Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Music Blogging: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

I've been reminded of this jolly bunch in conversations elsewhere. The late great Alex Harvey and his sensational band -1970s British rock at its best. I saw them in Cardiff c1973. Excellent stuff!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Apple a Day


I've been a fan of Apple Computer since my first purchase of a "Fat Mac" back in 1985. Indeed said computer still sits in my basement although I think it will be awhile before before it becomes collectible enough for me to recoup the $2500 I paid for it 25 years ago. But I digress. Although I've never been a particularly early adopter (I've seen too many 1st generation products with major design flaws for my liking), new products from Apple always pique my interest. So last week I read avidly the specifications of the rumoured 4G iPhone at the online technology site, Gizmodo. This scoop was made possible not by a pre-release of the phone but by an unfortunate incident. Apple employee, Gray Powell, left his phone in a pub in Redwood City, California after a celebrating his birthday. The phone was found and despite some considerable effort to return it to Apple (the customer service dept did not appear to take the finder's phone calls seriously) it found its way to Gizmodo. $5000 exchanged hands and Gizmodo published a highly detailed technical analysis of the device. Apple's culture of product development secrecy is well known and it was a pretty sure bet that CEO, Steve Jobs, was not amused by these goings on. Apple duly wrote to Gizmodo and requested the return of the phone: Gizmodo complied promptly. Was this the end of the story? Hell, no. On return from dinner one evening earlier this week, Gizmodo editor, Jason Chen, found his house swarming with police from the multi-agency Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT). They had a search warrant, had knocked down his front door and seized Mr Chen's computers, digital cameras, servers and other equipment. Understandably, this heavy handed approach has caused lawyers to be involved and the outcome of the saga will probably involve a lot of litigation and millions of dollars. One thing is clear, don't mess with Stevie unless you want a fight...(vid below says it all: don't play it loudly at work or in the presence of children):

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Song Remains the Same

The UK's Independent newspaper reports that Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is the country's favourite rock song. I have to confess, I've been quite partial to this ditty myself ever since I heard it back in 1971. Dinosaur music indeed! But there should be no doubt that the song is an enduring modern classic that has spawned a million covers and to the chagrin of guitar shop owners everywhere, the opening riff must have been copied by just about every garage band member on the planet. Some of these covers are in themselves near works of genius and I thought it worth mentioning them here:

First up is this neo-classical rendition by Australia's Benaud Trio which is possibly the most emotional version I've ever heard:

This interpretation by Dread Zeppelin is brilliant: a reggae band with an Elvis impersonator for a lead singer. What's not to like...?

If the Dublin-based Mexican duo, Rodrigo y Gabriela, ever come to Seattle I shall be sprinting for tickets. Attacking rock rhythms naturally convert to percussive flamenco guitar:

Any compilation such as this needs a jazz version: here's the amazing Stanley Jordan.

Australian tribute bands are the greatest. No spoilers here -I'll let this performance by The Beatnix take you by surprise:

And if your not impressed by any of this here's the definitive performance:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Black Belt


My iaido shodan certificate (menkyo) has arrived. I think it looks rather fine and am quite proud. It felt like earning a degree which in some ways it was. A trip to the framers is warranted...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Place in the Sun -Sort Of

I need some time off. This place sounds nice (anybody remember 1977?):