Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Shameless Self Promotion

I’ve entered Spoilt Victorian Child’s Killing Rattlesnakes Mix competition. As I write this I’m on a big, fat, Belgian-style nul points. Go and vote for me. Over and over again.

Money’s In – Jon Schaben vs. Bob Brozman

Bob Brozman

Jon Schaben

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Spice Girls – Spiceworld.

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Writing his autobiography wasn’t nearly enough to keep Stephen Fry busy in 1997. He also found the time to star in two hit films. In one he bowed to the inevitable and played the literary, witty, gay, polymath and all round smarty-pants Oscar Wilde. In the other he bowed to the regrettable and appeared in Spiceworld – The Movie. On the upside he did have the only amusing line in the film: “Send in Hootie and the Blowfish”. There you go, I’ve ruined it for you now.

I suppose you’re wondering why I didn’t post last week. You probably think I spent the week lazing around the woodshed, sipping drambuie and licking tiramisu off assorted comely wenches. You’d be wrong. I spent the whole of last week devising an argument as to why, contrary to appearances, The Spice Girls were not a bunch of talent-less, pan-faced bints. Unfortunately, no amount of clever circumlocution can get around the fact they were a bunch of talent-less pan-faced bints.

Luckily, the end of 1997 saw the beginning of the downturn for The Spices. But before the downturn you have to hit a pinnacle and that pinnacle was the 1997 Brit Awards. That night they became icons, largely thanks to the Union Jack dress worn by Geri (rechristened Ginger despite previous glamour photos providing ample evidence to the contrary). It didn’t hurt that while collecting their awards Geri’s boob fell out and Sporty offered Liam Gallagher out for a fight.

Shortly before the release of Spiceworld (on Boxing Day) they decided to fire their svengali manager Simon Fuller and, temporarily at least, take on managerial duties themselves. Many people point to this as the beginning of the end for The Spice Girls. Their next release, Stop in February 1998, was the first not to top the UK chart. 1998 also saw Halliwell leave the group and become a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Population Fund in the same year (I’m still not sure that actually happened).

Do you really want me to upload a Spice Girls song? Really?

Buy Spiceworld – The Movie

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Blur – MOR/Chinese Bombs (Peel Session)

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It’s a little surprising that Blur even survived until 1997 never mind released probably the best album they ever made.

In 1996 it was clear that Britpop was on the wane. The band themselves were unhappy with their previous album The Great Escape and had decided to take a year out to recuperate. Graham Coxon, however, decided that rather than ‘recuperate’ he would partake in repeated episodes of alcohol poisoning. The band’s hiatus looked like it might become a permanent one.

However, the group did reform with increased vigour and a new direction. Coxon managed to sober up and became the driving force behind Blur’s new lo-fi, indie-rock sound. With their long time producer Stephen Street (who would be replaced with William ‘I did Sting’s If You Love Someone Set Them Free you know’ Orbit on later albums) they set to work recording Blur.

The album’s raw style did not sit well with fans of Parklife and The Great Escape but did win them many new fans. For the first time the band began to sell records in US largely thanks to Song 2 which gave Americans the opportunity to do what they love most: whooping.

Blur also won an unlikely convert in John Peel. He enjoyed their new direction so much he invited them to record a session at his home, Peel Acres. Blur gladly accepted and recorded, among others, these spunky versions of songs from Blur. After Peel’s death Albarn said, “John Peel’s endorsement was for me, like countless other musicians, one of the most significant things that happened to us in our careers”.

Blur – MOR (Peel Session)

Blur – Chinese Bombs (Peel Session)

Buy Blur

Buy Bustin’+Dronin’

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Stephen Fry & Joby Talbot– Hitchhiker’s Guide to Blogging.

I’m not sure if this is something to be celebrated but 1997 was the year the weblog was born. Blogging was dreamt up by a group of Harvard academics to once and for all test the theorem that an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of type writers will eventually produce Shakespeare. So far it’s not looking likely.

In December 1997 editor of Robot Wisdom Jorn Barger started logging sites he had visited on his website and decided on the name ‘weblog’. This was rewritten as ‘we-blog’ and the term ‘blogging’ was invented.

1997 also saw the release of Stephen Fry’s autobiography Moab Is My Washpot (covering the first twenty years of his life). It’s a little hypocritical of Fry to have a go at blogging since the only thing more egotistical than writing about your humdrum life and expecting to read it is writing about your humdrum life and expecting people to pay to read it. Near the end of the book he writes:

“I know that my early life was at one and the same time so common as to be unremarkable, and so strange as to be the stuff of fiction. I know of course that this is how all human lives are, but that it is only given to a few of us to luxuriate in the bath of self-revelation, self-curiosity, apology, revenge, bafflement, vanity and egoism that goes under the name Autobiography.”

Now we all get to luxuriate under the name blogging.

Stephen Fry and Joby Talbot - Hitchhiker's Guide to Blogging

Buy Moab Is My Washpot

Buy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Soundtrack