Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Mrs Trellis...

...of North Wales has written to me asking that I post this clip:

Mrs T also asks about my friend Samantha, and I'm pleased to update her. Samantha tells me she has to nip out now as she's been invited to an exclusive club to meet a group of aristocrats. She's very excited to see where all the big knobs hang out. She says at such a posh function she and the other girls will probably end up trying to speak with plums in their mouths.

RIP Humph.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Songs of the day

1. In Portugal, "Grândola Vila Morena"

Wikipedia says:

"Grândola Vila Morena" is a Portuguese song by Zeca Afonso, that tells of the fraternity among the people of Grândola, a town in the Alentejo. Salazar's Estado Novo regime considered the song to be associated with Communism, and as a result it was banned from being played or broadcast. On April 25, 1974, at 12:15AM the song was broadcast on Portuguese radio as a signal to start the revolution that overthrew the regime; it thus became commonly associated with the Carnation Revolution and the beginning of democratic rule in Portugal.

Here's a vid:

2. For ANZAC Day, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda"

Here's wiki again:
In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, under a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stale-mate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

The song was written by Eric Bogle in 1972 to remember the suffering of those involved, and to comment on the futility of war, "..we were led like lambs to the slaughter..". I believe my own great-grandfather was at Gallipoli, so it has a special resonance for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Decline of the X-men Quiz

Wrexham have been relegated from the football league.

I have no special reason to talk about this, but for the fact that it means yet another team with an X in its name has fallen out of the top 4 ranks of English professional football.

Years ago (let's say about 15 years ago) a good sporting quiz question was "What are the five English league clubs with an X in their name?" Now, only one is guaranteed to be playing in the league next season.

So my question is this, can you name that one team with an X in its name? And can you name the other 3 teams with an X that were in the league for that quiz 15 years ago?

Hardened trivia nuts will be interested to note that the number of teams in the English and Scottish leagues with an X in their name (one) will now be the same as the number of teams with a J in their name. For a bonus point: What's the team with a J?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bad songs (say so much)

Here's one for you.

I have discovered the world's worst song. Or more specifically, the world's least wanted piece of music.

Composed in the 1990s by Komar and Melamid, a couple of Russian conceptual artists who polled listeners about their likes and dislikes in musical style, this track embodies all that people loathe in pop songs:

The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance--someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example--fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.

I suspect my friend MC would be among those 200.

The full story is here, and the song itself (a truly nasty confection) can be accessed here. Although I found parts of it quite catchy, the intrusive bagpipes soon became unbearable and there's really only so much rapping soprano anyone can take.

That said, it's better than this:

Via Boing Boing

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adverts home and away

An old favourite, which may be the best-known "human sculpture" ad of the past 20 years:

Oft-imitated, never bettered?

Well, contrast it with a new one doing the rounds in Spain/Portugal. Not sure what to say really. Would you rather be one of the girls in red or white?

Friday, April 04, 2008