Wednesday, 26 January 2011

To move or not to move?

I used to be quite proud of hosting this blog myself. I hand-code these pages, and my RSS feeds, and FTP them to my host, then manually ping everyone I can think of to let them know there's something new to read. Great. Does have it's drawbacks though. Comments for one - if you send me a comment, it appears in my email - this gives me a sort of moderation. But then to make the comment live, I have to cut'n'paste it into my hand-coded blog page, and hand-code an entry into the comments RSS feed. Oh, and you can't do trackbacks either. And although I've managed to provide clunky permalinks for every post, they're not ideal in that they don't load a post in its own page, but rather load the relevant month's page and then jump you to the post within that page. And another thing (I'm getting warmed up now), I can't email posts in like I can with Blogger, or just go online from wherever I am and add a new post - I have to have my offline copy of all the blog files to hand on my trusty USB stick. Oh, and I can't use widgets, like a blogroll, and neither can I show a nice calendar-based hierarchy of my posts. Blogger lets me do all of these things and more - I know, because I host my fiction blog there.

There are reasons I do things this way - when I started blogging in 2005 the tools offered by the big blog hosts were nothing like as sophisticated as they are now. And I like the ease with which I can integrate the blog into the rest of my site. But here's a thing - my blog doesn't really go with the rest of my site any more, it just doesn't fit. But there are plenty of reasons to stay where I am, notably that the search engines of the world are full of links to my existing blog posts (though I could set up redirects for these). Mainly though, I'm put off by the volume of work it would take to move all the old stuff over from this location to Blogger.

So what should I do? Do you even care? Are you still reading? If you do, and you are, you can have a say on the matter, here, for the next thirty days. Cheers.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Separated at birth II

Kelly Adams - actress of Hustle and Holby fame Kylie Minogue - perennial pop poppet and most accomplished filler of lingerie Do you watch Hustle? I usually find myself watching it on a Friday night, partly because there's naff-all else on and partly because it's fun, harmless, snappily made television. So what if the plots are borderline ludicrous? It's carefree, escapist TV in an age of bland austerity - no wonder it's doing so well. But anyway. I was watching last week when it suddenly struck me that Kelly Adams (left), who plays conwoman Emma, is the living spit of Antipodean perennial pop poppet Kylie Minogue (right). I mean, really, seriously, right down to the arch of the eye-brow, being short and having a rather lovely bottom.

It got me wondering, then - Miss Minogue is often the subject of much press speculation about botox use, but could the real reason she looks younger than her 42 years simply be that she is employing the more youthful Kelly as a stand-in? Or are they simply the same person? After all, who has ever seen them together? And they both have five letter names beginning with 'K'! Coincidence? Well yes, clearly, but I have to come up with something to base these otherwise-groundless conspiracy theories on, don't I?

So, Kelly and Kylie, separated at birth - what do you think? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Oh yes, and the "II" is because I've spotted something like this before...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bombay away!

...because if you knew about a website that let you add your own comedy subtitles to old Bollywood film clips, you'd tell me, wouldn't you? And doesn't Bollywood need a bit more political satire?

<a href= title=logo creation>agence de communication alternative</a>

All this and more can be found at and thanks to Too Much Apple Pie, whose tweet brought this to my attention in the first place.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Clandestine Classic XI - I'm On Standby

The eleventh post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

Today's offering is a 2004 single from Grandaddy entitled I'm On Standby. Now I don't know much about Grandaddy - as seems to be a theme with other clandestine classics, today's featured record is the only one I own by the artist in question. But don't let that put you off because there's much to like here, not least Jason Lytle's genuinely distinctive vocals and a hazy, shuffling, lo-fi backbeat. Principally though, it's the lyrics that made me buy this record, play it incessantly, shoe-horn it onto countless compilation tapes, and still mumble the words to myself even now.

The theme of being "on standby" is as contemporary now, in our gadget- and consumer-electronics-strewn life, as it was seven years ago on the single's release. The idea that a person, their life and emotions, could also be on standby seemed poignant to me. It still is. And maybe the fact that this was released at a time when so many aspects of my life felt resolutely on standby meant that it resonated even more. Take a look at these sample lyrics, and tell me honestly that there haven't been times when you could identify perfectly with them:

I'm on standby.
Out of order or sort of unaligned,
Powered down for redesign.
Bye bye.
I'm on standby.
According to the work order that you signed
I'll be down for some time.

Is it about suicide? Sorry to bring a downer, if so. I don't know, to be honest, but it's certainly about feeling stuck, static, out of sync/tune/time, going nowhere fast... and, I think, a beautiful song to boot. Either way, why not read the rest of the lyrics and make up your own mind about their meaning?

According to their entry on Wikipedia, Grandaddy called time in 2006, though frontman Jason soldiers on solo. As well as the old CD single, you can find today's clandestine classic on Grandaddy's album Sumday (sic), if you're so inclined. The less scrupulous amongst you may be interested in this, of which I, as ever, deny all knowledge. If you want to watch Grandaddy perform I'm On Standby live at Glastonbury, you can... and speaking of YouTube, here's the studio version of the song. Enjoy.