2009 November


 Musical education and “interference”

November 28, 2009

To start off — A classic romantic song. Something to appease the brain with. Something to make you refocus. Something to make you forget about the noise in your life, and think about what’s important.

Honestly I cannot think of anything better than Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy) and the following song: “Under the gun”. Terri Nun is the girl doing backing vocals. Eldritch had a preference for hiring vocalists, guitarist and other band members in order to just make a single song. This did not make him popular all the time. But it certainly worked.

Eldritch was hard on his musicians. He is a perfectionist. Over the course of the Sisters’ existence he went through nine band members. Every video made was painstakingly constructed to his specification. It didn’t make him popular with his band members, but he rolled ahead regardless. And the results show. The man is a musical genius.

This educational post has got a bit of a “gothic” slant to it. Eldritch hated being labeled as goth, or for being labeled as the “father” of the genre.

And that — I have to agree with. Goth, is simply not a label. It is merely a dark state of mind that many people experience. Some of them longer than others. It is a lovely, dark, imaginative place to be. Every teenager should experience it in my mind. I still make space for that state of mind regularly. It puts perspective on the world.

Many parents freak out when their children “turn to the dark side”, but having had the experience, and being involved in the Gothic scene I can honestly say that the only thing that parents have to fear is themselves, and their prejudice.

I was classified “gothic” for a long time, but for me it was simply a state of mind. Not a “look”.

However, if you’ve never put on some tight leather pants, thrown on a loose fitting cotton shirt, struggled with your eighteen-up Doc Martins and applied some black nail varnish, and then proceeded to have some deep conversations about love, live and death over a bottle of wine — then you haven’t lived. It was not about the look. It was simply about the rebellion and romance of it all.

Apparently, when Sisters of Mercy opened for Depeche Mode, with “Ribbons”, they had to wait half an hour for the crowd to calm down. The embedded version of Ribbons below, is audio only since most of the liver versions on youtube are just really crap. Incoming!

If you don’t own “A slight case of Overbombing”, then about now would be the time to go Amazon it.

The next song is by “The 69 Eyes”. They’re a Finnish band, and epitomize everything in a modern  “Goth” band. They’ve taken the Gothic genre, combined it with good quality music, and vocals without trying to be too pretentious.  Some of their older video’s such as “Wasting the Dawn” did have a bit too many girls “sowing the seeds” for my liking but the quality of their current music is a testament to their evolution.

I want hair like that fucking drummer!

“The Chair” — “The 69 Eyes”.

Finally, and this isn’t really gothic, but just brilliant musicianship.

Were you under the impression that Marilyn Manson was simply a talentless dolt, trying to impress teenagers across the world?


If Tim Skold, and an accoustic version of (gasp) Justin Timberlake’s song “What goes around comes around” does not impress you then I guess you’re a BeeGee’s fan. This cover clearly shows Manson’s vocal abilities. And of course there is simply no disputing Tim Skold’s capabilities as a musician, but that’s is worth a post on it’s own. This cover simply kicks the pants off the original. What are the chances of Justin Timberlake ever covering a Marilyn Manson song ? Hmm… Yeah. By the way this song was recorded in a radio station after an interview with Skold and Manson. Not shabby for an impromptu performance.

Marilyn Manson – accoustic cover of “What goes around comes around” by Justin Timberlake.

So, to tie up with the “interference” portion in the title of this post. To any would-be or current parent. Don’t interfere. Darkness is a fact of life. It’s better that your children get exposed to it, and learn how to deal with than to attempt to interfere by “hiding” it.

In the end, they’re going to find out the following:

We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn’t have to stop there.’” — Dana Gould, via jwz.

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 Some more Musical Education, and database normalisation

November 26, 2009

Short post, whilst watching postgres doing it’s crap.  Musical education.

Music just makes the entire world so much more bearable when you’re watching a database removing defunct rows. Reducing “plumbing” data to single-key dbm hashes is just a performance win. But when you have some legacy to deal with, it’s not always that easy.

For all the young budding computer scientists and DBA’s out there: forget about “first normal form”. Forget about relational databases. Forget about anything you learnt during Comp.Sci. It’s all bullshit. The only way to scale is to consider your data as “disconnected”. Unconnected. No hard relations. If you need to relate, code is going to be more optimal in joining stuff that an RDBMS ever will be. Build systems that allows you easy, speedy access to the most relevant data, regardless of relationships.

Relational databases with referential integrity, and all the crap that goes with should be the domain of a good programmer as implemented in code. Not some half-baked entity relationship diagram produced by a poor DBA, with complex SQL queries to find out if “bob” is a “user” or a “customer”.

Build high-speed disjointed storage, forget about SQL “JOINS”. Build , and use high-speed distributed API’s, and queues using gearman, and whatever else the hell you fancy to retrieve and store your data — and only the data you need.

Devolve every storage issue into what it is – a storage issue. RDBMS is the evil of the 20th century. Hastables, and “flakey” relationships is the way to process thousands and millions of requests per second.

Using an RDBMS for anything more than a couple of rows  is just simply “insane”. In the membrain. You will go down the painful performance alley. And steer away from anything containing the tag “SQL”.

Unless all you’re writing is YEAFBS (yet another fucking blog system) based on some dumbass MVC framework. Cause then you’re good. Except, it will NEVER work in the real world.

As a furthering to musical and database education — watch Oomph “Augen Auf”

Augen Auf meaning – “Open Eyes”. Something an RDBMS will give you, but at a pedestrian pace. Partition your data. Store it in it’s most optimal fashion. Don’t worry too much about consistency. What matters is speed and ” relative” accuracy.

Oomph don’t allow embedding, but it certainly is is one of the best videos from Oomph.

Finally. Orgy – Blue Monday.

This is simpy one of the best covers of a classic 80’s song in a long time.The video is absolutely awesome too. It’s got nothing to do with databases or “first normal form”. Thank God.

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 Musical Education – Revisited

November 11, 2009

sparcipcBack when I worked for I-Net Bridge/Johnnic e-Ventures before the dot-com bubble I had a little Sun IPC SPARCStation at my disposal. It was one of the first machines that ran SparcLinux in South Africa, since I pretty much did a lot of the porting work for the peripherals myself.

I felt that music and audio streaming was the NEXT BIG THING, because I was also a partner in TheFridge (a nightclub). I researched audio streaming technologies. I pimped the little IPC with extra hardrives, and ran Apache, and a selection of seriously nasty perl scripts that could stream music. This little box was called http://beer.inet.co.za/ and it served for many years as the development team’s general testgrounds and the company’s internal fungrounds. We even ran an internal mailing list, and nntp server on the thing.

Of course, after management discovered the thing I was forced to shut it down,  due to it’s popularity, and supposedly dubious content.  I guess they didn’t appreciate me recreating a bad.attitude newsgroup ala JWZ.

I had to move my fungrounds to the interwebs. I started a series of “musical education” pages on an external webserver, and tried to replicate the fun that was had on beer.inet.co.za but it was just never the same. In fact, my http://rodent.za.net/me/ pages got me more takedown notices in a month than a badger sheds hair in a day.

So, in the spirit of something I did years ago, and with the “litigation free” hosting services of youtube.com, I present some more awesome music, and “musical education” albeit 8 years later.

With the advent of Youtube, I can now simply rescind all responsibility for content since I’m not hosting any of this… Haha!

I link largely for the music, not the videos.  Hence the small video format. I’m sure you know how to make it bigger. Clicky Clicky, Hacky Hack. It’s not rocket science.


Covenant is easily one of the most underrated electro bands. I’ve been a fan since I ran TheFridge. Covenant’s lyrics are appealling, thoughtful, and (most) of their music is the angry kind of calm that can only be compared to Depeche Mode.

“Bullet” had one of the best videos for it’s age. The Anton Corbijn style shots and matrix-like effects were simply awesome. Bullet is a thoughtful ballad executed with skill and balance.

“Go Film” was simply a clone of the beats and ideas behind Depeche Mode’s “Photographic” but it was certainly executed in style as only Covenant can do. “Go Film” was a dance floor hit at the club for many months. I remember girls coming up to me in the DJ booth asking for more of that “dancy depeche mode”.

Bullet Go Film


Carter – The Unstoppable Sex Machine

Welcome to Punk, Brixton, and the great british cockup. Punk. Punk was the eighties, the tailend of the nineties and overall just great. Rebellion, reality, guitaring, anger and great lyrics all rolled into one. Carter “The Unstoppable Sex Machine” was one of the great theatrical punk-brit bands that ended the final season of punkhood.

The first video “Surfin USM” will put everything about Carter USM into perspective. It is from their live concert in Brixton. If you think you’ve seen people mosh about to pedestrian songs such as “Nelly the Elephant” and thought it wild, then you have not seen how insane “Surfin USM” becomes on a dance floor.

The famous intro:  “When you’re younger, you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26 inch waist trousers and zip them closed. When you reach that age, 24, 25,  your muscles give up, they wave a little white flag and without any warning at all you’re suddenly a fat bastard”. You fat bastard! You fat bastard!

Here’s the song continuing from the video:


Inspiral Carpets

“This is how it feels” – was covered by Carter the Unstoppable Sex machine. The Inspiral Carpets version is the best though… Just imagine driving down a long dark dirt road whilst on holiday in Stilbaai and shouting the lyrics at the top of your lungs.

This was one of the songs that expressed 400% of how I felt at the time, right after writing matric examinations, and fluxing in that space of “what the hell am I going to do now ?

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