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20091008

Pink Dreams

Entry 1608 posted in: 4. Orb Weavers, 5. The Pink Thing


A dream within a dream Some exciting news arrived last weekend through a Pink Floyd portal. Alex Paterson, head spinner of the band The Orb, said in an interview that he and David Gilmour had entered a studio ‘to work on an album’.

The news was vague and titillating enough to make all kind of assumptions. Did this mean that LX & DG were attempting a Fireman trick à la Youth and Mc Cartney? Perhaps Alex had finally lured Dave in his spider web with a little help from Guy Pratt who can be found as bass player and co-composer on several Orb, Pink Floyd and David Gilmour records from the past? (Pratt and Paterson also teamed up in a band called The Transit Kings.)

The Orb's record output is prolific and even then a lot of tunes and mixes stay hidden in the closet until LX decides to put them on a compilation album somewhere. They just celebrated a third release in the Orbsessions series from record company Malicious Damage and according to some online reviews I read it is either brilliant or utterly irritating, which makes it typically Orb, I guess. I haven't bought Baghdad Batteries yet, my days that I ran to the shop to get me their latest release are over as The Orb has left my attention span somewhat thanks to the record Okie Dokie that wasn't okie dokie at all but a mediocre Thomas Fehlmann album with the brand name glued over it to sell a few extra copies more.

It took me over a year to listen to The Dream that followed Okie Dokie and although it has Youth written all over it the result is pretty average. Not pretty average as in pretty average but pretty average as in pretty but nevertheless a bit average. Probably I’ll get to Baghdad Batteries one of these days but I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you…

Although one fan found that the announcement came about two decades and a half too late the GilmOrb collaboration was making both Floyd and Orb communities very excited but excitement is something David Gilmour does not favour anymore in his line of work. This week the following comment could be found on his official website

David & Orb Rumours True – Up To A Point
Recent comments by ambient exponents The Orb's Alex Paterson that they have been collaborating with David Gilmour are true – up to a point. David has done some recording with The Orb and producer Youth, inspired initially by the plight of Gary McKinnon. However, nothing is finalised, and nothing has been confirmed with regards to any structure for the recordings or firm details re: any release plans.

In other words: forget it…


If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Andy Hughes (1965 - 2009): gone to Orblivion 

20091016

Yellow

Entry 1609 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash, 2. DNA, 4. Orb Weavers


It has been the most wonderful week. After I had read a favourable review of Douglas Coupland’s Generation A in the newspaper I bought me the book and I am in the middle of reading that one now. The story is put in a future not so very far from now where bees have disappeared altogether and the weather is constantly playing tricks on the population, like suburban smog.

When 5 persons around the world get stung they are immediately abducted by special services into a research centre that reminds the reader of the white room where David Bowman encountered himself. The quintet is repeatedly injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected (borrowed from Alice's Restaurant © Arlo Guthrie).

When apparently nothing common between them is found they are put back into the world where they have troubles coping with their instant Youtube superstar status. They all meet for the first time, because their stay at the research centre was in splendid isolation, on a distant island where the last beehive was ever found and that is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The island has turned in a Mad Max environment with murders being committed on a daily base. The five get the assignment to tell stories to each other, like the people in the Decameron, because that might be a way to find out why the bees exactly choose them…

This week the new Orb album also landed on my desk. It is called Baghdad Batteries and was a pleasant surprise. It isn’t a masterpiece but I found it pretty cool that they have returned to their ambient roots. It is pleasantly soothing.

If anybody ever reads this shit it might be good to know that a couple of months ago I had some eye injections that made me exactly feel as if someone was sticking a needle through my eye. This week I had some tests to see if these injections had really worked or if they had just been a weird Dr. Caligari experiment.

First I was summoned by one of the most ravishing women I have ever seen, she made me read cards that went like DEFPOTEC but all I could think of was that she could defpotec me all night long. A while later, still in a happy mood, I was reading Generation A by the way, I went to the picture man who was going to take pictures.

I had to roll up my sleeve and I was injected with a yellow contrast fluid. The nurse warned me that I might look yellow; well not look yellow, but that everything I would look at would appear yellowish.

Wow! All of a sudden I was feeling like Neil, the hippie, on a sunny day, humming Daydream Believer, although in my case, and I kid you not, a rather popular Coldplay tune was ringing through my head.

Once home I had to take a leak, and my urine was fluorescently yellow as if I had eaten a six-pack of Stabilo Boss marker-pens. If they could make this thing in orange and pink it would be a great hit on summer festivals around the world, I thought. Let’s all do a rainbow pee.

And today I also purchased me – what is officially titled –

DOUGLAS ADAMS’S
HITCHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
PART SIX OF THREE
AND ANOTHER THING

The book is written by Eoin Colfer, with a name like that you become either a science fiction writer or an Irish folk dancer, I guess, but Eoin didn’t take the easy way out. But the book will have to wait until I finish Generation A.

I’m yellowy pissed anyway that for the first time in history a hitchhiker book actually appears on the day that it was promised to appear. At least they could’ve said on the twelfth of October that it had all been a joke and that - to celebrate and honour Mr. Douglas Adams - the book would appear in another timeframe.


If you liked this post - you might be interested in these as well:
General Mish Mash: Babylon By Bus 
DNA: Kopfgeburten 
Orb Weavers: Pink Dreams 

20091025

Bad Moon Rising

Entry 1610 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash


Thingamablog's newest logo This blog has been made with Thingamablog that recently resurfaced with a new beta version after nearly two years silence.

Since September Thingamablog, TAMB for short, has issued four beta versions in the 1.5 series and hopefully we will see a RC (release candidate) soon, but as there are still some bugs to sort out, it can still take a little while.

The strong point about TAMB is that it creates static webpages that behave like a dynamic blog. Although all hosting companies offer php and MySQL enabled servers nowadays you usually have to pay (extra) to have database access, at least in my country.

From the big web providers in Belgium, Belgacom offers a free blogging solution (on their Skynet portal) but not on the webspace they’re giving away with each subscription. The other major host Telenet experimented with a blogging portal in 2005 but decided to stop as there are (too) many free blogging solutions out there.

In a recent interview on Uhusnest, Bob Tandlinger, the developer of TAMB, shares some of his viewpoints about TAMB and I happen to share most of these as well. Here are some excerpts, but of course you are all invited to check the complete interview.

Uhu: Some people might say that TamB is a bit "old school", without online database handling like in wordpress or serendipity.
Bob: I would agree completely :) But I'd also say that being “old school” isn't always a bad thing. I think we sometimes forget just how much easier and straightforward things were back in the day. Wordpress, for instance, has a ton of plug-ins for just about anything imaginable, which is great. However, with all this flexibility comes quite a few headaches as well. (…) Now, I'm not saying all this endless customization is inherently a bad thing. But the fact is that the vast majority of people simply do not care and do not want bothered with it. If someone just wants to set up a blog to make a few posts every month, is all that -really- necessary?

Other quotes from Bob Tandlinger in the same interview:

# I think this is the niche that Thingamablog fills. An easy to use blogging platform that you are in complete control over.
# It's fairly easy to use and has a small learning curve. If you can use an email client, you can use Thingamablog.
# It works anywhere regardless of what is supported on the server side. If you can FTP to it, Thingamablog will most likely work with it.
# It's easy to experiment with and make blogs look how you want. No need to learn a new programming language just to edit a template. The template syntax is straight forward easy to understand.
# You can maintain multiple blogs on multiple different servers from a single program.

# Your blog data lives on your computer, not on some server in the cloud. (This is either a good thing or not depending on your point of view.)

Call it old fashioned but I like to keep my data by myself and if something goes wrong, I’ll be to blame. If you buy a new PC nowadays you see more and more that the computer companies give away some free backup or storage room on their servers. I think this is a bit uncanny and I smell a certain inconsistency realising that the same people who write Amnesty International letters will have their letters hosted on a Chinese or Korean server.

Not that American servers are more trustworthy, in the aftermath of nine eleven some measures were taken that catapulted freedom of speech back to the same level as, let’s say, the German Democratic Republic. Ok, the previous sentence is a bit exaggerated but there are some conservative forces at work that would like to see it happen. Little by little, little mice are nibbling at our freedom, a bite (byte?) at the time, and even Barack Obama is not able to put a halt on it, i.e. his recent decision that freedom of speech will exclude blasphemous expressions.

The European Union decided in 2006 (and they had been trying since 2002, BTW) that all telecommunication providers will be obliged to keep the records of phone and internet traffic for a period from 6 to 24 months (Belgium will probably implement this law next year and has decided to use the longest data retention period).

One of the common clichés to make these kind of laws accepted by the general public is the notion that innocent people have got nothing to hide, implying that people who do object against privacy intrusion implicitly have and are – by definition – guilty of state unfriendly and even hostile behaviour.

This platitude has been neatly analysed by Daniel J. Solove in his essay 'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy. It is a very good and interesting read but you don’t need to wait for the conclusion on page 28 to realise that it is a false premise.

By accepting the nothing to hide argument ”you are saying that it’s OK for the government to infringe on the rights of potentially millions of your fellow Americans, possibly ruining their lives in the process. (…) It basically equates to “I don’t care what happens, so long as it doesn’t happen to me.” (BJ Horn, as quoted in the essay.)

And so this entry that started as a celebration for the blogging software Thingamablog turned into a rant after all.

Thingamablog’s tagline goes like this …because everyone has got something to say… This little prick would like to add: …while you still can…


If you download Thingamablog be sure to take the right version. At the Sourceforge download page you can only find TAMB 1.06 (official) and TAMB 1.1.6 (beta), but these date from 2007. The download link to the 1.5 series can be found here and it actually points to beta 4.


If you liked this post - you might be interested in these as well: The Great Belgian Firewall and Other Assorted Stories...