The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Friday, October 29, 2004

Is it just me...

or does anyone else find this strangely convenient

Fear and Loathing 2004

Hunter S Thompson calls the election.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

RIP John Peel 1939-2004

Although it was half a world away and I never had the opportunity to listen to his radio show, most of the music I listen to would never have made it to a radio station or record store here without John Peel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Song 9 The Streets - Weak Become Heroes

This is not in order, or even planned. This joins the list today because it has done something to me over the last couple of days. This song excites me, and that is what this whole business is about really. This song a perfect example of the immediate effect of a tune you love. It’s the one you can't stop playing over and over again when you first hear it. Mike Skinner is a shit rapper, he can’t rhyme and his mitre is all messed up, but The Streets are wickedly mesmerising, and lyrically clever. The tracks he’s rapping over are mostly garage inspired pretty minimal ditties but they swing from 90s Britpop guitar to rolling D’n’B sounds and they all fit in together pretty smoothly.

I really met this song when my brother burnt me a copy of A Grand Don’t Come For Free (their second album) and put this track on the end to fill it up. It’s a album which is much more than a collection of songs, but a full narrative of a young man’s relationship with a new girlfriend and the rest of his mates and the realisation through that experience of how the world works. It’s touching, angry, amusing and uplifting, but above all it’s really, really clever.

The reason for choosing Weak Become Heroes above all the tracks of Mike’s Hip Hopera is this song speaks to me about something I went through. Around the turn of the century I encountered the world of house music, ecstasy, and all night dancing. Weak Becomes Heroes almost encapsulates my memories of the period. The names, numbers and the places may not be but the experience is the same. The people you met and how you thought you were all alike, you all got "it" you were all somehow enlightened and like the overwhelming cliché of the experience, you worked out the next morning that most of you didn't, or that the "it" they were talking about was a completely different things than what you meant... but despite the rough you did find some gems, some people who you really gelled with, who didn't so much think the same as you, but asked a lot of the same questions you did. You may not all do it all the time anymore, but you still share that excitement, as often a whole lot of other stuff as a result.

Hearing Weak Becomes Heroes reminds me of those friends, the ones I see everyday and those that fortune has scattered to the corners of the globe, and that knowing them has made my life a better place to be.

It’s also about how much happiness a simply little piano loop can bring and about how positive an experience finding a new song you like can be. Leaving out the memories that this song generated in me, the reason Weak Become Heroes on the list is because it is the latest version of falling in love with music, and as this list is essentially a homage to old loves I think that it’s fitting to include it.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Concerns

So it happened, and we have to live with it I guess. What I'd rather not have to live with is a fringe group of religious fundamentalists having the balance of power in the Senate and being able to trade off their agreement to the Govt's agenda to pursue enforcing their morals on the rest of society.

I have no problem with religion, what ever rules you chose to live and judge the value of your life by are yours to choose. But they are also mine to choose for me. "Family Values" are quite simply culturally and socially constructed, and it is impossible to claim (as Family First attempt to) that any political stance taken in regards to the issues that "Family Values" can be taken out of that moral context.

It may be a little extreme to draw this comparison but the fact is that there is about as much evidence that the Family First stance on issues such as homosexuality and pornography is god's "Will" as there is evidence that Allah approves of suicide bombers killing Israeli children.



Songs 7 & 8 Alice in Chains - Would?/The Screaming Trees - Nearly Lost You

It’s about now that I start wishing again that this was a list of albums rather than songs, it would make it so much easier to choose the candidate(s) for this entry that way.

I discovered a lot of my favourite bands through one album put out in 1992. It was the soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe movie, Singles. The movie was pretty dull, but the soundtrack was another thing entirely. It lists a who's who of the late 80's early nineties scene in the Pacific Northwest, the bands who brought us the phenonmenon known as grunge music… Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and the Screaming Trees.

Grunge was young people music, the music of a bunch of kids who felt the gorwth and success of the eighties had left them on the outside. It was a little immature and unsure of itself, angry and yet often disinterested. And it was loud and dirty, at one point in 32 Songs Nick Hornby talked about the uncertainty which he felt led to the love of loud music, that you couldn't be sure if it was good, but you could be sure that it was loud.

I think there's a bit of that in most of the best stuff most of the stuff that came out of Seattle in this period. The majority of bands that were involved in the genesis of grunge were just punk bands doing it a little different. The good bands learnt something, and their later albums got less rough, although not necessarily less loud, but turning that noise into more intense heaviness, or more intricate arrangements.

There is something in the rawness which was a feature of the tracks on this album, almost all the bands featured on this that went on to anything grew and improved over their next few albums. The exceptions to this were Alice in Chains for whom Would? (and the album Dirt) was probably their greatest moment and Mudhoney, who just never grew up at all.

Alice in Chains displayed grunge’s metal influences at its darkest. Where the big L.A. bands of the eighties were quite happy to sign about their dalliances with illegal drugs, they did so in a kind of glammed up way. Alice in Chains music was influenced by drugs, particularly heroin, but rather than celebrate their involvement with the drugs, they instead explored the dark parts of addiction. Alice in Chain’s singer Layne Stanley was a heroin addict and the music they created was full of the bleakness and oppressive weight of addiction.

The Screaming Trees were the best band that Seattle produced, their 1996 album Dust is the most complete musical acheivement of any of the "grunge" bands. Mark Lanegan (who went on to Queens of the Stone Age as well as solo albums) has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard, kind of silk and gravel all mixed in together. Nearly Lost You probably isn’t their finest hour but it’s still a great song. One of the great things about rock and pop music is that the best stuff is often the most simple, think about the riff from Led Zepellin’s Whole Lotta Love, or the Stone’s Can’t Get No Satisfaction, not a whole lot going on there but they are absolutely fantastic. Nearly Lost You is the same thing, one simple riff, a guy whose voice could make you sympathise with just about anything and about 4 minutes is all you need.

Friday, October 08, 2004

More of the same...

Tomorrow night it will be official, we will have a liberal government for the next three years. Its disappointing, but thats the way it goes. Hopefully the outcome in the Senate will be decent and the greens and the democrats hold the balance of power so that there is some restraint on the libs.

It'll be nice to be out of this electioneering that has gone on since Latham took over the ALP last year and to see what he is like for the long haul in opposition.

I think I'm going to need to be drunk tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Unbelieveable... unfortunately not

So apparently Rupe's papers won't promote criticism of Rupe's TV network. I realise this isn't surprising, but i thought it worth a mention, just as the film is probably worth a look.

The attitude displayed is interesting, its kind of like... "we don't care if we don't even maintain the appearance of being an independent media". It gives me the same feeling that McDonalds new advertising campaign does, where they talk themselves up for using real chicken bits and real bits of bacon... like they don't care admitting that for fifty years they've been feeding people shit.

It doesn't make me angry... but it just makes me stare at the tv in disbelief, how stupid are we to keep buying this stuff?