Here be monsters

Where the hell have I been? I’ll bet practically nobody was asking that very question. Well, I’ve been off the edges of the online world in sunny Portugal for two weeks. I (almost) have a tan.

So what’s been happening then? The usual family holiday type stuff to be honest. Sitting around the pool, occasionally venturing into the water. I say occasionally as each attempt took about twenty minutes to get in there. The water was so cold I could only stand to expose the next two centimeter band of myself to it at any one time without suffering some sort of cardiac arrest. Did a bit of reading – absolutely loved Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, so thanks to James Everington for recommending that one to me. And I awoke from some sort of musical coma to buy a load of albums to listen to on my iPod (yes, I finally joined the 21st century and bought myself an iPod). More of this in a minute…

We did venture out from the resort a couple of times. This time on Monday just gone I was wandering around Seville in Spain. What a fantastic city that is. I thought I’d seen most of the beautiful European cities – Paris, Venice, Vienna, Prague – but this place was something else. Maybe it’s because it’s so steeped in Spain’s colonial past, maybe it was just because we did a sad tourist thing and went round the city via pony and trap, but I just kept thinking of the Marquez book Love in the Time of Cholera. The way I’d imagined the locations in that novel matched almost exactly the things I saw in Seville. We also went to Lisbon for the day. I’d been there before and it’s a pretty nice place, but unfortunately it paled a bit after Seville. I’m guessing most places would.

Ok, music. I got hold of another Get Well Soon EP, much cheaper than the CD import Amazon offer, the latest album by The Horrors and two albums by The Vines. I didn’t know these last two existed. I’ve been a huge fan of The Vines since their first record but by their third one things weren’t looking good. Everyone was amazed they’d managed to get that far and there certainly wasn’t much hope for any more. So I was surprised to see on iTunes one from 2008 and a new one released this year.

There are a lot of reasons to dislike The Vines. Hardly any of their songs last more than two minutes. They now have four different tracks called Autumn Shade and keep rearranging the song again and again. Their music (as far as I know) is still banned from Australian radio because their lead singer kicked a photographer in the face at a large showcase gig a few years back. And then there is their infamous Letterman appearance where the anarchy of their live performances overwhelmed the fact that they’re actually a decent set of musicians. I found this on Youtube so I included it here. Actually, looking back at it now, I think it’s kind of funny…


In contrast, here’s a track from their latest album which I really really like. Anything that starts with a scream is alright in my book (although it really is a bit of a shit video):


It’s becoming a music fan blog this isn’t it? Don’t worry, I’ll get back to writing next week. Like I said, the iPod has given my music consumption a new lease of life – similar to the way the Kindle did my book consumption. The novelty will pass…


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