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Half a percent

(forget I said that)


I hope you're taking notes. There will be a short quiz next period.
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Right. Anyone care to guess which relevant point the following records have in common? There may be a small prize.

Alice Donut - The Untidy Suicides of your Degenerate Children
Alice Donut - Pure Acid Park
Blondie - Eat to the Beat
Johnny Cash - A Hundred Highways (American V)
CNN - Copyright (3-track 12" - first release, I think)
Codeine - Barely Real
Creaming Jesus - Bark (EP)
The Cult - Love
Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Dead Kennedys - In God We Trust, Inc (Long EP or short album)
Dif Juz - Extractions
Idlewild - 100 Broken Windows
James - Seven
The March Violets - Natural History
Mogwai - Young Team
Mudhoney - Superfuzzbigmuff
Ruts - Grin & Bear It
Throwing Muses - Hunkpapa
Neil Young - Harvest
Warren Zevon - Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School

The Collected John G. Miller: 1990-1999 - a shameless plug.
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I was down at Avalanche yesterday, for what thankfully probably wasn't the last time, and I picked up a collection of John Miller's comic strips. It's got loads of my favourites in it - Tongs!, Andrew J Wilson's World Of Evil Horror, Lesley And The Tumshy People From Space, I Stole Rod Serling's Cigarettes, and many more.

It turns out it's the middle part of a set, covering the nineties, with the eighties and post-millenial strips in other volumes that I now also have to get. Presumably Jack Kerouac vs Moth-Ra is in one of those others.

Have a promotional video.

It's been reviewed positively in Graphic Eye and The Comics Journal. I don't know if Avalanche have any more copies, but Deadhead are pretty much certain to - the three parts are here, here and here respectively. The publisher, Braw Books, also has a couple of others.

I'd list some more stories from it, but my dad's already borrowed my copy. Families, eh?

This has been a public information announcement.

A modest ecological proposal
Reasonable and compassionate
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'Spineless' animals under threat of extinction, say the BBC.

Well, frankly, I don't see what they expect us to do about it. Nobody becomes extinct these days except by choice, and if they aren't prepared to put their back into it and their nose to the grindstone then it's really their own lookout. When my ancestors were facing extinction on the African savannah, did they sit back and moan about it? No, they did not. They got on their bikes and drove Homo erectus to extinction instead, and I think there's a lesson for us all there.

Music and fireworks.
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According to this and also to this, Tallis' landmark 40-part motet Spem in Alium is getting an outing on the Canongate in ten days. It's not often performed, and with beautiful timing I've arranged to be out of the country.

This doesn't mean you can't go. In fact, I'll be quite disappointed if none of you do. If you don't know what the fuss is about, read this and listen to this.

A choir and seven pieces (including, IMO, one of the finest pieces of music ever written) for only eight of your Earth pounds. Sounds like a bargain to me.

In other news, the being-out-of-the-country involves flying from Schiphol to Minneapolis tomorrow.

Today, Katla is restive. Probably it'll come to nothing. Probably nothing. Probably.

Being largely to do with the pronouncements of the yellow press.
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Also, I was just in the shop and the Scottish Daily Abscess Mail had a front page story about how Scotland will be the first bit to have gay marriage imposed.

"Imposed".

Obviously, while I'm in favour of people being able to marry who they want, I'm against anyone being forced into a gay marriage simply because they aren't in a straight marriage yet. I hope that makes the situation clear.

Edit: Should have known it was the Mule rather than the Excuse - it didn't mention dead princesses. Sorry for the inaccuracy, and for the inexcusable lack of a reason to despair at the Mail. I'm sure another will come along in a few minutes.

The urine dance of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico
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Some time ago a newspaper article - probably in the Manchester Guardian - mentioned Stewart Lee's book "How I escaped my certain fate", which I've just finished. Rather fine it is, too. Partly it's about his life and the progress of his career during the nineties, until it faltered rather at the end of the decade, then his involvement with Jerry Springer - The Opera in the early years of this century and how his his career recovered and developed afterwards. This is interesting enough in itself for what he has to say about comedy, and I should really go back through it and note all the comics he recommends for future reference, but it also includes three sections which are transcripts of his stand-up sets with extensive footnotes commenting on, expanding on, and on occasions apologising for, what he was saying. The material still had me holding my sides (which could be viewed as a drawback, he points out - shouldn't stand-up be trying to do things that don't work equally well written down?) but the commentary adds a lot. It's worth the price of admission on its own, I'd say.

In other book-related news, I've lent Charlotte my copy of Quite Ugly One Morning. I could tell by the delighted laughter the point when she encountered The Jobby.

Today's reading
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I'm amused by the Grauniad's mention today of "William Gibson's Neuromancer, a radical and difficult work which has become the set text of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre."

Obviously I'll never again need to feel hopelessly outclassed when people earnestly discuss Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow.

Also, this article in the world's most august scientific journal debates the claim that the budget spent on the Human Genome Project has produced a 141-fold return for the (presumably US) economy in the years since. If true, this would imply that my wages from that period benefited the wider world to the tune of at least tuppence ha'penny, which I'll have to mention the next few times I'm asked what I've been wasting my life on.

Commercial failure
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The highlight of the day is when the BBC engineer, who has no idea who Albini is - thinking he is just our pal invited along to give a second opinion - commends the American on his technical proficiency, asking if he has ever considered a career in the recording industry.

Yes, I've just finished Luke Haines' book Bad Vibes, and very good it is too. He's just as acerbic as you'd expect from the records, although he does occasionally and grudgingly concede that a few people aren't actually as worthless as he'd believed from their work . . . and it turns out there are a number of people he likes and admires. He also manages to phrase this in ways that don't leave it being too much of a disappointment.

In other news, Beltane went percussively and is now descending into its periodic fit of navelgazing, Anna Calvi's album's very good and people are worrying too much about the lack of AV, which everyone campaigning for would by now be wanting to replace with STV anyway.

Haines claims, incidentally, that during the week before Lady Di's funeral (the time when I wrote A Certain Email) Albini gave him a present. Two presents, in fact - a copy of Candle In The Wind, and a shiny new hammer.

AV
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Apparently it's not just me that finds the Yes campaign shittier than I'm happy supporting.
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Earworm
Reasonable and compassionate
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I have apparently been whistling "Civilian" to myself for about the last four days. Charlotte is starting to get a little annoyed.

("Show more" under the video on that page for lyrics. There doesn't seem to be an actual video)
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