Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Like Los Condes, Only Beiger

Like Los Condes, Only Beiger
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
It has been too long since we posted utterly meaningless snapshots of the nondescript central business districts of world cities. The latest in our series is the view from our room at the W. It shows that we are in fact staying in a leafy, pleasant and bourgeois part of this elevated metropolis. After a brief trot around the hood we retreated to our digs, ostensibly to sleep and take it easy, but actually to read all of the blogging about Tom Delay, and roll around, and cackle. [UPDATE: Fixed all the typos. Damn, we were twisted]

Pain And Humiliation

Thouught today was going to be an easy one, even with us blogging from Mexico City. Archclown got in the papers again, causing clueless Manhattan-based w*nkers to sigh "ah bless" yet again. We're persuing the papers, and it turns out that Brooklyn party boss Clarence Norman got convicted for a couple of small fundraising violations, but with all sorts of juicy judge-tampering to be alleged in future trials. If you ever wonder why we're so hard on Markowitz, a man with even less power than shame, it's because, as a Democrat, and given that he got elected with a nod from Norman, he's the amiable front for one of the most corrupt county Democratic parties in the country.

Normally we'd riff on this a bit longer, and we will confess we are slightly more amenable to Norman's upfront roguishness than the seediness of his nemesis Joe Hynes. But then the puffy-eyed influence-monger Tom DeLay got indicted, and we remember, that while me may not get to vote for any of these freaks, it's more fun to watch some toe-rags go down than others. Norman, Markowitz, you're tossbungles, but you're friends with angels.

We've already almost forgiven you, petal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hey Dylkicker

We're doing laundry right now, so we caught the second bit of the Bob Dylan epic on PBS. S'not bad. Certainly means that this scumbungle should hang his head and drop his laptop down a well.

Knowing bugger all about the comings and goings of Mr. Dilling, we will not weigh in on the great man's legacy but in one respect. The Judas incident. So, the legend goes that at this 1966 gig at the Free Trade Hall in Manchastah, an irate limey screams "Judas" at the man while he's between songs. Now the legend always was that Bob said "you're a liar", and then launched into a blistering version of "Like A Rolling Stone." Almost right. Between uttering the cryptic, read on several levels "you're a liar", and the next song, he says something much more to the point, something that should be written on the ceiling above every musician's bed. Call it the Zimmerman maxim:


That's how you do it.

Sneak Sushi Attack

Best. Idea. For. A. Restaurant. Ever.

Shunting Pablo

We've got a multimedia yen today, and despite a fairly late start, did not get any scans done before getting into daywork. Probably for the best, because you can use this hi-res pdf for your daily hour of hate, should you require such props (Take your clown to the doctor! Do it!).

Much better, you will probably agree, to post something pleasant. Or at least only mildly nausea-inducing. Which means it's an mp3 for you boychicks. From France.

We'll tell you a quick story about a young professional acquaintance of ours, a limey, who, like many of his peers, was considering going to business school. Being a limey, he was not thinking of doing it in this hemisphere, despite the fact that there are probably sufficient respected business schools in Europe to staff a whelk stall. The one exception is INSEAD, located on the outskirts of Paris. Why, we asked him, was he not thinking about INSEAD? And this bright young product of Oxbridge, who had travelled 3000 miles to New York to further his career, and had spent several months teaching the poor abroad, answered "BECAUSE I CAN'T F***ING STAND FRENCH PEOPLE."

This might seem odd, maybe even a tad prejudiced, but after listening to a bit of French hip-hop, you realise that quite a few French rappers don't like French people either. Now, before you revolt, we're not going to post any MC Solaar, or Nique Ta Mere, or any of these chaps.

Or anything from La Haine. No, not even that weird mash-up involving Edith Piaf that soundtracks the tracking shot over the banlieue, although that would be pretty cool.

That would be much too tough. We'll stick to jazz-loving hoody-wearing pussy DJ Cam, thank you very much. Cam is widely blamed for the existence of loungecore hip-hop, of which Mad Blunted Jazz is the Deuteronomy. We even heard the stuff described as abstract once, but suspect that the reviewer was using the code-word for "very slow".

Truth be told we usually preferred the later album The Beat Assassinated, although that puts us in a minority. Too much rapping apparently.

For the same reason, it's the samples that make the live version of Gangsta Sh*t so much more special. "Six Million Ways To Die...Choose One", goes Cutty Ranks (not Snoop, and not Flex, kids). "Gettin' super fat dough like Pablo Escobar", goes the other one.

And sitars. Lots of sitars. We're going to Mexico for a few days, this will keep me, and you, company, we pray.

DJ Cam - "Gangsta Sh*t"
Buy "Mad Blunted Jazz" here or Mrs Shadow Records makes do with last year's frocks

Monday, September 26, 2005

Did You Just Put That Clown In The Salad-Shooter?

We don't really expect you to put that much store in what we have to say about Brooklyn politics. This is not for the reasons you might expect - that we can't vote and we don't know what we're talking about. No, it's that we are (at least formally) anonymous. Until we stand up and back up with our good name and job some of our more hideous pronouncements about the idiot Markowitz, take what we have to say with a pinch of salt.

But the Green party candidate for borough president, Gloria Mattera, is just that star. She appeared at the Borough President debate last Thursday, and ripped Marrty a new one. Here's the money quote, as reported at the Brooklyn Downtown Star:

""I don't know if he was clueless about the scope of the plan or he just didn't care," Mattera said about Markowitz.

This is in response to a statement from our beloved, and not at all fatuous, current Borough President that maybe his pet development project, which involves one basketball arena, grillions of condos, and several confiscated smallholdings, had got too big. Ya think? Can't see the Williamsburg clock tower, cowering in the canyons of a sh*tey concrete wasteland? Might be a bit big?

Here's Markowitz' pitch:

"Markowitz said he spent his whole life working to become Brooklyn Borough President."

Or, give me the job because I reeelly, reeeelly want it. The founders of the republic always felt that lusting after a position of power might in itself be a disqualification from holding that job. In Markowitz' hands, it's the only reason to give him it. Although, to be fair, the fact that the position has so little power means that Markowitz' clowning and desperation to see himself on TV actually appears to bolster his suitability.

We spent an entire day yesterday as a blogger, meaning we sat around in a dressing gown writing nonsense on the internet. Which meant that we missed the Altantic Antic and only got round to realising this when we checked our voicemail for verbeage from mp3blogstars. B*ll*cks.

Anyway, next year we want to see Gloria wandering up and down the antic chatting to the hipsters and cussing out non-organic foodsellers, and not the Marty-chimp, OK?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

If You're A Sell Out And You Know It...

Instead of rejecting our somewhat erroneous reputation as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-haters, maybe it's time to embrace it. We honestly didn't care too much either way - slightly angular indie bands that can't sing rarely stop the world spinning on its axis.

Still, via stereogum, evidence that Clap Your Hands... might have an unfair beef with the stableboy. From the Times:

"Too much popularity, after all, can diminish one's credibility."

Too late, Bond-san, too late, that horse has bolted. You were adorable back in, like, February, but it is fall now, and you have moved on to being the new Death Cab. Buh-byee!

Still, while we're on the subject of whiny unengaging Indie rock, we caught the Shins supporting the White Stripes at Keyspan yesterday. It's probably for the best that the Sub Pop guys aren't putting their kids through school on Tad reissues. But it's hard not to feel...betrayed.

But Brendan Benson, the undercard, were brilliant. And we're not just saying that because they're from Detroit. They were just more...coherent.

The White Stripes, though, most definitely are a coherent band. Co-ordinating the roadies' outfits? Now that is Martha Stewart-level coherent. Jack White's almost done with the between-song banter, yelping out the odd thank you or exhortation while changing instruments or just before a chorus.

But that's not to say they're not messy. Even silver-painted palm trees and a humungous grand piano couldn't change that. What's changed from two years ago at the Masonic temple is that Meg's got a lot better, and the Billy Joel moments have got better. Yes, we probably would prefer he stuck to channeling Blind Willie, but all those My Doorbell fans can't be all wrong.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not Your Mother's Downtown Sleaze Mecca

So, back when we were in England, about ten days ago now, we suffered a fairly revolting drive back from Cornwall to Scunthorpe. Ten hours, thanks to a detour via Heathrow, we suffered the worst that the English motorway has to offer, with nary a Little Chef for comfort. We snaked along the M4, lurched along the M25, and stopped moving altogether for many of the first few junctions of the A1.

But more unpleasant than the physical aspect, which could in any case be alleviated by Red Bull and the natives' pitiful attempts at iced coffee, was the mental torture to which we were subjected. To whit, English radio. Not the digital stuff, and not the talk stuff, which is bearable 30% of the time. We're talking about the horrors of the top 40, because while we were inching past Potter's Bar the charts foisted themselves upon our frazzled brain. Our radio being unable to talk to the iTrip, it was Radio 1 or nothing.

So towards the end, into the studio were ushered the Pussycat Dolls, ostensibly to "see where you chart", although since only three blind teenagers now buy pop singles it would have been pretty easy to usher the audience into the studio that day, let alone get tipped off on who's going to be number one.

In truth, they were candid and fairly funny, one of them sporting the stupidest English accent we've ever heard (at number one is....well, one of you knows). And then it came back - these were the young slappers being utterly upfront about their homewrecking ambitions on the telly a few weeks ago. The stupid song was all the rage in the US during the summer, they sold a few copies of the album to the vulnerable and then decamped to England when hurricane season commenced.

Anyhoo, we were sadly misinformed as the provenance of this abomination of purest popclown. Apparently the whole thing was not dreamt up by a coke-snorting promoter down in Florida, but grew out of a bunch of bored LA hipsters trying to revive burlesque, or classy stripping, for the nth bluddy time. Read about the music made by choreographers here. It's empowering, ya see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not Very Refined

We've been meaning to post more of this sort of corporate nonsense, to be honest, although contrary to what you might think, we get much more in the way of plain inappropriate press releases (software pitches in particular) than outright silly stuff. But Gringcorpdayjobclown does get the odd shocker, and this is one of them:

Energy producing infrastructure must diversify across U.S.; Concentration along Gulf Coast invites future disruptions

[Company name redacted] Experts: Rest of nation must accept responsibility to host the industry

We're keeping them anonymous because a) it's possible that their distribution list is as small as their sense of shame, and thus might out us and b) they shouldn't get the publicity benefit even of our dozen readers.

Mighty Brit satirical and investigative magazine Private Eye runs occasional series devoted to corporations either exploiting tragedies for commercial gain or using world events to explain away unrelated bad news. The first of these was Warballs, which related to 9-11, but there have been others, as Wikipedia (scroll down) explains.

Anyway, brace for a bunch of Katrina-balls over the next few months. This is, yes, the soft and less malign side to a larger political battle to fill the space left by Katrina. And, it's probably fair to examine the damage that Katrina has done to many industries, while avoiding too much unseemly pimping for consultancy business. So, our first criticism is that the press release might be a tad insensitive.

We're also not entirely happy with the main contention of the release, which is that the reason for the concentration of energy infrastructure along the Gulf Coast is the welcoming posture of the local inhabitants, rather than the proximity of the coast to most of the US' oil and gas reserves and the fact that the region's poverty and weak grassroots political institutions have made it easy for developers to gain the necessary permits.

This is an odd position for us to take, because we've always felt that opposing energy infrastructure without making very conspicuous efforts to reduce one's own consumption (hola, Kennedy-clowns!) is a mite hypocritical. But to exploit a natural disaster both to shill for consultancy business and to posit such a blunt and poorly thought-out solution strikes us as facile in the extreme:

[The author, redacted] concludes that it is time for the rest of the nation to begin to take responsibility for hosting some of the nation’s fossil fuel drilling, refining, storage, pipeline and shipment infrastructure.

“The good people of the Gulf Coast have accommodated the development of energy infrastructure in their region for decades,” said [the author]. “Public acceptance in other regions of the country has not been as high, and that has got to change, given the new realities of harsh weather and possible terrorism.

There is every reason to expect that infrastructure was likely to shift elsewhere in the US alongside the Gulf of Mexico's declining contribution to the US mix of energy (such a pretty name for the burning of decomposed trees to produce power, run cars and throw off a crap load of carbon dioxide!). We'll admit that recent activity in siting LNG terminals, which would ideally all be near New York and LA, along the Gulf doesn't bear this out, but refer you to the second point above about the desperation of local communities.

There are a couple of things you could do to accomodate the author's "harsh realities", but they involve reducing consumption, which is hardly good business for an energy consultant, or pricing energy to reflect the effect of its production and distribution on local communities and wildlife, rather than simply the cost to its producers. Using a simple-minded plea to the patriotism of those that object to new projects is really rather insulting.

As you can tell, the thing made us angry, probably even more angry than spotting another pair of SR60s on the subway this morning. Since when were they played out? Why were we not warned?

Oh, and we caught the Martyscumticle on TV this morning. But he was bleating about male healthcare or somesuch inanity suitable to his station rather than anything useful. Thanks to the magic of Google, we did discover he backed fourth-placed Gifford Miller in his run for mayor. Nice work, clownshoe!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oh You Lucky Tarts

We are quite disgustingly jealous, since they are unlikely to play in NYC anytime soon, but you must catch dEUS later this year if you live a low-cost plane ride away from London and several other European locations. Their current indie lounge-funk incarnation suits them rather well, as this stream illustrates. Excuse the cuss, and the first person singular, but f*** me is it good.

Frankie Says...

Dear, Gary Younge. You are apparently a very charming man, as well as a beloved frequent visitor to the mighty Tillies (just to freak you out right there). So we're going to note that there is a place where English people have been patronising white people with epithets like "tribal" for quite a while. It's called Northern Ireland, and while the practice may not be that wholesome, it does show that your pundits can be quite colour-blind in their silliness when they put their minds to it.

Oh, the post title. Crap. We were going to sling in some contrived stuff about, ya know, two tribes. Not post the tune or anything, just throw in the cultural references that enhance one's standing among the commentariat. But we got distracted namechecking obscure Fort Greene coffeeshops. Curses! BTW, the rest of the column's pretty smart. As we found once we got past the snark-worthy bits in the first paragraph.

Let's Leave This To The Pros, Shall We?

Just how little do we know about the ins and outs of Brooklyn politics? Enough that we should have seen this turkey coming. Fortunately, all is well in the universe, and Tish James, the reliably non-stadium candidate, came stonking home in the recent primary. Hoorah. Blackwell was, apparently, a vile stooge, and must depart whence he came.

And this just cropped up on our RSS. From tha Pundsta:

[Cliff May chap: The New Orleans death toll was] much less than the more than 35,000 killed by a heat wave in Europe two summers ago. You recall the debate that set off about European heartlessness, racism and discrimination? No, neither do I.

[Pundy] Me neither.

Oh dear. Need we explain that the European heatwave did indeed set off all sorts of self-doubt and self-examination amongst Europeans about their response? But there was no talk of discrimination, since the only discrimination was done by the heatwave, which largely afflicted the elderly without access to air conditioning. A huge death toll, nonetheless, and one that did indeed expose, much as Katrina did, a shocking lack of preparation and competence on the part of European governments. What it didn't do was expose any pre-existing discrimination, or heartlessness, because they weren't factors.

Starting to agree with the slightly shrill Mr. Gilliard that the conservatives' relentless xenophobia might having noticeable effects. We were, ashamed to say, slightly contemptuous of some of the young Americans we met back when we lived in London. That was the ale, inexperience, and a pointlessly expensive education talking. The cabbies back then were usually more pleasant to Americans. The ones in Finland these days however, seem to think it's open season on Americans. Can't say we heard much in the way of complimentary language about Americans from the London cabbies we spoke to last week, either.

Still, there is something that we all can agree on, hipsticles exempted, and that is that it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and we wish you the best of it, me old maties.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Like Evel Knievel, Only For Trends

Regard our hero, staring out over the chasm. Below him, some awful swirling fishy maelstrom, a thousand surfers' nightmares come alive. At the bottom lies a bloody demise, at the other side, death by a thousand scenesters. What will our hero do? Sharks be damned, TONITE WE ROCK RIVINGTON STREET.

Yes, indeedy, we are back in NYC, but damned if we can think of anything polite to say through the fug of jetlag. Maybe next week.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Stop That 'Din

We're nigh on certain that we heard the dulcet tones of RJD2 gracing a commercial for top limey headache medicine Anadin, although the offending segment has yet to appear on their website. All we're saying, Prefuse 73 heads is YOU'RE NEXT.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fell On Stupid Days

We meant to post about this yesterday, but a series of meetings, as well as a massive server failure in Dayjobcorp's London offices meant that the post was ignored, and then lost. This chaos merely evened up the score, since as far as we can tell, NYC has gone to hell in a handbasket during our absence.

First the Mets went 2-8 during their away stretch, thus confirming they can perform neither when on the road, nor when gringcorp is out of the country. Then the sharp-tongued but useless Betsy Gotbaum romped home in the race for New York City Public Advocate, presumably on the back of votes from people that neither watch the news nor read the ballot.

We're not too bothered either way about the mayoral primary, and we were vaguely fond of the slightly bats Anthony Weiner, who, er, pulled out. We do disagree with Mr Gilliard's argument that minority voters could turn this race upside down - rich white people made out pretty nicely last time round, although we will, er, concede to his vastly larger experience.

But, yesyesyes, the scumclowns of the MTA have decided that they don't need lots of money from a nice property developer so much as some really big skyscrapers from a well-connected property developer who also happens to be a scumclown. Bruce Ratner's bid for the MTA's land at the Atlantic Railyards, a half mile from Chateau Gringcorp, got the warm welcome one might expect from the kind of clown-populated transit agency headed by a well-connected former property developer.

Needless to say, the decision is deeply stupid. That's all we have to say. There is more at the 'landgrab.

On an unrelated aside, is there anyone that top cloak-and-dagger defence contractor BAE Systems hasn't tried to bribe?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Trev Trailer

Not sure that there is even a Gawker for London, much less a Gawker Stalker. But we would like to note briefly that we saw the ACTUAL LEGS of top ITV anchorman Trevor McDonald walking across Theobalds Road yesterday. We say walking, but his gait started out as good and strideful, and then degenerated into a scamper. We also met someone quite delightful in much the same place this morning, but they are not famous. YET.

Normal service be resuming as soon as we get our head straight and some copy edited.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Like Gentle Ben, Only For Limeys

So, not much to go into right now. Life moving as slowly as this internet connection (do people even pause before sending files of over 100k, these days?). We have become dimly aware of the existence of a Lincolnshire Mafia, which exceeds its more famous counterpart only in its insularity and aversion to violence. They are largely a harmless, clannish bunch, more akin to the natives depicted in Asterix in Corsica than the trained killers of Bensonhurst.

No, what we’ve been mostly doing is watching ALL FOUR AND A HALF channels of limey TV. And before you ask “what about the 0.5 of a channel and digital and stuff”, then we must simply rejoin that you have evidently never travelled east of Doncaster. Such signals just do not penetrate, and the absence of Channel Five in particular means that many folks round these parts simply do not know what softcore pornography is. Muy Tragico, as too many Peruvian cab drivers told us after lady Di’s death.

Muy Tragico, too, the collapse of New Orleans. We’re still not sure whether this reflects the delay while we wandered between Terminals at Heathrow, but by the time we sat down in front of a proper Lincolnshire telly, there were no looters any more. Or, more likely, none of the British channels wandered very far from the French Quarter, an attitude we are all too familiar with.

The latest distasteful pastime for the Brit reporters is wandering around in a boat persuading the holdouts to leave their homes and seek help. This serves two purposes – keeping the Feds looking feeble and making the reporters look heroic. We’d love to know what the blogs are on fire about, but, it’s possible they’ve moved back to the infant Roberts, and, in any case, bandwidth’s a tad tight round here. E-Y-See-Ya.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lincs. Raid

We are in the old country, old bit subdivision, with very little access to high-speed internet and the wonders of communications. So posting will be light, posting with links even more so. Given what the Easy's suffering, this is all rather trivial. But just to let you know.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cash Money

Just donated to the United Way, mostly because they take paypal. The American Red Cross, sister to where the sister of Grincgorp works, is taking credit card donations. Pretty hard not to, once you've seen the video

Move... a chune by Miles Davis, but not, at least this time, a posting. Yet more evidence that in our old age we keep converging politically with Mayor Mike. Amid all the Bloomberg wants to save CBGBs headlines, no one seemed to want to concentrate on what he really said.

To recap, briefly. Legendary IN THE SEVENTIES rock club CBGBs' lease just expired. The landlord wants them out. They don't want to leave, and have held benefits to save it.

By some coincidence, we were heading down the Bowery last night on the way back from a poker game, and noticed the camera outside at 12.30 in the morning. No Debbie Harry, but there you go. Looks likes things might get quite frantic, as well.

But back to what Mike Bloomberg said, this time as reported in the Times (reg req'd):

Mr. Bloomberg offered the city's help in negotiating a new lease. If that fails, and CBGB is forced out of its space at 313 and 315 Bowery, "we will try to find another location," the mayor said.

Our suspicion is that Bloomberg, who seems to have moved his companies about wherever they would work best, is a bit mystifed as to why a working rock club seems to require city-provided, or city-sanctioned rent support. He is, presumably, thinking that if owner Hilly Kristal wants to present the place to the world as a museum, then he should go about cutting off the booze and shepherding bored children round the place. Or move to vegas, as Kristal has amusingly suggested.

So, and despite, what Mr. Gilliard has suggested, may we suggest that they move the stupid thing already. The place is close to fewer and fewer musicians every year, and the only people clamouring to get booked there any more are 'tards. Let Hilly make a choice between ther Strip and Bushwick, and we'll see how committed to breaking new music he is.

Brief NYC political races ad round-up. Anthony Weiner's new ad is designed to highlight his new taxation plan, which is based on raising new money for his projects with a small tax increase on higher earners. We had to concentrate very carefully on this policy stuff because we distracted by the background, which features one of the best scrubbed and stylised sets we'd seen for a while. It sort of looked like a porn movie's rendering of the interior of a diner, and since it was populated by so many good-looking, toned extras it was easy to get confused.

Leslie Crocker-Snyder's new ad is a doozy. It's very cheap and cheerful, and features a bunch of vox pops just standing there holding their breath. The idea is that they're waiting for incumbent DA Robert Morgenthau to debate Feisty Leslie. Which is transparently not true - most of them look like they are quite literally waiting for buses. But the imagey is lovely all the same. Fits her guerilla underdog campaign rather well.

[Update. Tired Gawker is peddling our OLD SH*T. Girl, why are you not in front of the New York Wizzle?]