July 2009 Archives
When youtube was blocked, us expats in China handled it well. Yes, it was quite frustrating at first, but you get by. A life without youtube is still livable, and as a result we looked elsewhere and discovered Chinese alternatives and in some documented cases, actually replaced our youtube fixes with more productive things, like hmmmm, I don't know, studying mandarin..?
In the past we've often had our Favourite networking and video sharing sites taken away from us, much alike naughty school children having their footballs confiscated, and just like school our balls were usually given back to us at the end of the week. However this time we've been waiting to get our youtube back for about 5 months. But we didn't despair too much, because for all the time we missed searching and sharing videos of our lives, we found a replacement; Facebook.
Facebook changed everything for all of us, because now we are in touch with practically everyone we ever met. And not just can we add them to our friend 'list', but we can actually keep on top of everyone's thoughts and daily routines (thanks to the daily newsfeed), and we literally can spend hours checking through photographs, adding our own photographs, and snooping into other peoples' lives. That was until....(dun dun dunnnnn)...Facebook was also blocked. Ohhh the outcry of the thousands of expats in China! And from that moment, the expats of china officially went cold turkey. Call it a lifestyle revolution, if you like. I actually found it quite liberating. But as I marveled at all of the spare time I found I had in my life post-Facebook, what I didn't realize was that the other die-hard expats were desperately searching for a loop-hole that could get them back into Facebook land. Did they succeed? Of course. Never underestimate an expat who's in need of a Facebook fix.
I always thought the English accent was pretty recognisable, but apparently not. I've got a bit of a Brummie twang and while Charlotte H doesn't really have a regional accent she sounds distinctly English. So far on our travels people have guessed that we're from Cleveland, Canada, Australia, Scotland and Ireland. Maybe they don't get many English visitors in America.
The last time I flew long haul I was ten years old and travelling to Disneyworld with my family. Here I am 18 years later in week one of a round-the-world trip with a friend I met working at Marketing Birmingham who happens to share the same name.
I'm told I waste what is left of my life with utterly pointless trivia. All I'll own up to is amusement by cross reference - the new Dr Who's bow tie strikes me as remarkably similar to the one worn by Brother Mouzone, the offhandedly intellectual assassin from New York in The Wire, for instance.
Mind you, the Dr Who leather elbow patches are pure geography teacher.
And the new backroom crew down in Cardiff seem to have kept sly references to what's gone before by giving Matt Smith a new companion who, like David Tennant, is a Scot, and who wears the series' signature baseball boots. Of course, Karen Gillan, who plays Amy Pond, is an unknown - they couldn't have an established performer challenging the new lead man's status, obviously.
It felt a bit strange, sitting in a darkened theatre listening to spooky old tales on a glorious July evening in sunny Lichfield, I have to admit. But that's the make-believe of theatre for you.
I seem to have become a bit of an unofficial groupie for pint-sized, Birmingham-based theatre company The Happiness Patrol, with their minimum fuss, maximum imagination approach. And Tales of Terror was pure storytelling at it's most stripped-down. Just a teller, an audience and that strange magical hold that a story exerts over its listeners. (And the occasional coffin.)
As well as featuring the brand spanking new 'Dependent on your Taste' EP in its entirety from Birmingham locals The Deafout, this edition of Brumcast features ska, acoustic, metal, kraut, punk, indie, gabba, rock n roll, and ambient all in the space of 82 minutes. Download totally free by clicking right here
Here's this show's playlist :-
1. Windscale - Conflicts in Time (4:09)
2. Tempting Rosie - Fear (3:38)
3. The Deafout - Dependent on your taste (3:07)
4. Gemma Garmeson - Amanda (3:10)
5. Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer (1:56)
6. Chris Herbert - Elisa (6:14)
7. Omertta - The King Will Be A Corpse (4:34)
8. The Deafout - Up & Down (2:54)
9. Lonnie Bangford - Alphabetical F**kpig (1:42)
10. Lonnie Bangford - You're, Like, So Dutch Hardcore (2:11)
11. Pama International - Happenstance (2:53)
12. Junkyard Morning - Dive Into The Open (3:55)
13. The Bionic Krugerrands - Magazine (2:28)
14. Matt Parsons - You Light My Day (3:44)
15. Seams - Glitch (3:01)
16. The Deafout - R.E.C.E.S.S.I.O.N. (3:04)
17. Circus Town - Hear My Devil (3:14)
18. Gang on Gang - Bomb (3:53)
19. Untitled Musical Project - Beards & Drugs (2:30)
20. Ultio - Order (3:34)
21. Crashpoint - Out of Line (2:30)
22. The Deafout - Julie (3:53)
Busy family time as term runs down, what with various concerts at the grandchildren's junior school, their truly excellent choir performing at our local carnival and, notably, a fond and final farewell to a sadly low-key 160th Royal Show.
As ever, we had a fine time at Stoneleigh, browsing through the shops with the kids (and me) adding to our collection of Jibbitz - they're the little button novelties you can stick through the holes in Crocs. The woman manning the store had a miniature Croc at her waist doubling as a mobile phone holder - obviously the next must-have item for the clan.
This column is wrong (go read it, fume, come back). But I don't think it's malicious. People have accused it of being trolling (deliberately winding up people online), of being stupid, of being lazy, of being ill-informed. Me, I just think it was something easy and (to Mr Lamb's mind) quite amusing.
It's not though, it's part of an unfortunate trend in deliberate misunderstanding that is making the job of increasing digital (and by extension social) participation more difficult. John Lamb says "social media is banal".
First, let's get the easy stuff out of the way. A communications platform cannot be banal. The use of it by people can be; but that's a good thing.
The so called banalities allow people to build relationships that are then used to do serious weighty stuff, an example from our fine city is how stupid things like a pantomime on Twitter (covered by the proper newspaper and featuring its editor) lead to serious long and hard work on civic activism such as the Big City Talk project. It's not a co-incidence that many of the people contributed to both.
As someone in PR John should be excited over the wealth of real information about their desires, likes, dislikes and activities people are willing to share with him. No more guessing or expensive polls or focus groups -- here are people all to willing to tell him exactly what they think (on Twitter and on the Post site today they're telling him exactly what they think).
And here it is, the second installment of the Supersonic Festival Specials where I attempt to cover most of the vital artists performing at one of the most important music festivals around, and its in Birmingham! Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. For adventurous listeners only! Go to http://brumcast.podOmatic.com for download & audio stream links. Download it free and direct by clicking here
Here's the playlist :-
1. Pre - Haircut Tacos (2:12)
2. Head of David - Bugged (2:35)
3. Khyam Allami - Bedayat Hub (6:38)
4. Thorr's Hammer - Norge (7:37)
5. Theo - Fortress (4:53)
6. The Accused - Halo Of Flies (A Deadly Blessing) (3:11)
7. Pram - Track of the Cat (4:13)
8. Jarboe - Magick Girl (8:41)
9. Master Musicians Of Bukkake - Cascade Cathedral (4:13)
10. Goblin - La Caccia (3:38)
11. Nancy Wallace - Drowned Lover (3:35)
12. Earthless - Cherry Red (4:36)
13. Iron Lung - Lumbar Puncture Test (1:00)
14. Scorn - Six Hours One Week (6:40)
15. Venetian Snares - Koonut-Kaliffee (4:54)
16. Growing - Afterglow (5:59)
17. The Memory Band - A New Skin (2:40)
18. Drum Eyes - 50 - 50 (7:16)
19. Marnie Stern - Ruler (3:53)
20. Sunn 0))) - Defeating: Earth's Gravity (14:58)
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