Prince and the New Power Generation website

Prince’s NPG Music Club website

Posted by Alienboy on July 31, 2005 04:18 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)
Filed under: Music, Culture/Tech: Internet, Music: Funk, ReviewScroll down to read comments on this story and/or add one of your own.

New Power Generation
Music from Msi
Release date: 02 September, 2003

Dear Prince, NPGMusicClub

Ever since I was introduced to your music, Iâ??ve been a keen fan of your work. It was back in the day when I worked at what used to be one of the great Independent record companies, Rough Trade. I was talking about music with one Bob Scotland, (who was fiercely intellectual, Socialist, Scottish and if memory serves, rather a good bass player also!). He was already a huge fan of yours and slipped me a cassette of your mind-blowing double album â??1999â?? – which was only released as a single album in the UK unfortunately – not that that stopped me getting a copy!

I donâ??t know what happened to Bob, but I know what happened to me:- a lifelong casual love affair began with your music, and just as important, the implied life style, the funk! I could feel the force!! Since then, youâ??ve been an important part of my life, for funky music is just so damn sexy – and there is so little of it around these days. You were always there for me when I wanted to bump or grind – or both! And I was always there for you, when you correctly told WB to take a hike, turned yourself into a symbol, formed the New Power Generation (10 years on, â??Exodusâ?? is STILL one of the GREAT albums in my lifeâ??s soundtrack) and later reclaimed your regal crown, I stood by you, defended you, once almost fought for you.

Prince, when the chance came to review your website, the NPG Music Club I was so excited. I thought it might give me a little taste of what it might have been like to visit the now defunct Glam Slam or get in to Paisley Park for one of those hot live party nights you do sometimes.

What Iâ??m about to say might astound you because, unfortunately, the site really doesnâ??t do you justice. Even over broadband itâ??s quite slow to load, the click-on-images-not-text links idea has always been better from a designerâ??s point of view than a userâ??s – I want to know where Iâ??m going, damn it, too busy to play guessing games, the whole site is too fussy, and finding the links I want so irritating; you really should go find whoever came up with that idea and slap them upside the head. How many people might not take the time to find their way around? Quite a lot is my guess, so the site effectively discourages people from spending time and money there. It’s also not compatible with modern html standards compliant browsers (that means Firefox if you didn’t get that) so sucks technically.

Youâ??re still one of the greatest American musicians, play a mean guitar (along with almost every other instrument), sing like the devil and all that, but the site could be a lot more, well, fun. That said, Iâ??m thrilled to be a member, and already paid to download 2 albums, but thatâ??s just me. However, the track downloads are clunky and not user friendly. I followed the instructions to the letter but it all went wrong and nothing would play. Itâ??s taken over half an hour with your tech support people, who only work Californian hours, and itâ??s not been sorted yet. HOPEFULLY it will all get sorted in the end.

And why should I have to download each track of a CD separately? I ought to be able to simply download the whole album in one simple operation. And why don’t you include some information? You know, who played what on which tracks, production credits, the making of, that kind of thing. Printable artwork would be nice too. So you missed out on the chance to cross-sell other stuff by keeping me current and you didn’t enhance the music. SLOPPY!

Whatâ??s that? What about the music, you say? Well, thatâ??s another story for another day. Youâ??re still one of the coolest creatures that ever walked this Earth but nowadays I guess weâ??re hearing the same music but somehow dancing to a different tune…

This review of Prince’s NPGMusicClub is also presented on BlogCritics.

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Exodus/New Power Generation Prince & The New Power Generation/Prince

What’s all the Fuss about the new Euro Constitution?

What’s all the Fuss about the new Euro Constitution?

Posted by Alienboy on March 23, 2005 03:24 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)
Filed under: Books: Business, Books: Nonfiction, Books: Politics and Affairs, Politics, Politics: Law, Politics: World

A Constitution for the European Union (CESifo Seminar Series)
Dennis C. Mueller
Book from The MIT Press
Release date: 01 September, 2004

Many people have quite heated positions on the subject of the new European Constitution
but to my way of thinking, it’s such a simple no-brainer that at times it’s hard to remember what all the fuss is about.

The proposed reforms will strengthen my rights as a citizen of the New Europe, establish the European Union as a legal body, put an end to the ludicrous 6-month rotating presidency nonsense by creating a permanent post, address the current democratic deficit by strengthening somewhat the European Parliament, reduce the ability of selfish states to hold the EU to ransom by replacing veto rights with qualified majority voting, and creates an exit clause so states who really do want to go it alone can.

Doesn’t seem like a whole big deal to get fussed about really, but for a fuller consideration of the issues, the BBC have a fair and balanced report here

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A Constitution for the European Union (CESifo Seminar Series)/Dennis C. MuellerFirst posted on Blogcritics

Welcome to the House of Fun

Welcome to the House of Fun

Posted by Alienboy on March 22, 2005 02:58 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)

Heavy Heavy Hits
Music from Emi Int’l
Release date: 16 February, 1999

I donâ??t know how English music (by which I mean music that sounds uniquely English, rather than music made by Brits that simply sounds international) goes down in the USA these days, but there have been some great artists over the years that maybe havenâ??t done quite as well as they could have in the Americas.

To set the ball rolling here is Madness (crap site btw, donâ??t go unless you really want to), whose Nutty Ska image and very English voices sometimes obscured a band of impressive musical ability and a wonderful way with words.

This compilation features 23 consecutive hits in chronological order that reveal the depth and diversity of their musical reach, going far beyond their Ska roots, even tracks that you think you know sound different after a gap of years. It took my breath away to re-learn that â??Our Houseâ?? has one of the most perfect openings of any pop song, love that bass burp too!

Titles like â??My Girlâ??s Mad At Meâ??, â??Embarrassmentâ??, â??Grey Dayâ??, â??Shut Upâ??, â??Tomorrowâ??s Just Another Dayâ??, â??One Better Dayâ?? and â??Yesterdayâ??s Menâ?? highlight a recurrent theme of loss, alienation, betrayal, fear, an increasing sense of wasted precious time and quiet English desperation forming the core of the Madness experience -desperate but still dancing.

Tracks like â??Wings Of A Doveâ??, â??Michael Caineâ?? and the covers of Labi Sifreâ??s â??It Must Be Loveâ?? (not too bad, actually) and Scritti Polittiâ??s â??The Sweetest Girlâ?? (very bad) reminded me how Madness were not always great and ultimately faded away, probably still â??Waiting for the Ghost Trainâ?? of Fame to call upon them again.

By the way, both the US & UK sites have the same Amaz(on)ing typos â??Night Beat To Cairoâ?? and, my personal favourite, â??Yesterdayâ??s Menuâ??! LOL

This review originally posted on Blogcritics