Sunday, December 18, 2011

My top 75 tracks of 2011

Despite the fact that I completed LA Noire on the PS3 this year, I don't really get that Lana Del Rey song. Although I have been a passenger in a car on numerous motorways, I don't really get M83. And even though I thnk vwls r 4 dckhds, I don't really get Sbtrkt. I'M SORRY. And with that very negative introduction out of the way, we at The Electric Goose are delighted to present our top 75 tracks of 2011, as always, in no particular order. Enjoy!


Joan As Police Woman – The Magic
Killer Mike – God In The Building II
Tune-Yards – Powa
Ben Folds Five – Stumblin' Home Winter Blue
Battles – Ice Cream (Featuring Matias Aguayo)
Wild Flag – Romance
Cocknbullkid – Hold On To Your Misery
Cornershop – Topknot
The Decemberists – Calamity Song
Half Man Half Biscuit – Fix It So She Dreams Of Me
TV On The Radio – Will Do
The Vaccines – Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
Camille – My Man Is Married But Not To Me
Dark Dark Dark – In Your Dreams
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons – Teenage Wasteland
The Feelies – When You Know
Elbow – lippy kids
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Jay Z – Otis
Dirty Projectors + Björk – On and Ever Onward
Guided By Voices – One, Two, Three, Four
Ghostpoet – Survive It
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
Anna Calvi – Desire
Sons And Daughters – Rose Red
Glee Cast – I Love New York / New York, New York
Tune-Yards – Gangsta
Dutch Uncles – The Ink
The Vaccines – Norgaard
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons – Hard Time in a Terrible Land
The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
The Drums – Days
Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Pause
Akira The Don – Video Highway
Nicki Minaj – Roman's Revenge
Wild Flag – Endless Talk
The Strokes – Taken For A Fool
The Horrors – Still Life
Camille – Ilo Veyou
PJ Harvey – The Glorious Land
Half Man Half Biscuit – RSVP
Killer Mike – Burn
Lady Gaga – You And I
The Electric Soft Parade – If I Can Dream
Hannah Peel – Don't Kiss The Broken One
Generationals – Ten-Twenty-Ten
Foo Fighters – White Limo
Friends – I'm His Girl
Azealia Banks – 212
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Ketamine And Ecstasy
Arctic Monkeys – Black Treacle
Metronomy – Everything Goes My Way
Feist – How Come You Never Go There
Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum
Florence + The Machine – Lover To Lover
The Streets – Going Through Hell
Brett Anderson – Brittle Heart
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Fall Away
Sweet Baboo – Bounce
Hugh Laurie – Let Them Talk
Timber Timbre – Black Water
Laura Marling – Sophia
Wilco – Born Alone
Martin Solveig ft Dragonette – Hello
Wiley – Wise Man and his Words
Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou – A Hill Far, Far Away
The Indelicates – The Road From Houston To Waco
Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers
My Morning Jacket – Outta My System
EMA – California
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – All Over Gently
Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar
Stooshe – Betty Woz Gone - Original
Camille – La France
Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler – Marshmallow World

See also...
Last year's top 50
Top 20 tracks of 2009
Top 25 tracks of 2007 (didn't do one in 2008, for some reason)
Top 25 tracks of 2006
Top 25 tracks of 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Killing time

Look, I love it as much as you do, but if The Killing has one flaw, it's surely this:


Monday, November 28, 2011

Stuck inside with Playmobil and the Fenton blues again

Unbelievable. Just when I thought I could take a well-earned break from all the Benton / Fenton memes by going offline and indulging heartily at a friend's wedding, the cheeky pup turns up on my table. Playmobil Benton! PLAYMOBIL FENTON! PLAAAYMOBIIIILL BEEENTTOOOONNNN! Jesus Christ.


Benton! Fenton! Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From 1990...

The holy trinity: Theroux, Buxton, Cornish.


Top comment: "It's like they knew YouTube was going to be invented one day!"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A surprisingly rambling post about shelving and tennis

Sarah and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary in a week and a day. It may qualify as the strangest, happiest and most unsettled year of my life (ask me again in 50 years. Set an Outlook reminder so you don't forget). We spent every day together in India for nearly six months, we got back and kept on moving (from Oval to Shannon to Cheadle to Ealing to Salisbury), slowed down for a few months in the Cheshire countryside (courtesy of generous family members, shout out), got a hefty chunk of freelance work, and took Megabuses between Manchester and London. I played a little Xbox, before the E74 error put a stop to that.

Fields, Iwerne Minster 

I can't be bothered to do a tortured drawn-out metaphor about striding boldly through the furrowed fields of the present towards the horizon of the future (see photo), because really we're just feeling our way in the dark. We got to go through our old possessions a few months back and realised that not much of the stash is really worth hauling down from the loft. You'd have to be pretty hard-minded not to concede after a few months of backpacking that unless you own a house with extensive shelving, you can forget the removal van and get by with a hard drive and a Kindle. Not that a house with extensive shelving is on the agenda anyway - instead, we're back in south London in a flat-share with a couple of old friends. Not your average post-marriage set-up, it's true, but it's turning out to be immensely fun. I haven't been this sociable since 2002. And in the last month I've played more hours of tennis than I did throughout my 20s, thanks to this.


 

The Landlord and I (after some drinks, admittedly) were inspired and set about it. Disaster struck, but slowly. It chipped away, really. After 13 consecutive days we caved in (literally, almost) and rested due to a combination of wristy RSI, back pain and all-round massive exhaustion. Shame. I would say this, though: getting to the office at 9am having already played a set of tennis is an amazing thing, and you walk round energised, smiling at the secret in your head. Going down the escalator at Vauxhall on my way to work after a 7am knockabout, my eye was caught by the sight of a woman handing her young son a tennis ball. I looked again; it was an apple. Tennis on the brain.

The block

A friend saw this picture on Facebook and said later, "Oh! You're living somewhere gritty and urban now, aren't you?" - and the snap was supposed to have something of the Original Pirate Material about it. But actually this is the view looking out. Sarah was originally wary about the transition from the rolling hills of Bollington, identifying one of our new local London landmarks, a massive painted wooden board with the legend "PLEASE LEAVE ROOM FOR ACCESS :-)" as a downer, an unwelcoming symbol of city life. I think for her it was like a passive-aggressive post-it note scaled up 500% and evidence that the capital is snarling at innocent passers-by. I was like, "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SMILEY?" That did the trick. It's a pretty persuasive argument.


Glowing flats

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

YOU'RE SO UNFAIR I HATE YOU

We need someone who's handy at video editing to create a feature-length We Need to Talk About Kevin mash-up so this important joke can be fully realised in time for Oscar season, but I've made a start below, so it wouldn't really be that much work.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smoke and mirrors

A strong whiff of media beef wafted through Electric Goose Towers this morning, as we noticed that page 11 of the Daily Mirror featured a story (which isn't online and doesn't seem to have been picked up by any other papers or websites) about an allegedly sexist Ryanair advert which appeared in The Guardian at some unspecified moment in time.

According to the Mirror article, the ad, which was promoting cheap flights to Germany and featured "a large-breasted blonde clutching a huge beer glass" alongside the tagline "See The Frauleins With The Big Jugs", upset many of the "ailing" Guardian's "right-on" readers. It continues, in hilariously sarcastic vein:

Even their own staff were up in arms, some phoning in from their rustic Tuscan holidays to complain.

One said: 'I nearly choked on my gluten-free organic muesli when I saw it.

'We are keepers of the nation's morals, and we let the nation down.'

Of course, only a paranoid and crazy person would suggest the snarky tone of this piece had anything to do with articles like this, this or this

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My most-listened song of 2011 so far...

...is 'Powa' by tUnE-yArDs. I can remember the first time this came on my iPod: I was walking through the small Cheshire village I seem to have temporarily found myself living in, just coming up to the canal which for some reason is suspended overhead like a watery monorail track - and it made me grin like a local cat. (A similar thing happened when I heard Gablé, incidentally, but that's a different post.) From the pictures I've briefly seen of Merrill Garbus - for it is she, and that name really is hers - I imagine she wakes up with astonishing splashes of colourful paint daubed on her face, with white feathers slowly falling to the floor around her bed, which is quite possibly held off the ground thanks to a delicate framework of twigs and pipecleaners. Here's 'Powa' live: amazing in every way.*



* unless you think her voice sounds a bit silly.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snowdon

On my 30th birthday back in April, we sat by the pool and went on a leisurely stroll to a bookshop. On my wife's 30th birthday, we climbed a mountain. It was insanely hard work, particularly because we didn't have enough change for the car park and so in theory had to be there and back in under four hours, a challenge which would have stretched even Tenzing Norgay to the limits. Actually, you can get a train to the top of Snowdon, but as you can see from the pictures I took, the locomotives aren't actually big enough to carry real human beings, so you're better off walking.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Photos from Ireland

All taken during our April trip to Bunratty and Limerick. When did I become so obsessed with signs? Damn you, M. Night Shyamalan!

IMG_4030

IMG_4034

IMG_4085

Bus stop

Wild Woodbine cigarettes

A bench

Hole, Bunratty Castle


Pooley

Afton

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

India: the end



View India 2010-2011 in a larger map


Beds slept in: 62
Books read: 43
Films watched: 37
Wedding rings lost: 1
Haircuts: 2
Curries eaten: infinite


That's that, then. I'll be back in the UK by the time this post is published, freaking out from reverse culture shock - "Where are all the people? This country is so sparsely populated! Where did all the smells go? Why is no one asking me my name, profession and salary in order to gauge my social standing?" etc. Normal Electric Goose service - i.e. infrequent posting and embedded YouTube videos you've probably seen already - will be resumed in a few days. Namaste!

India flag

Monday, April 11, 2011

India part 32: Vagator

Cross

Aside from our last night in Mumbai, Vagator was where our trip ended, with a week of luxury that came by accident about after I cleverly mucked up the honeymoon bookings back in October. I was in my 20s, then, young and foolish.

Frankly, it's too late in the day to start boring you with well-worn travelogue dialogue about how India is a land of contradictions and all that, written from the poolside, so (assuming nothing very exciting happens during the 24 hours we'll be spending in Mumbai) we'll finish with a typically Indian scene, in the form of a photograph of one of the unusual lifeguards to be found along this beautiful stretch of coast.

Surf Rescue cow

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Signs I have seen #424-430

Modest

Signs advertising businesses in India can go one of two ways. There's the example above - self-effacing - and the below - nicely bashful.

"Decent"

But sometimes the modesty goes a bit too far.

Okay

Things can go completely the other way, however, with tons more swagger and own-trumpet blowing. I mean, this is all right, I guess...

Ideal

And this is more cheeky than boastful...

Mega

But this is getting a bit up itself...

Show-off

And this is just ridiculous...

Sounds nice

India part 31: Arambol

We experienced the festival of Holi in Arambol, Goa, because Hindu celebrations are always the best when you're in a majority Christian area *ahem*. You know those amazing glossy pictures you see, grinning purple urchins and so on? Not representative: a lot of the folks just look like they've had an accident with a fluorescent marker, and some Westerners, hipsters undoubtedly, seemed to end up with nothing but bright red beards or green cheek streaks that reminded me of the kids at last year's Latitude festival. So, in feeble protest (also at the fact that Sarah's colour attack actually sounded quite unpleasant), all I got was a picture of a cow. On Holi. Hmmm, cow, Holi... Can anyone think of a decent two-word caption I can use for this one?

Holi cow

Also this:

Beach football at sunset

And this.

Sarah's bag

Can you tell we're winding down a little, now?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

India part 30b: Hampi and Viru - ten pics

Butterfly in paddy field

Frog surveys bathroom

Surely a trap

Green birds

Thingy

Colourful prison

Pigeon watches sunset

Frog 3

Awesome saddhu

Rooster and hen

India part 30a: Hampi and Viru

Stone bridge

In Hampi, with a tear in my eye, I said goodbye to my battered and torn Ganesh manbag, which, in a strange twist of fate, I had actually originally bought eight years ago in Hampi. They don't make 'em like this any more - they genuinely don't, I checked. Goodnight sweet prince.

My Ganesh bag bites the dust

After a couple of nights in Hampi, we decided to move across the river to Virupapuragadda, something we hadn't been able to do on our November visit, because the river had been too high to cross. Leaving our guest house, a shack huddle called Garden Paradise, some people on the street shouted an offer of a room. We said no; they asked if we were going to "Other Side of River". Yes. A woman tutted and said, with foreboding: "Danger place."

Well, you can get beer and meat in Viru, and frequent wafts of smoke while you're eating indicate that not everyone is taking those "NO DRUGS" signs seriously - but it is also taking a good chunk of business away from the cluttered Hampi bazaar area, so for the people who work on that side, yes, it must seem like Danger Place. And to be fair, some of the restaurants - they all have floor cushions and shin-high tables - do have the atmosphere of opium dens.

Or perhaps she was referring to the nearby reservoir at Sholapur. Hippy types had told us it was a great place to swim, but it took us ages to find it - we nearly ended up walking down this road...

The long road

When we eventually did locate it, however, any thoughts of a dip were abruptly aborted: Sarah in particular seemed put off by the sign about crocodiles, for some reason. "I was told they're friendly crocodiles," an Irish woman who wanted directions informed us the next day.

On another occasion, we took an epic walk to the town of Anegundi, doing 5km before breakfast, which turned out to be couscous with pickle and peanut powder. I didn't think they'd even heard of couscous in India, but there it was. An hour later, we were squelching through mud towards a surreal river-edge temple complex and lying silently on the stone floor like bits of rubble.

Row of sculptures by the river

The oddest thing about Anegundi, though, was how incredibly well-signposted it was, with brightly-painted directions to everything everywhere (though fortunately not Everything Everywhere). It made getting lost a real challenge. On the way home, some guys gave us a lift in the back of their truck. "That's one way to do it," said a man passing on a bicycle.

The rest of our two weeks passed in a slow motion whirlwind of writing, yoga, evening movies, long long walks in the baking heat, rocky sunsets, World Cup cricket games and numerous glasses of milk tea. I also spent quite a lot of time being distracted by a paving stone that stood next to the patio staring at me menacingly while I was trying to write.

Angry slab

Looking the other way, though, there were the paddy fields and I spent long periods staring at them. Mmmmmm, green.

Our back garden (Mowgli guest house)

Speaking of green, on the way out of Hampi to Hospet, where we stayed overnight, we stopped for lunch. Here's what you get if you order a cucumber salad in India.

'Cucumber salad'

And in case you're wowed by the chef's garnishing efforts, I should point out that Sarah added the pepper herself.