Netflixitis

So, I’m currently trying to watch the pilot episode of Legion, a new TV show based on the Marvel character.

But… I’ve already lost interest.

Because, even though this is being shown on Fox, the show has been infected with the new scourge of TV: NETFLIXITIS.

The infection was first spotted in a very benign form in the series Sense8. This charming series, about people scattered around the world sharing a psychic link, had very pacey stories. Every ep, we’d get fights and chases and hot threesomes. But every now and then, there’d be meaningless, pointless shots. These would be mostly slo-mo travelogue stuff: the kind of footage you want to see only when you’re evaluating whether a new DSLR has bad rolling shutter. They didn’t advance the story, they didn’t help flesh out the characters. They did nothing but look vaguely pretty.

In and of themselves, these little langours did little to harm Sense8. They were way offset by the actual meat of the programme.

BUT THE INFECTION SPREAD! IT GREW WILD AND WOOLLY!

Cue The OA, a series deliberately made to be unwatchable, to challenge you with its endless hours of faux-profound shots of… well… nothing much happening. And then there are the openly risible sequences set in heaven / multiverse hub / a hippy’s bedroom with that spooky lady and the floating galaxies and the ‘OH WOW! PATHS TO DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS!’ and… well, you get my point. The final payoff of The OA, that violent vogueing can save the day is really, really, REALLY not worth the hours of my life wasted on this pseudy piffle. It’s the televisual equivalent of taking a children’s book and then simply adding word after word until it’s the length of War And Peace. There is zero added *meaning,* the only similarity is length.

Netflixitis is directors padding out what would make perhaps 90 minutes of riveting TV into a whole season. They have the Netflix dosh, the pitch was a killer and now… and now they have to deliver an actual series. But they haven’t really got enough content for that many eps!? WHAT TO DO?? Easy, just pad every ep with pointless scenes, intercut it with un-related footage of bees or a factory or starlings flocking to make it seem, like, y’know, DEEP and then, hey presto, you’ve got your required number of eps.

The first ep of Legion just finished. I typed all this while I was watching, knowing I could be inattentive because, y’know, FUCK ALL WAS HAPPENING. The entire hour could have been boiled down to fifteen minutes. All the ‘IS THIS REAL?’ ‘IS ANYTHING REAL?’ bullshit was so laboured, so overdone that I am done and over, this series. Gonna cancel the series link, buh bye.

My life is simply not long enough to be wasted by Netflixitis. 

I’m quite willing to put effort in. I actually stayed in the cinema when other people walked out on ‘Tree Of Life.’ I understand that some art takes longer. But The OA is not Derek Jarman’s ‘Blue.’ The padding in these series is not the product of artistic decisions, it’s a product of having time to fill, money to fill it and a heinous lack of editing.

Art thrives on limits. In some alternate universe, Netflix has a vicious in-house executive editor pruning these sprawling, bloated messes into great telly.

In this one… not so much…

Michael Nesmith, Country Rock & (The) Eagles

I just watched the long doc on the Eagles which was fascinating, in the way that all rock docs are.

You have the origin story, some kids sparking off each other, loving the music. Then they get success and become addled by the drugs and the sex and then, inevitably, along comes Mr. Creative Differences. Which, in the Eagles’ case includes hilarious recordings of them about to have a punch up on stage, in the middle of a bloody gig!

I’m glad they had Linda Ronstadt in there and gave her due credit. Too often, female artists get whitewashed out of rock history or relegated to the role of muse. I wonder if the Eagles would even had formed if Frey and Henley hadn’t toured in her band?

What made me a little sad is zero mention of Michael Nesmith. I hate the way that no-one talks about Nez as one of the originators of country rock. Ronstadt covered Nez’ ‘Different Drum’ way back in ‘67, with the Stone Poneys. If the doc could mention Gram Parsons, it really should have mentioned how important Nesmith was on that early scene. ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ was released in 1968, Nesmith wrote ‘Different Drum’ in 1965! There’s no way Henley and Frey were unaware of Nez’ post-Monkee solo country albums.

Otherwsie, how could you have ‘Midnight Flyer’ which is basically the Eagles ripping-off Nez’ ‘Nevada Fighter’ three years after it was released?

Reminds me of ‘Moi Lolita’ by Alizee and a certain ‘90s one-hit wonder…

White Town, Always

(On seeing this post on diversity in alternative music)

You know, it’s made me ridiculously happy to see my band in this list, thank you!

White Town has *always* been on the outside of the immensely white, middle class indie(pop) scene since I first formed the band in 1989.

The third gig we did (I say we as it was still a guitar band back then), we supported Primal Scream. It was a great gig but my strongest memory is a sneering racist white indie kid asking me if I was there to do the accounts. (This is *after* we’d played.)

Another time, a big act on the Sarah Records label and his cohort of minions spent five minutes laughing at my band name and basically saying that racism was “all in my head” and that I was yet another darkie with a chip on my shoulder.

That’s just a couple of times out of… well, too many to list, really. I’ve left out the actual physical fights with racist Morrissey fans, playing at venues that turned out to be full of Nazi skins… the fact that I recorded a lot of indiepop bands but you never see that in the reverential tomes on Sarah or white histories of indiepop. It goes on and on.

But if you try and talk about this with white indie kids, you get labelled as ‘touchy’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘paranoid.’ All the labels that white people apply to non-whites who won’t stay in their place, who refuse to remain silent. 

Today, indie and indiepop remain overwhelmingly white scenes. The supposed left-wingness of the scene is a superficial lip-service; most of the people I meet are liberals or outright Home Counties Tories. There is the exact same sneering attitude to racism as there was decades ago. If you haven’t got white skin, the same doors remain closed, the gig offers don’t come in and you basically have to put up with shit white artists don’t even know exists, safe in their privilege.

In my frustration at decades of discrimination, I’ve given up on trying to explain all this to white people, even if they’re well-meaning. I haven’t got the time or energy to be a walking google on the history of erasure of non-white people in alternative music. (But start with The Monochrome Set if you want.) Nowadays, I do my best to help young non-white artists in alt bands whether it’s with advice, free recording, production lessons or whatever.

If you’re reading this and you’re a South Asian kid in a shoegaze band or a black kid in a goth band or whatever and you’re feeling isolated and excluded, please drop me a line,  bzangy@gmail.com.

I’ll help if I can! 🙂

Sexing Up The Day Of The Dead

daydead

Mexico City has held its first Day of the Dead parade, complete with floats, giant marionettes and hundreds of dancers and performers.

Mexican tourism officials say the inspiration came from the opening scenes in last year’s James Bond film, Spectre, which was shot in the city.

Bond is seen chasing a villain through crowds watching a parade of people in skeleton outfits.

It is hoped the new parade will attract more tourists to the city.

Mexicans traditionally celebrate the Day of the Dead with a family picnic beside their relatives’ graves or in front of a decorated shrine at home.

But Lourdes Berho, chief executive of the Mexico Tourism Board, said Spectre had created “expectations that we would have something”.

(Source: BBC News)

Sometimes I want to relax and take my sciology head off…. and then shit like this happens.
 
So, Day Of The Dead, which *is* a traditional Mexican festival is now being re-made into a media spectacle (or spectrecle) because of the power of the James Bond brand.
 
The reality didn’t match the spectacle so reality must be changed. Remind me what Baudrillard said about Disneyland again, eh?

Apple Music Connect – A Muddled, Outrageous Cock-Up

So, since my NEW SINGLE is released today in iTunes, I thought I would try to connect (hurr) using the new Apple Music Connect service that Apple evangelised at WWDC. How about I upload a little text blurb and the video onto Connect? Should be easy! Right, let’s find my Artist bit in Safari on my Macbook Pro…

So… er… Can’t do anything on my Mac. Needs to be done on an iOS device. 

(WHAT? WHY?)

Okay, so how do I get this vid onto my iPad. I know, I’ll just sync it as a movie and yeaahhh!

Nope. It has to appear in the camera roll to be accessible by the Music app where Connect resides on iOS. 

Okay, so I’ll just AirDrop it across… soooo slowwwww… Finally done! Okay, now I can see it in the Music app. Upload, baby, c’mon!

iPad says: “Upload Failed.” No explanation, no help for the user, just falls over and lies there, dead.

I mean, why do I have to upload the whole vid in the first place? All I did to embed the YouTube vid above was paste in the URL. Apple, do you really want to duplicate so much data needlessly and use up your server space instead of just pointing at pre-existing files?

Okay, I’ll try it again. I’ve got all the time in the world to wait on Apple. I know, I’ll change my pic on the Connect profile thingy while I’m waiting for this to be done…

NOPE. CRASH. QUIT.

Ahh, I’m sure that was a glitch. I’ll try again. (Two more times, two more instant crashes.) Hmmm, the Music app seems to have legs made out of jelly and Pringles.

connot

I went online to see if I was being a tool. This quote sums up my experience so far:

Connect is a social network that’s antisocial; it’s a tool for “connecting” that is disconnected from absolutely everything else – sometimes even within Apple’s own ecosystem. It seems to be mostly isolated even from the other apps on your iPhone, and only a fraction of its already-limited functionality is available on your Mac or PC.

When you do want to share, it’s a chore: iOS- (and GarageBand-)only, via a completely uninspired interface that covers only the most basic of functionality.

“Connect” is for connecting to fans, but apart from a comment or a ‘like,’ fans have very little control over even what they see on the service.

Most damning, apart from some comments or likes, you can’t really gauge how content was doing. There aren’t any additional statistics, for instance, that I could find, that would indicate how content shared is doing. (Source: Create Digital Music)

Thanks, Apple. I really didn’t think you could make something more useless than Ping or Games Centre or Genius but you’ve surpassed yourselves.

Capitalism Is Not Your Friend, Part Whatever

eye

A drugs firm has been accused of trying to block access to what some doctors believe is a cheap, safe and effective drug to treat a common eye condition.

The British Medical Journal claims it has revealed a campaign to derail research into the cancer drug Avastin. (Source: BBC)

The profit motive is incompatible with human happiness, health and civilisation in general.

All it cares about is maximising profits. If that comes at the cost of leaving thousands or millions in misery, well, hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette!

Capital promotes oligopoly and, where it can, monopoly. Corporations routinely mislead stockholders, government, consumers and the public at large in their search for that extra penny of profit.

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t any more evil than the other corporations, it’s simply that their callous disregard for human lives is part of their business model. It’s been reported again and again.

Let’s bring it all down. Now.

Straight Bloke Groping

After reblogging a post about the homophobia of straight men, it reminded me of last night which was spoilt, yet again, by straight blokes. Mostly, it was them perving on my girl mates. They do this thing where they pretend they know me, to try and get in with my mate(s). It’s pitiful, they are such dregs.

And the other thing: the touching. Why is it that men I do not know insist on touching / fondling me in that HILARIOUS “hey, look, I’m gay, isn’t this just sooooo amazingly humorous” way?

I don’t know you, I don’t want you feeling my balls or tweaking my nipples or trying to fucking kiss me.

And then they turn round and come out with some homophobic bullshit about an actual gay couple on the dancefloor.

My brain is fucking melting from the stupidity it has to witness.

OKC VS. POF

As much as I slag off Ok Cupid, it’s light years ahead of Plenty Of Fish.

My “matches” on POF are the most random array of very pretty but completely dull and incompatible people. I’ll see someone who’s really cute, my finger will hover over the ‘Message Now!’ linky but I’ll never press it because, really, what is the point.

And please FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK, stop going about drinking wine by a roaring fire and great fucking long walks in the countryside and fucking Zumba and fucking Bodypump… fucking hell…

ARGHHH

I know I’m a weirdo but POF just makes me feel like there’s no-one who actually reads or goes on demonstrations or goes clubbing or does ANYTHING AT ALL.

Most profiles have zero interests. That’s right, these people have no interests whatsoever.

That’s gonna make for a fucking scintillating date, innit?

Modern Annoyances, Part &FFEF

fubbing

In a nutbag, this is how I feel.

I am not anti-tech, I don’t believe all that “look-up” shite. But I do like actually having conversations with humans. And that’s hard when everything gets reduced to stop-starty statements because they’re always on their fucking phone.

I’ve had this a lot lately. It gets particularly irritating when you have to repeat the same point two or three times. And it always makes me wonder: why is your time more valuable than mine? Why do I have to sit waiting for you to finish your parasocial pimping?

I don’t actually mind people answering calls, it’s more the incessant checking of FB newsfeed or Tumblr dash.

So, yeah, just call me Unabomber and build my cabin in a nice forest…