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September 2010

Revisiting Spank's Audio Lair

No, it's still not particularly family-friendly, since you ask.From an email I received on August 5th, 2010:

Hello Live365 Broadcaster,

As you know there are a lot of new things going on here at Live365. There's a new website, new features, and even a new logo.

Now we are looking to what's next... We want to tap into your thoughts and expertise to help us drive new broadcaster initiatives. With that in mind, please take a few minutes to fill out this survey. Your input will help direct the future of Live365 broadcasting.

Have you ever had one of those days when you suddenly think, "Shit! I own a radio station, don't I?"

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Simian Substitute Site for August 2010: Gympanzee


Books: Late last June, I published the fourth of my books of repackaged old tut from the website, Spank's LFF Diaries Volume Two: 2000-2004. The good people at have informed me that there was a problem initially with putting the book on their index. It's fixed now, but they felt they had to offer me some sort of compensation for the potential loss of - ha! - sales. So thanks to them, I now have a special offer for you: until August 15th 2010, you can buy Spank's LFF Diaries Volume Two at a 15% discount on the usual price of £11.49. Click here to buy it direct, or visit my bookstore to see what else is on offer: in both cases, you'll need to enter the coupon code BEACHREAD305 at checkout time to get the discount. Terms and conditions apply. Later this month, expect the next book in the series, a collection of my Edinburgh Festival diaries from the past decade...

Edinburgh: ...because, of course, it's that time of year again. The Pals and I are in the final stages of gearing up for our insert-Latin-term-for-two-years-out-of-every-three-nial visit to Auld Reekie, poring over the sites for the International Festival, the Fringe and the Book Festival to see what's on offer. Expect a week's worth of daily reports to follow later this month. While you're waiting for that, have a read at this Stewart Lee rant about the controversial Fosters Comedy God poll that's currently taking place online, and then click here to vote for Frank Chickens as a way to stick it to The Man. (If you're unfamiliar with the work of Frank Chickens, these may help.)

Movies: People seem to be unsure how to classify Inception, but it seems pretty straightforward to me. It's full of characters whose primary function is to verbalise the director's ideas: acting like actual characters is a long way down their agenda. It has sequences featuring visual flourishes that you could just look at on a loop all day. And it can't quite work out how to make the philosophical and the visual components fit together into a seamless whole. In short, it's the most expensive Peter Greenaway movie ever made. (Its final shot even duplicates one of Greenaway's, though I won't tell you which one.) I happen to like Peter Greenaway's cerebral approach, so combining that with the gloriously structured pileup of action that makes up Inception's final act works just fine for me. If you're still confused about how it all fits together, this spoiler-filled infographic may help. Or not.

Music: You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet round here over the past month. Pressure of work, I'm afraid. I spent two weeks in July on business in the Middle East, following in the footsteps of the characters from this summer's blockbuster movie Sex And The City 2: The Fuckening. I brought back a couple of souvenirs for The Belated Birthday Girl: some dates from Abu Dhabi, and a CD of local music from Doha. Well, almost local. Now That's What I Call Arabia 12 is EMI's Middle Eastern variant on the popular compilation series. On a first listen, it's pleasant enough, but not outstanding. There seems to be quite an overlap between Arabic pop and the sorts of tunes you hear on Bollywood soundtracks, whether they're uptempo dancefloor fillers or more traditional ballads. The frequent appearance of Latin motifs - including a full-on collaboration with an actual Gypsy King - is interesting, though.

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