EMI screw up again
The Kate Bush album, now titled "Aerial", has been awaited for ten
years. It is the most eagerly anticipated album in the history of recent
music. It has been kept in sheer secrecy by EMI, its distributor; music
journos have had to listen to it behind closed doors on EMI's equipment,
or on sealed tapes, or only hear single tracks and so on. It is meant to
be secret until the 7th of November, when its glorious release will
eventually make tonnes of cash for EMI; coincidentally, this is also
according to Popjustice the day on which they "Copy Control" all UK
product. I refuse to buy CC product (read problems on my separates
system, complete failure on my portable CD or on my DVD player, and it
still doesn't stop you from ripping it if you own the right CD-ROM
drive), so if they "protect" Aerial, it's not getting bought.
Yip, you guessed it; it's leaked, a week before release, in a nice high
quality LAME VBR rip. (Apparently the unprotected Canadian release, from
the artwork inside.) Nice advertisement for Copy Control - doesn't
actually stop piracy, just screws you and the artist over! Nice
(Although if the final album isn't CC, there will at least be
some hope for the future.)
"Bad news buried",
claim Lib Dems.
Basically: Blunkett gets turfed, and at the same time a negative Home
Office-commissioned report on the way police answer phone calls turns up
early, under embargo for the morning papers - which will be all Blunkett
all the time, with a slight mention of how the Home Office just managed
to avoid getting whacked on the Terrorism Bill.
PR really is the art of slime, isn't it?
Return of the Jedi in 211K: <http://www.b3ta.com/board/5280332>
Further on unexpected MP3 releases: Madonna's Confessions on a
Dancefloor (release date: 14 November) has now leaked, in
crap-o-rama if-that-was-originally-192-I'd-be-very-surprised quality,
despite apparently not even having been sent out as a promo yet. Isn't
it time for the record companies to admit that they can't win?
Now got my Cineworld branded Unlimited Card, funnily enough with the old
Cineworld logo on it and not the one they've repainted all the doors
at my local with. Hmm.
Polanski's Oliver Twist is sadly underwhelming, especially
after The Pianist. V. nice set design, though.
Batman Begins is still the second best comic book movie of the
year (after Sin City).
Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel CD (haven't tried the DVD yet) has
the worst mastering I've ever heard on an electronic album - someone's
pushed the knobs way too high at mastering stage and the obviously
unintentional clipping sounds truly dire on my separates hi-fi. Even
with this taken into consideration, it is still the best thing they've
done since Songs of Faith and Devotion, because it has
something that Ultra and Exciter don't: actual tunes.
I still haven't listened to Aerial yet, except for "How To Be
Invisible" and the single. Yes, I am going to buy it...
Bad Lyrics Corner, late 2005 edition
entry posted by Inquisitor at 21:44
edited on: 04/11/2005 21:52.
"I don't like cities, but I like New York
Other places make me
feel like a dork"
-- Madonna, "I
Love New York"
Still, it's not as bad as James Blunt, so we can at least be thankful
Oh, and finally fixed the CSS for the permalinks, so they look pretty.
Home computer Battlefront
I've just had a phone call from one of my brothers, who's just bought Battlefront
2. Having gone through the DVD installation process, he ran the game
only to get an error message complaining about "emulation software".
Now, this means stuff like Daemon
Tools or Alcohol 120%,
software which provides "virtual" CD drives based on hard-drive stored
images. This is actually an entirely legitimate use - having lots of CDs
on your hard drive means less scratching of your original discs, they're
faster, they mean you can keep a centralised "jukebox" so your kids'
copies of The Sims or whatever don't need to be replaced at EA
prices, that kind of thing. Unfortunately, like all good technologies
this can also be used for piracy, and as a result a lot of copy
protection systems now refuse to allow the game to be played even if
such a program is installed on your system. Doesn't bother checking
whether the game itself is mounted on the system, just quits out
if it even detects the existence of Daemon Tools or Alcohol.
This, of course, is stupid, but then so are most game copy protection
systems - they quite often fail on certain optical drives, to the extent
where many software companies actually release patches to remove the
publisher-mandated copy "protection" as the very first thing they do (a
la Epic on Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004 - the first
patch for both removes the protection check). Valve's Steam system,
although much maligned, is a better idea; because it is user-centred
rather than disc-centred, it doesn't care whether you installed HL2 from
your disc, a copy or your disc or just by installing the Steam client
and downloading it off Valve, just that the game itself is registered to
What's worse is that you absolutely cannot copy these discs -
meaning that if something goes wrong and you want to play the game
again, you're probably screwed. The new SecuROM 7.0 system, which Battlefront
2 is protected with, blocks all kinds of software; worse, it also
blocks software that has nothing to do with piracy. A good example is
the piece of software that was actually causing my brothers' problem: it
wasn't DT or A120, because neither were installed, it wasn't CloneCD or
anything like that...
...no, it was SlySoft's AnyDVD.
A piece of software that has nothing whatsoever to do with piracy
of computer games - it's used to work around region code issues with
DVD-Video playback. Now, either SecuROM just crashes out if it finds
something unusual has hooked the Windows optical-drive readout mechanism
(in which case there's a lot of legitimate stuff it could crash on, like
random SATA drivers), or Sony DADC, makers of SecuROM, deliberately
blocked this software because... well... uhm... it hurts their movie
business? Uhm... get back to you later.
entry posted by Inquisitor at 21:00
edited on: 09/11/2005 23:26.
BBC News -
Blair defeated over terror laws
"...he insists his authority is intact."
So, assuming the Mandelson/Blunkett boilerplate is still intact, he'll
be gone by Friday evening then?
(EDIT: Redrafted for clarity.)
Traitors and treason
The Sun today is somewhat out of step with the other newspapers: calling
everyone who's against 90-day detention a 'traitor'
is a bit much, really. I thought that kind of inflammatory bollocks was
going to be too low for them - I was expecting it from the Express and
St*r, though - but you
never fail to be surprised.
explains link. Nudge nudge, wink wink.]
I was watching the debate, and one of the Tories (having finally found
their spine) catcalled Police State at Blair; his response,
"We're not living in a police state!", didn't exactly ring true, because
if the bill had passed we damn well would be. Even in the modified
version it's a bit much. Personally, I don't think anyone who supports a
fair justice system with as few opportunities for the police to get
trumped-up charges as possible is a traitor (not that our wonderful
police forces would ever ever beat a confession out of someone, of
course, especially not one of those Arab types), but that's just my
and that of quite a lot of MPs of course. Ian Paisley actually
voting against internment is hysterically funny, for some reason. All
the Lib Dems managed to get their policies in order. And at least George
Galloway managed to vote this time, which says... something.
Good comment at
Davblog: really rings true somehow... And as for treason: that stunt
Blair and Clarke pulled, withdrawing the bill and saying they're going
to "make concessions" and then bringing it back intact a week later and
saying "no, f you, three line whip" really does count as betraying
Labour MPs, doesn't it? It almost certainly contributed to it being as
big a loss as it was. Good lesson to Blair: don't screw your own party
over, or you'll live to regret it.
Consensus politics in action
The new, more open, "Have
Your Say" format on the BBC News website has turned into a
cesspool of idiots spouting received opinions, despite most discussions
supposedly being fully moderated. It's not quite unreadably crazy yet, but
it's getting there.
What's depressing is the kind of comments people are voting for - the
format provides a comments rating system that appears to be used by
people to bolster each other's stupid bollocks. The first sensible
comment out of all the highest ranked on this
bullying discussion is on page 3 - Mark Fairman pointing out that
bullying was in fact an accepted part of school life in the 1960s and
70s, from teacher down (see: Kes, Scum, Richard Branson's
and John Peel's autobiographies, your parent's recollections, much
of this b3ta discussion etc) and things are in fact getting better
in that bullying is now recognised as a problem. Of course, the kids are
still screwed anyway. Most of the rest of it is "bring back corporal
punishment! bring back borstal! bring back h...old fashioned punishment!
political correctness gone mad! revoke the Human Rights Act!" - all
absolute crap, but sadly believed by many.
It is this kind of consensus-jumping which caused the "TRAITORS!" front
page on the Sun, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the
truth. I know full well how little schools actually care about bullying;
one of my brothers recently had to spend a long period out of school
after being near strangled by someone that "no-one saw" (in a crowded
corridor, uh-huh), and I had a truly horrendous time at that very same
high school. I was attacked in a corridor in between the two papers of
my Higher English examination; I'm still amazed that I managed to keep
enough control in order to pass the thing. I've always suspected that
some of the stuff done to my brothers, who are all very different
individuals to me, was entirely because I was related to them; shit
filters down. Can't prove it, but I know.
The fact remains, though, that quite a lot of it is a "Code
of the Schoolyard" situation; the kind of thing that the Simpsons
skewered so well back in 1990, and not anything to do with the school's
(lack of an) anti-bullying policy. If no-one will talk, like in the case
of that assault on my brother (and other such assaults on both me and my
other brothers), then no-one can be punished - even in the best case
scenario, it's he said he said, and in the worst case scenario, it's
he's had to go to hospital for two days and stay out of school for a
fortnight but he doesn't know who his attacker is and no-one else will
even dare say anything happened, and it's this more than anything else
that stops people from going to teachers in the first place. Crappy
enforcement of existing rules, and wholesale ignoring of anti-bullying
policies, is definitely a problem, but bullying is an odd issue; this
enforced silence is a symptom of the fear that bullies cause and
administer, and of entrenched societal attitudes that are not being
confronted often enough.
And as for societal attitude, look no further than this
Guardian Weekend article on homophobic bullying - the type of
bullying that earns you a "Get Out Of Trouble Free" card. As the guy
from Stonewall points out in the article, you don't even have to be gay
to suffer from homophobic bullying; you just have to not be within
someone's Straight Stereotype. And since schools still think they're
working on a Section 28 agenda, if you get bullied that way
you're probably doomed.
I wrote a TV script some years ago, in a bout of depression related to
rememberances of my high school years, called School's Out;
conceived as a series of satirical sketches about the education system,
it instead evolved during writing into an interlinked venomous rant,
occasionally taking setting ideas from things like the deep-fat-fryer
torture scene from Spooks, aimed at no-one and everyone in
particular (and, cheerfully, bookended with a teenager committing
suicide to a Mogwai song; I was listening to "Happy Songs For
Happy People" a lot at the time). It's way too raw to even consider
sending it anywhere, but possibly with some toning down and serious
restructuring/rewriting it might at least become readable. So that's my
new writing project - making a School's Out serious revision that
I feel secure enough, at least, to post on here.
Probably won't happen, but I can always hope...
Just a few random things...
RIP George Best.
Shame it took so long.
unnecessary reunion ever?
and Dom slam BBC over quiz". Nothing whatsoever to do with
the fact that their truly dire Saturday morning show has just been
cancelled, of course... (I do agree it was really badly done, though,
but I thought D&D were the main reasons for it.)
this isn't actually a bad idea as far as road tolls go; the
headline £4 toll only applies between 4PM and 6PM (like the current
system, only one way), and only for single-occupancy cars; if the car
has more than one person, it's £2, and at non-peak it stays as it is
(currently £1). Since the Forth Road Bridge is falling apart, it
really does need fixing, there's park-and-rides all around the
Aerial rocks. So does AFX's Hangable Auto Bulb
"The whole sordid saga"
tale tells you everything you need to know about what's wrong with the
Hollywood system. More than a hundred rewrites, plot changes, a huge
number of different writers, more directors, and Jon "Wild Wild West"
Peters. What's worse is that this isn't the only such tale around - if
you've ever read about what happened to the script of "Last Action
Hero", the entire thing rings true.
And it makes you lose any respect for J.J. Abrams whatsoever...