Thursday, 26 January 2012

Movie Review: Blitz

I recently got Netflix because I realised that I hadn't sat down and watched a film I hadn't already seen in roughly three years. The first film I chose to watch out of hundreds of options was "Blitz" - foolish, some of you might say, but I disagree. I love a Statham movie, the more stupid, the better. "Blitz" was particularly excellent because it was so silly I had a chance to make notes on it to write about it later 'for your enjoyment'.

The original article can be found on the Shouting At Cows website.



"Do I look like I carry a pencil?"

Jason Statham is a man of few characters. What he can do is jump, kick, hit things, mistime one-liners and occasionally wear a nice article of knitwear should the mood take him. In Blitz, all of these talents are taken into consideration and used to their fullest potential, in what I’d like to say is a fast-paced, gritty, urban British thriller, but what is, in fact, a great excuse to see Paddy Considine in a slim-fitting suit with some action sequences involving various household implements.

What needs to be understood here is that Blitz is an excellent Statham movie. If you like Statham (as I do) you know what this means, and therefore don’t mind that it’s sluggish, that whole areas of plot are just left fraying and unfinished, or that the narrative is so simple a dog with a paint-dipped toothbrush held gingerly between its front paws could have drawn a better set of character arcs on the pavement outside of Chicken Cottage. You’ll forgive all that because you don’t have any expectations, and simply hope it’ll be like Transporter 2 because in that one he knocks a guy out by swishing his jacket at his knees.

In Blitz, there is one theme, and that is that violence is cool and can solve everything. Obviously you already thought it was a bit cool, but no, it’s really cool. The main characters are Paddy Considine and Jason Statham, whose character names are not important as it literally does not matter even one single tiny bit. Considine plays a gay police chief who is promoted to the head of Statham’s department when Statham’s superior is placed on compassionate leave after his policewife is shot dead at point blank range. Statham is not given the position as he is on some sort of unexplained probationary kick for being incredibly angry at everything all the time, and beating up child car thieves with a hurley stick. It transpires that a lot of bobbies are being knocked off, so Considine and Statham have to work together to catch the killer BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE (before one of the characters you’ve been encouraged to empathise with is bludgeoned to death by a cunt in purple underpants).

Sunday, 22 January 2012

SP4M - 22/01/12

I wish labels would take their own risks. Keeps the scene healthy, challenging & most of all, unpredictable. Start giving & stop taking - Psylence
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I'm kicking this weeks SP4M straight off with a mix I only got round to listening to on Monday but which I have been obsessed with ever since. Om Unit is steadily becoming a favouite of mine (I am aware I have hundreds of favourites, I don't care much about this) and this mix for XLR8R from Dec '11 is pretty much perfect, right down to the unexpectedly inspired inclusion of Delilah - Go right smack bang in the middle. Listen to it or d/l it here.

This week I discovered two artists who have quickly become very special to me. The first is Raadsel, who released his album last year on Saturate! Records (did I put the exclamation mark in the right place then? I hate having to put incorrect punctuation in the middle of sentences). You can buy the whole shebang on the Saturate! (eesh) website on a "name your price" deal - be kind, it's worth your money. Click.

Before you do so, however, you might want to hear a few tracks (you can stream them on the website, but here you go anyway). I had this first one on repeat for about two whole days.



The whole of Saturate! is worth a look-in though, if you've not already paid them much attention. A good place to start would be riiiiight here - Saturated vol. 2

My second super special musical epiphany of the week came in the shape of Ghost Feet on Dropping Gems (thanks Omar!). Weird, joyful samples, glitchy happiness, bits of electronic longing...again, you can buy the whole album on a "pay what you like" thing, but as the person who recommended it to me said, "I'd happily pay for it again." Amen to that!



I dare you not to smile when you hear "dun du-dun dun DUUUH!" and the music kicks back in. Probably one of the happiest things I've ever heard.

This next 'un is my current favourite track because everything about it is perfect, especially the breakdown at 2:50 where you're all "I wish everyone on this train could hear this so we could all have a dance-off":



*WHAT SEEMS TO BE MY NOW-WEEKLY PHAELEH CORNER*
Phaeleh uploaded shit-tons of his mixes to mixcloud this week. This is a very indecently good thing.


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I really wasn't sure about this remix the first time I heard it. Given that I subsequently listened to it a further five times, I decided that I probably do like it. PNAU - Unite Us (Raffertie rmx) (via xlr8r - just read xlr8r, it'd save me time posting links to them all day long)

To round off this bassy section, here's a bit of a beaut of a mix my mate Eops did for his friend's birthday. Great tracklist (Throwing Snow, Boddika, Visionist etc etc) and a fabberlous display of vinyl-only loyalty.

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LOOK! LOOK! The new Commix album! 


"Dusted" is coming out on the 5th March, and it's brilliant, and everyone's real excited about it. Review done.

You know what else is exciting? ARP XP (or ARPxp or arpXP depending on your dependence on caps lock) has an album coming out soon, and it's being released on IM:Ltd, who I'm not going to talk about this week because I always do. Here's a taster of what to expect:


Er...the next thing I want to talk about is on IM:Ltd too. Sorry about that. 
Atmospherix - 101 Breaks / Dead Soldier came out this week. If you like your drums scattered and your bass deep enough to shake your fillings loose, this one's for you.




Something you all need to listen to asap - Need For Mirrors on Kiss Presents... A corking tracklist from who I perceive to be probably the coolest guys in DnB right now, including some fairly exciting dubs - new Mortem, anyone? Download it here (until I get told you're not allowed to for whatever reason).


This week, Krakota - Scraper / Tunnel Vision came out and you should definitely get it because it's ACE. That's all I'm going to say on the matter as I'm pretty sure I wrote about it last week too. Go here to listen to  and d/l his really rather awesome Kmag mix to commemorate the occasion.

Oh, another brilliant release on Demand? Yawwwwn...


Out on the 30th Jan - I'm not really yawning, I'm dancing in my chair.

A Clarity track I swear I've been hearing peppered about people's sets for at least six months is finally being released, to everyone's (my) relief. An absolute Tune with a capital T.


(Yes, the whole Icicle mix was awesome - here's the DnB portion to d/l because you just went "AHH it can't stop there")


Flexout Audio have started doing a podcast. Hurray! Get it downloaded, it's bloody brilliant.


Psylence uploaded a whole load of his "In Too Deep" mixes for everyone's enjoyment this week. Find them on the Ingredients soundcloud page where you can download 'em all n'all.


Ant TC1 on Kane FM - need I say more? 3 decks, one hour, tune after tune.



Don't you hate it when you want to embed a track into your music blog but it's not been allowed on Soundcloud so you have to think of sentence in order to hyperlink it? No? Ah right. Ed:it - Meditate is a helluva tune but currently unsigned, I'd love to see somebody snap this up.

Finally, let's all have a big love-in about just how great Optiv & BTK are. Their Over The Edge EP is due out next month (27th Feb to be precise) and it's basically a relentless dancefloor assault with added menace and nightmares. Their remix of Kontrol - Forcefield on there is a total beast, too.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

We're In Wally's Corner - Fri 20th Jan

Cancer is a bastard, and sometimes even after kicking its ass, it comes back for another round. A good friend of mine is currently raising money for the St James Institute for Oncology in Leeds after finding out that her cousin James (known to everyone as 'Wally') has to go in for yet another gruelling round of chemo - the second time he's having to battle cancer in the past two years.

To raise money and awareness, Zoe (the good friend) has taken a lot of her own time and effort devising the most amazing electro/house night for James before he has to go in for treatment. "Wally's Fundraising Shindig" will serve the dual purpose of raising money for St James' Hospital, but also looks to be an absolute belter of a night, with DJs actually having to be declined set times due to popular demand. It's truly amazing to see so many people dropping everything to go and help a friend in need.

Click here to see the Facebook event page


So, the night then.
When? Friday 20th Jan (this Friday)
How much? £6 on the door
Where? Audio, Batley, W. Yorks
Line-up

Zoe was overwhelmed with offers to play by some great local DJs, and the line-up is a total northern treat.

Rob Tissera
Marc Leaf
Josh Demello
Brad Kells
Ryan Blyth (Mumbo Jumbo) b2b Dan Wagstaff (Audio)
Marc Wilkie
Craig Ed
Steve Lynam B2B Reece Johnson (DE:BUG / Discotech Records)
DJ Aspen B2B Tim C (Reborn)
Rich NAUGHTY North (Vibe)
Craig Lebeouf 


Wally's Shindig will be a northern electro/house night to remember - it's £6 on the door, and all of the money taken on the door on the night will be donated to the Yorkshire Cancer Centre. As if you needed further persuasion, there'll be all sorts of awesome stuff going on as well as the music, the thing I'm most pissed off about missing is the raffle because there are some sick prizes being donated!

This is the fundraising arm of St James Institute of Oncology, where James will be receiving his treatment. See website below for more information on the charity the money is going to, and the great work that they do for those affected by cancer in the Yorkshire area.

http://www.yorkshirecancercentre.org.uk/

If you can't make it on the night, but would like to donate to the fundraising, please go to the justgiving page on the following link:
http://www.justgiving.com/We-are-in-Wallys-Corner

If you can make it down, please do, it'll be an ace night and you'll also be helping raise money for a fantastic cause.


Cheers guys! Fuck you, cancer!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

SP4M - 15/01/12

Fucks sake, my ultimate evil rinse out tune has turned into a song about frogs - Paul Inside:Info
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This week I've got a lot of links to get through because I've been spending a lot of time saving money, which means a lot of time staying in and mucking about on YouTube/Soundcloud. So let's get cracking, starting with Break's first Symmetry Recordings podcast. Full of tunes, as you would expect. I'm pretty happy about this as I've been secretly/not-so-secretly hankering after one for aaaaages.


You know how Octane & DLR are brilliant? Well you can get their track "Ordinance" for free if you go here. I know, they're too kind.

Philth has got an EP coming out later this year on Flexout Audio, and despite my tenuous affiliation with them, please believe me when I say I am super excited about it.


Here's a track from Philth that was released on Peer Pressure Intl last year (which I love), and another from Philth and Facing Jinx who runs the label from 2010. Both are brill.




It's weird, but quite a lot of people have been talking about Spinline lately. Weird in a good way, though. A really good way. Spinline are fucking AMAZE, and they deserve to be huge this year. (Non-interesting fact: Spinline - Suburban / Jetpack was the first vinyl I bought. I only just started buying vinyl last year as you can probably tell if you follow me on Twitter, and I wanted it to be Spinline. That's how much I love 'em, innit.) Anyway, I'm not sure why (apart from the fact that it's awesome) but this is the track that's been doing the rounds. Look out for a Spinline EP on Demand soon. I am really, really, really excited about it.


Bored? Always wanted to know how you got to being a superstar DJ? Try the Trickart DnB bio generator. Made me laugh for an entire afternoon.




Preview Raffertie's upcoming EP on Ninja Tune. It's rate good like. - Via XLR8R

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The Guardian are running a story on how Ketamine killed somebody. My guess is they danced too slowly in my way and I shoved them off a balcony.
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This week I've been back on the Phaeleh train after recommending this excellent Phaeleh-only mix by somebody called Statue to a few nascent fans of the guy. It's one of my favourite train journey mixes, if you're remotely interested in beautifully-crafted dubstep, check it out.

More Phaeleh I've been rinsing this week:



This week I've also taken a long overdue look at the more techy end of the musical spectrum. I've had endless amounts of artists and pages bookmarked but haven't had the time/inclination to properly delve into house/techno - that is until I stumbled across this little masterpiece by Objekt and I finally caught the bug.


Which quickly brought me on to:


and this:


and this:


And then I was treated to the release of Swims, which I know people have been waiting for for years, but for me it was like...a few weeks? A nice bit of serendipity, I thought.


I know that this is what I'm buying next:



Another brilliant mix I dug out to send to a friend - Pangaea FACT mix, March 2011

Oh and here's something to get excited about - Monday 16th Jan sees the release of Pinch's Fabriclive mix (61). You can listen to it here. It is incredibly good.


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ALRIGHT, I will get off the comfy sofa that is the album I am listening to and go out into the freezing cold that is the thing you are showing me.
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A collaboration I've been enjoying very much recently is that of J.Sparrow and Ruckspin. Author released their self-titled debut last year and it fell under my radar (as so many things do, you know this, I'm not infallible) but now I have to say, it's been played every day since I bought it. I do love it.

If Author are new to you, I strongly suggest you listen to their live mix from Electronic Explorations, it'll get you hooked.



Something completely different now - another corking mix from Clarity, with all the depth and bass you'd expect.


Aaaaand a similarly storming one from Anile:


I want to take a minute now and talk to you about Smote. Smote needs more obsessive fans. Smote is wonderful. Plus, the name "Smote" is fun to say.



Silent Dust have a beautiful single on their self-titled 2011 album called "The Giant". Om Unit has done a remix of it, and somehow made it even more beautiful.


As of last week, you could pre-order Krakota's amazing new release Scraper / Tunnel Vision. The first big tracks of 2012. Makes you hopeful for the future, doesn't it?



Finally, I want you to listen to this track by one of my favourite new discoveries, (thanks Joel) Kwes. He's a colour synaesthesic (just like me!) and so his videos are supposed to depict the colours, pictures, shapes and textures he sees when he hears the music. Pretty interesting - however, contrary to popular opinion, we synaesthesics don't see the same thing as each other, so it's rather like having somebody describe their dream to you. No matter, it's still a gorgeous song, and a really trippy video. 


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In one Messiaen organ work there is an entire page of long held chords. Asked what it was, Messiaen said: "Its a rainbow"
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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Burial

Sometimes I listen to Burial and wonder what I was making a fuss about. Then again, sometimes I sit and listen and cry because it feels like I've been pulled directly into his open heart. Such vulnerability coming from such a guarded soul, cloaked heavily from the meddlings of the outside. He makes me want to stand on a south London hill by his side and stare silently at the city below. That uncanny knack of making you feel as though you understand a person when you don't know them at all. That's the mark of an artist.

Love Letter To...iTAL tEK

Another article I've written for the405.com in which I detail the reasoning behind my endless, boundless (and potentially ridiculous) love for iTAL tEK. As is now customary, I'm now patiently waiting for him to find it so he can add me to some sort of retraining order.
ENJOY.

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I'm finding it difficult to write about an artist whose music is harsh and brittle, and yet makes me feel so sentimental. I feel like I don't "get" it. Sometimes warmth and familiarity is what we want and expect from music. Sometimes we use it as a comfort or find some small corner of security within a song’s textured walls, and listening to it again and again re-ignites this friendly feeling of companionship. It’s funny then, that I get so much repose and satisfaction from the cold, calculated shards of electronica that Alan Myson, iTAL tEK, spins from his fingers with such apparent ease.

It’s been years since I first came upon his particular brand of broken beats. As a big fan of Terminator 2 (it so happens to be my favourite film, not that anybody asked), his T2 EP made me smile before I even ripped the CD to my hard drive. Since then he’s been an on-and-off favourite of mine as I dip in and out of more experimental genres (and the less experimental too – everybody should have a Friendly Fires phase in my opinion). The joy of this is that every six months or so I find myself re-discovering him and realising he’s released yet more gleaming, twisted, bittersweet break-laden techno-infused electronica to get totally immersed in. Case in point, his recent Gonga EP, which mixes dancehall into his usual disjointed sounds to create something different again. Since moving to a bigger city, it’s only seemed to make more sense, as though being somewhere so artificial only gives it more context. I’m self-consciously aware it’s probably just all the ambient concrete, however.

Love Letter To...iTAL tEK
Alan Myson aka. Ital Tek
 On forcing Midnight Colour on a friend who expressed a fleeting interest in the Blood Line EP and who usually listens to all manner of most-definitely-not-dubstep, she said she liked it because the sounds were so alien. It hadn’t occurred to me before that the reason iTAL tEK’s music seems so special is due to left impurities and an unnaturalness layered all the way through, like sandstone. Often, artists who make music in this off-beat, paranoid style are too quick to alienate the listener entirely. It’s hard to find cold, calculated beats with heart, and to begin with I dismissed Midnight Colour as a stray album pointed at listeners who weren’t taken in by the frankly perfectCyclical. As is usually the case, I was kicking myself three months down the line when I finally gave it a proper chance on a train ride home in the dark. I realised it was just as intricately pieced together as any of his previous work, with aspects of beauty I’d previously thought would only ever exist in tracks like White Mark and Weavefound in Strangelove VIP and Satellite, but with a confidence and security often found lacking in IDM.

It’s his production and his knack for manipulating totally synthetic sounds into something recognisable I most admire. The sheer extent of what could only be assumed is near-crippling perfectionism can be heard in each percussive moth wing-like flutter, and each incredibly spherical kick drum. Spherical is a ridiculous description for a drum I agree, but listen to Archaic and tell me I’m wrong. The sounds in any iTAL tEK track are clear and clean and precise, in a way many electronica/dubstep artists never are these days. As dear to my heart as Burial is, he has swept the dark streets clear to make way for hundreds of badly-tuned radios with barely flickering heartbeats; music that emanates images of dusty forgotten corners and empty car parks and starless yellow-tinged city skies. The point of this style is to only just hold together on listening, as though one stray half-beat could shatter the record to pieces. iTAL tEK chooses to portray brittleness in a totally different way – his tracks can sound purposefully ugly and delicately pristine at the stroke of a snare. Just once it’s nice to see frosty sunrises and the sea at night, and that’s what he does best. He stands out in the cold and embraces it. I could round off with a throwaway sentence about winter, but I won’t. Start with Cyclical, and let his frozen heart tell you stories.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Garden State

"Give a cunt a camera and he can be pretentious forever." - Nettofabulous
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There are a lot of films I don't like. Admittedly, and somewhat shamefully, I don't watch a lot of films, but that's mainly because I nearly always have the misfortune of watching something truly terrible with somebody who later tells me that it's their absolute favourite.

Garden State is the perfect example of this.

I said earlier that I was going to write a list of all my least favourite films, and that Garden State would be on it twice. I wasn't kidding, it'd be like, number three and number eight. I hate it, but not as much as Dupree and Me or whatever the fuck it's called (fucking hell) and I'm sure there's some other film I walked out of the cinema on but to be honest, it's not that healthy to hold on to such strong feelings of violence. Let them go.

I remember watching Garden State with somebody who really did know about films. They liked it, but not a lot. They thought, appropriately enough, that I'd like it, and why wouldn't they? I was a 17/18 year old girl, I liked Scrubs (yeah, okay, you got me), it had Natalie Portman and at the time my favourite film was Leon (I hadn't seen Terminator 2 yet - look, we've had this discussion, I had a sheltered childhood) - it seemed like a good fit. Oh how wrong we were.

I ended up watching it until the credits finished just in case there was a paragraph on how I'd been tricked into watching a joke film. That's how terrible I thought it was. You can say all you like about me not knowing about films due to my penchant for action, but you'd be wrong. If you're fooled by shots of a slightly off-colour bright sunny suburban street filmed from the back of a truck, you can't tell me I'm an idiot when it comes to films. Wide shot of a particularly nice-looking garage door/front garden with a bike on the lawn with the sound of sprinklers on it? They did that in Napoleon Dynamite loads too. Even Tim and Eric do that, look:


It's not even that though. For a start I hate Zach Braff and his stupidly un-head-shaped head and his "Bluuuhhh, I forgot evvurfun" look on his stupid face where all his features are fighting for a moment in the spotlight like unloved children. Even forgoing Braff for a minute, this film makes me cringe my womb inside out. It's like talking to somebody who's obviously making things up to impress you. I hate it. What I hate more though, is that nearly every person I have been romantically "involved" with since has loved it, and has made the point on more than one occasion that the reason I don't like it is because I'm either an idiot, emotionally stunted, or that I'm a snob. A snob. I've seen Bender's Big Score six times.

Anyway, here are some tweets that prove it's not just me. It's mainly me, but it's not just me.
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"Garden State represents so many things that I hate. One of those things is simply "the film Garden State"" - Laslo_Panaflex

"Garden SHITE more like. Hurhur." - Gingerspider

"Doesn't everyone dislike Garden State?  ...The message of the film is that everything will be fine if you find a pretty girl that likes The Shins, or something. " - RopesToInfinity

"I'd contribute, but that film sucks so much life from me just thinking about it, I'm just lacking the energy right now." - playfullyjaded

"The [film's] message is "it's fine to be a total prick, you can scream into a hole and nobody will hit you". Lies." - Me
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Oh, and by the way, I know it's a different film but plastic bags are not beautiful you fucking idiots. Get a grip.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

And We All Remember Blackbusters Fondly

(NB. In order to fully understand this article, you must first familiarise yourself with Ed Milliband's hilarious typo incident that happened on the 06/01/11 on Twitter.)

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Poor Erd Mullibong. First we compare him to Mr Bean, and then we don’t vote him into power. Despite the awful job Cockmoron (slip of the hand) is doing ruling this land, somehow we feel like old Ed still just might make a bit of a widdle out of it. When will we give him a break?

His silly face and his even sillier vacant grin remind me of a red setter. He looks like he’s got those flailing hands some people have that knock over glasses of red wine onto white carpets that they were previously warned about. Dum dum Milliband (as he will be known around his family table, no doubt) gone did a typo in front of the whole entire multiverse, and now he looks a little bit like a racist under the right light if you squint a bit and really imagine that he is one. Admittedly when I read it I thought; “Hey, he’s gone all cutting-edge. He’s pseudo-politician. He’s poking fun at the Diane Abbot fiasco/horror/whatever and breaking through the fourth wall into his public’s living rooms. He understands that right now in these times of war and austerity what we need is humour. Good on him.”

Who am I kidding. No I didn’t. I pissed my pants laughing at it for three hours, and then I started dropping things and spilling my tea on my notepad on purpose just to use my new catchphrase “Oh fuck, I’ve Millibanded.” (Eight RTs so far on the old Twitter. Yep. Baby’s gonna be a star.)

Look, he's even doing a commemorative hand jive. Bless.

By making such a hilarious tit of himself live on everyone’s internet everywhere, he’s made me like him. I couldn’t give a shit about him before, but now he’s my favourite blundering arse of the political world. He’s endeared himself to me in exactly the same way a child would if it accidentally said “Can you cunt this up for me” in a restaurant. I almost applauded. Perhaps it’s so funny because “Blackbusters” sounds so much like “Bitch Hunter”, the fake TV show that keeps getting cancelled on NBC in 30 Rock. It’d have almost the same premise too if I’m not mistaken, however it’d take some explaining if it came on before the watershed. Or after the watershed. “Next, Blackbusters on the BBC, hosted by Bob Holness who sadly passed away this morning...Sorry, what? A show about what? He died? And we’re all laughing? Oh right, Twitter. Gotcha.”

Yes Ed, you’ve done a mistake. Facepalm. Actually, imagining Ed Milliband facepalming is hilarious in itself. Imagine that. Imagine him hitting his silly forehead with his silly hand. Hahahaha. Oh. Oh god. I’ve almost forgotten about that farcical racist murder trial, or that recession, or that guy that shot everything. Hahaha. He’s healing the world with laughter. Somebody make him the president of Wales or something for fuck’s sake.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Bryan Adams Dissects the Human Psyche (and we all think he's just being glib).

(This whole blog post is based on a conversation I had with Ken Addeh and far too many cold medicines.)

It's nice to feel wanted. As American psychologist and philosopher William James said: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated". So is it bad or good that being told somebody enjoyed your work makes you feel awesome? Or is it vain? Does it make us needy as a species, or does it make sense that we strive for the attention and acceptance of our peers?

I'd like to point to social networking, where we (I say we, I mean "I") spend a lot of time saying things out loud that we'd (again "I'd") normally only think because other human beings might read it and laugh or think about it and then - oh wonder of wonders - respond almost instantly with feedback. Time and time again this is likened to rats in a maze pushing buttons for food/nicotine/growth hormones/jaffa cakes, but I like to think of it more like a baby tipping his food over his head repeatedly because you laughed the first time. I'm at peace with this accurate but somewhat disparaging analogy. Are you?

If you're in any doubt that what you do is largely for the feeling of appreciation from others, look towards one of popular music's least celebrated psychologists, Bryan Adams.

Baby, it's true. Everything we do, we do it for the collective you.

Now stop checking favstar and get back to work.
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