Cats On Fire

Cats On Fire

I should be asleep now as it’s 4.18am.

But I’m still buzzing from playing keyboards for Cats On Fire this evening at their Nottingham gig. I only played on three songs but I had tremendous fun and it was an honour to play with one of the best current pop bands around.

Yep, you heard that right, not indie or indiepop (though they are both of things as well, of course) – Cats On Fire transcend genre to be simply a consummate pop band. I’ve you ever hummed along to ‘High Land, Hard Rain’ or ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.’ or ‘Eligible Bachelors’ or ‘Separations,’ then Cats On Fire are a band you need to hear. They come from that lineage: enormously catchy melodies coupled with beautiful lyrics, imagery you’ll remember the day after hearing a song.

Click the pic for a small gallery of the day

Bear in mind that I’m not saying I love them as I played a bit of synth for them, I wanted to play synth for them because I love them so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you haven’t already, please buy their debut album here and then you can be really smug about it in a couple of years when they’re famous. ๐Ÿ™‚

Australia: US Tribunal A Charade

David Hicks, kidnapped by the USA

The trial of Australian national David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay was a charade that served to corrode the rule of law, Australia’s top legal body has said.

The Law Council of Australia called government support for the US military tribunal process shameful.

In a report on the issue, the council drew a parallel with the case of detained Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef.

David Hicks was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and spent more than five years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

“There’s an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality to both these cases – ‘First the sentence, then the verdict’,” [Australian Law Council President] Mr Bugg said.

“Mr Hicks and Mr Haneef both know what that feels like,” he said.
(Source: BBC News)

Think of how much the world, how public opinion was so behind the USA after the disgusting 9/11 attacks. We were all shocked and horribly disturbed by those murders – it all felt terribly unreal and yet it was happening.

Now, only six years later, the US government has managed to take the huge groundswell of international support post-9/11 and convert it into a barrage of antipathy, distrust and outright hostility. With their gulag in Guantanamo, their killing of 655,000+ Iraqis, the vastly botched occupation of Iraq, only insane Republicans would now claim that Bush and co. have been doing a sterling job. It’s been a disaster.

David Hicks was caught in the USA’s madness. He was held with no charges whatsoever, no evidence, no due legal process. He was kidnapped.

For more than five years.

I can’t even begin to think myself into his position. You’re held by a country that you know supports torture, that you know has no regard whatsoever for international law. That, in fact, laughs at the Geneva Conventions and considers them quaint.

If this had been the other way round…

Imagine if North Korea had decided that a British or American citizen was a counter-revolutionary. Imagine if they’d held him or her for five years in a prison well-known for torture.

What would the international outcry have been like then? Every country would have rushed to shout their condemnation.

But when the USA acts in a totally immoral, evil fashion… we hear nothing. An abomination like Guantanamo can go un-mentioned, conveniently forgotten by our politicians. Let’s not talk about that, eh, frightful business but we can’t fall-out with the Americans, can we?

The fact that the Australian Law Council has now condemned the USA’s actions is a first, tiny step.

Perhaps it’s time our shiny, new Prime Minister spoke out against the horror of Guantanamo.

Or is horror only bad when our enemies commit it?

US Government Sued By War Veterans

Veterans Sue US Government

A coalition of US military veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is suing the US government.

The class-action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans claims they have been denied disability pay and mental health treatment.

The legal case against the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) seeks widespread changes in the agency.

It says the DVA has deliberately cheated some traumatised war veterans out of benefits owed to them.
(Source: BBC News)

Behind all the bullshit jingoistic rhetoric lies this simple truth: the US government will happily send you off to die or be maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan but it won’t give a damn about you if you make it home. In fact, it’ll try to cheat you out of your due benefits.

Honestly, how bad must the situation be for veterans if they have to resort to bringing suit against the government?

De Menezes – “Two Years, No Justice”

de Menezes, murdered by the police

The second anniversary of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is to be marked by a ceremony on Sunday.

The Brazilian was shot dead at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005 by police who had mistakenly identified him as a suicide bomber.

On Friday night an image of the Brazilian – accompanied by the words “Two Years, No Justice” – was beamed on to the side of the Houses of Parliament.
(Source: BBC News)

Of course, it might have helped if the Met hadn’t promoted one of the people responsible for de Menezes’ murder. But that’s British justice for you. Remember how they tried to cover up their crime:

Police officers are facing criminal charges over allegations that they tampered with evidence after shooting dead an innocent Brazilian at a London Underground station, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Police surveillance officers allegedly tried to disguise the fact that they had mistaken Mr de Menezes for Hussain Osman, the alleged terrorist being hunted for a failed suicide bombing on the Tube.
(Source: The Independent)

And this is the same Met that now wants to bring in internment: they want to be be able to arrest anyone with no evidence whatsoever and hold them for as long as they want, years if they feel like it. They need to do this because of the WAR ON TERROR! All of this is to save us from the evil terrorists who want to steal our freedom and murder us.

I suppose if the police steal our freedom and murder us like they did de Menezes, that at least cuts out the middle-man. It’s more efficient, innit?

Based on their recent track record, would you trust the British police?

Big Blue Playlist 21/7/07

Phew! I though it’d be dead tonight because of the crappy weather but it was actually quite busy for a bit. And I had loads of requests! Eagle-eyed readers may notice that I even played Au Revoir Simone twice tonight as it was a happy/sad special occasion.


The best new track tonight was ‘Finer Feelings’ by Spoon. It’s from their new album, ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga,’ and it’s one of the finest pieces of guitar pop I’ve heard this year. I’ve played it every week since I started DJing again and it’s a real grower. Spoon have this knack of making tracks seem spacious and yet cramming loads of melodic, twiddly flourishes into them. Good to see a lovely album like their newie cracking the proper US charts!

The Emotions

The best old track was The Emotions‘ ‘Best Of My Love.’ I mean, come on – who doesn’t like this track? The beat, the melody, the lyrics, the harmonies, that “Owww” that De La Soul sampled… Pop perfection!

Tonight you heard:

Shinobu Tanaka, Kenta Nagata – Baby Park
Alaska y Los Pegamoides – El Hospital
OMC – Right On
Au Revoir Simone – Backyards Of Our Neighbours
Birdseye Beefburgers
Golden – It Ain’t Me
Loudon Wainwright III – Hitting You
Phoenix – Run Run Run
Saves the Day – Freakish
Coleco Music – She Appears To Be Offline
B-Tight – Zack! Zack! (Berlin)
Andrew Bird – Skin Is, My
Ulrich Schnauss – On My Own
Southerly – Soldiers
Copperpot – Demo (Feat Braintax)
The Shins – New Slang
Tomorrow’s World Theme
Sea Wolf – You’re A Wolf
Tigrics – Your Skirt, My Rhythms Seemed Like Future
Jonathan Richman – Fender Stratocaster
Akhenaton feat. La Fonky Family – Bad Boys De Marseille (Part 2)
Refused – Rather Be Dead
La Casa Azul – Cambia Tu Vida
Wes Montgomery – Four On Six
Ben Folds Five – Battle Of Who Could Care Less
Dyme Def – Getdown
Lusine – Still Frame (Lusine Remix)
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – The Ghost
Favorite – 16 Bars
Stray Cats – Runaway Boys
Matthew Rozeik – Five Easy Steps
The Emotions – Best Of My Love
The Fall of Troy – Ex-Creations
The Upstarts – Got What It Takes
mclusky – Rice Is Nice
Aberfeldy – Summer’s Gone
John Barry – Amicalement Votre (Theme)
Digitalism – Zdarlight
Spoon – Finer Feelings
Hieroglyphics – You Never Know (Domino Remix)
My Bloody Valentine – Sueisfine
Boards of Canada – Sequoia
The Blood Brothers – Vital Beach
Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken
Access Immortal – Acc The Villain
Motocade – State And Maine
Seven Ark – Sixteen
Holy Roman Empire – Action Figures
Cats on fire – Higher Grounds (New)
IAM – Revoir Un Printemps
Lamb of God – Purified
The Narrator – Surfjew
of Montreal – Gronlandic Edit
Milanese – So Malleable Cold Mix)
Converge – Black Cloud
Chester P – The Wickerman Theory
Roy Budd – Main Theme – Carter Takes A Train
Au Revoir Simone – Sad Song
The Mary Onettes – Void
OOO – Chakra Alignment
The Unicorns – Tuff Ghost
Henry Mancini – A Shot In The Dark
bis – Shack Up
Deerhoof – +81
I Am The Ocean – Scribble Jack
Louis Jordan – Choo-Choo-Ch’ Boogie
Dilated Peoples – The Platform
David Sugar – Sketch #1
The Delgados – Everybody Come Down
Minor Threat – Filler
Biffy Clyro – Saturday Superhouse
Venetian Snares – Masodik Galamb (Pigeon)
Yo La Tengo – Speeding Motorcycle
De La Soul – Eye Know [The Know It All Mix] Mr. 76ix – Sex Myself
Brian Eno – Needles In The Camel’s Eye
The Boo Radleys – Lazarus
Echo & the Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
Randy Newman – Ragtime

Rambling In The Morning

Fruicy Juit
9 out of 10 Cortinas prefer the flavour of Juicy Fruit

Well, it’s 5.38 and I don’t think I’m going to get any sleep tonight. Er… last night. Yesterday. Today?

I seem to have come over a bit asthma-y wheezy. It’s not bad, just enough to have completely stopped me sleeping. I was dog-tired around 3am but didn’t drift off because I couldn’t relax: I had to consciously breathe. My lungs sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies.

There’s no particular point to this post apart from giving me something to do while I wait for the day to start properly. Looks like it’s going to be grey and rainy. But while I’m here…

We were talking about how kids take things literally. I remember being that age. In some ways the world was more magical because of my literalist misunderstandings. For example: every time we went on a family trip when I was little, my Dad would stop at a garage and say, “I’m going to get some chewing gum for the car.”

Even now, whenever I see a packet of Juicy Fruit, I think of it as being the gum that cars like to chew.

Red Spider Mite
Hello, I’m a red spider mite. I’m not in your blood, I prefer housebricks and tasty plants

I also used to study tiny insects a great deal when I was tiny(ish). I was fascinated by the miniscule creatures I found on bricks, bright red dots, so petite that they seemed to be perfect Platonic points of red. I clearly remember someone calling them ‘blood bugs.’ Aha – so these creatures must be what blood was made out of! What a fascinating discovery! I must have trillions of these scarlet marvels skittering around inside my veins. I was quite disappointed when I found out it wasn’t so.

Tumbles of misunderstanding like that flow through my early memories. I suppose they’re a feature of everyone’s childhood. As a grown-up, they make me smile and I remember the wonder of misapprehension and the rather dull embarrasment of reality. I was silly! I wouldn’t ever be that literal and gullible now. Oh no.

But every now and then, when I cut myself shaving, I stare at the blood on my fingertip and long for it to move.

Just a tiny bit.

Flying Ant Day!

Laydeez and genitals, may I present the world’s first LOLANT (as far as I’m aware)

Today is…


Flying Ant Day is an informal term for a day on which queen ants emerge from the nest to begin their nuptial flight. In most species, the male ants also fly alongside them, although they are smaller and less noticeable. The queens fly for a while – sometimes being dispersed very long distances, and sometimes going only a few metres – then mate, and drop to the ground where they lose their wings, and attempt to start a colony.
(Source: Wikipedia)

So keep your windows shut and make sure you don’t walk round with your mouth hanging open. Or you may end up as an ant colony. ๐Ÿ˜€

Click the pic above for a few choice hymenoptera. Or here to see what was going on at last year’s Flying Ant Day.

Hmmm… they’re only three days later than last year. They must have marked it on their tiny ant calendars.

They’re getting haplodiploid on your asses!

Big Blue Playlist 14/7/07

The Upstarts

You know, every once in a while a hip hop album comes along that makes me happy. I mean really happy. Tonight’s best new track is off such an album: ‘The Know How’ by The Upstarts. ‘Got What It Takes’ melds a deliciously liquid jazz guitar riff over a kickass beat and then… well, the rapping matches up to the excellent music. If this group aren’t topping the charts in a couple of years, I’d be very surprised.

The Slits

Like Devo’s version of ‘Satisfaction,’ The Slits‘ version of ‘Grapevine’ is a thing of pure joy. The thrumming, rubbery bassline, the marvellously free singing, the energy! It’s got to be one of my fave cover versions ever by one of the most original, challenging and genuinely alternative bands ever. If you don’t have any Slits in your collection, get some now!

Tonight, you heard:

The Marzipan Man – Take This Wind As An Advice
The Satellites – Torna
Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Tide Of Trepidation
Lusine – Still Frame (Lusine Remix)
The Site Of Future Rome – Dolphin Song
Antipop Consortium – Ping Pong
Jens Lekman – I Saw Her In The Anti War Demonstration
I Am The Ocean – Bet’cha Your Job
The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Cepia – Opening Parade
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – The Ghost
John Barry – Capsule In Space
Spoon – Finer Feelings
Milanese – So Malleable (Cold Mix)
Jonathan Richman – That Summer Feeling
Golden – It Ain’t Me
Sea Wolf – You’re A Wolf
Freygolo – Bored To Hate
Kollegah – Hater
Mr. 76ix – Traits
Holy Roman Empire – Action Figures
Syd Barrett – Octopus
The Upstarts – Got What It Takes
The Fall of Troy – Problem!?
Digitalism – Idealistic
Far – Bury White
Copperpot – Modern Vampires (Feat Rodney P)
Barry Gray and Vic Elmes – UFO
The Narrator – Surfjew
Modest Mouse – Paper Thin Walls
Hieroglyphics – Phoney Phranchise (Domino Remix)
The Red Chord – Black Santa
Kimya Dawson – Jest’s Birthday
Beat Happening – Hot Chocolate Boy
Double E – 48 Bars
Matthew Rozeik – Five Easy Steps
Ghost Stories – Isn’t It Appropriate That Way
Laura Veirs – Icebound Stream
Psapp – Hi
The Auteurs– Lenny Valentino
Bad Religion– Germs Of Perfection
Aeroc – You Say That You Love Me
Pop Will Eat Itself – Def.Con.One
Guru – Cuz I’m Jazzy (Feat. Slum Village) (Main)
The Cues – Why?
Fugazi – Waiting Room
Goto80 – Spill
Agent Simple – Make A Right At Jordsfallmotet
Access Immortal – Acc The Villain
Herman Düne – Not On Top
OVe-NaXx – Wabisabi Violence
Little Ones – Let Them Ring The Bells
Complex – Back To The Essence (Dirty)
Biffy Clyro – Saturday Superhouse
Tommy Guerrero – Badder Than Bullets
Sibiria – Det Har Varit Svรขrare
The Guild League – Jet Set … Go!
Parts & Labor – New Crimes
Snype – Its My Life
Motocade – State And Maine
Dyme Def – Getdown
of Montreal – Gronlandic Edit
The Dresden Dolls – My Alcoholic Friends
Converge – Death King
Field Music – If Only The Moon Were Up
Dabrye ft Jay Dee And Phat Kat – Game Over (Flying Lotus Remix)
No Use for a Name – History Defeats
The Brilliant Corners – Brian Rix
Boxcutter – Chiral
Ice Cube – A Bird In The Hand
Straylight Run – The Miracle That Never Came
Pedro the Lion – Foregone Conclusions
Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
John Carpenter – Halloween Theme