Sunday, 27 February 2011

Georges Méliès

I've recently started waching a lot of films by a particular French innovator, by the name of Georges Méliès. He was a film maker who lived from 1861-1938, most famous for his 1902 fantasy Le Voyage de la Lune, or A Trip to the Moon in English. He applied theatrical techniques and ideas from magic shows to his films, such as having his actors perform in front of moving painted sets and using special effects to make objects or people 'disappear' in puffs of smoke; the films are today still visually impressive, despite their quite primitive feel. I'm currently working on incorporating some of them into my stage backdrop which will look nice, I think.

Look Méliès up, much of his work is now in the public domain due to copyright expiration, so you can download and view it legally.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Walk across my swimming pool

Good afternoon. (And it is a Friday afternoon, despite what blogger.com would have you believe.)

I've been reading a little into both theological and atheistic literature recently; I find both sides of the coin very interesting, without really being able to make up my own mind over the whole thing.

I recently watched a picture called The God Who Wasn't There, a film by Brian Flemming concerning the Christ myth theory. Although I know some of the information presented in the film as fact is, in actuality, inaccurate, the parallels between Christian beliefs about Jesus and ancient religions (particuarly Greek and Egyptian) are striking.

The other thing I liked about the film was that it highlighted the shocking ignorance of some of today's s0-called born again Christians; I found the fact that some people are willing to dedicate their entire lives to something they haven't even researched properly... quite frightening. An interview with the principal of a fundamentalist Christian school is particularly indicative of a lack of historical and scientific knowledge - having someone like that in charge of the education of nearly 2,000 children does feel a little like the blind leading the blind.

Anyway, I highly recommend the film, despite its (few) inaccuracies. The whole thing is available to watch on YouTube (link here) and I also recommend you watch Flemming's interviews on various news channels as a follow-up to the feature.

Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Refreshing myself

Dear all: having recently gone through a period in which I have done next to nothing, I've resolved to be a lot more productive over the coming weeks. I've rid myself of the Internet-based bane of my life, otherwise known as Facebook, and have redoubled my efforts to read and write music with much more frequency.

I'll be back in the studio this week with drummer/percussionist Arran Goodchild to brush up for our upcoming trip from London to Wrexham to London to Brighton, with my good friend Tim Burgess and his fellow Charlatan Mark Collins. As you may have seen from the advertised live appearances on MySpace, I will be joining the duo three times on the first leg of their acoustic tour. Accompanying me will be my long-time friends, bubblegumsters Blue On Blue. Singer Dee Sekar was the first person I gravitated towards on arrival in London, so it feels appropriate that we should be venturing out of the city together with our music.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Esperanza Spalding, Ray LaMontagne and the Arcade Fire come out on top at the Grammys. I know awards shows don't mean much and they're just nasty little competitions based mostly around record sales, but it does feel like something of a victory for more interesting pop music.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Factory Floor announce new single

The ever-brilliant Factory Floor have announced a new single to be released by Optimo.

The group's ethos and output are a constant source of inspiration to independent artists; representative of everything that's right with music coming from London today.

The song is called "~(R E A L L O V E)", listen below.

Factory Floor - R E A L L O V E Optimo (Espacio) remix by theQuietus

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Charlatans Acoustic

I'll be supporting the Charlatans in Wrexham on the 8th March as part of their acoustic tour. Enjoy the video; more exciting, Madchester-related news to follow.

Friday, 4 February 2011

On This Day

Eleven people - including eight off-duty soldiers and two young children - have been killed, and 12 seriously injured, when the coach they were travelling in was blown up by a bomb.
The private coach was carrying more than 50 people and making its way from Manchester, along the M62, towards an army base in Catterick, North Yorkshire, when an explosive device in the rear of the vehicle detonated.
The explosion happened just after midnight on the eastbound carriageway between Chain Bar, near Bradford and Drightlington, south of Leeds.
It could be heard over an area of several miles and scattered bodies for 250 yards along the road.
The coach was carrying soldiers and their families who had been on a weekend break; some of the servicemen were travelling to RAF Leeming, near Darlington.
A family of four - Lance-Corporal Clifford Houghton, his wife Linda, who were both 23, and their two sons, Lee, five, and Robert, three - were among the dead.

'Open mind'
Army bomb disposal experts and police bomb squad officers have been sifting through the wreckage of the coach on the M62.
West Yorkshire police said: "We are treating this with an open mind. It could have been the work of terrorists."
The soldiers on the coach were drawn from a number of different regiments.
The coach was one of a number used to take soldiers on their weekend leave and return them to their bases.
Police have searched three other coaches bound for Catterick, which had left London, Liverpool and Leeds, fearing bombs could have been placed on board.
The injured have been taken to hospitals in Bradford, Wakefield and Batley.
A six-year-old boy has severe burns.
An ambulance official said: "You can't imagine a thing like this on a British road. How could it have happened?
"It must have been a bomb - and a fairly large one to create havoc like this."
Because of current industrial unrest among railway workers, soldiers with 48-hour passes have preferred to rely on coach services rather than trains to get them back to base on time.