Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Motorpsycho, USF Verftet, Bergen, 28 April 2008

I had barely listened to this band at all until my friend Øystein gave me their latest album "Little Lucid Moments". And it was good. But, it was not nearly so good that it prepared me for their concert. I have to include it among my top three ever, I think. This was Motorpsycho proving once and for all that they are, without competition, the Best Norwegian Band. Ever.

For more than two and a half hours, these guys played music that varied between heavy, energetic and slow atmospheric psychedelic rock with an impressive feeling. I could compare it to some of my favourite bands such as the Doors, Radiohead and Tool. It's impressive what two guitars and a drummer can do. Apparently, they varied material from some 15 albums and they have a new drummer. That, they did it with perfection. I am blown away.

I should have brought my earplugs though, because it was damn loud. My ears are still ringing...

Here's a picture taken by Alvedust, that is a bit nicer

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Paris photos

I have finally uploaded some photos from my trip to Paris to my Flickr account.

Here's another one of pretty dodgy mobile camera quality, showing one of the metro trains in Paris that actually run on inflated rubber wheels! The engineer in me thought this was quite puzzling and hilarious at the same time. Is this really a good idea or is it plain stupid? It has to be there for a reason, one thinks. Anyway, enjoy the photos..

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Visit to Le Louvre's Egyptian collection reveals ancient roots of pop music!

On my last day in Paris, I paid a quick visit to Le Louvre and stumbled on hitherto undiscovered historical evidence of enormous implications. Just like in the "Da Vinci Code", in fact. But, as opposed to that quite poor novel, what I unveiled on that fateful Sunday was
something that actually matters. Because, let's face it, who is really surprised to hear that Jesus had a girlfriend, or how this was not put or kept in the bible? He was, after all, human, divine or not. Besides, Dan Brown's book was fiction, was it not? Anyway, what I found out was related to pop music rather than religion. You can imagine that I was surprised.

This papyrus scroll from ca 1500 BC is on open display in the Egyptian collections. There is only one possible interpretation, which is, of course that the ancient Egyptians had primitive gramophones as well as microphones. On stands.

Digging deeper into the subject, with some help from my fellow archaeological interpreters Carol and Animesh, we have concluded that this is a picture of a recording studio. The studio manager to the left announces to the singer that he has 10 more minutes, possibly due to limitations in the ancient recording media used in Egypt, of which we know very little. Not until some 3500 years later, similar studios would become popular also in the West, particularly in Memphis, Tennesee. This city named after the ancient Egyptian capital is where Elvis, Johny Cash and many others began their musical careers. This must suggest a link, but we can still not understand it fully. Why was Memphis named as it was? Could aliens be involved? Might Elvis perhaps have been secretly shipped to Egypt after his death to be mummified and buried in that magical place. Where it all started. For pop.

If you are still not convinced, this statuette, which is on display in the same museum, clearly pictures the worlds first known moonwalk. Michael Jackson, falsely accredited with having invented this dance move, looks increasingly like a mummy. Could there be a link? One can only guess.

Better quality images are available on Flickr

Monday, April 14, 2008

Last day in Paris

After spending a week in Paris for the Genomes 2008 conference, the last day of this great stay is over. It's been a long one, starting late at 11 in Animesh's friend Joshua's apartment in Pyrrénees. After some adventures including locking myself out when going out to buy the daily croissants and pane au chocolates for breakfast, I headed off to see the Père Lachaise cemetary. This locking-myself-out business got a little more interesting due to Joshua's next door neighbour interfering whilst walking back from the toilet in the hallway. (Apparently this is one of the very last houses in Paris with some apartments still having external toilets). Anyway, while unsuccessfully banging on the door she started off an aggressive monolouge in French that I could only understand parts of such as "nobody lives there", "go away" and "who are you looking for?" followed by "nobody with that name lives here" when I tried to answer. Finally she gave up, leaving behind only a strong stench of piss, that in all fairness might have come out from the toilet below, but it did not help my breakfast appetite much. Even later, Animesh heard me and let me in. Later I learnt that this particular neighbour is raving mad and had once chased Joshua out from his own house with an axe. I guess I got away very easily.

During breakfast I learned to appreciate chai, which basically is just black british tea prepared the Indian way. Normally without cinnamon and other strange Western tea additives. The trick to it is simply to boil it together with the milk for a really long time, instead of just poring in some luke warm milk into a cinnamon infused herbal tea and calling it "chai-te", which seems to be the method in most fancy Scandinavian cafés. One should pay close attention to the milk so that it does not boil over and leave a burnt, smoking and soggy mess on the stove though, which is something my friend Animesh the chai-connoisseur missed this particular time.

Père Lachaise turned out to be a fantastic place perfect for a meditative walk in the spring sun, just like I had pictured after hearing about it, especially in the beautiful documentary Forever.
The multicultural neighbourhoods I passed on my way through Belleville were also quite perfect for a walk. And for catching a fallafel for second breakfast (or any other Arabian, Jewish, Vietnameese, Indian, Japaneese or French treat).

Later that day I joined my friends to visit le Louvre and walk up Champs Elysées, thus making our Paris visit complete. In musee du Louvre's Egyptian section we found some very amazing and surprising evidence of the ancient roots of rock music. More on that may follow in a later post.... We also caught a glimpse of Mona Lisa, of course, and I learnt that Freddy Mercury is actually Indian, that the Arc de Triomphe looks just like the India Gate in Dehli and that macarons has nothing to do with macaroni, or macaroons for that matter.

It's been a very interesting visit.