Saturday, 25 April 2015

I'm not Thicke. I know how to copy music

The ownership of ideas is, when dealing with
the lives of normal people, is a fairly extreme
concept. In the Law of Nature, you had only
your physical and mental skills to save you
from losing your next meal.

Now we have laws. That means no blood is
shed, but it also means that rich people get
to swan around saying "I own that"
sometimes in perpetuity. They have patents
or copyright for a song.

Anyway, it should be a right, but for the shortest
of times, because these actually stop progress
and economic activity for the rest of us. I think
the Chinese norm is like 8 years.
@techdirt is a fine twitter account for discussing
such issues. 

In the West, the dying engine that was once
the world-beating manufacturing economies,
is sinking into moribund front-porch territory
by holding on to copyrights for "death +70 yrs".

That's just stupid. So, the battle to make our
daily crust continues.

I think the South Koreans have done a good job
of saying "F^**(ck that Sh*t" to Western
copyright by doing their own thing

Anyway, this copying issue flares up nicely
every 2 or 3 years with a big fat copyright
scandal, like the one that Robin Thicke is
embroiled in with the estate of Marvin Gaye,
over a very popular song.

Here's the tune. 383 million Ytube views:

[I guess it was worth the risk]
This is a music video in the style of a fashion shoot.
Must be nice renting girls to sidle up to you.

BTW, Thicke is the son of a rabidly social-climbing
tv personality from Canada, who latched onto
Susanne Summers when she was part of
"Three's Company" and singing in Vegas.

Now, I hate picking sides, but Marvin is long
dead; his dad saw to that. His family doesn't
need much help anymore, but they're milking it.

But then, on the other hand, Thicke knew he
was thieving. He's now rich & famous, though, so
he doesn't much need to steal. In the end, it's the
bad name he's getting that's more important than
any money he might owe the Gayes.

Personally, I like to try to study songs to see where
the musicians stole some ideas from. This can happen
through chance, but usually, musicians are fans of music
and they begin doing performances of their favourite tunes.

U2 started that way, and they sucked so bad they had
to stop it and write their own tunes. I think that worked out.

As I think Voltaire said, if I steal from one person then
shame on me. If I steal from everybody, I can make a
good career out of it, and be hailed as a genius.
There is that fine line. I will try to show this "borrowing"
because I think it's a hat-tip to greatness, and shows
lines of progress in music, some key trends and the recycling
of genres. It's a sign of creativity, even.
Or my favourite, which is the combination of genres.
More stories on that later.
Another good sign of borrowing is that it makes DJing easier
cuz you can mix songs easier. I always wanted to do that as
a job, when I was kid. Even did some "training" for radio

Do these 2 songs have anything in common?
The first tune is new to me, even though it's from 1980.
I saw it on a Top of the Pops
rewind show, late at night, on BBC 4. Oddly, though the
musician was black, the TTOTP had 5 very white
British dancers doing a jazz-dance video to it. Odd.

The other is a song which is also fairly new to me, even
though the band isn't. It's the sickly-named Spandau
Ballet.(BTW I never thought I'd like a song of theirs)

You decide if there has been judicious borrowing or
whether they should go in front of the judge. just
kidding. enjoy.

checkit: Guardian
Robin Thicke accused of blurring copyright lines by Marvin Gaye's family
Gaye's children take legal action against singer of Blurred Lines, alleging similarities between song and 1977 hit Got to Give It Up
Blurred line? … Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye. Photograph: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GQ/Everett Collection/Rex Features
Harriet Gibsone
Thursday 31 October 2013 12.55 GMT
Last modified on Wednesday 9 July 2014 15.03 BST
Marvin Gaye's children have responded to a Robin Thicke lawsuit, which claimed that aspects of Blurred Lines weren't stolen from the soul singer's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up, and have launched a series of additional counterclaims against the singer and EMI.

As well as alleging that Thicke committed copyright infringement on his No 1 hit, the family now claims that Thicke's "Marvin Gaye fixation" extends to more songs, according to new legal papers obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. The papers, which were filed this week, suggest that Robin Thicke used After the Dance to inspire the creation of Love After War and that the song Make U Love Me features "a similar bridge and identical lyrics [to] Marvin Gaye's I Want You".

His family has also turned its attention to EMI – which is owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing – by proposing the penalty that EMI loses all profits on the multimillion-selling single Blurred Lines and that the family gains rights to administer the song catalogue of Gaye. "This conflict has resulted in EMI's intentional decision to align themselves with the [Blurred Lines] writers, without regard to the harm inflicted upon the rights and interests of the Gaye family, and the legacy of Marvin Gaye," the lawsuit states.

According to the counterclaims, Frankie Gaye and Nona Gaye have accused EMI of breaching a contract by failing to protect Gaye's material, and also by attempting to turn public opinion against the family, trying to intimidate the family against filing for legal action and failing to remain neutral when faced with a conflict of interest.

This new case comes months after the family and Bridgeport Music Inc – which owns the rights to the music of Funkadelic/Parliament – issued an initial threat of a court battle in August. Robin Thicke and producers Pharrell Williams and TI went on to file a pre-emptive suit which asked a Los Angeles judge to declare that Blurred Lines did not infringe on Gaye's 1977 song.

As well as consulting a musicologist in order to dissect the songs' compositional similarities, the Gayes point to pre-litigation interviews given by Thicke to GQ and Billboard to support their case. "Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favourite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up," Thicke told GQ. "I was like, 'Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.' Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half-hour and recorded it."

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Would you like some smack with your Thanksgiving turkey?

Nile Rodgers tells the Guardian about his
experiences with food. With his society
drunk-addict parents, and his own
drug consumption, that meant a lot of
weird stuff.

Now, he ODs on Earl Grey tea, every day.

I've got some respect for Nile Rodgers because
of how his production work includes many
of the most famous pop songs of the last 40 years.

Plus, he's a surviving ex-drug addict with a
cool view of how to live without that
stuff, cuz most of binging is bullshit
anyway. It's public unease and self abuse,
most of the time.

I'll add some songs after.
He's on twitter too, but kinda boring,
except the pictures with other
famous cats.

So, check this stuff: Guardian

Nile Rodgers: in Chic, I was into cocaine and caviar – now it’s Earl Grey

The musician and producer reveals a childhood of kosher cakes and glue sniffing, and a more grown-up addiction to tea

John Hind

Sunday 19 April 2015 11.00 BST

My first memory of food is when I was four and was trying to decide whether I preferred the distinctly different tastes of the chocolate or vanilla sides in a tub of Carvel ice cream. It’s an ongoing decision. I’ve bounced back and forth between the two throughout my life.

Others in our family are lighter-skinned, so my mother called me Pud, because I was her chocolate pudding. Her maiden name was Goodman. She was 13 when pregnant with me and I was given up for adoption. Then – with difficulty, after a few months – she retrieved me. So I’m sure I didn’t get the breast but was raised on 1950s commercial formula, like my baby brother Bunchy. He was born when I was six and I became his caretaker because mother had post-partum depression, threatened to kill him and would leave us locked in the apartment. I’d had a pretty lonely infancy, so bottle- and spoon-feeding Bunchy gave me something to concentrate on. I remember the way he’d take food in but also dribble food out and how I’d wipe his mouth with a tiny spoon.

My mother and stepfather Bobby were part of a fairly sophisticated and worldly crowd, including food-wise. But it wasn’t until I was seven that I realised why they’d nod off at the table: because they were junkies. My earliest memory of a day out with Bobby was going for a charlotte russe at a kosher bakery in the Bronx, in 1960. He became irritated because our progress to the custard cake was hindered by a crowd gathered around John Kennedy, a senator campaigning to be president.

The only food I was allergic to was shrimp. I must have had some sort of iodine reaction. Whenever I tasted shrimp I’d become really tingly and numb in and around the mouth. But that never stopped me having shrimp.

My [paternal] grandmother made me amazing Caribbean food. A lot of fish, okra, fungi, creole combinations and pig knuckles and rice, with very hot sauces which make guests exclaim “Jesus! How can you stand it?” when I steam and cook them today, or my Bulgarian housekeeper does.

I remember the first time I stepped off a Greyhound to LA. Gran took me straight to a taco stand for hard shell corn tortilla and it was awesome. While on the west coast I skipped school most days, to watch movies, drink Nestle’s Quik chocolate and sniff glue. The best paper bags for sniffing came out of a popcorn machine.

As a teen I spent a lot of time panhandling and sleeping on the NY subway, or at Woody’s Commune, a crash-pad where you’d pay $2 a night for a bed but also got weed and a great gourmet meal made by Woody’s partner Dave. Then I joined the Black Panthers. They ran a free-breakfasts-for-children programme, using donated end-of-shelf-life food. Demonstrations and confrontations were few and far between; most of the time we were being public servants – cooking and washing dishes.

Concentrating on music in the early 70s, I went healthy on macrobiotic and organic, eating brown rice, wheat and noodles at affordable hippy restaurants. But when. But when I made it with Chic I was into cocaine and expensive cuisine or greasy food at 5 or 6am at a 24-hour Chinese restaurant. People say cocaine suppresses the appetite but it didn’t mine. Diana Ross once faked sickness at a really fancy dinner party so we could go to Queens together for White Castle hamburgers.

In the early 80s I was already going to health spas and doing Jane Fonda workouts – detoxing so I could then get wasted again. But I could only take a few days in a retreat each time. The very bland food in retreats didn’t suit my strong palate and I think it’s no coincidence that all those I went to were in Mexico, or near Mexican restaurants.

Many of my favourite food memories are with Madonna, because we went out a lot when the club scene was changing into a scene where Mary Lou’s and restaurants like that would lock their doors and become after-hours clubs. I remember people saying, “Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl?” over and over again.

Friends started dying because of the lifestyle. I remember the first friend expired while I was across the street buying barbecued ribs. I had psychotic incidents on cocaine and feared losing my ability to play guitar and I gave cocaine and alcohol up in 1994. I thought it would have a huge effect on my tastebuds. One of my favourite things had been eating lots of caviar while drinking lots of vodka, so I thought, “Oh God, I’ll probably never enjoy caviar again.” But caviar still tasted – and tastes – wonderful.

Thanksgiving dinners have become a big thing for me. I remember as a kid when my stepfather had his first heroin overdose on Thanksgiving. I came home from playing in the park for this sumptuous meal and they were rolling him out of the house on a gurney. Nowadays the family gathers for Thanksgiving at the house I bought for my mother in Las Vegas. We took Bobby’s ashes to one of them, with the intention of having our last Thanksgiving together. It always goes well, as far as the food is concerned. Each year we find a more exotic, experimental way of deep frying turkey or something. And we have a tradition of revealing really dark family secrets to each other as we eat. We might run out of them soon, but I expect there’s still a few to come.

I’ve become completely obsessed with Earl Grey in the morning. I hate to admit it, but I typically have an entire pot. I saw a documentary on the effort that goes into creating commercial tea and almost feel bad throwing used tea away… so I use it to flavour my drinking water. Do you think I’m going a bit far?

It's better to talk while eating

That way, you can ignore how disgusting the act
of eating is, especially if you're looking at somebody
[Hillary, Queen of Chipotle]
I've been developing a theory about how ugly
the act of eating is. I grew up in the post-hippy
era in Canada and we made fun of the older
generation that did everything in public

kissing, petting, f^**king, grooming
and though  we were not prudes, we 
kinda saw that "total freedom" to do what you want
makes for a very ugly scene. 
Italians call it 
bruta figura

That also meant changes in swimwear. Gone
were the budgey-smuggler nutbag Speedos
for guys and back to swim trunks. In this example,
all you have to be is an aware person, with
your eyes open to see how it doesn't help 
guys to have their frozen gonads on display,
in public, cuz you're not getting sex there.
If you were to, you'd be leaving. But it's called
swimming. not leaving.
This rhetorical position has nothing bad to say
about chicks in bikinis. That stuff is quite 

Anyway, in public life you have to tolerate
lots of things, like idiots that cause you stress.
We also have to deal with doing things amongst
this amorphous mass, like eating.

I think eating is ugly because it harks back to
primordial times when eating was part of survival in the
wild and meant lots of blood and guts and K9

The following documentary only scratches
the surface of this primeval drive:

Actually Yankovic represents well our position about
being "cool" and how to puncture egos.

Anyway a famous cook noted this unedifying
habit seen as people follow politicians:

[is that processed rat parts, or humans they're eating?]

checkit: Guardian

Ed Miliband and the infamous bacon sandwich; David Cameron and the notorious hot dog.
Jay Rayner
Sunday 19 April 2015 10.00 BST
There’s one photograph all politicians fear: the one of them eating

Politicians used to be allowed to be distant and dignified. And when it comes to eating in public, it should stay that way. Just ask Ed Miliband or David Cameron

Short of being photographed as one of those curving toilet doors on a Virgin Train slides gently open, revealing a mess of bare knees and shirt tails, there is one photograph that the modern politician fears more than any other: the eating shot. Look at what that image of Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich did to him: the way the lips folded back and curled, how the eyes began to roll back in his head like he had reached some private moment of truth. That one image raised a brutal question: could you imagine this man, the one with the expression like the ketamine has just kicked in, running the country?

Now consider all the politicians run ragged by the election campaign so far, and have pity on their souls. For all day every day what they are thinking is this: please God, let nobody take a picture of me eating. It so terrified David Cameron that, apparently haunted by Miliband bacon sandwich gate, he responded to a hot dog encountered on the campaign trail by eating it with a knife and fork. And he still managed to look a bit of a knob.

It’s terribly unfair. In the old days politicians were allowed to be dignified and remote figures, other-worldly emissaries from Planet Leadership. Now, in the age of the selfie and the close-up, we insist they be just like us. We insist they be human. And what could be more human than the act of eating? Eating is genuinely a shared experience. The problem is it’s an ugly, ungainly shared experience. It’s just too human.

Try watching the people you love eating. It’s a mess. As you open your mouth, there’s a flash of wobble and pink of the sort the pathologist will see when they come to conduct the inevitable postmortem on your chilling cadaver. There is the sticky shine of saliva, there’s the way your eyelids flutter, your lips roll outwards. Ever seen a German Shepherd running excitedly towards its owner, its tongue flapping in the wind? That’s you, photographed eating, only without the excitement.

This shouldn’t be regarded as a negative. Eating is messy because it’s meant to be. Show me someone who daintily forks away morsels between tidy, pursed lips and I will show you someone who could never be my friend. Recently I was invited to participate in a wretched “art” project, which involved eating with other people in silence. No surprise that it would be in Berlin. I would rather lick the inside of my composting box than take part in something like that which sucks the life from the dining table. Eating should be noisy and generous, a mess of flailing body parts.

Curiously, moving images of people eating are fine, which is good because television is full of them. Some of them are of me. It’s the freeze frame that doesn’t work. Even Barack Obama, the coolest politician on the planet, looks unelectable when photographed eating. If you really want to put yourself off your lunch Google the image of Barack Obama and David Cameron eating together at a ball game. They look like unloved cats expelling fur balls. Me, I refuse to be photographed eating. It’s a red line. I won’t do it. And do you know who else was never photographed eating? Winston Churchill, a chap who knew a thing or two about maintaining his dignity. That’s who. I rest my case.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Jack the Pollack

This is the "incontrovertible proof" of who Jack the Ripper was.
[Clue-the Hairdresser, in the alley, with a knife]
This was grimy 19th c East London, where alleys seemed to be
the only mode of transit.

Some DNA was found on a victim's belongings that has linked
her to a particular Polish immigrant hairdresser.
UPDATE: If you want to see a bio movie about another Polish
killer, check the Iceman (2012). The main character, Kuklinski,
called Pollack, looks very much like the picture above.

But, I digress:

Kosminski was a bit unstable, and he was a suspect, but was never
collared for the crimes. I haven't really had time to study this
but on first listen, the evidence does seem, despite DNA,
to be a bit coincidental. I mean, they found semen on the
shawl of one victim, a hooker.
All that proves is that Kosminski had purchased a hand-job
within the previous 24 hours, or given a particularly
close hairstyle. If there was DNA proof on two
victims, then I would tend to think he's, or was guilty.

Proof [at 55:35]:

Anyway, you decide.

I kinda wanted the royal looney to take the fall.
Forgot his name.

And to think that other people were lynched by mobs
for these attacks.

On a personal note, I worked near that site, teaching,
and I've taught a student named Kosminski. Creepy!

checkit: CBC
Jack the Ripper case solved, according to new book and new DNA evidence
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | Categories: Features 0
Aaron Kosminski was 23 at the time of the Whitechapel murders. Though a suspect, he was never charged. He spent most of his life in a mental institution, where he died.
The case of Jack the Ripper has been solved, according to a new book called "Naming Jack the Ripper". In that book, author Russell Edwards claims the Ripper's identity was Aaron Kosminski - a schizophrenic, immigrant hairdresser in his 20s who was a suspect at the time. Edwards' theory comes on the heels of many others. This time it's based on forensic DNA.
"We based this analysis on the shawl from the crime scene of one of the victims"
Forensic specialist Jari Louhelainen was able to extract DNA from a bloody shawl belonging to Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes that he says proves that Aaron Kosminski was the Ripper.
"We were able to compare mitochondrial DNA from semen stains shawl to the descendant of Aaron Kosminski, and make the match"
Two stains were identified on the shawl: one blood and one semen. Using mitochondrial DNA, and a maternal descendant of the victim, researchers identified the blood as that of the victim. And then working with a genealogist, author Edwards located a maternal descendant of the suspect, Kosminski, and Louhelainen made the match to the semen.
While he is confident in his results, Louhelainen does acknowledge that there is still room for doubt.
"Because this is mitochondrial DNA can't be as sure as we would be with the modern DNA"

A most English of bank jobs

In my time in the UK, I have seen just how much
policing in the UK is represented by some key concepts:
box ticking
sleeping on the job
"oh, ignore that, it's broken"
we're lucky to have 70 million sheep to protect
"you got no proof for that" 
This story has all of those concepts.

So, this big Easter egg of a robbery is the most English of jobs.

To sum up, every cop went to sleep over the long
Easter holiday weekend, thinking that every one of their
sheep was sitting on a patio getting sauced on fizzy beer.

The thieves started on Thursday night. They didn't hit an alarm
until Friday night. They split the scene fearing.....the cops,
who seem to have decided that the alarm was too sensitive.
The cops didn't even drive past. A security company did, but
didn't do a full report on the full site.

The thieves came back over Saturday and Sunday and 
cleaned out 70-something safe-deposit boxes. In the 
jewellery district that means a mass of untraceable 

Where's Michael Cane when you need him?

All the head-shaking story
checkit: the Guardian

Hatton Garden jewellery raid: CCTV footage emerges

Video shows at least six men arriving at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company’s building in London’s jewellery quarter
Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company building
It is thought that millions of pounds’ worth of jewels, gold and cash were stolen in the raid on the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company.
Dominic Smith and agencies

Saturday 11 April 2015 10.39 BST Last modified on Saturday 11 April 2015 11.38 BST

CCTV footage has emerged reportedly showing a gang of robbers executing the Hatton Garden jewellery heist over the Easter weekend.

A video obtained by the Mirror shows at least six men arriving at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company’s building in the London jewellery quarter on Thursday evening.

The paper said the men made two separate visits before leaving on Easter Sunday with the contents of 72 safety deposit boxes in wheelie bins and bags, and making a getaway in a white van.

The footage comes a day after it emerged that police were alerted to an intruder alarm just after midnight on Good Friday but did not respond. Scotland Yard said it was “too early to say if the handling of the call would have had an impact on the outcome of the incident”. The Metropolitan police declined to comment on the CCTV footage.

It is thought that millions of pounds’ worth of jewels, gold and cash were stolen in the raid. Many of the owners of the high-value deposit boxes had no insurance on items worth several thousands of pounds.

The CCTV footage appears to confirm reports that the men had several days to carry out the raid, with the heist taking place over the Easter weekend. A source was quoted as saying: “This was clearly the work of a professional gang who planned this job down to every last detail. But they may have made a mistake in leaving this footage behind.”
Cops and ex-robbers on Hatton Garden heist: 'This is no bunch of mugs'
Read more

In a 17-minute video published on the Mirror’s website, the camera centres on a doorway, with an adjacent intercom, at the bottom of a stairway to the street.

Several men appear wearing hi-vis jackets and masks, and are seen carrying tool boxes and holdalls. Some manoeuvre wheelie bins in and out of the building, before a white van is driven away shortly before 7am on Easter Sunday which the paper says contained the bins and bags.

It was not until Tuesday morning – more than four days later – that the raid was discovered.

Ex-robbers told the Guardian on Friday that the expensive goods could already have been taken out of the country. One said:“This is no bunch of mugs. They’re never going to be nicking this stuff without it having a place to go to already arranged.”

Depositors reacted with fury to the news that police did not respond to the initial alarm. One identified only as Simon, 46, said his brother had an uninsured box worth £150,000 containing diamonds, platinum and gold.

“I’m very angry. It’s my brother’s life down there and the worst thing is we don’t know what’s happened,” he said.

“You would imagine the police would come straight away, wouldn’t you, on a street like this? It’s absolutely ridiculous. That place should have been wired to the police straight away. It’s all going to come out isn’t it. But that doesn’t help us. We’re in limbo and struggling.”