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3,294: La Isla Bonita

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La Isla Bonita by Madonna was number one in the UK thirty years ago.

I assume that when Madonna was talking about a beautiful island, she wasn’t talking about the UK. Probably somewhere a bit warmer. According to Wikipedia, the instrumental of this song was offered to Michael Jackson first. Madonna ended up with it, and give it some lyrics and a melody. It also says that the San Pedro mentioned in the song is the San Pedro in Belize. Cool. I like Belize. Never been to San Pedro, though.

Not anywhere close to my top ten of favourite Madonna songs, but good enough, and way better than the awful version of Let It Be that it replaced at the top of the charts.

Previous posts about number ones from thirty years ago:
18/01/2017: Jack Your Body
01/02/2017: I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
15/02/2017: Stand By Me
08/03/2017: Everything I Own
22/03/2017: Respectable
29/03/2017: Let It Be

A wee bit of artwork
Back in 2013, I did some drawings of little pixelly diamond-y fellas, all the home kits in English football, the Scottish Premier League, and Liga MX in Mexico. Finally got around to doing another one, this season’s 1. Bundesliga teams.

Other business
For obvious reasons, and just out of interest, I filled in this thingy, to see how in line with Labour I am.

The answer was, unsurprisingly: very.

A little bit annoyed that I’m 40% Conservative, though. That’s kinda gross.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Wow and Flutter by Stereolab.

On this day
Eyes, 19 April 2005

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Semi-major and semi-minor axes

Self-promotion
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Written by Craig

April 19th, 2017 at 3:22 am

3,275: Fußball in Berlin, part 6

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This is the team that I’ve been looking forward to least. It’s kinda hard to approach a Berliner FC Dynamo game without preconceived ideas of what it might be like. Their fans have a, er, reputation. I’ve only ever known one Dynamo fan, he was a decent chap, but the fans in general have a reputation for being right-wing hooligans.

Looking at the team schedules, working out a plan for My Eleven Berlin Team Project, I kept on planning a schedule and leaving Dynamo until the end. At some point though, I realised I didn’t want it to take on significance. To fear the game, to leave til last, gave it more importance than the other ten games. So I went last night. My sixth of eleven. The game that tipped the scales from less than half to more than half done. Berliner FC Dynamo v. Hertha BSC II (the under-23 squad of big Hertha that play in the 1. Bundesliga), in the Regionalliga Nordost, the fourth tier of German football.

Back in the GDR days, BFC Dynamo won ten championships in a row between 1979 and 1988. They were also the preferred team of the head of the Stasi. I wonder if these two facts are related? There was a slight sense of excitement, though. I still get a bit of a thrill from seeing teams whose names remind me of the European Cup ties of the 70s and 80s. Before the Champions League came along. Indeed, I preferred the European Cup to the Champions League. I like purity in sport. I like the idea of the Olympics being scaled back to only include sports where the highest achievement is an Olympic medal (ie. goodbye football, tennis, and fucking golf), I don’t like playoffs of any sort (the best team over the course of a season should not be forced to deal with the fourth or fifth best team for the sake of entertainment and more money for the league), and I liked it when the European Cup was purely the champions of each European country playing a cup competition (even though the greatest sports day of my life was seeing Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005, after finishing fourth in the 2003-04 season, a massive 30 points behind the winners Arsenal).

The game took place at the Großes Stadion, the big stadium at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark. Literally a three minute walk from my place. There’s an empty little room near the main stand which I always thought might be the ticket office on matchdays, but it was empty when I arrived. I asked a security guy where to buy a ticket, he replied (in English), over there, near the small stadium, behind the police car. I thanked him, he told me I was welcome and “take care.” After buying a ticket (€12), I went back, he frisked me, asked me to remove my cap to check that, and said something about being safe now. My mind raced a bit. He’d mentioned care and safety twice. Did he see that I was apprehensive or was it just that I was obviously not one of them?

It was cool to be inside the stadium. I’ve been before, to watch a Germany v. Netherlands women’s game, but my memory of that is hazy. After painting Mauerpark a lot in the past months, it was genuinely a bit of a thrill to see those floodlights from the inside of the stadium.

I got a beer (€3), wandered around. It was likely paranoia, but I felt like everyone I walked by looked at me like, “why the fuck are you here?” There were lots of shaved heads. I felt 17 again, walking past the Cheltenham Arms on Guildhall Street in Lincoln, hoping that one of the townies wouldn’t kick my head in. Shaved heads, fake tans, bomber jackets, lots of Dynamo hoodies, some guy had a knitted hat with something like the RUN DMC logo that said HOOL IGAN. Another guy had an ICF hat.

Fans were attaching their flags to the fences. One of them was half Union Jack, half St. George’s flag, with the England national team crest in one corner, and the words God bless Berliner Fussballclub Dynamo. The vapers in the crowd blew massive clouds of vape. I turned the wattage down on my thing so my clouds of vapour were smaller. I just wanna be unnoticed. No alpha male clouding. During the game, a bunch of them chanted stuff about being 10-times German champions. Their Germany, East Germany. But, y’know, I support a team that hasn’t won the league since 1990, so I’m not gonna say anything about celebrating one’s past glories here.

I’d already had three beers by half time. And I needed to wee. I have a shy bladder at the best of times. Indeed, I wrote a story about that for baseball Web site Notgraphs a couple of years back. It’s an awful thing to have. I have to play a specific bit of baseball action in my head to stop thinking about needing to pee. That usually distracts my brain enough to allow urine to flow. There was already a queue, though. Five urinals, three stalls. I prayed that when my turn came, I’d get a stall.

I didn’t get a stall. I stood there, with the pressure of a line of Dynamo fans behind me. I couldn’t go. I stayed there long enough for the people either side of me to have finished and been replaced, so that nobody next to me would noticed I’d phantom pissed, zipped up and left. Bladder still fit to burst. I waited until a couple of minutes into the second half before returning. No queue, four empty urinals. And I was free. I more or less skipped out of the gents, with the joy of a dog that’s just done a poo.

I got another beer and took some photos. I looked up at the second tier of the main stand. Got my phone out to take another photo (below) and while still holding the beer, tilted my hands upwards to take the picture. And what then happened was like those comedy moments where someone is asked the time, and they twist their wrist and pour drink all over themselves. Fairly sure nobody saw me doing it, thankfully, but one of my trainers was now soaked.

It was 0-0 and fairly uneventful until the 78th minute. The visitors scored. The handful of Hertha fans (I’d guess about 60 or 70) celebrated in their section. Six minutes later it was 0-2. And four minutes after that, 0-3. The attendance: 668, next door neighbour of the beast.

The Eleven Berlin Teams Project:
Hertha BSC v Eintracht Frankfurt, (25/02/17)
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin v 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (18/03/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v SV Lichtenberg 47, (19/03/17)
Berliner AK 07 v FC Schönberg 95, (22/03/17)
VSG Altglienicke v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/03/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v Hertha BSC II, (29/03/17)

The Eleven Berlin Teams Project (supplementary game):
SV Empor Berlin v 1. FC Union Berlin, (23/03/17)

Remaining home games to see:
1. FC Union Berlin
Hertha BSC II
CFC Hertha 06
SV Lichtenberg 47
Tennis Borussia Berlin

Other business
Well, that’s it then, innit? I still hold out some hope that the UK government will come to its senses and send the EU another letter:

Dear EU,
Soz, we were being dicks.
We would like to stay.
Luv Theresa xoxo

But that’s not very likely is it? While we were giving the EU that letter, I was having lunch with my friends Johnny and Tanja. In 2000, Johnny sent me an email, we chatted, I visited Berlin, and a couple of months later I was working at his Web design company and living here in Berlin. The timing of our lunch was a coincidence, but it was heartbreakingly ironic.

They gave me a chance to get out of the UK, and I’ve been an immigrant ever since. Of course, I’m white and British, so I’m an ex-pat, it’s only brown people or people from countries that we don’t like that are immigrants. My seventeen years of being an immigrant have been wonderful. It would be wrong to say I know how a Polish or Bulgarian immigrant in the UK feels or a Mexican in the US, but the contrast is stark between the way I have been treated as an immigrant and the clear message sent by that fucking vote last June in the UK. It’s a disgrace.

One thing I’ve never forgotten, back in the last decade after Poland had joined the EU, I was back on the island and a British person mentioned that there were too many Polish people around. I said they were here for the same reason I was in Germany, and by the same rules that allowed me to live and work in Germany. And that person said, “well that’s different.” I still find it hard to believe those words came out of someone’s mouth.

17.4 million people voted to leave the EU. Those people are guilty and they should never be allowed to forget what they did and why they did it.

And while we’re on the topic, I saw several images around the Internet of the EU flag with one star missing. That’s inaccurate. We were one of 28 countries. The stars never represent countries anyway, but even if they did, our leaving would represent 48% of a single star falling off the flag. That flag will live on longer than the fucking union jack.

On a much lighter note: here’s Peter pain au chocolat.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Loaded Mouth, the Savage Lovecast theme by the Popovers. Nice wee song, that. Can’t find it online, but you probably know it anyway. One of the people in that band died from ALS and made a series of short videos about what he went through. It’s well worth watching.

On this day
Worst band I’ve ever seen, 30 March 2016

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Hendrick Avercamp

Self-promotion
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Written by Craig

March 30th, 2017 at 2:06 am

3,213: Nordic streets

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I went to the supermarket to return some pfandflaschen (reusable bottles with deposits) yesterday. I wanted to get a few bits, too, but didn’t need a shopping list. I had words in my head. A melodic mantra.

Coffee, wine, yoghurt, milk
Coffee, wine, yoghurt, milk
Coffee, wine, yoghurt, milk
Coffee, wine, yoghurt, milk

When I got to the supermarket, there was someone already at the machine where you put the bottles. I was about to start putting mine in, then some dude with just a couple of them asked if he could nip in front of me. Of course you can, mister. But that tiny interaction mentally jarred the mantra loose. I put my bottles in the machine, grabbed my refund ticket, and cracked on.

Wine, coffee, yoghurt
Wine, coffee, yoghurt
Wine, coffee, yoghurt
Wine, coffee, yoghurt

I remembered I also needed mustard. I got the mustard first. Nearest to the machine. I got the wine. When I entered the supermarket, the queue at the checkout was quite long. When I got the wine, I noticed the queue was non-existent. Go for it, warrior! I went and paid. and it wasn’t until about 30 seconds out of the store that I remember I hadn’t got everything.

Coffee, yoghurt, something else
Coffee, yoghurt, something else
Coffee, yoghurt, something else oh what was it?
Coffee, yoghurt, something else for fuck’s sake

Rather than turning around and nipping back, I figured I’d have a walk to a different supermarket. Not too far. Not too cold out. A bit of exercise. All the inane things you say to yourself. I walked past an older woman who was gripping the neck of an open two-litre bottle of cola like she was a stereotypical TV show drunk character. In the second supermarket, they didn’t have the coffee I wanted, and their yoghurt selection was pretty poor. I remembered and bought milk, though. Oh well, there’s a different supermarket on the way home if I walk a different way. So I did.

Coffee, yoghurt
Coffee, yoghurt
Coffee, yoghurt
Coffee, yoghurt

Third supermarket: same as the second. Poor yoghurt selection, and no espresso. I got some vegetables there, cos I kinda get a bit paranoid that people might think I’m a thief if I go into a supermarket and walk out past the checkouts without buying anything. That behaviour is fine in a clothes shop or an electronics store, but c’mon, you always need something from a supermarket, you shady mother.

Three supermarkets down. I guess I’ll have to go to another one. Closer to the flat than any of the others. I could’ve just gone there to begin with, eh? But on this part of the journey, something clicked in my brain. Like when something says something unconnected to the case to a TV detective and that gets them thinking about where the kidnapper will be. I walked down a street named after a Danish city. Before the third supermarket, I crossed a street named after a Swedish city. A street near the flat is also named after a Swedish city. And there’s a big street nearby named after a city in Norway.

I…
Spot…
A…
Theme…

So I checked, and did a drawing of the Nordic streets.

Other business
I’ve had this in my mind for a while, and it came up again at the weekend, seeing the marches going on: “Love trumps hate” is, while a thoroughly commendable sentiment, an awful slogan. For one thing, there’s only one word in there that orange jabba himself would notice, and that’s not love or hate. And everyone else for that matter. Using his name in your bloody slogan might’ve seemed clever, but they were very literally putting his name out there at every Democratic rally against him. And again, it’s a commendable sentiment, it also might sound like a whole heap of hippy crap to certain ears that you wanted to vote for you.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer. Watching the video a few moments ago, the tedious term “simpler times…” crossed through my mind. I’ve never really questioned that term before. But, yep, what does it mean apart from “simpler times for me.” It wasn’t really simpler times. It was just a time when I wasn’t paying as much attention.

On this day
Ummm, 26 January 2010

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Devil’s Island

Self-promotion
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Written by Craig

January 26th, 2017 at 3:32 am

3,206: How many people should be in your band?

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Are you a musician? Are you in a band or a group?

How many people should be in your band/group?

Here’s a handy guide to the options available to you.

One
You are a one-man band. You will never be on Top of the Pops, you will just be a menace to pedestrianised areas of cities across the land. Stop it.

Two
The classic. Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Yazoo, Soft Cell, Blancmange, Tears for Fears, Eurythmics, Wham!, Carpenters, Roxette, Sparks, Daft Punk, Suicide, Mel and Kim, Go West, Communards, Chemical Brothers, The KLF, OMD, Chas & Dave. Someone to look at, someone to do the other stuff. Let’s make lots of money.

Three
Not bad. There’s something nice about a three piece – that whole triangular vibe is good – unless they become really famous and play massive sports venues then there’s no real good focus point for a lot of people in the audience. Maybe this is just me, though, but it looks weird when the singer of a three piece is also the bass player. Can’t get my head around that.

Four
The Beatles did this. They probably didn’t invent it, but they invented it, like so many other things in rock music: getting into some Eastern religious stuff, splitting up, and Justin Bieber’s haircut.

Five
The Rolling Stones did this. Spandau Ballet did it, too. One of them played the saxophone, though: the worst instrument ever invented. Five is the outer limit of proper.

Six
Getting a bit much now. Do you really need six people in your band? It’s unlikely. If you are in a six-piece band, all stand in a circle and visualise one member of the band picking up his so-called “gear” and leaving the room for the good of the band, five of you are thinking about the same person, and the other person is praying it’s not him/her.

Seven
At least one of these people plays something yellow and shiny. Get rid of that person. You can hire one if you need one, which should be never (unless you are in a Mexican band).

Eight and up
You will never make any money because you will spend it all on plane tickets and hotel rooms. And in all seriousness: name more than one famous eight piece band. Slipknot? They had, I dunno, probably that amount. More maybe? It feels like Arcade Fire have some tedious amount like that, too.

Orchestras, choirs, Polyphonic Spree
Just think how annoying that must be. It’d taken four or five elevator trips to get the whole band down from the hotel rooms to the lobby.

So there you have it: fire everyone apart from yourself and a person who can stand next to you with a keyboard. You can thank me when you’re on the cover of Smash Hits.

A wee bit of artwork

Other business
The result was pretty much right-in-the-middle grey, but fuck the rest of us, right? We don’t matter. Take away my EU citizenship because you get all boiled up about being patriotic. Thanks, fuckers.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
3 A.M. Eternal by The KLF

On this day
150 brick tower, 19 January 2007. Related to this LEGO business: Mountain and Mountain II. Really should’ve done more of these.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
I’m entitled to my opinion

Self-promotion
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Written by Craig

January 19th, 2017 at 1:47 am

3,145: Doing something

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I am not American and I don’t live in the United States.

These two things don’t stop me having an opinion, though. I have an opinion.

But, if I were American, the next president wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad for me as a lot of other people. I’m white, male, heterosexual. And in the days after his victory, I pretty much entirely refrained from typing any opinions on Twitter.

Looking at the demographics of the election results, it’s quite clear that white people, especially white man, have already said enough. And while everyone’s opinion matters in some way, right now, nobody really needs to hear another white, straight men. (Indeed, here’s how the first three demographics I fit into on the NY Times’s breakdown voted: Sex: Trump, Race: Trump, Age: Trump.)

So I read a lot. Here’s a bunch of things that caught my attention. You’ve probably seen a lot of them, but it obviously doesn’t hurt to share them.

Before that though, while I was reading yesterday, this tweet hit home (the whole thread is worth reading).

I am absolutely guilty of just clicking “like” on Twitter way too often, and not retweeting. That is something I am determined to address. It’s not much, but it’s doing something.

Here’s an image I saved without taking note of the source. I’m annoyed by that, but it still deserve to be shared:

History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump by Tobias Stone

Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable power of racism by Jenée Desmond-Harris

Will You Lose Your Health Insurance Under President Trump? by Eve Peyser

“I do take some small, cold, bitter satisfaction in one thing, and that’s the fact that Trump is going to be absolutely fucking miserable for the next four years.”

cont.

There’s more and more and more and more. And I will retweet them.

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
The Box by Orbital.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Law of salvage

Self-promotion
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter

Minecraft Project Day 16
So, you wake up, and look at things fresh in the morning and, urgh, yep, I’m gonna have to sort out this pathetically small deck.

My mind was still on the deck, I go around the side of the cabin, and then there’s a bloody Creeper right there, and he blew himself up before I could do anything about it. Bastard made a hole in my cabin and blew out loads of dirt from under it. So I had to sort that out, do some repairs, before I could get on with my plans for the day.

I wanted to have a good look at the space around my cabin and mentally plan where shit’s gonna go. So I build a quick dirt tower, stood on top, and had a look around. I wanna start growing wheat to make bread. A little farm somewhere flat, near the edge of the hill so that I can maybe expand later if needs be. I’m gonna do it in the bottom left corner.

Right about there.

But that’ll had to wait. The Creeper business this morning reminded me that I should put up a load of torches on my hill to hopefully stop the bad guys spawning near my cabin again.

Written by Craig

November 12th, 2016 at 8:05 am