The Perfect Setlist

It’s always a toughie when a band is touring. They’re out there promoting their new material, but the fans turn up wanting to have a good night listening to their classics. Finding a suitable balance is always going to be difficult, but apparently, there is some thought that goes into it.
Here’s how my hometown boys and recent 6000 miles… featurees work it out, their strategy revealed by lead guitarist Jamie Cook to NYMag.com.

“The View From the Afternoon”
“When I saw the Strokes at Madison Square Garden, they started with the first song on their first album, and it was great. I thought we should do the same.”

“Brianstorm”
“To start off the set, we play stuff people can dance to.”

And then, that awkward moment discussed above:

“Don’t Sit Down ’Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”
“This is the first new one, five songs in. Some people are waiting to hear it, and some people are going to be like, F*** this! Why can’t they play an old one?

Before he demonstrates that he’s been to gigs as an audience member as well:

“I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”
“I imagine a fan bringing a date to our show who doesn’t know us that well. We play loads of new stuff, and when we get to ‘Dancefloor,’ he turns to her and says, ‘You’ll definitely know this one.’ If she says, ‘I don’t know this one either,’ that’s when maybe you shouldn’t see much of her again. We’re helping our fans: If they pass this test, it must be love!”

Acknowledging the difficulties of introducing new music on tour:

“She’s Thunderstorms”
“We’d love to go out and be able to play twelve new songs, but that’s not really fair, so there are five new ones on here — this one opens the new album. At the first few gigs, the idea is to test them out and see how they go.”

And ending on the right note:

“Fluorescent Adolescent”
“It’s good for singing along. For the last song, that’s what you need. That’s it! Let’s hope the sun shines, but just in case, bring an umbrella.”

And I agree with most of what he says, but let’s be honest, his hands (and those of every other band on tour promoting a new album) are tied. That might account for the “interesting” guitar work on the new album, incidentally. The fans are not there to hear the new stuff – even when it becomes a hit some way down the line, they won’t remember seeing it live.
There’s no familiarity with a  favourite lyric, no personal link to an event or events in one’s life; there’s no emotion attached to it.

But  – against what the Arctic Monkeys told us “There’s only music so that there’s new ringtones” – without new music, there would be no tours and the whole argument would be rendered invalid anyway. Thus, it looks like the age old recipe of the 70:30 split of old to new. And working on a set of about 20 songs, that still means that you’re going to get 14 of your favourites in.

It’s probably still worth the price of a ticket.

Suck It and See is the fourth studio album from the Arctic Monkeys and is released on 6th June.

The band recently announced two hometown gigs at the Don Valley Bowl on June 10 and 11. They will be headlining the annual V festival occurring August 20-21 with Eminem, Rhianna and Plan B and will also be headlining the T in the Park festival with Coldplay and the Foo Fighters which runs from July 8-10.

Shhh…

Well, I think that this says it all:

Yes, it would seem that less one in every thousand people want the Cape to be turned into France.
And who can blame the other 999.1 people who think that it’s a terrible idea?

Now, I’m not a bad loser – not ever – but it does suddenly seem like I am a very bad winner.
So, Walter Laurie and your:

Even you have to admit that Cape party support is growing, and that their push toward Cape self-rule has some credibility. No?

No. Because just when we thought it really couldn’t get any smaller, it looks to me like your already pisspoor 0.13% share of the vote in the 2009 National Elections has somehow managed to decrease by 31%.
Thirty-one percent!

“Eina.”

But it’s not just me, it’s the entirety of the Western Cape that thinks your idea is a bad idea.
And so now, with apologies to the immortal words of Bjørge Lillelien, I say to you:

Walter Laurie, Chris du Plessis, Erecting a big wall somewhere near Port Elizabeth, John M Riggs and your racist comments, The Cape Republic, Jack Miller, Jack Miller, can you hear me? Your boys took a hell of a beating.
Your boys took a hell of a beating.

Now, let’s all look forward to the Cape Party support “growing” in numbers and credibility in the next elections in 2014.

Pressing matters

Some of you will recall that a few weeks ago, I realised that with a wedding anniversary coming up, I needed a suitable gift for the lovely Mrs 6000. Having done some rudimentary calculations, I was able to deduce that we have been married 6 years and a small amount of research informed me that this is therefore our “iron” anniversary.

Iron is nowhere near as easy as (last year’s) wood to find something appropriate as a gift. Wood is used virtually everywhere: jewellery, ornaments, spoons, trees – most things around us have some wood in them somewhere and finding a beautiful gift was not difficult.
Interestingly, iron is also found everywhere, but not often in appropriate gift form: heavy machinery, shipping chains, big nails. It’s not what she would want as a present from her loving husband.

Then I realised that I was thinking laterally and not literally:  don’t get something made of iron, per se, but why not get her an actual iron! Practical, modern and very obviously iron-related! Brilliant!

Step forward this funky little number from Russell Hobbs (the Easy Fill 17877), featuring:

  • 2400W element
  • Unique water filling funnel
  • Anti calcium and drip functions
  • Ceramic soleplate – smoooooth, baby!
  • Purple easigrip™ handle – feels so good!
  • 6 steam settings
  • 12 month guarantee

I think that even the most inventive amongst you would be hard pushed to find a better present. I can like to think out of the box! Talking of which: I can’t wait to see her face when she gets this out of its box over dinner. Boom!

Looking ahead:

For the seventh anniversary, traditional materials are copper and wool and the modern materials are brass and desk sets.

Copper, hey? Maybe we can get that rewiring in the garage done…

How to block calls and SMSs on Android

I have had a few issues recently with persistent wrong numbers. Or at least I did, until I found a good way of blocking them.
You can send calls from selected numbers directly to voicemail using just the Android interface and if you want to do that, it’s as simple as adding the offending number to your contacts, then using EDIT CONTACT and checking… er… “Send calls directly to voicemail”.

However, that still leaves you with two problems: you will end with several (probably blank) voicemails and/or your annoying stalker may also decide to send you an SMS.

Don’t panic.

Step forward Easy Filter Call & SMS Blocker from Moonbeam Development. This freebie app, available from the Android Market does exactly what it says on the tin. Simply add any number from your contact list or call log (or at random if you feel the need) and it will block calls and/or SMSs from that person. It even works on Please Call Me SMSs, the bane of South African cellphone users lives.
You can choose to be informed (or not) that a call or SMS has been blocked and you can also choose to send a message to the blocked caller, telling them to “bugger off ” (this can be edited as you wish).

But wait! There’s more!

Don’t you just hate those private numbers that keep calling you? Is it a payphone, is it an irritating switchboard, or is it YOUR STALKER?!?!? (sorry).

Well, Easy Filter Call & SMS Blocker has an option to block those as well. Which is nice.

If you choose to install this app, please leave a comment and tell me what you think of it.

The alternative to all this, is presented by brilliant UK comedian Sean Lock.

Why not try this and have some fun before you block the number?

“A good throw back in” is not the answer

Read and learn from the latest Two Oceans Aquarium blog post, people:

It’s that time of year again, when the Two Oceans Aquarium starts to receive calls from concerned members of the public who come across stranded juvenile (and occasionally sub-adult) turtles on the beaches of the Western Cape. The tiny turtles you may come across are most likely hatchlings and the size of your hand. They wash up on our beaches, suffering from hypothermia.

Unsurprisingly, in Yzerfontein, these tiny turtles come ready frozen.

Now, turtles being sea-dwelling creatures, you might expect reasonably that getting them back into the sea would be the most obvious and helpful thing to do. Add to this the fact that these little turtles appear to be stranded on the beach, and it would also seem sensible to assist them to get as far from land as possible. DO NOT THROW THE TINY TURTLE BACK INTO THE SEA.
In fact, don’t put them near any water at all –  even if you have a turtle stretcher.

Yes – I’m serious:

These turtles are most likely suffering from hypothermia, which makes them weak; in most instances they are so weak that they cannot lift their heads.

Turtles breathe air, just like us, and if a turtle cannot lift its head out of the water, it cannot breathe and will drown.
Once you have found a tiny turtle on the beach around the Cape Town coast, it needs rehabilitation. The first thing to do is to remove the turtle from the beach and place it in a dry container where it cannot drown. Keep it at room temperature to warm up slowly.

Dry containers: keeping tiny turtles from drowning since 1992. Actually, it’s a little known fact that it’s incredibly difficult for any creature to drown in a dry container.
And see how they state to “keep it at room temperature”?
DO NOT MICROWAVE THE TINY TURTLE.
There’s no place in this world for the pastime of microwaving small animals unless you plan to eat them immediately afterwards. And there’s virtually no meat on a tiny turtle anyway, so go grab a sandwich instead.

Contact us immediately (+27 (0)21 418 3823) and get the turtle to us as quickly as possible.

Very important: At no stage should the turtle be placed in water as it could drown.

The Aquarium has a team of trained aquarists who have lots of experience in caring for stranded turtles.

Depending on where you are, due to the recent fuel price increases, this could be quite expensive, but you’ve come this far – no throwing, no microwaving, supply of a suitably dry container – so you might as well follow this through. However, at this point:
DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO POST THE TINY TURTLE.
While a padded envelope may seem to be an adequately “dry container”, the vagaries of the South African postal system will almost certainly result in the tiny turtle being lost in transit. Tiny turtles require food as well as not water and they probably won’t find much nutrition in the bubble wrap, although they may have a lot of fun popping it before they pop their clogs.
However, opting to post the tiny turtle defeats the aim of attempting to save the tiny turtle in the first place.
Rather head to the Aquarium.

Once you have passed responsibility of the tiny turtle onto the team of trained aquarists, it is quite literally out of your hands. But you can go on your way safe in the knowledge that your lack of throwing, use of kitchen appliances and the local postal system, together with the provision of a commodious receptacle probably saved the life of that tiny turtle.
Don’t expect him to thank you though, because tiny turtles do not possess the complex vocal cords required for human speech. And even if they did, they are renowned for their absolutely appalling manners and lack of gratitude.