Monday 17 December 2012

<pun> A routine step for Man </pun>

Bar-room chat with Armando and Pierre very naturally turned to the Isle of Man moon-shot plans.

Having in the past authored a documentary piece mistaken by some as spoof or fiction, I saw an immediate opportunity to create an entertaining scam. But truth, as ever, is stranger than fiction, and it seems that the Isle of Man does indeed have a place near the front of the moon-shot peloton. The island state is variously listed as fourth (Hyperbola Flightglobal blog) or fifth (Daily Mail) most likely nation to mount the next personed lunar expedition.

It seems that the combination of the tax regime (well-known) and the Island's active encouragement of space industry (less well-known - to me anyway) combine to give Excalibur Almaz real plausibility of returning humans to the moon. The firm will use ex-Soviet former space stations; details are available.

Geeks are referred to the aforementioned Hyperbola blog, where technicalities are discussed in a measure of depth - I did like their observation Big rockets, complex spacecraft, and (lots of) money needed for manned lunar return. I think I had guessed that already.

Notable quotations on this hot topic:

  • writes: A three legged lander is a stable configuration as NASA’s unmanned Lunar Surveyor landers found in the 1960s.
  • Hyperbola notes: While at first sight sensible, the plan does present other problems ... .
  • The Daily Mail reports: Industry insiders have already said the island is already ‘punching above its weight’ in the 21st century space race.
  • IOM today said: The Isle of Man is another step closer in the race to the Moon, according to space industry experts.
  • The FTsays: Excalibur Almaz will charge wannabe astronauts an average of £100m for a six-eight month journey exploring deep space, and The company also hopes to drive revenues by emblazoning adverts across its space station, and If you make a mistake in space, it will kill you
  • The IoM blogger ShareCrazy notes I am afraid of heights so will not be volunteering ... which UK citizen would you nominate? We offer up a choice in our Poll: Tony Blair (war criminal, serial liar), Cherie Blair (freeloader, parasite, ‘uman Rights persecutor), Lady Thatcher (Greatest PM we ever had, please come out of retirement), Wayne Rooney (congenital idiot, scumbag) and Bob Diamond (fat cat casino banker).
(I understand the Sark cold-fusion project has stalled).

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Scott Walker - Bish Bosch: reviews

A visit to Google will yield many reviews of Scott Walker's "Bish Bosch". Some representative comments are:
  • The first time I heard Bish Bosch, I never wanted to hear it again.
  • ... who wants to buy an album you can hardly bear to listen to?
  • The first thing you hear is 30 seconds of drums that aren't so much being pounded as punished, overlaid with a kind of electronic shriek. And this is one of the more approachable moments on Bish Bosch.
  • Bish Bosch is sick with corporeal disgust and philosophical disquiet
  • Walker has always protested that people miss the humour in his work - in fairness, that's perhaps an inevitable consequence of writing songs about existential despair, Nicolae Ceausescu, illness, and disgust at the human body
  • ... listening to Bish Bosch is a bruising, draining experience
  • There's something repellently fascinating about Scott Walker's notion of music these days.
  • At the center of it all is an old man wailing about cutting off his own balls and feeding them to someone.
  • And, boy, has Walker really bitched it this time - nine new astounding abominations, nine new non-songs, bastards all, hymns without harmony, sheer discordia, and, lyrically, nothing but beasts, buggeries, and decapitations.
  • ... furious assault of dystopian instrumentation
To be fair, here are a couple of the rather fewer positive [sic] comments:
  • I started listening to this album with a mild amusement but kept returning to it to be both terrified and impressed in equal measure.
  • It might not encourage repeat plays, but to dismiss it as a racket is to do it, and its maker, a huge disservice.
Well, I've listened to it twice now.

I suspect some of these reviewers have not heard some other things I possess since they might then find Bish Bosch disappointingly melodic. While it may not be the thing I would play when Mother-in-law's at home, it's certainly a possession of note. Ah, that voice.