Princess Stomper answers your dilemmas (more seriously this time)

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With only five days left until Reinspired closes its little internet doors, I figured it was time to impart some wisdom (whether you like it or not).

1. I feel like everyone’s ignoring me

Are you talking about Facebook here? Because the very tool that promised to connect you is actively keeping you apart from your friends! You’ve heard it many times by now – if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product, and Facebook is cashing us in. After getting practically everyone in the world to sign up, it’s now actively hiding our posts from each other – and I’m not just talking about the 30% or so of your friends that you’ve stuck on ignore.  Continue reading

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Review of the Year 2011

It’s been a funny year. I spent most of it pregnant, which is a lot like being really hung over for nine months. Not really conducive to productivity. Now my tiny bundle of trouble is here, blog posts are hastily composed in the few minutes she is able to sleep without being cuddled up on my lap. It’s been a funny year generally, though. There were terrifying natural disasters, tumultuous political events, and a slew of zeitgeisty buzzwords. There were the riots in the the UK, which was the logical result of our filesharing culture: if you tell people that they can take music, films and games without permission, payment or consequence, then of course they’ll just start smashing shop windows and stealing televisions and consoles to play them on – because, really, what’s the difference?

Steve Jobs died, to worldwide mourning, and John McCarthy – who coined the term “artificial intelligence” – died the same month, to little fanfare. Amy Winehouse succumbed to her addictions, and Charlie Sheen miraculously survived his own. A royal couple who actually seemed to like each other got married. Lady Gaga got boring. An American preacher predicted the Rapture – twice – and was a little embarrassed when the dates passed without incident.

And a number of things were released that I rather liked.

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First impressions: dEUS – Keep You Close

Written for Collapse Board

For a second or two before pressing play, I held my breath, apprehensive. It had been a long time since I’d seen Tom Barman. Fifteen years since we’d last hung out, and over a decade since I’d last seen his face staring up at me from sleeve art. I didn’t really connect with The Ideal Crash. I didn’t hate it, but it just didn’t hit me like the first two albums, and so dEUS became yet another band I almost forgot. It’s like getting a call from an old lover and you can’t remember why you ever broke up. So you agree to a date and stand by the doorway, wondering if you’ll still recognise them. Holding your breath. Apprehensive.

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Interviews and overshares

Frances Bean, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain

One of the interesting things about the fallout from this hacking scandal is that it’s made a lot of people re-examine issues of integrity in the press.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Guardian has (rightly) accused the other papers of being crass about Amy Winehouse, The Times‘s readers reacted with outrage after it published the Facebook updates of the as-yet-uncharged suspect in the hospital poisonings case, and in another post the paper complained about the giant amount of bulls*** that goes into the interview process. Overall, what people want is fairness and honesty. Continue reading

Millionaire – Come With You

The first thing Him Indoors said on hearing this was that Millionaire would never get anywhere because they were too weird. I’d just say they’re too Belgian.

There’s something about Belgian indie rock that’s indelible. Music that’s both familiar and strange, like that made by an alien who’s studied Western music but never quite grokked it. Belgian rock is almost always good, though most of the other examples I’ve heard have either been members of dEUS or linked to dEUS.

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dEUS interview, c. 1996

This is another extract from the fanzines I found in the attic last night. It’s not “connected” to the others, but I thought it was a pretty cool memory of hanging out with some really sweet people, so preserved it for posterity.

IN A BAR, UNDER THE SEA (SOMEWHERE IN SOHO)

It’s all going horribly wrong. The interview was scheduled for seven o’clock, but the Legendary Bastard Security Guards (just ask Manhole) at the Astoria won’t let me through. I send three dEUS-related people to look for the tour manager, but he is nowhere to be found. Eventually, I give up and just go to watch the show. Tom Barman is propping up the bar, and we head for the aftershow party.

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Tom, like all of dEUS, is sweet, good-natured, unassuming, genuine, and – above all – lots of fun. At the party, the implausibly gorgeous Klaas and Danny dance enthusiastically to every song, even though Klaas dances like John Travolta on crack. Jules de Borgher giggles with everyone and Tom is sitting in the corner, having intelligent conversations with the few people not paralytically drunk. Stef stands quietly by the door. Everyone is happy.

dEUS are from Belgium. Ish. Actually, Craig’s from Scotland. The rest of the band hail from all over Europe. They’re based in Brussels, but for the last month they’ve been in Britain, supporting Placebo in a month-long tour that has seen few breaks. When Worst Case Scenario came out, dEUS were one of the most critically-acclaimed bands in the world, enjoying the sort of exposure Placebo had just before Nancy Boy came out. In short, they were dead certs. Since then, there’s been the odd lineup change, with Stef leaving to concentrate on Moondog Jr, and Craig (longtime friend of the band) was drafted in as a guitarist. Danny Mommens replaced Rudy Trouve on bass, and sales of another album (In A Bar, Under The Sea) have been poor, a factor that Craig puts down to changing British tastes:

Craig: Because we use a wide variety of styles in our music, it was always a worry that it might all end up a directionless mess.  Continue reading