Skateboarding, Music, LFC, Movies, just stuff. I'm A Secret Lemonade Drinker

My blog is more or less about the things I enjoy and will seem completely random and, if you want to judge so harshly, inconsistent.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I Saw The Moon pt.2

24/07/14 - Around 3.15 am this morning I was outside with my girlfriend and the dogs looking through the telescope. Sadly the telescope is a sack of pup but as I looked up over my house to see if the Moon were to show it's face, HOT DOG!! There goes a meteor! Unfortunately for Sammy she wasn't in the right place at the right time, so I asked her what month it is and realised that it may be meteor season, later to find out it was. Meteor watch showed up as I posted a tweet about it, so I'm going to spend a bit of time outside tomorrow night having a look out for what's flying by.


I Saw The Moon pt. 1

We are inhabitants of a world past its prime. Landscapes of tranquil beauty and beautiful tranquility tarnished by man made feats of the industrial revolution and our natural resources wasted on intelligence, power and greed rather than survival. However, we are but one world among countless worlds.

Of course there were parts of the Industrial revolution and wasted natural resources that brought fantastic opportunities for exploration and to sacrifice these in the name of science is completely worth it. Wouldn't you agree?

I wouldn't be able to tell you when I became interested in space, its striking beauty and its vast landscape of stars, planets, gas, the list never ending. I know for a fact that it had a lot to do with the Space age and Space race of the sixties and seventies. ALAS!! The power and greed that struck such a pioneering form of exploration is characterised by the Astronauts vs the Cosmonauts. HOT DOG!! The Russians and Americans would decades later put a stop to the squabbling of boast and achievement and would also be joined by many other countries around the world to explore not only space but science together. Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first man to roam into space in the Vostok spacecraft and Neil Armstrong would be the first man to step foot on the moon and be brought back safely thanks to Nasa and it's legendary Apollo program.

Yesterday morning at around 5 am I would view for the very first time the moon through my Celestron PowerseeKer 50 AZ telescope. A telescope I have been told by internet folk to be one of the worst telescopes ever conceived, never mind made! What ever the case may be for this cheap piece of equipment, I saw the moon through it and it was astonishingly grandiose and wonderful. I think what makes the moon so special is its clarity, being so close to our planet makes it a spectacle worth spending money to view, whether it be £25 (So many dollors) or £1000 (So many more dollars). I was bought this telescope around 2 years ago by my wonderful girlfriend and was put off by the difficulty of use but also its pretty poor viewing quality. I am still an absolute beginner, standing in my backyard, narrowly avoiding dog pup, playing with different lenses in an almost professional manner and claiming to have no success due to sheets of clouds or mischievous runaway stars.

Our very own world is a natural miracle and the fact that many others lay outside of our reach is still beyond belief. All worlds are different like societies, traditions and fast food restaurants. A very small population of our existence aid the exploration of space and it's possible colonisation. These people are travelers. Not so much of the traditional form but travelers of vision. These men and women will create the possibility of further evolution. Although there is very little to learn at home without extensive searching and reading, TV shows can make it easier for us to understand something so complex it may never be fully understood by the human race. I suppose a good question to ask is when will we finally be full time alien visitors?

A sore spot in the Space age community is the amount of speculation of advanced intelligence and extraterrestrial life. Outside of Sci-Fi; visitation, UFOs, conspiracy theories and abduction stories demean the wonderful nature of our universe. I do believe we are not alone in this universe but to say aliens have arrived and made contact is so absurd "I've gone cross eyed". However, if we take into consideration the build up and physics of another intelligent world the absurdity becomes the possible. At what speed can something evolve in a completely different kind of habitat? Could planets and its inhabitants be so small, we will never find them? Could they live within our planet unknown to earths inhabitants? Could there be things so strange and original that the human mind could not process its existence if it were staring us in the face? Sci-Fi Author Arthur C. Clarke once said "Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying". When people think of there being a superior race of alien, invasion floods into there head, but I will say this, I would rather be killed in an Alien invasion and know they exist than be lead to believe we are alone in such a vast dark blanket.

Arthur C. Clarke was one mind behind the 1968 Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke's short story the Sentinel, a starting point for 2001, in which during a lunar expedition one member of the crew notices a Pyramid like shape, with a circular force-field around it, up in the grey rocky mountains. Kubrick and Clarke a year before the moon landings would show an almost realistic environment with the aid of Clarke's buddies at Nasa and would show a ISS like spinning wheel, as well as a look into the future with it's robotics. The exploration in this movie, with a moon base and in the latter books, flights to Jupiter and it's moons is a very realistic view of what we are doing around now. More lunar missions and, I believe, at some point an inspection using probes, rovers and eventually manned flight of Europa, io and Ganymede, possibly?

America carry both achievement and burden to the Space age. Conspiracy of crashed saucers and recovered bodies, secret world governments, superior aircraft and intelligence so far above the president, you wouldn't believe it. Stories of make believe fueled by changing statements from government officials. Excuses, lies, truths and reality. It's all a big charade, a rues for the working class to question with their friends. The English are too cynical to question, as a nation, in great detail the reality of extraterrestrial life and the chances of contact but the Americans seem to be in love with this idea. All inscrutable? Definitely not. Scrutiny of events and possible cover ups litter documentary channels like the History channel and the Discovery channel but would rarely touch the BBC.

In fact I do believe the BBC have pushed the buttons of space lovers rather than Sci-Fi/Conspiracy enthusiasts. Documentaries of The space age will pop up every now and again and Physicist Brian Cox has made a complex subject accessible to the English public. We as a nation don't have the means or the money to fire a rocket into space but we do have the brains to saddle up with the yanks. Space exploration is still an ongoing study, a question to be answered, a man without his dog. I can only be completely saddened by the fact that I will never see the pinnacle of such bravery and intelligence, the unknown and known and finally, the truth behind our universe.

The true heartbreak of it is, if I knew at age 12 that I would grow up to have wanted to be an astronaut or an astronomer, I would now be in higher education and my life would be completely different. Now, at age 22, I can safely say, just like our planet, I too, am past by prime. Maybe I should just stick to music.

Monday, 17 March 2014

One of Greatest Albums Ever Forgotten By an Industry.

Artist: King Crimson
Albums: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Length: 43:53
Date: 10 October 1969
Location: Wessex Sound Studio
Label: Island Records (UK) Atlantic Records (US)

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man - 7:21
2. I Talk to the Wind - 6:05
3. Epitaph - 8:47
4. Moonchild - 12:13
5. The Court of the Crimson King - 9:25

Although a late comer to the growing Progressive/Psychedelic Rock movement of England and America, King Crimsons debut album still may define a genre and age better than SGT. Peppers and Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Black American RN’B was the evolution of Blues and Rock N’ Roll and was quickly travelling to England. The Beatles had a baby faced attempt in their early days but the likes of Pre Pink Floyd and Small Faces were taking it seriously and were writing a new pop sensation at the same time. It seems most Progressive Rock acts were making their pocket money by performing Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon before the thought of experiments of sound, light and vision popped into their heads..

The first album to peel away from the Blues based medleys and the E chord was one the greatest albums forgotten by an aging industry. King Crimson had formed a musical experience that shunned away from pop music with Former songwriter Peter Sinfield stating “We just refused to play anything that sounded anything like a Tin Pan Alley record”. With this in mind, the aim of the band was to create a performance that would be remembered for not how spectacular it was, but for how the instruments could produce both sound and feeling. Songs like Itchycoo Park, Arnold Layne, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite, See Emily Play and FIRE! were coming from what seemed to be a drug induced scene. Each song seeming to take a trip to the next level, but King Crimson would raise the bar for a less drug induced experience and would make the music be the most important part. As It should be.

I remember hearing a story on a BBC documentary from someone who went to see them live. He claimed they were half way through a long instrumental piece when the suddenly the drummer started tapping the bells of the cymbals ever so lightly. Everyone was slightly on edge until someone took off their boot and repeatedly smashed it against the stage. When I heard this story it became apparent to me that King Crimson were not just a couple of guys who blended in smoothly with bands like The Grateful Dead and Jethro Tull. They were so much more.
Although the album would be discarded today because of its length, track listing and its largely instrumental breaks, there’s no reason why an album of such character, creation and originality should be forgotten by the 3 minute pop song that was once again discouraged in the seventies. Although music is for listening, people should understand that music is still an art form and although music will never die and will continue to gather importance to those who hear it, the art form has already fell far from popularity and success, hence such classic albums like the aforementioned be classed as “Just noise”, “Weird” and “Of a different era”. However, there are only a handful of bands in the 60 years of pop music that would be fortunate enough to have a real classic album and an even smaller handful to have their debut album be a classic.

It is untrue that there will never be another classic album because everything that could be done has been, there needs to be a resurgence in creativity, composition and originality. We hear too often the words “I’ve heard something like before,” but never “I’ve heard something similar, but it’s a new way of doing it!”. Pop music would go on generate several subgenres, several phases and even more repeated chord patterns but as time goes by Major chord changes will change to minor chord changes, fast beats will be over ruled by the slow pace of creative battering and instruments will once again create music for 90% of popular artists. Singers won’t rule the world. There will be another album similar to the album that created Prog Rock. Prog Rock was the single most creative and important period of Rock music and this album generated a new way of doing the old. But still, if this album was released today, because of its length, track listing and its large instrumental breaks it wouldn't sell, but that takes nothing away from this classic.

The sessions for the Crimson King were scheduled to take place with Guitarist and Moody Blues producer Tony Clarke, but after a few sessions with Clarke King Crimson were granted permission to produce the record themselves. With the Beatles being the pioneers of layering with just a 4 track, it was only a matter of time that the 8 track would be stretched just as far. Although live performances would stand strong, the real power of the album would come from Ian McDonald spending most of his time overdubbing with the legendary Mellotron and several different instruments. Although Greg Lake and Robert Fripp would be the legends of king crimson, some would agree that the real genius behind the powerful studio sound was Ian McDonald. The importance of Ian McDonald will never be captured on any other record to exist.

Although the album had a mixed reception on its initial release, Musicians were there to tell you just how important the album was and what it did for rock music. Although Kanye West (Tosser) sampled 21st Century Schizoid Man, the album is still a large step away from slipping back into popularity, but make no mistake, to music historians, this album is treasure and will be treasured for decades to come.

SLS - Street League: Be excited for Rieder!!

Street League Skateboarding is the most exciting, Strategic and soon to be, if not already, the most prestigious competition of all extreme sports, as it were. Street League is not for the sport of Skateboarding but for the sport of Street Skateboarding in its entirety with Ledges, Rails, Kickers, Ramps, Hubbas, it has it all. Maybe you will be watching out for Nyjah Huston and his bag of tricks (Kickflip Backside Boardslide/Lipslide, Kickflip frontside 50-50, A damn smooth 360 flip) or Sean Malto and his collection of superb grinds and Strategy (The perfect 5-0, Bluntslides, A don’t bail policy) or Paul Rodriguez and his weak foot trait (Switch Flip Everything, Switch Grind Everything, Sweep the floor and pray into your hat) But if one skater turns up and pulls a solid performance out of his bag, you may just watch the best Street League so far.

Dylan's very impressive Impossible over the ledge
bench at Street League - photo by Rob Monorek
Transworld Magazines 2010 Readers Choice Dylan Rieder started his career doing a couple of promo shots for quicksilver (second to Billabong but still stomach curdling) and turned professional with Alien Workshop. The big parties, drugs and women got to him and at one point he was offered rehab, but only agreed to go there if he couldn’t stop his own drugs use within 6 days. He never went to rehab. When he came back into the picture he created video parts so brilliant, he stamped his name in skateboarding again. He soon moved up to be one of the dvd collection favorites and the one to watch on days you needed motivating. He rides the street with speed, balance and air as if he were in a bowl without breaking a sweat and has proven to be a reliable skate for any camera man to follow. Rails are his forte and no ollie is too big. All that is left for him to do is bring it to the street league course.

Although Street League can accommodate such skaters as P-Rod, Malto, Nyjah and Cole, it’s ability to accommodate a true street skater is, if you will a bit sketchy. Rieder is a street skater of the highest rank and should not be place anywhere in the shadows of the four celebrated Street League competitors and their riches. Sure Street League courses are a lot more difficult to perform on than your average X-Games shite (pulled out the same competition for years and years and i do not remember being overly excited for any Street Skating competition) but it only resembles street spots and does not seem to have the real feel of any street spot around the world. The course design of Street League should not be too damaged by that remark I imagine, but Dylan Rieder is a street skater of a different sort to these Street League robots, to quote Dylan, and consistency is only a part of true street skating. For this reason Rieder seems to fall into the shadows of the Street League robots rendering him a non-contender in making it into the final 8. Depending on the course design of Joe Cialiga, Rieder could walk away a richer man. Of course, he must fight of the attempts of Nyjah Huston and the Street League Favorites by skating a strategic run and an audacious impact section.

So let’s take a look at the possible Dylan favorites we can look forward to seeing.

The impossible - Dylan Rieder is probably the only skater in Street League history who has wrapped an impossible properly and perfectly making it a trademark of his runs and his video parts. Pulling out these beautifully mastered impossibles could earn him some big points, especially if he hits a manuel or a grind afterwards.

Big flips - Ryan Sheckler could match Dylan Rieder with big flips, if he could land them more consistently. However, it’s not just the land ‘em all factor. Dylan can get the height with impressive board rotation, controlled limbs and a smooth roll away to make his attempts look easy and relaxed. However, I think it’s obvious that this comes natural to Dylan, everything is big, smooth and innovative.

Transition - Dylan can skate bowl better than any other street league competitor I’ve seen and hopefully this year, there’s a quarter ready for his no comply 180 tailslide. Fingers crossed

If we compare the Street League performance, spots and obstacles to that of just one video part alone, his Gravis video, you’ll notice the difference. The rails he skates are long, his tranny parts are bigger and flips are self elevated. This last point brings me to question the impact section. The impact section is a 6 feet platform, normally with Stairs and hubbas but sometimes will be built with rails or planters. This should be built for Dylan Rieder but this is not the case. The Impact Section is built for a skate park/skate plaza. The height Dylan would normally boast along with a smooth roll away is extremely difficult for him to hit in this section due to the small run up and tiny roll away. During the Kansas City finals Dylan came out for a great run, but his flaw would be his timing only to skate his run faster in his second attempt but bail his last trick, big frontside flip. The power of Dylan's Ollies came into play with the impact section rails. Instead of height Dylan adapted very well to this plaza like obstacle and hit long ollies into the rail but still failed to place top 3, however for his first finals in street league, placing fourth was good enough and highlighted his fantastic board control at high speed. These finals showed Rieder’s competitive side in great detail, compared to his cynical pre-lim runs, and the Kansas City course design was kind to his style and ability.

This year we could see more of Dylan reaching the finals over skaters like Tom Asta, Ryan Sheckler and the skater that probably reflects Dylan most, Austyn Gillette. I’m sure we could all question the scoring to skater sometimes, but let’s not make this hindsight bitchy. Let’s face facts, Dylan doesn’t need Street League to prove he is one of the most exciting and skilled skaters on the face of the planet. All that’s left for him to accomplish is a win!