Posts by Giles Reid

  • Hard News: "Orderly transition" in #Egypt,

    While social media might have been a handy tool for some Egyptians, it wasn't the cause of the revolution-in-progress, and neither does it appear to have been essential to it. Surely it's far more important to understand the social and political circumstances that led to mass protests rather than speculate about the influence of Western re-tweets etc.

    I think the focus on social media highlights the massive difference between the power of real popular protest and unrest and the angry tweets/blogs/facebook protests which seem to have become their ineffective substitute in the West.

    A couple of links in this theme:

    EDIT: Seems Bart beat me to it!

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Random Play: Sing like you’re winning,

    Practised perfection can be dull, yes, but it can also result in masterpieces. Even mechanical perfection doesn't have to be dull: Conlon Nancarrow's studies for player piano are some of the most exhilarating (and unpredictable) pieces of music I've heard.

    There are tons of rock albums in which every part was recorded separately with a click track, endlessly repeated until it was just right. Does this perfectionism make those bands boring? Need I mention electronic music? Drum machines have pretty good technique.

    There's an endless amount of musical snobbery in the world: Rock is better than jazz because jazz is boring, Pavarotti is a better singer than Bob Dylan because he can hit high C, Blackalicious is better than 50 Cent because he uses bigger words. None of it is any more interesting than Dame Kiri's dislike of Hayley Westenra's singing.

    I find the most useful musical opinions (ie. reviews) to be those that treat the music on its own terms and explain the things that make a particular recording worth listening to, or give really good reasons why it isn't worth listening to. Reviews like "this album sucks, I hate death metal singing" are just pointless, no matter what your opinion of death metal is.

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Random Play: The Cure -- for what ails you,

    If Dylan doesn't like the people who pay $120 to come to see him, he should perhaps make attendence based on something other than stupid ticket prices. Or not perform. If he hates performing but does it for the money, he's a whore.

    If Bob Dylan is trying to whore himself out for money he isn't doing a very good job, since it seems there are a lot of people who would rather see one of the shows he played in the 60's than a show from his current tour.

    I think this interview explains some of his feelings on live shows:

    "I can't stand to play arenas, but I do play 'em. But I know that's not where music's supposed to be. It's not meant to be heard in football stadiums, it's not 'Hey, how are you doin' tonight, Cleveland?' Nobody gives a shit how you're doin' tonight in Cleveland." He grins and rolls his eyes, to let me know he knows he's teasing at Spinal Tap heresy. Then he plunges deeper. "They say, 'Dylan never talks'. What the hell is there to say? That's not the reason an artist is in front of people." The words seem brash, but his tone is nearly pleading. "An artist has come for a different purpose. Maybe a self-help group -- maybe a Dr. Phil -- would say, 'How you doin'?' I don't want to get harsh and say I don't care. You do care, you care in a big way, otherwise you wouldn't be there. But it's a different kind of connection. It's not a light thing."

    Rogerd, I'm not sure how you can go from saying The Cure shouldn't change to fit people's desires and should stay true to their integrity, then in the next post complain that Dylan should be enjoying whoring himself out more, when he is clearly just trying to play his music the way he wants to.

    Do you really think he needs more money? And that tours the world out of some terrible contract to play shows to people he hates?

    I can understand people not liking the way Bob plays his songs now, but to base your opinion of a show on something as trivial as how much he talks to the audience or the way he stands behind the keyboard is just as silly as expecting him to still be the exact same musician as he was 40 years ago.

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Speaker: Transformers: Less than meets…,

    I'm honestly amazed at how many people thought this was a good movie. Am I that much of an elitist?

    There was just so much terrible dialogue, dumb jokes and caricatures (hey look a 'ghetto' transformer who breakdances, "are you the tooth fairy?"), and crazy logic. (Robots that are frozen in ice but not in outer space? Climbing a building to be picked up by helicopters when your enemies are robotic helicopters and jet fighters?)

    That whole Section 7 thing was just so crazy and odd - was it meant to be comic relief (if forcing a guy to strip to his cartoon character underwear is funny?), ironic comment on secret agents and freedom (but then the movie had a huge pro-war, you have to make sacrifices for freedom etc. theme as well?), or what? I found the movie to be so full of jarring inconsistencies that in the end it was just an incoherent mess. The US military computer system is being taken over by an evil virus, we have to put all our top analysts on it, but don't worry, we won't ever mention that plot line again and solving that problem will have no effect on the outcome of the final battle.

    Even the fight scenes were a mess, like in the final battle when Starscream was blowing up all the fighter jets as they come in for an airstrike, then the next cut is to the fighters blowing up one of the Decipticons anyway, or the way two robots would be fighting, then one would vanish for a while so the other could have some dialogue or do something else, then they'd fight again.

    Am I that out of touch with popular taste? I'm honestly confused by all the positive opinions of this movie. Am I just supposed to say "it was meant to be a retarded action film that makes no sense, therefore it was enjoyable"?

    Argh just thinking about how confusingly bad I found this film gives me a headache.

    ps. I used to have lots of transformers toys :-)

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Sopranos. The end. (SPOILERS, surely),

    I can kind of get the frustration of some of those people, but I'm not sure what would have counted as a good ending for them. Everyone getting blown up or something?

    There were some really amazing moments in this episode I think. The "It's Alright Ma" bit was fantastic (who knew it was about mobsters?), the bit with Meadow talking about the state trampling Tony's rights (was that sarcasm or...), the FBI guy saying "we're gonna win this one", the glint in Tony's eyes as he got up from talking to Uncle Jun...

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Random Play: So You Wanna Be A…,

    Well I think I've depressed myself enough about the state of modern non-pop music

    Oh by the way this statement should not be considered an endorsement of modern pop music :p

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report

  • Random Play: So You Wanna Be A…,

    Oh, and as for Herbie... was it as terrible as it looked here?

    Those videos look pretty much identical to what he played in Wellington. Colaiuta was amazing though.

    I went because, you know, it's Herbie Hancock and stuff, but yeah it was kind of bleh. It wasn't unbearable, there were moments of greatness, but it just seemed effortless, in a bad way. I went because of the Miles association I guess, but really if you watch those videos then listen to this (Featuring Chick Corea, maybe his concert will be different)...I mean Miles Davis from almost 40 years ago basically blows away any 'new' jazz - defined as "anything that was recorded after 1970 by somebody other than Miles Davis. Hmm maybe that's too harsh - If you disagree please tell me who I've been missing, heh.

    It's not that the new stuff (eg. that Brecker/Hancock live record from a few years ago) is really that _bad_ in an absolute sense, it's just there's no life in it, it's missing that essential, undefinable element. Even if you don't like jazz you must be able to appreciate the difference between say Albert Ayler and Branford Marsalis. It's the exact same difference between Hendrix and Satriani or whatever other example you want to come up with. The 'oldies' have that element too. I listen to a lot more Lester Young than I do Michael Brecker.

    I saw Pharoah Sanders a few years ago in Auckland and coming out of that show I really felt like I'd seen something special. Herbie Hancock, not so much. I enjoyed parts of it, for sure, as I said it wasn't so much bad as, well I guess I have to agree:

    That's not jazz, nor even fusion - it's just total bollocks.

    I guess I felt like I'd enjoyed myself, but if some guy had been selling tapes of the concert for $20 outside I wouldn't have bought one.

    I flew up on Friday for the Saturday concert and randomly caught Dimmer at the San Francisco Bath House, if I'm honest I'd have to say I'd rather see that show again than the Hancock one : /

    Well I think I've depressed myself enough about the state of modern non-pop music, time to put on some Bach or something...

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report