Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Another Idea I will Never Finish - Example 2.

I'm waiting to get my first proper two-page comic "DIMENSIONAL ADVENTURE!" scanned and sorted, so in the meantime I thought I'd throw up my first attempt at doing a proper organized comic. I tried it a few years back and never completed it.

It was for a character I created called "Johnny Bubonic". A normal college student who had been entrusted with a secret mission to protect a microchip that had been implanted into his brain. Or at least, that's what he thought. In fact, he had simply been abducted by bored scientists, who injected him with a whole host of degenerative illnesses.


The idea was going to be that he would go through each day at college, waiting to be called upon to fulfill his duties.... but no one would never call.... and his body would continue to fall apart whilst he tried to live a normal life.

Anyway, although I thought the idea had legs, i never really got into it enough to complete it. So here is the sum total of the completed panels... I had scripted the dialogue for the scene... but never inked it up. Haha. So just imagine that the protagonist Johnny is explaining to his friend about his abduction the previous night... and his new codename.

As soon as I've scanned up my "DIMENSIONAL ADVENTURE!" I'll post it up for you to see.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Bank Robbery by Hypnosis.

MOSCOW, Russia — Bank robbers have threatened tellers with knives, shot their way into banks and tunnelled up into vaults. But one woman in southern Russia chose a more peaceful method: Police say Galina Korzhova hypnotised a bank teller into handing over tens of thousands of dollars in what is believed to be just one in a series of daring, if non-violent, bank robberies.

Galina Korzhova was arrested, said Anton Kornoukhov, a spokesman for police in the southern city of Volgograd, on suspicion of hypnotising a bank teller in the nearby town of Volzhky into giving her more than $80,000. She is suspected of having robbed up to 30 additional banks in what Russian media have called a "grand tour" around the country.

Police say that Korzhova is a "tsiganka," or Roma. Police, who are often criticized for racial profiling, say this type of crime is most often perpetrated by Roma who are traditionally involved in fortune telling and are often seen begging in Russia.

The Roma, or Gypsies, are nomadic people who live throughout Europe. Human rights groups say they are severely discriminated against in Russia and that police routinely assume their guilt and harass them.


Source: GlobalPost

Friday, 18 December 2009

Scientists discover Water Rich, Earth-Like Planet

Astronomers have discovered a new Earth-like planet that is larger than our own and may be more than half covered with water, according to a study published Wednesday in the science journal Nature.

The so-called "super Earth" is about 42 light years away in another solar system and has a radius nearly 2.7 times larger than that of our planet, according to the study by the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

The discovery of the planet, called GJ 1214b (sweet name), represents a "major step forward" in the search for worlds similar to the Earth, added the University of California's Geoffrey Marcy in a commentary also in Nature.

The "newfound world" is too hot to sustain life as we know it, said the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in a statement.

Its density suggests however it "is composed of about three-fourths water and other ices and one fourth-rock," it said. "There are also tantalising hints that the planet has a gaseous atmosphere."

Its temperature is estimated at between 280 and 120 degrees Celsius (536 and 248 degrees Fahrenheit) with its host star about one-fifth the size of the Sun, according to the scientists.

"Despite its hot temperature, this appears to be a waterworld," says Zachory Berta, a graduate student who first spotted hints of the planet's presence.

"It is much smaller, cooler and more Earthlike than any other known exoplanet," he said in the statement.

An exoplanet is one outside of our solar system.

Source: Yahoo

Monday, 14 December 2009

This bugs me... 100%

When the fuck did people stop knowing how to use percentages?

X-Factor this year had Robbie Williams giving "111%", The Runner up giving "115" & "116" percent on regular occasions. On Talk shows people constantly say they are going to give "110%" to sort their lives out, or that they are "136%" sure that it is not their baby, or whatever.

Can everyone PLEASE stop being so God damn stupid. It's embarrassing.

I mean, there has always been a small portion of sports commentators and agents who would use that "I want you to give 110%" Bullshit. But now it seems EVERYONE is always giving more than the maximum percentage possible! It is idiotic and totally self-devaluing.
Let me clear this up.

You can only give/achieve 100 percent o
f your potential. You can not, under any circumstances, achieve more than 100% or your potential. It's not possible.

Lets break down the word here, Sesame Street style, to make it easier to understand.

"Percent"
"
Per - Cent"
"
Per - 100"

So you can only get 100 per 100... see?

If there were 100 questions on a test. You can only get 100 answers right.
If there were 100 toys in a room scattered over the floor. You could only pick 100 toys up.
If you go out and perform, and give it your all. You have given 100%. That is the best you can ever do.

That's 100% of the potential achieved.

If indeed you go out on stage, or on the football pitch, and you play even BETTER than last time... which you SWORE was 100%, then either last time you didn't really give 100% (and you were lying), or you have simply improved... in which case, you haven't given any higher percentage of goodness... you have simply changed the parameters of your percentage.

This constant distortion of percentages is self defeating... because once you destroy 100% as the Absolute, then every point above it will wear out it's power. 110% isn't good enough once you've given 111% in a performance... And god forbid you should just go out and give 100%, because that's more like 90% really... isn't it?

Perhaps we should have 360 be the top, and then each degree of a pie-chart would be a percentage? In fact, eventually 1000% will become the top, and then everyone achieving percentages in the hundreds will be considered slackers.

I blame competition programs such as X-Factor etc for this growth in public stupidity. People being exposed to maths distortion on a weekly basis by television stars is detrimental to the national IQ. It's ridiculous and anyone I hear doing it in future, will instantly lose 100% respect from me.



Post Script Note: The only time a percentage higher than 100 can EVER be used, is if you are using it to demonstrate how much better you are performing against a target that was set for you. Because 100% of that Target does not necessarily represent 100% of what is achievable.

The Snout - Comic Ad (Colour Version)

Earlier this year I posted a comic I had drawn on my trip to Florence/Tuscany. It was at the height of the Swine Flu Scare and I had seen all these little oriental ladies running around in face masks and I got a sweet marketing idea.

Here is the colour version of the advert for my invention. Ironic Germ-ware, "The Snout".

Click on the image to enlarge it to a ridiculously massive size.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Soldiers of Fortune? - The cynical side of Christmas

Look... this might just be me but, does anyone else find that "The Soldiers" pop group a little bit in bad taste???

Releasing an album & single called "Coming Home" at a time like this is a piss take of the poor families whose sons and daughters won't be coming home this Christmas... because they are still fighting in the Middle East. For a war (and a progressive occupation) that the public didn't even agree with in the first place.

This is the most disgustingly cynical attack on the nations' heartstrings, for a cheap Christmas buck... and I am genuinely sickened every time I see their advert on TV, or hear their song on the radio. Plus... It's not even GOOD!

Ok... maybe I'm being unfair.... so some of the money is going to charity... SOME. Which is great and all, but that is in no way the primary reason for this release. The reason for this release is to get people emotional enough to part with their hard earned money at Tesco's. (While they wait in the queue, to buy their dinner for one.)

Not cool.

Rufus Wainwright: Retrospectivism

Rufus Wainwright is a hero of mine. One of about ten musicians through time, who I literally have to own and memorize everything they produce. He is the prodigal son of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, the brother of Martha Wainwright, and the heir to a folk music dynasty.

In the way that most princes do, Rufus has explored decadence and debauchery. Experimenting heavily with drugs and promiscuity in his late teens and early twenties, and falling out with his father for a great many years after a fight over his ego & sexuality. You see, Rufus is gay, not just ‘gay’ gay, but ‘gay and proud to wear fairy wings and stilettos on stage’ gay. He is a gay ICON.

But beyond his sexual preference, and his camp and boyish charm… he is a MUSICAL GENIUS. Now that is a term that is chucked around at random these days (see Pete Doherty et cetera), which few people deserve, but Rufus is actually true musical genius personified. He is pop music’s Mozart, with the lyrical sensibilities of Leonard Cohen, the free vision of the Beatles, and a baritone voice that could fell a mountain.

He is fucking astounding.



I first discovered Rufus through the Sean Penn film ‘I Am Sam’. The film itself was quite good, but interestingly was sound tracked entirely with contemporary Beatles covers. One of the standout tracks of the film was Rufus’s cover of ‘Across the Universe’. It is not very often that you hear a cover that is on par with the original, (especially when the original was from one of the world’s biggest band, but like Joe Cocker’s version of “With a Little Help From My Friends”, Rufus’s version arguably surpasses the original in it’s beauty.



From there I explored his then, quite slim, back catalogue, first rejecting his self titled debut for being too chipper, but falling in love with his second effort “Poses”. A record steeped in traditional songwriting, but with a touch of the austere about it. Or at least, something that I could sense was more ambitious than your average singer/songwriter. The unusual phrasings, the complex harmonies, and the delicate strokes of light and dark.

I was hooked.



I attempted to interest any and all that I could in his work, but found some difficulty in interesting young people… his music was too complex, too varied, too… interesting.

Adults however, seemed to respond much better, his talent and bold vision, although in a different genre, harks back to the likes of Queen etc. Adults understand music that is both intricate and bombastic, younger people, it seems, do not.



A while later saw the release of his masterpiece double set “Want 1” & “Want 2”. A collection of some of the greatest songs any modern songwriter has attempted. The cover of “Want 1” even originally brandished a sticker with a quote from Elton John, stating that Rufus was the “greatest songwriting talent of our time” (or words to that effect), A strong sentiment from a songwriter of Elton’s calibre.



The “Want” series really demonstrated the depth and breadth of Rufus’s vision. It contained the solid melodies and hooks of his former efforts, but now dressed in all the flourishes of Classical Music, and with structures that allowed the listener to take more of a journey with the songs. The second part of the series also showed so much more of Wainwright’s dark side, allowing him to play more with his ideas of religion, pain, and death.

It wasn’t until the release of the first disc of “Want” that I revisited his debut and finally understood it. I absolutely love that record now, it’s naivety and youth. It really shows that sometimes you have to give things a second chance.



It was during the “Want” tours that I first saw him in concert. I took my mother to the show, having introduced her to his music via the underrated medium of the ‘mix-tape’, and we went there expecting a stripped down version of the records. On the contrary, his live show was just as ambitious as his records, with the band swapping instruments constantly, and handling all the harmonies. It was really quite special. Since then me and my mum try and catch him every time he hits Europe.

After a short break, Rufus went on to deliver his most ‘pop’ record in: “Release the Stars”. His first album to receive any overground acclaim and success beyond that of the respect of his peers. It still had some of the audacity of the “Want” series, but this time he presented his musical medicine in the form of a sugar pill.



I was lucky enough to accidentally happen upon him performing the songs live in HMV Oxford Street, London on the date of it’s release. I had gone into the shop to buy the record, and then heard his voice coming from down the stairs! And although the stairs were shut off, I could still see and hear him from the balcony… extremely fortuitous timing I think.

Since then Rufus has tried his hand at writing an Opera, “Prima Donna”, performed as Judy Garland, and is in the process of creating new work which will doubtlessly change my perception of the possibilities within music once again.



Seriously, if you have never listened to Rufus, or indeed given him a second chance, then you really should. He comes from a family that makes music great until they DIE, so with any luck we’ve got years ahead of us to enjoy his work. I’ve selected a few of his songs to dot about this Retrospectivism piece… but felt I needed to write more than usual to truly demonstrate the love I have for his work.

Listen. Enjoy. Spread the word.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Guerilla on a Bike

Outraged Cyclists in New York City decided to repaint a removed bike lane, captured on video:



It has been reported that two men were arrested yesterday for trying to re-paint a bike lane on a 14-block stretch on Bedford avenue in Brooklyn. The bike lane had recently been removed by the city because of complaints by some local groups (the usual stuff about having fewer parkings and “hurting local businesses”).

The video contains a manifesto about saftey for cyclists.


Source: TreeHugger

Sunday, 6 December 2009

So this is Birthday... And what have we done?

The famous opening line from John and Yoko's 1970's hit song, "Happy Birthday (Year Is Over)".

Written in Octember of 1971... But today that song has a particular relevance to me... as it is my birthday.

Birthdays are weird things, you know... You spend much of your young life wishing for them to come quickly, and then as you age you begin to hope that they come around less and less often. I mean... with many of my current circle of friends, I don't even know their birthdays, as they don't really want it to be a big deal. It's kind of embarrassing having a "ME ME ME" day, right?

Anyway, I've always had a strange relationship with my "annual womb escape remembrance day", as... although I have fond memories of my childhood birthdays, I had a lot of shit parties in my early teens.... And because of their total suckiness (versus the good times kid birthdays), they really put me off making a big deal about my yearly shame.

In fact, I'll quickly tell you this, the main culprit for this Birthday vibe-kill, was from when I was about 12 or 13... I was in American Air Force schooling in Croughton, England, and it was a couple of weeks before my birthday. I decided to have a party, invited everyone and their dog, got my mum to get truckloads of snacks, and then on the day I sat nervously and waited in my front room for all the guests to show up.

Well, rather dissappointingly only TWO guests showed up. One was this weird kid I sat across from in Social Studies Class (Who once told me about how he had to get an operation on his twisted ballsack), and one was my local youth group leader.

Sweet party.

When I went to school the next week, everyone ran the excuse of "thinking it was the week after" or whatever, but seriously... whether or not that's true. Fuck you.

...And I know that everyone has had shit birthdays, but that stuff sticks in your head right?

In any case, today I venture further into my adulthood, and intend to celebrate it with a modest meal at my favourite local restaurant. If you want to celebrate it with me, have a Budweiser in my name wherever you may be.

Retrospectivism - Saul Williams

This article is part of my regular "Retrospectivism" feature. (Yes... that's right... the feature I specifically created a word for. What of it?)

This week, I look back at a few of my favourite points in Poet/Rapper Saul Williams's career.



If you read my Rapper/Actor Blog you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of artists who spread their talents thinly across many plains of expression. And While Saul Williams has released albums, written books and appeared in films/TV I consider him an altogether different beast.



Saul Williams is a poet at his very core. In his art, books, music, and even in his film and television roles (notably 1998's Slam) he lives and breathes the art of words. His care for his art and expression is what makes him so unique, and so underrated in his every endeavour. And while he has toured with acts as large and diverse as Lauryn Hill, Nas, Nine Inch Nails, poet Allen Ginsberg, DJ Krust etc etc, he remains an underground alternative to everyday Hip Hop.



And yes I will agree, this IS Alternative Hip hop. He drops intelligent, personal, emotional & political vocals with the ferocity of a 70's punk, the fearlessness of a folk musician, the bombast of a preacher and the imagination of a prog lover. He's the genuine article and there's no one like him.



I've selected a few of his tracks/performances so you can get a feel for his work... but with the kind of artist he is... you need to delve deeper to really get the full sustenance he has to offer your soul.



His poetry book "S/He" is an amazing account of the decline of a relationship (specifically with the mother of his first daughter "Saturn"), and his book "Said the Shotgun to the Head" is literally FULL of prose I wish I had come up with.



I've been very lucky and have actually seen Saul perform on 3 separate occasions... each time was like a revelation in intensity and truth. If and when he revisits the UK, do yourself a favour and grab a ticket. You'll probably see me there.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Why the fuck do some people consider Eggs Dairy?

Look... this is just a short rant, (because my gripe is fairly self-explanatory) but seriously... why are Eggs commonly considered a Dairy product?


They are quite clearly a meat, or at least a potential one, but for some reason it is popularly misconstrued. I even fully remember food charts in classrooms when I was younger, quite unashamedly putting them alongside milk and cheese in the Dairy Group. And if, like me, you have the inclination to ask people at random what food group eggs belong to, this misconception proves popular... but why?

They share nothing in common with all the other "Dairy Products" that are consumed on a daily basis. They come from a completely different part of a completely different type of animal (an animal that doesn't even produce milk!). And you can't use them in place milk (or any of the other known dairy products) in a recipe.

In fact... as far as I can tell... Dairy is an exclusive term for milk and it's related processed products.

The only real connection with dairy products and eggs, is that both are sold in the same aisle in supermarkets. That is a fact. So in order to make it easier for ourselves to remember, we lump them in.

Pure laziness.

Well... There is also another reason for all of this idiocy which I've uncovered in my research. Apparently, it wasn't until 2005 that Eggs were officially considered a meat product. Up until then they were always represented as "Dairy Related", which to me is a cop out anyway. (You don't pick up a turtle from a beach and say "This is Fish related").

Long story short - Generations and generations of kids (including myself) were taught incorrectly.

Education does not end when you leave school people... so here I am schooling you on food groups... And if you get it wrong again I'll feed raw eggs to your babies and pour milk in your meringue mixture.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

NEW PILL BLOG - 2 Blogs for the price of 1!

gold-pills.jpg

Coming soon to a market near you, Gold Pills. That's right, these $425 capsules are both dipped in and filled with 24-karat gold. Ingesting them apparently "increases your self-worth". Which I suppose means that once you eat enough of them, you can start taking your poop to one of those stalls in the mall that buy gold, and sell it to them. By then you'll probably need to just to keep up your Gold eating habit.

An interesting side note, David Icke, (Ex-Sports Presenter, now speaker and writer on conspiracy theories) claims that there is a race of shape-shifting Lizard people living amongst us, and that they snort gold to encourage their transforming abilities. Apparently, that's why gold is so expensive.

So don't be surprised if you are suddenly able to grow that extra limb you always wanted.

Read about Lizard People: HERE


In other Pill related News... are Russians sucking the liquid fun out of alcohol?.

Russian professor Evgeny Moskalev of Saint Petersburg Technological University has evolved a technique that allows turning alcohol into powder and packing it in pills.

“Dry” vodka can be wrapped in paper and carried around in a pocket or a bag. Vodka in form of a pill would come handy at parties when “consumers” would be able to calculate their exact required dosage.

Either that or they could use it to spike people's actual drinks.

Source for both: Geekologie

Vampires? No... Hydrozoans mate.

In the heat of all this Vampire mania.... lets have a look at the world's only true "Immortal Creature": The...

Turritopsis Nutricula


Turritopsis nutricula may be the world’s only “immortal” creature. Jellyfish usually die after propagating, but Turritopsis reverts to a sexually immature stage after reaching adulthood and is capable of rejuvenating itself.

The 4-5mm diameter creature, technically known as a hydrozoan, is the only known animal that is capable of reverting to its juvenile polyp state. Theoretically, this cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal.

Found in warm tropical waters Turritopsis is believed to be spreading across the world as ships’ ballast water is discharged in ports.

Though solitary, they are predatory creatures and mature asexually from a polyp stage.

The jellyfish and its reversal of the ageing process is now the focus of research by marine biologists and geneticists. It is thought to achieve the feat through the cell development process of transdifferentiation, in which cells transform from one type to another.

The switching of cell roles is usually seen only when parts of an organ regenerate. However, it appears to occur normally in the Turritopsis life cycle.


Source: Times

Monday, 30 November 2009

Working on a new 2 page story...

Page 1 done.

I'll post up a readable view when the second page is complete.

Should be in the next few days... so check back!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

100% of Your Noise - Nosebleed Mashup

Here's another mashup I did for my "Nosebleed Sessions" mix tape. It's slightly different tot the others and I wanted the song to play a bit in it's own right before the mashing.

The backing is Sonic Youth, and around halfway through I drop a Public Enemy vocal. I think it has a real synergy to it, as both bands were noisemakers and had punk ethics.



I'm stoked on the photo I made for it as well, it really looks like they are actually hanging out. haha

"Bionic" Eye fitted to blind man

Electronic sight... The stuff of Sci Fi?

When I was around 12 or 13, I learned about the organic structure of the human eye. The way it worked, and why it worked. I also started learning about AI etc in my technology/computers class. Of course that caused me to draw hundreds upon hundreds of schematic drawings for Bionic human parts... limbs/eyes etc.

Anyway, my adult brain has almost given up hope for these things to ever be developed in my lifetime.... (which is a total bummer as it would be badass to have a bionic arm.) That is... until now.

Check out this Article sourced from the Mail:

"A blind man who thought he would never be able to read again has had his vision partially restored after being fitted with a ‘bionic’ eye. Peter Lane, 51, is one of the first people in the world to have electronic receivers implanted into his eye which send signals mounted in a pair of glasses to the brain.


The technology has allowed Mr Lane, from Manchester, to see the outline of objects, such as doorways and furniture, and to read letters through a series of dots of lights for the first time in almost 30 years."



Restored sight: Peter Lane, 51, with his 'bionic' eye device. Electronic receivers implanted in his eye send signals mounted in a pair of glasses to his brain

Restored sight: Peter Lane, 51, with his 'bionic' eye device. Electronic receivers implanted in his eye send signals mounted in a pair of glasses to his brain

Friday, 27 November 2009

Beach Boys over Jose Gonzales. Another Nosebleed Mix

Here's another Mashup I did for my "Nosebleed Sessions" Mixtape all those years ago. Basically, only about 5 people have ever heard the tapes. So I figure this is an easy way to share all those hours I wasted alone in my house while I was ill.

FEEL MY PAIN. haha

This is the spooky result of putting the Beach Boys over Jose Gonzales.



I included the Segue at the end into the next track (which was the Bright Eyes/NIN/Quannum Mash) to both cheer you up after the melancholy, and to give you an idea of the mix flow.

A Quick MPC Schooling...

M. Sayyid of Anti-Pop Consortium gives a quick & interesting schooling on how to use an MPC / Synth.

WATCH THAT HERE

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

RIP Record Savings

Around 1996 was when I first discovered the joy of an indie record store. The relaxed atmosphere, the difference in personality to bigger mainstream shops, and most importantly... the discoveries that could be made.

I spent the majority of my teens visiting as many indies as I could, to try and educate myself on everything that was out there. I personally have over 1800 CD's and I really hate the modern era's inability to understand the beauty of actually saving up and BUYING albums... The pride in the holding the physical item in your hand, that you have earned. The beauty in that medallion of music. Anyway... I digress. It was in indie stores that I learned of my voracious appetite for music of all types. Mainstream stores like HMV etc never gave me the same ability to discuss and learn about new things from an 'expert'... nor did they allow me to select something I simply liked the look of off of the shelf and have it played while I looked around. Record Savings allowed me that freedom, and I basically lived in that shop.

In fact, I spent so much time there and learned so much, they offered me a job. I worked there for about 3 or 4 years. Ordering in stock, buying and selling secondhand CD's, and continuing my education. Also I learned the joy of influencing people to try new things. I'm a very extroverted person and enjoy talking to people about my passions. So I found the job to be really fun... every single day. Not many people can say that about their jobs.

A few years back, the sales of CD's started to decline as people began downloading music or just listening to it online, and this resulted in me being made redundant. Since then I have continued to shop at Record Savings with the vain hope that it would continue forever. It was one of the last true indie record stores in the country and I hoped it could last.

In the last few months I noticed they got less and less new releases in, and then today I found out that it had closed as of earlier this week.

Truly the end of an era, and quite saddening for me
.

(W)Hell, (W)Hell, (W)Hell.... what have we got here then?

Anyone who saw the brilliant documentary film "Religulous" (A critique on Religion by Larry Charles/Bill Maher), will have possibly been shocked by the American priest in Vatican city who openly criticized the many contradictions of Christian/Catholic life. Not because his views were particularly radical, but because he was an 'insider' of a right-wing belief system, residing in it's Headquarters, who seemed to have a very left-wing perspective.

Well, the following video is equally amazing. It features Bishop John Shelby Spong openly stating that he believes "Hell is an invention of the church and people don’t need to be born again, they need to grow up..."



Absolutely amazing.

Does this mean that the church actually has as wide a range of views within itself, as exist outside of it? Or are there just one or two 'rogues' operating within the church?

And more importantly...

To what point can one reject the core traditions of a religion, before one simply no longer actually practices that religion?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Multi Genre Mash Up

Here's another track from my "Nosebleed Sessions" Mix tape.

It's Quannum Spectrum (on the raps) over Bright Eyes, Mixed into NIN. Good fun. There's a little blend over from the previous Beach Boys Track as well with the initial "God Only Knows" drop.




Please Buy Any and All Albums made by these artists, (All influences of mine)... Support good music.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Jackson Quints - Nosebleed Sessions

A few years ago I had to get an operation on my nose, which had been broken a couple of times, and the operation had complications. Complications which led to me having another operation to fix it afterwards, resulting in about a month and a half off work.

During this time I wasn't allowed to really leave my house either, for fear of it getting infected, So I bided my time watching films and TV, writing music, and making what I believed to be the best mix-tape the world has ever known.

This mix tape "The Nosbleed Sessions" seamlessly mixed songs I liked with mash ups and rarities. Listening back on it now... I realize some of the mashups are fairly evil...

But then again I was basically locked up for a month so there.



This is what happens when you mix Aphex Twin with the Jackson 5.

Enjoy.

P.s. If anyone's interested in owning a copy of the mix tape... contact me.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Rapper Slash Actor, Actor Slash Singer, Someone Slash my wrists

There is a modern phenomenon which I'm sure all you film enthusiasts will be aware of. It is called the "Rapper Slash Actor" phenomenon, and it is what I've chosen to Blog about today.

If you are gleefully unaware of this cinematic infestation, the issue at hand is that every bigtime rapper in the music industry seems to think that they are good at acting. Obviously, their names are well known, (and name recognition gets asses on cinema seats), so the bigtime rappers do get employed to act in bigtime films.

Now, my problems with this are many:

Firstly... All the good parts for black males in Hollywood are taken up by rappers. (With the exception of films with Denzel Washington, Lawrence Fishburn, Samuel L. Jackson, or Morgan Freeman.)

NOW, THERE HAVE GOT TO BE MORE DECENT BLACK ACTORS OUT THERE...

...and those guys are getting screwed by people who are already earning a decent living in a completely different field. It's almost like, if you want to be an actor in Hollywood, and you are Of African lineage... you should probably learn how to rap... And that is just ass backwards.

Secondly... A lot of these rappers suck at acting. Look... I like Ludacris, I think he's funny when he raps, I don't need him to be a comedy character in a film to get my Ludacris RDA. So I have to sit through some ironic performance by someone who is a lot better at their day job.

And 50 Cent.... don't get me started on that guy... He sucks at rapping AND Acting. The only thing he's good at is having muscles.

It's stupid and it brings too much of an amateur hour vibe to film-making. Cinema has come so far in terms of getting honesty from actors, so why should we all take a hit for a bunch of rappers on an ego trip?

Thirdly... The believability factor, and the marketing of Rap music, demands the building up of an image... a persona. "Keeping it real", "Real Recognise Real", rap is built on that!

Conversely, Acting demands a certain amount of sacrifice of one's persona. Therefore the two disciplines cannot really work together successfully. (Unless you plan on always playing a role that is similar to your Rap Image. i.e. gangster etc)

So either: Your lack of scope as an actor is of detriment to the films you act in. Or your openness to transforming yourself is detrimental to your image as a performer.

Either way it's a loss of something.

There is only one rapper/actor out there that I think is of value in both his fields. That artist is Mos Def. A critically acclaimed lyricist, and star of some excellent films (notably 'Be Kind Rewind' & 'Cadillac Records'). He is someone who is not afraid to show great scope in his acting, and continues to release great records. His new Album, 'The Ecstatic' is one of his best since his debut album 'Black on Both Sides' (which is a Hip Hop CLASSIC).

Here he is performing "Quiet Dog" on Letterman:



However, I would definitely argue that he's lost some of his bite as a lyricist, not because his lyrics aren't as good, but because my perception of him has been altered. I now have seen him as a sweet and gentle character in 'Be Kind Rewind', as a sidekick in 'The Italian Job' etc etc. It has taken away his ability to exact braggadocio in the same way with his words.

In layman's terms... I kind of like him too much to think he's badass.

On the flip side of this coin, you have Jamie Foxx. An actor who I greatly respected until the release of his first major R n B album, "Unpredictable" in 2005. It's an album filled with vapid references to dancing in the club, sexy women, and drinking. A shallow, flimsy & insubstantialrecord from a man who I thought had real depth. His choice of roles certainely suggested that. But now I find it increasingly hard to take him seriously as an actor, because I just think of him as a cheesy, vacuous RnB pop singer.

Both Jamie Foxx and Mos Def have been acting for many years, and there is no denying that Jamie Foxx has some singing talent. His Performance as Ray Charles in the biopic "Ray" showcased that to great degree. But there is something to be said for a time and a place. Just because you want to have it all, doesn't mean you should.

I know it's a status thing, like, "You haven't arrived as a Bigtime rapper until you've been in at least one film" but that's not really good enough, for us the viewing public.

And I'm positive that a lot of these guys think of themselves as modern day "Rennaissance men". But they need to step back and have a real look at the art they are involving themselves in, and the real effects of it on their legacy... rather than their bank balance.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Everyday Art - Example 1.w - 1.y

It's been a while since I've had a chance to do any more of these at work, as it's been crazy busy. But here's some new Quick Comic Panels I've done. Remember, I finish all of these generally in under 10 mins.

Example 1.w - Fast And Furious

Example 1.x - Crossing Over


Example 1.y - Terminator Salvation


Out.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My Birthday/Christmas Wishlist for 2009

Yes indeed... both Christ's and my birth dates approach... and rather than have to repeat the stuff that I would like to fifty different people, I thought I'd post up a little note of it all. With links, where possible, to be extra helpful. Jesus would do the same thing, were he on Blogspot. (He prefers Twitter.)

So here is my 2009 List:

Random Bits and Pieces:

Glenfiddich Scotch - Bottle or Bottles thereof. (Do not worry about someone else getting me one. I could do with more than one anyway.)
H&M, M&S, Boots, and River Island vouchers

Specific Albums:

Anything by "Gravenhurst"
Anything by "Cold War Kids"
Rufus Wainwright (Judy Garland Live album)
Elvis Costello - il Sogno
Saul Williams - Inevitable Rise of Niggy Tardust
Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom
Anything by "Elbow" (Links below for this:)
LIVE
Asleep in the back
Seldom Seen Kid Special Edition
Leaders of the Free World
Cast of Thousands

DVDs:

Lost Series 5
Heroes Series 2 & 3
Dexter Series 1
Flash Forward Series 1
Family Guy Seasons 5-8

Art Items:

Process Paid Super 8 Film Stock
Ink Set <------ Important
Oil Paints (Like a beginners kit or something.)
Brushes and related painty items

Comics (You can probably find these easily in a comic store):

Astonishing X-Men Graphic Novel

Wolverine: Old Man Logan

X-Men: Civil War X-Men

Jelly Fist

Software:

Final Cut Pro
After Effects
Flash
Adobe Illustrator
(One of those drawing pad interfaces for my mac. So I can draw straight into the computer.)

Thanks.

Is this Turtle A GOD?

The Hindu villagers of Bhubaneswar, India seem to believe so.

The rare turtle found it's way into a temple in Kendrapara, A coastal district in East India, and it has been kept there ever since. Villagers are claiming that it is an incarnation of God, and that they will not release the reptile. Meanwhile, literally hundreds of worshipers are traveling from surrounding villages to the temple, chanting and bearing gifts of fruit, rice and garlands.

Local authorities have, so far, failed to persuade the worshipers to give up the rare sea turtle, while the crowds continue to grow to an unmanageable size.

P.K. Behera, a senior government wildlife official stated, “We have asked the villagers to hand it over as it is illegal to confine a turtle, but they are refusing.”.

As it is a protected species in India, anyone found keeping a turtle of this sort without permission can be arrested and jailed for over a year and/or fined. But as yet the villagers have refused to release the turtle. Convinced that the turtle bears holy symbols on its shell, and is an incarnation of the Hindu deity, Lord Jagannath.

Ramesh Mishra, a priest of the temple, said of their refusal to give up the reptile: “Lord Jagannath has visited our village in the form of a turtle. We will not allow anybody to take the turtle away.”

I once had a turtle, when I was a child. We found it wandering aimlessly through the California desert and took it home. I loved that turtle. One day someone left the fence open in the yard and it left.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Do not propose on television.



Found on my friend, the author, Mark Jackman's Blog

Twitter Comic...

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally completed my background for my Twitter page. It's a silly little comic I made to promote the page, and this Blog. Here it is below:

CLICK ON THE IMAGE AND ZOOM TO SEE IT CLOSER


Might work? Ba Dum Pish.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Retrospectivism - Anti-Pop Consortium

I've decided it's about time to have a few regular features on this blog. So that regular readers can know what to expect, and so that I can have a few points of focus for people scanning through old blogs.

The first feature I've come up with: "Retrospectivism" is all about promoting music that I like, that people may not know about. I'll post up a few choices of a band or group's back catalogue for people to check out. In the hopes of spreading the word about great music.

And Yes, in the manner of Stephen Colbert, I have completely invented a word in order to make it sound a bit catchy.

Today's Subject: Anti-Pop Consortium


"Heatrays" off of APC's debut album "Tragic Epilogue"


"What Am I" off of APC's debut album "Tragic Epilogue"


"Ping Pong" off APC's Album "Arrythmia"


"Mega" off APC's Album "Arrythmia"


"Slow Horn" off APC's Album "Antipop Vs. Matthew Shipp"


"Volcano" off APC's Album "Fluorescent Black"


"Capricorn One" off APC's Album "Fluorescent Black"

Those are my picks from the vast array of incredible songs this band has to offer. If any of these tracks interest you please look further into Anti-pop Consortium's Back Catalogue, and try to catch them on tour.




Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Spots & Stripes Flyer Design

My girlfriend Kate & her twin sister run a handmade crafts company. They make dresses, bags, jewelery etc..... you know.... girl stuff.

Anyway, I try to help them out when I can. So I stayed up last night making them a flyer to hand out at their next craft fair this weekend. Their stuff is all vintage looking, so I reflected that in the design.


To visit their web page. Click here.

Awareness test...

This video made by transport for London will BLOW YOUR MIND

Click Here

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Star Wars Uncut - My Finished Scene

Today I joyously finished my first animation for the Star Wars Uncut Project.

Look away now, if you don't wish to see the results:



The Original Scene

Voice over dubbing for Star Wars Uncut.

Here's me attempting to do the voice over for my animation.



Putting the 'Pro' into 'Project'.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Star Wars Uncut - Preliminary Sketches

I wrote a blog in October about a collaborative Film project I was working on. Called Star Wars Uncut.

(You can read that blog by clicking here)

I thought about many different ways I could approach my portion of the film, Acting it out, Doing Photos with narrative, Stop frame animation with toys, Painting or drawing it as stills (I mean, it's only fifteen seconds but... hey.... I'm a perfectionist.) In any case, I settled on the idea of trying my hand at drawn-animation.


I did a bit of claymation back when I was studying film at college... but never had a chance to do real animation. So I'm pretty much making it up as I go along. I mean, I certainly don't have the correct equipment! haha. But there's a lot that can be done with a macbook and a bit of determination.


There's a couple of the initial sketches for the scene. They are just the backgrounds, and the moving characters have been drawn separately. I'll load the full video up once it's finished.

I'm pretty stoked about finally doing this. Being able to animate will open a lot of doors for me.

Went out last night for Halloween.

I'm pretty good with face paints.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Don't rail on me for raising the bar...

Today I had to do a technical drawing and design for a front door of a listed building. More specifically, I had to do a technical drawing and design of a rail that is to be attached to said front entrance.

It seems a rather strange thing to have to draw a design for a rail, but apparently the council must have any changes to the front of a building shown in pictorial form, before the changes take place. So they can approve that it doesn't detract from the aesthetic of the village street.

Crazy Right?

I don't really have a background in technical drawing, but obviously I design and draw things all the time, so I didn't find it that difficult. However it did end up looking a bit comic book anyway. I'm hoping that the council will appreciate that, rather than instantly rejecting it as the scribblings of a child. haha.

What can I say, the world of technical drawing needs a revamp. Don't rail on me for raising the bar...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Body of Work...

I have just discovered that my Welsh friend Dane has gotten some lyrics from "Black Feathers" tattooed on to his Bicep. That's the first time anyone has had any of my lyrics tattooed on to them.

Proof Below


It looks great and I'm totally flattered and pleased.

Mos Def, Black Thought and Eminem BET Cipher

Heavyweight stuff.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Will T-Pain release an album without autotune?

Jay-Z played a surprise set at the Hot 97 Summerfest. Dropping D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) to a lucky crowd.

This in itself isn't that noteworthy, but something strange happened during the song, T-Pain (One of the rappers Hova disses in the track) came out on stage and seemed to stand in support of Jay-Z during the track!

Obviously I write in pure speculation at this moment, but could this spell change within one of the key figures in the business of autotune RnB? Could we see something real come out soon with T-Pain's actual voice on it?

Time will tell... Here's the video:



Original footage courtesy of nahright.com

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Acoustic Set...

So, last night I finally broke down the wall and performed an acoustic set, by myself... for the first time... ever.

Quite a few people were shocked when I mentioned that I had never once performed alone on stage, and that I was nervous as all hell about it. I mean, I've been singing with bands for ten years now... but I always had the assurance that if I fucked up, it'd be covered up by everyone else playing well. (That's the theory anyway.) And to add to that, I've really only been playing guitar in front of people for the last year. So suffice to say, I had a few worries about the set.

In any case, the set went really well and the turnout was great (for a Random Sunday in Autumn). Obviously it wasn't a flawless set, I fucked up a chord or two here or there... but for my first shot... I was stoked. People seemed to really enjoy it too. So I'm glad to have finally broken through that mental wall.




Here is a video of me practicing 'Moscow' so you can get a flavour of the set. Some live videos are sure to follow.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Probably should put on some Cypress Hill in a minute...

Because I'm wearing my hair like I did in 93"


Rehearsing today for the show on Sunday. Doing a sweet 45 minutes, so I've gotta time it and make sure It's all Kosher. Perhaps I'll post up a rehearsal vid at some point.

Monday, 19 October 2009

My first solo acoustic show...

In lieu of any shows with my band for the foreseeable future, I will be keeping my voice-box oiled over the next few months with a few humble acoustic shows around-and-about.

The first show of that nature is going to be on October 25th, at "The Vaults" in Banbury, Oxfordshire. It will be an acoustic night, with other, as yet unnamed, acts performing as well. I will be playing some Lights Action tracks, old and new, as well as a few of my own songs.

Anyone who finds themselves nearby, please filter in. Entrance... I believe is free.

Oh and... buy me a scotch.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

"Handa's Surprise" Drawings...

My mother, Gillian, works in a preschool in Warwickshire...

She's always been amazing with kids, and ever since I can remember she's looked after other people's children. I can recall, as a young boy in California, getting home from school and there being at least 2-4 kids (who I wasn't related to) running around in my house. I was obviously involved in helping to keep them entertained, and perhaps that's where my overtly social disposition began. In any case, this is all background to the image in my Blog today.

My mum approached me last week to draw some pictures which she could use in one of her 'Story time' sessions (at the aforementioned preschool). She asked particularly for me to draw an image from a picture book I read as a child... A charming book called "Handa's Surprise".

CLICK THE IMAGE TO VIEW IT LARGER

It's the story of a young girl who goes on a journey to collect fruit, which is subsequently eaten by loads of rather naughty animals on her way home, without her knowledge (as it's all balanced on her head).

Just when the whole journey seems like a bleak waste of time (for the viewer), she walks under a heavily laden tangerine tree which refills her basket, again without her knowledge.

She arrives home, and Handa and her friend eat the tangerines, visually stoked.

Above is the pencil drawing I did today of Handa's arrival home.

P.S. Corn Rows are really hard to draw.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Hookers...


If Prostitution is the world's oldest trade... How did their punters pay for sex?

No one else would've been earning.

Friday, 16 October 2009