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Posted: April 18th, 2006, by Marceline Smith

(Or where the hell is everyone?)


Mogwai – Mr Beast
They’ve still got it, you know. I Chose Horses nearly made me cry on the bus this evening and then We’re No Here almost made my ears bleed, and yet I barely considered the idea of turning it down. If you ever gave up on them, now’s the time to come back. Nothing else is really grabbing me at the moment – I need to invest in some new records (IDEAS PLEASE – preferably tunes to think to on sunny mornings)


Lots of money on a new iPod
Well worth £200 to only listen to 1 Mogwai album. But I can bore people with photos of my flat and video of my band! Now that’s progress.

Too much time on MySpace


A “short break” in Dublin
Since we are going all the way there to play one gig. Any tips on places to go and things to do? I have never been to Ireland before. The next 100 people to mention drinking and Guinness will get a slap.

The RETURN of Asking For Trouble
I have not shaken hands on any “deals” yet but soon, soon… (also new website very soon – it’s chirpy)


Frank Kuppner
The man is a poetic genius (and that’s just his fiction). He makes me realise my inadequacies and enjoy my idiosyncracies. Criminally, his books are mostly out of print but search them out if you can. He writes of murder and memories and minutae with both astounding flippancy and hearbreaking poignancy. If you’ve ever walked the streets of Glasgow in wonder you’ll want to hug his books.

American magazines
I’m regressing again, to my art school days of The Face and prime era Just Seventeen. The Music Issue of Cosmo Girl USA is the greatest magazine I have read in years. Subsequent issues have not held up. I am still enjoying Nylon though.


The Riddler
I was sent these beautiful zines which are so perfectly formed and folded and sealed with sealing wax that I can’t bear to disturb them. I will try soon.

*As opposed to what I have mostly been doing: sleeping.

My A-Z of Japan

Posted: April 3rd, 2006, by Marceline Smith

My photo diary is here. Enjoy!

ARIGATO – really the only word of Japanese you need and even that can be bypassed with enough bowing and smiling. I’ve never met so many polite and helpful people, from the convenience store staff that call welcomes in unison as you enter to the gift shop staff that package your purchases with intricate care.
BOTANICAL GARDENS – Our free day in Kyoto was my birthday so we went to the Botanical Gardens. I have a thing about Botanical Gardens. It was the most beautiful day and half of Kyoto had the same idea but this turned out to be the most Japanese thing we did all holiday with not a single other tourist in sight. More fool them. The cherry and plum blossom was out and glorious, there were carp in the lake, a garden of bonsai trees, small Japanese children practicing their English by shouting HELLO at us and plenty of room in between the camphor trees to just sit and relax. And all for fifty pence!
CHERRY BLOSSOM – The Japanese go nuts for cherry blossom and when you see it, you understand why. Our luck was in as the cherry blossom was a little early this year and there were pink and white trees blooming everywhere, usually surrounded by hordes of Japanese cooing and taking photos on their mobiles.
DEPARTMENT STORES – We were urged to go to department stores (indeed, our tourist maps from the hotels mainly had department stores and temples marked on them) but we were highly disappointed by the reality of floors and floors of western designer fashion. The two exceptions were Tokyu Hands, basically a hardware store full of cheap mentalism, and the enormous department store within Kyoto Station where we got lost numerous times and spent lots of money in the stationery department and in the little store entirely devoted to cute bunny-related wares.
EATING – Food was probably the most difficult part of Japan, as the hotel was expensive and proper Japanese places were a bit confusing (especially with a vegetarian sister). However, this did allow me to sample all kinds of random foodstuffs from local shops including some awesome chilli noodles and a very pretty (and tasty) bento box. The snacks were considerable fun as well. I’m now quite lost without my tubes of tiny cake slices and panda biscuits. Typically, the two worst meals I had were the ones on included tour days – some very dull ramen in miso and the ‘western style’ meal of barely warm breaded chicken with spaghetti.Why couldn’t they have taken us out for sushi?
FUJI-SAN – We were so lucky to see Mt Fuji. At first we were told we might not get to go at all because of heavy snowfalls then were were allowed up as far as the Fourth Station but there was thick cloud so no views of the summit. And then the clouds lifted magically for 2 minutes so we could see it and then closed back up. Fuji-san really is shy
GASHAPON – We call them egg machines here, you know machines full of plastic eggs containing toys of some kind. Japanese gashapon are full of amazing things usually for ¥100 or ¥200 (50p-£1). We soon started collecting ¥100 coins purely for gashapon and nearly hyperventilated when we found a little shop entirely for the purpose of gashapon in Shibuya. Best find was in the Pokemon Center – gashapon containing tiny Pokemon-branded working gashapon machines full of Pokeballs. Even better you got to build them yourself in ye olde Kinder Egg style. Awesome.
HELLO KITTY – Japan really takes Hello Kitty to a whole new level of madness. Not content with the usual lines of Hello Kitty, Japan has its own series of tourist souvenir Hello Kitty for literally every tourist attraction and destination in Japan. Hello Kitty Tokyo, atop Tokyo Tower with a camera; Hello Kitty Harajuku, dressed up like a cool teen in tartan and leather; Hello Kitty Kyoto, as a geisha; Hello Kitty Nara, wearing a deer costume; Hello Kitty Hakone, inside a black sulphur-cooked egg…
IKEBUKURO – Our base in Tokyo where we stayed in a rather fancy hotel with 25 floors and an all you can eat cake buffet (which, luckily, we only discovered on our final evening). It also sounds great on the automated train announcements. Ikebukuro, Ikebukuro!
JAPANESE FILMS – I watched two of them on the flight. NANA, based on a manga comic about two girls with the same name who meet by chance – one is in a punk band and the other is the most adorable puppydog girl that ever existed. I loved this. I also watched a film called Beat Kids, about some school kids who set up their own marching band and get back at their nasty teacher who tries to take all the credit. This was great until after the obvious ending where they do a crazy jazz routine at the inter-school competition it then carried on with an ultra-complicated plot about two rival rock bands that got so confusing I gave up.
KAWAII – Everything in Japan is kawaii. It only took about 2 days for our cuteness monitors to be reset at a much higher level. Our first afternoon’s shopping in Tokyo ended in Sunshine 60, a vast labyrinth of shops full of cute stuff where we reached a level of cuteness exhaustion that eventually had us on the verge of nervous breakdown in Toys R Us.
LEGWARMERS – My only actual birthday present on the day since technically being in Japan was my birthday present. Nicolette knitted them for me and I highly recommend legwarmers for cold temple floors when they make you take your shoes off.
MUSEE D’ART GHIBLI – The Ghibli Museum was amazing, one of the many highlights of the trip. The building is full of hidden corridors, nooks and staircases displaying original artwork and Ghibli ephemera, as well as explaining the concepts of animation The Totoro zoetrope is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen, a revolving set of 3D models that magically come to life via strobe lights. It’s impossible to describe but it truly feels like magic. Biggest disappointment of the trip – adults not being allowed to romp on the huge cuddly catbus.
NARA – Home of the world’s largest wooden building which contains Japan’s largest Buddha statue. All this was very interesting but mostly we were amused by the hordes of “wild” deer that harass you for food. Taken singly they will bow to you for a piece of bread in a rather adorable way. In groups however, they become herds of scary zombie deer mowing down anything that gets in the way of FOOOOD.
ONIGIRI – Rice balls. I wish these were readily available in UK shops. I particularly enjoyed the element of surprise of what random foodstuff might be hiding in the middle. I even bought a big cuddly smiling onigiri pillow to take home.
PLASTIC FOOD – Japanese restaurants have creepily accurate plastic imitations of all the meals they serve laid out in the windows so you can see what’s on offer. Bowls of noodles are one thing but plastic imitation pints of beer made my brain hurt.
QOO – Simon P asked me to look out for Qoo which we spotted in the very first vending machine we saw in Japan. Not entirely impressed by what is basically orange squash in a cool bottle, we were still somewhat surprised not to see Qoo in any of the next lot of vending machines. A couple of days’ searching later we spotted Apple Qoo which was much nicer and thus we slowly got sucked into Qoo-spotting insanity and spent half the holiday peering at vending machines. Thanks Simon. Tropical fruit/milk Qoo – odd but nice. Fanta Grape – awesome. Suntory happy apple juice – double awesome.
RIVER KAMO – In some ways we didn’t really ‘do’ Kyoto, having only the one free day there and spending most of that in the Botanical Gardens (and trying to find our way through the vast, shop-filled Kyoto Station). We had intended to have a wander through the geisha district of Gion (an apprentice geisha being pretty much the first thing we saw after getting off the shinkansen) but the nearest we got was wandering back to the hotel along the River Kamo as the sun began to set. It was a lovely walk but we couldn’t work up the energy to leave the hotel again that evening.
SHINKANSEN – We got the bullet train both ways between Tokyo and Kyoto. The first time one went through the station we all collectively gasped at the speed. When you’re on it though, you don’t really notice how fast it’s going (up to 150km). The shinkansen doors are set remotely in Tokyo so they close on time regardless of whether you’re on the train or not!
TEMPLES & SHRINES – We were on an organised holiday tour called ‘Japan Highlights’ but we soon renamed it the Temples and Shrines Tour. Almost everything we were taken to visit or pointed out were Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines. Some of these were indeed amazing but really, how many do you need to see? I am still baffled by the people who went on the optional temples and shrines day out to Nikko rather than have a free day in Tokyo. Thank god for the guy on the tour who joined in our OOHing at the sight of Nintendo HQ.
UENO PARK – We were urged by our first guide Suzy-san, a cherry blossom nut, to go see the cherry blossom in Ueno Park before we left so we squeezed it into our last evening. I’m glad we did as the trees were strung up with lanterns, there were glowing 3D sculptures of animals outside the zoo and swan boats on the lake. I wish we’d had time to go in the daytime as well.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC – This was my first long haul flight and I was frankly amazed at how bearable it was. I’d packed a bunch of stuff to keep myself entertained on the 12 hour flight but barely touched it, thanks to the in-flight entertainment and constant provision of food and gifts whenever there was a risk of boredom. My highlight though was peering out of the window into the night and seeing all the constellations so big it felt like I could touch them.
WEATHER – was lovely, thanks. Snow on Mt Fuji, blue skies and sun for my birthday and warm and uneventful in Tokyo.
SAN-X – Thanks to Alice for recommending Kiddyland, 7 floors of toys and cute stuff. We spent so long on the San-X floor that one of the staff came over smilingly with a basket, obviously realising we were in for the long haul. San-X is impossible to describe but you need plenty time to fully drink in the madness of Mamegoma (honking seals of varying hilarity), Nyan Nyan Nyanko (a cat who likes to pretend to be food) and Wan Room (a set of furniture with dog faces).
YAMANOTE LINE – I am in awe of the logic, order, simplicity and cleverness of Japanese transport which is easier to use in Japanese than the London Underground is in English. The Yamanote Line runs in a circle round the centre of Tokyo and we spent much of our time on it (all the way round in the course of one day). We also fell in love with the Suica penguin, the mascot of Tokyo’s pay as you go rail pass who is all over the rail system.
ZZZZZ…. Jet lag, not fun.

My A-Z of 2005

Posted: December 30th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

You know I’ve been waiting all year to do this again.

ALASDAIR – for patiently re-introducing me to Fun, amongst other things
BUNNIES – I have spent way too much of 2005 stalking bunny rabbits
CHANNEL 4 – Damn you, I wasn’t supposed to get addicted to TV again
DATA PANIK – my favourite new band of 2005
ELEPHANTS – providing the main entertainment of being a corporate designer
FLICKR – my year in photos
GREEN TEA – begone, caffeine
HIS DARK MATERIALS – The stage show was one of the greatest things I have ever seen
IPOD – completely changed my listening habits, probably for the worse
JAPAN – I’M GOING TO JAPAN (my catchphrase for 2005, my most anticipated thing for 2006)
KNITTING – and sewing, as part of www.misofunky.com
LAST FM – See, Crazy Boys IS my song of the year
MONO – home from home this year with the fantastic Plan B and Beard events, our gig with Wolf Eyes and many happy hours just hanging out with friends.
NOODLES – Do I eat out anywhere else than Ichiban and Wagamama? Probably not.
OWW – Brain melting noise at Instal and Glasgow Implodes
PROPERTY OWNERSHIP – In progress. Keep your fingers crossed!
QUIET – Living in a tiny house in a garden, down a lane
RSI – pros: less time on computers, more going out. cons: PAIN, losing touch with online friends
SNOW – on December 29th. Just in time!
THIRTY – My turnaround year, and how
UTER – Still fun, mainly due to good gigs with so many lovely and fantastic bands
WALKING – also rediscovered thanks to living next to the River Kelvin walkway
XENOMANIA/RICHARD X – responsible for most of my pop thrills this year
YOU – for continuing to read diskant. Thank you!
ZINES – I’m not going to get my zine done by the end of the year am I?

Recent inactivity

Posted: November 26th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

…is mostly due to losing access to the internet at work. My world has stopped appropriately. So I’ve been busying myself by

Listening to:
Pumice’s “Raft”
the Thai Elephant Orchestra
Aphex Twin’s “Select Ambient Works Vol.2”
Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” & “Born in the USA”
Quack Quack (review coming soon)
Renato Rinaldi’s “Hoarse Frenzy”
The Deserted Village Orchestra
The Inecto School
Harvey Milk
Charles Mingus’ “Oh Yeah”
Malcolm Middleton’s “Into The Woods”
Boards of Canada’s “The Campfire Headphase”
Lectures by Michael Foucalt on the culture of the self.
The complete Golden discography, thanks to Chris.

Truman Capote – In Cold Blood
Audiobook of HP Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulu” and “The Mountains of Madness”
William Burroughs reading “Junky” (his voice alone is amazing)
Vulture-like column inches about Georgie Best before the poor bastard even croaked it.

Rushmore, The Machinist, Ghostbusters 2, Mindhunters (TERRIBLE film), Tank Girl (ditto), Shaolin Soccer, Old Boy, My Name is Earl, Kingdom of Heaven, Code 46, Cursed, Layer Cake, The Grudge, Rubber Johnny.

Working on:
Trying to do something interesting at http://www.flickr.com/photos/souvaris,
Fixing and overhauling www.souvaris.com,
Fixing broken amps and pedals,
A few stupid riffs here and there.

Stripping the finish from a guitar using just a stanley knife,
Filling in endless forms before I can start my new job,
Breaking my radiator,
Bologna Pony.

Looking forward to:
A break,
Paid leave over Christmas.


Posted: November 23rd, 2005, by John Coburn

Listening to– Stephen Malkmus, Gastr Del Sol, Tortoise, Birthday Pary, Mercury Rev, Eels ‘Electro Shock Blues’, Go Betweens, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Detroit Cobras, Meat Puppets.

Reading– just been B.S. Johson biography, now Samuel Beckett ‘Ill Seen Ill Said’, next ‘Voice Imitator’ Thomas Bernhard.

Working on– stripping/plastering/painting house, thinking hard about future job strategies for when bulldozers demolish place of work .

Looking forward to– Christmas surprisingly, next Seinfeld DVD installment, reduced price Schwabenbrau at Lidl (6-pack £2.22), chucking snow about, having a party.


Posted: November 23rd, 2005, by JGRAM

Listening to:

Broken Flowers soundtrack
Digable Planets second album (Blowout Comb?)
Deerhoof – The Runners whatever
Kanye West – Late Registration
Kostars – Klassics With A K
BPP ACCA 3.5 Strategic Business Planning And Development revision disc
BPP ACCA 3.6 Advanced Financial Reporting revision disc
BPP ACCA 3.7 Strategic Financial Management revision disc


BPP ACCA 3.5 Strategic Business Planning And Development textbook
BPP ACCA 3.6 Advanced Financial Reporting textbook
BPP ACCA 3.7 Strategic Financial Management textbook
can’t wait to get back to reading proper books

Working on:

my ACCA final exams
Pro Evolution Soccer 5


a little revision
a lot of sleeping

Looking forward to:

finishing my exams
Millwall pulling out of the relegation zone
the works Christmas Bash (after not being invited to one last year. ho ho)

Yeah me too

Posted: November 22nd, 2005, by Ollie

Listening To: Part Chimp – I Am Come, I’m Being Good – early 7″s, Animal Collective – Feels (about 3 times daily), first three Mercury Rev albums, Deerhoof – Green Cosmos, The Auteurs – How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, Espers – The Weed Tree, Eyes and Arms of Smoke – A Religion of Broken Bones

Reading: The Wild Highway by Bill Drummond and Mark Manning, before that Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

Working on: Putting on Part Chimp next month. By ‘working on’ I mean trying not to shit it any more than is absolutely necessary.

Looking forward to: Getting a new phone delivered tomorrow cos I’m a massive loser, ATP which is NEXT WEEK.

even more recent activity (and hello)

Posted: November 22nd, 2005, by Thorsten Sideb0ard


This is my first post to the Diskant blog, and this thread seems a nice way to introduce myself..

Listening To: too much good stuff lately, and a lot of it actually back into electronica… New material for the upcoming Marcia Blaine School For Girls album, which is sounding ace; Suburb The Record Label’s sampler disc. Its probably badly labelled as a sampler, as its a proper full length compilation release, and the label’s first release to date, but i guess its a sampler of the good stuff to come. 14 tracks of digital goodness, from people like Blamstrain, Bovaflux, 11t1, and other lads i hadnt heard of, but all quality music.
Sawako – Hum. New release on ultraminimalist US electronic label 12k. Pure sine waves, coupled with lush melodies and manipulated vocal sound sources. I’m not always as blown away by minimal electronics as i’d like to be, but this album really stands out.
On the more guitar oriented side of things, really loving the Cocteau Twins 4 disc boxset “Lullabies to Violaine”, especially the Mark Clifford/Seefeel remixes. Although the packaging, beautiful as it is, (5 panel foldout digipack with tactile cover) is so fragile – it has slight smudges on the cover and one of the CD sleeves has come away from the backing already, even though i have only taken each disc out once to rip it into itunes. Maybe thats the beauty of it though! Other re-issues i been enjoying are the two All Natural Lemon And Lime Flavors albums, and the Orchids ‘Striving For The Lazy Perfection’

Reading: Configuring And Tuning Databases On The Solaris Platform by Allan N. Packer. erm, yeah, i like that kind of thing! Last thing i read was The Future Of Ideas by Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law professor lad. Genius book about the possible outcome on creativity, code, music and ideas, of the path we seem to be following with copyright law. highly recommended.

Working On: a Catalyst 6513 multilayer switch with redundant supervisor modules and MSFC’s. um yeah, more of that!

Looking forward to: Like A Stuntman supporting Rainer Maria at the Garage on December 2nd for Silver Rocket.

Recent Activity

Posted: November 22nd, 2005, by Jon Goodwin

Or what I have been doing instead of being here

Listening To: Fugazi – ‘Repeater’, Lightning Bolt – ‘Hypermagic Mountain’, Pifco – ‘Pifco’ CD, Woman – ‘das Hexer’ CD, Big Black – ‘Songs About Fucking’, Jeffrey Lewis, Burn to Shine Washington DVD (really not good), Burn to Shine Chicago DVD (REALLY DAMN GOOD!!!!)

Reading: Alan Bennett – ‘Three Stories’, Julie Burchill – ‘Sugar Rush’, Kurt Vonnegut – ‘Slaughterhouse 5’.

Working on: job application form, learning to play the guitar PROPERLY, putting on a lovely gig in January with Woman, Not in this Town and others.

Looking forward to: playing the guitar PROPERLY, getting the new job, Dirty Three (tonight!)

Things I Learned This Weekend

Posted: October 24th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

– One of Findo Gask also plays in Otterley who were great on Friday – noisy bip-bop pop with nicely fragile vocals.
– Park Attack are amazing, especially their drummer.
– The band that Errors remind me of are – gasp! – Sunnyvale!
– I still get panicky in crowds of tall people but why should I have to go stand at the back just because you’re too inconsiderate to look behind you when you push in to stand with your mates at the front? Gah.
– I am a total sucker for Rocket Dog shoes, particularly if they involve brown suede, velcro and dragons. DRAGONS! They totally saw me coming and now I am triple skint.
– If you get 13 noise bands to play in one day (at the Glasgow Implodes! alldayer) they will all be guys wearing black, except me.
– Even after Instal there are still ways of making noise that can surprise me. I especially liked the guy with about 50 pedals on a table, and a crushed coke can. And the guy who brought the biggest amps evah and knelt right in front of them playing ear-splitting drones. You’ll ruin your hearing, young man.
– You can wear legwarmers onstage and no-one will laugh at you
– Everyone else at diskant is dead, again