Friday 6 March 2009

Interspecies Loving, or, Get-You-In-The-Mood Friday #1: classic cat and dog

This edition of Interspecies Lovin' Friday might just have an anthropological edge for the same money, so hang on in for the ride. Today, we are featuring the classic dog and cat scenario: a volatile and needy situation at the BEST of times.

Here we have a classic moment of edge of interspecies cuteness. The cat finds the chihuahua so godammed cute, he just can't stop himself... these things are so often about subdom issues when it comes down to it.

In the next video, it is clear what is going on is that the siameses had been bored of each other's company for a very very long time, the sheer sameness of it all. And then the puppy arrived... The classic three lover relationship. The love seems to be truly shared around. Note that the dog is not a chihuahua. Only with this species variation could this situation be so harmonious.

The following pair of videos, when viewed in tandem, will help you to learn something. Ok, so look at this first. The picture of interspecies grooming harmony (with a little subdom edge, clearly, if you scrape the vaseline lensed surface away). There is simply no question about it: the chihuahua is this cat's bitch.

Now. Take a look at this. Same cat. Same chihuahua. But realer. More complicated. Also the introduction of cat #2. We are ready for more.

Have you noticed how the cats are ALWAYS the dominant partner?

But can they really get along? I mean, outside of the sofa, the bed, the livingroom floor? Tune in next friday! We might have donkeys. I am not promising anything, Cindy.

Myspace looks different today

They've prettied up the song player. You can see it on some of the links I'm embedding today. And no, I have not forgot that is Cute Friday. I will be getting you hopped up on some small cute servings later this afternoon.

So, today's post is simple. It is What I Am Listening To Right Now.

Started last might with The Bowmans, for the second time. To be honest, I find something a little twee and clicheed about their songs, but godammit the sound of their voices together is just gorgeous. Their tone is not hugely varied, but it is thick and luscious. Lullaby-like.

They will probably not like this appraisal if they come across it. Nobody likes less than total enthusiasm when you've worked your arse and pocket off for months to make a labour of love. I dig that. But I also dig that I can listen to this stuff and it is not the kind of stuff I would normally find interesting, but I can hear the beauty in it. The last three songs of this myspace selection are particularly smokin', actually. The Bowmans are selling their new album now, from their myspace page.

I'm not a fan of earnest/cryptic Americana to be honest, but I can't get enough of Gillian Welch for instance. It's amazing how tiny the degrees are between what leaves you indifferent and what makes you ache with desire.

With Welch and Rawlings, it's again the gorgeous complementarity of their sound together, but it is also the sheer dryness of the tone, this desert-like tone, and their incredibly specific, clear, simple, hip, unclicheed songwriting.

Ok, so I've just watched Pete Doherty being interviewed by Pat Kenny, the most untalented, unsocial man to have a lifelong career in chatshow interviewing.

And then there's part two of this interview. Watch the kid on drugs shine over the man who thinks he's interviewing him for a bank clerk post. Does Pat Kenny not understand the notion of actually trying to get the best out of your guest? Clearly he's done his apprenticeship under the tutelage of Gay Byrne, particularly those interviews where Byrne grilled American mistresses of bishops who bore said bishops sons, like it was the Spanish Inquisition, rather than noting Byrne's natural hammy friendliness at times. Unfortunate choice of influence, but then I guess you can't always choose what you become influenced by, can you Pat Kenny? I'm sure that Pat Kenny has met excellent listeners in his time, but he hasn't noticed, clearly. Because if he was listening to this interviewee bearing his fucking soul for him, he would have noticed that the business of becoming mixed up in drugs was not the coolest thing that Pete Doherty thought he had ever done.

Ireland is an island nation of course, with a certain narrowness of outlook, and perhaps Parkinson's matey and gracious warmth was just a bridge to far to emulate. To be honest, I really put it down to the fact that Pat Kenny is good at numbers, and talking about economics on the radio, and really committed when he is doing that.

But when he's interviewing humans who are Different To Him, he misses every last bit of the good stuff. In this interview he sounds like a moralising tabloid, missing the humanity. He's clearly prepared to interview a half-conscious junkie, and instead gotten a lucid and openhearted junkie, and he can't even recognise this. There is a difference, mister Kenny, between 'asking tough questions' and 'endlessly harping on the same question 15 different times'.

So. The part of this interview that set off a hurrah in my heart was when Doherty tells Kenny that all the questions he has asked him in this interview were about "drugs or Kate. I bet you couldn't mention a single song I've written." And the answer from Kenny is that no, he couldn't. And Doherty responds with " well that is what I would like to do. I would like to put a melody in your heart and your head, and that that would be the first thing you would think of when you think of me". And then he sings his song.

Pete Doherty also has a record out next week. Two of his songs are up on myspace.

Thanks to Paula, who linked to Pete in one of her last posts on her blog.

Thursday 5 March 2009

Closed Zone

This is a very short piece of animated simplicity, made by Yoni Goodman, the animation director of Walz With Bashir. It's a little window of metaphor of life in Gaza.

Sayin it like it is, and spamming twitter with it

This is what a twitter spammer looks like. You can block them, and that is what I do, but you know, I paused at this guy's bio. I mean, he's getting at the core of the human condition in five words there.


Tuesday 3 March 2009

Sita sings the blues

I watched this a couple of days ago and it soothed my soul and the world caught fire. It's a full length animated film available in full, for free, here. It has been created from the mind and heart of Nina Paley, and she has woven some profound human archetypes, stories that resonate again and again in our lives, into this fabric of her own story, using the songs of Annette Hanshaw and the classic Hindu story of the Ramayana. It is wonderful, and profound and funny and gorgeous. It made me cry and it made me hot.

Nina moved from San Francisco to India to follow her husband, who had taken a job there. What she found when she went after him was coldness and withdrawal, leading to him dumping her by email while she was in New York for a meeting. Unable to move back to San Francisco, and with her marriage in tatters, she took a flat in Brooklyn and grieved. And five years later, she gave us this.

She has released it openly, on a creative commons license, available for anyone who wants to download it, and it is also streaming freely online. She has written about how important it is to her that stories and music that she found in the public domain be released back to that domain without restriction. And so she is now in a position of having to buy herself 'out of copyright prison', in other words pay the holders of the copyright to the songs used in the movie, $50,000 for their use, even though the songs were written over 80 years ago. If you are moved, this is how you can help her on her way.

This movie tells Sita's story so beautifully and elegantly and with such truth, accuracy and insight. What a gift.

Monday 2 March 2009

What has happened to Katie Shea?

This post is a special request from my budding flea fanbase in Oahu, Hawaii (hi guys! squeak squeak squeak squeeeeeak!! Hurrah!). They wanted something they could read.

For the humans, this is an excerpt from my lovingly tended, daily fed spam folder, which reassures me: "you will become popular among the hottest women" (phew, eh?) and then proceeds somewhat cryptically, "Show off with your power and star". I guess it's time to finally do something with that Betelgeuse I've had tucked away in storage in my parents garage for a while.

This urging was sent to me by Katie Shea.

Katie used to be such a lovely robust, salt of the earth Irish woman. Now, she has become a soothsayer of sex. I admire her versatility in this celtic rodent economy, and wish her all the best with her future career.