Saturday, May 25, 2002
How's My Drinking?
It's my sister's birthday today, so she'll be stopping by with my brother in about an hour for a drink. And then later we'll be going to see Superheroes at Voxhall, which should be fun. I've seen Superheroes a bunch of times already and I think they're on of the best live acts around. Their albums aren't perfect, but live they have an incredible amount of energy and especially the singer, Thomas Troelsen, is incredible to watch. So I'm quite looking forward to seeing them and hearing their new material.
I actually saw a couple of the band members earlier today at a benefit for the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society. A friend of a friend played a couple of songs, so we went to hear him and we also saw a couple of the other bands, who played there. And finally we had a drink at this really old bar called Vinstuen I've never been to before. It's one of those places I've walked by a hundred times, but never been to, so I was very surprised by how nice it was. It looks a bit rough from the outside, but surprisingly there was a really nice backyard with tables and chairs, so we sat around there and talked for a while.
- John Fogde 6:15 PM [+]
Friday, May 24, 2002
I'm currently working on adding a real comments feature to the site, so it will be possible to comment on individual postings. But I'll keep the Tagboard in the Me section on your left for general messages and thoughts. Hopefully, I'll get it tweaked, so it looks just right soon, but right now I'm having some problems, so please be patient.
- John Fogde 6:37 PM [+]
Reader Meet Author:
I met up with six other bloggers from Aarhus yesterday and had a grand ol’ time. It’s always weird when you first meet a group of people you don’t know, when there isn’t someone to introduce you and smooth over the initial awkwardness. But it actually went quite well and we got to discuss not only blogging and different blogs, but also different aspects of internet culture, music, movies, and books. Turns out that three of the people who came go to my school (I’d actually taken a class with one of them) and one goes to school, where my new job is. So suddenly everybody had a lot of acquaintances in common, which is always an icebreaker.
One of the topics, which came up more than once was choosing a language to blog in. Personally, I’ve never thought of blogging in Danish, although you’d think that would be the most natural thing for me. But I’ve always written in English, whenever I’ve written anything online (except for the articles I’ve written over the last couple of years). I set up my Warhol site in 1996 and because I wanted to share whatever Warhol-related information I have with as many people as possible, I found it quite natural to write in English. I’ve been active on newsgroups and mailing lists, where everyone wrote in English, since I first got online in 1995 and I guess I’ve always considered English the unofficial language of the net, because it just seems to be the language that the largest number of people online understand. And since my mother is Irish I’ve spoken English my entire life, so I don’t actually consider it a foreign language.
But people mentioned they felt it was constraining writing in English about Danish issues and linking to articles in Danish, which makes sense. But since I mainly write about music, television, and whatever is going on outside my window I hardly feel constrained by the language barrier. So an option seemed to be running a blog in each language, but people weren’t too hip to that idea, because of the time you’d have to put into a project like that. We ended the evening with a decision to call our little group the Aarhus Bloggers’ Coffee & Beer Consortium (or ABCBC for short). The people attending were: Ingrid, Peter, Thomas, Jens, Lasse, John, and yours truly. I’m sure we’ll meet again during the summer, so if you live here or perhaps vacation here you should let us know, so you can join us.
I’ve met up with online friends a couple of times before, but the first time I met a group of people was in March of 2000 for a Douglas Coupland book signing. A friend of mine runs a Coupland website and mailing list and a bunch of the members decided to meet in London before a book signing. People came from Denmark, Portugal, America, and England and we hung out for a couple of days. It was a lot of fun, but also a bit strange, because we came together because of a fondness for an author, which somehow meant we were also connected on other levels. Obviously, we spent a lot of time debating Miss Wyoming (his latest book at the time) and the older books, but because everyone was very culturally interested we also talked about movies, theatre, music, and other authors. But the thing which really made everyone’s trip was Coupland’s very positive reaction to us arriving at the signing as a group. One of the people, who attended the Coup-Meet created a website with pictures and Coupland’s diary entry about the signing, which is very cool. And I’m actually still a member of the mailing list even though I’ve become disenchanted with Coupland’s books to the point where I actually enjoy being part of the community more than actually reading the books.
- John Fogde 3:01 PM [+]
Thursday, May 23, 2002
Well, I Don't Wanna Be President, Superman or Clark Kent:
I forgot to mention this yesterday, so I'll just quickly sneak it in today. Swedish TV began showing reruns of The West Wing yesterday and will run reruns every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night for the rest of the summer. I've seen most of the episodes before, but it's still pretty good news. I'm not a big fan of American politics (or American Presidents), but apart from Martin Sheen being able to solve some problems a little too easily I think it's a pretty great show. The writing is excellent, there are some really good actors on the show, and the camera work kicks it big time. I was watching the pilot last night (it's the third time I've seen it) and the steady cam work in the beginning following Leo McGarry is awesome. Also, the dialogue during the first couple of minutes works excellent at setting the tone and pace of the show (on top of being pretty hilarious as well). So if you live in Scandinavia and haven't seen the show already, you should definitely check it out.
- John Fogde 4:44 PM [+]
We’ve Got The Web:
I read an article this morning about how a demo by the Rage Against the Machine/Chris Cornell band Civilian had been leaked to the internet and because of that I’ve been listening to tracks from that demo all day. I’m not usually one to download a lot of music, because I already have plenty of music on CD and I’m a big supporter of actually purchasing a CD instead of having MP3s on your computer. And I rarely download demos, because I prefer listening to the finished versions, because that’s how the artist intended them to be heard. And listening to music on your computer means having to crank the volume on the computer speakers, which means you almost have a heart attack, when ever you encounter websites and banner ads with sound (which just happened to me two seconds ago).
However, having said that I will say that I’ve been very curious about this project for a while, and I just had to hear what this new band sounded like. I’ve been a big fan of both Soundgarden and RATM for years and I was fortunate enough to spend a day with Tom Morello from RATM at Roskilde in 1995. I think they were the most exciting live band ever and it was disappointing to me, when Zach decided to leave the band. And when Soundgarden broke up I was very disappointed, so when I heard Chris Cornell was releasing a solo album my hopes became very high. Especially because he had been working on it with Alain and Natasha from Eleven, which is one of my favourite bands. But the album isn’t the masterpiece I had hoped it would be. Don’t get me wrong; there are some great songs on the album and he still has an amazing voice, but it just lacked something.
My first reaction when I heard Cornell would be working with the guys from RATM was surprise. He is such an incredible singer and RATM was so defined by their aggressive rapper and political views I couldn’t quite see how the collaboration would work. But I was still very curious about this project and was disappointed when I recently heard they’d broken up again and wouldn’t be touring. But apparently they’ve finished recording their album and parts of it are now available online.
And not surprisingly it’s a weird mix of the funky rock style of RATM and the very melodic and Led Zep inspired stylings of Chris Cornell. Sometimes it works and other times it’s pretty weird. A song like Turns to Gold begins like People of the Sun, then turns into a Cornell ballade for the verse and then turns back into People… for the chorus. Although the verse and chorus are cool, together they sound very schizophrenic. My favourite track so far is Save Yourself, which sounds like a Zeppelin song. It has a very powerful verse and a cool vocal thing happening in the chorus, which means I’m bouncing around in my chair right now, while listening to it. Actually, the songs which sound the most like RATM tracks are the ones I like the best. Better Bomb does have a regular verse, where Morello plays actual chords, but it’s the chorus that kicks it. It’s pretty infectious, when Cornell snarls: “We’ve got the web, we’ve got a better bomb” (it might be “got the whip”, but I’m not sure) over a groove guitar riff. A song like I’ll Wait For You There, which doesn’t have a riff makes no real impression and Lay Your Burden Down (which might actually be called Shadow on the Sun) sounds like a weak Soundgarden track.
So in conclusion I’d say this is an interesting collaboration and some of these tracks are pretty cool. I would have loved to see them performed live, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen. It’ll be interesting to hear the final product once it’s released, which will hopefully include a couple of tracks I haven’t heard yet, but based on what I’ve heard so far it’s not going to be a master piece.
I’m going to the blogging thing tonight, which ought to be interesting. I suggested a name change to ABCBC (Aarhus Bloggers’ Coffee and Beer Consortium), but I don’t know if it’ll stick. And since the bloggers in Copenhagen are called The Bloggerista, I suggest we be called The Bloggerati.
- John Fogde 3:50 PM [+]
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Do You Believe In Magic:
David Blaine is standing on a pole in New York and Catchdubs has the pictures to prove it. I'm not a big fan of magic tricks, so I've always thought Blaine was a bit of a wussy. But lately with the huge block of ice and now this demented polesitting thing I just think he's stupid.
But I've always thought David Copperfield was even more annoying. He is a sequined shirt away from stealing Roy's job and the disappearing jet and the walk through the Chinese Wall didn't exactly impress me. But that was until I saw him on Conan O'Brien, where he told a story about how a guy had protested in front of a show calling Copperfield The Devil. One of Copperfield's people took a polaroid of the guy and showed it to Copperfield. Then at another show the same guy was outside protesting again and Copperfield went down to talk to him. They talked and someone took a polaroid of Copperfield standing with his arm around the guy. But when they went to show the guy the photo, they had exchanged it with the other picture, where the guy was standing alone. So the guy is expecting a picture of him and Copperfield and when he saw that Copperfield wasn't visible in the picture he freaked out. I thought that was pretty funny. Oh, on the show he also did a creepy thing where he put his hand on the floor and turned around 360 degrees, which looked cool.
- John Fogde 11:10 AM [+]
Sometimes You Feel Like Moses:
According to this article the show Greg the Bunny has been cancelled. That totally sucks! That '80s Show has been cancelled as well (which I can understand) and Andy Richter Controls the Universe will be on again in the fall as a midseason replacement. But there is still no word on the fate of Undeclared. So hopefully it'll be back at some point although it doesn't look good.
[Update] I just received a letter from Gallup saying that they want to call me about my television viewing habits. Expect American show to make a dramatic ratings increase and nature shows to plunge into oblivion.
- John Fogde 9:56 AM [+]
We're Gonna Sit Back, Relax, Watch the Stars
I promised I’d write about the Spot 08 Festival and as I pride myself on being a man of my word I have now finally written down my thoughts on the festival. However, since so much time has passed since the festival took place, I’ll keep it a bit briefer than originally intended. My overall impression of the festival was very positive. I heard a lot of great music, met a lot of friends from both inside and outside the music industry, and I got to meet David Fricke. I saw about fifteen bands in two days, so I won’t mention them all, but among the most interesting were Teitur, The Crash, Saybia, Carpark North, Sondre Lerche, and The Teenage Idols.
Teitur is a singer/songwriter from the Faeroe Islands, who has had songs on the soundtrack to the show Jack & Jill. I saw him open for Ron Sexsmith once and he’s your average moody, white guy with guitar, but he’s also very charming and he has some really good songs. He’s written songs with Jeff Cohen, who co-wrote Crazy for this Girl with Evan & Jaron and whose band, Pancho’s Lament, wrote the theme for Jack & Jill, and since he's currently working on his debut album I think Teitur is a name you might want to remember.
The Crash already have an hit here with Lauren Caught My Eye and they were a lot better live than I thought they would be. I’ve only listened to their CD briefly and I didn’t really like it, but my sister wanted to see them, so we went to check them out. And they were surprisingly good. They are a very upbeat and happy pop band and they actually have a bunch of very catchy songs, so that was a pleasant surprise. They had a lot of energy on stage and people really seemed to enjoy their show.
Saybia are old friends of mine, but this was the first time I saw them live after they’ve gotten popular. They’re probably the most popular Danish band right now and it was fun seeing them again (I briefly spoke to them before the show, which was cool, because I haven’t seen them since July last year). The have some great songs and I was very pleased to hear them play an amazing cover version of Duran Duran’s Ordinary World. So that was a cool concert.
Carpark North is a new, Danish band, who I know mainly because the drummer is an acquaintance of my brother’s. I have their demo, which I didn’t really like and I was very surprised, when they started getting airplay on national radio. But they put on a great live show, where they showcased their technical skills and played with a lot of power. I was pleasantly surprised and it’ll be interesting to see if they’re able to capture that energy on a record at some point. And if not they'll still be a live act worth checking out.
I went to see Sondre Lerche, because I couldn’t get in to see Kent. There were about 1600 guests trying to get in to see Kent perform in a room that fit about 700 people. So people were queuing like crazy, but I couldn’t be bothered, so I went to see Sondre. And I’m glad I did. You know how most singer/songwriters are old, moody, and depressed bastards? Well, this kid is 19 and he’s just about the happiest son-of-a-bitch I’ve seen in a long time. He played these weird and happy love songs with a guy on pedal steel, which gave them a Hawaiian feel. He spoke Norwegian to the crowd and most of the things he said were pretty odd, but I only remember that he said that he’d never played for this many Danes before, but it was obvious that we all had nice parents, who’d raised us well. His excellent mood and great pop songs were really infectious, so everyone there instantly started laughing and smiling, which was great.
The last band I saw was the last band to play at the festival. They were called The Teenage Idols and could very well be the new The Hives. They played with an incredible energy and had some very catchy songs. I don’t know if their material holds up on a record, but live they were pretty amazing.
After the concert with The Teenage Idols I got to talk to David Fricke. Earlier that day I had heard him speak about Scandinavian music, where he had praised two Danish bands: The Raveonettes and Under Byen. He was familiar with a number of Danish bands from the sixties and he talked about how Scandinavian bands could become popular in the US. His main point seemed to be that he got fascinated by bands, who could offer him something, which he wouldn’t be able to find back home (like Under Byen, who mixes Danish folk music with elements from rock and electronica with a vocalist, who sounds like Björk in Danish). And several times he said of The Raveonettes and The Hives: “They rock! That’s all you need to know”.
I had enjoyed his very entertaining speech about Scandinavian music and I’m a big fan of Rolling Stone Magazine, so I walked up to him and talked to him a bit about the festival. He was amused by the fact that Danish band Sterling did Sheena is a Punk Rocker as an encore, but with Danish lyrics and he seemed to really be enjoying himself at the festival. I mentioned that my brother and I had been annoyed by seeing Destiny’s Child on the cover of RS instead of Joey Ramone, but he said he understood that choice and didn’t get bothered by stuff like that anymore (it also means we won’t be seeing Layne Staley on the cover anytime soon). We talked about Layne, Wilco, the new garage bands (he recommended the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs), and the disappearance of clubs like Max’s Kansas City. I was wearing a CBGB’s shirt, so we also talked about the club and its history quite a bit. I mentioned I’d read Richard Hell’s Go Now and he recommended the book Please Kill Me, which chronicles the rise and fall of the New York punk scene. It sounds really good, so I’ll definitely have to check it out some time.
I think that was pretty much it for our conversation and for what I wanted to say about the festival. I wrote three reviews afterwards, so not only did I get in for free I also got to plug some of the bands I like. And you can’t really ask for more can you?
On a completely unrelated note I’m kinda looking forward to getting the hell out of this neighbourhood. As previously mentioned I have drunks, drug dealers, and junkies sitting on my doorstep every day and now since the weather has gotten nice it’s gotten even worse. But it culminated yesterday, when I heard yelling out in the street. A guy was sort of pushing this other guy, who looked very timid. A woman was yelling at the timid guy, and so were the people on my doorstep. The aggressive guy started punching the other guy in the face, but I guess because he was drunk and/or stoned, the punches he threw were pretty awkward and didn’t seem to do much harm. The timid guy just walked around in circles and didn’t try to fight back, but for some reason he didn’t try to get away, either. It was pretty brutal seeing this guy getting punched, but I didn’t particularly feel like getting involved and if the guy didn’t have enough brains to run away then it wasn’t really my fault if he took a beating.
I then go out to the kitchen and when I came back to the living room I heard some screaming, so I look out the window again. The timid guy is now lying on the ground, bleeding and I’m just in time to see the other one kick him in the face. Have you ever seen somebody getting kicked in the face? It’s beyond brutal. At this point there were a lot of people looking at this spectacle and I could see people reaching for their cell phones to call the police. The yelling woman grabbed the aggressive guy and they scuttled off together. A couple of young men tried to talk to the bleeding guy, while another one was on the phone and a couple of minutes later two police cars arrived. I don't know what happened then, but there were a lot of witnesses and people hanging around plus all the drunks on my doorstep, so I’m sure they'll have no problem identifying the attacker and hopefully he’ll spend some time in jail this summer.
After I've moved to my new apartment I might miss living so close to the cafés, shops, and clubs, but I definitely won’t miss the drunks.
- John Fogde 12:49 AM [+]
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Born To Be Down:
I’ve been in a real slump lately (or down-cycle as they phrase it in She’s the One), but I’m going to shake it off today. I got really annoying and pathetic Saturday night and I just can’t bear to be around me, when I’m all whiny and bitchy, so from today on I’m going back to my usual Devil-may-care attitude. My motto has always been “Everything’s going to turn out alright, because it always does” and I’m going to remember that and smile at the world in my usual I don’t give a fuck way.
So far today has been just fine. I got up early and went to work. It was my first day at my new job and we did the introductory thing for a couple of hours and then from next Monday I’m on my own. The job is very basic and easy and it’ll suit me fine. I just have to do chores and make sure that the conference rooms have been cleaned out and people have gotten their mail, so it couldn’t be easier. I sent out another couple of applications, so hopefully I’ll be able to supplement the office job with something else soon.
When I got home I had received a package from Amazon, which surprised me quite a bit, because I knew I hadn’t ordered anything. But as it turns out someone had checked out my Amazon Wish list and bought me the Lambchop album Nixon, so that was not only extremely kind, but also just the thing I needed to get me in a better mood. So thank you very much!
- John Fogde 2:24 PM [+]