Nat & The Ladybird

Around three weeks ago, when it was still magnificently sunny, my mate Nat came round and we had a macro photo day.

Found A Bug!

We started off primly, with the humble 50mm macro which took the pic above. I love the 50mm for its naturalness, it’s easy to forget it’s a macro. And then it’s wonderful to be surprised by the close-focus ability when playing around.

My Name Is Gregor Samsa!

And then we moved on to the MP-E 65mm. This is a monster of a lens, weighs a ton and it’s very hard to use. Sooo… loads of fun! The ladybird pics were taken with the MP-E and I would like to thank the little critter for being such a fantastic model. 🙂

Click either of the pics to see more!

Infected By Everything Everything

Puppies, you need to read this and this

(Or at least skim them if you already know about basic memetics. Or just can’t be arsed reading a lot.)

Well, here’s my latest infection. It’s the song ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ by the band Everything Everything.

This time the infection set in over the course of the last month. I’d heard the song maybe twice on Radio One but it outrageously hasn’t been heavily playlisted so it didn’t quite catch.

Then I was doing DJing prep for Bzangy Groink and I downloaded it along with a load of other indietastic tunes. In fact, I made a new CDR for my car, consisting of this indieness.

But…

The EE song was second on the CDR. And the whole last week and a bit, I’ve never got past track two. Or back onto track one. All I’ve been listening to, going into town, out of town, to my parents’ house, randomly driving with the lights off in the evening, is this one song. Over and over and over. Track finishes, I skip back and start it again.

Hold on, I’m just going to start it on iTunes… Oh god…

Here are the lyrics:

Lucifer you’re landing, cross-hairs on the kitchen sink
Barb-wire in the bathroom, I can’t make new memories since

Flashbacks to the time, this shell-shocked apartment was the place
I met with your boy, it’s a mortal thing, yeah it’s a mortal thing
“Oh!” he looked at me funny and I, “Oh! Oh!” think our secret’s out and a
“Oh-ooh-oh!” I try to explain
but then munitions rain, and we’re the epicentre

It’s like I’m watching the A4 paper taking over the guillotine,
It’s like I’m watching the A4 paper taking over the guillotine

And I wanna know what happened to your boyfriend, cos he was looking at me like “whoa..!”
Yeah right before the kitchen was a dustbowl, and tossing me the keys and I can’t forget how
everything just coming through the windows, and half the street was under my nails
it’s like we sitting in the Faraday cage, when the lights all failed.

I fly through the walls, all pieces colliding and I
see Raymond apart, he’s a frowning now, wagging a finger at me
“Boy!” his knees bend the other way and, “Boy! Boy!” are you guys together honey?
“B..b..boy!” Oh but now I can’t find his torso, I guess you’re separated,

It’s like I’m watching the A4 paper taking over the guillotine,
(Monica I just wanna know…)
It’s like I’m watching the A4 paper taking over the guillotine

And I wanna know what happened to your boyfriend, cos he was looking at me like “whoa..!”
Yeah right before the kitchen was a dustbowl, and tossing me the keys and I can’t forget how
everything just coming through the windows, and half the street was under my nails
it’s like we sitting in the Faraday cage, when the lights all failed.

Lucifer you’re landing ([six cars the driveway oh] I do believe it will be business inside)
Cross-hairs on the kitchen sink (it’s a real spanner into my works I think I kicked the bucket)
Baby’s on the bull’s-eye (…do believe it will be business inside..)
I can’t make new memories since, …ries since, …ries since.

And I wanna know what happened to your boyfriend, cos he was looking at me like “whoa..!”
Yeah right before the kitchen was a dustbowl, and tossing me the keys and I can’t forget how
everything just coming through the windows, and half the street was under my nails
it’s like we sitting in the Faraday cage, when the lights all failed.

And now everybody gotta go hungry, and everybody cover up their mouths
And I haven’t seen the body count lately, but looking at your faces it must have been bad!
and if everybody answered their phone calls, but people say the army’s on fire
it’s like we sitting with our parachutes on, but the airport’s gone.

The music is fantastic, twingly and spingly, marimbary and hooting. But the lyrics are what grabbed me. The way EE veer from dense metaphors and elaborate similies to throwing in lines like “cos he was looking at me like “whoa!” is simply beautiful. In sociolinguistic terms, I love the way EE shift register. Thus:

my kz ur bf sociololinguistic register

It’s this playfulness combined with the ambiguity of the lyrics that drew me in, that infected me. I had to play it again and again. I had to look up the lyrics. I had to try and sing along, which is fucking difficult since EE seem to have phrasing that’s madder than XTC multiplied by McCarthy divided by Shooby Taylor. I’m getting there. I’ve got the chorus and intro/mid nailed but the verses are bastard hard.

Another infection vector is that the song reminds me of a mate and intrigue and spies and sodium lights spilling over flour-bombed kitchens. When I told her this, she was puzzled because the song doesn’t actually bear much resemblance to her reality. But in my mind, it fits perfectly, irrefutably! I do like the video I’ve stuck at the top of this post but I would like to have made the video I have in my head. Which is also mad since who gives a fuck what imagery I’ve got in my head?

Of course, I’ve bought the album (which is wonderful). I’ve also bought tickets to go and see them in a fortnight. I’m listening to this one song over and over, trying to get bored of it, hoping to get sick of it. I honestly want to listen to other music now but the bloody song won’t let me go. I don’t want to hear it, I need to hear it.

On Friday night, I went upstairs at Mosh, which I never do on Fridays and the lovely DJ there put it on for me. I danced to it, totally on my own on the dancefloor. It was 11.15 or so and people were wandering up, looking at the mentalist on the dancefloor and wondering what drugs I was on.

None. Just music.

That three minutes thirty-eight seconds was the musical highlight of that night. It was all downhill from there.

This afternoon, I was shopping with my mates Kell and Malc and when we sauntered into River Island, the song was on. Immediately, I had to sing along. I was walking past girls, singing along and I knew they were looking at me like I was a nutter. Which I am.

Music is, obviously, a big part of my life and probably an equally big part of my brain wiring and interaction, if anything I’ve read recently about neuroplasticity is accurate. All those webs are now owned by ‘MY KZ, UR BF.’ I want them back!

Really, I’m protesting falsely. I’m listening to it now and it’s like sweet, sweet audio crack. The sinuous bassline, the ’80s pad chords in the chorus, the offbeat drums. The bursts of distorted vocals and particularly the falsetto sex noises the singer makes.

I am so infected.

Tag. You’re it.

Bzangy Groink Playlist 15/9/10

Everything Everything

Another very, very busy night with loads of requests, good good! The best new tune was ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ by Everything Everything. Really, this isn’t the right place to go into how much I love this song. It’s… magical. Maybe I’ll write about it more here, maybe not! The album reminds me of XTC via… well, I’m not quite sure what. It is quite, quite lovely.

Snoop

The best old song was a birfday request: ‘Who Am I?’ by Snoop Doggy Dogg. Damn, son, it’s a long time since I’ve heard funky shit like that… 😛

This is what you heard:

Mesak – Silversand
Superchunk – My Gap Feels Weird
Kempi – 500 gram
Alex Smoke – Northwoods
Counterpunch – The Great Regression
Braille – Up
Spark – Shut Out The Moon
Not Advised – A Red Light Situation
Wavves – King of The Beach
Diversion Tactics – No Collaborations
Proem – sudden sharp turns
Evergreen Terrace – Rip this!
Reso – Armored Core
Everything Everything – MY KZ, UR BF (Original)
Arpad Flynn – Let’s Play
Four Year Strong – It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now
Breakage – run ’em out (feat. roots manuva)
Huoratron – Gbay
Confide – My Choice Of Words
Sex Bob-omb – We Are Sex Bob-Omb
Best Coast – Crazy For You
The Herbaliser – It Aint Nuttin feat. MF Doom
Kid Liberty – I’m Right Here
Skream – Wibbler
Burning Twilight – Since We’re On Our Way Down
Fan Death – the best night
Calories – Orchard Girls
Freqax – The Witch
Kisses – People Can Do The Most Amazing
Set Your Goals – The Fallen…
Burn the Fleet – Conduits
Bronze Medals – Escape Routes
mc chris – Fett’s Vett
Chimpo – Nasty
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Who Am I?
At the Drive-In – Hourglass
Allo Darlin’ – Kiss Your Lips
Dufresne – Omega
Broken Links – What are you waiting for?
Snype – Gangsta Matik
Rustie – Bad Science
The Prodigy – Take Me to the Hospital (Rusko Remix)
Hadouken! – Turn The Lights Out
The Let Go – Dreams Over
Cuba Cuba – Golden Grounds
Untied Shoes – Anti-Violent (Anti-Flag Cover)
AFI – Porphyria
Descendents – Hope
Minor Threat – Filler
MC Esoteric – Waxing On Decepticon
KOAN Sound – Garden Of Buddha
Efterklang – Raincoats
Betty and the Werewolves – Wind-Up
Wienzeile – geisterbahn
Annuals – Loxstep
Fake Problems – Soulless
Incise – Got To Go Ft. Nieve
Standard Fare – A Night With A Friend
Netsky – I Can’t Hold it
Fix Dot’M – Britains Got Talent

Kaypea, Wood, Wheat, Sky

Thoughtful

Last weekend, my physicist friend Kaypea came to stay. We had beautiful conversations about the immense and the infinitesimal, the ultimate and the trivial. It was all severely, severely cool. Like… yeah.

The last couple of years, I’ve made a conscious effort to reach out and connect more with people. Sometimes, this has gone very badly. Very.

But other times, I’ll find a new friend who educates me, empathises with me and, most importantly, gets my jokes about non-Euclidean topologies.

There is nothing more sustaining and enriching than spending company in the time of someone who both questions and answers me. And who catches me out on the utter bullshit that I’m wont to spout.

We went on a ramble that took in a whole load of razed wheat, some big fucking skies and the old man trees in Chaddesden Wood, waving at us to get off their collective lawn. Click the pic to see more!

Lost Picnic With Nat

Last Thursday, I was in a bit of a state. Due to family stuff I don’t want to go into here, I was feeling a bit like a headless chicken. Luckily for me, my mate Nat phoned up and we went out for a picnic. Rather than plan anything, I just drove in one direction and got her to decide whether we turned off. Eventually, we didn’t really know where we were. Obviously, in these days of GPS in every smartphone, we weren’t genuinely lost but it was liberating to be somewhere at least unknown if not unknowable. I calmed down and we had a cool day, walking up through ferny hillsides and being stalked by ducks.

She’s off to Uni soon and I’ll miss her loads. She always makes me smile by doing something totally stupid. 🙂

Click the pic to see more!

Another US Terror Attack On Pakistan

Eight militants died when missiles fired by a suspected US drone hit a house in north-western Pakistan, local security officials say.

They said the raid targeted a militant hideout in Shawal district in the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border.

It is the 10th drone strike this month in the region, a stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The attacks have killed hundreds of people since January 2009 and fuelled anti-American sentiment in the country.
(Source: BBC News)

“Hundreds of people” killed by US missiles. I’ve been posting about every attack as and if I’ve seen news of them. I’m worn down by how little people care about these US murders of innocents.

They go on, day after day, week after week. And no-one says anything. No-one seems to care that the US is launching attacks on civilians under the cover of somehow magically knowing they’re Taliban or whatever.

As far as I’m aware, US military tech hasn’t achieved sentience as yet. Their missiles cannot differentiate between terrorists and innocents. Therefore, the people who launch them are charged with that distinction. But as we know from the appalling slaughter in Iraq, the US simply doesn’t care who it kills in its ‘War On Terror.’

So, they keep killing, with impunity. This is why the USA is the biggest terror threat on the planet right now. Who else could get away with this level of murder? North Korea? China?

I don’t think so.

Bzangy Groink Playlist 1/9/10

reso
The best new track tonight was Reso’s ‘Armored Core.’ Recently, I went stargazing. If I could travel to the stars I was admiring, I think it’d be in a massive, shuddering spaceship that can only be described adequately by this track. But don’t take my work for it – have a click on the vid and see for yourself!

atl
The best old track was a request – All Time Low’s ‘Dear Maria.’ Such a good pop song!

Mr Fogg – Stung (Ital Tek Remix)
Vanna – Into Hell’s Mouth We March
Copywrite – O.D. (Overdose) Feat. Royce Da 5′ 9"
de Montevert – The Ghost
I Am Arrows – Green Grass
Sex Bob-omb – We Are Sex Bob-Omb
The Bloody Beetroots – Awesome
Stars – We Don’t Want Your Body
Freeland – Under Control
Red Dons – Unheard Words
Assemble The Empire – The Crash
Broken Links – What are you waiting for?
Vitalic – Flashmob
le Page – Luna Land
The Herbaliser – It Aint Nuttin feat. MF Doom
Cuba Cuba – Golden Grounds
Reso – Armored Core
Four Year Strong – Bada Bing! Wit’ A Pipe!
Fix Dot’M – Britains Got Talent
Confide – My Choice Of Words
Jeans Team – Oh Bauer
sarandon – Searching For The Now
Netsky – Secret Agent
The Blood Brothers – Set Fire To The Face On Fire
Bliss n Eso – Down By The River
Ingenting – Punkdrˆmmar
DEFRAG – the stones
The Ghost Inside – Greater Distance
Rapscallion – boomster
New Politics – Yeah Yeah Yeah
Chimpo – Nasty
Cloud Control – This Is What I Said
Anarbor – Let The Games Begin
k-os – I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman
Huoratron – Gbay
K’naan – T.I.A.
Akira Kiteshi – pinball
Freqax – The Witch
Braintax – Retail
Two Fingers – Two Fingers
Stick to Your Guns – Faith In The Untamed
Digital Mystikz – Unexpected
Eric B. & Rakim – Know The Ledge
Man Parrish – Hip Hop Be Bop
Diversion Tactics – No Collaborations
Tribe Called Quest – We Can Get Down
Kid Liberty – Fight With Your Fists
All Time Low – Dear Maria, Count Me In
Allo Darlin’ – Silver Dollars
Set Your Goals – The Few That Remain
Rude Kid – Jack Daniels
Uffie – ADD SUV (Ft. Pharrell Williams)
Standard Fare – A Night With A Friend
MF DOOM – Paper Planes (Freestyle)
The Fall of Troy – Problem!?

Stargazing

When I walked to the end of my drive to put the rubbish out, I was ambushed by the sky.

It was there, waiting, above me. I was defenceless. I looked up and it had me.

I was thinking about normal, human stuff: god, this bin bag’s stinky, I hope they sort my bloody credit card out soon, that girl in town was so fit she made me hurt. Normal, reasonable, prosaic… nice.

VALIS

And then the stars had me. They flamed down on me from millions upon millions of miles away and often millions upon millions of years ago. How many of them were actually dead now, their photons hitting my retina after travelling all that distance from so long ago?

Think of that. Every star you see, the light was screamed out of it by fusing matter, the photons spent some time bumbling around the inside of the beast before escaping and tearing their way across space/time, into you eye. Maybe you just glanced at it. Just once. And in that glance, you caught a fraction of the life of that sun. In your eye. Who knows what planets revolved around it, what life it nurtured as our sun feeds us? Now I’m standing on the end of my drive, stinky bin bag in hand, looking up at these billions of stars. They are born and shine and die, just as we do.

Pebble In The Sky

I had to gather my wits. In Oakwood, there’s only so long a man can stand around with a bin bag, gaping at the sky, before concerned neighbours come out, drape a blanket around your shoulders and ask if you need a cuppa.

I came inside. I got my camera stuff and went for a drive to a less light-polluted area. There, I took the pics you see here. The night was warm and crisp, the field I was standing in was blacker than the Horsehead Nebula and all I could hear was distant traffic and, occasionally, shrieks and pitiful uluations as some small mammal met a grisly end. It was… spooky. I was scared. Good.

I took pics. I gazed up at the sky, it filled me up with reason and rationality and perspective. I was on my own. Wistfully, I wished there had been someone there to share this magical night with me but that isn’t my life at the moment. It was, for a long, beautiful time. Maybe it will be again. Some day?

In the meantime, at least I have the stars. And I hope, even though we’re confounded by the nature of distance/time, that I was looking up at some creature, somewhere, who was looking up at me, too.

The Stars My Destination

I waved goodbye when I left. 🙂