22 May 2006

Great new music

I bought Akala's album It's Not a Rumour the other day and it is fantastic. This is not quite the best song but was available as a video. Good stuff my friends.

Ah well..

So we won the Eurovision song contest. It is funny I say “we” because I have always been opposing this awful competition and most recently last week wrote that our candidate is a gimmick which will get votes because others are so boring. Yes, I did compare them into a right wing populist party. I am not taking any of that back, maybe with an exception when I claimed that this event has a negative effect on our national self-esteem. It appears that the impact has been rather positive. That is just fine, I suppose I could even say fantastic.

The positive side of things is that when we won, we actually were doing something that is quite typical to our nation, not imitating Swedes or anyone for that matter. I also pity the idiots who in the coming years try to copy some kind of a shocking gimmick. I suppose it is better to be a gimmick than to desperately pretend to be one.

Still, I swear that this heavy metal movement, although this was a pop song, has caused so much negativity in my life, that I would be a hypocrite to jump into the bandwagon and pretend that these people were friendly to me even when I insisted that Public Enemy is superior to Iron Maiden. My teenage trauma is an obstacle that kind of stops me from enjoying the moment of victory. Make a song about that Daz Sampson, a British old white man who was “rapping” about the teenage problem. That really must have been the most suspicious song ever.

I still would have changed this into the Ice Hockey Olympic gold, but that is over and I have decided not to care about Ice Hockey ever again. I also promise not to write anything more about Eurovision either. Let’s face it – it must be the most ridiculous competition on this planet. Maybe after those beauty contests in USA, where women who wear too much make up are competing with their very young daughters who are wearing, where possible, even more make up. That really is sick my friends.

19 May 2006

Nightmare of Eurovision and a happy day in Liverpool

I am not proud of this, but I was just watching the Eurovision song contest semi-finals on television. Before it got unbearable and my ears started to bleed due to the blandness of this horrific pop event and one European country after another trying to make cheesier songs just because years and years ago ABBA got their career started there. This year it is my peoples from Finland who are trying to shake things up a bit and what would be better way but to dress up like a monster and then sing rather awful pop song. I saw their performance and it was the very first time I heard or saw this “our” entry. The whole thing has gotten lot of attention back home and when they started their performance I felt as proud as I would when hearing that my fellow countrymen have misbehaved in the Ice Hockey World Championships (which they have by the way), but it got a bit better before it finally ended. All in all it is a gimmick and as I have said before, and I will stand behind this, we should get a special permission not to participate in this. It is bad for our already low-national self-esteem. We are like the right wing populist party of Eurovision. We are getting some protest votes because all the others are so boring.

Other things worth mentioning include my first ever visit to Liverpool last weekend. I and my friend Marc went up for a Sunday and the city really smiled for us. Marc is a massive Beatles fan so we saw the museum and some other historical hotspots such as the Cavern club where band established themselves and rest of the day we were mainly avoiding the football fans as Liverpool had won the FA cup the day before. But a nice place. Definitely gave me good vibrations.

I have also opened up a MySpace site. It is that day and age you know. If you are doing MySpace go on and add me up as your “friend”.

University starts to be in its final days for this year. I will have few more deadlines to meet, one visit to London to see friends and some other smaller things to do before finally finishing the second year, which has taken enough time. But it is all good in the end.

That is all for now. I had few things which I wanted to mention because they anger me a bit, but I am in such a good mood that I do not want to dwell on them right now.
After all, it is spring and life does look pretty good.

15 May 2006

Booing at the Para Olympics

I had not heard of new BBC Radio 4 programme, Down the Line, before I read about it from the Guardian (Fri 12.05.06). That obviously means that, once again, I am about to say my opinion on something that I have no first hand experience on. Although it is not so much this particular spoof-programme, a parody of a radio phone-in show, where kind of whacky people ring and give their opinion on a topic such as race, religion or anything that will end up offending people, but merely the fact, that radio these days is parody of itself. Most of the times when you turn any radio on, you hope that they were joking and by no means serious with their idiotic statements on nothing that are not adding value to anything and only said at the first place due to the ego-centric nature of an average presenter and their larger-than-life fondness to their own voice. The idea behind this kind of show is almost like preparing bad food just for laugh.

The twist in Down the Line, created by the father of the brilliant Fast Show, Paul Whitehouse, was that they did not want to tell anyone that this is a comedy. In the Guardian article Whitehouse says that his 10-year-old daughter understood in ten minutes that this is spoof show, which is great for her (and surely for the proud father) but I am the first to admit that I would not have probably understood that. Keeping still in mind that I have not heard the show in question, but what I have heard, are mad call-in-radio shows in several different countries and I have also heard plenty of Radio 4. Before buying a digital receiver that was all I listened to, so I can safely say that their line of programming does not let the listener to expect a parody. Quite frankly it is not letting one to expect a call-in show either, but this kind of human testing is, in my opinion a bit silly. It is like Punk’d for old people but the difference between this, or any of Ali G’s variations, is that we are not fooling someone in the show, but only its audience. It resonates the radio broadcasting of War of the worlds in 1938, when people ran on the streets to witness the end of the world. One day our media reading skills will be on a level that this may work but I doubt I am living at that distant point in future.

I used to think making fun out of radio DJs and their manner of talking was the funniest thing ever. Me and my mates used to talk like them making these ignorant remarks and getting the facts wrong about artists, translating song titles wrong (this was in Finnish) etc. My sister once said, after few years of listening to these appalling jokes, that as a radio presenter, shouldn’t I concentrate on how to make good links rather than bad ones? That, is it not a bit cruel to laugh at people who you think are not very good? My sister, as usual, was very much on point. Athletes do not go to the Para Olympics to laugh at someone on a wheelchair, do they.

My theory, and please take it as yours if you think it makes sense, is that let’s try to make good radio rather than emphasise the poor state of this media. It is not very challenging to make radio laughable. This is very low-level psychology, is it not? It is easier to be laughed at when you are being silly, than being laughed at when you are being serious. I personally thought that for instance Alan Partridge was very funny character with his radio show, but that was because it was in TV so we knew that it is not in radio. And quite frankly TV can do as they wish but there are more important things to be done in radio than to ridicule 90 per cent of the industry. And although it is very elitist for me to say that nine out of ten people in radio sounds awful, and even more so the arrogant assumption that I would somehow be the one in ten, but it is not quite as elitist as Radio 4, a station with very different listener demographics and budget, to poke the fun out of the stations that are not in their position. So in the end, how elitist must the Radio 4 think their listeners are, if they are supposed to find this funny. I would love to end here but I must add that Radio 4 listeners may just be elitist enough to be up for it. Straight after they understand that this is not about their station but about all the other, lesser stations for the ignorant masses.

10 May 2006

Sony Awards

Recently I have had to dedicate all my creative energy towards the university work and I haven’t been able to write much here. I still have a bit left to do but this week something rather fantastic has happened.

My flatmate Sam won not one but two Sony Awards, the most important radio awards in UK, for sound production work. That is really cool and I am quite happy as not only did a West Midlands station, Kerrang! 105, 2, win the station of the year but got four awards altogether. In the country where media is very concentrated in the capital area this is just great.

I feel that the justice was done at least with the sound production awards. This is for two reasons, first one being that Kerrang! Has quite cool and very sarcastic sound and second the others generally sound rather awful. When I worked for this station when it was launched in 2004 I was particularly impressed by their flair so for once, i wholeheartedly agree with someone.

4 May 2006

Blame on the foreigners ..again!

The local elections are held in England today and polls have been promising increasing support for the BNP (British National Party – a kind of right wing populist and for the lack of better expressions racist bunch of white Englishmen). I have been watching the news as normal this week and I must say that if BNP really gets support that it may, they need to write thank you letters to the media. Pretty much all of them, including BBC, has been talking about Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s and his administrations failure to deport the foreign criminals from the country after they have been released from the prison.
Regardless of what I or anyone thinks about foreign criminals it has been an atmosphere of “let’s get them foreigners who come here and threaten our wellbeing”. When for a week before the elections media only talks about us foreigners in UK as criminals who should be deported and who are a threat to the natives one cannot be surprised if some group of right wing populist are gaining support. The fact is that there are at the moment 90 foreign criminals who have served their sentences and are back within the communities. The population of UK is around 60 million. Now think again. I am sure the home-grown criminals are bigger threat to them than handful of foreigners.