AC/DC ASCII

AC/DC’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Train created as ASCII art in an Excel spreadsheet “smashing through the corporate firewall”. I’m having flashbacks to my schooldays with BBC Micros.

Some people have too much time on their hands. (But, wait, I’m blogging it. What’s worse?)

You can download the original spreadsheet and play it yourself if you like (but it didn’t work on my Mac because Office is so lame).

(Originally tweeted by Mark).

Orbit on Creative Insecurity

Teaching is an interesting process of projection. Much like any other relationship you project your own fears, bad habits and insecurities onto your students and implore them not to do the same. I tried to be honest about this to my students and is why I wrote some thoughts on life as a creative individual.

There is a piece on William Orbit in the Guardian today that was really revealing. Orbit’s Strange Cargo was pretty much the soundtrack to many hours of working in front of the computer in my final year at university.

The Guardian piece is about him moving into composing a symphony and leaving behind his electronica roots. It’s a bold move and one fraught with personal demons I should imagine. But what is most refreshing is to hear someone who is arguably at the top of their game being totally honest about how scary it all is:

“I had thought of taking a tranquiliser before that first rehearsal, and I wished I had because I just felt so amateurish; I was sure that when they started playing, everybody would be laughing at me. But then Alexander picked the order of the pieces and we got going, and by the time we got to the last movement, I realised there was something happening there. I knew what I was doing was valid.”

Anyone who decides to work creatively on anything and who really puts their neck out deserves some praise. Even if it ends up being rubbish. That’s the point. So, huge respect to Mr. Orbit and it should make the rest of use feel a bit bolder.

Finland in Euro Monster Rock Shock

Lordi - Eurovision 2006 Winners

Once again I ‘accidentally’ ended up watching the Eurovision Song Contest. No really, I was reading and had the TV on in the background.

Anyway, once again, I ended up only seeing the re-cap of the performances and all of a sudden it’s like a scene from Lord of the Rings meets Black Sabbath – Finland’s entry was absolutely mad genius. What in Middle-Earth are they drinking up there in the fjords?

The band, Lordi, fronted by Mr. Lordi, sang Rock Hallelujah, thrashing it out with fireworks and crazy Finnish Orc-style monster outfits. And, of course, they won.

It’s take the Eurovision in a completely new direction. All those other shiny pop-groups with mini-skirted girls and smarmy Euro guys suddenly looked so passé. What with Greece’s attempt to turn the show into a high-tech amphitheatre that unfortunately looked like the set of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (complete with SMS ‘ask the audience’). The shiny, beautiful people must be crying into their own reflections in the mirror right now, poor darlings.

Meanwhile the Finnish monster boys will no doubt be partying into the night, ripping a few limbs off babies, the usual sort of thing. (UPDATE: Actually they are full of contradictions – vegetarian with Christian leanings. See this interview. )

I can’t let you go without a sample of the lyrics:

Hard Rock Hallelujah!
Hard Rock Hallelujah!

The saints are crippled
On this sinners’ night
Lost are the lambs with no guiding light

The walls come down like thunder
The rocks about to roll
It’s the Arockalypse
Now bare your soul

The ‘Arockalypse’ – Sigh. Such brilliance. Makes me proud to be European.