Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes

•Monday, May 5, 2008 • 3 Comments

Guess what.  I’ve finally moved.


Come to Geekland and the new 42 at 42.gibkeeg.com.

Join me and David Bowie at my new home for Music Monday.

FlashBack Friday – Magdalen Bridge

•Friday, May 2, 2008 • 14 Comments

Sadly, I have none of my own pictures for this post.  Trust me, I wish I did.

When I was in college I did a junior year abroad.  I went to St. Anne’s College, Oxford University to study British history and literature.  It was an incredible experience and there are many aspects of that trip that I will discuss in future FlashBack Friday posts.

Today, the day after May Day, I want to talk about the ‘traditional’ Oxford May Day celebrations.  (I say ‘traditional’ in inverted commas because there is a bit of doubt about this fact.  While some claim the Magdalen Bridge jump is a tradition, others vehemently claim it began only as recently as the 1960s.)  But first, let’s take a look at the May Day holiday (because I’m a hopeless pedant, that’s why).

May Day is traditionally marked as May 1st and is the  half way point between the equinox and the solstice.  Many countries have some form of May Day celebration.  France celebrates May 1st with a tradition of presenting people with Lilies of the Valley as a sign of spring.  It is believed that this tradition began with Charles IX in the mid 16th century.  In Germany Walpurgisnacht is a a celebration on the night before May Day that includes dancing around a May Pole and lighting bonfiresHawaii has its own version of May Day, called Lei Day, on which traditional island culture and cultural rites are celebrated.  Ireland (and by Gaelic extension, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man) also has a may Day celebration.  It is called BeltaneBeltane marks the beginning of the planting season and marks the opposite end of the ancient Celtic calendar, the fall being marked by Samhain.  While the custom of celebrating Beltane has largely fallen out of practice, one can still see windowsills and doors decorated with May boughs.  It is also still possible to spend an evening by the Beltane fire or decorating the rowan or hawthorn bush.  And, of course, no Beltane night is complete without some drunken revelry.

And yes, I promise that I will soon talk about my years in Ireland during my FlashBack Friday ramblings.

Back to Oxford:

Oxford England has had a custom of celebrating May Morning for years.  Of course, the night before May morning is  spent (at least by the people *I* know) drinking in the long hours before sunrise at a pub lock-in.  This, admittedly, was a tradition I was more than willing to play along with as it extended my birthday revelries. ;)  As the sun comes up, hung over, still drunk, or as sober as monks throngs of people gather on the High Street and the Magdalen bridge to hear the Magdalen College Choir sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus.  It is a beautiful sound, as it should be.  The Magdalen Choir has been singing the in celebration of May Day for over 500 years, obviously not with the same choir members.  What is really amazing is the vast differences in types of people standing on the bridge listening in near silence to the music.  Shoulder to shoulder you can find monks, punks, towns and gowns (terms used to refer to the rivalry between attendees of the University and the local population), people in faerie costumes or togas, women in formal gowns and men in tuxedos, and people of both sexes in pajamas.

But of course, that’s not the exciting part.  Although the bridge jumping escapades may be fairly new in their execution, while I was living in Oxford in 94-95 they were in full force.  Let me tell you, the river is not deep, but it sure as hell isn’t warm either.  After a raucous night of drinking heavily I found myself amidst a crush of friends on the bridge neither seeing nor thinking clearly.  Sure!  Sounds like a great idea!

photo courtesy of BBC NEWS

Only one other time in my life was a shocked back into sobriety as quickly and that was also due to hitting icy cold water from a height of several meters… but that’s a story about Ireland and for another time.

The rest of the day was spent with the hair of the dog at various pubs around town, once we had all gone home to change into something a little less wet and cold followed by a long nap on the college green.

Want to play along? FlashBack Friday posts can be any medium you choose, photographic, video, music, or just a story. Share your flashback on Fridays and link back to me. Visit other participants and get some dirt on your fellow bloggers. )


This post is brought to you by the number…

•Tuesday, April 29, 2008 • 29 Comments

33

We’re in This Together

•Monday, April 28, 2008 • 14 Comments

I mentioned on Friday that Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band.  Oddly enough I haven’t yet featured NIN on a Music Monday post.  I don’t  know what’s come over me.  Today I will rectify that error in judgment.

Nine Inch Nails released their first album, Pretty Hate Machine, which  started out as a series of solo demos, in 1989.  Since then Trent has released, with the assistance of various musicians but rarely keeping the same artists from album to album, 8 major albums and many singles and remixes.  In fact, it is for his remixes that Trent is probably best well known.  His singles and his willingness to have his fans play with his music.  Trent has released his music into the wild and encourages his fans to work on it and release it back.  His latest album was available for free download and he has asked his fans to create a body of video art to go along with it.

I like to call him an Open Source musician.  He even encourages his fans to stick it to the record labels and go out create bootlegs and illegal copies of his work.

Now,  how can you not think that’s cool?  Fuck the RIAA!

However, today is a very special Monday since it is CableDad’s 40th birthday. No, we are not having a party.  What’s the point?  He’s not 42 yet.  But, in light of CableDad’s special day I wanted to dedicate a song to him.

Perhaps it might seem a bit odd that I’d choose a NIN song for CableDad’s birthday.  After all, I’ve already mentioned that I have a not so secret lust for Trent Reznor. Not to mention the fact that Trent’s music is the epitome of angst ridden computerized/industrial metal, not exactly what most people might consider romantic.

Ok, I’m not most people, but even I will admit that most of NIN isn’t the best wedding party music:

I’m drunk and right now I’m so in love with you

and I don’t want to think too much about what we should or shouldn’t do.

Lay my hands on heaven and the sun and the moon and the stars

while the devil wants to fuck me in the back of his car.

Nothing quite like the feel of something new.

That said, there is one song in particular that I think is perfectly fit for such an occasion.  As much as he drives me crazy, as much as he makes me want to rip my hair out sometimes, as angry and frustrated as he can make me on occasion, I love my CableDad.  I might want to kill him sometimes, but I love him to pieces.  I committed myself to him seven years ago and I’m not going anywhere.  We’re in this together now.

I mean, that’s downright warm and fuzzy for Trent.

After a particularly rough sparring session at Kung Fu I am

•Saturday, April 26, 2008 • 14 Comments

bruised.

FlashBack Friday – Nine Inch Nails

•Friday, April 25, 2008 • 15 Comments

When I decided to write about this particular event for this week’s FlashBack Friday I didn’t think about the date of the show.  Looking at the ticket stub I scanned in specifically for this post, I noticed that the concert in question was almost exactly 14 years ago.  Seriously, where does the time go?

I should preface this by saying that Nine Inch Nails is probably my all time favorite band.  Yes, I know, I’ve said that about the Beatles too.  (schizophrenic music tastes anyone?)  So, let’s put it this way:  I grew up with the Beatles; they were part of my life before I even knew what music was.  I chose NIN.  The first time I ever heard Trent Reznor’s particular sound (1989) I was won over.  In fact, I’ve often joked with CableDad that there’s not a man in the world I’d cheat on him with…. except Trent.

A few weeks ago Maria at Immortal Matriarch wrote this awesome post (but let’s face it does she ever write a post that’s not awesome?) about her Laminated List.  At the time I swore to myself that I was going to follow her example and do my own list.  #1 was easy.  Trent Reznor.  (The next two also came pretty quickly… but I’m not saying any more on that until the post itself.  Next week sometime, I’d guess.)

The first time I ever heard Trent, it was a recording of “The Only Time” on a mix tape of made by Mom’s Tinfoil Hat‘s ex-boyfriend. Closely on the heels of that exposure I made my way to the record store (yeah, I still call them record stores) and got a discounted copy of Pretty Hate Machine, five fingered discount at that.

Sorry Trent.  I’ve more than made up for it in the past 20 years.  Halos 1 through 15 were purchased with a ritualistic fervor as soon as they came out.  The others, excepting Halo 23 and Halo 25, were also purchased, just in a less timely fashion.  In fact, the recent arrival in the mail of my copy of Halo 26 is probably what instigated this post.

Although, to be honest, since he himself tells his fans that they should steal his music, I doubt he’d have a problem with the fact that I liberated his first album from “the man”.

But more on Trent’s music and my infatuation with him and it later.  Today I’m talking about the best concert I have ever gone to in my life… and I’ve been to A LOT of shows.

Early May, 1994:  I’m living in Boston and I hear an announcement on BCN that NIN is touring and will be doing a show in town.  I immediately called my friend Veresk (ok, maybe not immediately.  I mean seriously, who had mobile phones in the 90s?  I had to wait until I got home to call her) to tell her that she’ll be hopping on a bus from Northampton and getting her ass in to the city for the show.  That settled, I gathered the necessary items to camp out at the Tower Records on Newbury street the  night before the show.  I was the 10th person on line.  The venue held only a few hundred people and was general admission.  You do the math.

Veresk arrived in town the day of the show, no small feat since it was midweek and she was in the middle of final exams, and we started the pre-show rituals… drinking  heavily, smoking preposterous amounts of weed and heading to Southie for the show.  We got there early enough to make sure we’d be able to be at the front of the crowd when Trent came on but were skeptical about bothering for the opening act.  We debated the issue, looking at the crowd.  It didn’t look like more than 300 people, but we were not going to miss on the chance to have Trent sweat on us, so up to the front we went early.

I should mention that although I LOVE to mosh, Veresk isn’t really the aggressive type, so this was a bit of an issue.

When the lights went out my pulse started racing.  Two bands opened for him, one of which I barely remember.  The second opener, on the other hand… well, I wasn’t ready for what came out on stage. Veresk and I stood shoulder to shoulder as a lanky guy with a top hat and kick ass tattoos on his arms walked out to a low rhythmical drum and swirly music (yeah, I was still very into “seeing” sounds back then) quietly chanting words that we both knew and knew not why.  All at once it struck us both:  Oh my fucking god, it’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!  STOP THE BOAT!!!!

And that was my first introduction to Marilyn Manson.  Trent had signed Manson and earlier in the year produced his (Manson’s) first major album on his (Trent’s) self created Nothing Records.  What an opener.  But, as much as I enjoyed my first Manson show, it was nothing to the sight I was about to see.

I remember it clearly.  The NIN show opened with “Pinion” and broke into “Terrible Lie”.  For the first time in my life I understood all the silly girls screaming and nearly passing out at Beatles’ shows.  I’m sure I screamed.  But I didn’t pass out.  No, I went mosh crazy with Trent literally less than 10 feet from me. I don’t recall exactly what was the order for the rest of the line up, but I distinctly remember hearing nearly all of my (at the time) favorite NIN tunes: “Sin”, “Wish”, “March of the Pigs”, “The Only Time” (the song that popped my NIN cherry), “Get Down Make Love”, “Head Like a Hole”, “Closer”, “Reptile”, “Dead Souls”… oh and joy of joys, “Happiness in Slavery” was the last encore.

I spent the majority of my youth high on any number of substances, but I’m entirely honest when I say that nothing compared to the high I felt walking out of that show.  My knees were weak, my heart was pounding, my ears ringing and my mind was close to shutting down from pure pleasure overload.

Want to play along? FlashBack Friday posts can be any medium you choose, photographic, video, music, or just a story. Share your flashback on Fridays and link back to me. Visit other participants and get some dirt on your fellow bloggers. )

Now I feel cool

•Wednesday, April 23, 2008 • 17 Comments

It was recently brought to my attention by Thalia’s Child that I haven’t updated my BlogRoll in quite some time.  For that I apologize most sincerely to all my bloggy friends.  I do love you.  You know I read and comment on your blogs religiously (if an atheist can do anything religiously… so let’s say ritualistically instead), but no, I haven’t added you to my blogroll.  I’m sorry.  I suck.

I plan on making it up to you, though.  When I move, which CableDad assures me will be soon as he has promised to get the server up and running with my new blog for my birthday, I plan to go blogroll crazy.  I have a lot of pruning to do.  Some of the blogs that are in the roll I haven’t visited in ages.  Most of the ones I read on a regular basis these days haven’t been added.  This will all change as early as next weekend.

In addition to the updated and current blogroll I’m going to add a page on which I will write little bios/reviews of my favorite bloggers.  That may take me awhile to get in full swing, but I thought the least I could do was a little free advertising for the people whose writing keeps me goinig all week.

Now for the reason I feel cool.  Well, basically it’s ’cause I know so many cool people.

I started blogging a little over a year ago and when I did I really didn’t expect much from it.  Mostly friends and family read it.  And then something miraculous happened.  I met people.  Very cool people.  Very cool well spoken/written people.  Now, as much as I love blogging, I just love the fact that it has been a way of meeting others, across the country or globe, who share similar interests or events in their lives.  And let’s face it, sometimes it’s just fun to bullshit and joke with someone who hasn’t heard all  of your lines before. ;)

Anyway, I’ve been blogging along on my merry way not caring about stats or any of that crap and I’ve met some amazing people.  Luckily for me, they seem to reciprocate my appreciation.

Last week I got this awesome award from Misty.  I’m touched.  We’re new bloggy friends, but I’ve come to love reading her wonderfully witty and heartfelt take on things.  She said the nicest things about me and I’m honored that she feels that way.

And then there’s Nissa.  You just don’t get nicer than Nissa.  Hell, her motto is “Like your blog, only nicer”.  Well, there’s no doubt about that.  I’m not that nice.  But I must be doing something right because apparently I make her day.  Hearing that just made mine.

So thank you to both Nissa and Misty.  I fully intend to pass these on, but I’m going to wait until next week when my new blog at gibkeeg.com will be up and running.  And I promise: I will fix my blogroll.

 
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