Monthly Archives: November 2011

Hip Hop Hooray! (I’ll drink to that)


The rise and rise of hip-hop. But since when did music become such a cynical exercise in product placement. Back when Cypress Hill ‘Don’t mess with the big four-o, bro’ there was still a healthy counter-culture element – I guess that’s a measure of success, even if the affiliation with weed became something of a gimmick in its own right. Brands like Hennessey and Cristal were content to bask in the reflected glory of Gangsta affiliation but others were more ‘forward-looking’, seeing the potential in an ever more crowded market place. Hip-hop, like soccer has cultivated the pervasive aroma of success – like boxing used to be, they’re seen as a ladder to success for poor, largely black youth – which in retrospect is as remarkable as it is predictable.

In the days of Public Enemy and NWA hip-hop  played to a radical, Black audience; down on ‘the man’ and big on self-aggrandisement. Now many of those artists are ‘the man’: see how Ice Cube, Ice T and Snoop Dogg have crossed over, become practically family viewing. Cypress and Beastie Boys paved the way:

Real music lovers love authenticity, feed off sincerity and can’t help but be drawn to an original voice. That’s why Hip hop became the mainstream success that it is. When I saw PE play Brighton seven years ago they played to an audience that was 90% white and mostly middle-class: their once-radical words had transcended race, class and nationality and become emblematic and all-embracing. Dre didn’t set out to be a pop star but he understood the pop mentality and in acts like Snoop Dogg and Eminem he hit the big time.‘Puffy’ could easily be read as a cultural vulture, but hats off to him for being culturally aware.

C’est la vie – lets congratulate the victors on their victory and look elsewhere if ‘radical’ is your bag. British pop is indubitably the richer for taking on board the influences of American Hip Hop and R’n’B: see ‘Brit Hop Hooray’ ‎

Here’s a couple more Hip-Hop classics, enjoy:


Clarke’s law


Speaking to Jane Garvey on BBC Radio 4 ‘s Woman’s Hour today, justice secretary Ken Clarke unveiled proposals to ‘stop white men dominating the judiciary’

In summary, Clarke outlined his intention to make the judiciary more representative by utilising some positive discrimination in the appointment of judges and also by means of part-time work and job-sharing positions.

On the face of it these ideas are fair and sensible, though it’s debatable whether a greater proportion of women and minority judges will necessarily achieve Mr Clarke’s aim of ‘a more satisfactory experience for litigants and victims in court’. I think the average Jo(e) would agree that the main inherent flaw with our judges is one of hierarchy. How often have judges been de as being ‘out of touch’ with the man or – particularly – woman in the street. Indeed, Clarke himself came under fire for exactly this not so long back following his remarks re rape sentencing:

Clarke took the opportunity on today’s program to clarify his position, rightly allowing that ‘all rapes are serious’, though the focus was very much on the new judicial proposals, launched today. Speaking of his desire to ‘keep public confidence in the judiciary’ and ‘appointing judges on merit’, Clarke also said he wanted said judiciary to ‘look like modern society’, not ‘a rather patrician establishment of a few years ago’ providing the example of our supreme court, where only one of twelve judges is a woman.

His stated position is that ‘(when) two candidates (are) of equal merit, you should prefer the underrepresented group’ indeed, Clarke suggested one ‘should feel a duty to appoint the underrepresented group’ in such circumstances. I have no problem with this as it would introduce an element of balance into an organisation where historically the default has been just the opposite. As for the ideas of job-sharing and part-time positions, that would quite probably make the judiciary a more accessible working environment for women but it would come at a cost, since in such a heirarchical system ‘part-timers’ would be unlikely to enjoy the same professional esteem as their full-time colleagues.

On the subject of whether he could count on Home Office support, Clarke fudged, willing only to say ‘I should think so’. He and Theresa May haven’t always seen eye-to-eye before, and it would be hopeful to think that there might be some solidarity on this issue. Governments need to be seen as strong and united in the public eye. This is the kind of thinking we should expect from a moderate Tory like Clarke and it would do the party good to embrace it. Folks of my generation and older still regard the Conservatives as the ‘nasty party’ – a situation not likely to be remedied by Clarke’s earlier remarks about rape and current plans for swingeing benefit cuts. Clarke denied today’s plans were part of any grand plan to ‘bid for women’s votes’, though surely if the coalition wishes to remain in power and enjoy any kind of public confidence in the long-term this is something it would be well-advised to do.





Stumbled across this quite by coincidence but those classic movie and tv homages fit right into today’s geeky theme – spot the references, geeky ones 😉  Great song too – CRC’s description of Morricone  vs Maiden sounds pretty apposite. Enjoy…

Video Killed The Radio Star: Muse – Knights Of Cydonia.

Video Killed The Radio Star: Muse – Knights Of Cydonia

Blessed are the Geeks




If you’re an aficianado of classic sci-fi and horror, and cult TV, movies and music then this radio show show needs to be on your Geekdar. Wayne Imms, Kerensa ‘GeekGirl’ Bryant and movie meister James Tully are fast growing a reputation in the Brighton (UK) area and beyond for their weekly showcase of all that is weird, wonderful and obscure in entertainment.

This morning’s show marked 40 years since Steven Spielberg’s debut feature, ‘Duel’. Tim Brown, Co-Director of CINECITY-Film-Festival, and local Brighton moviemaker Jonathan Glendening were in the studio talking movies and the influence of Spielberg in particular.

Life’s Too Short actor The Shend; Sir Alan Parker; Yes/Asia/Osibisa artist Roger Dean; original Doctor Who companion Carole Ann Ford, Tom Gray from Gomez, leading film critic Mark Kermode, ‘Singalong-a-Wicker Man’ creator David Bramwell, ‘The Dead’ director  Howard J Ford and many more have featured on this wilfully eclectic radio geekfest.

And every week, Geekgirl provides a round-up of the latest Sci-Fi and fantasy news – find her more detailed adventures and introspections here:

It’s great to be a geek. Take an hour out of your hard-earned weekend to find out why…




Good to see that Gaga is just as, well, Gaga as ever. Gotta love her though: all the style and the substance, too. Look forward to seeing the full version.


Lady Gaga has treated fans to a prelude for her upcoming music video ‘Marry The Night’.

The one and a half minute long teaser video which is narrated by Gaga, sees her being wheeled on a gurney by two nurses, whilst remaining unconscious.

Gaga recently revealed that the full ‘Marry The Night’ video will be her longest to date at an expected 8 minutes long. The full version is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Watch the prelude for ‘Marry The Night’ below…

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Fresh from the vault (7)


Some albums leave your jaw on the floor, in awe of the skill employed in their execution. Sometimes it’s the words that get you, or the sweetness of the melodies. Maybe they make you laugh or cry, or wanna dance your ass off. As an adult I can reason that all of the above are factors in my enduring love affair with this band and album, but I’m not really sure I’m convincing myself because actually I just heard it and immediately loved it and much like the title it just isn’t meant to make sense:

0+2=1 by Nomeansno.

This album will always be in my top ten. I listen to it rarely, truth be told but every time I do it gets me again just like the first time. It got me before I even heard it, when I read the  review in Metal Hammer back in 1991 and wondered briefly why an album that apparently wasn’t metal had been voted ‘Album of the month’. I imagine many metal listeners would have run out, bought this on the strength of the review and hated it. There was an irate reader’s letter in the same issue berating the mag for recommending the new Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ new disc, dismissing it as ‘dustbin lid punk’ (?), claiming his record deck had been soiled by playing it. Yeah, I know. I can imagine many people hating Nomeansno, actually: for being clever dick ‘punks’ who can really play, for appropriating a feminist slogan as their moniker or for being just plumb uncategorizable.  Like Cardiacs or late-period Scott Walker and Talk Talk  I do feel that it’s a band you’ll either fall for hook, line and sinker or not at all.

A nifty snap shot of the band’s ideosyncrasy can be found on their album ‘One’ (2000) which features covers of both Miles Davis’ ‘Bitches Brew’ (for which the band had the temerity to pen their own lyric) and The Ramones’ ‘Beat On The Brat’. If Jazz-Fusion Punk? Just about sums ’em up; except it doesn’t: there’s a comedic aspect to Nomeansno’s music – nonsensical and occasionally juvenile – that casual listeners might well find offputting. Maynard Keenan rates them: that tells you something, too. Like the aforementioned Cardiacs, NMN combine the raw edge of Punk/New Wave with the technical dexterity of fusion (and as such are credited as an influence on Math Rock). But perhaps most importantly, a touching sincerity and nebulous sense of seriousness that i find compelling. Listening to their albums is like being given the keys to an exclusive club in a parallel universe and being dared to enter.

I’m resistant to the idea of trying to break it down into individual tracks – all the songs on 0+2=1 sound different to each other and completely like Nomeansno. Guitars sometime jangle invitingly or riff jaggedly: sometimes there are no guitars. Touches of keyboard, horn sections and additional percussion add colour and texture. Lyricall they tend to eschew sensible narrative in favour of nonsensical ‘word painting’. ‘Nonsense is better than no sense at all’ to quote the title track. Odd meter changes and quiet/loud contrasts await to trip up the unwary listener, though it’s a million miles from the worst ‘up its own arse’ prog excess or landfill Indie predictability.

Picking which tracks to showcase is a tough call. It’s that rare beast, a perfect ten, except to borrow from Spinal Tap this album goes up to eleven and all eleven tracks are unique and deserve their place. The full album might be a daunting aspect for a new listener – but then again it might not, you might immediately love ’em as much as I did. Try these three for size. Maybe you’ll be back for more.