Grant has a pretty good description of some of the underlying elements of Christmas.
I have not posted much about my great love of well-tailored suits. However I have very much enjoyed reading the English Cut, which is the pre-eminent tailor’s blog. (The Sartorialist is pretty good too, though I suspect Eden may object to treating the homeless as sartorial inspiration… or maybe not). I now have a raging desire for a £1,700 bespoke suit which I probably cannot afford to sublimate into a 700 quid Hackett off the peg. More’s the pity. (Why doesn’t the Hackett site actually show the suits??? It’s why we visit the site! I’ve tried telling them…) Actually, I’d like more opportunities to wear suits. There isn’t actually much call for it in consulting work these days, though I quite fancy swimming against the tide.
My preference would be a two button fairly heavy dark charcoal chalkstripe, no cuffs on the trousers, straight side pockets, flat fronted trousers with side fastenings and no belt loops, trouser bottoms not too narrow (probably 15 inch), fairly relaxed coat with lapels not too narrow. Though plain grey is appealing and of course matches any decent shirt.
Decent shirts being a subject and a half. Too many short collars come up too tight, but properly made shirts can be very expensive while not standing up to too much washing. Remarkably, Next does a line of very cheap shirts (15 quid!) with good quality collars that stand up to a decent tie knot (no, not one of those stupid footballer fatties) and… errr… don’t need ironing. Quite remarkable. They do them with double cuffs (i.e. for cufflinks) too. My beloved Hackett shirts seem to have built-in obsolescence, which is a terrible shame. Of course, you can always pick out some wearable if dull shirts from Marks and Sparks. (And no, I’ve never bought an M&S suit, though I try them on every couple of years.)
If I get enough requests from readers I may post photographs of some of my suits.
Here’s my Christmas pressie for you all… a mix of vintage jungle. I don’t think any of the tunes on this mix are particularly rare, I just picked a load of good ones that I wasn’t bored of. The inspiration was Tom & Jerry’s peerless Maximum Style — present here in its original and “Lover to Lover” versions, and yes I could do with an expert to sort out what T&J tune is what, cos I am confused. In any event, I adore Maximum Style because it eschews Amen-style stentorian rigour for slinky soft soul’n’lovers rock groove, so I tried to put together all the good soul-influenced jungle I could find. A mix of raging Amen tunes is in preparation. There isn’t that much soulful jungle that still rocks, so the mix is a bit short, but that could be an advantage. The title refers back to the classic Toots and the Maytals album Reggae Got Soul: for if jungle reaches back primarily to reggae, and I think it does, then it also reaches ack to soul, as reggae does.
Most of these tunes are from 1994– not a deliberate decision but it does support the argument put forward by some that that was jungle’s best year. Here’s the tracklisting…
Lloydie Crucial: Ribbon In The Sky 1994
Tom & Jerry: Maximum Style 1994
Tom & Jerry: Lover to Lover 1994
Run Tings: Ruff Revival 1994
Firefox & 4-Tree: Warning (Powder Mix) 1994
Greenwood: Hold It Down 1994
Deep Blue: Helicopter Tune 1993
M-Beat: Style 1993
The Brock-Out Crew: Hardcore Romance 1994
M&F: How Many Ways 1994
Da Maytrix: Loverman 1994
DMS & The Boneman X: Sweet Vibrations (Push Up Yr Lighter) 1994
M-Beat: Surrender 1994
Undercover Agent: Oh Gosh! 1995
L Double Featuring Bassman: Da Base Too Dark 1995
Lick Back Organisation: Maniac Music (Lick Back VIP Mix) 1995
Jungle Got Soul
192K mp3; 47 minutes 34 seconds; 65.4Mb.
As ever, on Windows, right click and save as; on the Mac, option click (or right click if you are wise enough to have a two button mouse) and save as. This is likely to be the last “public” music mix released on this blog, since other sites leach our mixes, meaning loads of downloads but no feedback or contact. Anonymous leaching is not what it’s all about. There will be one or two non-music audio files however.
I suspect it may be valuable to clarify my position on paganism, especially to casual readers and the uninitiated.
As has been noted, I have something of a pagan identity, or rather a partial pagan worldview, and I have some practices which in the west might be called “pagan”… However, I never found a paganism with which I didn’t disagree by at least 50 per cent. I don’t swallow any of it whole. And I certainly don’t want to defend all those awful websites with black backgrounds that tout spells and all manner of other teen-gothery. Nor do I want to defend or engage with any of the other wanky pagan stereotypes.
As Robert Anton Wilson once said, I don’t “believe” any of it, in the sense of accepting pagan dogmas as all-encompassing and fundamentally true. We have no truck with Grand Narratives here. The subjects I am interested in are but one means of illumination, expression and liberation. Others have other yogas, such as the yoga of materialist left politics, for example, all of which are more or less valid. And my ideas in this area have changed considerably over the years, and assumptions you make about me as a “pagan” may not be well-founded.
A blog that’s half about spirituality, half about reggae, and all about (as John puts it) “the theology of bass” — yes! I’m there! Roots and Wires — bookmark it now!
Simon suggesting that “Girls Aloud’s most passionate and unstintingly analytical fans cannot distinguish between the girls’ voices on record (although some seem to be able to tell them apart okay as fantasy fuckmates)” — while I am by no means an apologist for GA, though the odd tune is quite good, I cannot distinguish between them as fantasy fuckmates. I remember K-Punk’s post a while back about robot girls (in a Jaxx video) being unutterably sexy — well, maybe Girls Aloud are the pop prototype of that.
In other words — too plastic to be really attractive.
Tim Boucher is doing a series of fairly good interviews with pagans. I like his style, it’s a good blog. The one with Daniel Pinchbeck is very good, although he slags off ceremonial magic for the wrong reasons (“a fairly debased and Luciferic tradition in the modern West, a kind of retrofitting of old ideas and old styles” — nonsense!).
Bad tempered Barbelith comment on Pinchbeck here.
BTW, using the tags “Wicca” or Gardnerian on technorati don’t come up with much that’s better…
YES — the best music blogger working right now interviewing one of the four best producers working right now… Blackdown interviews Loefah… and it’s HUUUUUUGE. Get in.
AND… Blackdown is doing not just one end of year review, but a series, with interviews with a load of the biggest names in Grime and Dubstep… that is just awesome.
BTW… there’s a wiki on dubstep…
I had a look through the technorati listings for pagan blogs just to see if there were any that were particularly popular, and the results were pretty disappointing. Here’s some of the top ten:
Coming Anarchy (http://www.cominganarchy.com): no obvious pagan content but a lot of rightwing geo-political nonsense.
Right Wing of the Gods (http://rightwingofthegods.blogspot.com): ditto.
Bush’s America (http://www.bushsamerica.com/):a firey anti-war blog from a Vietnam vet. Quite good, but no obvious pagan content.
The Wild Hunt (http://www.wildhunt.org/blog.html): I blogged this ages ago. It’s good stuff, though a bit worthy in that American “journal of record” way, though there’s a good current entry on DMT. The blog roll is extensive and may be worth investigating, however.
Simply Shylah (http://www.simplyshylah.com/): lovely, but it really is all about a single mum homeschooling her kid, which is admirable, but a little monocultural.
Fat Lil Witch (http://www.fatlilwytch.com/): mainly complaints about the author’s noisy neighbours.
Mimi Redbeard (http://mimredbeard.com/): a sex blog specialising in daddy fantasies with the odd bit of pagan content.
I have nothing against (most) of these blogs but they didn’t offer much that I found inspiring and I was surprised to see the top-listed pagan blogs having so little actual pagan content. But that’s the nature of Technorati: if you have the most links, and you have the right keywords tagged to your blog, you’ll come up first. I mean, if you type “Grime” or “Dubstep” into technorati, you won’t get Fiddy or Blackdown. (And if you type “Woebot”or “record collecting” in, you don’t get Woebot — I thought he was a pro!!!).
All of which means I guess that people should be working technorati a bit more, assuming they want hits — and it also means that the “social networking” aspect of “web 2.0” has a ways to go. I mean, if the bloggers aren’t into it…