Derby city centre is currently a pretty horrible place to visit: endless roadworks, torn-up pavement everywhere and, hovering above all the chaos, the Evil Box of the new cinema, glowering at the citizens.
Jon’s mural was (and is) a little ray of sunshine in that leaden pall. Something positive and creative that brought a lot of ordinary Derby people together.
Can we have more of that and less of the fugly boxes, please?
So, Colin Powell, one of the chief architects of the bloodbath in Iraq wants Guantanamo closed? Is it because of five years of torture, kidnapping and illegal imprisonment, including that of children?
It’s because it makes America look bad.
Fuck the people held without trial after being whisked away from their homes on secret CIA flights, fuck their human rights, fuck the horror and humiliation. He doesn’t want people to think nasty things about the great American justice system!
Now, this is a man with his priorities and morals in order! Bravo, Colin! Yes, once the moral eyesore of Guantanamo is swept away and you carry on kidnapping and torturing innocents in other, dispersed prisons, that’ll make everything all better.
About 380 detainees are held at the prison, which was opened by the US government in 2002 to hold foreign terror suspects captured during the war against the Afghan Taleban and al-Qaeda.
A high-security facility at the Guantanamo US base in Cuba, it is not subject to normal US court rules.
The inmates, regarded as “enemy combatants”, are not given the same rights as prisoners-of-war.
Many countries have called for the camp to be closed.
UK prime Minister Tony Blair – a staunch ally of US President George W Bush – has called it an “anomaly” that should be dealt with “sooner or later”.
(Source: BBC News)
Ah yes, only Tony Blair, Britain’s self-appointed moral compass, could call a torture camp an “anomaly.”