Tuesday, 28 April 2009

. . . and half-dead too/work is for suckers and the sucker is you

As of today, I have been employed by the Rhyddings Hotel for one year.
To "celebrate," we will all enjoy a week's worth of observational Rhyddings and Other Customer Service Experience anecdotal blogging. A look back on the life and times of one Graham Isaac as he hands you unhealthy foodstuffs and drinkstuffs for minimal pay with even less dignity.

To start things off:
Queen are not a terrible band, by any stretch. In fact, they seem to be one of the few not-terrible bands that Angie and Tony (landlady and lord, respectively) like. My short-form, pre-Rhyddings feelings on Queen went like this: Like Led Zeppelin before them, they're plenty good in their own right, but they are a bad band for other bands to try to be. And a lot do.

5 Songs by the Rock Band Queen That, After Working At the Rhyddings Pub, I Can No Longer Even Imagine Enjoying, Even Ironically, Even With My Best Friends On A Summer Day, Ever, Under Any Circumstance

5. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love-- Know who else other bands/artists shouldn't try to be? ELVIS*.
4. We Will Rock You-- Buddayarrastraahngmanyahngmanbuddyyoura-- I feel myself getting stupider every time I hear this song and picture an arena full of hockey/football/basketball fans clapping along, off-time somehow, even though its the easiest song to clap to EV-AR.
3. I Want It All-- I thought this was the Scorpions at first. In a bad way**.
2. Bohemian Rhapsody-- You know what? I've never liked this song. Ever. All my friends liked it because of that scene in Waynes World where they headbang to it in the back of the car. My Chemical Romance re-wrote this song way less shitty in 2006*** and called it Welcome to the Black Parade and we won't have to hear THAT one in 30 years because everyone who deifies MCR will be dead in three years from killing themselves for their Dark Dark Masters.
1. Friends Will Be Friends-- Picture, if you will, this song, which is already the most cliched sort of expression of Friendship ever. Now picture a room full of drunk folks who aren't yours, singing along at top volume. Then they yell at you by name to get them another cider.

and, in a strange about face--

4 Songs By Queen that, Incredibly, I Don't Find That Annoying, Despite Overexposure and Someday May Even Listen to Voluntarily, Though It'll Be A while

4. We Are the Champions-- With the exception of their small, but loyal Theatre Kid Crowd who basically listen to anything you can dress up in stupid costumes to listen to (see also: Decemberists, They Might Be Giants, Dragonforce) most Queen Fans are rabidly homophobic. So the fact that this is a gay-rights anthem makes me happy.
3. Hammer to Fall-- This just sounds like generic Buttrock to me. I thought it was some obscure Guns and Roses song at first. Not bad to pour shitty beer to. I can almost pretend I work in The Office.
2. Another One Bites the Dust-- This is a good song, despite being played at so many sports games and wedding receptions, mainly because it sounds NOTHING like Queen and if you tilt your head and have water in your ears, it almost sounds like early hip hop.
1. Radio Ga Ga-- The chorus goes "All we hear is Radio Ga Ga, Radio Goo Goo". . . by all accounts it should be at the fucking TOP of the last list. But no. Maybe because it forgoes all the Big Rock Guitar shit and tries (fails) almost to be New Wave. But yeah. I actually still actively enjoy this one.

* unless you're the Cramps.
** there isn't really a Good Way, actually.
*** still pretty shitty, really only Less Shitty because its shorter, and I've heard it fewer times, and maybe if really terrible bands keep ripping off Queen people who pretend to be into music will stop trying to make me like them a lot and stop listening to new bands so I can *bask* in Brian May's "awesome" guitar work.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

dagger, do as I say (sink with my life like a stone)

There's a bit of Swansea beach, near the library and beneath the Tallest Building In Wales (the restaurant is supposed to rotate when its done) that feels positively Californian, with the palm trees and a city-beach that is far sandier than any in Washington State. This is helped by the last few days' near-shorts-appropriate weather. Sometimes I expect Josh and Cliff to tap me on the shoulder and herd me to the car because we're late to meet Taylor at some wedding-related function.

This summer, apparently, there will be some wedding-related functions in the Greater Seattle Area. I've got the Dates Saved, at least on e-mail, but I really only know the girls involved as Ideas-- IE: Dude I'm getting married to____________. This hardly rates a lot of personal investment.

But yeah, palm trees and everything; I think I like them better here. There are, shockingly, (if you've ever walked through town any gven weekend evening) fewer assholes in Swansea. Or maybe I've never watched it get under my friends' skin and peel them down to something else-- doubtless I just haven't lived here long enough.

Monday, 20 April 2009

". . . not a service I can trust."

more not-poetry.

perhaps notable because it's the first video Local H have made since the one for "Half Life" in 2002. Since then plenty of fans have clipped together live-shows, but as far as I know this is the first the band has been involved in. Props for choosing a song that won't get them mistaken for a pop-punk band.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I live in Acid Rain.

I am so goddammnfuckinell sick of poetry right now, especially my own.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Welsh hospitality

Last night was the launch of Miscellaneous at GwDiHw (pron. goody-hoo! with the exclamation points.) in Cardiff. Organised by Gemma j. Howell, who was on the course I trucked to Wales for, but in the year before me. Room was packed out; the place reminded me of Swansea's sadly-now-defunct Siro's but all on one level. The night started with an agile-fingered piano player and ran the gamut from songwriters to poetry to instrumental jams to standup comedy.

Including a guy who started by reading from a copy of "mein kampf"-- the lyrics to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Which ruled, as he then "taught" us how to be comdedians in a bad german accent ('zis is vat you call juxshtoposhitional comedy).

I did "zombies and paint thinner" and "tall drink of water" and went over like a brick through a window, in a positive way. That's positive, right? Yeah. Nia did "harbour bell," which I think is becoming a signature. Train ride over we compared notes on poems, what Gets Published by the Magazines That Have Rejected Us.

I think I'll try Poetry Wales again-- apparently that's what handwritten rejection letters mean.

Al, Jo and Margot came and Doprav was in full effect, holding up the poetry end of the first section with his food-as-sex-as-food piece. Met a few 'diff poets who may now be coming down to the Crunch. Excellent.

afters it all I crashed with a young man named Tudor (originally from Aberystwyth via Kuwait) and stayed up late talking national identities, world history and film with his roommate Neil. Tudor made a fish pie (Neil made the required joke) and eventually, as we all sat in the living room smoking spliffs (them enthusiastically, myself polite/clumsily) T decided it was time he Played Some Songs on the Cello.

I passed out around 4, woke up around 8 and after a bit of getting lost, found the train station and rolled back to Swansea. Before requisite showers and day-offness, I'll probably do some letter-writing, or at least think about it.

And. . .