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Introducing the diskant team #3 – Alex McChesney

Posted: September 15th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

Although we do have writers based around the globe, there’s a small majority of us living in Glasgow. I cannot deny that part of the reason for this is me trying to offload CDs from our overflowing review box on to anyone I happen to meet. Alex McChesney, however, claims quite the opposite, having originally run his own music review website back in the day. “After meeting Marceline and seeing the excellent diskant, my need to come over all self-important about music was re-awakened, and I volunteered for reviewing duties. Duties which I have been somewhat negligent about lately. Er… sorry.”. Alex has mainly stuck to reviews so far but that ranges from getting thoughtful about Songs of Green Pheasant to getting hyper-excitable about Lightning Bolt live. He’s also diskant’s resident movie buff helping collate diskant’s Films of 2005.

When not reviewing CDs, Alex spends his days writing “the world’s most boring computer software” and his evenings as a member of electronic-rock combo Sister Blades, and making occasional unpleasant noise in podcast form. He is also married to the lovely Rebecca who will be joining us on diskant’s review pages shortly.

Unfortunately Alex is less lazy than I anticipated so these answers are now ever so slightly out of date. Hopefully this means we’ll get some words from him about his trip to Iceland soon to go with his marvellous photos. A-Z of Iceland, Alex, come on!

Where do you live and what do you like about it?
I live in Shawlands, on the South Side of Glasgow, which is a scant 15 minute train journey from the city center, has a great number of decent shops, bars and restaurants, including what is (in my opinion) the best Italian restaurant in Glasgow – Bacco Italia. (Now what are the chances of them reading this and offering me a free meal in return for plugging them? Rather slim, I suspect.). The South Side. It’s “the new west end” dontchew know. Still, it could do with a record shop or two – there was one in the arcade that was ok, if a bit heavy on the alt.country, but I went to look in the other day and it was cold and dead.

What have you been listening to/reading/watching/playing recently?

Everyone’s sick of hearing me bang on about the Nintendo DS, but it really is my favourite games console ever. I’ve had it for about two months now, and I’ve already been tempted into buying almost as many games for it as I have my PS2, which I’ve had for around four years. It’s a little white box of fun.

I’ve just bought an album called “Hypnotic Underworld” by Ghost, who are a sort of folk-prog band from Japan who I have heard many many positive things about, and have meant to get around to listening to since their collaboration with Damon and Naomi some years ago. Some records you buy and can form an opinion on by the end of the first song, but this is one I can’t quite decide if I like or not. I’ve thrown it on my iPod for listening on the train, so maybe I’ll get the bottom of it one way or another.

I find myself listening to more music in work than anywhere else nowdays, which is a far from ideal situation. I own some great music that just isn’t appropriate to programming to, so isn’t getting played.

Watching? Not a lot. There’s nothing on TV that interests me at the moment, and I haven’t been to the pictures in quite a while. I do, however, have a pile of DVDs bought cheap from the Blockbuster up the road that need watching. Oh, and we bought “Screaming Masterpiece”, the excellent documentary about Icelandic music. But more of that in a minute….

Tell us about your favourite local bands.
Gay Against You rule the roost as far as I’m concerned. I enjoyed Park Attack the last time I saw them. And we just played with Beaches of the Proud and Captain Haddock, who approach instrumental ambience from opposite directions but are both ace in their own ways, in addition to being jolly nice folks as well.

What are you planning on writing about next for diskant?
I was thinking about doing an article about the original Wicker Man, in time for the release of the shite-looking remake.

What are your favourite articles/interviews on diskant?
Chris Summerlin’s diskant Gets The Blues is a tour-de-force, but the yearly Instal round-up is always a good read too.

What are you looking forward to this year?
I’m going to Iceland in September! About which I am stupidly excited! It’s just for a long weekend, but already I have become a total Iceland bore. Go on – ask me anything!

What have you learned during your time at diskant?
That the diskant Overlord is not to be trifled with.

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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