Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Want To Be Offended

Ever had a case where your idea of what a band should be like is somewhat different from the reality? I think I'm experiencing that with Reading's electro-pop artists Does It Offend You, Yeah? I blame the album artwork... I saw the dripping letters on the cover and the song titles such as 'Dawn of the Dead' and 'Being Bad Feels Pretty Good' on the back (both awesome tracks by the way) and thought that this was something resembling a cult complete with mission statement ('Does it OFFEND YOU, YEAH?!!!') Actually, that impression was probably only fully formed when I heard the first two tracks ('Battle Royale' and 'With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You'), which brought to mind the image of a cavernous pit of a venue filled with jumping, sweating bodies raising their fists and middle fingers to the conventional world above.

I think my first source of disillusionment was when I found that the seemingly venomous band title was not anything like a mission statement at all, as synth player Dan Coop recalls:

Everybody thinks the name is some kind of statement but it's a quote from David Brent in an episode of The Office. "When me and James Rushent first started writing music together we decided to put it up on MySpace. We needed a name to put as our profile name so just put what was the first thing that was said on TV, we switched it on and Ricky Gervais said "Does it offend you, yeah? My drinking?" so we just went with that. No thought went into it whatsoever.

So much for the revolution... But I held high hopes for when they recently played in Melbourne - perhaps I would still have my cavernous pit of raised fists and middle fingers after all. This illusion quickly began to dissipate when I first turned up at the venue and it appeared that nobody else over the age of 20 liked this band (or wasn't willing to go out and see them on a 'school night'). And then there was the band itself - I don't know... the vocals didn't seem to have the same bite as they do on record (even during the poppy songs)... I mean they were probably really good, actually they were probably better than most bands I'll ever see, but I was after transcendence goddammit! Or at the least to feel somewhat dirty. All I got was "does it offend you, perhaps?" Which was not the band's fault at all - if anything, blame their album designers...

Monday, September 14, 2009

In Appreciation of Ringo

Last week I bought 'The Beatles: Rock Band' for Wii and have subsequently spent about as long as you can singing into a ditzy little microphone and noodling around on a plastic bass without the aid of serious drugs. For someone who thought he'd been singing along fine to the Beatles for years, the game has been a revelation: turns out that the part in 'Back in the USSR' about Moscow girls really knocking Paul out is a lot harder to sing correctly than I thought, and that there are lilting words all over their back catalogue.

But the impression that's died hardest over the past few days is the one I had that basically any clod could sing Ringo's songs. I first noticed it when I tried 'Yellow Submarine' - surely an easy kiddies' ditty - and ran into a few spots of bother. But my ineptitude was really hammered home when I confidently launched into my rendition of 'With a Little Help of My Friends' only to find that Ringo was singing so low that I struggled to hit every third note. After a couple of verses of frustration and bewilderment I was relieved to hear the others chime in with 'Do you neeeeeeed an-y-bo-dy?' only to completely falter with Ringo's response that he just needs somebody to love. And on it went until the end, because this was the easy level and the 'no-fail' mode, which prevents the song from stopping no matter how god-awful you are, was automatically on. I have since tried 'Boys' (from the Beatles' first album) and put in a vaguely passable effort. I'm too afraid to try 'Octopus's Garden' yet.

So I dip my pink hat to you, Mr Starkey. Obviously, despite all my impressions to the contrary, you brought something to the Beatles that was difficult to match.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Wooden Finger AFL All-Australian Team 2009

Not surprisingly, I predict that the team will be dominated by Saints and Cats this year, with those teams accounting for half the spots. Both of them won a hell of a lot of games, and as I showed in my very first post the selectors reward that.

If I'm right President Eddie should be reasonably happy as well, with three Magpies getting a guernsey, although I still think he will be spewing if Brownlow fancy Dane Swan misses the starting 18. For some reason, Swan is named as a forward in the preliminary squad, and while he may well end up on a half-forward flank I think he will actually end up as a victim of his own versatility and be relegated to the bench. Of the small forwards Chapman has to get in, and despite Johnson's recent injuries he should also have done enough, and I think that the selectors will be keen to reward Stephen Milne for his shift to a more defensive focus (i.e. being bothered to tackle) over the past year.

I've also left Fevola out of my forward line, even though he was the leading goalkicker. Frankly the guy only did anything every second or third game (I know - I had the misfortune of having him in my SuperCoach team). JB of Brisbane has been far more consistent and a more valuable presence for his team, and Goodes was awesome over the latter stretch of the year.

B: Sam Gilbert, Brian Lake, Nick Maxwell
HB: Brendon Goddard, Matthew Scarlett, Simon Goodwin
C: Leigh Montagna, Joel Selwood, Nick Dal Santo
HF: Paul Chapman, Nick Riewoldt (c), Steve Johnson
F: Adam Goodes, Jonathan Brown (vc), Stephen Milne
R: Aaron Sandilands, Chris Judd, Gary Ablett
I: Dane Swan, Matthew Boyd, Leon Davis, Mitch Clark