Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jennifer, where are you tonight?

I'm like Muriel in this sense - You know, she's the one in that movie "Muriel's Wedding" where she was put down by the girls around her for being stuck in the 70s and listening to nothing but ABBA while they listened to The Baby Animals and Nirvana.

I've been listening to the Eurythmic's second album "Sweet Dreams."
This is one of those albums you can listen to all the way through and enjoy every song. When you have that much talent, you can make it work with anything you got around you. This album was recorded using no more than an 8 track recorder, drum machine, some synths and guitars. As the saying goes "less is more." Annie and Dave make a perfect team as like Vince and Alison of Yazoo.

1983 was all about image, music videos as well as the music istelf and gender bending was the name of the game. Annie had short cropped orange hair and wore men's suits. It was a nice contrast to Boy George, Marilyn and Pete Burns.




During the 1984 Grammy Awards, the Euryhmics gave an excellent performence of "Sweet Dreams." Annie looked rather like a young Elivs compelete with sideburns!




It's hard to pick a favorite from this album, but I will have to say that "Wrap it Up" is among my all time favorites. Annie sang this with Scritti Politti's Green Gartside.

Here's a version of the song and video. It's not the same as the one on the ablum, but still excellent and check out Annie's moves!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!


This picture was taken sometime ago at Rockefeller Center. I thought I'd recycle.

Wishing everyone a great holiday and peace, joy and love and all that good stuff. Whether you're with friends, family or just on your own, may it be special.



I'm just kicking back watching "Mixed Nuts." I guess this is my pick of holiday season movies not to be outdone by "A Christmas Story." I don't know what it is about "Mixed Nuts" that I find so amusing. Maybe it's because all the characters are so dysfunctional and Liev Shriebner is in drag or that Steve Martin runs a suicide hotline business.

You can practically watch the entire movie on YouTube

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hearing sounds of celebrations makes me lonely too


Finally the search is over! I have finally in my hands a newly re-issued CD of Visage's >> The Anvil << And with five extra tracks, it's a don't miss to any fan of the New Romantic scene.

Fronted by Steve Strange alongside Midge Ure, Billy Currie and Rusty Egan, Visage made some great pop music incorporating a lot of synths and clever guitar riffs. >> The Anvil << was originally released in 1982 on the Polydor label. This 2008 re-issue is by CherryPop a division of Cherry Red Records. This album is somewhat more darker than their self titled album which included the phenomenal Fade To Grey. Starting with a melancholy The Damned Don't Cry, then we go into a dark underworld night club scene at Anvil (Night Club School). The next track is my absolute favorite called Move Up. This track has been in quite a few of my mixtapes back in the day.

The five extra tracks:

  • We Move (Dance Mix)
  • Frequency 7 (Dance Mix)
  • The Damned Don't Cry (Dance Mix)
  • Motivation (b-side)
  • I'm Still Searching (b-side)
  • Mind of A Toy (Dance Mix)
Here's where I have a problem with this. Why isn't The Anvil (Night Club School - Dance Mix) included as an extra track? If it's because they could not squeeze an extra track to make it into one CD, they could have removed those that clearly were not part of the album. Both We Move and Frequency 7 appear on other Visage CDs. So it didn't make sense to me to leave out The Anvil and Night Train dance mixes which would have made it a complete re-issue of the Anvil production.

The CD comes with a booklet of pictures and bio.

But I'm not complaining. I'm just glad I finally got a CD of this. It was re-issued once back in 1997 but I had completely missed out on it. Not to say that I wasn't searching for it at the record stores. It just wasn't there whenever I looked.

Video - The Damned Don't Cry (embedding disabled)

Visage - The Horseman

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sufjan's stitches


So I found this picture of Sufjan Stevens knitting up what seems to be a scarf. See, it's more common than you think, these men who knit.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Now I'm comming up for air

I never had to call the tune
'Cause I always drifted with the tide of the moon
I would go out every night
Looking for someone to treat me right
Not a chance, not a hope in this world

The soundtrack to our lives change with the seasons. Now the weather has turned cold and along with it a slew of tunes that highlight certain moments in our lives. One song that has been on my list of tunes lately is Erasure's "Breath of Life." I was in my mid 20s at the time working for an Insurance company and I remember having to walk to work around 6 am and would listening on my walkman containing a mixed tape featuring this song among others like Pet Shop Boy's "Dreaming of The Queen" and "The Theater."

It was quite an interesting time as I had finally found a few people to hang out with during the weekends. We had the designated driver who would pick each of us up from our houses like some school bus driver and head out somewhere to eat. Then, we would hop to a few bars and have a few drinks, maybe dance and hang around. These were nowhere special and were just places to warm up. We had two clubs that we spent the majority of our time at and pretty much stayed there until closing. One was called Prestons and the other was The Works. It so happens that it was the most happening times at either of these clubs during those years.

But still things were very awkward for me. But I have to say that during that time, I think I did pretty well compared to today with the whole socializing thing. I don't recall any of those nights ever being bad. If you were looking for that other kind of good time, where you would leave with someone, then you'd have to come alone. Otherwise, there were a lot of us doing the same. There were all these groups of friends that would all show up at the same time and you kind of just hung around together, drank together, danced and gossiped and had some laughs jabbing at the other groups and making up some stories of who they were. As far as love was concerned, it was still a hopeless world out there. But if I cut out that thought, I'd say I had a heck of a time.

I can still hear the echoes...

"I got my education... I got my education"

"Miss thing... There is no guest list tonight!"

But you know, someone did save my life and I'm grateful for him. I was alone and friendless and there was all these fabulous clothes in the closet waiting to be worn. They thought they would never see the light of day.

"Why don't you put me on?"
"Wear me!"

I guess I had foresight for buying all those clothes. A phone call came one night and he said "A bunch of us are going out - want me to pick you up?"

Thank Zeus!

Erasure - Breath of Life

Friday, November 28, 2008

Planet Rock and World Destruction

Afrika Bambaataa (Goerge Clinton) in the early years of hip-hop who recognized the genius of Kraftwerk - and incorporated their sound from "Trans Europe Express" into their classic "Planet Rock" in 1982. Excellent beat and bass - guaranteed to make you move it.



Later on Afrika teamed up with John Lydon a.k.a. Johnny Rotten and recorded "World Destruction." This song is just as relevant to today as it was back when it was first recorded in the 80s, especially with what's just happened in India.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

They're not shy


No - No - The 80s won't go away.
Well, I was STILL a teen and this song was on my Brit-pop compliation record, something called "Now That's What I Call Music." Anyway, it had the hits of the time and it was all too English. I never bought a Kajagoogoo album. Just that their pictures were in every magazine, be it No. 1 or Smash Hits. "Too Shy" was clever, catchy and had a fantastic bass line but here Nick Beggs looks ridiculous.
Anyway, they were part of that invasion along with Bowowow and Culture Club, so it deserves some sort of mention.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2009 - Year of Ultravox?

Ultravox have put out re-mastered definitive versions of their first two albums Vienna and Rage In Eden. They are each two disc sets containing all the b-sides, live versions and 12" mixes.

The more exciting news is that all members have reunited to tour calling it "Return To Eden." There are no U.S. dates at the moment, but let's hope there are. I'll go to that show in a heartbeat!

My favorite 15 Ultravox songs:
  1. Visions In Blue
  2. The Voice
  3. I Remember (Death In The Afternoon)
  4. We Came To Dance
  5. Sleepwalk
  6. Vienna
  7. Mr. X
  8. Lament
  9. One Small Day
  10. White China
  11. I Never Wanted To Begin
  12. Hymn
  13. Reap The Wild Wind
  14. New Europeans
  15. Mine For Life
Actually, this is a hard list to make as all the Midge Ure Ultravox almost are listenable all the way through. All except the album titled U-Vox. I don't know what happened there. Everything from Vienna to Lament is gold to me.

We will be re-buying these same albums for years to come! I had bought all the Ultravox CDs as they were re-released sometime in the early 2000s. There's always a twist and a reason for buying the new ones that come out. I'll buy them, as long as they don't come with a "tacky badge."

Ultravox Official Site.

Addendum: Also announced is a Greatest Hits CD/DVD package.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

7 Random Facts meme - 2

Steve tagged me for this meme which I did sometime ago, but I'll play along one more time to pull me out of the blogging slump I've been in. I will post the rules, but I'm afraid cannot follow all the way. This blog is kind of intimate to just a few people and don't have the 7 people to tag, therefore, I will post the rules in case you want to do it proper. Thanks Steve.

Below are the rules:

1. You must link to the individual who tagged you and post the rules of TAG (which you are currently reading).
2. Post 7 random facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 friends and link to them and
4. Let them know that they have been tagged by leaving a nice little message on their blog.

Here are my seven random facts about myself:


1. I wore black. A lot! Even before I knew about the whole "goth" thing. But this picture is from the late 80s at a friend's apartment in Tempe, AZ.

2. I used to buy records based on album cover and names of bands alone and sometimes I would luck out and I would become a fan. Three of them were Frontline Assembly, Fad Gadget and Christian Death.

3. In Junior High we took a class trip to Philadelphia, someone had a radio and we listened to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'N Roll" pretty much the entire trip. Then we took a trip to Washington DC. My friend next to me had a radio, and we played Blondie's "Parallel Lines" album all the way through the entire trip. I provided the tape. In high school we took a trip to Salem Massachusetts. My friend had a radio and he played Frank Zappa's "Apostrophe" album throughout the entire trip. It was a blast. I met Laurie Cabot, the "certified" Witch of Salem there.

4. I didn't know how to prepare a proper portfolio so was not admitted to "The High School of Art & Design."

5. Once as a child I was playing around in a park with my brothers and a car going rather slow ran over my foot. When the crowd screamed for the car to stop, the driver stopped and went in reverse, again running over my foot. I wasn't hurt that much. (This would be the same place where we would watch for the swimming turtle, Steve.)

6. I fell in love with writing instruments at an early age when my dad brought me this really fabulous case of assorted pens. It included a fountain pen and even though I did not know how to write yet, I took an already written paper, put a blank paper on top of it and began to trace the writing with the fountain pen. At school, you were required to write only with fountain pens even though disposable pens were widely available.

7. I have always been fascinated with origins and watching things progress to their maturity. I love reading and learning about the origins of the universe, I love to watch plants grow from seedlings to plants and flowers. I love making strings of yarn into fabric and covering a blank piece of paper with lines, shapes and color to make "art." Also, composing music.

Some art I worked on while I took a class on Fashion Illustration at FIT. These previously posted before in another blog:


I know some of you have done this meme before, so I'm not tagging anyone but you're welcome to do it if you want to again and let me know so I can check it out.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

No: I've Changed my mind again (aaaaw!)


The Red Radio a pretty cool music blog has a nice rundown on the new Smiths compilation (The Sound of The Smiths). About every couple of years a new Smiths compilation comes out, but this one is different because both Moz and Marr have teamed up to put it together. Love the cover. I would get this one. It's not a bad idea because Moz is still actively recording and touring. There's just no stopping him. And in recent tours, Moz has performed quite a lot of Smiths songs during his concerts. I think during "Quarry" Moz gained a lot of new fans and this is a way for the new guys to get more familiar with The Smiths.

And over at Middle Eight, XO had a pretty nice post about all the new Moz/Smiths activity and he gave us a chance to "voice" out our list of 10 favorite Smiths tunes. I always love the opportunity to give a list of my favorite artist tunes. Get the details from Red Radio and Middle Eight.

Good Night and Than You.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Watching TV last night was almost like watching Dick Clark's "Rockin' New Years Eve" and waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square. The cheering of the crowds, the dancing, the emotional outpour.

Here's something from Mike Moore:

"But today we celebrate this triumph of decency over personal attack, of peace over war, of intelligence over a belief that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs just 6,000 years ago. What will it be like to have a smart president? Science, banished for eight years, will return. Imagine supporting our country's greatest minds as they seek to cure illness, discover new forms of energy, and work to save the planet. I know, pinch me. "

Speaking of which, you have to go see Religulous. A docu. by Bill Maher. It's a movie to offend anyone that has faith and follows organized relegions and to make those who don't laugh out loud.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Change Underway


Congratulations to Barack Obama on being elected our next president. This is no doubt a most historical moment in our nation. We can now breathe a sigh of relief and say goodbye to 8 years of Bush.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Watercolor practice



I'll post this because it ended up looking like something. But I'm working on it and trying to practice (by the looks of it, I need plenty of it.) But it's progress all the same.

If any artist cares to share, just wondering what you prefer working with (watercolor brands, brushes, paper, etc..) I did this little piece with Winsor Cotman which I've had for years. One of the colors had completely dried up in the tube! Does this happen with the good brands? Is it cause it wasn't used for such a long time?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Head Sketch

IF - Vacant

Watercolor pencils (Caran D'ache) on watercolor post card.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Whatever Happened to the Gender Benders?

Interesting documentary on YouTube about the New Romantics and those Blitz kids that frequented the club in that era. Commentaries include Steve Strange, Boy George, Marilyn and Marc Almond.

Part 1



Part 2



Part 3



Part 4



Part 5

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Those Post-It Doodles are back





I was lacking confidence at first, but I persevered and lo. I have posted. I mean Post-It.

Monday, October 13, 2008


There are times when I want to post something of a personal nature, but then I think twice about it. Because when you've got nothing nice to say, wait until you're 80 years old and publish a tell-all memoir like Gore Vidal has. Speaking of which, I have been reading "Palimpsest" and it's been pretty interesting reading about the author's life during the 40s and 50s. If there was any time in the world to be a noted author, I guess that's when it would be the right time. There's a decline in that sort of thing now (or has disappeared altogether.) I have more on this subject but will stretch it out in future posts.


Anyway, there are no bookstores in Astoria. I guess it has something to do with people that might want to read, learn something and get out of Astoria. Who knows. But I find it odd. So yesterday as I walked up Broadway, I did find a rather small bookstore. I walked in and there seemed to be no order to it. I looked around and, after a heavy breakfast before walking in, I was feeling pretty upset and could not wonder around as much as I wanted to. But I did see a hardcover version of Renault's "The Mask of Apollo." Used. I'm sure I've got a paperback of it somewhere at my other home. But whether I read it in its entirely or not is fuzzy. I've got several of her books most having Alexander The Great as her subject (have I actually read them??). Anyway, I paid for it and left the store. It was only $4.
Today while walking outside to get lunch, I found Hermann Hesse's "Magister Ludi - The Glass Bead Game." sold by an individual on the street for $2.
Who needs Borders?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Compu-er says noooooooo


SHUT UP! Little Britain on HBO. Funny shit all around as only the Brits can make it. Matt Lucas and David Walliams are like the male version of French & Saunders, just as Fun Boy Three were the male version of Bananarama. Anyway, there are a host of funny characters. Some new and interesting ones and some familiar like Lou and Andy, Marjorie, Vicky (SHUT UP!), and Daffy (the only gay in the village).


I wish F&S would get an HBO deal too.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Touring The Universe


In April, Depeche Mode will release their 12th studio album. They are in New York recording at the moment. Yesterday they gave a press conference in Germany discussing the European leg of the tour already announced. They're calling it "Tour of the Universe." From what I understand, they are playing cities where they never played before so I guess that would make it the "Universe."

Anyway, see for yourselves. I haven't watched the entire press conference yet, so I don't know if it includes any clips of their new sound. The album is again, being produced by Ben Hillier. As far as I got with this conference, they don't talk much about the new album. It's all about the tour.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Night Flight

During the early days of cable, there was a show on the USA network called "Night Flight." It was a conglomeration of short films, music videos and funny shorts. One of the things I miss on cable before reality TV took over and made TV into the devil's paintbrush. Night Flight went into TV heaven along with MTV's 120 minutes and late night horror films hosted by Elvira. According to wiki, Night Flight is about to make a return, though I doubt it will be anything like what we saw back in the 80s. No more Bob, Church of the Sub-Genius I'm sure. But then, it may be re-runs, which would be great! A search on YouTube will give you a bunch of stuff that was Night Flight. Including the "1 900-Dude" bit, which I know I have on a video tape somewhere as I used to tape the shows on occasion.

Dude!



Arise!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So these are the books I've read recently and I think maybe tonight, I might hit The Strand to see what I can find. Probably books in the same area.


Gore Vidal - Creation - This is a re-read. The first time I read it I was half my age. I'm glad I picked this up again because this edition contains some chapters that were omitted in the first printing. And also after many years I understand the book better. I enjoyed reading it as much as I did the first time around.

This is history as told by Cyrus Spitama the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster. He's blind now and is dictating his life story to his nephew. He tells us about his childhood growing up in the courts of the great kind of Persia, Darius. He's close to his heir Xerxes. He's the guy that the Spartans fought during that battle of 300. Cyrus has an interesting life as he heads out to India, meets up with the Buddha and then to Cathay (China) who then meets up with Confucius. It's a battle of beliefs and culture. Lots of war, and court drama. You'll want to read it. I recommend.

Norman F. Cantor - Antiquity- It's OK. Gives you the basic knowledge you need to know on the topic. Egypt, Greece and Rome. But reviewers say there are many errors concerning dates and other things, so I wouldn't take it word for word. I understand Herodotus was wrong on many accounts as well.


Justin Pollard and Howard Reid - The Rise and Fall of Alexandria - In the end belief wins over ideas. It still echoes in today's world. Alexandria was the birthplace for all learning. The brightest minds came to this place and learned and thought mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy and other sciences. Here is where Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the earth by using just a couple of sticks and shadows, using his knowledge of trigonometry - and he wasn't too far off in his calculations. Just one of many discoveries.

Alexandria had a huge library of books. Only a few have survived. Who knows what other brilliance lied in those books which are now lost forever. In the end, religions fought over each other and books were destroyed because most were considered to be the work of pagans. Hypatia, who thought philosophy and science was dragged out into the public by Christians and torn to pieces. It's a sad story. Well worth the read.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Beta Band

Speaking of which. I was watching Jools Holland and saw this band performing and I thought they were pretty interesting. Looked them up on YouTube and found some more of their stuff.



"Squares"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

1984

Maybe for you, as well as me, 1984 was a pretty great year for music. If you were listening to the same stuff that I was. It was really like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet joint. The list of what album you were going to buy was endless. It was exciting, new and fresh. The synthesizer ruled the pop music world. I know you had a local record store that you went to. And I know the store had a name with the words "blankety blank Records and Tapes." Mine was "Numbers Records & Tapes" located in Jackson Heights. Last time I was in Jackson Heights, maybe a year ago, the shop was still open. I had gone in but something felt wrong. The records were gone and my record buying pal was not with me.

***

There were some artists who were very well known for using only synthesizers and drum machines as their only instruments. And some wanted to get away from that. One of them was The Human League. Though Hysteria was recorded using a lot of synths and drum machines, they did incorporate guitars and live bass for the first time. It was an unexpected surprise to me. Remember the days when you had to buy the album to know what it sounded like?

So last weekend I put on my headphones, lied down and listened to Hysteria all the way through and was really enjoying it. Had 24 years already gone by since the first time I listened to this? That in itself saddened me but at the same time remembered how much happiness it brought me when buying albums those days were so much more pleasurable and they were never so discarded too quickly. We listened to our albums over and over. Some of us made tapes of them so that the vinyl wouldn't be too used up or scratched.

Hysteria didn't do too well. It kinda bombed. But for me, it's one of my favorites alongside Dare. The album was a gate fold. See that's another thing that has gone out - The gate fold album.

The first track, I'm Coming Back is one of the better songs on the album, it hooks you in and want to hear more. The guitars come in during the chorus. I think I had to do a double take on this when I first heard and said to myself "wha...?"

The second track is one I've heard before called I Love You Too Much. If you hunted down Human League albums like I did, then maybe you came across the "Fascination EP" which I found much later on that it was erroneously released. It included a version of I Love You Too Much which I've been trying to find since the beginning age of the CD and have not found it yet. I liked that version better. It was faster, more synthier and louder. Gone, gone, gone... someone find it for me!

Then came Rock Me Again (and again) and I don't remember appreciating this at first listen. It was after a few more listens that it sunk in and got into this part of The League that would take them into that worldwide success of Crash.

Louise - Ah Louise. It's like their version of Soft Cell's Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. I bought the 12" single of this and it came with a lovely poster and a remix of The Sign which I prefered. But now I have to re-buy the Hysteria CD to get this extra track. It never ends. Louise had a great bass track. I listened to this track quite a bit and it was included in many a mixed tape.

The Lebanon - Possibly the only track that Hysteria is known for. I don't know how popular this song became but the radio stations did play this for a while. It had a very smart bass line and lots of guitars. Also, the only pop song ever written about Lebanon, a big plus for me.

Betrayed - This song sounded like it could have been a part of Dare. Good synths, non-dance track. I liked this song a lot.

The Sign - Good pop song and even better in the remix as I mentioned before. Everything will be fine... I saw the sign. Yep.

So Hurt, was O.K. While I was listening to this last weekend, I remembered this not being a favorite. But hearing it again, I was able to go through it with a smile only for nostalgia reasons.
Life On Your Own - Another single. This song I really loved. Loved the synth bass especially towards the end.

Don't You Know I Want You - Is this the sequel to Don't You Want Me? It's a great exit and sums up the album and you can hear a little of Crash in here - a prequel to what's to come from The Human League.

***

I can't find this in today's pop music. Perhaps it's age and maybe the mirror ball has stopped turning for me. Sometimes an album comes my way and I'll exclaim "this is it!" But it fizzles out too quick. I have blogger friends who write a lot about today's pop music and see how excited they are with some of today's releases. I'm jealous. I don't know what's happened to me these days but I don't find it relative to my life anymore or perhaps it's some sort of phase. I think maybe Goldfrapp has been the best out of them all. My favorite bands still release new albums today, but they don't bring me the same excitement and pleasure they did in their previous efforts. It does excite me in the beginning but then.... whatever. I hear that Grace Jones is about to release something new and I've heard one of the new songs. That excites me, but let's see what happens. Also, Depeche Mode is in the studio for another release. So I'll hope for the best.

What was your definitive 1984 release? For me, it was Depeche Mode's Some Great Reward. Sampling in the mainstream. That album was a goldmine and out shined pretty much everything else I was listening to. Sadly, 1984 was also the last time Visage produced an album and even sadder was that the album was not that good. Beat Boy will only be remembered as the album that gave us the title track and Love Glove.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Epigram 31 - an epitaph


Tell me, is Charidas buried here?
"If it's the son of Arimmas you mean, he's here."
Charidas, how is it down there?
"Darkness."
What of Return?
"A lie."
And Pluto?
"A myth."
We're done for, then.
"I've given you the truth. If you prefer a pleasantry, beef's a penny a pound in Hades."

- Callimachus of Cyrene

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Wordle

Take me to Switzerland and give me a deck chair


Silence can be deafening sometimes.
Sometimes, you want the noise.
Turn on the TV to hear some voices.
Turn on some music. But the music can take you places and do some sort of damage emotionally. What once was so enjoyable now takes you to some dark places.
I'm in such a place now. So I keep quiet. But the silence is too loud.
Anyway, here's everything you ever wanted to know about Enjoy The Silence that you didn't think to ask. More info than you need. Also is a list of artists who have covered the song like Tori Amos, Kim Wilde and Keane. Read about how Martin wanted to keep this song on the downbeat rather than Alan and the rest of the band's upbeat version.
Click linky: Enjoy the Wiki

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heat



Tip from sidle-line.com. And check out the track listing.

I'm not a big fan of remixes.

Who remembers when Soft Cell re-grouped for a short time to release a collection called "Memorabilia" in the early 90s? It also included some of Marc's solo hits. If you'll remember, most - or I think all- the Soft Cell tracks were re-done in the studio with new vocals. Which for some reason did not do it for me. I never understood the re-doing of songs. We always go for the originals no matter how much better the artist has improved on their sound and vocals. Because in the original songs is where the real memory of it all is. I remember the newer version of "Say Hello..." and I said to myself "I just don't feel anything with this new version." The original one was full of heartbreak and you can feel it in Marc's voice. So I'll be interested to hear all these re-mixes anyway, there might be some gem hidden in there somewhere.

According to Marc's website http://www.marcalmond.co.uk/, the old Soft Cell albums are getting their re-issue/re-package routine. But according to Marc, he's not very happy at how Some Bizarre (the record label under all of Soft Cell's albums are released) are handling it. Marc wants to really give something to the fans (b-sides, etc..) and it seems that the label company is not cooperating and things are getting very complicated. At this point, Marc feels they should just release as they see fit and he wants to just concentrate on the new stuff rather than go back to the past. The reissues include "Non Stop Erotic Cabaret", "The Art of Falling Apart" (my favorite) and "This Last Night in Sodom."

"The Art of Falling Apart" to me is one of their best efforts. The images they invoke - of lonely hearts, insanity, fantasy, seedy, smokey bars aglow in deep red, on your last legs. not to mention the song based on the John Rechy classic "Numbers". The album was released as a double LP which included a synth version of a Jimmy Hendrix medley and "Martin" - "Martin" was a George A. Romero film about a kid who thought he was a vampire. Never saw the film. But I read the book while in high school.

"This Last Night In Sodom" - Marc says, this was their "Punk" album. Somehow, I don't think "L'esquelita" is so punk. About a drugged out drag queen, down in the dumps (a prequel to Saint Judy?) - Actually, L'esquelita was a drag bar here in the Times Square area, and during the time in the 80s when that area was all prostitution, drugs and XXX theaters, I'm sure the bar was quite a scene. Marc misses this part of NYC and later wrote a book of poetry which came with a CD of him reciting a few of the poems. The book/CD was titled "The End of New York"

"Sodom" was also a great effort. Songs like "Little Rough Rhinestones" and "Meet Murder My Angel" are some of my favorite tracks from this album. I've always loved Dave Ball's approach to mixing. Making it non-polished, dark and less robotic with the sequences.

There's no other like Marc. I hold him dear to my heart. I mean, he sang dark and emotional songs for the gut-wrenched, miserable person. And some were just pervy. I just loved that about Marc. I remember the first time I laid eyes on him. It was during the "Bedsitter" video. A long time ago if you had HBO, you'd remember that between feature films, they used to show music videos. And one day "Bedsitter" came on and I was transfixed. I thought to myself "My god, a poofster like me.. in eyeliner and all in black," he's my man. Must know more. Must find out. Must get..... I think I was 16 or something. The rest of the family shouted "What the hell is that!?" Well, you just knew that at the disapproval of the family, it had to be good to get into Marc Almond and Soft Cell!

Anyway, that's my thing on Soft Cell (for the meantime). Long live Marc. Long live Soft Cell.

Little rough rhinestone
Where will your love go today?
Sometimes you think
You had none to start with anyway

Sunday, July 20, 2008

And I find - I'm knocking for a good time - YAZ Live

It was a total treat last night watching YAZ perform at the Beacon Theater.

What can I say about Alison's voice? It's as good as you'd hear it in the recordings. Full of emotion and soul. You know those other girls out there move about the stage with their fit slender bodies doing all those moves, and you think off course they can do all that. But a healthy gal like Alison letting lose during Situation seems to me far more enjoyable and real. The show opened with Nobody's Diary and I thought how great is this now that I get to see this live after all those years of listening to it on a mixed tape. All those years ago when I'd skip school to listen to my walkman, walking around in the NYC streets.

Vince kept the mix to its original format. Not like most bands who think years later when they perform something old, they have to change to a newer format to conform to today's sound. And all Vince had was a laptop and some tiny itty bitty controllers (it's like something out of Pluto Nash). He provided some backup vocals - in vocoder style. At some point, it looked very Kraftwerk. Behind each member was a screen depicting images. During Bad Connection, the images were that of computer games like Space Invaders and such. It was cute. Oh, and when they performed In My Room, Alison was seated in the middle of the stage on a chair clutching a pillow while behind her on the screens, a red light bulb swayed back and forth. During the middle of the show, Vince brought out a reel-to-reel from the side of the stage to the middle, pressed play and he and Alison left the stage. I guess it was a new thing he'd worked on for the show that didn't have vocals. Just sampled voices over the music. It was interesting. What else? All the party favorites were performed, Good Times, State Farm, Don't Go, Situation. And not to mention a most favorite of heartbreaking, pull out your hair, I've lost that man song - Midnight.

Vince has enjoyed a long time career making smart, enjoyable pop songs (the king of catchy single note melodies) with Erasure. But it was so great seeing Alison getting that reception last night from all those adoring fans who never thought that in the 2000's they would get to finally see her perform live. I wanted more. I want them to get to the studio and do some new stuff.

The sucky picture was taken with my cell phone. You want to go here to see some better one's of last night's performance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beyond the Bowl


I saw this on Cosmic Variance and wanted to share. Click on Bruno to go there.

Anyway, I have a friend whom I converse on the phone with once a week and eventually, the conversation turns to either philosophy, religion, science or personal beliefs. Sometimes it gets heated up and sometimes it's just fun to get each other's take on what the universe is up to or what we think it is up to or what they tell us it is up to. But the last conversation left me in bitter tears and I wasn't able to handle it well. It was the statement made - that I am limited in my thinking! Oh there wasn't any name-calling or anything like that, but it was getting there. Two opposing views can sometimes really shake things up.

I'm an out-of-the closet Skeptic and proud of it!

You know if there are an infinite number of other universes out there, you know there's gotta be one universe where the Flying Spaghetti Monster is really god.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin - RIP

I think he was one of the funniest stand up comics out there of all time. His comedy on religion, conformists and government was always the best. He died at 71 and he had an HBO special just a few months ago which was great, so he never lost his comedy greatness.

Anyway, here's a bit of his comedy genius:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Cure at MSG 6/20/2008


It's always fun to see a Cure show. They play for three hours and cover a lot of material from their back catalog. There was this moment of uplift when they played these blocks of songs that consisted of Feels Like Heaven, In Between Days, Friday I'm in Love, and Push. Then there was this whole other part where they did songs like Shake Dog Shake, One Hundred Years, Primary. Then there was all the encore songs that was the best. Boys Don't Cry, 10:15 Saturday Night, Jumping Someone Else's Train, Killing an Arab. Pictures of You brought a lot of cheer from the crowd and on a lot of the songs, you can hear the crowd singing along.

I wish I had known earlier that The Fuse network was filming the whole thing and showed two hours of it last night from 11PM to 1AM. It was already over by the time I got home and I don't know if they'll air it again. If they do I'll post the info. It really was great show and I'm glad I held on to the ticket from past September 2007 when they had postponed this show.

They did pretty good with the stage. The light show was pretty amazing and the visual backdrops were great too.

Picture credit goes to JLBNYC. Check the Flickr site for more pictures of this show.

Here's something from YouTube from last night: The Cure doing Baby Rag Dog Book.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blondie facts



From Chris Stein (taken from Blondie.net news)


1. First ever Video album released for "Eat to the beat" in 1980

2. First American #1 New Wave single "Heart of Glass"

3. First #1 Rap single in America "Rapture"

4. First reggae #1 single in America "The tide is high"

5. Oldest woman in rock with a #1 hit, when "Maria" debuted at #1 in 1999 in the UK

6. Parallel Lines sold sold over 20 million copies

7. Blondie has 4 American #1 singles and 7 in the UK

8. Blondie are the biggest selling american band in the UK Singles chart of all time

9. The single "Rapture" has been a Top Ten Dance single on the Billboard Dance charts in the 80's/90's/00's, 3 consecutive decades

10. Blondie appear on more soundtracks and compilation albums than any other artist in rock.

11. "Call Me" was the #1 single of 1980 in America on Billboard

lets also not forget what is kind of my favorite: blondie the only band besides the Beatles to have a back to back #1 and 2 on WABC in i guess 1981... rapture bumped tide from the top spot

WABC was the biggest NYC rock radio station for a long time now gone
-----
For more Blondie news, check out Blondie.net.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Front 242 "First Moments"


I got the e-mail with the link for the files a couple of days ago and surprised that it was a torrent link. Well, whatever. It didn't matter to me. What I was expecting, though was two NEW F242 songs. One of them was probably called "First Moments." I was surprised after unzipping the files that they were in fact live versions of "U-Men" and "Im Rhythmus Blieben." My first reaction was, WTF. But then I got over it, listened to the two AWESOME live tracks and was satisfied with it. They were free downloads and the point of the thing was that they wanted you to determine different quality mp3s. I would not pay a cent for any mp3 that was less than 360kbps. I oped for the Apple lossless download. I have listened to these tracks quite a bit since I downloaded them. They are from a recent live show and I hope I get to seem them perform these songs again. Especially "U-Men." It's not disappointing if you're a huge F242 fan. I definitely appreciate the free stuff and the point they are trying to make. But on Side-Line's comment section to this, there were a lot of negative talk. Eh, kids today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Yaz & Furs Plus Ladytron

I suspect that if you like Yaz, you may also be a fan of the Psychedelic Furs. I read somewhere that they are the opening act for the L.A. show.

I hope they do open for Yaz here! That would be a kick for me. It will be the first time in years I show up for the opening. I usually come an hour later just to miss it.

My favorite Furs song? Love My Way.

I must write to you about Ladytron's Velocifero! A tip from my friend at Middle Eight. For now, I will say that it is FAR better than Witching Hour. It's like "Destroy Everything" many times over. Total electroclash goodness.

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is the time, now gimme the beat

I bit the bullet on Yaz. I had a feeling they weren't just going to end it at a small venue for two nights. They booked at the Beacon Theater and as usual I waited around for a good seat to open up. I hesitated it for a while though. Tickets are way overpriced for my taste. But in this case, it's a once in a lifetime thing to get to see Alison and Vince together performing those great songs. These bands all seem to be touring at the same time. I wanted to check out Duran Duran, but who can make all these shows with these ticket prices? Then there's Echo & The Bunnymen coming to Radio City. They've been together for 30 years and to commemorate, they are performing their most celebrated album Ocean Rain with full orchestra. This is in October, but tickets are already on sale. I'm overwhelmed.

Ladytron plays at Terminal 5 on 6/25. I'd like to check them out. Also at the same venue, Boy George on 8/15 and The Faint on 8/18.

I got e-mail from Alfa Matrix about two new Front 242 tracks free for download. The premise is that they are providing downloads in several different compression methods for you do decide for yourself as to the quality of these mp3s. I think since the days of downloaded mp3s, people have forgotten how quality music is supposed to sound like. I'm not talking about the taste of your music choices, but the sound itself.

From Alfa Matrix:

It's up to the listener to hear the difference between the various audio
sound formats and thus hear for him/herself what good quality audio sounds
like. To get hold of this free 2-track download, which will hit the online
world on June 15th, you need to register here

Thursday, May 08, 2008

We'll have to put you down

I don't know if it had anything to do with recent events of the Kentucky Derby where a horse had to be put down. I don't know if it was that or if that even stirred my emotions and entered my subconscious and turned up in dreams.

Yeas, I had to be euthanized. It was doctors orders. Though it seemed that family and "friends" or what have you did not seem bothered by all this. I myself was going around in a hospital asking myself questions. But then you never remember every detail of a dream. But I do remember not thinking it was a big deal. Doctor says I gotta go. Not fit for life. And I had accepted that.. in my dream. But one thing bothered me. Would I really be dead? I mean, what if I seemed dead and they buried me not knowing that I was still somehow "alive." I was all set to go when I finally realized, based on that one thought, I could not do it! I can't accept my euthanasia because I don't believe I will be fully dead and I will feel the dirt on my face!

But it turns out that the doctor was not honest with me. I didn't have to be put down and (I think) he wanted the money. Can't really make heads or tails. But I woke and thought "Oh good, I really didn't really go through any of that." But I was a little upset that I had the chance to painlessly ... well... you know.

We can analyze this, but it's so obvious to me and to anyone who knows me what's going on here. But still. Just wanted to share.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Goldfrapp at Beacon Theater 4/29/2008

Last night I went to see Goldfrapp at the Beacon Theater.

Sometime ago I did go to Beacon to see Margaret Cho perform. Before that it was over 20 years ago. So this was the first musical concert I've been to since then. A flood of memories as I tried to locate where I was and how excited the whole experience was. Now, a concert veteran of sorts, it was business as usual. Another show. That same feeling of anticipated excitement no longer in me. I doubt I ever will get it back. All shows that I've gone to since has been built upon that first night. It was a bit emotional really. So onto Goldfrapp. In short, I thought it was a fantastic performance. Alison is top notch. Her voice is beautiful and she is beautiful. And she loves to wear one-piece numbers. This time around, a peach colored once peace with winged sleeves and pom-poms. She would extend her arms into the air as she let out a siren call and she seemed to be communicating with heaven. The lights would respond and imagery was perfect. The show began very mellow starting with a Seventh Tree number (which one was it? I have not learned all the names of the songs... shame on me). But I recognized those which I loved from her new album. True, Seventh Tree was a departure from Supernature, but the mix between those three albums together with Black Cherry worked very well on the set. The first three (or four) numbers were very pleasant and mellow indeed. The audience kept to their seats. Until Satin Chic and some got up to dance. I think it was after Satin Chic when she began singing Number 1. that people remembered they were at a concert and all stood up to move with the music. Strict Machine really got the crowd clapping along. Strict Machine live has a great build-up to the first verse. Just lovely.

The background was panels of what seemed like basket weave. There was video imaging in the background - usually psychedelic images with lots of colors, squiggles and shapes weaving in and out. Kaleidoscopes and candy. Ooh-la-la was done in some kind of "yahoo" fashion and it still worked. My favorites from the new album are A&E, Little Bird , Some People and Happiness. Happiness being the stand-out track when I first heard the album and that's the song she ended the show with during the encore. We didn't hear Koko or Ride a White Horse which I was longing to see them perform.

I was very pleased with the show and I really enjoyed it. After four albums, Goldfrapp is still not a tour- every -state in the U.S. kinda band. So I feel bad about people not getting the chance to see their shows in other states. Maybe they'll return with more dates. They did come back twice to New York during the Supernature days so maybe I'll catch it again if they return.

Oh, and I think this was the first band that incorporated harp playing as part of the set.

Here's a link to some pictures from this performance at some site. Don't miss Goldfrapp if you're a fan and they're playing near you. You'll love it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some are a melody and some are the beat

I think my iPod may be dying. I've had it for about 4 years now. I'm surprised it's lasted as long as this. Who knows, maybe it's just a little thing that the Apple people can fix. But I do want one of the newer ones. But right now, I can't think about buying a new gadget. But I do need my music for my commutes to and back from work.

The last show I went to was Moz's show back in October. So it will be 6 months until I go see Goldfrapp at the Beacon Theater. Should be nice. Then I've got The Cure lined up at MSG. I should have given up this ticket when they called it off the first time around. Because then they started selling for a night at Radio City Music Hall. That would be a better place to see them. That's where I saw The Cure for the first time in 86. Over 20 years ago.

It's a little weird going to see bands that I've seen so long ago for the first time and they're still going at it. When I was just 18, these guys were people I looked up to and thought they were so ahead of me in years. But now, I just realize that they're only a few years older than me.

Hmm... I feel a list coming along. Eh, for whatever reason and as reference to me in the future should this still be around.

I present, V's concert history (as close as he can remember it) covering the early years.

1985

Depeche Mode (Beacon Theatre)
Oingo Boingo (At The Ritz now Webster Hall)
The Damned (At the Ritz)

1986

The Cure (Radio City)
Simple Minds (Radio City)
Siouxsie & The Banshees (Radio City)
The Cure (At The Pier)
Depeche Mode (Radio City played for 3 nights went to 2)
Book of Love (The Ritz)
Erasure (The Ritz 1st U.S. show)
The Communards (The Ritz)
Book of Love (again The Ritz)
Book of Love (Somewhere in Long Island)

1987

Erasure (The Ritz twice)
At this time I was supposed to go see New Order with Gene Loves Jezebel and Echo & The Bunnymen (all in the same show) but I never made it. I was in bad terms with the people going and had to prepare my move back to Phoenix.

1988

Depche Mode (Compton Terrace before 101)
Echo & The Bunnymen (Mesa Amphitheater)
Depeche Mode (Compton Terrace during 101)
Book of Love (After the Gold Rush)

1989

Laurie Anderson (can't remember the venue)

1990

Debbie Harry (After The Gold Rush)
Book of Love (After The Gold Rush)
Depeche Mode (Somewhere in Atlanta)
Depeche Mode (A stadium in Phoenix)


1991

Front 242 (Club Rio)
Frontline Assembly (Silver Dollar Club)

1992

Morrissey (Compton Terrace) Can't remember if this was 91 or 92

Anyway, that's as far as I go. Let me assure you that the rest is mostly the same as above with the exception of:

Belly (in the 90s)
The Ramones (early to mid 90s?)
Kraftwerk (late 90s and as recently as 3 or 4 years ago)
The Psychedelic Furs (late 90s)
Marc Almond (late 90s)
Blondie (late 90s No Exit tour)
Delirium / Conjure 1 (early 2000s)
Diamanda Galas (early 200s)
Soft Cell (early 2000s)
Madonna (A couple of years ago )
Nitzer Ebb (A couple of years ago)
Pet Shop Boys (A couple of years ago)
Goldfrapp (A couple of years ago)

I could go to more shows today but I'm not as enthusiastic lately. Missed Skinny Puppy not too long ago and I recently missed out on Siouxsie last October and also Debbie Harry. I may even miss out on Yaz!! But I'm going to try and make it, if I can find a ticket when I'm ready to buy one. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm really tired of going to all these shows alone. Meant nothing before, but as the years have gone on, it has some sort of significance.



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On Earth, no one can hear me scream

It's a total coincidence that I got a bug to get me some Sci-Fi books last week and then to find out that Arthur C. Clarke had passed away. This sort of thing happens to me all the time. Who do you think passed away the first time I got a telescope?

Now, if it was not a coincidence and I went to get some Sci-Fi books, you'd think at least one of them would be a Clarke novel. Not so, but I'm very sad to hear of his passing. He had visions of the future which was yet to be realized. He should have copyrighted his ideas.

Anyway, these are the titles I walked away with:

Frank Herbert's "Dune"



This was not really on my list, but I substituted this for a book I didn't find. I've always wanted to know what the fuss was about. I don't know anyone that's read this book but it is one of the most popular science fiction book ever written. Never seen the movie either so no spoilers.

Robert A Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange land"



I've read a couple of Heinlein's books and that was because an old timer stood next to me while I was checking them out and told me I should read his books. So I picked out a couple then and totally enjoyed them. So I can't wait to read this one of Heinlein's best work.


Philip K Dick's "Valis"



"God, as it turns out, is a virus perpetrated upon us by an orbiting satellite." Well, that's all the convincing I needed to get this in my hands. Can't wait to read it. Philip as most know was also the author of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which was later turned into a movie called "Blade Runner."

There were a couple more on my list which I didn't find but will have to look elsewhere. Maybe a trip to Strand bookstore.

I know at least a couple of you like to read, so I'd like your opinions on my choices.

I wanted to get back into Sci-Fi / Fantasy reading because they have always brought me joy and I just love imagining and creating in my mind the worlds that these great authors draft for me. I'm also a sucker to some of the more light hearted fantasy series like that of Piers Anthony's "Xanth" series and David Asprin's "Myth" series. I got a couple of those too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Obtaining concert tickets in the space age

OK, so things have changed. How many are you old enough to remember what it took to buy concert tickets? Did you have to take a day off from work? Did you have to ditch school? Did you have to wake up way early in the morning and drag yourself to the venue box office, get on line with people who have already been there hours earlier and hope for a good seat?

Used to be how it went. And maybe in some parts, it's still like that. Is it like that everywhere still? I don't know. All I know is that now, in order to get a ticket for a show, you got to the box office or get them on-line. And now they have this thing where you are alerted pre-sale tickets. You know, where YOU get a chance to buy a ticket before it goes on sale to the public. Meanwhile, everyone is getting that e-mail. It's nonsense really because I've never gotten a good seat during the pre-sales.

So I really want to see Goldfrapp at Beacon Theatre. It's a special place for me. It's the first venue I went to for my first concert experience. That being Depeche Mode on March 16, 1985.

In the past few years, I would try to get these tickets online and if I didn't quite like the seat, I would "search again" and it would pick a different seat each time until I could find one that's satisfactory and purchase it. This time around though it wasn't doing it. I kept getting the same nasty seat. So I came back the next day and still I was getting the real bad seats, like the ones in the "Obstructed View" area. Who wants that??

I let it go for a week or so. My only risk was that the show would be sold out. But I had a hunch that the *GOOD SEATS* were going to be open for the later sales. Turns out I was right. And it's been like that all along. And you possibly know this. I've always gotten better seats when I came in later in the game then when the sales first started.

So the lesson is: Pre-sale doesn't exactly mean you're getting the front center row. If anyone has gotten these seats on the pre-sales, then let me know. You want a good seat, wait around a little and then go for it. But then you risk the "sell out" thing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

You don't represent me!

This is a "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" moment.

It's just scary that there are still people making these kinds of speeches and getting away with it.

Want to know? Read here.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

P.I.D. No. 15


Been a sicky for the past week. But getting better. Here are some quick post its. OK, people go on about the Pilot G2 pens but I hate the darn things. As you can see, they don't dry quickly and smudge thus ruining your "masterpiece."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Wilder on the sate of music


Read this interesting article Alan Wilder wrote for Side-Line about the state of music these days. Some interesting insights on sound quality (the decline of sound quality through mp3) and music distribution, etc. Click image for link.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I was too young to understand all this but late at night the TV would be on and my older brothers would be watching SNL. I laughed I guess because they were, not fully knowing exactly what they were laughing at. But some things I didn't even have to try to understand. Like when Chevy would take a fall in the beginning of each show. I'd have to say that the time when I really began watching SNL was about the time when Charles Rocket was in the show. It was also a time when there used to be a show called Fridays. That's when we first got a taste of Michael Richard's comedy. And if that wasn't enough late night comedy, there was also SCTV with Eugene Levy, John Candy, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Andrea Martin, etc. Lots of funny stuff going on during that time. Smart, goofy comedy. Add to that Midnight Special and the British Kenny Everett Show, Monty Python and you'd wonder when TV went so bad? So I got the first season of SNL in order to watch all this stuff that have not had their re-runs recently. But don't be too surprised if you didn't find it as funny as it was back then. Just they way some things go. Chevy Chase saying "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not" seemed a lot funnier back then. But not to worry as there are still plenty of timeless funnies here. I've only been through two of the eight discs in this set. I'm waiting for the one season to come out when Blondie made their appearance. The whole thing reminds me of Junior High and subway cars covered in that wonderful graffiti. I thought they were great works of art.

So I had this transistor radio that I would place by the window and I think it was during Saturdays that Kasey Kassem had that top 10 radio show. I just wanted to find out which number in the top 10 Blondie's Rapture or The Tide is High made it to. Somewhere between Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 and John Lennon's Imagine. This was 1980 and rap music was mostly an underground movement at the time. But a band from the CBGB's punk scene brought it to the top 10. I certainly had never heard anything like it. When I first heard Rapture (it made it's debut on Solid Gold when Debbie was hosting it), I was wondering why she was talking throughout the song.


Here's a movie I can't live without Life of Brian, I think is one of Monty's best made film. Poke fun at religion, and you can't go wrong. I bought this for $20 at Borders the other day. It's a great value for a 2 disc set (The Immaculate Edition). It's tempting to watch it now, but would like to save it for a more appropriate time. It's almost here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

View & P.I.D. No. 14

View from an office, somewhere in Manhattan. A chilly, snowy and grey day. The view wasn't always like this. Whenever I came in the room, I would look out at this area and just be amazed with wonder and awe. The sky wasn't as visible as you see here. That empty area in the middle, where now there is so much sky is where the World Trade Center used to live.


Post-It-Doodle No. 14
These three tracks came up on my pod's shuffle this morning. And it made the commute this morning bearable.
Nitzer Ebb - Shame
Nitzer Ebb - Warsaw Ghetto
Frontline Assembly - The Blade