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November 28, 2006

November Music

I stupidly lost eMusic downloads in November; I checked today and it's reset. But not before I downloaded the three disc Tom Waits set, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. Surely this alone should be enough to convince almost anyone that eMu is essential? While we're on the subject of Tom Waits, if you are a singer-songwriter who can't sing, please don't compare yourself to Tom Waits on your flyers. We all know is code for "I can't sing, and I'm really pretentious about my songwriting". I'd recommend not using quotes from reviewers who compared you to Tom Waits either. What they meant was "he really can't sing, but this is a freesheet/student newspaper/club magazine and I'm being polite".

One of the reasons I didn't grab all my eMusic downloads was that I was listening to the Tom Waits. But I also grabbed a pile of other, non-eMu stuff. Al Stewart's A Beach Full of Shells, which is EMI and which I'd previously avoided in a sulk because it has DRM. But iTunes just sees the music, ignores the DRM, and rips it properly. I also picked up (this was at the Al Stewart concert at Warwick University) an unreleased studio album called Dark Side. Two albums picked up to fill in collection gaps (I'm trying to do a bit of this each month) -- A Twinkle in Your Eyeby Burl Ives, bought so that I have a proper, legal copy of Lollipop Tree, and Seventeen Seconds: Remastered by the Cure. I also bought the amazing Mothballs Plus by Tiger Moth. Tiger Moth's MySpace page says they sound like 'lots of bands who heard our 80s albums'. Dead right, and this is a fabulous compilation. I realised the art looks familiar too; I was a great Rodney Matthews fan as a student and the particular cover of the first Tiger Moth album is famous, much more famous than the band.

You should now be able to see what I'm listening too by observing the last.fm picture in my sidebar. What they don't seem to do, and what I want, is something like the del.icio.us linkroll -- a bit of javascript that just fetches the text directly and which I can style to exactly match the blog. Something that linked through to the band's pages on last.fm would be even better.

Posted by Alison Scott at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2006

Politically Correct Meat Products

Daily Express journos are frothing at the mouth with the discovery that a school was planning to have a Christmas dinner with halal chicken instead of turkey. Which seemed odd to me; lots of people have chicken instead of turkey for Christmas dinner (or, indeed, at our office, lots of people go and have curry or meze for Christmas dinner, on account of how disgracefully expensive Central London turkey dinners tend to be). What's the big fuss. And Jonathan's school (whisper this bit) both serves a Christmas dinner and serves only halal meat. So they may have been doing this for years without it exciting comment. Anyway, the school has now backed down.

Meanwhile, a search on 'halal Christmas dinner' reveals that it is possible to get a traditionally slaughtered halal turkey, and a good thing too given the apparent rise in demand for a traditional British halal Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Mixed marriages are blamed there.

It is, of course, no stranger for Muslims to celebrate Christmas with a tree, presents and turkey than for our family, where we don't revere Christ even a little bit. However, we celebrated this bizarre modern advent season yesterday by going to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3d, on its first day of general release here. It was in the new Disney Real 3d, which delivers a polarised image using a single digital projector showing 144fps. I'd not seen the film before, so I was watching the film as well as the 3d. It is terrific; perhaps the best 3d movie ever, and all the better because of a notable lack of eyepopping 3d effects. It was just charming and real. Oh, yes, and great 3d skeletal reindeer. It is also very careful with its descriptions of how Christmas works as a holiday. The film never actually says that half the planet worships Santa Claus, but it doesn't exactly deny it either; Santa is clearly the most important person in Christmastown.

Meanwhile, I learn from BoingBoing that over in Wales, Trading Standards have come down hard on Welsh Dragon Sausages, demanding that they be relabelled to avoid confusion for customers who buy them expecting them to contain actual Welsh dragon meat, rather than pork, leek and chili.

Posted by Alison Scott at 08:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack