Stuff that pops into my head. Innit.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Well, that's a shock, part 349

In a somewhat surprising decision (to me at least), UNESCO's World Heritage Committee removed the Galapagos Islands from its list of endangered sites.
Fifteen  politicians on the committee may well have given the priceless archipelago a clean bill of health, but that isn't what came out of the monitoring mission to the islands in April, by a team of Unesco officials and scientists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
They have compiled a State of Conservation Report 2010 for the Galapagos, but you can't read it yet on the Unesco website as it's password-protected and only available to delegates at the current World Heritage Committee meeting in Brasilia.
But it's known that it recommended keeping the islands on the danger list, and talking to Unesco officials yesterday it became clear that the concerns it expresses about the islands' future are still very real. They focus especially on the continual risk of invasive species getting from the mainland to these islands, which are so special because they have developed in isolation.
In matters of conservation, politicians overruling scientific advice is always a very dodgy business, and Wednesday's vote in Brasilia has question marks written all over it. It should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who cares about the future of the islands which were the cradle of evolution.

More about it here 
A giant tortoise yesterday, after being told it wasn't in any danger any more.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Tabloid Newspapers

I've never quite understood why they are as popular as they are - they don't really report the news, their sports coverage is amateurish compared to the broadsheets etc- but today one in particular has set itself and the rest of them a new standard to follow.
The Sun, a paper previously famous only for showing boobs on page 3 has outdone itself, for the lead story on it's front page is this

"Redknapp signs Russian Donkey"

I know what you're thinking, "What, another one? isn't Roman Pavlyuchenko enough?".

This is actually a real donkey, the very same one that was famously tied to a parachute and flown over the Black Sea resort of Golubitskaya last week.
I have no doubt that Hawwy's intentions are noble and he deserves none of the scorn pouring from my keyboard right now, but the fact of the matter is that the most read newspaper in our land considers the single most important event taking place right now in the entire world is Harry Redknapp rehousing a donkey.
Not the plane crash in Pakistan.  Not the state of emergency in Peru. Not one of 100 worthy stories.

Harry and a donkey.

I'm not sure what this says about Britain as a nation, but I don't reckon it's something good.

A donkey yesterday, shortly after being rescued by Harry Redknapp.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Top 10 albums you might not know.

No.3 Fire - Electric 6

We’ve made it through a few years of concept albums, envelope-pushing college rock, artists pretending to have genius-level IQs and all the headaches that came with the cerebral-rock movement.

In 2003 Electric Six single-handedly invented a new musical genre: disco-metal.

Now disco and heavy metal may appear to be the most unlikely of bedfellows, but given that Electric Six's raison d'ĂȘtre appears to include the promotion of the perverse, this is entirely fitting as this is an album brought to you by the words "fire," "night," "party," and "city.
The Detroit quintet made a rare throwaway album that you’ll be stuck listening to repeatedly - with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks and the wool pulled securely over their fans’ eyes, Electric Six revive the honest-to-goodness party vibe. From “Danger! High Voltage,” which mixes choppy funk guitars with fuzzed-out punk riffs, deliberate dance beats to get one of the year’s most memorable singles, to “Nuclear War (On the Dance Floor),” which somehow manages to make loud, punked-up rock’n’roll sound more fit for the dance floor than anything anyone else has produced in years, the band merges rock and dance music with the feel, though none of the sound, of new-wave revivalists.
Fire shares punk’s no-future ethos, though Electric Six, unlike their uptight brethren, aren’t going to riot. Without a future, there can be no hangovers in the morning, right? Electric Six parties like that. While it’s not rocket science, songs such as “Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)” and “Gay Bar,” a tune that swings from talking about spending a girlfriend’s money at a gay bar to starting a nuclear war, show the outfit’s got enough to lure fans from more than just the wrestling team.The quality does tail off a little during the last three songs, but if you want rock that makes you dance instead of mosh, if you smile at lyrics that contain "war", "fire", "dance" and "nuclear" in almost every song, or if you've ever wondered what would happen if there was a heavy metal version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, then this is for you.

And your best friend's mother.

We’ve spent a few years in isolation contemplating the depths of Radiohead and its followers. Now, it’s time to wake up from that funk.

Consider Fire your alarm clock.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

"Is this real?" part 723.

Brewdog breweries, Scotlands largest independent brewers and makers of such, erm.......unusual sounding beers as "Tactical Nuclear Penguin", "Sink the Bismarck" and "Trashy Blonde" have another beer which has caught my attention, not only for it's incredibly high alcohol percentage -55%- but for it's container.

Outside of a regular glass bottle there's a stoat. Yes, a stoat. Or a squirrel. There's only 12 bottles of stoat and squirrel each and they've all been sold -I can't help but wonder who to, I'm fairly certain no-one I know would want beer in a semi-mummified rodent.

I wonder why no-one has thought of exploiting the stuffed roadkill rodent/alcohol crossover market before.
Yes, It's because it's a rubbish idea isn't it?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Celebrity Masterchef

Aah, the dreaded C word. No, not that one, -this one is is much worse, and fills me with all sorts of dread. Yes, it's "celebrity" This usually means someone I've never heard of (generally because they once exposed their arse on Big Brother or someother equally highbrow endeavour) will be making a fool of themselves to no-ones  amusement whatsoever.

Last night saw the season debut of Celebrity Masterchef complete with shouty presenters, John Torode, an Aussie chef who looks like he needs an iron and a man right at the top end of my personal shit list, bellicose slaphead Gregg Wallace-who's qualified to comment on other peoples food because he once had a fruit and veg firm apparently. Sounds reasonable.
So far it's exactly as it's always been, but here come the "celebrities" Hmmm. Don't know him. Or him. Or her. It's not going well.  Ahaha! I know her, It's Tessa Sanderson, she was famous for throwing a pointy stick about 30 years ago. I don't recognise anyone else.

COOKING DOESN'T GET TOUGHER THAN THIS! Bellows Gregg, sounding like a freshly wounded moose and looking as if he might explode - he doesn't, sadly. John nods sagely, still looking as if he needs ironing.

The "celebrities" can't cook, obviously -one attempts to make a roux using cornflour which lends it the consistency of concrete- another of the unknowns admits he only started cooking a fortnight ago. This is going to go well then.

I really don't get the point of this version of masterchef -we're watching people we don't know who can't cook, why?


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Shameless plug alert

Hello dear readers, this short piece of shameless whoring is due to my new blog finally going "live" - .

If you feel like popping over to see me, please do -it's still in it's infancy, but it'll get bigger pretty much daily- any comments or criticism gratefully recieved.

Thanks, Fizzee


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Top 10 albums you might not know.

No.4 White Pony - Deftones

This is probably my favourite album ever, so why is it in this list? Because it’s massively undervalued, that’s why.
I don't ever expect Deftones to release another White Pony, and despite them being my favorite band, I don't expect them to recapture the brilliance of this album either. Every band has a climax, a defining album, and Deftones' belongs to White Pony - although they got close with Diamond Eyes, they didn’t quite manage it.

Onto the album itself and a dystopian future is painted beautifully by Steph Carpenter’s dark and grinding guitar work, yet he somehow manages to be smooth and clean-verging on ethereal- at the same time, impressive stuff. Feiticeira, opens up the album and exemplifies Carpenter’s signature sound. While Moreno repeatedly drones, “soon I’ll let you go, soon I’ll let you go,” it gives the song depth and an unnerving emotion. Digital Bath, kicks off with yet another simple, yet catchy, drum beat compliments of Abe Cunningham. The quiet strums of Carpenter’s strings really do emulate the sound of water, for which I’m thankful they pulled off without using any samples or loops. Throughout the song Moreno proclaims, “Tonight I feel like more, which shows off the singer’s classic range quite nicely. Elite throws the listener a curveball by being a full-blown metal song. Chino screams his voice raw shouting, “You’ll bleed out of control,” more than a few times.
Teenager, a song originally for Moreno’s mellower side-project, Team Sleep, showcases some lovely samples from Frank Delgado (who officially became a member of the group with this album). It’s a very simple love song sampling a soft acoustic guitar and drum loop that is a pleasant departure from the previous songs but still fits well on the album.Knife Party is yet another classic on the album, at the end of the track you can hear artist Rodleen wailing some impressive vocal range.
The ultimate guest appearance can be found on Passenger. Maynard James Keenan of Tool/APC fame appears and his vocals are the perfect compliment to Moreno’s wailing. It is easily my favorite rock duet, if you will. It’s an epic song that has a lot of atmosphere to it; the delivery by both artists is brilliant.
 Change (In the House of Flies) was the first single at the time, and it’s also one of the few tracks that features Moreno on guitar as well. The subtle sounds that Delgado samples give the song great eerie tension. Moreno’s soft-spoken pre-chorus blends wonderfully with the mellow environment of the song; the buildup is top-notch. This is my favourite track on the album

I love the bipolarity of this album. It’s so dark and gritty, but smooth at the same time. It sounds like a true garage album that has been polished off by a smart producer. Terry Date has done most of the Deftones albums, and this album shows why. Any producer could have easily screwed the sound of this album up.

Monday, 19 July 2010

New design

As you may have noticed, (or not) I've applied a new template to my blog - I think it looks kind of sunnier, brighter maybe. Anyway, I like it a lot but give me your thoughts on the new layout especially if you think I've made a complete arse of it.

Thanks, Fizzee x


Sunday, 18 July 2010

Mental Vegetarians

On my usual trawl around the sunday newspaper websites I hit the Observer Food Monthly section to be greeted with the following headline.

Paul McCartney: ''One of the most effective things any individual can do to help the environment is to eat less meat''

What? Weren't you the ugly one in the world's most overrated band? Having realised that it was indeed the same bloke, I read on.

"When Linda and I brought our family up not eating meat, the original reason was our deep love of animals. Once we got the idea that many cultures' cuisines contained meat-free dishes, we began to explore various options and soon found ourselves with a huge repertoire of healthy, and most importantly, great tasting food."

Hmm. Very good, giving up meat for your love of animals is a noble idea........or is it?
Well, actually, no, it isn't. Let me explain. On the surface of the matter it seems like that if you gave up meat, then the creatures that were going to end up as your sunday roast would live out their lives happily gambolling around the green fields of whatever country it is you live in.
Sounds nice, doesn't it? The harsh reality of the situation however is this. All the beef cattle, pigs, chickens and most of the sheep and goats would be killed if everyone gave up eating them. Modern mass meat production is almost solely in huge factories with running costs in the millions, there's no way that the big supermarkets would let the profits drop catastrophically by looking after redundant food animals.

Sorry, but if you really care for animals don't turn vegetarian.

Paul McCartney yesterday, on his way to a Foie Gras festival

Recycled Clothing Art

Sounds a bit rubbish, looks sensational.

The brainchild of 2 Cuban born artists -Alain Guerra and Neraldo De La Paz- this stuff is brilliant.

More here

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Climate change

A thorny subject for many people, and not one I can profess to knowing too much about -although my feelings about it are that it's largely a natural phenomenon and not really to do with cars at all- and because I don't know much about it, I tend not to talk or write about it that much- unlike some other people, in particular the Human FA Cup himself, Prince Charles.
The Prince of Wales launched an attack on climate sceptics, deriding them for peddling "pseudo science".
"Climate scepticism appears to be on the rise again with more and more people prepared to listen to those siren voices that say that everything is okay, there is no need to worry and that we can all carry on as before as all this fuss about climate change and environmental collapse is merely part of a sinister attempt to undermine the entire foundations of the market-based capitalist system.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I believe the urgency of the situation is too great simply to sit back and do nothing."

On you go then Chuckles, you could start by getting rid of that Aston Martin convertible you have, or your helicopter, or the fleet of Range Rovers.

Check out these guys for a different viewpoint

Here's Prince Charles yesterday, shortly after talking bollocks at a conference.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Summer time in Northern Scotland

Yesterday,  it was nearly warm (ish) and kind of nice - the scenery here when the sun is out is pretty much unbeatable - sadly the sun is only out here about 3 times a year and the rest of the time the whole place is a dull and muddy expanse of grey, brown and puke-tastic yellowy green. How very depressing it all is. It's currently freezing cold, (it seems freezing cold to me, perhaps I'm still suffering from that bout of ebola I had a while back?) it's absolutely pissing down and managing to be misty all at the same time.

Have a song to sum up my current mood.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Ever wonder what life would be like without gravity? No, me neither.  But someone who has is Takayuki Nakazawa a Japanese graphic designer, who, with photographer Hiroshi Manaka, has created a set of stunning images called " When Gravity Fails" I think these are brilliant. I particularly like the ones with the cat.

More here

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The World Cup Final

To the relief of women all over the world, today is the last day of the South African football extravaganza.
Australia, as I expected, went home after the opening phase. England -also as I expected- went home as soon as they faced someone who knew what they were doing.  The two best teams have made it to the final for once, and lets hope it lights up what has been a generally lacklustre tournament.

C'mon Holland.

top 10 albums you might not know.

No.5. Nirvana - Bleach.

Before the phenomenon that was Nirvana's 'Nevermind' there was "Bleach".
Unlike 'Nevermind' which transformed Kurt Cobain into a household name, made Seattle the centre of the rock universe and sold in the millions this was a little known record, and was famously recorded for just $606 - A fact proudly boasted on the cover-and sold just a few thousand copies. In light of the later superstardom that the band achieved, the question must be asked; was 'Bleach' an undiscovered piece of gold along the lines of 'Nevermind' and deserving of similar fame, or was it what one would expect from an album recorded for only $606? For those wanting a definitive answer, it is unfortunately both yes and no.

Why no? Well 'Bleach' does not contain obviously likeable songs such as 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and 'Come as you Are', the only exception being 'About a Girl', a song bought to public attention by the band's MTV appearance. It is important to remember that at the time of this album (1989) Nirvana was merely a smalltime road band. This is clearly reflected in the album's other 12 songs; they are raw, loud and anything but catchy. For those that became fans of the band because of the instantly enjoyable 'Nevermind' this album would be a big disappointment.

So why yes? Well, not everyone was attracted to the band because of their well-crafted pop songs. While acknowledging and loving melodies like 'Teen Spirit', Nirvana seemed to offer so much more. For a start they were aggressive and very passionate about their music. And unlike the shallow product that so many bands seemed to be churning out, here was a band that played music simply for the love of it. As Cobain himself said "music is too important to me to [compromise]. In fact, there was a time when music was all that was important to me."

The real greatness of this album is twofold. Firstly, it allows the listener -albeit retrospectively- to speculate on Cobains' state of mind. He often stated that his lyrics were merely throwaway lines (his pixies tribute "Teen Spirit" being the most obvious example), but the song "Negative Creep" with its recurring line "I'm a negative creep and I'm stoned", seems to hint at more , as do several others on the record.
Secondly, this gives you the chance to here what would eveolve into the quintessential grunge band, a prototype Nirvana if you want, and that makes it unmissable for me.

If you liked the band rather than loved them, you might end up wondering what all the fuss is about-but if you felt the same way as I did about them, this is about as good as it gets.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Lunatics in Charge of Asylum. Official.

In a move that will surprise absolutely no-one, the UK government is going to hand over the funding of its public health programme aimed at curbing obesity to food firms including Mars, Cadbury and Coca-Cola.
In an unsurprising statement Mr Andrew Blah-di-Blah, the health secretary ranted in the general direction of anyone who was listening

"We need a new approach. We have to make Change4life less a government campaign, more a social movement... Less about costly advertising, more about supporting family and individual responses."

Nice one Andy, not a single thing about the cost cutting mentioned in the budget - this obviously has nothing to do with that, because from my point of view, this looks like a bare faced plea to a cashed up food and drink industry from an impoverished governmental department. But that would just be silly, wouldn't it?

Mr Blah-di-Blah carried on, to no-one in particular

Some manufacturers had felt "stigmatised" for selling junk food, yet it was "perfectly possible to eat a bag of crisps, a Mars bar, or drink a carbonated soft drink" but do it in moderation. "Then you can begin to take responsibility for it and the companies selling these things to you, they can be part of that responsibility too," he said.

Stigmatised for selling "junk" food? Well fancy that. It's not called "junk" for nothing you know.

Thursday, 8 July 2010


It has come to my attention that the world's oldest brand -Lyles Golden Syrup- has changed hands recently, with parent company Tate & Lyle selling its historic -and for that matter iconic- sugar refining business to American Sugar Refining for £211million. Tate & Lyle is Europe's leading cane sugar producer, but now makes two-thirds of its profits from sweeteners, starches and ethanol production and it is the company behind Splenda sweetener. The takeover deal gives ASR use of the Tate & Lyle brand, and most importantly (to me anyway) the use of that tin. Yeah, the tin. Not the syrup itself, that's just a by-product of turning raw sugar into the white processed crap most pour into our hot drinks. The tin is a design classic. Yes, I know there's a picture of a dead lion and a swarm of bees ringed by an obscure biblical passage, but that's just the centrepiece of the whole-it's the complete package that's the classic.
Basically, what I'm saying here is this.

Please nice ASR people, don't fuck with our tin, we love it.
Mr F. Rascal.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


On my rare-ish trips into the big city I'm surprised and delighted by many things-buses, shops, loads of people all in one place-that sort of thing. However one thing manages to worry me, confuse me and reduce me to tears of laughter -sometimes all 3 at once- and this thing is the hairstyles of the younger (and, ill-advisedly, the not so young) residents of the city in question.
"Is it like this in every big city?" I wonder as some ridiculously coiffed dude saunters past, looking like a cross between a startled rooster and a black refuse sack - I can tell by his walk he clearly thinks this creation perched on his bonce is something remarkable - and he's right, it is. Just not remarkable in the sense he thinks it is, it's remarkably fucking ridiculous.

Here's a selection of hairdos (hairdon'ts?) I encountered recently.

What possesses people to do this? Please, won't someone think of the children.

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Roxie Doggie Dog Bowls

Could your pampered pooch or kitty do with a feeding area upgrade? Of course they could. These may be the answer - bent-wood bowl holders available in either maple or exotic sounding zebrawood.  Doubles or singles, starting at $85 each. So, slightly pricey but very nice.

More here.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Random short musings

Same Sex Religious Marriage a Reality in the UK.

Well, apparently so - Lynne Featherstone (no, I've never heard of her either) the equalities minister (actually I didn't even know we had an equalities minister) says that our governmental coalition is seriously considering allowing the use of "religious symbols, music and imagery" in same sex partnerships.

 It's about fucking time.

Paris Hilton Arrested on Marijuana Charges

She was charged after being spotted smoking a Camberwell Carrott during a World Cup match in South Africa.
Not the worst of charges or offences I know, but surely they could've kept her in jail for a while?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

top 10 albums you might not know.

No.6.  Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer.

Before we start with why you should get this, I'm not feeling so good (I think it's ebola, my wife says it's a cold) - so if it's a bit funny-funnier than usual, I apologise in advance.

If you took the political consciousness of Rise Against, the intensity of Swedish proto-punks Refused and the straightforward but swirly, twirly guitar sound of Mastodon and added them together, the result would be Cancer Bats.  And they will kick your ass.
The title and opening track, “Hail Destroyer,” kicks off the album with a gritty guitar riff followed by vocalist Liam Cormier shouting, “Tear us Down,” a combination that will have you wishing you had a shotgun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. Although Cormier’s voice has drawn comparisons with Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley, the two have distinct differences. The main one being that Buckley is ....erm....shit. At times he actually sounds more like Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath (who is featured on the second track “Harem of Scorpions”) than Buckley, which is a good thing.
Cormier’s vocal work on Hail Destroyer marks a significant growth from that found on their previous effort, Birthing the Giant, where production and instrumentation covered up the front man’s weak points. Now, he has taken fearless control (or reckless abandon) of the mic, and the result is dramatic improvement.
Aside from Cormier’s vocal work, Scott Middleton’s (I like to call him Steve-don't ask) guitar playing is what carries the album. It is his expert work that unites the different sounds into workable songs, whether that means chugging through “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair,” shredding through “Pray for Darkness” (easily the heaviest and fastest track on the album), or unleashing a flurry of squeals that conjure images of deep-Alabama in “PMA ‘Til I’m DOA.”
The songwriting on the album, while not fantastic, is actually very fitting; it’s aggressive, concise, hard-hitting, and has that “fuck you” mentality that makes you want to reach for the nearest Molotov cocktail. In other words, the next time you’re getting ready to partake in a sport that requires physical contact, or just a round of bare-knuckle-boxing, pop this album in. It’s safe to say that even Gandhi would want to jump in a mosh pit after hearing these guys churn out the twelve brutal tracks on Hail Destroyer.
The album flows seamlessly from one track to the next, and even standout tracks like ”Harem of Scorpions,” “Bastard’s Waltz,” and “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair,” which all showcase a different sides of the Cancer Bats, still fit with the flow of the rest of the album.

Obviously this album isn’t for everybody, but it’s the kind of album that has the ability to convert wary listeners to hardcore/punk music. So, while it is not going to be the most technically diverse or artistically valuable album you ever heard, if you take it for what it is, a really fun, get-you-pumped, Southern-flavored (even though the band is from Canada) hardcore album, you’ll really enjoy it. Plus, you’ll have something to listen to on the way to your next fight.

Here's a couple of my favourites from the album