Not So Usual

June 7th, 2006

This afternoon between the hours of one and two I witnessed one of the greatest moments in the history of the state. I mean, if Bord Failte wanted a photo opportunity it was today in St. Stephen’s Green. An Garda Siochana Band played a free concert at the bandstand in the Green. A group of about 50 people sat and watched the show in the sun. All the old easy-listening classics were pulled out: ‘It’s Not Unusual’, ‘My Way’, even Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood’ got an airing. It was pleasant enough, laying around in the sun but what really got me was when they played ‘I’m A Believer’ (vocals by Garda Brendan Murphy) and the children with special needs who’d been sitting to my left and the junkies to my right started dancing together. Garda Murphy needed no encouragement: C’mon, let’s see you all clapping your hands!, he cried, as he stood on the edge of the stand during the sax solo. And there were no taunts or jeers for the Gardai up there giving it socks! No-siree. People started clapping along and then a freaking conga-line was formed. No joke. When they went up a key the thought did cross my mind, “maybe we will see Heaven on Earth”. And people should have that thought more often. Especially during a work lunch break.

Cheap laugh.

Cheaper.

VILLAGE PEOPLE

After previous misfortune associated with The Village, I still went to see Jason Mraz play there last week. A bit of a disappointment compared to his last gig in Whelan’s in February. He’s good and puts on a show but some of his fans are a joke. Read: kinda teeny-bopperish (do people still say ‘teeny-bopper’? Am I Marge Simpson?) For example, at one point, during the outro of a real quiet song one guy just bellowed “Wordplay!” (his most commercially successful song). Stuff like that. Also, if he wasn’t asking people to clap along with a song or making banana-related euphemisms some of the little cretins seemed totally oblivious to the show. “Eimear, they’d no Smirnoff Ice so I just got you a WKD, is that ok?” they would shout. “Here’s your change. No! You can buy me a drink later, it’s fine!” But he must know he brings a lot of it on himself.

Anyway, here’s the controversial point (and one I’d like a second, maybe even a third, opinion on), he didn’t come out for an encore. It’s my first time ever to see that happen and I’ve been pondering as to the possible reasons. I think he was disappointed to realise that his fans (at least in Dublin) only seem to want to hear the hits over and over. Having said that, I did find his set at The Village a little dry and self-indulgent. There were too many ballads (read: The OC/Dawson’s Creek soundtrack contenders). It seemed like he pulled out all the stops for his first show in Dublin, playing all the crowd-pleasers to…well…please the crowd, I guess. It also guaranteed a larger audience for his return (as the return was to follow only a few months later). As a result of this, however, the Village gig then seemed to fall into ‘second-leg’ category- as opposed to a show in its own right- and meant he played only a few of the same songs ( i.e. the most popular) again and tended to concentrate on some more recent, previously unheard tracks.

I’m divided as to whether the lack of an encore was unprofessional and sulky or exactly what his fans deserved. Hmm I think encores are a must, actually. It’s like being at a party, excusing yourself to go to the bathroom and grabbing your coat from the hall and legging it. From your own party. Just as you were about to blow out the candles.

What do you think? Yeah, you at the back asleep. Well?

Oh and a special shout out to John, an American guy behind me who was talking to ‘Fiona’ about how he wished he had a “cool” name like Fiona. “You know, like, everyone’s called John! ‘Hi, Johnny’, ‘There’s Johnny over there’ or, like, ‘Dude, here’s Johnny now!’ I wish I had a real weird name, something, like, quirky!” Oh dear. Poor John. Such a troubled young man. It’s ‘cos he’s got so much on his mind, I guess.

GOTS TO HAVE MUSIC

If you’re thinking of picking up a CD in the near future, Ojos de Brujo are a flamenco/hip-hop act from Barcelona who are all I’ve listened to recently. They fuse traditional flamenco styles with hip-hop and more electronic sounds. ‘Bari’ (2003) is beautiful and only improves on increased listening. Their new album ‘Techari’, at two or three listens, is more of the same. However, the closest they play to Dublin this year is Paris.

Simian are a band I’d like to talk about here if you don’t mind. They broke up in 2003 but still managed to produce some of the freshest and most unique sounds available today. The brevity of their history, spanning only two albums, (‘Chemistry Is What We Are’ in 2001 and ‘We Are Your Friends’ in 2003) is tragic and ended with a breakaway group forming (Simian Mobile Disco), who concentrate mainly on remixes (woop-de-woop). ‘Chemistry’ is experimental, quirky, harmony-laden pop while ‘Friends’ leans more towards where Mobile Disco is now; heavier, electro-pop/rock songs, with similar quantities and quality of harmony. They also deserve special props yo for some of the artwork on their CDs. One of my favourite artists who are still around…Oops. *sniffs*

stigmund will never be alone again

Been Away So Long I Hardly Knew the Place

May 5th, 2006

This is nice. And do feel free to scroll around.

So, the workers at Stigmund Inc. (me included) took a well-earned break in Seville a while ago where this type of thing is the norm round Easter Week. This was, of course, a wonderful surprise and a delightful time was had by all.

IN PRAISE OF MYSPACE

It’s very easy to criticise MySpace, the third most popular English-speaking site in the world with a million new members a month. Its hideousness is just one reason: the layout is crude and the colours are left to its tasteless members to choose. It is one of the most unintuitive websites to try and command and its users communicate like 9 year olds who’ve just discovered MSN. The advertising is shameless: “She’s waiting for you” and a picture of a girl who might have said she was 18 on her MySpace profile but man, she ain’t. Because I clicked on and asked her myself, that’s how. And it is all too often “undergoing maintenance” which makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Probably says more about my MySpace problem than anything, but I digress. The point is that, having said all that, I’m still slowly becoming an addict. I follow their conversations like some disgusting voyeur, tracking back to find out what everyone was talking about and who said what in response. It’s shameful, I tells ya. There are some funny little gimps out there though. And some sweet music. Irish people making deadly music! Check these out, each with at least three songs to listen to. The quirky Kevin McNamara with a thrilling voice; History of Harry, musically mature beyond their years and showing real promise; Michael Knight, who I’ve carefully compared before to Brian Wilson, have three new songs up; the bluesy, funky, difficult-to-pin-down-to-a-genre The Musical Show and the newest to MySpace, the guys just knuckling down to their Leaving Cert, The Roll Models.

Where else could these technologically-disabled musicians find a place to upload their music and run a simple website? And what better place than somewhere where there’s already 65 million members who you can contact easily and who can listen to your music for free? Sure, you’ve to sign up and exclude all those who ain’t gonna bother. But even the laziest of jackasses can still listen to your music, no matter how crap it is! Hear that, Zoomy? Get your music up and out there and show these people what you’ve got! I’ve got no-one but MySpace to thank for introducing me to these guys.

Plus, one Liam McD, a self-confessed MySpace addict, has recently come up with this gem. It’s called MySpace Arguments. It is purely for riling up the easily excited and is a joy to behold. There are various topics, each one more provocatively-titled than the one before (see ‘Gays’ and ‘Blacks- weren’t they so much cooler when they were just slaves?’*).

My favourite one so far is ‘Are women better at anything?’ Obviously intended to stir it up, and boy are some of those girls grabbing the bait. One point that has come across loud and clear though (and something I’ve often wondered) is why are girls so quiet in the music department. Think of all the bands/artists you know… Any decent girls out there? Don’t give me the poo about the industry being dominated by men etc. What about people you know, hm? I know about 20 guys personally who play instruments and are giving the ol’ songwriting a go, experiencing varying degrees of success. None of them have been signed either but they’re giving it a shot and some of them are damn talented. I don’t know one girl who’s written a song. Not true actually, I know one. She’s written a couple. But she is far outnumbered by her male counterparts. What’s the story? Sure, you often see the odd female-fronted band, but when it comes to writing the ol’ ceol she’s nowhere to be found. I do love some female artists. I’m a shameless Joni Mitchell fan and Bjork does blow me away. But even Bjork gets a lotta help with the writing. Anyway, I’m just disappointed to see not as many girls coming up with the goods. I’m not just trying to get things going but I would love to hear what people think. And if I can get things going too that would be a nice bonus.

*UPDATE: now defunct.

GOOD TASTE = SAME AS MINE

This guy has brilliantly re-enacted two of my favourite scenes of all time. As in, when I was younger (not too young, mind. 19? I am a nerd. What, you knew that!) I tape-recorded them from the TV and listened to them over and over, I loved them that much.

The first is The Princess Bride ‘Battle of Wits’ scene and the second is the climax in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (DANGER: INNUENDO OVERLOAD. EVACUATE BLOG. PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE NEAREST EXITS. IDIOTS.).

stigmund – Wears Those Dresses And The Sun Comes Shinin’ Through

Messages of a Textually Explicit Nature VI

April 3rd, 2006

CURRENTLY IN MY MOBILE PHONE INBOX:

Generic birthday greetings, pixelated birthday cake message etc. to you [FRIEND]! Have a good one! You’re so [OLD]! : D Don’t get too [DRUNK]! : D

Oh, I see what you mean about the twitching and the sweating.

YOU are so gay… Sorry it took me so long to think of a swift reply.

It’s what boyos say for ‘see you later’. You know like on the bus, “slaaaw”… Usually said through the nose.

Good grammar is frowned upon on MySpace.

Have been asked out 16 times this morning by random women (and 3 men) walking past me on the street. Therefore, I conclude, the T-shirt is a success! Thanks!

Gift.

Damn it, I’ve enabled comments for just any old fool and now people like you can get their revenge on me by littering my site with irrelevant remarks.

Bullying territory?

I’m responsible for training in the new girl. Imagine teaching quantum physics to a boiled egg. You’re feeling a fraction of my pain.

Fag!

If you are still unemployed when we arrive you could be our private tour guide. We’d pay 1 euro an hour- 2 wearing the dirndl.

Well maybe I’ll just try listening next time.

stigmund was just following orders

For the Roses

April 2nd, 2006

THIS JUST IN

Some of you have been asking why I don’t spend more of my blogging time commenting on politics and current affairs and, of course, all that ‘hot celeb goss’. Yes, news is all very well but what does Stigmund have to say about this carry-on? they say. Well then, you news-lovin’ crumbums, this next bit’s for you. I don’t plan on making this a regular feature by any means. Like that wiley young Log character, I don’t believe b**ggers should bother giving their own ‘take’ or ‘twist’ on news events. Pointless.

The root of The Problem in France (well, the most recently publicised one) at the moment is the same as all the other problems with which France struggles. There is no word in French for ‘apologise’. Fact.

Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment products, today predicted that Angelina Jolie’s next installment will be more popular and news-worthy than all previous endeavours and that Womb Raider would be released in the coming weeks.

MOOVEEZ

If you go see Transamerica don’t laugh at the poignant parts- there might just be more going on here than the jaded, ‘dysfunctional family round the table’ rigmarole. If you’re too much of an assbutt to notice these things and want to see it because you think it’ll be ‘a bit of a laugh’ please don’t. Nice one. I am slightly tempted to go see Failure to Launch, just to finally push me over the edge and put an end to procrastination on my number 1 life ambition: to find Matthew McConaughey and kick him in the shins. I think this film could well provide enough fuel for the fire. Add Sarah “typecast” Parker talking about shoes and I might just throw in a Chinese burn.

Any takers?

stigmund
– Goin’ In An’ Out Of Style

I’ve Been Thinking About Death

March 28th, 2006

So, here we are. Isn’t this lovely now. All of us, round our computers. You know, I often imagine you Stigmund fans would all get along great. Not with me, necessarily; it’d be a little awkward what with the worshipping and adoration and such. But all of you, with your witty comments and spiteful retorts. Aren’t yez great. Actually, let’s try something. Imagine your mouse is another Stigmund-reader’s hand and your monitor another reader’s face. And you’re just there staring at each other, gazing into each other’s eyes across a desk, just thinking about how much you have in common, united in your love for the Stigmund. And every time you scroll down with that little wheel on your mouse you’re actually delicately stroking their hand…

Ok, enough. I’ve a post to get through here.

ANYONE WHO SPEAKS GERMAN CAN’T BE EVIL

Apologies for the delay; several things have kept me from b**gging; namely, apathy, lack of inspiration and two kidnappings. Also, a work trip to Germania. After recovering from the disappointment of noting the lack of fat, chocolate-eating kids, I really had a fairly hip time in Heidelberg. Now there are few things that tickle me pink quite like a good ol’ stereotype being fulfilled and during my stay in The Fatherland there were a few magic moments.

Like when a balding German professor (let’s just call him Dr. Scratchandsniff), speaking about food rationing he experienced during his stay in China, told us emphatically that one portion was “only ze size of a tiny schnitzel!”

And when the excessively tall tour guide (also bald, with moustache) shouted at some misguided guidees who had wandered off the course to “SCHTOP!” I thought we’d arrived at a death camp.

NIGGLER

Something rather perturbing: when you Google my name (go on, do it) it now throws up that confounded slogan generator with my name in it before my actual b**g. This is so sad it makes me want to ‘colon-open bracket’ all day long.

ALOOF, ELITE, ELECT

I am pleased to announce the two newest members to the much-coveted and lofty position of Stigmund’s Elite* (new Irish artists that don’t suck and blow): the Galwegian 7-piece, Roll Models, have a song called Kevin which is one of those songs you can sing to people you hate; it’s not just intelligent and creative songwriting- it will also come in super-handy for many people I know. And these guys are still doing their Leaving Cert! Just think what they’ll manage when they’re not frantically reading ‘Less Stress More Success’ in the studio.

Many artists get compared to Brian Wilson; Michael Knight are one of the few who deserve it. That’s not grammatically incorrect, you Nazis- they are a group with a TV character’s name. (If you have the correct taste in music) Their music will thrill you and make you feel like you’re a kid in the 60s, the sun is shining and Brian Wilson is just writing Surf’s Up.

*Read into that what you will, Jimlad.

THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT, THE FUTURE’S ORANGE (and other quality linkage)

I know it’s old, old news at this stage but I heard some people whining about having not seen them yet. It’s worth a look just for the Tom Cruise one. Go.

If you’ve ever received an email, you’ve received Chuck Norris Facts. Here’s the man/god/legend himself reading a few favourites.

To all those MySpace haters: gold.

I WISH THEY ALL COULD BE CALIFORNIA…

Speaking of David Hasselhoff TV characters, sometimes people ask me if I have a ‘thing’ for foreign chicks. I usually said no, until I found this blog and, in particular, this entry. Cailini, you make me sick.

stigmund – Ain’t Gonna Stop ‘Til You Wise Up

Post #35

March 7th, 2006

Today’s title is inspired by the lack of inspiration I’ve had blog-wise recently. I am home sick with influenza. She’s my new Spanish flatmate. She’s pretty cool, I guess. Except for all the snotrags she insists on leaving around the place. And the punching she keeps giving to my head- it’s giving me a headache.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Guys who say “‘cos I’m just that kind of guy!” are never that kind of guy.

BLOODY STUPID

So, blood donation Wednesday. Everything was going fine, as things tend to go at the Blood Clinic*, until I asked about my blood pressure and the nurse explained that the doctor had read it from “the telescope he had round his neck”. I just looked at my arm and thought, “of all the people on this planet, I got you to shove a needle in my arm.”

*Why are things always so dandy at The Clinic? Because it- no, wait. That should be their tagline actually. Forget “Bring someone back from the dead” or whatever their current slogan is; my one works. With ads showing nurses robot-dancing, patients singing and blood spurting in time to Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’, the donors would be flying in. Anyway, everyone there always seems to be in such good humour. They all want to be there. After another great experience at The Blood Clinic I can confirm it as one of my Top 10 hang-out joints in Dublin.

INTERLUDE

Let’s face it, it’s true.

WHAT I DON’T KNOW COULD FILL A WAREHOUSE

Bonzo (who will have a blog soon- he just doesn’t know it yet. Bonzo, get a blog. Ok, now he knows) and I went to see Syriana Friday. And afterwards, we nominated Zoomtard to do a brief 100-word summary of the whole movie; including plot, political background to each plot and character and, to conclude, a short piece on how George Clooney has become the hippest guy in Hollywood with his last two movies (with appendices, if necessary). After reading his summary, hopefully I’ll be slightly less of a dolt about the information required to fully appreciate the film second time round.

stigmund has disproportionately short arms and legs

The Rigmarole Fiasco Saga

February 20th, 2006

Oi! Get outta my comment box, you lousy, no-good kids! Harumph!

I’m not sure if anyone checks the statistics on the FuriousThinking main page as often as me, but Eddie Izzard is consistently the number one search string. I’m as clueless as good ol’ Eddie there. What the hell is up with that, you freaks? I’m talking to my fellow FuriousThinkers as much as you, my wonderfully coked-up middle management readers. I want answers.

A couple of weeks ago I got my skates on, pulled up my socks, got my finger out and got my ass in (5th) gear. And they gave me a job! They said I really “stood out” from the rest of the applicants. They didn’t elaborate. My work is a little different from before; as in there’s less ice cream to make of course and, well, that’s about it. That and plenty more rolling around. On skates.

ALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY

You’ll all be pleased to hear my Valentine’s Day wasn’t spent in the shameful depression I usually celebrate mid-February (despite Yellow Snow’s icy rejection). My Slovakian office-mate (who is recently engaged and all loved-up) couldn’t bear to see me in such a pathetic state and gave me a coupon for chocolates in Boots. So instead of going home alone and depressed, I bought cheap chocolates with a coupon, went to the cinema and ate my way out of depression. The movie was more enjoyable than anticipated. A thundering success of a day I think you’ll agree.

It, unbelievably, got better. On the recommendation of a reliable friend, I joined her at the Jason Mraz gig at Whelan’s. Seeing crowds of girls at a gig is always a bad sign so on this horrific sight I prepared myself for the very, very worst. Jason Mraz, ladies and gentlemen, is brilliant. I’ve never heard his albums but, man, live he really is exceptional. Apparently, though, his CDs are an anti-climax compared with his gigs, so be warned. He managed to weave ‘Superstition’ and ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” into his own song, Mr. Nally, and by the end I was a convert.

IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ME, YOU ARE WRONG

Having still not seen Munich yet, I recommend Goodnight, and Good luck and Hidden as your two best bets right now. There really isn’t that much out. Oh, and if you’re thick enough to have enjoyed Final Destination and Final Destination 2, you’re probably thick enough to go enjoy the third. I know I was.

A NATION HOLDS ITS BREATH

Tomorrow night, Tuesday 21st February, sees music history being made: Liam McDermott performs live for the first time to his adoring public. Having done a few TV (well, TG4) and radio (well, 2fm) gigs, and performed at a few songwriting competition finals, this will be the first gig open to just any old ho like yourself. It will be in The Voodoo Lounge from 8pm, with support from Deirdre Fox, the brilliant Kevin McNamara (check out his song ‘The Stalker’ on that link) and comedian (or “asshole”) Dave McSavage. Liam’s band is comprised of a ridiculous seven members (not including himself) so should be a real treat. His EP ‘I Need to Get Away’ goes on sale in Tower Records tomorrow, where he will also perform an intimate set (for the four staff and three emo kids flicking through magazines) at 6pm.

Last one there is the proverbial rotten egg.


stigmund
makes love just like a woman, but he breaks just like a little girl

Messages Of A Textually Explicit Nature V

January 22nd, 2006

CURRENTLY IN MY MOBILE PHONE INBOX:

I have what I hope is your scarf.

TV3 News headline: A cinnamon bun that looks like Mother Teresa is stolen.

Sorry, thought I was interrupting.

It is OK to hang out whenever you want.

A good way to threaten somebody is to light a stick of dynamite. Then you call the guy and hold the burning fuse up to the phone. Hear that? you say. That’s dynamite, baby.

Note to self: cut meat quietly.

I look forward to reading it you scandalous and disloyal scamp.

Paris would we? Colombian are they! Well fine! Enjoy the stink of cheese and the all-permeating air of surrender!

D’oh! I have forgotten how to study.

Happy birthday Stigmund. This time three years ago we had no apartment, we were broke, freezing… I’d do anything to relive those days.

I’ll carry that advice to my grave. My watery grave. Under the sea.

Yo. Did you see my scarf?

stigmund – Wondering Where It All Went Wrong

Write On, and Turn the People On

January 20th, 2006

There are few things in this life that float my boat quite like being right. I’ve spoken before about my feelings towards the current Irish music scene. All I’ll say is that if a reviewer says an Irish artist sounds like “nothing on the current Irish music scene” I would maybe give it a go. Their Irishness alone tends to mean their CD will end up in my Amplified Acoustic Whining Nightmare section.

And one Irish artist I have unapologetically plugged here is Liam McDermott (see his politically incorrect blog in my links). This review at Oxygen.ie sums up exactly how I feel about Liam’s music, particularly in relation to the music scene here.

Recording for his new EP begins in February, culminating in a launch gig in Voodoo at the end of the month.

stigmund – Keepin’ An Eye On The World Going By His Window

Pungent Judy

January 17th, 2006

Others have gone on at length about the brilliance of Sufjan Stevens‘ latest album Illinois. But just in case you doubted this guy’s ability check out the lyrics of his song about Illinois’ infamous clown killer, John Wayne Gacy Junior right here.

Then read the Wikipedia write-up on Gacy and check for the accuracy of his lyrics- right down to the colours of the face paint! In my lyrical experience, it’s always been the little details of serial killers’ escapades that I struggle with the most. But to Mr. Stevens, all in a day’s work. A poignant tribute to an extremely depressing life. Let’s recap: clown, serial child killer, buried bodies under floorboards, executed in prison with execution parties outside, problem with lethal injection means 27 minutes to die and then brain removed from corpse for psychiatric tests. Oh dear.

By the way, is the innate fear of Mr. Gacy (or Pogo the Clown) and killer clowns in general a universal feature of people’s childhood? I think it’s safe to say all those born after 1972 had it. It’s a ‘survival of the fittest’ thing, I guess. Evolving with our surroundings and such: you introduce killer clowns to the equation, we will be smarter the next time round. I’m pretty sure I still haven’t conquered my clown fear. Probably for the best. If you ever think you’re over it, look at this again.

ADVICE FOR LIFE

Learn from my mistake and avoid Neil Jordan’s unwatchable Breakfast on Pluto– I saw it yesterday afternoon. Man, it both sucks and blows. I mean, I’m not one to walk out of movies but yesterday I came very close. Unbearably tedious. The only scene I can say I enjoyed was the one where the police were beating Cillian Murphy’s character, Kitten to a bloody pulp. I really wanted him to get it (so did this reviewer actually. This one comes close to how I feel about the movie too). I thought that was a pretty dumb thing for me to do until I realised it’s about as useful as empathising with a character and so let the hate flow freely. And then I thought about all the people who were going to enjoy the movie and that made me hate it more. So Cillian Murphy can do camp? So what. He’s a good actor but this was by far his worst role yet. Next!

I didn’t laugh once throughout the whole thing and people in the cinema laughed about four times *tops*. What did everyone else find so funny? When he did his affected “So serious, so serious” line for the first time? Or was it the twenty-seventh time that did it for you? A shambles.

stigmund – Opinions With A Generous Helping Of Self-righteousness