Sunday, 27 November 2005

Anyone for some Japanese noise music?

Wired News has published an article entitled iPods Top Jukeboxes, DJs which deals with the emerging trend of people taking their music with them to clubs and social spots and sharing it with others. Not only have DJs for some time now started playing from electronic playlists on laptops, but some of them let people hook their iPods into the sound system and play their favourite songs to those in the room. It all sounds excellent... as long as the music playing is my music ;-)

The principle is not new, of course. I remember the good ol' days of 1980s East Rand garage parties where the person hosting the party would borrow tapes (of the BASF-90 kind preferably) from everyone beforehand. Then the kid appointed DJ would stand with earphones and try and find the damn start to track no. 4 on the double tape deck by doing that Play-Ffwd screechy thing, while the other tape was playing the song of the moment. Every now and again a tape would get eaten, meaning all play was temporarily shifted to one side of the tape deck and possibly a turntable, or (if the owner didn't remove the little plastic bit) the tape would end up with a 5 second recording of "maar wat gaan nou aan? waar's die musiek!?" in the middle of the Danger Zone chorus.

I wasn't popular if I ever went close to the tapedeck at these places. The only song I owned that the birthday girls and boys would play was Fight for your Right by Beastie Boys (in fact it was one of the standard requested tapes, which is why I got invited). For the rest of the evening my good friend and I had to sit outside with a portable tapedeck if we wanted to listen to The Cure or Sisters or Mercy or Fields of the Nephilim. Sad, really.

That's why this new thing is so exciting. I haven't seen it done in Cape Town yet. All I have to do is take along my iPod and buy the DJ a beer and maybe they'll go for it. It's also something I've often thought of at the gym when the dreadful exercise music filters through my earphones - where can I plug my iPod in so that people can really work out? Nothing's as good as Boredoms at making you feel you better pedal boy, 'cause there's something right behind you. I'm not evil enough to suggest Merzbow, though, I still want to share... It's just that I've seen the whites of people's eyes when I start getting excited about new music. So the best solution would be:
  • A locked venue with no emergency exits;
  • One iPod (mine);
  • A good sound system;
  • A full backup of my iPod at home;
  • Insurance;
  • Probably lots of alcohol.
Welcome to my playlist.

Thursday, 24 November 2005

Superbike Magazine Centerfolds

I am really hacked off with Superbike Magazine's centerfolds. They used to be nicely done, but for the last year, they've shown principal errors. The Superbike Mag's art director obviously has NO clue as to the function and spirit of bike magazine centerfolds.

Posted here is this month's centerfold which is a good illustration of what I mean. Now traditionally bike magazine centerfolds are double-sided and removable. On the one side you have the girl on top of the bike or in front of the bike. On the other side you have the girl next to the bike or behind the bike.

The point being that on the one side the girl is in focus and the bike the backdrop. On that side you'd expect a side-bar giving the model's name, vital statistics, list of hobbies, the modelling agency and the name of the stylist and so on. Like the girl on the pic above is Charlotte Marshall (or so they claim) and in the sidebar I want to read things like she loves reading Sartre and is a part-time law student. You get the idea.

On the other side the bike is in focus. In this case the new Aprillia RSV1000R - the most awesome V-Twin superbike on the road and this is the RR (race replica) Factory version (read limited edition with lots of carbon and upgraded suspension). On that side there should be a side-bar giving the specifications of the machine: weight, brake horse power, maximum torque, 0-100mph acceleration, fuel consumption, etc...

Nowadays Superbike magazine only offers a single side - with the babe in front of the bike. The reverse of the picture is covered in advertisements and articles. Which means firstly that you cannot remove the centerfold from the magazine without losing part of the reading material anymore. And secondly, it means that you do not get a good look at the bikes anymore.

Take another look at the centerfold pasted above. She is COMPLETELY in front of the bike! I might as well have parked a pasola behind her, because one cannot even identify the bike (in the extreme background) as the RSV1000R. You can only read the last "...ia" of "Aprillia" between her legs underneath her belly. That goes totally against the spirit of bike centerfolds - reducing it to the level of normal soft porn anywhere.

And then on that point - another change. I have not seen a single nipple on any of the Superbike Mag centerfolds for the last year. I suppose that once they show nipple they have to sell the mag in a sealed cover - so there might be distribution issues coming into play here. BUT the principle is that if you cannot see nipple it is not really a nudie, now is it??? I mean Charlotte even kept her wonderbra on! It is not even respectable soft-porn! And it speaks of a lack of understanding concerning the function and significance of a bike magazine centerfold on the part of their art director! I am very close to cancelling my subscription!

Toyota Corolla

I spent the last year and a half on a motorbike only. That means all activities including, but not limited to, shopping, laundry, fishing, going-out, etc... on the bike only.

Well, yesterday I turned into a wimp. I bought a car. After spending the last two winters on my bike, I bought this car at the start of summer - the mind boggles. I still have the Africa Twin - it is still perfect - I am taking it on a long trip in December. Only thing is that now I have the cage on wheels too. Who said consumers are more rational when considering large purchases?

Not just any car either, the most unobtrusive inoffensive car imaginable - a Toyota Corolla GLE1600i with aircon and powersteering in standard white. The ABSA bank account and the Old Mutual retirement annuity will probably follow. Thereafter probably a wife, and the baby-seat, and babies for the baby seat, and caravan holidays in Mosselbay or Hartenbos... this Corolla is the start of the slippery slope!

The only way to reverse this decline towards conformity would be to get a trailer with a KDX 200 offroad bike on it. Maybe also fishing kayak strapped to the roof? Come to think of it, I will definitely do more float tubing for bass now that I have the car... There is some hope.