Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Controllers Of The Automaton Puppets

One of the many things that attracted me to the blogging community was the opportunity to express my ridiculous, opinionated and prejudiced views without any fear of contradiction or censorship. I am not forced to indulge the infuriating censorship of any authority and write balanced, bland, objective essays of any true academic or philosophical value. If I want to call the Brit Awards a malignant corporate tumour feasting on the jaw-droppingly turgid monotony of the excruciatingly terrible music substitute that fills the charts then I will call the Brit Awards a malignant corporate tumour feasting on the jaw-droppingly turgid monotony of the excruciatingly terrible music substitute that fills the charts.

The Brit Awards are a malignant corporate tumour feasting on the jaw-droppingly turgid monotony of the excruciatingly terrible music substitute that fills the charts. Every year, a collective of amoral capitalist record company lowlives gather for a mutual back-slapping session to celebrate the stunning mediocrity of their respective manufactured automaton puppets. Groups such as Busted (corporate whore imitation rock-pop), Girls Aloud (hardcore extremo-bubblegum pop), The Streets (comedy 'if-I-put-together-some-hilariously-
-people-like-me-will-think-I'm-street-as-opposed-to-simply-incredibly-stupid' idiot-chav pop) and Black Eyed Peas (festering turd pop) are nonsensically rewarded for their blind obedience to their paymaster overlords in churning out the most impossibly and agonisingly atrocious noise imaginable.

However, after dismissing the hideous monstrosity as unworthy of any semi-sentient human's attention, I was horrified to notice this year that my favourite band, Muse, had been nominated in four categories, none of which qualified themselves along the lines of 'Recognition Of Real Music Award' or 'Best Band Who Are Actually A Band Award'. Even more horrifyingly, in the 'best album' category (a clear walkover for 'Absolution') Muse received the most chilling and gratuitously criminal insult imaginable. They were nominated alongside The Streets.

Mike Skinner almost defies parody. At first he was easily dismissed by all multicellular organisms as a harmless joke, exposing chav culture as something to be laughed at uproariously by all. However, just like Diego Maradona's waistline, the joke was stretched too far. Terrifyingly, what can only be described as the vacant, mindless, banal, moronic ramblings of a newborn amoeba with water on the nucleus accompanied by a rhythmic-bollocks-spouting-machine (a rapper) and 'a beat' (which, laughably, is often passed as an excuse for the verruca-esque existence of rubbish'n'boring and hip-hop, amongst other pointless genres) was a) allowed to release no less than TWO COMPLETE ALBUMS and b) critically acclaimed for 'bringing the voice of the street to the masses'. If I was the street I would be hugely offended by the insinuation that if I had a voice, I would sound like a dumbarse townie with a Burberry fetish. And yet 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' (admittedly a stunning philosophical insight for an amoeba) receives a nomination alongside the greatest operatic rock statement of the age?? This is in no way amusing. This is sick, disgusting and shameful.

Fortunately for my grasp on sanity the ultimate indignity of the amoeba winning the award did not occur. The prize was instead received by grandmother's favourites Keane for their incredible achievement of taking the tepid, lukewarm, jumper-knitting hyper-mellow comfortable-armchair and warm-slippers rock template and pushing the boundaries beyond even the levels set by the redoubtable Travis. A ludicrous decision, obviously, but not earth shatteringly mindless. Muse, in fact, were victorious in the 'Best British Live Act' category, which would have been impressive had it not been for the utter lack of competition.

Having simmered gently for a week or so over the identity of some of the 'winners' I felt that a renaming of the categories was an absolute necessity. I have therefore listed the idiotic excuses proposed as reasons for giving particular 'artists' an award, the beneficiary of each shameless justification and the name of the subliminal award that I feel they are actually receiving:

Best British Male Solo Artist (Talentless Moron Most Attuned To Idiot Chav Culture Award):

The Streets (679 / Locked On / Warner Music)

Best British Female Solo Artist (Token Award For Most Blindingly Obvious Choice Of Pseudo-Alternative But Actually Very Mainstream Attractive Female):

Joss Stone
(Virgin / EMI Music)

Best British Group (Band Most Assisted By NME Driven Irrational Knee-Jerk Media Frenzy Over Vague And Debatable Semblance Of Talent Award):

Franz Ferdinand (Domino Recordings)

Best British Album (Most Mellow And Tepidly Inoffensive British Album):

'Lost Hopes And Fears' - Keane (Island / Universal Music)

Best British Single (Worst British Single):

'Your Game' - Will Young (S / BMG / Sony BMG Music)

Best British Breakthrough Act (Most Annoying New Band To Randomly Rise To Prominence On The Back Of Inexplicable Commercial Radio Frenzy Award):

Keane (Island / Universal Music)

Best British Urban Act (Excuse For Another Meaningless Award For One Of Those Annoying Useless Genres Award):

Joss Stone (Virgin / EMI Music)

Best British Rock Act (Best Excruciatingly Simplistic British 'Strokes' Garage Tribute Band Award):

Franz Ferdinand
(Domino Recordings)

Best British Live Act (Best International Band):

(Taste Media / Warner Music)

Brits25 - The Best Song Award (Worst Utterly Arbitrary Excuse To Give Robbie Williams An Award Award):

'Angels' - Robbie Williams

Best Pop Act (Most Ear-Shatteringly Atrocious Bunch Of Manufactured Corporate Automaton Puppet Whores Award):

McFly (Island / Universal Music)

Best International Male Solo Artist (Most Ridiculous Generalisation Ever To Cover Millions Of Vastly Differing Musicians Award):

Eminem (Shady Records / Universal Music)

Best International Female Solo Artist (Tenuous Proof That The Brits Are Not Anti-American Or Sexist Award):

Gwen Stefani
(Interscope / Universal Music)

Best International Group (Worst International Group):

Scissor Sisters
(Polydor / Universal Music)

Best International Album (Worst International Album):

'Scissor Sisters' - Scissor Sisters
(Polydor / Universal Music)

Best International Breakthrough Act (Worst International Breakthrough Act):

Scissor Sisters (Polydor / Universal Music)

Outstanding Contribution To Music (Moronic Excuse To Give Some Poor Has-Been A Randomly Timed And Entirely Arbitrary Meaningless Award Award):

Sir Bob Geldof (no record deal, ahahaha - nice bloke, shame about the Boomtown Rats)

This shameful and embarrassing list of offences against sentience and good taste merely penetrates the surface of the dark malaise surrounding the British musical scene. Until McFly, The Streets and the Sugababes are completely eradicated by the revolution and purges that will take place when I ascend to my rightful place as a music industry emperor I cannot rest in my endeavour to expose the horrific crimes perpetuated by the controllers of the automaton puppets. The Brit Awards are merely the tip of the iceberg of corporate filth. Open your ears!

Ed's Mood: Infuriated

Ed's Incessant Auto-Repeat Musical Tip: The Mars Volta - Inertiatic ESP

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Today's seminar provided an untimely reminder of the horrors of Narrative and Culture, a compulsory first year course the memory of which continues to plague me and disturb my sleep. In ten agonising weeks we experienced the same recurring pattern. Tutor asks horrifyingly vague and terminally answerable question along the lines of 'what is the meaning of life as construed by Foucaultian structuralist thought?' and looks around expectantly. Class stare back blankly. Silence. Tutor rephrases question several times in increasingly indecipherable terms. Class form a collective pseudo-thoughtful frown and sheepishly look at collective feet. Tutor becomes angry. One brave individual attempts to answer question in excruciatingly simplistic way. Tutor glares. Class become collectively frightened. Each individual loses ability to speak. Tutor asks similarly impossible question. Class brace themselves. Process repeats for two hours. Last half hour is occupied in stoney and embarrassing silence. Traumatised class stagger out. Process repeats ten times.

This morning, following eighty minutes of absolute silence, our tutor ended our misery by declaring that 'we didn't seem very motivated' and terminating the seminar. Oddly, she seemed almost surprised that we were unable to motivate ourselves to analyse the horrifying work of the most terrifying and dangerous female author ever; the woman solely responsible for viciously blasting into oblivion the spirit and maliciously destroying for eternity the remotest ability to take enjoyment from life of all English students. I speak of Virginia Woolf.

Virginia Woolf occupies a notable position in the pantheon of modernist English writers for her extraordinary ability to write 200 page novels with no discernible narrative whatsoever. 'To The Lighthouse' is a peerless example, being the only novel ever written where the entire plot occurs in the title. There are several mind-numbingly uninteresting characters with apparent psychotic disorders. They go to a lighthouse. Reader dies of terminal boredom. The End.

However, simply as a consequence of being a) modernist (modern) and b) feminist (female), expertly positioning herself in the most nebulous and entirely meaningless of all literature buzzword categories, she is mysteriously worshipped by all English tutors, resulting in an extreme conflict between tutor and student.


TUTOR: Virginia Woolf is the mistress of the fragmented 'stream of consciousness' style of writing, concentrating on the psychological nature of the characters as opposed to a traditional plot-driven narrative structure. Her female characters battle against their suppression in the patriarchal society they find themselves occupying, discovering a freedom of expression and identity within their own private thoughts.
STUDENT: So basically no-one ever wanted to have sex with her?
TUTOR: Haha. What I'm trying to get across to you is her phenomenal characterisation, her incisive grasp of the psychological nuances that affect each and every one of us.
STUDENT: So basically no-one ever wanted to have sex with her?
TUTOR: Very funny. She extended the philosophical debate about the truth of our identity - the intangible connection that links us to our Self - beyond any previous understanding, illuminating the truth behind our external repression.
STUDENT: So basically no-one ever wanted to have sex with her?
TUTOR: Er. Well. No, they didn't. She had a bloody huge nose.

In order to assist those poor unfortunates considering undertaking an English degree, therefore, I have kindly decided to provide all the plot information for Virginia Woolf's two most 'popular' novels and one of her most prominent short essays:

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE: Several annoying characters waste two hundred pages unnecessarily analysing in the most infuriatingly minute detail all the aspects of their frightening and psychotic natures. For no apparent reason, they go to a lighthouse, foolishly waiting until the main character has arbitrarily died. The End.

MRS DALLOWAY: One annoying character wastes two hundred pages unnecessarily analysing in the most infuriatingly minute detail all the aspects of her frightening and psychotic nature. She may or may not have lesbian tendencies depending on how much you want her to. She holds an evening party so that she can converse with other equally frightening and psychotic characters. Nothing of the remotest significance happens at the evening party. The End.

CINEMA: Virginia Woolf wastes the resources of several valuable rainforests by describing her hatred of cinema for not being pretentious or depressing enough. She wants a cinema that only pseudo-intellectuals can enjoy where everything is hopelessly and annoyingly abstract. No-one cares. The End.

In conclusion, drowning oneself in a vat of hydrochloric acid, impaling oneself on a thirty foot stake and lighting a fire directly underneath and inserting one's nether regions between the irons of sadistically hot GHD hair straighteners are all far more attractive prospects than studying anything that bears the signature of the Woolf. Make the right choice. Burn yourself.

Ed's Mood: Sardonic

Ed's Incessant Auto-Repeat Musical Tip: Kula Shaker - Hush