July 19th, 2004



My relationship with the modern world is maybe not so different from other that of other people. Somedays I'm firmly wishing to be in the 12th century and at other times I'm happy enough to be where I am. Sad as it may be considered by some, I'm very glad to be living to in the age in which so much data is available so readily. It suits my magpie desire to amass immense amounts of sparkly irrelevance. You can't ever know everything, I remember an English teacher once saying to me. He's right, but it hasn't stopped the hunger.

I sit here listening to Korean radio on Mukulkast. I've no idea what she's saying. I can hear her tapping the keyboard in between the K-pop. It's too early in my listening to make distinctions between K-pop and J-pop, but it's catchy enough... jump in the ocean baby kese kese honeymoon loving you for ever more...Great.

Air America aside, I love being able to hear all this radio from around the world. The other day I came across the Irdial site and found that their entire catalogue was now freely available for download [try this mirror]. Now, some of it isn't quite to my taste. But, wow, the Conet Project for free? And their set of VLF recordings? The booklets on pdf as well?

The Conet Project is a series of so-called number recordings. Basically, shortwave stations that openly broadcast sequences of code to agents unknown. As to who is doing this and why...that really depends on your level of paranoia. Since such code is almost exclusively based on the use of one-time pads, you have no chance of breaking it, it can be broadcast openly. Agents in the field don't need anything more complex than a standard radio to receive messages and are less likely to be caught with incriminating equipment. Agents, or just maybe, lizards...

VLF, natch, stands for Very Low Frequency and these recordings (between 10,000 and 200 Hz) are the work of Stephen P. McGreevy. He travels around with his equipment to record the sound of naturally produced radio activity. It's not exactly music and it's not as if the earth doesn't make more readily audible noises, but I'm very pleased to finally hear this stuff after only ever reading about it. I'd read the booklet or look at his site if I were you. I'm too tired to be convincing and there's a reason for all these darn links.

And then I started having a look around the Internet Archive. I've been here before, but never for long. Oh dear...

So as my eyelids prepare to seal themselves, I'm sort of happy to be living in the modern world.

Except that the fish are all changing sex. Doom, doom, I tell you. I'm not joking.

The Day Ahead

The weekend was the closest the Dog Roses have got to touring. The Citroen Berlingo I was riding wasn't exactly a tour bus, but it was filled with a sufficiently high number of design features to keep the passenger entertained or at least distracted. Mostly I read the paper and thought of all the things I'd like to moan about when I got back. Fortunately I've forgotten what most of these are.

On Saturday we played the Beached 2004 festival in Scarborough as we did last year. It's a nice setting for a festival. You stand out on the stage and look out across the North Sea for the approach of Viking marauders. I can't say that I'd heard, or even heard of, many of the acts, but here's my brief review of those I did:

Rolan Bolan
Being the son of Marc, the presenters were a little too over him in their backstage video broadcasts later on in the evening. He was okay, but faces a challenge in that the one track that people did go for was 20th Century Boy. We chatted to his drummer backstage or, to be honest, his drummer namedropped at us. He seemed a nice enough sort and earned some of his income bashing skins and looking at Christina Aguilera's behind for months upon end.

Hiding Place
"Taking their lead from the greats of British rock and roll, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple..." No, they're not. There were a number of bands on the day, too many, playing this sort of lumpen angst-rock. Yawn. Nirvana have a lot to be blamed for. I'm glad I'm not a teenager anymore.

Tom Hingley and the Lovers
Former Inspirals vocalist. I never liked the Inspirals. They were rather boring. This lot put on a reasonable show. Mostly I stood there wondering whether Jen & Russell, also The Lovers, should change their name or whether this lot would fold sooner.

They were particularly bad. A singer who was out of tune and couldn't get the notes. He kept on mentioning how they were from London. They did music for a Lynx advert but, not having a tv, this means nothing to me. Oh, Vienna.

We left around this point, so I missed Thunder. They seemed to have a fair few fans, but I'd never heard of them. Roachford played on Sunday. I remember him. Fish and chips at Jaconelli's, a drink at Bacchus later, yawn.

Sunday was the State of the Art tattoo convention in Derby. Not much to report there either, but as opposed to Scarborough (four songs for no money), here we worked for our money (25 songs for £135 - seems cheap to me). Tattoos attract the following amongst others:
1. Blokes who like their women with Betty Page haircuts.
2. Girlfriends prepared to have BP haircuts to keep their boyfriends happy.
3. White supremacists.

And so to home. The new Dog Roses album, Rosa Canina, is now available. Not in the UK as yet except at gigs, but the Francophones among you can order it from FNAC for €13 or so. I'm off for a bath.

Brutal murder