A quick round up

Let’s do a quick recap.

My legs. They still work. And football was a lot of fun, despite the result. I’m giving myself a day off gym and other exercise today, but I’m both happy and mildly surprised to say that I could probably actually possibly do stuff if I wanted to*.


Talking of football, I’ll just repeat myself on this one:

Never bet against Real Madrid in the Champions League*.

An amazing game last night, which I almost ditched in favour of bed with 10 minutes to go, but then (wisely) chose not to. Because you never bet against Real Madrid in the Champions League*.

And, I have to say, VAR even added to the drama. [oi – stop throwing things at me!]
Incredible tension when that second goal went in and was disallowed.
Incredible scenes when that second goal was confirmed…


I added this song to my 2024 Spotify playlist:

Maximo Park meets The Enemy meets The Maccabees, maybe?
Raging, but controlled. Ferociously introspective, but dealing with things. Just.

And a reminder that all my Spotify playlists are here for your enjoyment, free of charge*.


It’s a beautiful day outside, but wow, it’s chilly this morning. It looks like it will be dropping into single figures this weekend after another cold front due tomorrow. The last one didn’t really deliver on its promises, with just 6mm of rain. Still, taking no chances, I have checked all the gutters are clear and I’ve got the firewood ready.
Also, for the first time this year: socks. [Audience gasps]


Anger at Adobe. Anger at James Popsys.

Wow. Photographers can get angry. But it’s justified this time, I think.

Adobe, who charge us many, many Rands for the use of their software (which is obviously fair enough – it’s my choice to subscribe), are embracing AI to the point where they actually use the term “Skip the photoshoot” on their Generative Background menu.

Yeah. Why bother employing a ‘tog?

In a world where AI is replacing many jobs, not least in the creative sector, this feel like a real kick in the teeth.

And photography Youtubers are at it too. James Popsys released a video sponsored by AI photo development tool Luminar Neo. In this video – and I hope you’re sitting down for this revelation – he extolled the virtues of the AI photo development tool Luminar Neo.

This did not go down well with his viewers. There were comments like:

James a couple of weeks ago – embrace imperfections in photos.
James now he’s being paid – use AI to remove power lines.

and:

Yay, a new video from James….. oh, it’s a 12 minute ad for AI 🙁

and:

Why not just sell your camera and start making photos with an AI image generator?

Which is exactly what Adobe seem to be suggesting above.

Look, there’s likely a place for AI in many aspects of our lives*. And there’s definitely a place for it in photography. But to go in this heavy-handed (and I’m looking at you both, Adobe and James Popsys), well, that’s not the way to put it out there.

* T&Cs apply

OMD in Cape Town – a great night out

Did I miss the Zeitgeist on this one? It’s Sunday lunchtime, and the concert was Thursday night.
But I’ve been busy and tired and chilled, so this is late.
I get it.
Sorry, not sorry.

But still a concert and an evening absolutely worth documenting. Starting with a decent free parking spot a whole 100m from the gig: I’m really not sure where else you can do this. And sure, we were there only about an hour after the doors opened, but why not make use of the VIP bar, seated area, sunshine and early entertainment from SA’s own Werner Bekker?

Burger and chips and a visit to the merch store sorted, we grabbed some space on the grass and waited for éVoid, infamous for their 1984 hits Taximan and Shadows. And they played, and the crowd – seemingly exclusively 50 and 60-something year olds from Parow and Edgemead, and encouraged by a Bok Radio DJ – lapped it up. It was such a feelgood moment watching people transported back 40 years, back to whatever club in which they were dancing to that SA New Wave “Ethnotronica”. And they really were back there. Acting like they were teenagers, for as long as their knees would let them.

But wait… there’s more… OMD.
Andy McCluskey not looking any older than 12 years ago. Paul Humphries with only a passing resemblance to Jerry St. Clair from Phoenix Nights. They were just happy to be there, you could feel it from the first moment.

What followed was just under two hours of nostalgia, energy, audience engagement, incredible stage presence and just really good vibes. Starting with some new stuff, as expected, before Messages and Souvenir dragged us back to our youth.

A brave Kraftwerk-esque performance of Veruschka was a particular highlight for me, after which McCluskey thanked the audience for indulging them with “a slow, new one”.

The interplay between the crowd and McCluskey was just perfect: each feeding on the other’s energy and enthusiasm and just pure enjoyment of the moment.

A powerful, loud, brash – but still tight – version of Enola Gay rounded off the set before a stonking encore of Look At You Now, Pandora’s Box and Electricity sent everybody home happy, although I do suspect that everyone involved could happily have gone on for at least another hour.

All in all, just such a great evening. Band and audience both recognising their roles and duties on the night, and then performing them perfectly. One I will remember for a long time.

OMD tonight

Weather is good.
Tickets are by the door, ready to go.
We’re looking forward to a fun night and some great music.

Support by local boys eVoid, who had 2 hits way back when in 1984, and – according to all the sources I can find – haven’t had much success since. But live music is always good to hear, and I’ll be looking forward to them finishing their set with (I’m guessing at this point) Taximan and Shadows.

Going to stick my neck out and make another prediction, which is that Andy McCluskey will introduce their fifth song of the evening – Kleptocracy – with a suitably Scouse anti-authoritarian comparison of the UK and SA governments. Power to the people, aluta continua, innit?

At least half the line-up are big Liverpool FC fans, which might not make for the happiest of evenings (for them, at least). Let’s hope that they don’t have one eye on the football.
Although alternatively, I suppose if things go really well in Bergamo, it might be all night party time.

Either way: I’m more than ready for some old skool (and a bit of new skool) electronica.

New Music

Big new music news.

Out today: Khruangbin’s new album A LA SALA probably (I’m guessing, anyway) named after the village in the Isle of Man.

Chilled rock, lo-fi beats and psychedelia, released just in time for those long, relaxing summer evenings on the beach, and therefore with absolutely no thought for those us living in the Southern hemisphere.

Thanks, guys.

But still probably worth a listen.

And I shall.

Also, while we’re on the chilled vibe, how about some Adam Wiltzie? He was pretty much exactly half the guys behind two-guy collaboration A Winged Victory For The Sullen, and I heard one of his new solo releases Mexican Helium on the wireless just the other day. I can’t find it anywhere at the moment [UPDATE: Got it!] but I am assured that it’ll be out and about on his new album Eleven Fugues For Sodium Pentothal (after the Paul Pearl track?) today as well.

And then just three weeks until Nonetheless the nth studio album from the Pet Shop Boys comes out.

I’m filling up some playlists ahead of what promises to be an epic few days away towards the end of this month, and my cup is quite literally runnething over.

Indeed, we are #blessed.

Anthropocene

Busy day today, after what could have been a boozy evening yesterday. I say that, because I’m writing this post in advance for exactly those reasons. So tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, and neither has yesterday evening (which is also tonight for me), but the braai is lit and we’re ready to go.

Sorry: that mixture of tenses hurt me too.

So I’d better squeeze this in quickly. We’re off to see OMD in Cape Town next month – their third SA visit (1994, 2012 and April 2024), and I have made a bit of a Spotify playlist (see below) of the setlist that I expect. Of course, they’ll be wheeling out all their big hits, but this tour is actually about the “new” album Bauhaus Staircase, and I thought I’d better get up to speed with it.

It’s actually rather good.

It seems from the tour so far that they’ll be coming out to the very Muse-y Evolution of Species before launching into this: Anthropocene, as their first “proper” tune of the evening.

Deliciously bouncy and happy and beepy and yet yes, also absolutely forewarning us all of the Earth’s imminent demise at the hands of humans. (Very Muse-y again – remember Unsustainable?)

Lovely. What a cheery way to start an evening.

Anyway, if you want to come along, tickets here.
And if you’re not coming along (or maybe even if you are), that playlist here.