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craiggy_boy

craiggy_boy

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since 22/01/2001

52

The Return of The Native - Thomas Hardy 06/11/2002

Pull me out the aircrash, pullme out the lake

The Return of The Native - Thomas Hardy I have, over the last few weeks, discovered one of the more depressing aspects of my university life. These disheartening times don't come when The Saddlers fail to produce the goods, when I'm given a particularly erroneous pint of non-descript lager, or even when I've had 6 hours of sleep, too much of the above mentioned non-descript slurpage and then have to walk through the drizzle to early lectures. They in fact, happen when I find myself sitting twice a week, in LG34 in the Learning Centre… Sat at the back of the Compilers and Languages lecture, trying to look intelligent and trying to look like I know what's going on, and to be fair I can achieve this every now and again; but it's when you realise that everyone at the front is a clever bast**d and that then there are those in the middle who you're not quite sure of: do they know what he's on about? Am I being paranoid or what? It'd be great to be sat there next week and have some admirable brunette, preferably musical, come and sweep me up into her grasp, telling me that it's all going to be ok now… Or alternatively I could just go out and buy the textbook and hope that That's going to tell me it's all going to be ok now. One way or another, I have to get that 10 credits and maintain my sanity, and this I have been doing in part, to quote that chicken loving reading bus guy off South Park, by "Discovering the magic of reading." However before I review the book itself, a little more on discovering the magic of ...

Walking Wounded - Everything But the Girl 02/08/2002

THE TRACK NAME SAYS IT ALL, BIG DEAL

Walking Wounded - Everything But the Girl After watching Brendon Foster and Steve Cramb getting all excited and Geordie about our athletes' fine performances, particularly on Tuesday night during the Commonwealth Games, I thought I'd take a little trip up to the cheerful and hospitable north east of England. Not however up to Newcastle, I'm not planning on ganning that far, not even as high up as Scarborough … trail your finger down the slender curves of our fine country's east coast until you come into Lincolnshire and bump into 'Ull, or rather, Hull, as the rest of us call it. What on earth are Hull Doing in a Ciao op? I'm pretty sure that the Carling brewery is somewhere round there, but it isn't beer that I'm reviewing this time (mental note to self, must start reviewing beer soon) but Music. Everything but The Girl in fact. This reputable English duo could probably boast of being their town's biggest musical export, unless there are more bands there than I know of, and although Walking Wounded is a good 6 years old now, the band have actually been going since during the early 80s. Adept vocalist Tracey Thorn and musician/song writer Ben Watt formed EBTG, all be it for a brief spell, in 1982. The pair were both pursuing solo careers at the time when they met at university and didn't really get it together as an act until the release of their first album in 1984. At the time, the band were pretty alternative in a wash of new romanticism and cheesy Waterman like pop, with their fuse of folk, jazz and ...

Whatever and Ever Amen - Ben Folds Five 30/07/2002

DON'T FORGET TO GIMME BACK MY BLACK T-SHIRT

Whatever and Ever Amen - Ben Folds Five Unlike Mika Hakkinen, I'm back after my brief sabbatical with frequent episodes of brain fade and my rejuvenated self is largely due to a morning spent watching DVDs consisting of such stimulating material as Button Moon, Rainbow and DangerMouse. When I was done with the studenty obsession that is past classics of children's TV, I got to thinking about 60s soul and RnB (proper traditional RnB!) bands, and who I'd put in a dream backing band for a legendary singer/song writer of the time, such as Otis Redding or Jim Morrison: that is of course assuming that the Barr-Kays were unavailable. Hmmm, this could be tricky, my initial thoughts were of Mitch Mitchell on the drums, Steve Marriott on keyboard and Hammond (before he got too messed up on LSD), with Jimmy Page on lead guitar and maybe diving into the 70s to grab Andy Summers for rhythm as he has huge hands and could cope with anything that I threw at him …… The bassist position is still uncertain as everyone tends to forget the poor buggers but I spose we could be charitable and give it to Jack Bruce from Cream. Now me thinks these guys would really rock and may even be able to lend a hand with salvaging such forgotten woeful offerings as Missing You by Chris de Burgh or maybe even Because We Want to, but hey hey these people are only human and have enough trouble keeping their eyes on their own careers without redeeming the reputations of others so let's abandon that one. But we're past the 60s and Ben Folds Five are ...

Novation K-Station 10/07/2002

THE AFFORDABLE KNOB TWIDDLER'S DREAM

Novation K-Station Orbital, Air, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and that man who makes the music for the card shops in town (you know the sort, Sax Dreams vol 3 with heavy Celine Dion influences), what do they all have in common? Well as diverse a lot as they may seem, hopefully the only similarity that they share is that they all love their synthesizers. Synths have been around for decades, probably since the late 60's/early 70's when the first synth, the Moog was made. The synths of yesterday year were nothing like the ones you might see on stages today - enormous room filling beasts that would actually be made of many patches (boxes of circuitry) physically connected to each other with a series of cables. If a musician wanted to change a sound this involved complex rewiring to get the desired effect and for obvious reasons these things weren’t the kind of instrument that you'd gig with. In the 80s, synths had become extremely popular, especially in the new romantic and alternative genre, but they were still seen as something that camp gimps with no musical knowledge or charisma would play around with. Although reduced to the size of a large keyboard, they were still bulky and not overly versatile with micro circuitry and board technology still in its early advances. By the 90s, synths had really taken off, majorly due to the large increase in popularity for the dance and electronica scene. People were striving to make new and unique sounds that nobody had ever heard before and to ...

Blue Lines/Mezzanine - Massive Attack 07/07/2002

LOVE SONGS FOR THE DEPRIVED AND DENIED

Blue Lines/Mezzanine - Massive Attack Some albums are just born classics, some albums never quite make it to begin with and some just tend to mature and grow with time …. A little like Charlotte Church (joke!!) …. Mezzanine isn't a Revolver, and it isn't a Westlife LP either, it's an album that I have owned for over a year but only with time have I truly begun to realise the pure genius that is held within, to the extent that I would consider it highly in my top 5 favourite albums. This album is the third and currently the most recent collection of tracks that the Bristolian pioneers have released and I'm still waiting patiently for their fourth studio album that was promised back in January of this year …. Still no sign lads so get on with the mastering before I learn the way down to Bristol and lend a hand. But anyway, first there was Blue Lines, 11 years old now but still as great sounding now as it was back then, inspired by war, greed and a hint of love (yes love!) this was the album that gave rise to the slowbeat dance classic Unfinished Sympathy and introduced us to Shara Nelson and Tricky amongst other guests. 3 or so years later came the second bundle, Protection. I would deem this to be a much more poppy and mainstream approach to electronica and although it was the first Massive Attack album I bought, I still think that to date, it is their weakest. Its saving grace was the heavy influence of Tracy Thorn of EBTG fame and Protection itself is still arguably the most popular MA track of all time. ...

Everything that starts with S ... 18/06/2002

A TV show with a difference...

Everything that starts with S ... DISCLAIMER: The content of this op is purely fictional, it by no means reflects the ways and beliefs of any Ciao members contained within, or at least, not much anyway. It is merely a mildly satirical look at some of the people who have made Ciao a great place for me and fellow Ciaoers to be over the last few years and my way of saying "Thank you, I love you guys" hehe. Seriously though, if you feel I've been unfair or offensive in any way to your person, just let me know and I'll modify or remove references as necessary. It's not written to offend or belittle, I just thought it'd make a change from washing up liquid and confectionary. Hope you enjoy it, cheers, Craig! I was looking round the various top 10 categories this morning and I have to say that I couldn't really find one that caught my attention, until I suddenly had the inspiration! What if Ciao were a soap! What if indeed, containing all our lovable Ciao characters and their associated places; to be screened 3 times a week until popular demand causes a fourth episode to take the slot of Skin Cities: Ciao style, hosted bye Deano76 on Saturday evening prime time. Consider it, a quaint northern village, somewhere up near Rippon (wherever that may be), with the ever present pub (The Op 'n Fiddle) and the little corner shop; but unfortunately no launderette as most of the Ciaoers have managed to work out how to operate their own washing machines by now, or at least if they can't they just run along to ...

Fiction 10/06/2002

Sunday service

Fiction I often wondered what it would be like to be dead. In a way, I suppose I should consider it as being similar to the moment of my birth; no memories of past events to draw on, yet no concept of the future either. What exactly would it be like when the time for me and my body to part company eventually arrived? I did not know, but here I was, standing, looking down the railway line stretching out before me until it vanished into a cluster of trees far in the distance. I stood, poised, listening, waiting. Then I heard it. A soft and almost melodic hissing, metallic, yet tuneful. The fine sound of the oscillating rails signalled the approach of the train and I could see it now, a red speck gathering speed and increasing in size as whilst out of earshot, it made its approach. The hissing soon gave way to a dull and rhythmic clunking; slightly syncopated but steady enough as the train beat its undaunted path along the track, section by section towards me. As the sound rose in volume, the shape racing towards me began to assume a more discernable shape - the black of the engine, the red and yellow striped caterpillar of carriages that snaked along behind it. I can smell it now, the sharp familiar strain of hot metal; I could almost imagine the train stretching and straining against its own structure, part by part, as first one joint cooled then another heated up, causing a flexing, seamless ripple to travel the length of its body as though it were alive. The smell of the ...

Everything that starts with L ... 01/05/2002

Look around ... have you seen these individuals

Everything that starts with L ... Sit there and cringe. You know who you are. I've been going to football matches since times I could hardly see over the turnstile, which'd be a good 10 years or so, so I consider with a little justification that I have built up quite a portfolio of profiles of the common footie fans. It's true that you'll meet some great individuals every now and again, but I'm sure that you'll agree with me that you will have encountered at least one of the characters, if not all of the ones that I'm about to introduce to you: The first to step forward and be counted is … SPROG: It's hard to put an age limit on sprog, but I'd say that generally he'd (or even she'd) be between the age of about 5 and 11 - old enough to be able to string a coherent sentence together but not quite old enough to stand around menacingly outside the offie drinking Hooch on a Friday night and harassing potential buyers with verbal insults and baseball cap tinted humour. The best thing about sprog is that he will have undying enthusiasm when it comes to supporting his team. His dad has been there for 20 years and so is used to getting kicked in the bollocks season in season out by the boys he loves, but his son has it all to come and so will sit there, or rather not sit, he'll bounce around in his chair, kicking the back of yours, elbowing his neighbours and making frequent trips to the food outlet to buy industrial sized chocolate bars; screaming his lungs out for 90 minutes and ultimately embarrassing ...

Pioneer DVD 106S 25/04/2002

She's quiet, pleasing and performs well

Pioneer DVD 106S As an aspiring computer scientist, it's probably bad form that I've done only 1 computer opinion in my history of Ciao. Maybe I'm worried about giving people wrong information, or information that is too complex or irrelevant - but I thought ah bugger it, it's time for some hardware reviews and to give the binary boys something to shout about. The thing about looking for hardware reviews on the net is that there are quite a few pitfalls. You might firstly have trouble finding any vaguely in depth review of the product at all and if you do, the review is generally of poor quality unless it's done by a professional from a reputable site. If this is the case, and you stumble across a random review on an unknown site, you'll have someone writing a half hearted paragraph that tells you nothing about the product's in depth performance and if you do stumble across a pro site, only the latest hardware is generally included on such sites so unless you're looking to build something of a beast of a computer, you won't find the info on the more budget hardware. The Pioneer DVD-106s is by no means a budget piece of hardware. Anyone interested in stereo and audio equipment in particular will already know that Pioneer have an extremely fine reputation for producing high quality, high performing goods. Ok, they may not be the cheapest in the world but when it comes to branding and performance, I'm a bit of a snob lol and will always try to buy the very best I can afford at the time. We ...

10 Worst Songs of All Time 18/04/2002

Open up bin, you're in for a feast

10 Worst Songs of All Time Today was one of those days where I wanted to write something but nothing was going to come out. I then decided to do something that I always enjoy doing - take a walk down memory lane. I shall take you folks with me on a voyage of shame and discovery as I dig up, humiliate and ridicule 10 of what I consider to be the worst songs of all time. Keep in mind that I am only 21, so there aren't going to be too many older tunes and although I seem to see songs such as Long Haired Lover From Liverpool and The Flower dance in almost everyone's selection, you're not going to see them in mine - I'd like to think that I had enough taste to avoid such songs anyway ;). However, taste or not, there are some that you just can't avoid and I know that I'm probably going to offend a few people here, by slagging off the song that they first had a snog to or something, but each to his own and his own to an opinion, so here goes… These are in no particular order, just in the order that I remember them … -- Chris de Burgh - Lady in red -- Shock horror! You cry, but this is surely one of the classic ballads of all time, oozing sentimentality and romaaance. I unfortunately must point out that I beg to disagree on that one - this is without a doubt one of the worst love songs that was ever written; yes it got to number 1 in 1986 and no doubt had sweet young ladies melting into the arms of their acned teen age loves, but it is quite simply awful. It is sicklier than a triple chocolate ...

Philips HQ 5401 Reflex ACT. 16/04/2002

Cheaper than 1000 tampons ..... I think

Philips HQ 5401 Reflex ACT. Aaaaargh! I think that this title may have alienated me from most of the Ciaoettes on here, but before you all rush to remove me from your COT for being a devout sexist and something of a chauvinistic traditionalist as far as women go, let me explain … Whether you are a man or a woman, there are certain biological phenomena that you are going to have to face. For women, it's the necessity to bleed periodically (haha!!) every month for a few days and thus have to spend well earned cash on the vitals that could otherwise be spent in New Look or down the boozer or something. Then there's make up, hair products and clothes, and nail polish and more hair products and clothes …. Oh and more clothes again, phew am I being unreasonable? I think not ;) you should just see the wardrobes of some of the women I know … Anyway, whether ror not I get murdered in August by a crowd of angry women (and you know that I love you really I'm just trying to make people laugh as everyone else seems to be going mad on here lately), I'm sure that you ladies would agree that us men have it so much easier. The only things we have to put up with are Man Utd fans, that annoying habit of not shaking your fella properly and having the dribblage tarnishing your trousers and of course, the necessity to shave every day - perhaps even more than once a day. Shaving in itself isn't something overly bad to put up with at all, in fact, women would probably argue that they'd rather have a quick 5 minutes shave ...

Songs In A Minor - Alicia Keys 11/04/2002

Modern RnB for the non-believer

Songs In A Minor - Alicia Keys I'd like to begin this review by discussing the term RnB. Depending on how old you are, or perhaps how stuck in your ways you are if you're like me lol, you'll have different interpretations of what the genre RnB entails. Now to me, RnB means classic RnB: I'd be thinking of bands like The Stones, Cream and Fleetwood Mac, whereas others would be thinking of people such as Aaliyah, Destiny's Child and Brandy. There is nothing wrong with either understanding of the term, but I tend to call the latter artists "Modern" RnB acts, as you could hardly imagine them being capable of pulling out a guitar or drum kit could you now? This modernisation of musical terms has extended to other areas such as soul and swing and now we're in such a position where if you go into a music shop such as MVC who tend to daftly separate pop and rock and RnB and hip hop, you don't know where to look for what you want. I don't mind them separating the genres, but it's all down to your own understanding as to whether for instance Papa Roach are rock, or whether although they are rock, are they poppy enough to be put in pop? It's all getting out of hand if you ask me :). Anyone who knows me well will know that for the most part, I just can't be doing with modern RnB music. The problem being that most of the artists seem to have such an attitude problem and tend to have an arrogance that even Jay Kay would be ashamed of, but that's just my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I did like it in the mid 90s, when ...

Something to Remember - Madonna 10/04/2002

A fitting retrospective for those summer nights

Something to Remember - Madonna I'd like to dedicate this opinion if I could, to Dave. Who the hell is Dave you ask? Well, Dave is this chap I used to know when I was about 5 (and any comments, just don't!). There used to be this taxi firm called ABBA who used to be contracted out to take me to and from school every day and Dave (I forget his surname) was one of the drivers. Dave was one of those chaps that shaped my childhood - or rather, my childhood music likes. He himself in his Ford Cortina with his furry seats was a huge Madonna fan and it wasn't long until he got me into her too … so to speak … Before I knew it, I had Like a Virgin and True Blue on tape off him and along with Gloria Estefan, these 2 American ladies formed much of my 80s listening habits. What a sad git you're probably thinking - but there's nothing wrong with a bit of Maj, although I wasn't too keen on Music it has to be said. Let's just face it, love her or hate her, she is just such a star. She's been going for almost 20 years now and has always managed to maintain her huge popularity and charisma throughout various styles including cheesy 80s campish pop, dance, electronica and RnB. Siccone has worked with some of the best producers around in their time as she churned out best seller after best seller (Bedtime Stories excluded). Nelly Hooper, Rodney Jerkins and William Orbit hav all collaborated with Madonna over the years to help her produce her albums that are generally of a high quality throughout with some decent B ...

Walsall 07/04/2002

Banks's on our shirt, trophy room still empty

Walsall Football. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the few contexts where one man is allowed to joyously embrace another in a public place without causing any stirs or strange looks. For a man, seeing his favourite team score a vital goal is perhaps as it is for a woman after she has been presented with a giant 2kg bar of Galaxy chocolate - you won't get the grin off her face for a good few hours and she'll be in a good mood with you for well … at least well … a few hours anyway ;). A few weeks ago, my brother and I were listening to the Walsall match away at Grimsby - a result here was vital and if we lost tit it could more or less certainly mean a return to the second division for The Bescot Boys (Ciao already have them in the 2nd division - hah! Cheap). Anyway we were 2-1 down and the drop was beckoning - as was a consolatory beer or 10 down the local when in the 89th minute we managed to scramble in a free kick. Nearly wrecking most of the furniture in the room my brother and I launched ourselves at each other - keen to share in the enjoyment of the moment that could have and still might have saved our 1st division bacon. Indeed, I know a fair few people but there are few as passionate about football and as patriotic about our national side than my brother, me and my mate Jonathan from Sheffield. The most entertaining footballing memory I have involves him- we had been drinking since about 12 o'clock - just wandering around our university hall of residence, ...

Unholy - Martin Grech 28/03/2002

Groovy lounge electronica

Unholy - Martin Grech I don't know about anyone else, but I just love music of the electronica and chillout kind. Don't get me wrong, I'll quite happily go and see a live gig featuring tight soul outfits or melodic guitar bands and indeed I have many albums of this nature in my collection, but when it comes down to it for me, there's nowt better than a bit of chill. Maybe it's because I am quite a passive person at heart, I'm not into aggressive music although I do like a bit of Soulfly or System of A Down if the bad mood takes … But I'm generally at my happiest when it's late at night and the soothing grooves are emanating from the stereo. I suppose I have Jose Padilla to thank for this. In my eyes, the talented Spaneod is one of the unsung heroes of chillout music. It was his Café Del Mar compilations that originally got me into the scene, then, as you do, I started branching out a bit and buying albums of artists who I'd heard a few tracks and enjoyed, and before you know it, groups such as Massive Attack, Lamb, Bent and now Zero 7 had become firm favourites of mine. Incidentally, anyone who likes to relax and who hasn't heard a Café Del Mar compilation should do, they are inspiring collections of music (I recommend vol 5 and 6 in particular, Padilla left after that). It's not just in Ibiza and around the Balearics that chillout music has become popularised, everyone is trying to take a slice of the ambient cake. Ministry of Sound, as they frequently do these days, are releasing a new ...
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