Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on hearing the 7 o'clock news

A long time ago, BBC Radio 1 broadcast a documentary about Kraftwerk. The thing I remember most clearly from it was a story about how, when they heard 'Billie Jean', the band was thrown into crisis, believing that the song was such a leap forward that there was nowhere for them left to go.

Much later, I saw a clip of Jackson performing the same song at the Motown 25th Anniversay concert, and thought 'Well, pop music should have given up at that point, because nothing is ever going to top that.'

This morning, there were no tracks from 'Off the Wall' in the clips played on the Today programme (not big MJ fans, I guess), so we put the cd on. Anyone who doesn't like this record doesn't like happiness. Let us single out for praise 'Rock With You': that rare thing, a brilliant mid-tempo pop song, totally sophisticated and totally disco at the same time. You can imagine Smokey Robinson or Ella Fitzgerald singing it, and that's the company he deserves to be remembered alongside.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I give in

OK, so I've no desire to read anyone else's tweets, but I've been thinking that it's a good medium for saying 'hey, check this paper out', which is often all I want to do. So I've set up a feed, and put that last post on it. I think it's called @gentraso. We'll see if it's as colossal a waste of time as I've always believed.

9 July update. That really was a very graceless post, wasn't it? On poking around twitter, I can see that there's a some interesting stuff, and I can see how it's potentially addictive. I've still not signed up to follow anyone yet, though (though I may). And I'm still not sure where all the time for this stuff comes from.


They don't know much about art.
But they can learn what you like.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seeds of an edible city architecture

I've got a piece in today's Nature looking at recent efforts to integrate plants and buildings to help produce food and adapt to climate change.

It's loosely pegged to three recently stopped or upcoming exhibitions: London Yields at the Building Centre; Vertical Gardens at Exit Art, New York (both finished); and Radical Nature at the Barbican, London (starting on Sat 19th).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Best. Title. Ever.

Nothing to do with ecology etc., but I couldn't resist saluting Peter Leeson for calling his book on the economics of piracy 'The Invisible Hook'.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I bet no other blog spots this

So, the avian gunge scraped out of the engine of the US airways flight that ditched in the Hudson river this January was (Canada) goose rillettes. Ho hum.

More exciting is this piece of nominative determinism (from the press release)...

“It’s important to not only know what species of birds are involved in collisions, but to also understand the role that migration plays in the larger picture,” said Carla Dove, a coauthor and program director at Smithsonian’s Feather Identification Laboratory.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hear my voice

My south-London tones are getting an outing on US radio tomorrow, on New Hampshire Public Radio's Word of Mouth, from 12 noon EST. I'll be talking spite.

5 June Update. Here's what I said.