Friday, March 31, 2006

Bad Timing

I got into work appallingly late today. My excuse is that I was up late last night at the dEUS concert. The New York show, despite initial appearances, was indeed sold out, probably to the enormous number of, ahem, Euros in the city. Can't say that singer Tom Barman sounded much more cheerful than he apparently was in Chicago. But damn, were they good.

More details, and probably a fuller review, either later on here, or in the other rag. For now, though, here's a slightly truncated setlist. It is truncated because the set went on past 12, and Cutesome turned into a pumpkin. Sorry. I bet they played "Suds N' Soda", too.

Pocket Revolution
Stop - Start Nature
Instant Street
Fell Off The Floor Man
Sun Ra
Theme From Turnpike
New One From Pocket Revolution
Another New One From Pocket Revolution

And then we left. I'm not too bitter, unless, they also played "Let's See Who Goes Down First" and "Bad Timing" as well in the encores.

For me, it was quite he hidden gem - for the rest of NYC's musically discerning people, though, the gig might as well not have been happening. Can see what Barman meant about poor promotion. Shame on V2 - probably obsessing about the Raconteurs too much.

[UPDATE: Word up Pocket Revolution readers. Given how much we've been yelping about how little dEUS come over, you'd think we'd be a bit more excited. But we've been sleeping somewhat patchily lately. Sorry]

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mix Master Murk

After a certain point - say a thousand songs or so, it gets harder and harder to put together good playlists of mp3s in iTunes. As I mentioned a couple of months back, I'd received a copy of the Predixis MusicMagicMixer bundled with the Roxio Boom Box suite that I had bought primarily to digitise LPs.

MMM allowed one to put together playlists of varying homegenity based on an analysis of sonic characteristics of the songs in your music library. I was sceptical at first, publicly so, and Predixis caught the comment using blogsearch, and politely emailed me to suggest that I look more carefully at how MMM works.

And it worked pretty good - especially useful for something like a dinner party, when you don't want any of that metal butting in and making your guests vomit blood. I once chose a single Neil Young song and then played the resulting MMM mix to an actual Canadian - and he loved it, the slag. It's probably handy for gym mixes too, were I ever actually to set foot in one of those dungeons.

If I have a quibble, it's that the software can be subject to the odd glitch (the 1.1 Mac version, at least, sometimes would not send mixes to iTunes while it was busy analysing my songs), and that they're not very good at keeping in touch.

In dealing with the glitch from the last paragraph, I decided to choose the "check for updates" option from the File... menu. Nothing happens, so I thought I'd head to to see what gives. The answer is, only a whole renaming of the entire company, the MMM application, and at least two skipped versions of the software.

Downloaded the new software, tried to enter my registration key, got nowhere. Hit the Forums, somewhat reluctantly, since I'm much more happy rooting around the manuals normally. Glad I did, though, because the PredixisMusicIP support people are amazingly fast, responsive and personable. Once it was established that I was the victim of confused caches, as well as probably (though they were too polite to say) Roxio's version of the MMM/MusicIP Player being a wee bit behind the main build, they gladly upgraded me.

Since I'd sort of wandered into their embrace via the machinations of Roxio rather than being a bona fide premium user, I found all of this rather awesome. So I still think they could so a bit of work on the communicating (there's a relaunch! Tell everyone, even the Roxio drones!), but the customer service rules.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Toll Taking

Bloody hell, three posts in one day. And a picture of a Republican, in this case, Governor Daniels of Indiana. But this post is necessary. Here's the normally able Dan Gross discussing the Indiana Toll Road sale, and its precedents, in Slate. "The foolish plan to sell American toll roads to foreign companies", goes the subhed. True, Dan, that the long-term leasing of a toll road is, to all intents and purposes, a one-shot deal. The assumption here, though, is that private companies are better at running these assets than state governments, and there's mounting evidence that this is the case. The rest of their advantage comes down to financing prowess, and here I must remain discreetly silent, and cite conflicts with the day job.

Dan, however, does posit a theory in a sidebar, that foreign firms are all over these assets because US private equity firms are turning their noses up at them. It's not a theory that holds up much, if only because many US asset managers, investment banks, and even the Carlyle Group are indeed looking at just these assets, and US institutions are big investors in Macquarie's funds. Many of them would be quite happy with 12% returns, since they'll be looking at a spectrum of risk-reward balances. The honest truth is that European companies have 10-20 years' experience with operating toll roads. US ones have very little. Sorry about that.

Still, if that isn't an excuse to post a Kill Henry Sugar song, I don't know what is:

Kill Henry Sugar - "Indiana"
Buy "Popular Music For Today's Active Lifestyles" here. Or go to one of their gigs and ask them really nicely. They're pussycats.

Eat, Drink, In Remembrance Of Him

Little bit of a shout out to the Anglican/Episopalian rendering of the eucharistic process, there. Ooops, it's actually 1 Corinthians 11:24, you moron. Anyway, trying to get married in a real live Anglican church will do this to one's brain.

But we're not reallly here to talk about G-d, we're here to talk about Marty Markowitz, who is almost the opposite - knowable, unknowing, lacking grace, and has the wrath of an earwig. Now that our idiot, clown boy, Borough President is safely back in Borough Hall, and has no more elections to fight right now, he has been pleasantly muted. And I'm not drawing your attention to him by way of a fresh aesthetic atrocity, either.

No, I refer you to Brooklyn Restaurant Week, which is held the week beginning Monday 3rd April. It's modelled on a larger Manhattan institution, where you pay around $20 for a three-course meal. Probably the only bit of me-too-ism from Marty that's remotely tolerable.

Restaurant week prix fixe portions tend to be a bit skimpier than the a la carte options (*cough* Applewood *cough*), although given the savage economic consitions of the restaurant trade we more or less forgive them. The exception here is Tempo, which I can't praise enough, and usually gives you too much. The restaurant week portions are merely manageable, and the food is the best I've tasted.

Quick question, though. When did the bit of Cobble Hill that used to be owned by Red Hook become the Columbia Waterfront District? I susect tossers, or worse, real estate agents, at work here.

Modish Money

Eh, before anyone else goes and writes something stupid about Dealbreaker, I suppose I should go and take a look at it. Finance, after all, has proved to be spectacularly poor ground for mass-market blogging until now.

A large part of this might be the fact that financial professionals don't think snark is that big or clever. Moreover, Financial humour, for instance, is even less entertaining than musical comedy. You can say that this po-faced attitude is all a facade designed to keep up the air of mystery around the money men. And then, may I suggest, you try to make a joke about the inverted yield curve.

There's also a more mundane reason. You didn't really hang out with the people who ended up as investment bakers in school. They were intense, no fun, frequently completed course assignments, didn't much care about Page Six. They're not sending you tips right now, they're just sneering at you at class reunions.

But Elizabeth Spiers, a blogging, um, legend, has set up Dealbreaker, a zippy, reasonably lively take on Wall Street. It features lots of pretend articles by famous people or composites, hopefully to tide the editors over until disgruntled compliance staff start sending them tips. At the moment, the site seems to be of most interest to financial journalists, a wretched species, of which I count myself a member.

The first time I visited, I encountered a huge banner ad for the blog. So huge, in fact that I almost though that Spiers had set up shop within the tender embrace of the shop that once named Andrew Fastow as CFO of the year. Subsequent visits, however, revealed adverts for Brokeback Mountain and Goldfrapp, both of which are a mite less confusing, if less of interest to financial readers.

Because, as you can probably tell, this is still nagging at me - do general readers want an insidery view of Wall Street and corporate America? Or maybe they prefer the approach of Consumerist, a blog I genuinely like, which basically says "oh you beautiful company b*tches, please do whatever it is you're being paid to do."

As a quick run-down, we have fake columnist Muffie Benson-Perella, a rich kid playing at finance, which poor Jake Dobkin at Gothamist appears to have taken for a real contributor, some links to the human interest stories featuring Wall Street people, and a morning round up of the business news. We did like the Enron tombstones on eBay nib, which was rather cool, and the opening line of Spiers' welcome letter was the title of a !!! song - one of their better ones, in fact.

They'll probably have a rather interesting time hanging with corporate publicity machines, which tend to believe that there is such a thing as bad publicity, that looking nasty isn't a marketing hurdle, and are quite used to paying their lawyers too much. They might attract less attention by going after the world of penny stocks, but then the super-rich would not be anywhere near as interested.

Short answer is, though, that the site's bobbins. Will be until they get a handle on what they're talking about. Jason Calacanis, while getting it massively wrong ("if I could buy stock in a person I would buy EZSP." Or you could spend your money on a finance 101 course. It's your money, I suppose), does highlight how you do it right. Find the next Jim Cramer.

Cramer's good - a massively successful money manager with the knack of explaining things in really simple terms to the guppies that ring in to his show. And if you find a Jim Cramer willing to blog for fruit and a chance to hang with Spiers and her friends, have at 'em. Then ask them to buy your stupid blog.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Xen Warriors

So, I have just recovered from a fever that caught me in the morning and was with me all through the night. At one point the temperature in my body reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 38.3 degrees Celsius, for those of you that measure it that way, which there aren't.

We have grave news of the passing of Caspar Weinberger who was an old school, patrician, cultivated, politician, and was, um, indicted for some stuff a long time ago. Which goes to show, Mr. Taibbi, that it's not just low-class student conservatives that break laws with willful abandon - the grown-ups do it too.

Why do I mention Mr. Weinberger right now, apart from to offer mild criticism of my favourite Rolling Stone author? Well, the man's name used to crop up a lot on the news when I was a child, and there was something very luxurious about the name, at least there was in 1980s South London. I may have been the wrong side of pubescence, but I knew a Super-Bad Missile-Sellin' Hawk-Master when I heard one.

Anyhoo, what I really wanted to talk about was Xenisucks. It wasn't until I got down to linking to this that I realised how much I'd need to explain. Xeni Jardin is a contributor to Boingboing, one of the hugest blogs around, a repository of some hugely weird stuff, and occasional source of a mass email to my colleagues.

It's also a soapbox for the various obsessions of its authors, who use it to publicise their books, work and media appearances. Which is fine by me, it's their blog, and it's a good mix of nerdery and more varied stuff from all corners of the globe. But it can be a bit insidery, and it is this which appears to have motivated Matthew Neal Sharp to set up Xenisucks, a treasure trove of ad hominem attacks on poor Xeni.

Xeni links to it, adding that "this is a total hoot", and then sort of allowed in a reader comment that put all of the author's personal details online. He didn't seem too bothered by it, even mentioned it on his own blog. But the next post up sounded a little darker:

I can only assume you mention my employer in hopes that someone "higher up" than me will .... get me in trouble or something. Who knows. Who cares? Thanks for the free publicity! My stock value just bumped up a bit more.

What with allusions to hackers being sicced on his servers, the whole thing got rather sordid. And while the man might strike us as a wee bit paranoid, there certainly might be some fans of hers that were even more vindictive. Throughout all this, though, Xeni smiled beatifically on, like Lula's mother from Wild At Heart. Aaaaaargh!

The Switch - "Kiss Or Kill"
Buy "The Rattlesnakes Versus The Switch" here. Or not. The site seems to me to be mostly sleeping, and in the interim some kids from Long Beach stole the name. Hard one to google, you gotta say

Oh, and finally, some late-breaking diplomacy here:

London Mayor Ken Livingstone, upset that the U.S. Embassy is not paying a quarter of a million dollars in traffic congestion charges,has called Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle a "chiseling little crook."

Now that's a lede.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Jason Bourne, He Was Not Hired

The Outer Harbour
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
Macau is known to me as the place to do to things - gamble and hire hit men. After four visits to Hong Kong, I finally grabbed a small amount of time to take the hour-long ferry to Macau, a former Portuguese colony now, like Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China.

It's best to see Macao as a slightly more relaxed and rattier version of Hong Kong, all crumbly, more continental-looking architecture. There's recently been an influx of casino development, including a new Venetian and a new Wynn hotel, but the boom is likely to pass the sleepy-looking other side of town by.

So, you can stroll by endless stores selling dubious-looking candy and jerky, and take in some very jolly churches. I only, truth be told, had about two hours there, and would have liked a lot more. All you need to know about why I'd like to sped more time here is in this observation - outdoor cafes - Macau has them, hong Kong doesn't.

Back in Brookie tomorrow, and might post a few more pictures, or you could jurt take a look at the most recent addditions on flickr.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

There Were No Blackcurrants In The Mayflower

It's difficult to find time to immerse one's self in the arcana of The Arena Warz, when situated several thousand miles away, in a place where the streets flow with Ribena. It's even more difficult when communing with Ur-bloggers and Denton's minions.

But I'm more than a little sad to hear that the Brooklyn Beer boycott had come to this:

“The boycott is on,” said Freddy’s manager Don O’Finn. “I have to find the right beer to replace it on the tap beer system, fix the beer list sign, and then Brooklyn is out.”

O’Finn felt confident the decision would appease his customers, even though Brooklyn Lager is a top selling beer. The bar is, after all, the hub for Ratner opponents.

It's probably inevitable that a bar that would be bulldozed to make way for a beer concession would not be that keen on selling the beer in question. But I'd hoped, secretly, that people would just stop drinking it and sock it to the man in a quiet and undignified fashion.

Still, quiet and dignified is probably not the best way to appeal to public opinion. And it cannot be denied that avoiding drinking Brooklyn Beer seems to have attracted public attention in a way that few of the other anti-Arena protests have.

Most comical is the counter-boycotter referenced in the above article. He feels, in a way that has been nagging at me from time to time, that a boycott might be disproportionate, and decides to drink Brooklyn Lager while wearing a Brooklyn Lager t-shirt. That's got the makings of a classic noise machine right there. Unless he looks like a bear, in which case Mr. Hindy might ask his friend to stop, I hope.

You might call the above words space-filling. You'd be wrong. They're an epic and inspiring tale of struggle against one of the more unpleasant jet-lag-complicated hangovers I've suffered in recent weeks. There was gin and cigars and taxis and two fine hostelries - The White Stag and the Ritz Carlton's piano bar.

Didn't we used to be rock pig? Yeah, that's right.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tale Of Two Companies

A nice end to today, which in other respects resembled a Kafka-esque nightmare. If Kafka was a lying clown that thought that Customer Service rep meant "teller of convoluted and mostly untrue stories". The upshot is I'm looking to move my money out of the utterly awful HSBC, and move it to Citibank. If the Consumerist is uninterested, maybe we will share the reasons for this with you one day.

But it ended with Cathay Pacific being awesome and bumping me up to business. You. Rock. Cathay. Made utterly pointless the suite of alcohol and sleep-aids I lined up, but there ya go.

Hong Kong airline - good. Hong Kong bank - incompetent junkies.

The Black Keys - "Have Love Will Travel (Version)"
Fetch "The Moan" here. Although you'd be forgiven for failing to see the point. I think that might be my second of this EP

[Update - Hello, Consumeristicles. Mandarin Oriental (8am check-in? No problem!) also less badly-run Hong Kong outfit that HSBC].

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Saints And Winners

The weekend has been, sad to say, a relatively restrained one. Friday started promisingly enough, and lunchtime was spent with a bloody burger in one hand, and pint of bass ale in the other. After a brief pause for the love of dayjob, the merriment continued at Mustang Grill where we celebrated the life of the man that rid Ireland of snakes (watch for devious planes, kids!) with several hundred suburban emergency workers. Thence to somewhere less unformed but more cramped, somewhere not remotely Hibernian, and a pierogi joint.

I finished up at Pianos catching The Kelly Affair. I still can't think of much to describe them with apart from mentioning Sleater-Kinney, but be assured that this is a reflection much more of my meager critical abilities than their musical abilities. They were on good form, though the gin helped. The weekend since then has been a whirl of acts of worship and Park Slope hostelries. Oh, and a tiny bit of record buying, about which more later.

I just googled the blog's name, and the second result up was this from the Brooklyn Papers on the Brooklyn Brewery flap from a month ago. Not much to take issue with, apart from getting me (fake) name wrong, and possibly misunderstanding the slant of that letter I wrote. I still have no issue with Brooklyn Lager, or even Mr. Hindy's business practices. My main issue is with his interest in the real estate game, which I feel is misguided and naive.

So, I'll be over in Hong Kong for most of the week, not to any great purpose. In the mean time, here's some tech-house-legends-unleash-hell-on-handbag-classic six minutes of joy for yer. Stay local.

Basement Jaxx - "Red Alert (Eric Morillo + Harry Romero Dub)"
The "Red Alert"? It can be found here in digital glory. Not at all what you just scoffed. That had crackling

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pullman Leg-Puller

Strange stuff from Slate this morning. I was perusing this article by the beautifully-named Austan Goolsbee, and felt that the whole thing stank. Goolsbee doesn't quite come out and say it, but seems to suggest that the bus drivers of Chicago might do well to learn from their counterparts in Chile. The idea, put simply, is that bus drivers in Chile are paid according to the number of passengers they carry, and this might be worth emulating elsewhere, according to a study from David Reiley of the University of Arizona and Juan Carlos Munoz of Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

The report, unfortunately, must be paid for, and I'm not being paid to throw rocks at Slate, but the article leaves me thinking that neither the authors of the report nor Goolsbee have engaged with the qualitative differences between Chilean and Chicago bus drivers. Put simply, the bus drivers backed up on Lake Shore Drive seem to be short-haul urban routes, where a bus would have to stop every couple of blocks. Those in Chile, running long-haul routes, would be much better able to adjust to traffic conditions. And they do. Chile is such a long and skinny country, long-distance coaches are not the alternative to trains, they are the trains.

Further down the article, Goolsbee then does mention that 95% of the bus drivers in Santiago, Chile's capital city, use incentive pay based on the numbers of passengers they carry. Which suggests that there may be some way for drivers on urban routes to respond to traffic conditions. But still, I'm not sure how they can, without missing stops. It might be possible to compare drivers on suburban routes in Santiago and Chicago, but that's not what we get. More info please.

[Update: Not convincing?, Felix? Bah, humbug. Dealing with that article was like fighting a cloud. Now what toll-roads do to public transport in Santago is another problem.]

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Prefab Scrotes

Jeez, I'd spent quite a while wondering what it was I didn't like about The Huffington Post. The stupid thing was blocked from dayjobland's servers for quite a while, and I'd formed an unreasonable personal dislike of Arianna Huffington based on her past as a republican and, worse, a student politician. The thing eventually got lodged in my RSS, because some of her writers got a few links elsewhere, and there was occasionally posted a screed of great beauty.

But the blog, even the best of the blog feed, is rather samey and shrill, rattling off the contents of the NY Times' op-ed commentators (RIP, culturally) in a slightly less articulate fashion. It's also stupidly long-winded. If I have the time, I might wade through those exhaustive posts on The Next Hurrah, because TNH's authors usually have reason for being that careful.

Finally, though, there was this feeling that Arianna wanted to turn the blog into something corporate and fabulous. Yes, the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow was lined up to write something at launch should have tipped me off. Then we hear that she's cooking up ghostwritten posts with the publicists of Hollywood celebrities. I don't know what the hell that is, but it isn't blogging.

Arianna, or at least her interns, pieces together this amalgam of left-leaning quotes from Clooney, and sends them to his publicist, who mumbles "sure". Clooney denies ever writing the post, and Arianna, proving that she cares more about being right than her blog's credibility says "this is kosher, I cooked it up withh his flack in advance." Just an epically bad move. The sound you hear is my feed getting that little bit smaller.

Still, does mean you get a topical choon:

RJD2 - "Ghostwriter"
Buy "Deadringer" here. It makes collages from sound, rather than left-wing dogma

[Update: Honourable exception goes to the Secret Presidential IMs. Now that's funny]

Fresh Hataz On The Brookie

Mmm, this is weird. The great Brooklyn Brewery Boycott has been trundling along quite amiably, picking up dazed hipsters along the way. A little bit of back-and-forth, and a little bit of confusion over spokesmen. But mostly, and even though this is probably the most engaged I have been in opposition to the stadium project, it's a side skirmish in the wider war.

Then along comes this fake email business. Some prankster manages to set up a fake email account in the name of Bruce Ratner. Not that difficult, since gmail, for one, managed to provide me with the obviously fake name of Gari N. Corp. This prankster then sends an email to Steve Hindy, the owner of the Brooklyn Brewery, and a strong supporter of this destroying the neighbourhood business. This is the reason, after all, we're boycotting his tasty wares.

The email apparently enraged Ratner so much that that he decided to sue the unidentified authors. Here's part of what the email said, according to court papers:

"Just a friendly messag [sic] to let you know I will not be selling any Brooklyn lager at the Brooklyn Nets Stadium," court papers quote the email as reading. "Nothing personal, but I have to make a deal with the larger suppliers - Anheuser Busch for one - in order to really do the right thing. You're small time and always will be."

It's a point made quite eloquently at the end of Fans For Fair Play's boycott manifesto - that if a Nets stadium ever gets built, Brooklyn Brewery will get shafted in favour of larger suppliers. I doubt he'd ever be able to connect the email to a particular individual. But what's extraordinary is that Ratner decided that it would be a good idea to float this notion more widely, and give the boycott a new lease of life. Thus, we get a few more stories in the Brooklyn press, and even a proper blog (quick explanation to jossip - we don't like the project because it's turning a quite spiffy already part of Brooklyn into a concrete wasteland and demolishing our favourite bar.

I have no idea what might propel Ratner to such strange behaviour, because if it keeps getting weird, then maybe a proper newspaper would take a look, and then Hindy would not be happy.

Brief moment of unrelated levity - I'm starting to believe that NY1's Neil Rosen is gettin' some. He cropped up this morning looking rather suave in a suit and hipster-style glasses. I think he might even have lost some weight. And he was interviewing Natalie Portman in a weirdly competent fashion. Um, good stuff, Neil. Keep getting whatever it is you're getting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I Want My RSS

I have experienced one of those brief but powerful lulls recently, during which I catch up on admin and think up money-making schemes for my publication, like any other self-respecting journalist. It may, provided I can be suitably enthused by the subject matter, involve a few more posts.

The first, and most exciting, new development is the new Gawker Stalker Map, which shows real-time geographic information of celebrity sightings. It is yet another of those cute little mash-ups of the google maps source code that enables you to find the locations of infinite variations of take-out food on Manhattan, but still shows vast swathes of the OECD as fuzzy green.

What do we think of the Gawker Stalker map? Well, it enrages PR people, and makes celebrities nervous. So far so good. But it could, as the Bloglord Felix suggests, be used as a sort of Nuremberg Files for the young and fabulous. A real stalker's ultimate resource.

Well, if you go to Felix' post you can read an anguished and incoherent debate with myself over this problem in the comments (um, sorry). I'm still not sure that it's ever going to be a large and coherent enough resource to provide much help to your common or garden stalker. More importantly, I've always suspected that a good half of these sightings are poor look-alikes (I have a colleague particularly prone to this).

But the point about New York providing the anonymity that people crave is well taken. I can't help but think that in this debate, as in many of Felix' posts on Gawker Media, that there's a hankering after a more civilized age in New York media. Which makes him the Obi Wan Kenobi of blogs.

While we're on a roll, a quick belated note about the party at Nublu on Saturday. I have not encountered such a pleasant crowd for a while, and the guy at the door was a true gentleman. The DJ was also vaguely fun, and you could almost picture Basquiat in the corner staring goofily at some heroin addict female.

The band was kinda arresting - Kudu was their name. The programmer/DJ/sequencer chap paired a Yankees cap and a sports coat. The lady wailed huskily. I heard Veba and Moloko. Cutesome, I think , heard Portishead, and demands that I hunt down their single EP forthwith.

Should I post some Kudu, some Veba, or maybe even some Flaming Sideburns (not remotely space blues, I've just been listening to them a lot of late)?

No, instead I shall post the first ever new wave song I have danced to. This Saturday last.

Medium Medium - "So Hungry, So Angry"
Buy "Hungry So Angry" here. 4 left, so don't go, um, unsated

Monday, March 13, 2006

Steve Hindy Sez Unleash The Bulldozers

[UPDATE: I've changed the title of this post, which had been "Steve Hindy Is Unabashedly Evil". He's not. He's a former AP war correspondant, brewer of fine ales, and cheerleader for the destruction of my neighbourhood. Which doesn't make him evil, just misguided]

Nice to see that sorted out, then. Why I had entertained the idea that Steve Hindy is a nice man because he helps me get drunk is beyond me. The evidence was right there, from the long history of brewery magnates supporting the forces of reaction, to the fact that the list of people that try and get me drunk includes time-share salesmen, financial PRs, and unsavoury wine merchants.

There is a certain sense of relief to it, a moral clarity to my choice to abstain from Brooklyn Beers. The man has the sort of outsize chutzpah one would find in Mr. Wiggles. According to the Brooklyn Papers, opponents of the Atlantic Yards took Hindy around the site of the development, only for him to emerge even more determined than ever that several residents and my favourite bar need to be forced from their homes so he can sell more beer to basketball fans.

Ah, but what of the private email set by his brewmaster, Garret Oliver, who opposed the plan in an email to a project opponent? Here's the Papers:

The brewmaster had strayed from the company’s existing line in the exchange with angry beer drinker, Ian McLaughlin, who had emailed Oliver that he would join the boycott because of the company’s “support of Bruce Ratner’s stupid arena project.”

Most brewmasters would’ve hit delete and then checked the temperature on the primary fermenter. But Oliver did what Brooklynites have always done: he gave his opinion. But talking out of turn got Oliver into hot wort with his boss.

“He went too far and he has apologized to me about it profusely,” Hindy said.

But he blamed McLaughlin for “hooking Garrett into” the e-mail exchange. “I told Fans for Fair Play that they were ridiculous to claim [Garrett] spoke for the brewery. I said, ‘If you want to do that, I’ll put you in touch with our warehouse manager, too.’ Garrett was speaking for himself.”

Dissent will not be tolerated. Makes me suspect also that it is Hindy that thinks that Marty Markowitz is a great guy to have a beer with rather than his beer guru Oliver.

So, and with a heavy heart, and knowing what we now know about the Darth Vader of suds, we must move from saying "I am going to have to abstain from the beer, god that's a pain", to "DO NOT DRINK THE BROOKIE AT ALL COSTS IT BURNS IT BURNS".

But, I should add a quick note to the clown-journalists that keep harping on about the fact that Freddy's, the physical epicenter of opposition, mostly cause it is cosy and has plenty of Johnny Cash, still sells Brooklyn Lager. You are clearly either ruthless hunters after hypocrisy or you do not understand the first thing either about the role that Freddy's plays in opposing the project or about how beer is distributed. I'll make yours an O'Doul's and Ass.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I've missed getting this chap's spam since alan Greenspan stepped down as chairman of the Federal reserve. From the last missive:

"As the retrospect is now only hours away, we might now, try to understand GreenSPan nature & Behavior.

This article explains and show the coherence of the strategy of GreenSPan since the famous Irrational Exuberance, till the end of his tenure at the Federal Reserve.

I show that during that decade he had only one goal: avoid the systemic risk of Keynes' Liquidity Trap.

His strategy consists in waiving the flags of non-systemic risks in order to increase the rates associated with the concerned assets and thus keep long-term interest rates above Keynes' Liquidity Trap."

As far as I can tell, the screed was a bizarre mixture of millenial theology and economics 101. All of it meticulously researched, stupidly long, and designed to bring one to invest in an Israel shekel-linked post-crash currency unit. Worryingly enough, the premises were not that far removed from those of Morgan Stanley's chief economist.

Alas, the author appears to have moved on. Hopefully not to death or bankruptcy. The google cache is still there, though. We'll miss you, crazy Greenspan-freak, you!

Sounds like a case for the rejuvenated Felix Salmon to me.

Hella Cross

Another bright day dawns, another post begins with bowing and scraping, and saying sorry for not posting much. I was mostly locked in a small room with state transportation officials, and spent the evening doling out gongs in the relatively rock pig surroundings of Gotham Hall. Today I have mostly been moaning, cutting and pasting. Such are the wages of sin.

So, this week's rockness looks seriously good. You've got the Mig-Hole bands like Black Dice playing a top secret Todd P show on an abandoned water taxi on Newtown Creek (or not, if I happen to be lying.

Still, I'm an utter meathead, so the Hellacopters at the Bowery on Friday look good. Problem is, I have a romantic assignation that evening, so Thursday's looking better. That night, we got the same people we saw the other month in DUMBO playing opposite sides of the east river.

Pity, because I must say, I fancy hairy Scandinavians doing brutal soul covers something rotten right now. Not as much as Friday's dining companion, but... well, you get the idea.

The Hellacopters - "Whole Lot of Shakin' in My Heart (Since I Met You)"
Buy White Trash Soul Here. Smokey get real paid. No, really

Monday, March 06, 2006

Odds And Sods

The weekend was spent in suburban Detroit, where were pleased enough to rock both the Somerset Collection and the rock Mecca that is the Village Club. We totally closed out the latter of them, although I should note that while normally that means hanging out with the bar staff till the wee small hours, in this instance it meant that the valet parking guys had to wait to go home. Sorry.

The exciting things today we picked up on the internet include this rendering of the Atlantic Yards project as a series of views from around the area. Very ginormous the project is, too. I have to say, any series of skyscrapers that can make Atlantic Avenue seem claustrophobic is way too large. As I've already stressed, the project, for me, is more about trashing the neighbourhood than any deep-held aesthetic objection to skyscrapers. But I have to say the rendering gave me the creeps.

And I have a wee rant about Apple, who provided me with an update to iTunes that has removed my lovingly assembled collection of Graham Linehan sitcoms from my iPod. After a little sniff around the website, we found out that they did it on purpose. Apparently TV shows not bought from the iTunes store are not TV shows but disgusting impostors!

Either way I'm going to have to do a restore on the stupid thing.

I also suggest a quick look at this Slate discussion between Simon Reynolds, who just wrote "Rip It Up and Start Again", and Stephen Metcalf. I think the man is not detached enough from the post punkers, but he seems to love the source material. Reminded me of Michael Azerad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, which posited that post punk, and particularly new wave, was just a big scam to corporatise punk. Boo, capitalist pigs.

What was also amusing from the Azerad book was that most of the bands that toured with Public Image Limited hated the experience. I mean, you knew John Lydon was evil, but he was apparently very dismissive of the other bands. Hasn't appeared to have harmed his career any, mind.

Good segue opportunity. Here's a Chemical Brothers remix of John collaborating with his old touring drummer in Leftfield. Thing is, the compilation is utterly unauthorised. So with luck, Lydon entirely gets not real paid.

Leftfield - "Open Up (Chemical Brothers Mix)"
Buy Chemical Reaction here, even though the compilers are bad

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Clock Watching

Well, this is quite a silly way to spend a Thursday, watching the clock until Hong Kong wakes up. I haven't had to do this in day/evening job for a while now. So, here I sit, idly surfing the internet, waiting to for the keener bankers to start screening their calls. Meanwhile, across town, Mr. Ted Leo is playing at The Hook, and the stupid thing is sold out.

Normally, not only would I be down outside the venue screaming "Teeeeeed!", and trying to accost strangers for tickets, but I'd be encouraging you to do likewise. But there are drawbacks:

1) How the hell will the good oil majors find out what the optimal conditions are for investing in Indonesia, if I decide to go on the p*ss instead?
2) The Hook, it is in a rather deserted area, and short of a reasonably substantial hike over to Lillie's, there are few fallbacks.
3) One of the the maybe three people that read this blog with no idea of who the author is might decide to dash down and hunt down my secret identity (alright, I'm reaching)
4) It's miles away, and cabs maybe involved.
5) Ted's recent demos are a bit scruffy.

Feh, I'm sure Lightning Bolt will play there again soon.

Oh bugger, the support (replacing the Duke Spirit, who have visa issues, my sympathies) are Direct From Hollywood Cemetery. DFHC, look and sound, as far as I can tell from the Myspace page, to be the children of the Dirtbombs and the Misfits. My style, no?

Tonight, though, there will be no music, no ghouls, and only economic analysis. Spoooooooky!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


This is what I want for my Bar Mitzvah/Confirmation/Birthday/Wedding/Retirement/Bank Robbery. This is all I want.

I spent a fair amount of yesterday, between bursts of day job, scouring the internet for word of the new Apple Hi-Fi. I was briefly entranced. The usual, the white exterior, the clean lines, the gizmo that lets your iPod screen just show the artwork. All this, needless to say, without considering the sound quality.

And then the Olive Opus cropped up on Engadget. It's stunning. I've been staring at it all day. It rips all your CDs in lossless, and then you just plug it into an extremely high-end separates system and off you go. You'd have to rip your CDs again, or get the manufacturer to do it. But it would be hell cool - you'd be actually able to hear all the dead bluesmen spinning in their graves on Jon Spencer records. I'm feeling the greed right now.

Step one would probably be to get paid for side writing gigs. For now, though, there's writing for fanzines. This month's Sugarzine column, a review of a gig held during the Pathetic Great Blizzard Of '06, is up here. The homepage has had a slight redesign, but that need not detain you.

The review has dropped to second place again, behind a guy that just discovered internet radio. Not the super-cool Pandora, which plays on any browser, no. The unholy Yahoo/SBC version, which is wedded to Windows. Boo. Normally I'd be more cross about the positioning, but since my review is riddled with typos, I'm going to be restrained.

Still, ere's something from The Drones that'll illuminate the review a smidge:

The Drones - "The Down Bound Train (live on PBS radio 2005)"
Buy "Here Come The Lies" here. Well, click, then scroll down a while. There, that's it