Archive for August, 2001

greetings from the people’s republic of china

Blimey. Beijing is Hot. It’s nearly 40 degrees, and I think I’ve developed some intestinal problems, which isn’t helping matters. The last few days have been wonderful – I’ve drunk fermented mare’s milk with a Nomad on the Mongolian Steppe, and bought myself a horse-head violin. Unfortunately it all ends tomorrow, but I’ve been taking notes and will be compiling a special report based on my activities over the last couple of weeks.

Sorry this message has been so short, but I really have go to the toilet.

Resistance is not futile?

Platform partisans may object to both the source and the demeanor of this little diatribe, but if you’re not already one of the unwashed masses who think that Gatesliness is next go godliness, check out this rant. You’ll be glad you did.


You have to wonder. Within 9 hours I see a bumper sticker proudly proclaiming that “MP3 is not a crime” and an article about the witch hunt the music industry is unleashing. Is there a war a’brewin?

blue meanies

Received today:


JULY 27. 2001


Re: Blue Meanies/the Post Wave reissue.

Dear MCA:

You might recall that our band, the Blue Meanies, released a record on your label last year. That record is called The Post Wave. We thought that you might like to know that on August 7, 2001, we are going to reissue The Post Wave on our previous and future home, Chicago’s THICK Records.

Before The Post Wave came out, we had been a band for almost a decade, and had released six full-length records on indie labels. Our last studio record, Full Throttle, was released on THICK in 1997. For most of the time the Meanies have been a band, our music was loud, fast and discordant – the rumblings of an angry seven-headed monster. A lot of people liked Full Throttle for that reason, and bought it. We liked it too, but we have a short attention span, and by the time we met up with you all at MCA, we knew that we wanted our next record to be very different from Full Throttle. Then someone at MCA decided to hire Rick Bonde, our booking agent and friend, to be an A & R scout for your label. And Rick asked us if we would like to sign with MCA. Blue Meanies saw the offer as a chance to make a different kind of record than people would expect us to make, and to bring our bizzaro punk sensibility to a corporate label and to a potentially larger audience. We had no idea whether or not it would work, but we were curious. And we wanted to take as much of your money as we could get.

Your only real advice to our band was “write the best record you can.” So, we did just that, and we lived off of the money you gave us. We spent almost a year doing nothing except writing new songs. You gave us even more money so that we could put together our own project studio in Chicago. And then all seven of us in the band bought all new instruments and amps and drums and so on. That all came in handy! When we were ready to record an album, we came across this crazy little man who produces records at a place called Studio 4, outside of Philadelphia. His name is Phil Nicolo, and he has worked with artists like John Lennon, Cypress Hill, Cibo Matto and Urge Overkill, to name just a few. You guys wrote Phil yet a hefty check, and we went his studio and spent two months recording and mixing the Post Wave.

After we finished the record, you gave us more cash and we bought ourselves a new RV so we could tour in style. The new RV had a double bed, a refrigerator, stove, oven, two TVs, and a toilet. That was pretty sweet, considering our previous vehicle leaked water in the rain, let cold air in during the winter, had no A/C, and broke alternator belts every other day on tour. But just a few weeks before MCA released the Post Wave, Rick Bonde and the president of your label had a falling out, and Rick decided he didn’t want to work for MCA any longer. Rick had been the only real reason that a bunch of punks like us felt comfortable putting music out on your label. We knew that without Rick in our corner, we would become a tax write-off for your company. You proved us right when you assigned us a “product manager” to be our liason to the company.

After Rick left MCA it became apparent that you had no clue what to do with us, and preferred to ignore us until we went away. Blue Meanies decided that we would go away, but we wanted you to give us back our master tapes, the artwork, and especially all of the CDs that you had pressed. We figure that from the time we signed our contract until we squeezed the last tour support check out of you, MCA spent about $500,000 for Blue Meanies to make the Post Wave. In other words, we stole a lot of money from you! It’s as if we walked into the jaws of the dragon’s lair, extracted its golden tooth, and walked away unscathed. Now we are right where we were two years ago, only we have a record that we produced free of charge, a video, a home studio, a few computers, a pimpin’ ride, new equipment, and some assorted toys.

Anyway, we just thought we ought to say “thanks” for giving us a half million dollars that we don’t have to pay back. That’s a nice feeling, as you can imagine. Suckers.

Your pals,

Blue Meanies.

i’m a designer, me

Woo! Blogjam has been listed on Web Neveau, a site dedicated to showcasing cutting edge Internet design. I’m listed on the area of the site featuring pages built without the use of tables. There doesn’t seem to be a section of the site devoted to pages that don’t work properly in Netscape or IE 6.0, but I’d feature heavily there if there was such a thing.

the rich and the poor

Moscow is a place on contradictions. Every guide-book refers to the The Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral and a vast number of other spectacular buildings constructed at huge cost. Yet outside the walls of these places are scores of people who are quite plainly living below the breadline, from babushkas who beg to veteran soldiers sleeping in doorways. On the East side of Red Sqaure sits the opulent GUM department store, housed beneath a trio of spectacular glass arched roofs, and containing many stores more usually at home in Milan or on Madison Avenue.

It seems that Moscow wants to show a modern, successfully free-market face to the West — and the city does have a fairly cosmopolitan European appearance — and is spending millions of dollars creating incentives for Western businesses to come to Russia. Unfortunately, the stores are empty apart from a few window shoppers and the occasional tourist, as locals simply cannot afford to shop there.