20 years of OK Computer

It’s twenty years to the day since Oxford band Radiohead released OK Computer.

I lived in Oxford back then, and the local HMV on Cornmarket Street opened at midnight for Radiohead fans to buy the album before anyone else in the UK got the chance – no mp3s or downloads back in those days, remember.

And yes, I was looking forward to the release, but wasn’t a HUGE fan, so I wasn’t planning on heading into town. But then, finding myself still awake at the witching hour, thought “why not?”, jumped on a bike and hit the High Street.
I was only just in time. The crowds (such as they were) had gone (it doesn’t take long for 50 people to each buy a CD), and the staff were about to close up, but a friendly guy let me in just before locking the door, and I got my CD and my free poster (woo!).

The album was definitely one of the best releases of the 1990s and has aged really well. And yes, the CD is still somewhere safely boxed up in my loft. The poster never made it out of the damp Cowley Road flat we lived in though, and even the branch of HMV succumbed to the pressures of the modern retail environment and closed in 2014.

Favourite track? I liked all of it, but the slower stuff hit home more for me – No Surprises, Exit Music (For A Film) and of course Karma Policeas mentioned here.

Concierto de Aranjuez

I heard this on BBC 6 Music earlier today and felt it worth sharing.

For all that it’s lovely to listen to and Tara Fitzgerald is (apparently, anyway) lovely to watch, the two don’t go together very well. I mean, we all know that she’s not playing the solo here, but it’s actually horribly obvious that she’s not playing the solo here. Brassed Off surely had a big enough budget to make it a bit less obvious.

However, for all that the scene lacks in believability, it makes up for in the juxtaposition of the young girl playing the fragile solo against the silent yet volatile scenes around the negotiating table as the final nails are hammered into the colliery’s – and with it, the community’s – coffin.

Passion comes in many forms.

Great quote in 3D Latin at Bee Emm Dot Com

It’s been a while since I’ve included anything from friend-of-the-blog BrianMicklethwait.com. That’s not to say that I’m not a daily visitor to his haunt – I am. But he is him and I are me, and thus it’s only when the paths of our mental scribblings cross that I choose to share his stuff with you. Sometimes that happens three times a week. Sometimes once in three months. I don’t keep count or have a quota to fulfill: when it happens, it happens.

Good news, reader: it’s happening right now with this image of a bit of wall of the 5 star boutique Milestone Hotel in Kensington:

See it there? That’s 3D Latin, that is…

Spero Infestis

it says

Metuo Secundis

Which, according to several (or more) websites, translates as:

I hope in adversity, I fear in prosperity.

or, in more basic terms:

I am hopeful in times of danger; I am fearful when things are going well.

Which seems both a positive outlook, but also a bit pessimistic at the same time. So overall, pretty neutral and perhaps even rather sensible, then?

Given that generally, we live our lives not in a constant state of one extreme or another, but mostly somewhere down the middle, this 3D Latin thing will only kick in occasionally, but when it does, it will surely temper our acute and foolish emotions and restore some sort of natural order to proceedings.

I like it.

Religion and the Knysna fires

Busy day for me today, so I’m going to direct you elsewhere (although obviously please come back once you’re done there).

Herewith then, an article by Ivo Vegter (you may remember him from such posts as The Lion, The Bitch and The Ecophobe and Ivo backs me, rubbishes Christine’s Brilliant Idea) about the recent devastating fires on the Garden Route.

As ever, Ivo takes a different angle on the situation, lamenting the hypocrisy and dichotomy of some religious individuals and their reaction to the disaster.

At no time since the start of the tragedy did enough rain fall to make much difference to the fires, but when the occasional few drops did fall, Christians cluttered up the chat groups to thank their god. When the fires burnt out or were successfully fought, they praised the lord.

It’s clearly the writing of an very angry man, albeit that you get the impression that his professionalism is keeping his true feelings somewhat in check. Although (as he notes), his feelings will fall upon stony ground when it comes to the Christians:

We will be told it’s a matter of faith, not reason. That has the merit of being true, at least. There is nothing reasonable about any of this.

It’s an impassioned, yet controlled rant, clearly written in very difficult conditions – and it’s one of the best things he’s done in ages. I urge you to go and have a read.

Charles the Nickname

It’s June 13th, and if you check the Wikipedia page for today’s date, you’ll see that on this date in 1381, the Peasants’ Revolt led by Wat Tyler culminated in the burning of the Savoy Palace.

Who Tyler? No, Wat Tyler.

But way, way before that happened, it was the birthdate of Charles, the Holy Roman Emperor. “Which Charles?”, you ask, knowing that there were several. Well, today is a birthday for two of them, actually – the unfortunate ones.


Yes, both Charles the Bald and Charles the Fat were born on this day just 16 years apart.
What are the chances?

A quick search of other Wikipedia pages reveals that other Holy Roman Emperors, such as Charles the Handsome, Charles the Devilishly Goodlooking and Charles the OMG Mavis, Int’ee Buff weren’t born on June 13th.
Because they didn’t exist. I made them up.

However, amusingly, reality is almost more ridiculous than whatever was going on in my twisted mind just then.

Firstly, we’re told that Charles the Bald shouldn’t be confused with Charles the Bold. The latter presumably being braver and more hirsute. Charles the Bold was Duke of Burgundy between 1467 and 1477, when he was succeeded by Philip the Good (one of the nicest of the Philips).

Whereas, Charles the Bald was, by all accounts, bald. He had several children, including Judith*, Louis the Stammerer, Lothar the Lame and then – when someone’s imagination ran out – Charles the Child. Charles the Bald was King of West Francia (843–77), King of Italy (875–77) and Holy Roman Emperor (875–77), succeeding his father Louis the Pious and being succeeded by… Charles the Fat.

Annoyingly for Charles the Fat, there’s actually no evidence that he was fat:

The nickname “Charles the Fat” (Latin Carolus Crassus) is not contemporary. It was first used by the Annalista Saxo (the anonymous “Saxon Annalist”) in the twelfth century. There is no contemporary reference to Charles’s physical size, but the nickname has stuck and is the common name in most modern European languages (French Charles le Gros, German Karl der Dicke, Italian Carlo il Grosso).

Unfortunate.

Charles the Fat (sorry) held the offices of King of West Francia and Aquitaine, Emperor of the Romans, King of Italy, King of East Francia and Alemannia during his 48 year life. Busy guy. He had one son, who never amounted to much, probably primarily because his name was Bernard (the Illegitimate). (Oops).

Reading this, and noting the rampant nepotism and huge opulence that were part of the daily lives of these individuals, I can’t help but wish that we had something akin to their use of appropriate descriptions in naming modern day politicians.

Jacob the Corrupt.
Gwede the Boep.
Helen the Repeatedly Foolish.
Julius the Mouth.
Fikile the Clown.
Malusi the Captured.

 

married firstly with Ethelwulf of Wessex, secondly with Ethelbald of Wessex (her stepson), and thirdly with Baldwin I of Flanders. Gosh.