Amoeblog

My year in music - confessions of a grumpy old man

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 9, 2009 10:24am | Post a Comment

According to Billboard, the top artists for 2008 are Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Jordan Sparks, Jonas Brothers, T.I., Coldplay, Flo-Rida, Carrie Underwood, T-Pain, Josh Groban, Colbie Caillat, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, Katy Perry and Mariah Carey.

At Amoeba, the top sellers were Radiohead, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Portishead, Coldplay, M.I.A., Fleet Foxes, Beck, Flight of the Conchords, The Raconteurs, Sigur Ros, She & Him, Santogold, Crystal Castles, Black Keys, Lil Wayne, Cat Power, Kings of Leon, Amy Winehouse, Bon Iver.


Haveing not heard of most of the Billboard stuff, I can only assume that it's mostly autotuned, oversung, expendable American Idol/Disney Channel/Nickelodeon R&B/pop/Rap sung by sexualized children -- which gives me hives. I definitely would rather, if forced, take the Amoeba package, although I am surprised that I have never heard of four of the top sellers there either.

My friend Lars, who gave up on new music a long time ago, was surprised to read news about Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails and asked, "Is that what people are still listening to? Bands from when we were in high school?" It is kind of strange. I mean, the Beatles and the Doors weren't dominating the charts in the '80s. So it is kind of strange to see a figure like Mariah Carey on the charts, who I remember as a adult-contemporary VH1 staple whose vocal runs I used tape onto VHS to send myself into fits of laughter when needed. Kanye I've listened to and can, without exaggeration, say it was some of the most unpleasant music I've ever heard. When interviewed about Kanye West for the Defamer, I expressed my dislike and someone commented that, to be fair, asking a white thirty-something music store employee is like asking someone in the inner city about bluegrass. Yeah, because Kanye West is "urban" music. Seriously? If you go to Watts or Compton, the Norteño has a lot more in common with Bluegrass than Kanye. Hollywood nightclubs and the suburbs is where rap flourishes... welcome to the '90s, dude.

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A Year in the Life of Amoeba Hollywood -- Year of Sanitation, the Potato, the Frog, the Planet Earth, Languages, Intercultural Dialogue & the Rat

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 30, 2008 01:33am | Post a Comment
Baby New Year Foundling 

2008 The Year in Review

silent running poster jason x poster lake house poster
movies set in 2008

Well, first of all, I’d like to point out what 2008 wasn’t. I mean, probably 2000 and 2001 are the most famous years of the oughts in speculative fiction. However, 2008 also piqued the imagination of Science-Fictionalists. Silent Running didn't resemble my 2008 much, although something kept knocking the ficus in my back yard over which did make me angry. I didn't hear about anything that fit in with the prophecies offered in Jason X. But perhaps no speculation about what 2008 would be like was the 2006 film, The Lake House. I mean, come on. They really thought that in just two years we'd have magic mailboxes that would allow us to send love letter to the past. People get real!

ajax and cassandra billy joel
Cassandra moaning about something                                                                  I don't know

The Feast of Stephen

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 26, 2008 11:30am | Post a Comment
giotto's St. Stephen Children on Boxing Day Wrenboys or Strawboys also known as mummers

Happy Holidays. Today's the big day -- that one day we eagerly await as soon as the Halloween decorations are taken down -- the Feast of Stephen or Boxing Day or Wren Day.


St. Stephen lived in the first century and was stoned to death c. 34 AD by a mob led by Paul (when he was still Saul). In Acts it says:

     Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of 
     blasphemy against Moses and against God." So they stirred up the people and the elders and the
     teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. For we have heard
     him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed
     down to us."

Since Stephen was the first martyr, he's referred to as a protomartyr which is a word we only get to use once a year.

"Good King Wenceslas" is the one, certified banger/club carol of St. Stephen's Day. The tune was originally written for the song, "Tempus Adest Floridum" ("It is time for flowering"), a 13th-century spring carol first published in 1582's Swede/Finn co-production, Piae Cantiones.

Glam & Glitter Christmas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 24, 2008 10:15am | Post a Comment

 Marc Bolan Santa Claus

I'm not
sure what it is about Glam Rock and Christmas but I've always appreciated how many contributions to the Christmas song canon have big drums, fuzzy sax and '50s via the '70s Yuletide vibes.


My vote for the best Glam Rock Christmas song goes, hands down, to Slade with their never-tiresome-no-matter-how-many-times-you-hear-it classic, the misspelling free "Merry Xmas everybody."



 

Sadly, there's no proper footage of T. Rex's "Christmas bop" but you can just imagine Marc and Gloria Jones frolicking in the... snow.


 

No doubt eager to cash in on the success of Wizzard and Slade's Christmas successes, the less-inspired but still enjoyable Mud give us this Showaddywaddy-esque version of "Lonely this Christmas."

Cinema of Mali

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 22, 2008 08:36pm | Post a Comment
Backrground of Mali

Ghana Empire Mali Empire  Sonhai Empire

            750 - 1076                                   1230 - 1600                                              1340 - 1591

Historically Mali was part of three Sahelian Kingdoms. The Soninke-dominated Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (which established Timbuktu and Djenne as major cities) and the Songhai Empire. These kingdoms controlled Trans-Saharan trade of gold, salt and other precious comodities. It collapsed following an Imazighen (aka Berber) invasion. When the European nations established sea routes for trade, the Trans-Saharan trade economy collapsed. To make things worse, the region grew increasingly desertified. France invaded the weakened nation and occupied Mali from the early 1800s until independence in 1959. Today, Mali is economically one of the poorest countries in the world.

Malians outside a cinema
Malians outside a cinema

Culturally, however, it's quite rich. Like its West African neighbors, it's also highly diverse. Most of its people are Bamana. There are also large populations of Soninke, Khassonke and Malink are all Mandé. There are smaller numbers of Peul, Voltaic, Songhai, Taureg, Bozo, Dogon, and Moor.  Altogether, more than 40 languages are spoken. 

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