If you haven’t already checked it out, take a look at Beaver and Steve – thanks to Gilly for the link to this superb strip. While we’re on the subject, also check out Penny Arcade and CtrlAltDel, two excellent gaming strips.
A few more records made it into my search for the “Perfect Album”:
ELO – Time
A true classic, not only was it ahead of its time in terms of both sound and production, but it still holds its own brilliantly today. ELO’s best album, it was a move away from their prog-rock roots and into the territory of popular music – incredibly, this album is almost 25 years old but seems as fresh today as it was back then, mainly because of the quality of its tracks. When you have hook-laden offerings such as Twilight, and Hold On Tight mingled with more poignant songs like Ticket To The Moon, Rain Is Falling and the oddly affecting Yours Truly, 2095 (about the future of man’s "relationship" with computers), and with a dash of political statement (Here Is The News), you have an album that is both well-written, exquisitely produced and ultimately satisfying.
Feeder – Echo Park
Like Ash, 2001 was the year for creating something a little bit special – and for Feeder, it was Echo Park that finally kicked them into the spotlight. Creating a sound unlike anything they’d produced before, and coupling it with some atrocious lyrics (example - “Get up, shut up, give me Nurofen Plus”), the album worked. Why? Because it was so damn catchy. Every single track on this record is a stonking achievement of sound over substance. Melodic riffs and punk pop abound, with more table-banging singles than you can throw a small horde of students at. Do the lyrics make sense? No. Does it sound like the band exhausted every page of the Acme™ Rhyming Dictionary? Yes. Do we care? Hell, no. Ask yourself when you’re manically jumping up and down and screaming “CD PLAYER-PLAYER-PLAYER!!!” in the Student’s Union whether you stopped to think about the words coming out of your mouth. I’d bet the answer would be “no”. That, my friend, is why this album is utterly superb.
More to come soon.
What else has happened recently? Well, last weekend Gilly took me to see some of London's...umm..sights, including the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum and Science Museum. This was followed by a Sunday lunch at the Duck in the Pond, where the staff succeeded in providing me a roast chicken dinner (including potatoes, stuffing, beans and Yorkshire Pudding). I didn't want carrots or parsnips, so I asked for everything except that. Easy enough, eh? No, they forgot to give me the stuffing. Or the Yorkshire Pudding. Or, get this, the chicken. So I sat there dumbfounded, staring at my plate of potatoes and green beans, trying to comprehend what must have gone through the head of the kitchen worker who was piling my plate up. "Wow, so he ordered a roast chicken dinner, but he doesn't want anything but potatoes and green beans? OK, no problem." What I'd actually said was "The only veg I want is potatoes and green beans." It's tough sometimes. Still, the Pinot Grigio took the edge off the situation.
My Bushido yellow belt grading is on Sunday. It's amazing how different this martial art is to the Kung Fu I did at university. It's a lot more involved, and I've learned far more in the 5 months I've been doing this than I did in the whole 2 years I did Kung Fu. In fact I probably learned more in the first month. Hopefully the grading will go OK, fingers crossed. I better go practice some more.