Radiohead – In Rainbows

So we know that Radiohead released an album a few days ago, and you could buy it for FREE. After about 10 minutes of deliberating I paid a fiver for it (the average, apparently, is £4). This isn’t a review, but I think it’s the best thing they have done since OK Computer. Previous to last week, I thought they would never better Kid A with a new release (especially after ‘Hail To The Thief’ which i purchased and ignored once I had got bored of listening to ‘2+2=5’). This album is more about presenting a strong set of tunes, ditching some (not all) of the studio trickery and sheer bloodymindedness that characterised their previous noughties output. Thom Yorke sounds energised, which is good news for the band, the listener and the album. I have played it constantly over the last few days, and if you are a Radiohead fan, then pay a reasonable sum into their online ‘honesty box’ and download it, because it bridges the gaps between all their previous work, and all the moods of Radiohead, into a satisfying, coherent set of songs.

I love it. Thanks Radiohead.

Drowned in Sound have a lively messageboard devoted to the question ‘How much did you pay?’;

Drowned in Sound

Here is the Radiohead site;

DEAD AIR SPACE

Here’s where you get ‘in rainbows’;

in rainbows

Another TV Hijacking!! November 22nd, 1987


Talking of TV Hijacking, which I did a couple of posts back, led me to doing a bit more research on this subject. There’s not a huge amount on the subject, because there haven’t been that many ‘hijacks’ (in the sense that the signal has been taken and used for subversive purposes – see my earlier post about ‘Vrillion’). I did, however, come across this incident in late 1987 on American TV. The Wiki entry summarises the incident neatly;

“The Max Headroom pirating incident was a television signal hijacking in Chicago, Illinois on the evening of November 22, 1987; it is an example of what is known in the television business as broadcast signal intrusion. The hijacker was successful in interrupting two television stations within 3 hours; and, as of 2007, neither he nor his accomplices have been found or even identified.”

taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_pirating_incident

The hijack occured on 2 seperate occasions that night on 2 seperate channels – one interruption during a sports bulletin, the second during a showing of the Dr Who episode ‘Horror Of Fang Rock’ (here’s a news bulletin on the incident);

Damn Interestings take on the hijack
An Article on the Incident
Transcript of an email from 1987 where the issue is discussed
TNS article part I
TNS article part II

Finally, theres a couple of other places you can see this;

Labyrinth 13 report

The Hijack footage on Vimeo

GCD

http://www.comics.org/

Check it out – the Grand Comics Database Project. It describes itself as;

The Grand Comic-Book Database Charter

We are building a simple database that will be easy to use and understand, easy to add to, and easy for people to contribute to.

We will include information on creator credits, story details, and other information useful to the comic book reader and fan.

If we are able to take this to its ultimate conclusion, this database will contain data for every comic book ever published.

This project is for us, and the people like us. We will use this as a comic-book database which can be searched and sorted. The database will be a resource for fans, hobbyists and collectors, with no commercial objectives.

Basically, if you want to search for a comic cover – it’s there, indexed and catalogued and there in full colour. It is a fantastic project. For example, I wanted to track down the first US marvel comic I purchased – I knew it was Conan, around later 82 / early 83. Within a minute, it was there;

If you are into Comic art (and I find Comic Cover art the most exciting and dynamic) then you need to check this site out.

Its here;

http://www.comics.org/

Joe 90 intro – 1968

Psychedelic late 60s visuals and sound from the esteemed Gerry & Sylvia Anderson team. A 9 year old boy who undergoes brain washing to undertake deadly spy missions? Could they get away with it today? I guess its ‘children’ are the likes of the Robert Rodriguez ‘Spy Kids’ trilogy (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spy_Kids_trilogy), and the Charlie Higson ‘young James Bond’ novels (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Bond). Joe 90 didn’t match the success of Thunderbirds & Captain Scarlet (it was limited to one series of 30 episodes), and was the last of the classic ‘Supermarionation’ filmed Anderson productions (see here for a fuller explanation of Supermarionation).

Joe 90 Wiki entry;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_90

A huge (and very nice looking) fansite;
http://www.bigrat.co.uk/

The mighty Fanderson site provides a list of episodes, with a lot of other resources;
http://www.fanderson.org.uk/epguides/joeeg.html

The whole series of Joe 90 is available as a DVD boxset.

The next Gerry Anderson production was ‘The Secret Service’, of which I will write about at a future date.

A different kind of newsflash from the Seventies…. (1977)

A few months ago I discussed my childhood terror of ITN newsflashes and serial killers. All I can say is, I am glad I wasnt a 7 year old home alone (and I would like to stress no 7 year old should be left home alone) when this happened.

OH. MY. GOD.

On the evening of November the 26th, 1977, the ITN news broadcast was interrupted at 17:10 – although the video remained the same, the audio signal was hijacked by an alien!

The voice proclaimed to be ‘Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command’, and had a message for Earth, warning of total destruciton if Humans carried on their present path.

This is from the esteemed ‘Fortean Times’ article on the event (courtesy of http://www.strangeattractor.co.uk/further/?p=522

And this from Fortean Times #24, Winter 1977

“Mention must be made here of an event that startled several thousands of TV watchers in Southern England. At 5.06pm, just as the news was being read on Saturday evening, 26 November 1977, a deep voice, accomapnied by an eerie booming sound likened to a “hollow drumming”, drowned out the newscaster’s voice and delivered a short message…

This is the voice of Asteron. I am an authorised representative of the Intergalactic Mission, and I have a message for planet Earth. We are beginning to enter the period of Aquarius and there are many corrections which have to be made by Earth People. All your weapons of evil must be destroyed. You have only a short time to live to learn to live together in peace. You must live in peace… or leave the galaxy.

Somehow the originators of the message had jammed the sound signals frmo Southern TV’s transmitter at Hannington, Wiltshire, so viewers from Newbury and Reading to Winchester and Andover heard the weird voice superimposed over the ITN news bulletin. It caused sufficent panic for SOuthern TV to put half-hourly announcements insisting that it had been a hoax and that the planet was not being invaded. Predictably the IBA and Post Office took a rigid humourless stand, vowing prosecution of the culprits… and if the planet had been invaded we’d like to have seen them try!

Whoever did the deed knew their stuff, for the android (as one Post Office representative persisted in calling the mystery voice) needed sophisticated equipment or techniques to break into and dominate a TV transmission. One perceptive letter in the Times pointed out that if this was the first time this had ever happened in Britain, as the IBA claimed, then how could they be sure it was a hoax? Inexplicably the News of the World and Daily Mail call the owner of the voice ‘Gillon of the Ashdown Galactic Command’ and that he said “Unless the weapons of Earth are laid dow, destruction from outer space invasion will quickly follow”. We hope their regular news reportage is more accurate than that, for the indication is that they’ve simply invented a more shocking message. The Sunday Times claimed to have tracked down a student group who invented a new type of transmistter (for £80) which can ‘hich a ride’ on conventional transmissions. But again, how can they be sure that this isn’t a bandwagon hoax?

Incidentally, we’re sure you noticed that the ‘entity’ and message closely conform to the messages given to UFO prophets, psychic sitting groups and contactees (see UFOs:John Keel’s Operation Trojan Horse and Clark & Coleman’s The Unidentified for discussions of names and messages from UFOs). Whoever perpetrated the hoax had done his homework; especially if he was a terrestrial. Of course the massive TV publicity of the imminent Star Wars must have reinforced its effect for those ripe for the salvation-from-the-stars belief. One professor (quoted in the Carlisle, Penn Evening Standard 3 Dec 1977) said that the reference to Aquarius proved the message was a hoax… he reasoned that as the most intelligent body on Earth, the scientists, do not believe in astrology, then ipso facto intelligent life elsewhere would not believe in it either.”

Enough of the words, lets hear the transmission! This is courtesy of Labyrinth 13;

http://labyrinth13.com

and hosted on vimeo (http;//www.vimeo.com). Nice use of the theremin on the introductory test….

Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command Incident from Labyrinth13 on Vimeo.

Ashtar Command it is claimed, are an extraterrestrial organization associated with and promoted by New Age believers and contactees, including George Van Tassel and others (see the Wikipedia entry);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtar_Galactic_Command

Whoever or whatever hijacked the broadcast, it is certainly effective. I will change my ways forthwith!!

Some thoughts on the Vrillon broadcast on a Hoax forum (if you don’t want to ruin the magic, don’t read it!);

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forum/forum_comments/2024/

It even makes it into this sites televisual events of the year, 1977 (and rightly so);

http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/1977-in-television/events.html

There is a very good article on TV hijackings at the splendid trandiffusion.org site, including the Vrillon ITN hijack;

http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/geohistory/hijack.php

The ‘best ever name for a rapper’ award goes to……

Shorty Shit Stain!

When I purchased the fantastic debut album by Ol’ Dirty Bastard, ‘Return To The 36 Chambers’,

there were several tracks that really stood out, and a couple of them heavily featured other artists, mainly made up of ODB’s crew, the ‘Brooklyn Zu’. On Track 14, “Proteck Ya Neck II In The Zoo” it features a whole host of friends, those being Buddah Monk, Prodigal Sunn, Zu Keeper, Murdoc, Killah Priest, 12 O’Clock, 60 Second Assasin, and the marvellous-monikered Shorty Shit Stain. It’s a raw, dirty slab of mid-nineties east-coast hip hop, with ODB’s maniacal / drunken rapping style leading the charge.

Aside* In an unfathomable way, in the way that the iPod shuffle selection is magical, telepathic and slightly scary, one of ODB’s finest tracks is playing as I write this (the TJ Hooker-sampling “I Can’t Wait” from his 2nd album, the patchy “Nigga Please”)*End Of Aside*

Shorty Shit Stain gets a verse on “…II In The Zoo”, and he manages to namecheck himself, which is only fair, as self promotion is an integral part of the game in rapping;

[Shorty Shit Stain – Brooklyn Zu]

Got more props than the President
My hardcore represent, blowin niggaz back who never had this
Cause I’m gifted, so you can get wrapped
The shit I’m kickin, send it to your MOMS for Christmas
And tell her Shorty Shit Stain sent it
Soon to have more green than the Jolly Green Giant
Cuz niggaz rap styles just down is aspired
You shoulda stayed HOME instead of picking up a microphone
But if you wanna run on up, like you TOUGH
I call your bluff, and blow you down with my hardcore
Stuff, I shine like twenty-four carat

Great album, by the way – one of the Wu Tang classics, from their Golden Period in the early to mid-90s – for other greats from that period, check out the following;

Method Man – Tical
Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
GZA – Liquid Swords
Ghostface Killah feat Raekwon – Ironman

and the one that kicked off the fuss;

Wu Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang 36 Chambers

Amazingly, the RZA produced all of those beauties pretty much on his own – it was when he took a step back that the second round of albums started dipping in terms of quality (honourable exception goes to Ghostface Killah aka Ghostface aka Tony Starks aka Ironman, who has never produced a less-than-very-good album).

Back to Shorty Shit Stain. I looked for more details on the guy, like a photo, which I thought would be useful because I couldnt really envisage what a guy who called himself Shorty Shit Stain would like. I cannot locate one anywhere, not even on this site which appears to be written by ‘Zukeeper’, one of the ‘Brooklyn Zoo’;

http://brooklynzu.com/

What I do know now, after visiting that site, is that Shorty… is the brother of both ’12 O’ Clock’ & ‘Zukeeper’, but the ‘bio’ section of the site only has a ‘coming soon’ next to Shorty’s entry….

Sadly, they only have 1 friend on myspace as well;

http://myspace.com/odbbrooklynzu

Here’s a discography of Shorty’s rapping on record. Seems like he hasnt done anything since the late nineties (unless the contribution on ODB’s best of was a new contribution);

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Shorty+Shit+Stain

Anyone know if Shorty Shit Stain, or even Brooklyn Zu, are still active?