Friday, April 28, 2006

On My Command Unleash Ribs

Tokyo became wearying and hectic, and not in the sense that I sped around neon-lit Pachinko parlours and made crazy karaoke friendz either. The Four Seasons became my gilded prison, and I sat around there viewing how Japanese corporations might benefit from super extraordinary business opportunities in Asia and Latin America. And then I went home again, care of our grouchy but basically well-meaning friends at American.

I'd been rather too busy to scan the news from home, but would now like to note in passing that top utter bastard Bruce Ratner's attempts to tear down my neighbourhood continue apace. Needless to say, the only ugliness that Prospect Heights has ever experienced was at this monster's hands.

In other blighted building news, an acquaintance of mine recently viewed a Gloria Trembicky apartment. One of Gloria's opening gambits was, and I promise that I am not making this up, "so, do you guys like to have heat in the winter?" The real estate broker, an individual that provides conclusive proof of our closeness to reptiles on the evolutionary scale, even tried to say that Gloria was the frequent innocent victim of unbalanced tenants. He then offered to knock $500 a month from the one-bedroom's rent on the spot.

And finally, proof that possibly Brooklynites have been much too restrained at public hearings on the Atlantic Yards project. Nascar has been trying to build a course on Staten Island for a few months now, and has even purchased some land for the purpose. I had thought that maybe they deserved each other, and had not paid too much attention to the subject.

My bad. A recent hearing on the subject erupted into a riot - scuffles, cops, unseemly rhetoric, the lot. Now, we always knew that Staten Islanders were not that well-schooled in the finer points of discourse (Exhibit A: Fossella, Vito), but this was a marvelous display of lunkheadedness from the New Jersey annex. But, the whole thing did dominate the news cycle in a way that the earnest meetings on the Atlantic Yards often fail to do. So I am officially challenging Bruce Ratner to a fight. The parking lot of the Vanderbilt McDonalds. Whenever

What was slightly disconcerting, though, was the suggestion that the construction jobs to be created at the new Nascar track were all going to people who live outside the borough. This is perplexing, since I had assumed that all the union people who wanted the Atlantic Yards jobs lived in Staten Island. More likely, I assume, is that all these jobs will go to people on Long Island, which as we all know is the real enemy. In the mean time, though, Staten island Citizens Against the Track may want to rethink their acronym.

OK, children, posting will enjoy another hiatus for the weekend. I have a party, starts with Bachelor... (See? Means that Gari could be a boy or a girl!) So I'm going to be mostly drunk. Cheers.

The Gotohells - "Drink Poison, Wrestle Snakes"
Buy "Rock N' Roll America" Here. Then fight someone

P.S. The Boy Boutin is right. Myspace has brought instantly to the masses that which previously took awkward teenagers weeks to get to a point suitable for mocking on Portal of Evil.

[UPDATE: Hello, nolandgrabbers. Hardly me finest, is it? Was I drunk? No, just looking forward to it.]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I Could Have Sworn Ted Leo Mentioned This

Shibuya By Night
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
I got on a train went all the way to Shibuya, ate a rather dubious beef bowl, and came back with a shot that might as well have been Times Square. Oy vey.

Shibuya was probably mentioned in a mid-period Ted Leo song. I'm hungry now, so I cannot summon the energy to google it. I may well have misheard.

P.S. Cutesome is metal! Very metal! Hang in there Cutesome!

Monday, April 24, 2006

It Was A Time Of Peace

Willows And Tall Arch Bridge
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
Wow. A marginally horrendous time was had getting around today. This is probably my fault for not learning any non-European languages. Polite to a fault, but still, there was not a building greeter in Otemachi that could guide me to my destination. I made it to the meeting 30 minutes late, and only then by actting extremely pitifully. At least I have now mastered the subway.

So, anyway, the photo here is not of cramped and bewildering Tokyo. It is of the Summer Palace in Beijing, and stands as a necessary corrective to my whining from this morning. You may find more pictures at my Flickr stream, or you may even add my drunken and/or poorly-composed happy snaps to your RSS.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rainy Tokyo

Rainy Tokyo
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong FalungongFalungong. There, that's better. I had found the tactics of Falun Gong's protesters to be off-putting and inconvenient, and have often been a little wary of their cult-like elements. But it took the Chinese government's brutish approach to filtering the internet to make me sympathise with them.

This includes no Beeb, arbitrary blocks on corporate web sites. And no blogger, or blogspot, or for that matter typepad, domains. Hence the radio silence - my apologies. I also felt sorry for my hosts' crippled ADSL modem, which would never no the delights of the world beyond the firewall. Boing Boing, we noted was unfiltered, although a couple of sites came through as RSS but wouldn't load in html versions.

Still, all is well now, since we are propped up in the Four Seasons Chinzan-So in Tokyo with the Yankees game playing in the background. It's rainy, and the view is less than epic, but it's still a pretty rock pig experience.

But back to Beijing briefly. A maddening, bewildering city. One can sample the best sodding dumplings in the history of mankind for 80c a head, and then spend the evening with a bunch of limeys in an expat bar and pay more for a Tsingtao than one would in Brooklyn (not Manhattan I'll grant you). But enough of my jet-trash whining.

The one thing that Beijing has, which I think no other city has, is a form of brutalist totalitarian architecture that has been updated for the twenty-first century. So your twenty-story, 400m-wide behemoths are done in plate glass rather than stone. The effect is, yes, impressive and also deeply unsettling. Unsettling also is the fact that Tiananmen Square is now and eight-lane highway.

The most beautiful moment was an afternoon spent in the Summer Palace, a gorgeous series of halls, lakes and bridges set to the northwest of the city. A fair amount of it was being restored, but I've never seen palaces on this scale, not in the Loire, or the hilltops of Italy.

The only peculiar thing was the signage. Every single one went "The Hall of [insert name]. This was burned down by Anglo-French forces in 1860, but was rebuilt in 2004." It's true. It was burned, in an act of spectacular vandalism, by disgruntled limeys after a dispute over zoning laws (where could the limeys live?) ended with some ambassadors being chopped up. Not nice, and all that. But could your returning imperialist barbarian pig have any other information? Nope, hiring a tour guide, which we declined, is evidently a way of making amends.

Anyway, I'd go back - just - to Beijing, but for now Chiyoda beckons

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Future Needle

Future Needle
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
As promised, a night-time view of Kuala Lumpur. After the majesty of Hong Kong, New York, or possibly even Singapore, it's hard to get excited about Kuala Lumpur. The ground-level seediness is refreshing, but the space buildings are, to be frank, pretty tame.

Still you can see a view of my hotel room, rather thaan my usual charmless tactic of taking pictures of the view from it. Which will give you a hint as to which mind-bendingly scatty outfit I am currently lodging with.

It is currently the rainy season in Malaysia, which means that every day at 2 o'clock the streets run like rivers, lightning strikes, and I feel smug about having a raincoat until about five minutes after it stops.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fess Up

Greetings from humid and incompetent Malaysia, where the ATMs stop working after midnight, and the internet slows to one fifth of its daytime speed. Now, you could take a less hectic approach to telecommunications as the sign of a more civilized society, but to inflict the molasses-webs on jetlagged and tweaking travellers seems to be the height of barbarity. There will be no link to the hotel where I am staying, after they managed to take three attempts to connect the mighty Cutesome to my room.

I was magged to the nines for the sleepless flight to Kuala Lumpur - Forbes, Spin, Rollingstone, the Economist, the Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, MacUser and The NYT Magazine. Once I decided neither to drink excessively, nor managed to dislodge the chap in the next door seat, I needed every single piece of paper I could get my hands on. There was only so much entertainment to be had from the weird Sky Captain-esque uniforms of the Korean Air staff.

(Holy balls. I just googled Korean Air to get their link and find this litany of safety problems at Wikipedia. Nice. I can't talk too much to the "cockpit culture" of the Koreans, but will say that at some point one of the flight staff bullied me into drinking this vile-smelling thick and creamy Korean green tea. It was alright.)

I also read the entirety of the Sunday New York Times. It included this from Nick Confessore about the unstoppable criticizin' skillz of the Atlantic Yards opponents. Only it missed the only celebrity stadium blogger that called a stadium supporter "unabashedly evil", and demanded that the Borough President be tarred and feathered and left keening in the gutter in Bay Ridge.

To be frank, the piece seems like an NYT attempt to flatter Norman Oder, who has been particularly critical of the Times (needless to say, it didn't work). The Times can be funny that way, and sometimes I think their reporters really do think that getting mentioned is love enough. Sometimes they're right. Why didn't you mention Gumby Fresh, you f***in' f***s? Is it because I don't know what I'm talking about and debase the public discourse? Fit to print my a*se.

As you can tell, today I am mostly VERY HAPPY

Turbonegro - "Don't Say Motherf***er, Motherf***er"
Buy "Apocalypse Dudes" here. Last album before they gave in to their gay side

Oh, and RIP Underberg. I miss that cranky ruin already.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Molly's Coddled

Blogging here will be as light today as it has been everywhere else. I don't even have any pictures for you.

But wait! It gets even better! I'm going off on one of those periodic road trips to the magical orient.

I've already discovered that my Cingular-packing Nokia 3100 (Your phone? It is like that of a CHILD) will not work anywhere east of the Straits of Hormuz. It's increasingly likely that connectivity will be an interesting and frustrating affair. Still, with luck I will have a few pictures from time to time.

In the meantime, we hope, that like the good lord Jesus Christ, top limey cat Molly comes out of her cave at Myers of Keswick in time for Easter. Latest is that she's still in there. I say truly, she is a Coma Baby for our times.

The feebly topical musical post came down to these finalists:

Primus - Tommy The Cat (Pros: from the Bill + Ted Soundtrack. Cons: the stoopid trapped cat isn't called Tommy)
Husker Du - How To Skin a Cat (Pros: discordant, urgent. Cons: would make Gothamist go "eeewwww", the stoopid cat ain't nekkid)
The Kills - Cat's Claw (this is reaching, I'll grant you)

The winner is...our old friends at the Blues Explosion

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - "Wet Cat Blues"
Buy "Mo Width" here. I understand it's Australian. But this may be THE exception to your reasonably-founded boycott.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thirsty Work

You might think that this Brooklyn Beer boycott has become nasty and bitter, unlike the cool, crisp, and utterly bland taste of Labatt's Blue. Labatts, as has been reported, replaced Brooklyn Lager in Freddys, and the transition has been a painful one.

So, time for a bit of positivity. The manager of Freddys chose Labatt's not because his tongue had been taken out by roaming wolves, but because he thought Canada, the historic home of Labatts (corporate HQ is now Belgium) has enlightened policies on eminent domain. But it doesn't, it just calls it expropriation instead.

Thus, we're left looking for a beer from a place that isn't sucky in this regard. So I did some reporting. Well, some unpaid reporting. I do paid reporting the whole time, leastaways when I'm not fabricating.

With that in mind, I trooped over to the website of the Castle Coalition, part of the Institute For Justice, which is rather libertarian and endorsed by the Wall Street Journal, but otherwise a very pleasant group of people. I emailed them, explained this Freddys predicament, and asked them this question: "Which state has the most restrictions on eminent domain abuse?"

The answer came back from the super-fast Mr. Anderson (no, I don't think he's The One) that Georgia, Michigan, Indiana and South Dakota are leading the pack in clamping down on eminent domain abuse, and that South Dakota is probably the most restrictive. What you will notice immediately is that none of these are in the northeast.

We're looking for a tap beer with national scale and a tasty dark demeanour, and as far as we can tell, there aren't many that match this description. This discovery we made after a spell on Oregon, yes, Massachusetts, yes, California, HELL YES (Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, Gordon Biersch). But nothing in the Four States of Freedom.

Then I called up Cutesome, a fine upstanding Michigandlet. "Wot fine dark ale did youse lot drink when youse were little?" "Bells," came the answer, "is good sh*t from Kalamazoo." I go to the Bell's website. They have a ten-state distribution area that takes in three of the Freedom Four.

But not New York. The search continues.

Rock And Roll Me Again

So, Stereogum got there quicker, and Mig-Hole has done it rarer, but I still have a tuppenceworth about the Pointer Sisters, whose youngest, June, died yesterday.

I didn't listen to much pop in the 1980s, as a rather baffled Cutesome can attest. I basically subsisted on Dire Straits and Status Quo until Faith No More came along (even my parents were ashamed).

But the first two tapes I bought were Born In The USA and the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. Back then I was much more interested in the cheese rock, right up until I heard "The Heat Is On" played in an army recruiting video.

But what's interesting is that the electro stuff has aged MUCH better than the cheese rock, except for Junior's "Do You Really (Want My Love)", which is an intriguing hybrid of the two. So it turns out I was on the wrong side all along and will sit out my exile listening to Juan Atkins' early work.

(Quick aside, but wikipedia entries are creeping inexorably to the top of google results on pretty much any subject, right? Not sure I'm happy about that)

I've posted a couple of tunes here, and will as ever, take them down in the event of a cease-and-desist letter, a jive-o-gram from Eddie Murphy or a tactical nuclear strike. I'd like to note, however, that they're digitised versions of a tape I've owned since I was eleven.

The Pointer Sisters - "Neutron Dance"
Buy "The Best Of The Pointer Sisters" here. Times are hard now the reunion tour's missing one

Junior - "Do You Really (Want My Love)"
Buy "Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack" here. But let's be honest, you taped it in fourth grade

I'm not alone in pushing the "Iran's president is crazy rather than dangerous" meme, although after reading Mr. Hersh on the subject I am a little less flippant. Still, this interior design critic agrees - the man's a flaming nutbar.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moose Droppings

Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate, and compiler of the neither funny nor illuminating "Bushisms" column therein, has a peculiar article on John McCain up. I say peculiar, because it seems to have been written by Marshall Wittman, formerly of the Christian Coalition and now of the Democratic Leadership Council (no, me neither).

Wittman believes that Senator John McCain is the reincarnation of Teddy Roosevelt, mostly because both of them are/were hawkish, have a habit of saying tough things in public, and have a reputation for being unconventional and crabby. But his "musings for independent-minded progressives", related as a series of love-letters to a conservative senator from Arizona, seem to be a way of providing McCain with some kind of bipartisan coating to keep him safe until he can emerge from a primary season spent pretending he's Pat Buchanan crossed with Pat Robertson to the Republican crowd.

Should Weisberg pass these cribbed musings off as a genuine piece of contrary wisdom - that McCain is much more liberal than you think? Probably not, although it's very much his schtick. More accurate is probably this from his colleague john Dickerson, who suggests that McCain is pandering to anyone within reach, but that he is neither very good at it, nor comfortable doing so. Fine, but then he should have run as Kerry's candidate for vice-president, and observed the process close up.

He Never Done Nothin' To No One...That Didn't Deserve It.

Ah, what to do about the utterly bats Iranian president and his bomb fantasies?

My first instinct would be to ignore the loon. The only country that Iran seems to be feuding with massively right now is the US, and the US can probably safely wait until this supposed bomb gets tested. Much less of a problem, truth be told, than the Pakistani and Indian versions, and probably the North Korean one.

But this is hardly responsible international arms control talk. How far is the completely nuts ex hostage-taking Iranian president from having an atomic bomb? We don't know. The CIA doesn't know. Anyone currently living in the US with the ability to speak Farsi is so pissed off with being strip-searched at airports they've given serious thought to moving to London.

So we get things like "we believe they might have x centrifuges, which multiplied by x scientists and ignoring all the screw-ups that might happen, means you should all be very afraid and vote Republican." Yes, it is a problem that the Iranians are more self-sufficient, a fair bit less ethnically divided, and seems to enjoy taunting the US.

But President Bush has now totally turned into the smarmy gym-owning character from Dodgeball, perhaps overly given to picturing himself on the back of a white horse, and suggesting to intimates "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy." Which is also a hideous over-reaction.

To get an idea of how long the Iranians are going to tolerate the demented ravings of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you should refer to the timeline laid down by Bush and Berlusconi. Both of these leaders had about four, maybe five, years before their electors grew weary of their clowning around. There are exceptions of course to this rule - Marty Markowitz, for one, has shown impressive resilience for one so given to nonsensical utterances.

But we can basically assume that unless the Iranian president is able to fix the bits of Iran that oil money can't make better Mr. Ahmadinejad will be out on his ear sharpish, unstoppable uranium centrifuge skillz or no. For a look into the addled brain of the Iranian Prez we have only the words of Faith No More to guide us:

I'm a human bomb
I'll kill anyone
And so are you, So don't be coy
Cause you too can destroy me like a toy

Uncanny, I'll think you'll agree. That's from Mark Bowen, an early Faith No More song named after an early guitarist, who may have jammed with Courtney Love, and about which nothing else is known. But it's a powerful piece of pumped-up self-loathing, non? Originally from the (now rare) We Care A Lot mini-album. The version posted here has Mike Patton on vocals, rather than the album version's Chuck Mosely.

Faith No More - "Mark Bowen (Live In Munich)"
Buy the exact song on the German I'm Easy single from these fine merchants. Alles klar?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Icky Ist

Look, I know it's hardly pagesixgate, but could Gothamist's music picker please lay off the relentless plugging of the bands they manage? Mostly because the conflict sucks the item of the scant nutritional benefit it retained. Cheers.

Boos And Brews

When standing in line at the British consulate it is vitally important to bring compelling reading material along. I settled for the NY Times instead, and after handing the national news section to Cutesome was left with the Metro Section. There I chanced upon this article on the Atlantic Yards project, headlined, "Forced to Move, Some Find Greener Grass".

The article, like the headline, is a painfully, awkwardly, fair piece on the people who've been tempted or coerced into leaving apartments to make way for this stupid basketball arena that only a few greedy non-politicians want. The emphasis towards the end of that last sentence, of course, is mine. It points out that people have made a fair amount of money from the process, as if the boom in prices in the area is not the central reason why this state-funded arena is a colossal waste of tax money.

I'll leave the details of the piece to Mr. Oder, but will pause to mention the weirdness of a piece that was, if not suggested, then certainly only made possible, by the efforts of the developer's PR people. See, the people who get bought out have to sign a gag order that prevents them from talking abut the project ever again. Unless the developer lets them, as part of a charm offensive in the New York Times. And let us also remember that the people who have moved are dependent on the developer coming through with promised rent support and an apartment at the new complex.

I'm going to make an outrageously over the top and disproportionate comparison here, but the whole process sounds like those demented stage-managed TV appearances Saddam Hussein made with the Western hostages in 1990, before the first Gulf War. In particular this moment where Saddam turned to a young hostage, this boy called Stuart, ruffled his hair, and asked him if he was getting his milk. Abjectly creepy.

Calling a blameless, if outspoken, local brewer "unabashedly evil". Comparing a real estate developer's actions to those of Saddam Hussein. Who sez this stadium opponent lacks perspective?

Gus Gus - "Acid Milk"
Buy "This Is Normal" here. If you don't it's like you gassed a town, you b*stards

Oh, and a quick note on the way that Freddy's should replace the Brooklyn lager. Find out which US state has the best record on eminent domain, and then pick a great-tasting amber lager from there. There must be a few eminent domain people that can help....

Friday, April 07, 2006

Radar Jamming

Dear chaps, please excuse me for a couple of paragraphs while I turn into Gawker. In fact, I'm surprised Gawker hasn't worked this one out. It concerns the much-mooted relaunch of Radar, about which Gawker has been known to obsess from time to time.

Radar is/was/could be/will always be this somewhat ungainly lifestyle and culture magazine that was a smarter Blender, or a more androgynous Maxim. I mention all this because I trust that all you good people have never picked up one of these rags, and are, like me, ineligible for employment there. The important thing to note is that it pops up every now and then, provides temporary employment to some of the more obnoxious of Manhattan's creative class, and then disappears.

But is has, in the form of editor on chief Maer Roshan, an indefatigable booster. Maer knows that without him, many Mac-operating w*nkers will starve, and thus he is able to scare up some venture capital now and then to put out some issues. Never mind that whatever demographic he thinks is ill-served by the current crop of magazines is probably now owned by Denton's minions.

I shall get to the point now. Latest is that billionaire Ron Burkle is considering pumping some more money into Radar, as Gawker noted. Mr. Burkle is an occasional media investor, and is also making a pitch for some of the unionized Knight-Ridder papers, but this tilt at resuscitating Radar seems a mite quixotic.


This morning appears in the Daily News word that Mr. Burkle was being shaken down by a member of the loathsome Page Six gang. Burkle was apparently told that for a substantial sum of money the disgusting gossip-mongers at the Post would leave him alone. Burkle did the sensible thing and turfed the problem over to the Feds, who with luck will send at least one of them down.

But what if Burkle had a plan B? Page Six' capo, the bounteously oily Richard Johnson, is known to be rather difficult to attack, on account of his powerful publicist wife and solid media connections in the city. We learned this from Toby Young's book, and if you think that resting the following conspiracy theory on Mr. Young's information is a tad unwise, you'd probably be right.

What is the only possible use right now for a mostly independent, media-obsessed magazine with a track record of taking on celebrities with heavy handed publicity teams (see Cruise, Bonkers Tom)? That's right, some nasty-ass hatchet jobs on Richard Johnson, his wife his tennis partners, his employers, his pet dog, and anyone else that f***s with Ron Burkle.

Paranoid, moi?

[UPDATE: Bugger, mere minutes after this post, Gawker puts up a well-sourced and concise summary that gives this theory the words that it deserves. Like, seven]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Atlantic Kontik

I was really not expecting last night's outcome. The problem here, of course, is that I don't read Pitchfork, so when some listing comes up for a moderately vivacious off-kilter garage rock band at an obscure Downtown Brooklyn venue, I assume that one could waltz up to the door the night of the show and demand some hot entry.

Not so The Ponys. It transpires that they had played the Bowery Ballroom the night before with Art Brut, but this showing hhad not drained the hipster swamp at all. Not one bit.

Transfering the action to the Magnetic Field on the corner of Henry and Atlantic had not calmed the clamour one bit. Thus the venue that normally hosts the Brought Low, three men, and one dog suddenly was telling people with asymetrical haircuts to bugger off.

But the bottom of Atlantic is now festooneed with fall-backs, so we chowed on the flaky cod at the Chippie nearby, had a pint at Floyd (where's your P. Slope outpost, you big bitchy bitch?), and then toodled off home. So no beautifully recorded impressions for you.

Still, you probably should go listen to the mp3s anyway. I stand by the language I used to pitch them to the coworkers I gulled into trying to get into the sold-out gig: "The band sing like w*nkers but play rather well. " You're welcome. I'd like you to cut out the use of the gratuitous fauxbox on the home page, mind.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Holiday Delay

According to the Daily News, a Holiday Express will be up on Union Street and Fourth Avenue by the end of June. This strikes as me as hopelessly optimistic, both the business plan and the timeframe. The proposed location is indeed a benighted and poorly-lit stretch of the area previously known as Gowanus. And there is indeed a hulking beige, barely-finished structure in the spot, next to all the auto-shops. But the place presently looks rather abandoned, a little more complete than it did here, but only just.

Not that it won't be a wicked place to drop the parents off, just that they'll be scared witless.

Figh Dar Visa OK?

Oh, goody, it's time for a "debate" about immigration policy. Which in my hands will turn into an ill-formed and incoherent rant against the civil servants responsible for enforcing it. Or, more accurately, the use of some isolated instances of poor behaviour in support of a much more lofty thesis.

I read this column by noted public intellectual and green card holder Fareed Zakaria with more than a little interest. Zakaria's main point, and it's a goodie, is that Europeans view immigration as a way to get their hands on a small, fixed pool of talented workers from abroad without offering them a shot at citizenship in return. Which is true, and is probably an advantage for the US, even though many migrants in the US return to their home countries after a time either by choice or by law.

I'd offer one more modification to what Zakaria says about the European approach, and here I can just talk from the point of view from the UK, and that is that in the UK residence confers a much broader sets of rights on the holder, including, I believe the right to vote, than the US equivalent. Again, such nuances might be lost on the average migrant, but then I suspect that other factors - family, opportunities, distances - are also important factors.

As well as, yes, the immigration enforcement people. I was not aware for instance, that for a detained asylum seeker to be granted bail in the UK they will need to demonstrate that they intend to leave the country, and not make any kind of fuss at all. Or that the processing fees for at least one kind of UK visa is $500, or that technical support for the UK's visa service is $2.10 per minute to an outsourcing specialist known as ABTRAN. Nice.

So, Freddy's has switched from Brooklyn Lager to Labatt's. Ow. I had hoped that they could have brought in Six Points, but either the stuff is too finickity, or too expensive, or the owners of the small brewery are keeping their heads down. Indeed, it's testament to Mr. Hindy's unique product that replacing it as a result of his demolition fever is so difficult. And I'm impressed by his feistiness, although he is still missing the point.

"Dropping Brooklyn Lager in favor in Labatt will have absolutely no impact on the future of the Atlantic Yards project."

To not understand, as such a savvy marketer should, the power of framing in these debates is perplexing. When the beer boycott is all that people can recall about the project, you would probably have a public relations problem on your hands.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Bring You Strange News From The Land Of Google

So, what have you lot been looking for?

Naked pictures of Atlantic Yards opponents (unless that's you, Mr. Goldstein)

Muffie Benson-Perella. SHE'S MADE UP, YOU HALF-WITS. What sort of paper trail are you expecting to find? Hoping that Spiers will mock up some naked pictures for you? Actually, it worked for Wonkette, did it not? Yeah, go invent her a myspace page, Dealbreaker people

Steve Hindy. Ah, yes, we're sorry about that one. Number five on your own google results seems to be a bit much doesn't it? For what it's worth, the man isn't really evil, just that rarest and most special of creatures - a brewer trying to make my drinking hours less pleasurable.

Oh, well, while we're trying to make your web-surfing hours less pleasurable, here's me latest Sugarzine column, the one where I try and convince you of the majesty of Morphine's second-tier recordings. This month, it is parked below a review of Dave Gilmour's new solo album by an author who claims not to have been concentrating whenever Pink Floyd's music was played, yet seems sure that Floyd fans would like the singer's solo work. Curiouser.

I have heard far too much Pink Floyd, on the other hand ("Obscured By Clouds?" Yes please!), and have not heard the new Gilmour album. I'm going to go out on a limb though. It's about as sh*t as the Division Bell, maybe less than Delicate Sound Of Thunder.

It will be about as enticing a cultural proposition as Alec Empire playing your wedding.

Atari Teenage Riot - "Destroy 2000 Years Of Culture"
Once you've finished vomiting your intestines up, purchase "Burn Berlin, Burn" from the creator

Link Locusts

That really was going to be all I had to say about Xenisucks for eternity, and then two things came up to change my mind. First, the creator of the site apparently commented on the post in question (one of exactly two to crop up on Technorati. I'm always going to take the grouchy side in a battle between sweetness and light and dark and grumbly, and Mr. Sharp appears, on first sight, to be quite the Oscar. But did Xeni knowingly unleash hell on his servers? Not proven, as they say in Scottish jurisprudence.

What seems to be more likely, albeit surprising for an internationally famous tech commentator, is that Ms. Jardin is a wee bit careless in her linking, and blithely chooses to pretend that her legions of fans, some of which do seem to be a bit creepy, do not exist. In support of the carelessness, we have exhibit B, a link to a .mac file hosted by superstar mp3-blogger Miguel Nutrament. Either Xeni does not understand the etiquette of mp3blogging, which stipulates that one links to whatever nonsense the mp3blogger chooses to write about the song they're hosting, rather than just the tune, or she did not check the link properly, which is, yes, careless.

Since Miguel is using similar language to describe Ms. Jardin that he has employed to describe Sasha Frere-Jones, I will surmise that Xeni's list of non-fans just got one longer, without any help from Mr. Sharp at all. Still, I'm sure she won't be too forsaken, as long as there are people who will write this in public forums:

"She's a very positive force in this world. The strange little gremlins who claim to hate her are typical of those who like to tear down any celebrity person.

You can't buy that kind of fanbase.

[UPDATE: Xeni fixed the Banana Nutrament link. Good Xeni, good! You narrowly avoided Mig-hole unleashing comedy hell]

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Wow, thanks, Low Countries, dEUS fanatics. By the way, the live cuts on the Pocket Revolution blog rule. So, what did I fail to do today? That's right, go down to Federal Plaza, and stand side by side with the other immigrants. A pity, since I should have stuck it to the Feds after they subjected me to so much misery there five years ago.

Last night was a high-end tapas binge at Pipa, this confused chandelier shop near the dayjob. There I learnt unnecessary things about Manchego and Sangria, in the latter case that it really is rather sweet. And potent, so I stayed in bed much of the day.

So, during the filming of Pump Up The Volume, Christian Slater got into the character of Harry Hard-On by trying to apply for a UK marriage visa, the better to understand the absurdities that underlie the modern world. April Fool! He actually chopped logs and snorted sweet cock-hyena.

He certainly wasn't going to get it from this pretty slice of Tom Petty-influenced, Jesus-inflected alternative rock. An unlikely soundtrack to hanging out at Hubert Humphrey High, to be sure, but it's certainly better than Concrete Bloody Blonde.

Chagall Guevara - "Tale O' The Twister"
Buy the "Pump Up The Volume" OST here. Only then will you understand what I'm going through