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Saturday, May 04, 2002
He Was a Sweet and Tender Hooligan:
Actually, he wasn’t. He was a loud, racist, hooligan son-of-a-bitch and I wish someone had smacked him upside the head or had locked him up for ruining our game and making everyone very uncomfortable.

I met my brother this afternoon at our regular football bar for the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea. We’d arranged to be there early, but it was already fairly full, when I arrived. I immediately noticed a group of British men by the bar, who were very loud and drunk and some of them wore Chelsea jerseys. But we were seated in front of the screen surrounded by people in Arsenal jerseys, so I didn’t really think about it. And they didn’t bother me until Lauren was harshly tackled by Le Saux and one of them shouted out “Get up you f**kin’ n***er!” (you’d think supporters of a team, which features Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and several other high profile black players would be a bit more open minded about black people, but apparently not). From then on their behaviour just got more and more offensive and it was especially disturbing to see one of them raising his right arm at either the Arsenal fans or the TV and scream out “Si€g H€il” several times. But since it was still 0-0 at halftime they kept it to the yelling.

But when Ray Parlour scored a fantastic goal in the middle of the second half it was our turn to yell. We cheered like crazy, but were quieted when we were splashed with beer thrown by the guys at the bar. Now, I’ve been hit with beer, water, and probably a couple of other liquids at concerts and real football games, but this is the first time it’s happened inside a pub, so I was a little annoyed. And at this point I saw the neo-n@zi guy spit at people in Arsenal jerseys, who were buying drinks, so there was definitely some tension in the pub.

But that’s nothing compared to what happened when the amazing Freddy Ljungberg scored the second goal. Before we could even jump out of our seats someone threw a beer glass at the projector in the ceiling over our heads, which meant the glass splintered all over the place and the largest bits fell right next to my feet less than a foot from where one of my friends was sitting on the floor. I had glass on my hands, legs, and there were large pieces lying on the back of my chair. So with only ten minutes of the game remaining we decided to pack up our gear and go to the back of the pub, so we could get the hell out, when the game was finished. We stood at the back for less than five minutes, when two guys in Arsenal jerseys came down and joined us. And the second the game ended they bolted out of the pub. We quickly did the same, because the whole thing was beginning to remind me of Awaydays, and I really didn’t want any part of that. So I don’t know if there was any trouble, but I’m thinking of going down there to check next week, because I’m not going down there to see the game against Man United if something like that is likely to happen again.

So after the game I went to get Chinese food and went home and watched Smallville. I’d been home less than an hour, when I hear people yelling out in the street and when I look out I see a group of guys, who look like skinheads, being chased by a group of guys of Middle Eastern descent. I don’t know what was going on, but since long hair is peace my guess is the skinheads were up to no good. I guess I’ll have to check the local news tomorrow to see if anything really bad happened.

Since the only kind of censorship I believe in is self-censorship I’ve chosen to alter the spelling of certain words. It’s not so much because I don’t want to offend people, because I actually think that sometimes it can be healthy to be exposed to words like that, so you don’t forget what they mean. It’s simply because I’d prefer it if people using a search engine to search for words like that didn’t come visit my site. I hope that makes sense.

- John Fogde 9:17 PM [+]

Friday, May 03, 2002
Life is the Crummiest Book I Ever Read:
I just finished reading Derek M. Powazek’s Design for Community and while I found it entertaining and informative it was also a bit disappointing. The reason I bought it was that I had hoped it had an academic approach to the blogging phenomenon, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The book is basically a guide for people trying to build an internet community or improve on the one they’ve already built. And while it is interesting to read about all kinds of communities from email lists to the ones at Amazon or Salon I was looking for information about blogging.

After all there is a chapter excerpt called Weblogs as Community at the website dedicated to the book, but unfortunately that chapter doesn’t exist in the book. The featured excerpt is taken from a chapter called What’s Next? and although the chapter is a lot longer in the book than just the excerpt the rest of the chapter doesn’t deal with blogging at all. It deals with a Sony photo sharing community, more about Amazon, and some graphic communities based around different games. So in other words I could’ve gotten Powazek’s insights on blogging by reading his site instead of buying his book.

To be fair he also mentions Metafilter, Killoggs and a couple of other blogs that have multiple users submitting entries in the book, but there wasn’t really anything on blogging as journalism, the decentralized blogging community, or blogs working not so much as journals, but information filters. I’ve read a bunch of articles on these subjects, but it would have been nice with a different point of view than the journalistic or technological one you usually get on the web. But then Powazek is a web designer and not a college professor, so I guess it makes sense that his point of view would be from a design stand point.

My problem is that I want to write an academic paper on blogging and frankly I could use a little help. I have some stuff lined up and have read enough to know about some of the criticism blogging has received from journalists and professional writers. And I’ve also read a lot of the praise, which is circulating between certain members of the blogging A-list. But it doesn’t seem like anyone has done any work to examine the fascination people have with following these blogs, the benefits of having news filters, the joy of having an outlet for creative writing, and the community bond there seems to be between a large number of people, who in a strange way are connected by their use of a blogging tool and their need for self expression. This is what I’m going to look into, but as I said some help would be nice.

I’d been reading Design for Community since Monday and it felt good to finish a book for once. Lately I’ve been reading A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe and while I think it’s a smashing book it has taken me months just to read the first 450 pages, which means I’m only about halfway through it. I read so much stuff online that when I want to read something else it usually ends up being a Rolling Stone magazine. But I’ve decided to take a break from Mr. Wolfe and read Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris this weekend. The book was a Christmas present and I’ve wanted to read it for ages, so I’m going to give it a shot this weekend. I hope I can get a couple of long stretches in and I hope to have read it by early next week, so I don’t have another half-read book lying about.

- John Fogde 11:28 PM [+]

Everyone Had A Duran Duran Boyfriend But Me:
As an alternative to the 50 Coolest Records of All Time list Rolling Stone Magazine made last month, they've made a list of the 50 Uncoolest Records (That We Love). Unless you have a truly bizarre taste in music you won't know half these records, but I ploughed through the list all the same (would it have killed them to make a list of all the records on one page?) and saw some utterly weird choices.

Choices like The Carpenters and Burt Bacharach are rather obvious, because they have for a long time been seen as guilty pleasures, but even after the indie Carpenters tribute album and Bacharach's collaboration with Elvis Costello, people still don't seem willing to give them any respect. But I find it very surprising that a list of guilty pleasures would include the first Weezer album and Actually by The Pet Shop Boys. Had it been Pinkerton and Very it might have made more sense, but both mentioned albums are the best by both artists, so I find it very odd that they made the list. And then there are the downright god-awful albums like Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf. Actually, there's a lot of crappy 70s rock on the list. I just hate the Loafer the most, so he's the one I'll mention.

If I had to make a list of guilty pleasures I'd include a lot of 80s hair bands and 80s New Romantics. It would definitely include Duran Duran (whose records I still buy and yes I'm totally psyched by the reunion) and Mötley Crüe and a long list of bands, who'd remind you of both bands. Other than that I can't really think of any bands I'd add, but I'm sure others would be able to glance at my record collection and pick out a huge stack of albums they think are abysmal.

In related news TV Guide has published their 50 Greatest Shows of All Time list and since I've only seen about 25 of them it's hard for me to say if they're being fair or not. However, I was surprised to not see a single David E. Kelley show on the list. And where the hell is Moonlightning? I would have picked a bunch of newer shows over the old ones and added a couple that aren't as mainstream as The Cosby Show and Oprah, but then I'm just a European kid. What do I know from TV?

- John Fogde 1:36 AM [+]

Thursday, May 02, 2002
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want:
I like The Get Up Kids a lot and I have since I heard Something To Write Home About for the first time. Four Minute Mile has its moments, but I think the production leaves a lot to be desired, so I don’t listen to it that much. So I was very excited, when I found out that Matthew Pryor had founded a band called The New Amsterdams as an outlet for his quieter, acoustic material. Their album Never You Mind is absolutely brilliant and therefore I’ve decided to buy their follow up, Para Toda Vida, when the new Get Up album is released on the 14th of May. I want to buy them straight from Vagrant Records’ website, because I know they probably won’t be released here and frankly buying them directly from the record company is cheaper than buying them through the online record stores. But here’s my problem: After perusing Vagrant’s website I found out that shipping charge to Europe is $18.25 (which is more than a CD costs), so to get my money's worth I’ll have to buy more than two CDs. And here’s where I need some help.

I’m looking for recommendations from the Vagrant back catalogue, because while I'm familiar with a bunch of their bands I haven’t actually heard an entire album with other bands than the ones I mentioned before. I have a Vagrant compilation and I downloaded a bunch of songs from their site, but I must say I think the quality of the material varies not just overall, but also concerning the individual band. Right now I’m leaning towards Dashboard Confessionals (because I like the acoustic sounding Screaming Infidelities), Koufax (because of the upbeat Going to Happen and the singer sounds a bit like the guy from Nada Surf) and Saves the Day, because they sound a bit like Get Up and they seem to be getting good reviews and nice press a lot of places. I also thought about The Anniversary, because D in Detroit and All Things Ordinary remind me of That Dog and The Rentals (but I’m really not too crazy about the rest of the songs I’ve heard by them). But I should probably keep it to only one or two CDs, other than the Get Up and Amsterdams ones, so I would very much appreciate comments or suggestions. So if you know any of the bands mentioned or some I’ve missed please let me know.

I was actually listening to Seven More Minutes by The Rentals today, and while it’s by no means a great album there are some good songs on there. Favourites include Man with Two Brains, Barcelona, and Overlee, which brings me to a fun little titbit. I suck at remembering song titles, because I usually don’t look at the cover after I’ve examined it the day I’ve bought the CD. So it wasn’t until today I realized the song wasn’t called Albany but Overlee, which makes the lyrics “I wanna take you to Overlee/Floating around endlessly/No language and no country” make a lot more sense. And speaking of misheard lyrics a friend of mine as a joke tried to convince his friend that Destiny’s Child sing “I don’t think you’re ready… for New Delhi” on Bootylicious. Which, when you think about it, makes a hell of a lot more sense than “… for this jelly”. What does that even mean? They have the dumbest lyrics and they're so annoying that they're not even hot (okay, Beyonce is kinda hot despite being very annoying and having a horrible name).

But my all time favourite misheard lyric is “I wanna rock and roll all night/And part of every day”, which Greg sings in an episode of Dharma & Greg. Dharma points out his mistake, but Greg doesn’t get it, because as he puts it “Then when do they have time to sleep?”. When indeed.

- John Fogde 11:36 PM [+]

Wednesday, May 01, 2002
And the Music He Had in Him So Very Few Possess:
There was a blog I wanted to link to, but then I forgot which one it was, and now I just remembered, so I thought I'd link to it right away. It's called "laura Holder not com" and the main reason I'm linking to it is that she asked if one could possible need anything else than the 2-disc anthology Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels, which features a wide variety of songs by Gram Parsons. I'm not a big fan of Best Of records, so a couple of albums come to mind, but the one that I wanted to mention is the Gram Parsons tribute album called Return of the Grievous Angel. It's an amazing record with a pretty amazing line up. My favourites are Wilco's version of One Hundred Years From Now and Ooh Las Vegas performed by Cowboy Junkies, but the real treat is the Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield duet on $1.000 Wedding. I've heard that song a hundred times and it still gets to me every time. It's a good song, but their version is just incredible.

I think most critics agreed that this is a fantastic album, but at the same time I think it can serve as a great way of getting to know the Parsons songbook for people, who aren’t necessarily into country music. Personally, I think his work both with The Byrds, the other bands, and his solo work is amazing, but a lot of people (especially Europeans) get turned off by the pedal steel, the violins, and the rest of it. So hearing Beck or Chrissie Hynde taking on a Parsons song in a new context might make the songs seem more accessible. And then you just might be ready to pick up the reissue of Sweetheart of the Rodeo or the GP/Grievous Angel CD and get with the real thing. I’ll bet you won’t be sorry that you did.

- John Fogde 1:57 AM [+]

I’ve Never Forgotten All Our Yesterdays:
There are a lot of ways of going about writing a blog entry. If I want to tell a story or make a point in some way I tend to write a few sentences down on a pad, so I won’t forget anything. Then I type it into a Word document and try to structure it, so it’ll make sense for whoever might be interested in reading the entry. If there’s something I just quickly want to mention I just type in at Blogger to get it out there as fast as possible.

But this entry is done in a third way. I just opened a blank page and started writing. I know what I want to write about, but I don’t have any anecdotes or quotes ready, so if any should appear in this entry it’ll be because they came to me while writing. This is probably the most fun way of writing, because it tends to be a fast and instinctive way of writing. I prefer listening to fast music, while writing like this (I’m currently listening to Vagrant Records: Another Year on the Streets, which is a punk compilation), because the tempo of the music encourages typing quickly. But other than that there are no rules or anything like that. Just sit down and start punching those keys.

As promised I’m going to tell you about my Friday night out with the boys. Originally, the plan was for six of us to go out to dinner and then go to a club, but two of the guys cancelled on the dinner, but said they might meet up with us later (which they never did, which meant we felt obligated to leave a bunch of rude and offensive messages on their answering machines). So it was just the four of us, but it still turned out to be a pretty great evening. But before I get to the details I think a bit of a back story is in order.

I began at university in 1995 with these three guys and because our year would split into three large study groups for certain classes and these three guys were in my group, we started hanging out almost immediately. One of them is now a really close friend of mine, whom I travelled with several times and he’s also the one, who got me my new apartment. For several years I played basketball with him and one of the others every Saturday morning (which meant we’d always have massive hangovers, but always show up anyway). And for a couple of years the four of us worked together in the university bar, which was open every Friday. So I’ve spent a lot of time with these people, but since we stopped going to the same classes and later started working on our theses I don’t really see them on a regular basis (without really giving it a lot of thought I've just sort of decided not to use the names of my friends and family here. I don't think they'd mind me mentioning them by name, but I guess out of respect I've just decided not to use their names. Hope this doesn't bring on too much confusion).

So it was great to see my friends again and right away it was like nothing had changed. Obviously, we did the catching up thing, where you talk about jobs and stuff, but quickly we started talking about girls (or “chicks” as one of the guys kept saying although we were speaking Danish) and reminiscing about all the benders we’d been on. We had drinks for an hour and then we went to a Tunisian restaurant, which I’d never been to before. It came highly recommended and I can see why. It’s one of those places, where you can bring your own wine, which means you save a few bucks, but that doesn’t mean that it’s dive. The food was incredible (I had a steak with pepper sauce, salad, and potatoes, and the others had different kinds of kebab) and the service was impeccable. During dinner we talked about everything from the red light districts of the world to my friends’ upcoming wedding and generally we just had a great time.

This continued at a nearby café, where I finally got to put a few questions to my friend about the plans for his summer wedding (this is the wedding I’m going to that means I won’t be going to the Roskilde Festival this year). It was funny to hear him talk about proposing, preparing for the wedding, the invitations and so on. I asked about which kind of presents they’d be hoping for, but he really hadn’t given it any thought. It honestly seemed like he didn’t care as long as we came and had a good time. He even invited us to come a day early and just hang out, so I think we’ll do that. The wedding will be held on a small island called Samsø, so it’ll be nice to go out there a day early and do nothing and see whatever there might be to see on an island like that.

After the café I had hoped that we’d go to one of the new clubs in town, but somehow it was decided that we should go to the club we always used to go to a few years ago. And just to set the mood for the rest of the evening an ambulance left the club just as we arrived and two cops pushed by us, while we were standing in line to get in. Turns out a bartender had been stabbed with a glass, so the cops were there the rest of the night questioning people. Things sort of fizzed out at the club, because we were kinda drunk and spent most of the time just standing around looking a dancing girls, who were eight to ten years younger than us.

But it was still an amazing night. One of the guys had come over from Copenhagen, so he crashed at my place. And even though we came home after 4 a.m. we still talked for an hour about how great is was to hang out again. I’m afraid evenings like this won’t happen often in the future, because people are already moving on with their lives (as opposed to me, who’s still knee deep in the student lifestyle), so I’m very grateful and happy that it was such a success. And now I’m totally psyched about going to that wedding, so that was a really cool added bonus.

- John Fogde 12:56 AM [+]

Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Cause Punk Rock Was Too Hard To Sing:
I’ve finally gotten around to recount the events of last Thursday. The original plan was to go see The Handsome Family at Voxhall and then head home, but I met a friend who invited me to a party, so I went to that after the concert.

I went to the concert along with probably 25 other paying customers. That’s not exactly a lot of people in a venue that usually fits 500. But thankfully they’d set up tables and chairs, so the room didn’t look completely empty. The Handsome Family consists of three members. A husband on guitar and lead vocals, a wife on backing vocals, bass, and miscellaneous instruments, and a brother-in-law on drums. The concert began with the members wandering onstage and shuffling papers around and then eventually starting in on the first song. From then on every song would be introduced by the wife (who’d say stuff like; “This next song is about birds. And death. Birds and death.”), which would lead to a couple of weird comments from the husband, then some bickering between the two of them, and then finally a song. She would occasionally rush him and he’d say stuff like “It’s not like they’re going anywhere” and she’d be like “They could leave any minute” and then be like “This is the slowest sinking ship I’ve ever been on” (Sorry if I sound like a character from Clueless, but it’s the easiest way to retell the conversation).

This went on for an hour and a half, but it was actually quite amusing. It is definitely the first concert I’ve seen, where the singer kicks of a sneaker and then runs backstage to get a pair of slippers. He then returned and kicked off the other sneaker, put on the slippers, and did a couple of tap dancing moves to show how comfortable he now was.
If you don’t know The Handsome Family I think their music can best be described as slow country music. They use pretty dark humour and even though I didn’t really know any of the songs, the combination of their weird stage presence and entertaining songs meant that I quite enjoyed the show. During the concert they made a couple of reference to the band Lambchop, who had played a concert the night before. Supposedly, the concert had been great, but I unfortunately missed it. But now I know that they took their name from a television show about a puppet called Lambchop, which had to be cancelled, when the woman who supplied the voice of Lambchop died.

A friend of mine works at the venue and he had stopped by to check out the band. After the concert he invited me to an art school party, which we went to that straight after the concert. I knew a couple of people at the party, so it wasn’t completely weird for me, but it was still a different scene from what I’m used to. It was most mostly students from the school, who was there, and I don’t think I’m offending anyone when I say they all looked weird. I think they were going for that look and in my opinion they succeeded quite well.

A lot of them acted weird as well, so inspired by BradLands I’ve transcribed an example of a conversation. So here’s a scene from the Aarhus bar scene:

[A guy in a huge parka with huge headphones around his neck walks up to me]
Guy: Take a flyer for this concert I’ve arranged.
Me: You gave me one of those already.
Guy: Oh well, you should come. We’re going to play some fucked up music.
Me: Like this? [Referring to the music being played in the background]
Guy: Oh, a lot more fucked up than that. Like fucked up. Like totally fucked up.
Me: ‘Cause the stuff they played before sounded like someone violently cleaning his toilet.
Guy: Ha ha. Well yeah, more fucked up than that.
Me: Great.

That sums up the intelligence level of the conversations I had at that party, so after a couple of beers I took off. But somehow I still managed to have a massive hangover the next day, so I had to cancel on the party I was supposed to go to Friday night.

I just came back from seeing Arsenal beating Bolton, so I’m a bit knackered (which should explain spelling errors and so forth). But they’re now definitely on the way to winning The Double and I just got a new apartment and new CDs today, so I’m a happy knackered.

- John Fogde 12:48 AM [+]

Monday, April 29, 2002
You're Gonna Need a Bigger Room:
Today is turning out to be an amazing day. I received my order from Amazon today with the new Wilco CD, a The Hives CD (which is kind of a Best Of), and the Design for Community book that I'm looking forward to reading. But the really big news is that I've made plans for moving into a new apartment in June. My friend, who came over from Copenhagen this weekend, had sorted it all out, so today I called his brother, who's in charge of renting it out, and I can move in June 1st. I costs the same as this place, but it's a bit bigger and has a balcony. It's not as downtown as my current apartment, but it's closer to my brother, sister, and some of my friends, and they don't have junkies lying on their doorstep up there. So along with the fact that the weather is amazing and we're going to see the Arsenal - Bolton game tonight this is a pretty great day.

And the "reunion" thing this weekend went great, but more on that later along with details from the concert last Thursday.

- John Fogde 2:30 PM [+]

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