Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Speaking of good performances...

I saw this guy on the small stage last Saturday night and you'll have to colour me quite impressed.

It did kinda creep me out seeing him act differently to how I've always known him, but he performed very well. Certainly well enough to be the stand-out among what seemed a fairly motley cast.

I still don't quite understand some aspects of the storyline or the treatments for some of the characters but that's ok. Theatre, like all art, is meant to provoke reactions in its audience.

There are four shows remaining so you better call the BATS booking line on (04) 802 4175 or email them on to get your tickets before the Life, Death and Afterlife of Felix Unfortunate does its dash.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Ugh, totally ew-eth

I saw Shrek The Third. Someone seriously owes me my money back.

Don't even bother seeing it. Why?

Because not even Amy could save it.

Now, if you want to see a real film I'd recommend you see Stranger Than Fiction. Sure it has Will Ferrell and sure it has Dustin Hoffman and sure it has Emma Thompson, but I REALLY quite enjoyed. Why? Because it's a good story told well with good performances from good actors.

Now, it is far higher brow than Will Ferrell's films tend to reach so Blades of Glory this isn't.

Instead we have an archetypal everyman go through the extremes one would normally expect from a Greek comedy (seeing the wall torn from the side of his apartment, often-tenuous grip of reality, an infatuation with a woman who despises his existence, and an annoying narration of his every action). The film does pander too strongly to stereotypes (the banal IRS auditor, the rebellious baker, the tortured author, etc.) but redeems itself with an ending that left me awkwardly wiping away more than one tear from the side of my butch manly bicultural eyes. If it helps restore your respect in my manliness, the air on the plane was very dry and my eye ducts were weeping something wicked to keep them sufficiently moist.

It's a good'un, so go see it.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Of complacency and fallen standards

I don't know about you but after trawling through some of my posts from the early days of this online literary odyssey I've come to notice a marked drop in the standard of my writing. Not only have the posts lost that sense of completeness, but they've become repetitive, half-assed and generally about things most of you have no interest in reading about.

You'll have to colour me far from proud to have fallen so far from such lofty heights as this, this, this or this particularly memorable if mammoth effort.

Maybe it's a reflection of the changing times, but...

=> The new rave / nu-rave / blog house music scene has become a big part of my life and has certainly helped me make some very good friends in other places.

=> My interest in shopping and consumerism hasn't waned but my buying has taken a step or two back with trips to Australia swiftly becoming a semi-regular occurrence.

=> My views and opinions on current affairs is ever-present but I'm never too sure whether this is the appropriate place to air them. I don't mean that in an objectionable sense. More that this has generally been a fairly lighthearted affair and my views and opinions on many of the topical issues of the day are best taken as anything but light-hearted.

=> There are things I want to see and do, ambitions I want to realise and things happening in a more personal realm that although ever-present in my daily life, are often difficult to express or incorporate in this necessarily-sanitised reflection of my world.

=> Also, my modest yet loyal readership seems to have changed over the years to encompass a broader group of people who don't necessarily know each other, let alon the noms de plume that once flourished on here for the sake of satisfying now-non-existent paranoia.

I've been thinking about what I should do about all this, but some of you will be more than aware that I've faced this problem before. When I've found myself at similar crossroads in the past I've generally taken a hiatus before simply resuming things as they were and essentially ignoring that there was a problem in the first place.

I'm not sure the same can be done from here on out, but I'm stuck as to what else I can do. So, I shall keep posting items of interest, but I'll be looking to cut back on the frequency of new posts while I sort out what I want to do with this blog.

I have plenty more to scream into the abyss, and I'd like to continue to publish guest contributions (whether solicited, bullied or otherwise obtained). I just need a little time to work out how to better package all that so you guys get what you want while I get to say what I want.

It's all about that late 90s cliche, "the win-win".

Oh and a better colour scheme. And more graphic elements to the blog.

Hope you understand.

Of neglect and yet more waiting

Well day two of jury service has proved just as uneventful as day one, albeit with fewer of the great unwashed in the jury waiting room. I was selected for the first ballot but wasn't picked up for the second. The cases I've not been selected for are all assault cases generally involving rather unattractive men from rather unattractive parts of the lower North Island who find themselves before the courts due to issues with either women or alcohol.

Fingers crossed I get selected for an interesting trial today. The repetitive appearances and non-selection becomes soul destroying after a while, especially when there are better ways I could and perhaps should be spending my time. Civic duty be damned! Just don't tell my mother I said that.

Of good times and far off lands

So like there's this thing in this place that looks kinda cool.

It has a few acts I'd quite like to see.

You know, like Justice.

Oh and Digitalism.


And Goose.

And The Sounds.

And Riot In Belgium.

And Ajax.

And Cajuan.

And Busy P.

And K.I.M. (from The Presets!!!)

I should probably go.

I know he's definitely going.

He's in Melbourne for something else a week or so beforehand so probably won't able to go.

I think I've got him and him thinking about going with me.

You should go too!

Monday, 18 June 2007

Of reality checks and new experiences

Today marked the onset of my week of jury service and I've been awaiting this time with some anticipation of good and interesting times. Well I'm sorry but today was by all accounts somewhat worse than underwhelming. Not only was I forced to wait four hours in a too-dry waiting room surrounded by people I would never hope to be near in a million years, but I was passed up by not one but two trials that started today.

I could have been a fantastic juror. I could have been educated, balanced, open-minded and fair in my deliberations. I may have been bold enough to put myself forward as foreman.

But no.

I've since become so bitter, so cynical, so spiteful towards our obviously unappreciative justice system that I really don't know that I can be impartial in my deliberation as a juror.

And to think I have to go back in the morning to rinse and repeat the debasement of your dear host. I am so bringing some work with me and a sandwich to eat. What few dry tasteless biscuits they did provide were swiftly and ravenously snapped up by those who'd obviously travelled much further than the three blocks from my flat.

Outpourings of sympathy can be made through the comments section.

In the works

I know I keep saying this but I've got mix CDs in the works for SPFW, Piers, Joel and Damoscope. I just need to sort out the packaging and to do that I just need to sort out a new colour scheme and design theme. I'm kinda over the one I've been using the last couple years and it's time for newness.

So yes, that's why there is a hold-up getting these out to you guys.

Colour me slack

... but I've been harbouring these bottles of dutyfree gin since I got back last Tuesday night and they remain unadulterated by debaucherous if drunken good times here in our village of a nation's capital.

I can't drink them on my own. That's just wrong. That is also disturbing and would no doubt lead some to question whether I was indeed "ok".

Maybe I should organise a little something at the flat.

I'm a hustler baby, just like my daddy made me

In case you hadn't noticed, I've been out of action with the dreaded lurgy. Despite the binloads of used tissues, the body-wracking agony of random coughing fits and a general state of feeling quite miserable, I have been afforded the opportunity to track down and enjoy an embarrassment of new music. After the last few days you'd have to colour me awash in good tunes.

I snagged Digitalism's debut effort Idealism before I went to Melbourne, but it's remained on high rotation ever since. This is a seriously good album and you really do need to get your own copy. Good songs on a consistent performer of an album and that's something you really can't say that about most albums that come out these days.

A gem of an album I was reminded to seek out after hearing a track on seminal Australian radio station Triple J, was Teenager's debut effort Thirteen. Teenager are an Aussie duo comprising Nick Littlemore from Pnau and Pip Brown formerly of Two Lane Blacktop. Thirteen is a seriously good album. I mean REALLY good. It's got quite a lot going on but it never goes so hard out you swiftly find yourself pushed into hating it. Instead it gives you just enough to love and enjoy it. Pony is by far my favourite track off this varied and balanced album. You can listen to it on their myspace but you can't truly enjoy it until you get your own copy of their CD. I like this enough to be visibly gutted that I missed out on seeing them here in our village of a nation's capital only late last year. Salient covered the event and apart from a few technical hiccups the gig seems to have been a good'un. And to think I've been saying noone ever comes to New Zealand. Fucknuts!!!

The debut effort from Justice has found itself onto my high rotation playlist and I'm ever so slowly warming to it, moreso than my earlier and somewhat less-optimistic review. All I can say is that I'm sorry and really should have known better. Here's a little promo Ed Banger Records put together for the album's release.

Forgive me?

I really hate to sound like a broken record but another debut effort I've also been thoroughly enjoying (enjoying enough to take the occasional break from Thirteen) is Simian Mobile Disco's Attack Decay Sustain Release. SMD occupies the same general area of the blog house spectrum as Digitalism with their own work comparing nicely with their brilliant remixes (not something you can say for many acts out there at the moment *coughs* MSTRKRFT), and yes their album is something you REALLY must get your hands on. I guess the key difference lies in the balance of songs. SMD has a bouncier, more human character to their album with the sultry Hustler balanced nicely against the poppy I Believe and glitchy It's The Beat. All said and done, my favourite track on the album is the made-for-the-dancefloor Sleep Deprivation. I know, it's too apt for words.

I've also trawled the mp3 blogosphere for great tracks and managed to dig up the Riot In Belgium and Tepr remixes of Yelle's A Cause Des Garcons as well as some rather good newness from Don Cash (newness that comes courtesy of Grégoire at Headman's very own Relish Recordings - ta muchly). I haven't had a chance to listen to the rest but will no doubt dig up yet more musical treasures.

The current fad for new rave / nu rave / blog house / whateverthefuckyouwanttocallit has been taking a fair beating from a number of music blogs, sites, commentators and I must admit to finding it difficult to argue against most of the arguments they put forward. Sure it seems all built around virtual hype and word of mouth on the blogosphere and sure acts are starting to make an enormous name for themselves without building up enough of a track record to back up the hype that surrounds them. That said, I couldn't care less. The reality is that the music we've got cranking out from the likes of Ed Banger Records, Institubes and Relish Recordings is really rather good. So good that I would travel to Australia on the strength of a few remixes and even fewer original efforts by two acts. So good that I'm more than happy to keep riding this wave until it does its dash or my tastes decide they'd rather listen to something else.

Long live new rave. Long may it last.

So sayeth the Whore.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

The dreaded lurgy

I've been laid up the last couple days with something demonic yet vaguely reminiscent of the flu. I blame the bastard babies brought on-board my flights back from Melbourne. Actually no, I blame their arrogant parents but I'm heading down a tangent I need not head down.

I'm sick in that typically-male way so haven't been the most attentive host to you my readers and for that I apologise. Although laid-up in bed and suffering as only a man with the flu can , I haven't been completely useless. Suffice to say I've been working on a few posts and hope to have them up later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Moving back to matters more restorative in nature, those interested in assuming the role of naughty nurse can register their interest in the comments section to this post.

I was almost tempted to post a pxt of the rubbish bin in my room overwhelmed with used tissues but I got rid of most of them before the idea came to me. Feel free to exhale with relief or sigh with disappointment. Emote however feels most appropriate.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Return of the prodigal son

Ok, I'm back from Melbourne and feeling somewhat the shade of wet hairy ass and my body clock is something out of whack after a truly tremendous time away and yes someone does deserve some applause.

I came back with some new tunes, some items from the shopping lists of my nearest and dearest, some apologies for those items I didn't quite get around to securing for them, a fervent desire to go back for yet more good times, but a succession of pleasant surprises helping make the trip something else entirely.

This trip wasn't as hard out as last time but it sure did knock me around to a greater extent. Am I getting too old for this kind of thing? Maybe, but I'm enjoying myself far too much not to rinse and repeat a few more times yet.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Quick update

I'm finishing up day three of six here in Melbourne and you'll have to colour me quite smitten with this wee town and a particular chunk of it's many inhabitants. I won't go into verbose and ultimately repetitive descriptions of the events of the last few days as most of you will have already found your cellphone beset by random if inappropriately-timed txts (and phone calls for those oh so very special few).

I haven't quite nailed down everyone's wish lists but it's a work in progress people.

I'm back in our nation's capital on Tuesday night, but probably won't be running on all cylinders until a few days after then.

If you can manage it, make the trip across the Tasman to Melbourne. It's more than worth it, especially if you can wrangle a local tour guide to show you a few of the more interesting sights. And while you're at it, let me know when you plan to go because I could be keen to come along for the ride. As great as Melbourne is, it isn't so great without someone to share in the good times.

Motto for the year: good times with good people.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Do you have the remix by Profecyr? *

Damoscope were ambling our way through his iTunes last night and I kept catching myself asking him if he had the remix of a song by this person or that person. I'd never really noticed it before, despite the often good-natured if insistent suggestions of my nearest and dearest.

Ok, I admit it... My name is Jake and I'm a complete slut for remixes.

I know that there is nothing quite so damning as a remix that's better than the original song, but sometimes the original song just isn't enough to sustain my interest. Cases in point include Metric's Monster Hospital (amen for MSTRKRFT) and The Black Ghosts' Face (Switch came through with a king hit).

I'm sorry, but can you honestly blame me when the likes of SebastiAn and Soulwax roam the indie electro landscape, benevolently gracing the world with superior reimaginings of the works of other artists.

People please. Don't be hating the remix. Puritans pushed aside the native american with their purist ways and look where that's left us. Please don't make me bitchslap you again with the hand of reason.

Just accept the remix, embrace the remix and enjoy the remix.

It's a good thing.

* Profecyr's remix of Bjork's Earth Intruders abandons the tribal beat for something grittier, angrier and ultimately better. Don't hate me because I'm right.

Last orders!

Well some have asked that I get them particular items from Melbourne, so it seems only fair to open The Whore's Personal Shopping Service to my other readers, however modest or loyal they may be.

So, anything I can get you while I'm over there?

I'm a bit more organised this time around so roaming should work (inshallah) so feel free to send txts as I may not check the blog or emails as regularly as my normally industrious if conscientious self.

Please keep in mind that there are restrictions on the duty-free I'm allowed to bring back into the country with me, so let's please not be too ambitious on items alcoholic or cancerous in consumption.

Hmmm... dutyfree.

We'll travel to infinity

I had to laugh when I saw the new branding for the London 2012 Olympics campaign on the news a couple nights back. Previous efforts have gone from the austere to the vaguely post-modern, so you'll have to forgive me when I see London have gone all new rave with flouro cut-outs.

Does this mean Klaxons will play at the opening ceremony? Imagine a stadium filled with glowsticks. Ha! Brilliant.

It would be excellent if Justice did a live set to close the Olympics, filling Olympic Stadium and East London with all that gloriously gritty electro noise. I reckon they're good enough for the poms to look past a couple chain-smoking Frenchmen headlining a an event that marks the end of a particularly nationalistic quadrennial milestone.

Don't you?

Monday, 4 June 2007

Soup Revisited or If My Auntie Had Nuts She'd Be My Uncle

Well my attempts today to make the greatest soup ever created by human hands was mildly successful. Today's much-improved harissa, carrot and corned beef is denser and more satisfying than Friday's effort.

It is glorious glorious soup. That said, there is something about it that suggests there is so much more it could have been.

Maybe next time I should go with a veloute or stock-based approach with the next attempt. That or confit the veges in goose fat beforehand. Or maybe

Colour me determined to see this soup take me to the very pinnacle of soup-making.

Yes ladies and gentlemen... the cooking bug is back.

Shame about the timing though.

Pimp My Munny : In the beginning...

My love for and adoration of urban vinyl art toys is widely known if sometimes dismissed with a disapproving shake of the head or exasperated muttering "oh dear god".

Well, my love and adoration has evolved of late.

Glorious in their simplicity, absolutely adorable even unadorned, and achingly accessible at under $50 from everyone's favourite store, I've started working on customising a munny with a basic design. Right now I'm seeing how the shape of the head affects a design worked up in 2-D on Kid Robot's munny template, before I attempt any of my more ambitious designs (I was hoping to have a black one done up with the logo from Justice's soon-to-be-released album in glow-in-the-dark paint in time for the album's official release next week, but it was not to be).

I've wanted to do something like this for a while and even had a go last year at messing around with some of my 3" dunnies, but fiddling around with something as small as a dunny doesn't quite compare to the delirium and ease with which I'm finding working with the munny.

I'm going with a vaguely ethnic design for my first munny, so let's call him Manu.

This is Manu still in his original box...

This is Manu's removed head with initial line sketching...

This is Manu with part of the design filled in with matte black paint...

Manu will bear a stylised moko design with a flat base on the rest of the head so I can try out different things to nuance for hair.

Next stage will be getting my hands on some edging tape from Repco or somewhere else that supplies striping tape to car customisers. With this I can mark out the base moko design and tidy up the edges to the part I've already painted in.

I thought I'd focus on the head and see what works and doesn't work, so I've avoided looking at what to do with the body and arms. If I were to push the moko theme I might see if I can get a tiny piece of pounamu from Gold Ore Silver Mine and work it into a greenstone pendant of sorts. That or paint a greenstone pendant on his alabaster chest. Not sure at this stage. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Anywho, I'll keep you guys posted on things as they develop. It's my blog and I'll post what I want to.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

There's something I'd like you to meet

Everyone, this was the last bowl of perhaps the second-greatest* soup ever to find itself created by human hands. I give you... harissa, carrot and corned beef soup.

The North African spice mix harissa adds subtle nuances of flavour and a delicate sensation of heat throughout the mouth and throat, the carrot adds an elegant sweetness, while the corned beef adds a fulsome but far from overbearing savoury character to the soup.

Better soup can only hope to be explained by divine intervention, Faustian arrangements or the introduction of otherworldly influences.

* I hope to change that tomorrow with the preparation of a yet-greater soup.