Oct. 10th, 2008

angelophile: (Default)
  • 11:36 My mouth. My mouth. My mouth is on FIRE! #
  • 11:37 And also my pants. #
  • 11:38 That'll teach me to scratch my balls after eating wasabi. #
  • 12:07 So far, so good. No homicidal urges today. #
  • 14:36 My Twitter is now covered in blood. B) Not so much rhetoric though. Maybe a little love. #
  • 14:43 Enough of the endless headaches already! #
  • 15:16 Well there's something you don't read every day - tinyurl.com/5yph6f #
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angelophile: (Chamber - Skottie Young)

So, it may be obvious to people, but I'm not the most active of people. I'm not exactly lazy. Not exactly. I'd just rather sit in front of the telly with a nice mug of hot chocolate than run the marathon. The kind of person who can get to the end of the day on Saturday and realize I've done, well, nothing. It's funny, really, because when I'm away on holiday I can't stand just vegging out and doing nothing for an entire day. I need to be active and seeing new things. But when I'm at home, I just zone out.

Which, for a creative person isn't particularly creative.

It's probably partially down to my job. I sit at a computer all day trying to be creative for other people, that by the time I get home in the evenings I've creatived out. But that's probably as much an excuse as anything. If I put my mind to it I can be creative (and have been - for example, The Spammies, which was a few months work in all and a considerable slog in the final couple of weeks.)

I think this ramble is spurred by the fact I've not done anything externally creative this year in the way of acting of set design, etc. That's been down to both productions I would have been involved with this year being scheduled on my deadline weeks. When I returned from holiday I had a call from one of the directors who wanted me to take part, but when he revealed the dates, I realized the clash, which is frustrating for me and also frustrating in that it means that this year's Autumn production was cancelled through "lack of interest". It's the AGM next week and, of course, I can't attend because it's another deadline for our quarterly publication and I wouldn't be surprised if the group decides to call it a day. Although, if that does happen I may try and get involved with a group more local to me but that means, gasp, meeting new people. Horrifying.

Anyway, I'm not sure where this is going.

I've not been entirely idle, though, and being creative in small ways. A lot of you know already, but some may not, that I've often played online RPG games of the old school. Mushes, mux and so on. For those not familiar with them, remember the old text based adventure games of the eighties? They're like that, but online and the other characters you encounter are also real people too. It might not sound much, but I enjoy the creativity of text based games. There's rarely any rewards, there's not purpose to the game, you don't earn points, the enjoyment just comes from telling a good story with the other people.

I've most often played on X-men and superhero games (although when I was at college it was Transformers) and most often played Jonothon Starsmore AKA Chamber. I dunno what is about him I click with. Early on it was fun to see just how emo you could get with him, but I admit that grows tiresome. Under my pen the character's developed a special blend of dry Jono snark. He's a character obscure enough that I don't feel under too much pressure to "get him right" but also defined enough I want to do his justice. In effect the games are living, breathing fanfic, but all the more fun for it being a story that develops through interaction with others rather than plotting beforehand.

And it affords me some opportunity to be creative in small ways. For example, last night Jono got wedged into a scene between a heavy drinking Siryn and a 15 year old precocious pop star. Which provided me with much entertainment as Jono regarded the Hannah Montanna-a-like "rather like carrion regards fresh roadkill". A phrase I may well have to use again. I may mostly amuse myself, but the character develops a life of his own when I'm writing him, which probably is a sign that I'm doing creative writing right.

Or maybe I'm just desperate to feel like my evenings are not entirely pointless.

angelophile: (Pete Wisdom - Backing Britain)

When you see this, post in your own journal with your favorite quote from The Princess Bride. Preferably not "As you wish" or the Inigo Montoya speech.

"You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"

angelophile: (The Impossible Dream)

Posting that link to Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine's version of The Impossible Dream has reminded me of something - there were and still are one of my favourite bands.

God knows they were never the greatest songwriters or musicians in the world, but they were earnest and likable blokes from an age where indie music wasn't afraid to be silly and was rarely dreary. Crashing onto the scene in the late eightes, Jim Bob and Fruitbat (aka James Robert Morrison and Lesley Carter, lending his name to the band), the pair, and their pet drum machine and a pocket full of samples, stumbled through their first album, 101 Damnations, hopping onto the indie scene with their own brand of thrash agit-pop, students political sensibilities, a silly name, a flair for daft designs and the dress sense of drunk Australians.

Take, for example, the video for the punningly named Do Re Me (So Far So Good) off their hit number one album 1992: The Love Album. Notice the fringe that recently earned Jim Bob the Most Tragic Barnet in Pop. Notice Fruitbat's adorable little cycling shorts and cap. Notice they both look like total wankers.

But how adorable are they? With their angry punning pop posturing and desire to make music that actually said something and wasn't just love ballad slush, they earned a highly loyal following, a following that saw them a personal heroes as the pair became very supportive and personally involved with their fanbase, responding to the letters they would get from many troubled fans personally. (Inspiring the song Lean On Me, I Won't Fall Over.)

They came from the same school as Madness and Ian Dury (who they were friendly with. They supported Madness more than once and Ian Dury features on 1992: The Love Album as well as the video for The Impossible Dream.) They had the same playfulness, love of puns and dark underbelly as Dury with the same bounciness as Madness. Although often described as "the punk Pet Shop Boys", that's not entirely the greatest likeness, though they may not have helped their case by covering the band's song Rent. Just one of many cover versions recorded for the bands B-sides.

During their time they were, perhaps, flukily successful. Sherrif Fatman was their first big hit, all drum machine, backing tapes, samples, puns and thrashing guitar over cynical lyrics in a tale of abuse in old people's homes. Not the typical pop song then, but it soon became a student favourite.

But then some of their fame came from infamy more than their music. Bloodsport For All, their anthem about bullying in the armed forces was banned by the BBC when the Gulf War started. Another single, After the Watershed saw its controversial subject matter (child abuse) overshadowed by the subsequent legal battle with the Rolling Stones when they took offense at the use of the words "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday" in the lyrics. They didn't really help matters when performing the song at The Smash Hit Poll Winner's Party, they tackled presenter Phillip Scofield live on television in a moment of pure anarchy after he decided to be a sarky bastard.

Of course, they didn't go easy on their subject matter after that either. there was Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, a diatrade on alcoholism and The Only Living Boy in New Cross about the AIDs virus. And they didn't avoid controversy either. Even when top of the album charts, the band's headline set at Glastonbuty was cut violently short because other bands had overrun, leaving Fruitbat to rant at Michael Evis and get them banned from the festival forever.

That was certainly their commercial peak and post Love Album their next album, Post Historic Monsters, was a lot more downbeat and weary, probably losing them fans in the process. But musically they were improving and their next album, Worry Bomb gave birth to their unashamedly pub pop anthem Let's Get Tattoos and Cheap 'n' Cheesy (a deceptively titled song about an alcoholic screwing up his relationship) saw them flirting with sensitivity as well as powerful, kitchen sink instrumental ballads.

They finally started earning their punk Pet Shop Boys crudentials with And God Created Brixton, another of their later songs that I adore. Ironic that they sounded most like an electronic band on this one, since by this point they'd formed a full band with a drummer, keyboards and another guitarist. But burn out had arrived. I saw them for the third time towards the end and though they were as passionate live and the fanbase seemed as loyal as ever, the hits had dried up. I personally think A World Without Dave, the mini-album this track came from, was one of their strongest, but they decided to slip away gracefully, making the mutual decision to split on the eve of their tenth anniversary and just one more album was released, I Blame the Government, which was mostly comprised of songs in their demo form and was stripped down and raw because of it. And sometimes strangely beautiful.

So that's Carter. They had something to say. Sometimes they were politically naive, but they wore their hears on their sleeves, were unashamedly sometimes stupid and funny, had my same fondness for bad puns and I can't hear the phrase "you fat bastard" without thinking of them.

They're the only band I ever miss.

And Falling On A Bruise can still reduce me to tears.

July 2013


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