Tales of Orion - Part II
Thursday June 3rd 2010
Orion slowly regained conciousness, his
head spinning. The TV lay on its back, making furious mechanical noises, and the lights were off. He dragged himself to his feet and
staggered to the bathroom.
Leaning heavily on the sink he hit the
dispensary's large red button. He winced as the sensor array burst to
life and ran feelers of light up and down his body. The data core
emitted a series of alien chirps and a heavy 'clunk' announced the
arrival of a prescription in the hopper.
Orion fished it out. "SGA Approved
Super-Lax Bowel Stimulant".
"No..." he moaned weakly.
"...I need something for my head..." He punched the button
The dispensary repeated its scan.
He reached into the hopper and pulled
out an ominously familiar package. "SGA Approved Super-Lax Bowel
He pulled himself up and began punching
the machine. "I bang! need bang! something
bang! for bang! my bang! bang! HEAD!
The dispensary made a series of
offended sounding chirps, spat out a small slip of paper and turned
itself off. Orion scooped up the note and staggered into the lounge,
squinting to read the minuscule type.
Tea! He could really use a good cup of
tea. But of course tea has been declared illegal after the infamous
harbour "tea parties" of '08. It was still available if you
had the right connections - the Invisible Hand or the Big Sur Tong -
but it was an age since he'd had that kind of pull. He sighed,
remembering. Old Leakie used to smuggle it in via camera seal from
the NBBC spy ships. It was salty and tasted faintly of fish, but it
was still Earl Grey...
Leakie! Of course! He started across
the room, fumbling in his pocket for labour scrip before he
remembered. Leakie was gone. Called up and sent to Antarctica as a
drone loader. Army boots and ice. There'd be no more seals waddling
ashore at Quantico.
He collapsed onto the couch. Even if he
had the connections, the savings from his Sanicorp Street Bleach
jingle (dancing girls in gleaming white street cleaner's uniforms,
happy borough sanitation workers riding Frank the Friendly Street
Sweeping Vehicle, Mr Sanicorp with his slicked back hair singing In
these times of fear and doubt, no local committee can be without, the
product that makes your sidewalks gleam, Sanicorp's Street Bleach
gets streets clean! still running on late night cable and
bringing in a small, intermittent royalty) wouldn't stretch to more than a few grams. He'd heard Oolong was up to 500
scrip per kilogram.
The Consumption Meter started complaining again. There had to be a better way...
File under: Literature or something resembling it
Tales of Orion
Tuesday June 1st 2010
"Arrrgh! I don't like this show!" moaned Orion, the masked singer. He was always moaning, it annoyed him that people kept mistaking him for Elvis. "Just because I wear a mask and sound like Elivis and use a stage name and started my career just after Elvis died doesn't mean I'm Elvis!" he used to yell at his fans. Then he'd launch into a hip swinging rendition of "Jailhouse Rock".
That was when he had fans.
He grabbed the remote and switched from the strange show about talking birds and fish to the Megaglobex Corporation News Channel. The lights dimmed slightly as the TV drew extra power from the lines to properly display the newsreader's blindingly white teeth.
"In international news the British Royal Family have been revealed as shape shifting interdimensional reptilian aliens from the constellation Draco with the ability to create controllable multiple personalities in their subjects by the repeated broadcasts of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" the NeoBritish Broadcasting Corporation is famous for."
He smirked. The lights dimmed again.
"A statement from the Millennium Dome Palace on the Isle of Dogs is expected soon, be sure to keep watching Megaglobex Corporation News for the latest developments. Back at home the latest reports from the SGA indicate our brave boys have made major gains in the Gladsheim, Vingilot and Fenris systems, pushing to the brink of defeat the third, fourth and tenth fleets of the Asg..."
Orion switched off the TV. There was nothing on.
A red light began flashing on the Consumption meter by the fridge. Seconds later the scratchy synthesised voice began. "It has been 46 minutes since your last consumption break Mr Presley. Slaves are starving on P3X-6756 because of your poor consumption ratio. You are 325 consumption units behind for this month, failure to consume is an offence punishable under the Guaranteed Consumption act of twenty-oh..."
"I'M NOT HIM!!!!" screamed Orion, lunging at the meter "I'M NOT ELVIS!"
"....with penalties ranging from twelve years imprisonment to penal exile...."
"I'M NOT ELVIS!!!!" he screamed at the ceiling. He jumped up and down waving his fists in the air. The Consumption meter disgorged a flood of consumption pellets, his unconsumed allowance for the month so far. They spilt over the floor and beneath his feet, tripping him up. He collapsed slowly to the ground, banging his head on the TV as he fell. Strangely,
his last thoughts before unconciousness claimed him were of the annoying show with the talking birds and fish...
(We resume normal Eurovision broadcast soon. Probably)
File under: Literature or something resembling it
Eurovison 2010 - The Saga Continues
Sunday May 30th 2010
OK, the promised Part 2 of my Eurovision 2010 round up. Who were we up to..?
Bosnia Herzovina - "Thunder and Lightning" - Vukain Brajic: Best described as guitar based rock pop with strings, this song wasn't great, but with so little decent competition it punched well above its weight. Nothing really notable though. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (Not bad, not bad at all).
Poland - "Legenda" - Marcin Mrozinski: WEIRD! That pretty much sums up this one. And not in a good Eurovision-weird way. More in a our-singer-is-a-serial-killer way. There were a bunch of girls in national dress, biting laviciously into apples and then some weird kind of drama that resulted in the singer apparently throttling one of them to death while the others pulled off her clothes. The song itself couldn't seem to make up its mind between opera, lounge music and Robbie William's latest. WEIRD! Verdict: A creepy 2.5 out of 5 (very creepy).
Belgium - "Me and My Guitar" - Tom Dice: The title pretty much says it all. One guy and his guitar. A pleasant enough acoustic ballad located somewhere between Cat Stevens and Tracy Chapman. Nothing amazing but it stood out quite well among some of the other dull lunacy on show. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (Even if it did sound a bit like James Blunt).
Malta - "My Dream" - Thea Garrett: Apparently this year Malta decided to enter a Liza Minelli impersonator - I don't understand this any more than you do. Her song was a passable pop ballad (a lot of ballads this year) in a strong American accent which went a bit operatic at the end and featured a guy dressed as a seagull dancing around the stage. Again - I don't understand this any more than you do. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent).
Albania - "It's All About You" - Juliana Pasha: Juliana Pasha bears a passing resemblance to Smallville's Alison Mack, which is something that in my opinion Eurovision should have more of. Her song was essentially an 80's glam dance track featuring an Eraserhead lookalike on a violin and a not-bad electric guitar solo. It also had a decent beat which was nice to hear after all those slow, dull ballads. Probably my favourite track of the night (and not just because I have thing for Chloe Sullivan). Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Kick ass!).
Greece - "OPA" - Giorgos Alkaios and Friends: Musically this song is pretty stupid. But it's so cheerful and energetic that you don't really care. An electro/techo track with plenty of influence from traditional Greek music (or at least "Zorba's Dance" which is the only Greek song anyone knows or cares about). The performers all wore white, rhinestone encrusted pyjamas open to the chest and yelled a lot, and there was a bit played on a mobile phone right at the end. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (Mindless fun).
Portugal - "Há dias assim" - Filipa Azevedo: A Portugese power ballad, performed by a girl who managed to do a remarkable Whitney Houston impersonation despite not singing in English. Not remarkable by any measure but very well performed. Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Well done).
Macedonia - "Jas ja imam silata" - Gjoko Taneski, Billy Zver and Pejcin: Macedonia couldn't seem to make up its mind. Was it doing an 80's pop song? Was it rap? Or was it power rock? I've got no idea since it kept randomly jumping between them. Far too much going on to form any decent kind of opinion as to the talents of those involved. There was a quite good impersonation of a Slash guitar solo towards the end, but it wasn't enough to save this fairly shambolic performance. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (The guitar solo earned them some extra points).
Belarus - "Butterflies" - 3+2 feat Robert Wells: What's that? Belarus are on? Oh. I see. They're just standing there singing a heavily accented and rather dull song about butterflies. Hmmm. Have I got any email? Nope. Oh, they're still going, OK. I wonder if I turned off the oven? Yes, I did. I specifically remember doing so. Well, look at that, the women have sprouted butterfly wings. How... interesting. Ah, they're finished now. Good. Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 (When Mr Lordi sprouted wings it was cool. You're not Mr Lordi.)
Iceland - "Je ne sais quoi" - Hera Björk: Björk!? Iceland have Björk!? Oh, wait, a different Björk. OK then. Hera Björk - what Terry Wogan would have called "a well set up lump of a girl" - did quite a good job on this catchy techno/piano track. Not amazing but pleasant enough to listen to. Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Sorry about the lump comment...)
So, there we go, my opinion on the first semi final. Now I've just got to get the second semi final written up - which will probably happen sometime before August - and watch and write up the Final tonight. Albania for the Win!
File under: Musical Snobbery
Eurovision 2010 - Part 1
Saturday May 29th 2010
I had so many plans for things to do today, and got none of them dealt with. I guess I just needed a day of wasteful sloth. Oh well, I'll be energetic tomorrow.
In the meantime, it's the yearly schlockfest of Eurovision! Woohoo! :D
The first semi-final was last night, the second will be tonight, and the final on Sunday. I probably won't see all of it, it clashes with Doctor Who after all, but I'll certainly be enjoying what I do.
Anyway, here's my run down of the first semi-final - or as much of it as I can write before the seconf semi final starts. All performances are rated on a scale of 0 to 5 where five is the best thing ever, and zero is a good argument to nuke the country responsible...
Moldova - "Run Away" - SunStroke Project and Olia Tira: Nothing really special here. There was a glowing electric violin, a guy spinning around on a disk, and a woman in a weird white puffy skirt that made her look like an ostrich. Some of the makeup seemed to be based on the chopper pilot from Avatar and the glowing violin bow was waved around like a light sabre. The song was a passable dance track but pretty much forgettable. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent).
Russia - "Lost and Forgotten" - Peter Nalitch and Friends: A fairly poor showing from Russia I thought. A slow, dreary waltz with a slightly more energetic chorus. There was some really bad acting with the singer looking mournfully at a photograph, there was a bit where one of the backup singers talk sings, glitter fell fitfully from the ceiling throughout and they threw in a wind machine for the end where the song inexplicably went all happy. Frankly the whole thing was mawkish in the extreme, and the singer sounded off key half the time. Verdict: 2 out of 5 (Poor).
Estonia - "Siren" - Malcolm Lincoln and Manpower 4: An interesting attempt by Estonia with a bunch of guys in suits and lead singer who seemed to have taken his fashion cues from the New Romantics. The song sort of sped up and down with a guy alternately playing and attacking a piano, and the singer breaking out into occasional bursts of mad dancing before calming down again. Then right at the end one of the backup singers passed out (I presume this was part of the act...). If the song had been any good it would have been quite a good show, as is the song was weak and unfocused. Verdict: A high 2 out of 5 (Weak).
Slovakia - "Horehronie" - Kristina: At last some proper Eurovision madness! Kristina and her tree people took to the stage in leaf and vine adorned druid robes and sang and danced while a second woman dressed in white stood off to the side and did nothing. In the second verse she took over the singing duties when Kristina's dancing got out of hand. The song itself sounded like Shakira crossed with Deep Forest and concluded with the dancers throwing bits of string around. Very confusing and quite entertaining. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Quite Competent).
Finland - "Työlki ellää" - Kuunkuiskaajat: Basically an eccentric oompa-oompa song with accordion and two women dressed in white. Oh and downright silly folk dancing. Nothing amazing but at least it had a decent beat and lots of enthusiasm. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent).
Latvia - "What For?" - Aisha: A girl in a silk dressing gown and greek sandals singing an Alanis Morrisette accordion song with lyrics that had to be heard to be believed. "Uncle Joe?" "Mr God?". People, if you're going to sing a song in a second language at least get someone who speaks said language to check it over before performing it in front of millions of viewers. Problems aside the singer had a strong voice and performed the absolutely insane lyrics pretty well. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent once you block out the words).
Serbia - "Ovo je Balkan" - Milan Stankovic: A beaming man-child with terrifying hair and one of Adam Ant's old jackets sings a halfway decent dance track with crazy wailing horns while waving his legs around in a deranged manner. Could have done with more bass and they slipped in a stupid "radio effect" on one of the verses. Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 (Should have tried harder).
OK, the second semi-final is about to start, so check in tomorrow for more reviews and sarcasm!
File under: Musical Snobbery