Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Beck Covers Nick

Three very nice Nick Drake covers from Beck.

Which Will
Pink Moon

Thanks to Evan.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Levels of Dream and Myth

Have a look at the beautiful photography of Brad Cole, who I discovered through Robert Rich. Both artists are well worth your attention, if you're a fan of texture and mystery.

Related: In addition to his music career, Robert Rich writes about food, wine and restaurants. Can I please have this guy's life?

The Value of Attention

Ever wondered how web-based companies plan to make money when all they do is provide things for free? Here's a very interesting interview with Esther Dyson, addressing the issue.

Related: awesome global map of Web 2.0 startups. Your ultimate source for brightly coloured, rounded logos.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Punk History

On this day in 1977, Wire played their first gig, opening for The Jam at The Roxy in London. From "Punk Diary 1970-1979" by George Gimarc, St. Martin's Press

Yeah, I'm a middle-aged punk. Sue me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kottke Free Ride Ends

Jason Kottke - well known within the tech/blogging community, has ended his "pay me for blogging" experiment after one year. In February 2005, he announced that his blog, kottke.org would become his full time job and readers were encouraged to donate "micropayments" to keep him afloat. He received just under $40,000 during his initial 3 week fund drive, but didn't seem to significantly improve the site (as he promised), despite having the time and resources. Today, he announced he's giving up on the subscription-based blog idea and moving on to other things. Kottke.org will continue, but simply as a zillion other blogs do - without donations.

I confess to visiting his site daily. His writing is generally OK and he strikes a pretty fair balance between nerd/non-nerd topics. The content was never however, worth paying for, considering the abundance of similar free blogs out there.

Over at Metafilter (another of my daily visit sites), he took a hammering.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

John Foxx

Video for "Underpass" - a track from one of my all time favourite recordings, John Foxx's "Metamatic."

*I really wish these YouTube videos loaded faster.

Also - official site for "Cathedral Oceans" - Foxx's intriguing audio/video project.

Inside Google

Photo gallery of the Google environment. Among the employee perks: gourmet food and on-site hairstylists.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Points in Time

I know my show's not for everyone, but for those adventurous souls out there, I've put together a very quiet, atmospheric edition of Points in Time this week. Features 2 tracks from the wonderfully mysterious Dark Winter netlabel.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Musicians with Cameras

Some very nice photography from David Sylvian. I'm less enthusiastic about Lou Reed's images.

Related: going back many years, here's Sylvian and Japan performing "Ghosts" on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Many more Sylvian related videos here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

CNNI Goes Lo-Fi

Kudos to CNN International for taking a bold step away from convention. As seen in the above images, they've elected to simplify on-screen graphics and reduce the visual clutter. The trend for many years has been to present a cumulative message through video, graphics and effects - often at the expense of the real story being told. This stripped down presentation is a terrific design development and should help sharpen the distinction between news and entertainment. I'm so tired of graphic motion trails, branded stories and chrome fonts. I don't need some story on global warming to look like the intro to American Gladiators.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Texture and Space

While visiting the new Floria Sigismondi website it occured to me that I tend to gravitate towards art and design ideas that sit at opposite ends of an aesthetic axis. On one end, I really love rich, highly detailed work that mirrors the complexity of nature and our existence. I also have a strong affinity for minimalist work that exhibits a high level of precision and simplicity. I like details. I like emptiness. I also like "messy." Texture and space.

Texture examples: Russell Mills, Joseph Cornell, Sonic Youth, 23 Envelope

Space examples: Kraftwerk, iPod, Peter Saville

Sometimes, texture and space merge. Now, that's when things get really interesting. Examples: Brian Eno, Autechre

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mars Mystery

NASA's Spirit Mars rover has discovered something quite strange. Scientists are speculating on what sort of natural phenomenon could have caused this. Picture here. Story here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Best. Spam. Ever.

This arrived in my inbox today:

Everybody knows the great sexual scandal known as "Klinton-Levinsky".
After the relations like this Klintons popularity raised a lot!
It is a natural phenomenon, because Bill as a real man in order not to
shame himself when he was with Monica regularly used Voagra.
What happened you see. His political figure became more bright and more attractive. It is very important for a man to be respected as a man!

See our Voagra shop to enter upon the new phase of your life.

Prince on SNL

For those that missed it, here's Prince being flat-out awesome on SNL last week. Great song. Great performance. Seriously, it's amazingly good.

Grammy Winner

Congratulations to Paul Winter and everyone at his label, Living Music. "Paul Winter Consort & Friends: Silver Solstice" won the Best New Age Recording Grammy Award last night. I developed a page on his website that provided Flash-based streaming of the entire album.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Good Old Tom

The Tommorow Show with Tom Snyder - Punk and New Wave. Wow, I never expected to see this pop up. I was a huge fan of The Tomorrow Show back in the late 70's and early 80's, and saw many of the segments featured on this double DVD set. The format of the show was the absolute best - no studio audience, just Tom and guest sitting and talking, with appropriate no-bullshit, harshly lit musical performances. I can't wait to see them again, particularly Elvis Costello (if I recall correctly, he did a killer version of "New Lace Sleeves") and The Jam. Trailer here.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Real Beauty

As the father of a 13 year old girl, I'm 100% behind the Campaign for Real Beauty established by Dove. I'm not taking the obvious cynical and dismissive "it's just marketing" stance. Of course it's marketing, but when it sells a truly positive and important message along with the soap, I'm all for it. Like Fuji Film's "Forests Forever" and Doc Marten's "Veer" - this is advertising I can certainly live with. More ideas like this please.

Just Old?

Within different news reports of Al (Grandpa Munster) Lewis' recent death, I've seen his age listed as 82, 83, 85 and 95. The mystery deepens. Stay tuned.


Look elsewhere for much more nerdish posts about this topic, but as a devout Firefox user I must admit that the inclusion of RSS feed reading within the new Internet Explorer 7 takes the wind out of Firefox's sails a bit (maybe tons). It also puts RSS into the minds of the non-tech masses, opening doors for small business owners like myself. It's time for some thinking.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Joe Strummer Doc

A documentary on Joe Strummer is in the works. Julien Temple will direct. This is good news.

Strummer and The Clash meant the world to me during high school and his swan song, "Streetcore" is easily one of my favourite records of the past few years. I spent many, many hours in my teenage bedroom absorbing The Clash.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Small Business Thoughts

What I've learned while growing my own small business:

1. Networking groups have their place, but don't forget - everyone is selling, few are buying.

2. The internet is your best friend. Use it.

3. Respect your clients and be there for them. They're not that in love with your talent.

4. Instead of placing an ad somewhere - spend 2 evenings finding customers on the web.

5. Your local community can only provide so much for you. Find ways to reach beyond.

6. Don't be phony. There's no need to pretend your PO Box is a "suite." Running a business from home doesn't mean "unprofessional."

7. Never cheat and always take the high road. Every client is a salesman for you. When necessary, bow out gracefully.

8. Trust people. Whenever possible, don't make a client feel like they have to pass a test. Yes, there are people who'll take advantage of you, but not enough to warrant a tacky security system.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Staying Organized in the Drone Zone

Two things that have made my work/life better:

EssentialPIM - an Outlook clone that works like a champ. My entire business is now housed completely in this great little program. There's a pro version with additional features, but the free model I've been using for the past couple months is exactly what I need. It's one of those well designed programs that you actually look forward to using. The litmus test of interface design.

I'm also a huge fan of SomaFM - the free streaming music site, based in San Francisco, that offers up multiple "stations" of great work-friendly (for me at least) ambient and beat-driven electronica. My favorite is "Drone Zone" - an endless stream of textured ambience that fills the air around my desk nicely. Up to the minute playlists are linked to Amazon - giving SomaFM a well-desrved 5% commission. This whole arrangement seems completely logical to me. Everyone's winning - me, SomaFM, the artists and Amazon.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Underappreciated Revisited

On my old "Spinning Away" blog, I once posted a list of things that I thought were underappreciated. It's time for another one. So, in no particular order...

1. NPR's Tom Ashbrook
2. Fabio getting a seagull in the face on that rollercoaster.
3. Aaron Brown
4. The Frisbee (I never see people tossing them anymore).
5. Jeff Garlin
6. Craig Ferguson
7. Christo
8. Generally, the mystery of our existence.


Nothing beats the graceful aging of the real thing, but when you absolutely must have a full grown tree inside your shopping mall or casino right way, who ya gonna call? The Naturemaker, manufacturers of amazing fake trees. I find this cool.