Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ha-ssassin/ Listy Blue Eyes

The one thing I had to do today has now been cancelled. I was to be heading to Bath for Tom's birthday but he's decided to spend it in London instead, and won't be back till this evening. While part of me is joyous that once again, much like yesterday, I can stay in a fug of undress and slobbery, the more intelligent bit of me that resides in the back of my head and often loses arguments, needed a reason to go outside. The longer I stay in the flat doing nothing of any use to anyone, the more I'm concerned that I enjoy it and will become a modern day hermit. This is of course impossible as I would need food. Yes I could order it all in, but I'd need money to do that, and thus we enter into a sad tale of a man who, far from being agoraphobic, dies in front of his telly through starvation out of laziness. That is where I'll go as well. Right in front of the box. For the first time in ages I abstained from Twitter, Facebook or any of the real means of actually communicating with other humans as I delved for most of the day into Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood for the Xbox. I'm fully aware that even mentioning the name of a game has caused several of you computer games haters (yes there are still some in the world, even though we're now in the future and there's clearly only a few years before we all live on The Grid), but I'm a huge fan of such escapism. The big irony of the Assassin's Creed storylines are that you play a character who plugs into a machine and plays out the life of a medieval Italian assassin. I am fully aware that this means that I am a man, plugging into a machine to play a man who plugs into a machine to be a medieval Italian assassin. If the final bit of that wasn't so fun I'd fear that the the next range of games would merely feature you watching an image of a tiny you and you tell it which computer games buttons to press on its console, which in turn it tells a mini computer games version of itself to do the same and so on and so forth, creating an infinite cycle wherein nothing ever actually happens. Sometimes I'm amazed that I don't invent computer games for a living. Most of the time I'm not remotely amazed.

Thing is, ultimately, I'm very happy being stuck in the world of someone being stuck in the world of a medieval assassin. Its a beautiful game, mostly set in Rome, where I've been. This means that as well as enjoying the graphics I can say things out aloud to myself like 'I've been there!'. Sure, I've never leaped off the top of the Colosseum to assassinate a Papal guard in the name of the Guild, but let me tell you, as I got an ice cream after having a picture taking with a large man dressed as a gladiator, I definitely thought about it. And you learn things about each place when you visit them in the game. Or at least I would have done if I hadn't skipped past all the info in order to slice up someone dressed as a wolf and then steal his treasure. In theory though, its not that bad to have spent nearly an entire day playing on the Xbox. Apart from my eyes hurting, my weird dreams about walking down Oxford Street on a busy day and becoming invisible due to my closeness to the crowds before scaling up the outside of the big HMV, or that right now I've concealed a butter knife in my sleeves as my 'hidden blade'. Apart from all of that, I'm sure its not done me any damage. Much.

I'm fully aware that over the next few days, being that we are in the calendric limbo that is between Xmas and New Year, that I will have little of interest to tell you all about. So to bulk these last few entries of 2010 up, I thought I'd do some lists. Who doesn't love a list eh? The listless. That's who. Or maybe they do love a list, but don't have any, so get upset. Anyway, today's list will be my fave albums of the year. That's right. Now imagine some shit talking head that went out in round 32 of X-Talent telling you why they like it because they were once at a party with them or some tedious crap and it'll be like you're watching telly at any point over the holidays ever:


Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

I have listened to this album so many times its amazing the CD hasn't ignited itself in a self sacrifice to get some time off. A truly amazing mix of genres by the man Albarn all blended together to make what is, and so rarely found nowadays, a proper album end-to-end. Fave track is probably Empire Ants, which starts as a chilled slow melody of few instruments and Damon's voice and bursts midway into an entirely different track of electro beats, accompanied by the incredible voice of Little Dragon. If you haven't got this album, you're an idiot. FACT.

Jonsi - GO

If you don't like Sigur Ros and, as Nat calls it, whiny Icelandic bullshit, then you won't like this. But you should like all those things. What's wrong with you? Like a more upbeat version of his band's albums, this is a mesmerizing hour of music. Jonsi is still one of the few people I've ever seen silence an entire tent full of thousands of people at a festival as they stared in awe. Beautiful stuff.

Daft Punk - Tron Legacy OST

Why haven't you got this yet? Hurry up.

I'm running out of adjectives now so just trust me on these others:

Aloe Blacc - Good Things

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

John Legend & The Roots - Wake Up!

Dam-Funk - Toeachhisown

Marina & The Diamonds - The Family Jewels

Cinematic Orchestra - LateNightTales

The XX - The XX

The National - High Violet

FourTet - There Is Love In You

Bit of a mix there and I'm sure I've left out loads that I've loved this year. Oddly there's a large lack of hip-hop and I think that's because I've been listening to mostly old school stuff, enjoying my Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Pharcyde and Tribe CDs more than normal. Similarly I've spent a good portion of this year harking back to stuff like the Bluetones, Ash, Sleeper and Garbage. It's also a given that my Radiohead albums get played at least twice a week. As does Tom Waits. And whenever I feel hyped up Onyx, DMX and the Wu-Tang happen. Maybe this is what happens as your near 30? Unable to understand what the kids like, I just pretend that music was better in my day and grumble when a car drives past playing loud music.

I've also not listed single tracks I like which leaves out people like The Correspondents and more. I've done this because I may run out of ideas for lists after tomorrow.

Lastly, one set of mixes I've liked more than most are the LateNightTales albums. I've been getting them for a few years now, but they are up there with the best compilations of chilled out tracks you'll find. True story.

If you've got any albums you think I'd like, stick them in the comments and I'll waste my money. Also, an lists you'd like to see me do. Tomorrow will probably be films and/or books. Then 'funniest things I've seen' followed by 'weirdest locations for spots' and 'best names for cats'. I doubt the last two will actually happen.

I'm off to go make a small computer man make a small computer man climb an aqueduct. That's how I roll.

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