Tuesday

Footnote to Bohemia

Watching 'how to be a bohemian' has been quite a revealing look at the origin of some often contradictory views I hold quite dear.

The stories regaled about Eric Gill, however, don't strike me as all that bohemian. A man who takes several lovers, all of whom appear to be exclusive to him, fathers dozens of children, and even has 'affairs' with sisters and daughters - this isn't counter cultural. This is just an extreme form of patriarchy. Men behaving irresponsibly with their penis, regardless of consequence and impact to others, is just the status quo.

Monday

The Mitchells

I don't normally talk about slebs, but this isn't about the people as much... 

So David Mitchell and Victoria Coren seemed a great match for each other when they got married - the kind of arrangement where you don't know who to be more happy for. 

I was a bit surprised to see Coren becoming Coren Mitchell, it seemed unnecessarily traditional. I was then doubly disappointed to see Mitchell didn't also become Coren Mitchell - triply so, since it was a perfect opportunity to resolve the 'David Mitchell' conundrum, that is, the pause when someone says 'David Mitchell' and you try to work out which one. I think there are two david Mitchells, but there might be more - I don't know how you would know.

As well as simply being a measure of equality, that two people take each others' name, this was a rare case of having a logical incentive to change one person's name, only to change the other 's.

Names are important, both politically and usefully, and they have knock on effects; their daughter is now, because of this set up, an out and out Mitchell. All very traditional, conventional. An opportunity missed to do something more radical.

My personal favourite solution to the name problem is, upon unity, to create a new family name. I think this sums up the  independence from a person's parents that having children/getting married (which ever comes first) brings. Any 'sign of commitment' that a woman shows by taking the man's name is amplified by him doing the same, except that it's a name they have both agreed on that reflects their new life together. It's more creative, more equal, and it creates a new tradition to follow. 

I know people will argue that this makes family trees harder to follow, but that's always been the case for women - it's only traditional hereditary principles, that *not even the royal family* use any more, that have emphasised the male line. This system is more modular.

It might get messy, but not unduly; it would reflect the messiness of real life, instead of simplifying the male descent by erasing the female descent. 

Sunday

Moman

Man is about the 60th most common word in English; woman is about 250th.

Whilst massive evidence for the need for feminism, many would argue that this is on part due to the use of 'man' both as a male term and a gender free term. This, of course, is yet more evidence of male being considered the default.

What i propose, therefore, is not a new word for the general term 'man'. Human should not be the general term; Man, without a suffix, is the perfect term to be gender-free. A gendered term should be a mutated instance of the purer idea of 'man', essentially being another word for 'human'. So if 'man' would mean 'a human (of no, or of unknown, gender), I propose 'moman' as a new word for a male man - or as I think we should call it, a momale. Because otherwise, a female sounds like an exception to the male norm, and a woman sounds like an exception to the man norm. 'Man' and 'male' should not be easier to say than 'woman' and 'female'.

Friday

Marvel and Dc and secret indentures

Here's a hypothesis; the core difference between DC and marvel superheroes is one of identity.

I'm not massively into comics, even less so the American mainstream, but this occurred to me during a conversation with students: you can draw a line between the two camps, broadly along the lines of their identity. DC heroes are heroes first and normal people second.

Take Batman; he doesn't have super powers, but mentally he is batman, with Bruce Wayne being a persona he has to put on to hide who he really is. Superman; he's really Kal-El from the planet krypton. Clark Kent is just a cover story. Wonder Woman, again, magical bdsm demigod princess first, nurse second. Diana Prince is a cover story; she really is Wonder Woman.

You could probably argue that supes is a bit more complex, because he was adopted and might border on a split personality; I would still argue that he is Kal-El first, Clark Kent second. He has to filter out his powers in daily life.

So what about marvel? For comparison, they seem to be normal people who have their superhuman abilities thrust upon them, and while this still makes them a power fantasy, it's a more accessible one for teenagers. Spider-Man is a good example of this; he is Peter Parker, trying to make the best use of the gift/curse he has been given, and fit into the role of a superhero. Captain America, the hulk, they were born as norms and gained powers in the lab as adults. All the X men and the fantastic four feel like people with powers, rather than superheroes. Unlike the comparable batman, Iron Man is a bloke in a suit, not an identity (despite what the unconvincing ending of IM3), and the costume is an extension of iron man's billionaire maverick playboy persona.

Thor is obviously an exception to this, but  it's the exception that proves the rule* . On the dc side, green lantern might be an exception, but I don't know anything about him. Grant morrisson's run on animal man is definitely an exception to the style of dc comics, but then I don't think you can count anything that GM does as normal - it was so wierd to have that character arc precisely because dc heroes don't have the crisis of self-confidence that animal man goes through. I think it would have been much less unusual to do that to a marvel character.

I think this is a reason I've always felt drawn to marvel, their heroes always felt cooler, more youthful to me, but now i realise both appeal to different parts of the teen psyche; DC heroes are lofty aliens, who must try to fit in, like social-angsty teenagers from space; marvel heroes gain new abilities and must learn to control them and use them for good, a clear metaphor for teenage metamorphosis.

So,  am I on to something? Or am I hopelessly extrapolating from inadequate experience?



*this is not true. This phrase 'the exception proves the rule' is complete balls, and anyone who uses it unironically should be given a mandatory course in logic and grammar.

Tuesday

a brief history of me streaming music

I really wanted a 400gb mp3 player; I'm glad I never had one.


As a student, of the order of 12 years ago, I received a 256mb flash mp3 player from my brother. You could fit a few ripped albums on there, but it wasn't worth ripping all my cds to use for that; rather what drove me to mp3ise my album collection was the desire to randomise my tracks and make compilations easier to make. 


So it ended up being a pack-horse to listen to freely-downloaded tracks from myspace and record label websites. It seems to have been the way back then that a couple of songs would be downloadable here and there, so I remember having a few Elliot Smith songs, a couple of songs by The Dwarves, an Anaal Nathrakh ditty, some American guitar indie that I've forgotten the names of... individual songs that were listened to probably more than they deserved (at some point I upgraded this to a portable cd player, that I got from argos. It didn't have jog correction so I had to walk with an odd gait and take care over curbs).


What I want to talk about is streaming services; moving through the growth and decay of last.fm and soundcloud, to a situation where I've ended up uploading everything to google music and now just listen to that. Which is like having the original, massive mp3 player, but I have to worry about bandwidth charges.


Pandora came first for me, in terms of being able to tune a radio station to your own tastes, and thereby coming up with unexpected recommendations. I made a station called 'small fingers', that played tracks along the lines of Radiohead's 'treefingers' and John Martin's 'small hours', and fell in love with a Brian Eno track called 'Thursday afternoon'. But they cancelled it in the UK.


Since Peel died, Last.fm has provided me with more reasons to part with cash than any other single institution (possibly excluding acts associated with Ephel Duath and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci). Here's how:
I put 'digital hardcore' in as a tag, and drumcorps came up, who became the new best thing ever, and who I eventually went to an all-nighter in order to see live.
I investigated drumcorps, bought the album 'grist', and heard his remix of Genghis Tron's 'relief'.
I (eventually) bought all three Genghis Tron albums and saw them live on their last tour.
Grist was released through Ad Noiseam, and by listening through a couple of label samplers, I came across Igorr.
I (eventually) bought all four Igorr albums, as well as records by side projects Whourkr and Oxxo Xoox.
I noticed Drumcorps remixes on two remix albums, and bought both AND the works they were remixes of (52 Commercial Road, and Obsidian Kingdom), as well as picking up an ambient album by drumcorps AKA Aaron Spectre. All this from that one link; what would have happened without it?


Another time, I started a 'post-prog' tag radio, and found a track by Kayo Dot that floored me - a 15 minute post-neo-classical epic that ended with the most brutal blastbeat I can recall (or so I inaccurately remember the experience). I've since picked up 4 of their records.


Fall of Efrafa, The Lovely Eggs, Venetian Snares, and probably loads more I've forgotten about have come up just on recommended radio and been accrued. But last.fm doesn't feel right anymore; now it seems to use dodgy youtube videos of varying quality uploaded by anyone, instead of the accurate library it once had.

I got into soundcloud for completely different reasons; it seemed great for keeping up with new tracks, and dumping my own rough mixes, demos, and other unfinished works that would never see a proper release. It started to fulfil the function of that original little MP3 player, of a steady stream of taster tracks from artists I like. 

But then something happened to it; it seemed to become an extension of a social networking site, and users (um, friends) began to re-post other stuff from bands I don't necessarily like. So by including friends' shares in the same stream as artists, with no option to keep them separate, it has completely broken what was once a potentially beatiful website. 

So I've found myself listening to all my music streamed from google music, which seems like a waste of bandwidth, and doesn't help me find new things.

And more recently, I've just been playing things straight from bandcamp, because it's so lovely, helps me keep up with new releases, and good for queueing up wants. Also it's got enough of a recommendation engine under the surface to keep new unexpected things popping up, by linking you to fans with similar tastes, and artist-curated recommendations.

No conclusion, just a current endpoint.


Sunday

What we learned from Eurovision

Conchita Wurst's victory last year seemed to have changed the Eurovision landscape this year: everything* was either a breakup song (a la 'rise like a Phoenix') or a 'get behind this cause' song (a la don't discriminate against people like Conchita). 

All of those songs lost (although it was close). What won? Sweden, with a naff song and a gimmick. In fact, it was the only song with a gimmick. 

People need to realise that yes, Phoenix was a powerful song performed by a strong, empathetic character. Yes, people were discriminating against Conchita as a transvestite and that gave her a just cause. But the main reason that she won in 2014 could have been that being a bearded lady was just a bloody great gimmick. 

This has been a drip of a year because everybody misjudged the public's mood as to what they wanted from Eurovision. Russia's song had everything from Wurst - great song, strong performance, message - except the gimmick. It came 2nd. Sweden had a weak song, no message ('we are the heroes of our times/fighting the demons of our minds' might be the most meaningless lyric of the night), average performance, but it had a bloody great gimmick. It came first. 

The message should be clear: make it fun again, Europe. 


*except oddballs likeArmenia and Latvia. Genius, genius Armenia.

Thursday

New standards of revue

I was playing Rymdkapsel one day. Simple, stipped down, short, puzzle/strategy game. About half an hour in, close to the end, it becomes unplayable as the enemies attack too fast for you to do anything in between waves.

And I thought, what score could you give this as a reviewer? Eurogamer gave it a no-surprises 8/10; the same score as Shadow of Mordor.

Now 8/10 from eurogamer is so default that it has become a joke. And giving the same 'pretty good by all accounts' score to two games so massively different in scope seems to be silly.

This is a problem with mobile and casual games in general; Steve Jackson's Sorcery!, an android game adapted from his advanced fighting fantasy* series, maintains its text and illustrations from the 25-year-old paperback and can't really be called on to compete with something like Skyrim, can it? You want to rate the experience, but you need your rating to have some context.

The context could be simply be the price; we could give Rymkapsel 2/10, for example, and leave it to the reader to work out about value for money, and realise that that 2/10 is a damn sight better use of 3 quid than the 2/10 game that costs an order of magnitude more. But I feel that will lead to confusion, and invalid comparions. 

An alternative would be to put a price on a game; what would the reviewer pay for it? How does that compare to the asking price? That will tell you both how good the game is and something about the scope of its ambition.

This is important for me, and it came out of something my daughter said. When I asked her I give the Natural History Museum a score out of 10, she said '10'. I then asked her to rate Buxton museum**; she gave it 5/5. A light went on in my head.

Why do we insist on the same standards for every game? Why not rate both its ambition and it's quality in one fraction. This can capture the essential difference between Portal and Portal 2; 2 games of similar quality, but I'd give Portal 9/3 and Portal 2 9/10. 

I'd happily give Rymkapsel 2/2, and shadow of moroder 8/10. We can now fairly compare the two, as both are positive experiences, but the first is lesser in terms of scope. Compare a 2/2 Rymdkapsel with a 2/10 game; it's obvious which you should play. The 2/2 game will give you a lot of fun, but perhaps not for very long and perhaps not at a very deep level. The 2/10 game will have been a fiasco, with not much enjoyment to be had at all.

It's the same problem as when you see star ratings on a billboard, but you don't know how many stars the individual ratings system use. You might get 5 stars from time out, but not tell your advertisees that try use an 8 star system.

These systems obviously can apply to any media; you can't rate a 90 minute film with the same denominator as a late night sketch show, but you can apply the same principles, so the numbers should be relatable.

*nb. Not to be confused with Advanced Fighting Fantasy, the more weighty RPG rule set for the fighting fantasy universe. The Sorcery! 4-book series was merely more advanced than normal FF books, with a more comprehensive magic system and the ability to maintain a character across 4 books.

** it may not have been these exact musea.
--------------------
There's another dimension I've been experimenting with in regards to assessing whether media is worth your time, and it's my "fuckin' 'ell!" test: if a piece of art doesn't make you go fuckin' 'ell at least once, it's not worth bothering with.

I started doing this last autumn, and quite soon it became a defined thing. That moment where you feel your draw drop, or your cogs turn and click into place, or your brain explodes and upgrades itself... That's what's worth living for. Those feelings that make you go fucking hell, are the ones where you feel the the author(s) are taking you somewhere and showing you new things and surprising you because you're the audience and you're not always meant to know where things are going.

It's pretty reliable, and although I can still very much enjoy things that fail the test, it's quite a threshold. We Are The Best was lovely, but it didn't make me go 'fuckin ell'. Under The Skin got 5, with a long gap in the middle; one particularly memorable moment was the dog drowning in the turning tide, looking for all the world like Goya's black painting on the same subject. 

It needn't be a schocking moment, it could be a particularly funny one or a happy surprise. But it's been interesting limiting reviews to this one reaction, and then broadening back out to see what I'm missing.

Wednesday

I voted for Ed

Ed milliband is my fault, if there's anything to find fault with.

I couldn't vote labour at the election in 2010. I felt like they'd lost their way, and they shouldn't stay in power just because they weren't the Tories. They should have to be better than that. I voted lib dem, for nothing more than a vote for proportional representation. So that worked out well; especially as I was in a labour safe seat and my vote counted for NOTHING. 

So having voted against them, I joined the Labour Party to try to help rebuild it. When the leadership election came around, you had two millibands and bunch of chancers with joke manifestos. Dave was the shoe-in. He was also desperately blairite, slick, and probably would have won. 

The millibands are an interesting dynasty, and I quite liked fact that that they were part of a born-and-bred jewish intellectually-socialist family. And even in that fold, there were clear differences between Ed and Dave's politics; dave the blairite and Ed the union man. He was unpolished, definitely to the left of dave, and probably with the union support, he just poked through to win.

Soon after, I left the Labour Party again; I was paying every month for no clear gain. Ed soon seemed to do two things that disappointed me; take bad advice to try to come across well and mask his oddities, and not push any debate with the Tories at all. They seemed to merely seek to moderate the Tories rhetoric, rather than oppose it. They missed plenty of open goals, that they didn't seem to notice, and it seemed that every week there was another pronouncement from the condems with no visible response from ed & co. 

Over the next 4 years, ed & co continued to be a practically invisible unpresence in politics. Despite this, ed was at his worse when trying to play the politics game; rather than just be the weird ideas man he really is. We're meant to believe that such people don't make good leaders, probably by 'leader' types who think the world owes them a living. Ed reminds me of that guy from the apprentice a few years ago, with his curved emery board; he just got on with everybody in quite a nice way, and won without having to resort to aggressive bickering. I just feel that if ed had stuck to *being ed* he'd have had more support.

It took ed & co far too long to get going, and I think the late rush, that we all thought was going to happen, never really could because of the lack of groundwork and lack of any presence. 

So I'll miss ed, and I feel like he never made the opportunities he needed, took the opportunities he had, or stood up for his own qualities. Maybe I'm assuming too much about someone I hardly knew, but when it seemed like we could have an heir to Disraeli in power, I felt things might be ok.


Monday

i've started this, so i'm going to finish it

By this point I just can't stand the father-son plot line trope so much, I just can't watch anything that plays it. So walking dead, I stopped at episode three. Daredevil, I just tried watching, and gave up in the second scene. Does anyone in the Star Wars trilogy ever mention Luke's mum? Don't we think that's a problem?

[How to train your dragon does a good job of subverting it - rather than the hiccup growing up, hiccup's father and the rest of his society changes to fit in with him. In the sequal, his ideas of a peaceful resolution are crushed by an insane enemy with whom dialogue is impossible - a convienent enemy for war mongers, which I'd be more critical if there weren't real groups like nazis and Islamic state.]


New Star Trek 2 plays this too, partially, with the older man who took kirk under his wing still hanging around, but it exemplifies another macho trope that's my new one to be sick of, 'I've started so I'll finish'

This involves the male lead starting at a point of immaturity, doing something badly that has unintentional dire consequences, and then having to be the hero and fix things. From mike the knight up to a huge number of slacker comedies and action films, my main problem with this plot line is this: rather than being a hero, the man is just catching up with everybody else. They shouldn't be congratulated for that. Instead, why don't they just focus on some of the actual grown ups in the story, who might still have an interesting character arc.

I mention Cbeebies' Mike the Knight, because it distills this plot for children to such a formulaic pattern that it's impossible to ignore it.

The conceit runs thus: mike is a prince who wants to grow up to be a knight. His mum is the queen, his dad the king is perpetually away on some crusade, and his sister is training to be a witch. Mike therefore feels he has to grow into the gap left by his father. Every episode, mike finds a knightly quest that he feels he must complete. He receives a specific piece of equipment, whose usefulness he calls into question. He then spends the majority of the episode getting things wrong and making everything worse, while everybody around him tries to stop him. Literally anybody else in the kingdom would be a better person to sort out whatever the trouble is, not least of whom, his very capable and mature sister. Eventually, it gets into mike's head that he needs to use the support he has and he does the right thing. 

The big problem is, next episode mike goes trough exactly the same steps, with the determination to be a dick about things of a battery-powered toy repeatedly bashing itself into a wall because its wheels are broken. Every time you think Mike has grown up a notch, next time you realised he hasn't generalised at all - he might have learned how to do that one thing, but he's just as much of an idiot he ever was because he never learns any quicker. This is the same problem with this trope in the media - we see men learning, but never see them using the knowledge for anything. 

It feels like an extension of the 'disaster porn' obsession: plot lines driven by idiotic decisions of supposed heroes. The difference is the 'hero' has to clean up their own mess.

Even the new avengers film has a major plot line of 'uh oh, we fucked up because we're idiots and now we've got to save the world from something we've created' - which is also the same plot as almost all other superhero films. And why does star wars focus on luke skywalker, the teenage wannabe-pilot undergoing a hero's maturation quest, rather than the kick-arse already-hero Leiah, who seems to be completely competent both as a secret agent and a guerrilla? 

Repeatedly, we are told that a male's quest to be a grown-up is more interesting than the actual job of being a grown up - a role usually played by a female. Where this leaves us, I'm not sure, as it implies that once you achieve adulthood, the adventure is over.


Tuesday

On receiving a brilliant mixtape.

Getting a mix in the post, out of the blue, is an absolute joy.

Even better when you sit down to listen to it, and it's full of fantastic sounds that are completely different to anything you're listening to around this time - but still obviously fantastic.

And this crystallises something about culture that's been on my mind - how it's great to have separate cultures with limited interaction, because when they do interact, the results can be stunning. 

When there's no borders, there's no countries, and we find everything blurs into the same rubbish. There's nothing to learn from. There's nothing to mash up. 

When there are strict borders, divisions are too regimented and suspicions about 'them lot' emerge. 

But somewhere there's a sweet spot where cultures can ferment something worth exchanging, to the point that it can be both excellent on its own terms and even better in comparison to something else.

All life is fermentation.

a maths problem

Right. You can't divide by zero right? That's undefined. There's no answer to the question, "what is some number divided by 0?", because unless the number is 0 itself, you can't get to any other number by multiplying by 0; and if the number is 0, then any number will work, so still no answer.

Consider an equation like y = 4x + 2. That's fine isn't it? There's no divide by 0 in there, nothing undefined.
If we differentiate this, to find the gradient at any point, we get dy/dx = 4. Why? Because simple differentiation means knocking the power of x down by 1, and multiplying by that power.
btw, if you don't know your differentiation, and are wondering what happens to the 2, well 2 is 2x^0, so it becomes 0*2x^(-1) - and no matter how difficult that exponent is, the 0 it is multiplied by ensures we can just forget about it.
so 4x^1 becomes 4*1x0, and as we know, x^0 = 1, all the time, no matter what x is, because x^0 means x/x = 1.


Except when x is 0, right? Because when x = 0, 0^0 is still undefined, because 0/0 is not 1, it is undefined.

A graph of y = 4 should be a straight flat horizontal line, cutting the y axis at 4. And it is, but if y = 4 is the same as y = 4x^0, then SURELY at the exact moment when x = 0 this graph will become instantaneously discontinuous?

In other words, for any value of x, y = 4; but when x = 0, the power of that 0 leaps into an equation it doesn't have anything else to do with and smashes it to pieces.

Can this possibly be correct? Any thoughts, jot them b'low.

Saturday

Infil: traitor

I've got an idea for a game that I'd like someone to make:

You play an infiltrator, a government spy aiming to work your way into an organised resistance force, gain their trust and work your way up their ranks while supplying information to your fence (that's not the right word for a spy handler, but what is?). The higher up you go, the more difficult it is to remain hidden as you have more eyes on you, you're leaking bigger secrets, and you're decisions inside the organisation have greater impact. You'll need to tow the line to a certain extent; at which point are your colleagues going to realise you're deliberately making a hash of their work? When are they going to realise that crushing defeats they face are due to facts only you could have let slip? How can you dispose of people who suspect you without raising more suspicion?

Perhaps it is an evil empire and a heroic rebellion, like in star wars; perhaps a peaceful democracy and a warmongering insurgency; perhaps not even so black and white. Perhaps you could have the choice of infiltrating the government or the rebellion; perhaps you could even have the choice of playing as a double agent and defrauding your fence. I think there would need to be a cut and run option, where you end the game and reveal how close you were to being caught. There would probably be a dwarf fortress style 'built to spill' mechanic, where it's really just a case of not if but when you are caught. Or gain control of the organisation, and set your mining in secret missions against each other and hope they don't talk to each other in the mean time. You'll have to build up enough trust in them, and under mine their trust in each other, to achieve that sort of victory.

I see the game as being fairly procedurally generated, with freeform and unpredictable gameplay emerging from particular choices you make and randomised NPCs. It could be anything from a text adventure to an open world sandbox city/country. There might be structured missions along the way, which might have their setup affected by the current works you inhabit.

Anyway: thoughts!

Monday

Sex golem

Once again, I find myself looking at two cultural artefacts with something in common, looking for a third to transform the coincidence into a pattern.

This time it's sex golems (gola?). 

The Scarecrow by Lal Waterson describes a lot of things: pagan fertility rites, hanged men, the seasons. But undoubtably the chorus is about wanting to sex a scarecrow ("oh, that you'd lay me down and love me"). It's a very deep song with lots of intertwining meanings that I would love to adapt into a 60s style folk-horror film.

Then I was listening to Kate Bush's last work, and came across the track 'misty', about her copping off with a snowman. Bit more direct, but still: woman, facsimile of a man, fornication.

There must be more songs on this topic. Men made out of clay, or body parts, or wires. Maybe someone wrote a song inspired by 'possession', about men made out of... Whatever that was. Possibly if we extend it to men's points of view, we might find many more examples; maybe we could include roxy music's 'in every dream home, a heartache' although a sex doll seems too... I djnt know, default? If only Jason Lytle had included a sex act in granddaddy's 'Jed the humanoid' we'd be away.

Has anyone got anything on this? Any song at all about getting it on, or just wanting to get it on, or just even fancying, someone made out of stuff?

Sunday

What do troll hunter and the re/animator both fail at?

A couple of years ago I saw year two films, and it struck me soon after that they both left me unsatisfied in for a similar reason. I felt they both cheated.

The Re-animator is a better film; schlocky, humourous, and inventively gorey. Troll Hunter was a disappointment, feeling episodic and inconsequential. 

What they had in common, though, was a disregard for their source material that they visibly hacked up to try to make for a more entertaining film.

I've not read all of HP 'Herbert west: re animator', considered one his poorer works, but I see why it was considered a good property to develop into an 80s horror film, a sort-of parody-tribute of Frankenstein. What's wierd is that to fit in with the Romero zombie fashion, West now lobotomises his zombies, lest they be too clever. Even after he explicitly does this to the first reanimated, all the further Zombies have the tell-tale mark on their heads to explain their shambling stupor.

TH pulls a similar trick; it wants to tell us that trolls are peaceful creatures - so why the need to hunt them? Well, apparently it's because they have troll rabies.

It's annoying because it never delivers on its own setup - instead it fudges it to fit in with the current favourite genre.

Tbh I don't think I've seen any other work pull this unsatisfying just-becausism, a sort of have-your-cake-and-eat-a-different-cake attitude. There must be some, anyone know of any?

Learning about Simon Lord

Last year, I made a mixtape of one of my heroes, Simon Lord.

I was a huge Simian fan, I bought everything they put out. I would make pilgrimage to vinyl exchange on Oldham road to look for a promo copy every time they released a single, as the promos had all the b sides from the different editions on one cd. 

When Simian split up, they had a very clever message on their site that played one of two songs: Simian Mobile Disco's 'boat race', or Garden's 'reason for your smile'. Simian split into these two projects:  Simon Lord did Garden, Jas Shaw did SMD; James Ford was in both.

I tried keeping up with both parties, but was a lot more drawn to Garden's post-psych-folk style and after acquiring the first few SMD singles and compilation appearances, i never got around to buying their debut album.

So my understanding of Simon Lord's career was that he was the folky guitarist of simian, and Jas was the electro genius. I lived the last decade of my life under this illusion, and ignored any evidence to the contrary, like his band The Black Ghosts, who released two albums, or the fact that his Lord Skywave album was so clearly electro. 

My previous mix was done with this mentality; over-emphasising his work with simian and garden, and relating him as predominantly a folky. But in the course of researching it, I found a lot about him I didn't know and investigated further: I bought both BG albums, and discovered Lord had recorded an acoustic version I their entire 2nd album; I trawled beatport for singles and rarities; I even discovered an entire project I had never been aware of, called simply 'Roberts and Lord'. I bought every track I needed to for a follow up mix designed to show off the other side of Lord and correct the bias of the first one.
So this 2nd mix not only portrays Lord as more eclectic - he's had two albums out on different labels, under different names, this year - but I also wanted to highlight another facet of him: his status as a frequent collaborator in all sorts of ways, as a producer, vocalist, or remixer. 

I hope you enjoy them both.

Simon Lord - a balanced retrospective by Dj Gallowslutt on Mixcloud