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Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars is a massive departure for Fatboy Slim. As a proud owner of previous albums Better Living Through Chemistry, You've Come a Long Way Baby and "Fatboy Slim's Greatest Remixes", a compilation of some of his remixes of tracks by other artists, I was anticipating another excellent album from Norman Cook. He has failed to deliver on this occasion, though. He said he was taking a big risk leaving bigbeat in favour of house, and he was right to be concerned. There is absolutely nothing special about this album. It fails to live up to any genre in any significant way, and sounds like the work of an entirely different artist. Fatboy Slim tracks are not supposed to have meaningful lyrics, and having those lyrics sung by Macy Gray is the last straw. This album is a massive let-down, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to advise that anyone who likes Fatboy Slim for his previous work just stick with that previous work: There is nothing for you here.
Lemonjelly.ky is an album containing some of Lemonjelly's older tracks, all thrown together to form a kind of 'best of' CD. Thus if you already own previous albums, you'll want to make sure that you don't already own all of the tracks on this disc. Lemonjelly are renowned for their unbeatable and infallable mix of indie and electronic music, and the result is a discfull of great-sounding chillout music which also appeals to some of the electro-junkies. I'm truly in love with this album, and took a leap of faith when I bought it having only heard one track: The Staunton Lick. As it turns out, it was worth it. The tracks on this disc are something special: so rare is it to find a group who can so consitantly put out great track after great track, all with their own unique charm, especially in this genre where lyrics are often nothing and sound is everything. A little like Daft Punk or Fatboy Slim meets The Crocketts and Hefner. A definite must-have if you like these genres, or just need something to chill out to!
John Herzfeld has a winner with this one. Although for a while I thought this film had no plot, an intreguing and unpredictable chain of events soon begins to unfold in which famous Homocide detective Eddie Fleming, played wonderfully by Robert De Niro, investigates a chain of slighly bizzare murders, along with fire marshall Jordy Warsaw, played by Edward Burns. Kelsey Grammer stars as TV news presenter Robert Hawkins, who gives criminals high-priced lawyers and fame in return for exclusive interview rights. This soon proves to be an important part of the storyline as Emil Slovak and movie-obsessed Oleg Razgul go on a serial murder spree, and Oleg records it all with a stolen camcorder. All in all, an interesting and ultimately mildly amusing plot. Well worth the money to see it on the big screen, although I don't think the atmosphere will carry through onto the small screen when the film is eventually released on video and shown on TV. Catch it in the cinema while you can!
I got a dooyoo.co.uk T-shirt free at Live 2000 in September 2000. Compared to similar items on offer by other companies at the event, the dooyoo t-shirts are excellent quality. The fabric is thick and wearing, and the printing hasn't faded in several washes. The stitching is great, and the caption is funny to boot. Had I not got my t-shirt for free, I would spend my spare pennies on one of these. It is a shame, however, that people visiting after seeing my shirt don't count for users' referral bonuses! Get yourself one of these beauties: trendy, well-made, and advertises dooyoo at the same time!
I was introduced to Grandaddy with the tracks "The Crystal Lake" and "Hewlett's Daughter". The Sophtware Slump was on my Christmas list because of these songs, and I don't regret that. The tracks of this album are all good in their own right, but I find the album as a whole a bit samey. Most of the tracks are the same kind of thing, which while it is good on its own, an album full of it can be quite mind-numbing. Tracks I particularly like are Jed The Humanoid, a tale about a being created but then neglected, and Miner at the Dial-a-view, which is bizzare in a good way. Many people compare this to Radiohead's OK Computer, which is in some ways a fair comparison. The mood of the music is slightly different, but the sound is similar. All in all a good album, so long as you listen to it in short bursts.
Darren Hayman has created an excellent, varied collection of songs for this album. With the vocal and instrumental talents of Amelia Fletcher, James Williams, Owen Hayter and others, this album mixes contemporary themes with unlikely instruments such as flugels, trombones, saxes and flutes. This album tackles the anxieties of modern life within England's buzzing capital city in a humerous, enjoyable way. Some people may be tempted to compare Hefner to Radiohead, but to that I say there is no comparison. This album is hard-hitting, while mellow at the same time. The title track of the album is a particular favourite of mine, comparing the big city to the suburbs in order to analyse his attempts to win over a woman. Other excellent tracks are Good Fruit and She Can't Sleep No More, the former being a calm, mellow song with the latter being more upbeat but still great to listen to. 'We Love The City' is a great album, and I'd go so far to say that all of the tracks on it have their own unique charm. This album is a rare treat in that respect.
When BT has destroyed the rest, one unmetered ISP still remains. SurfUnlimited, an unmetered service provided by Telewest in partnership with its ISP wing Cableinet gives Telewest phone customers unmetered access for just £10/month (providing you make at least £10 worth of calls on any of your Telewest lines each month.) The impatient might want to give this one a miss, however, as certain points-of-presence (most notably in The Cable Corporation's area) often suffer quite extreme loss of throughput at peak times. I personally find that this is irrelevant when you are unmetered, because it doesn't matter much how long things take, but if you have a busy life or are just plain impatient this will get on your nerves. SurfUnlimited is hidden away on the BlueYonder site, which is mostly dominated by BlueYonder, Telewest's broadband (cable modem) Internet Access service. One problem you might have is actually getting an account. I can only speak for the Yorkshire Cable/Cable Corporation areas, but they seem very bad at getting people's accounts sorted. I was promised a CD five times before they finally agreed to sign me up over the phone. This is of course unacceptable, but once you actually manage to convince them to actually sign you up, Unmetered Access that can't be damaged by BT is all yours.
Live 2000 is a massive exhibition of the technology we all wish we had. From digital cameras, to laptop computers, to hi-fi systems, it's all there... and those are just on the Sony stand just inside the door! The online pavilion was my main point of interest, being a bit of a net-head. It was there I signed up to dooyoo, in fact: you can meet the friendly dooyoo staff there and say hi! Dotmusic, AOL and Freeserve were the main presences in the Online Pavilion, with several smaller companies making an appearance. AOL's stand takes the form of a 'house' which has sections for different members of the family, and while not being much of an AOL-fan, I did enjoy the free biscuits. Stuff, What Hi-fi? and TheNet magazine were present, in appropriate sections. Other companies of note include BTCellnet, Gameplay (complete with live games tournaments) and the company that sells the wonderful invention of CD hangers, just in case you feel the need to hang your CDs in your wardrobe, or something... If you are into technology and gadgets, check out Live 2000. As I write this there is only one day left, but on the off chance that anyone reads this before then... I recommend it.