Nibblets

Palin does Poetry

From the woman who brought you the word Refudiate comes now a new, strange adaptation of Dr Seuss, which is supposed to be mocking, someone, apparently.  Whilst we are not sure how she feels about Green Eggs and Ham, apparently she isn’t too fond of something… the number of cheers she gets whilst telling her story, implies that there must have been lots of children in the audience.  It’s nice. She also has her own TV show, about Alaska, which is quite near Russia apparently. Who knew?  Anyway, the video is below if you can bring yourselves to care.

Barbie Girl Lives on Air

Did you know that there is a Ukrainian model who looks an awful lot like Barbie? (The doll, not Eastenders actress).  Well, nor did we, but then we saw a pic, and well, quite frankly it’s uncanny.  We also had a snoop at her Facebook Page (be careful here, once you click it you won’t be able to look away) and she has either found several friends with similar doll like features, or she poses with wigs and lots of mirrors.  Either way it’s absolutely fascinating.  However, this is not the news, interesting though it is.  The news is that she has recently declared that she is able to sustain herself on a diet of just light and air.  That’s right.  Since Badger was feeling a bit guilty about her breakfast bagel, and thinking she should really join a gym to get rid of this podge she seems to have acquired, a light and air diet seemed a brilliant solution.  Exercise takes time and effort, but light and air is just there, right? What could possibly go wrong?  Since we only ask people with appropriate qualifications to comment on technical stuff like this we asked Eileen from the Twittersphere, who assures us she has Biology GCSE what would happen if a person rejected food and water and just tried to live on air and light.  She told us:

For a short time but no. That’s why explorers etc drink their own urine. You’d dehydrate without fluid.

I’m no expert but I think your organs would eventually shut down.

If I’m wrong, blame Mr Large and Pam with her talking parrot.

We’re pretty sure here at Newsnibbles that Mr Large and Pam are safe. And we have found examples of Barbie with food, although technically not eating…

You can read more here if we didn’t cover it in enough detail for you.

See If You Can Spot the Unintentional Error!

Well, it is entirely possible, that you, like us are sick of the constant coverage of the Royal New Zealand trip.  Watching gushing New Zealanders marvel at how honoured they are by the Duke and Duchess (is that what they are now? Wills and Kate anyway, or if you are reporting from the BBC William and Katherine) taking the time to speak with them.  Well actually that’s what they’re there for, and they’re just people really so stop making such a fuss.  But anyway, we’re digressing into an irritated rant, as is our wont when presented with sycophants on a mass scale.  But, what almost made it (and by it we mean the over coverage of every tiny bloody step) worth while was Charlie Stayt’s breakfast blooper, where, instead of saying Wills had recently left the RAF, he said IRA!!! Really!! Bahahahahahahahahaha! Well done Charlie, perked us right up.  And some pure genius put it on Youtube, so that if you missed it you can catch it now! Oh go on!

 

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Update! From Mr Wall Street Bull

We do enjoy his updates.

 

EXCLUSIVE: In his greatest move photo (7)since becoming NYC’s Police Chief, Bill Bratton ordered the barricades that had surrounded me for 2 1/2 years to be removed. GOOD RIDDANCE, ugly prison bars! Let nothing stand between me and my adoring fans.

The barricades were moved to the side on Tuesday, March 25, and a truck came to haul them off at about 8 AM on Wednesday.

I now have an unobstructed view up Broadway, like back in the good old days. Also, it’s much easier to get nice, artful pictures of me without filthy bars blocking your shot.

I’m waiting on a delivery of Champagne, at which point I’ll set up a little celebratory thing with other members of the @InanimateLeague. Might bring in a vegan caterer for the occasion, too.

So come on down to FiDi and say hello to the new, unfettered me. Bring an extra bagel, please.

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News “n” Stuff

So, we’re breaking down what has happened

Photo of a cow. Cos we can.

Photo of a cow. Cos we can.

over the last week or so, from memory, based on snippets of TV, and with no research, because that takes time ‘n’ shiz, as does sourcing images, so, as with the best news reporting organisations we have just recycled some unrelated stock images from the archives.  Do we look bothered?

So, a plane has gone missing on the way to Beijing, and no-one knows what’s happened or where it is.  It went off the radar about three days ago and there has been no information since.  Apparently two people boarded using stolen passports and have been described as “not Asian”, which really narrows it down.  We have been watching for a while, and if there are updates we will update you.  In the meanwhile if you have ever met someone who is “not Asian”, don’t act weird around them, they probably didn’t do anything.

News reports have been tactfully pussyfooting around the situation in the Ukraine, being very careful not to pass judgement or say anything that may be seen as forming any sort of opinion.  So obviously we won’t either, because we want to be like everyone else.  We aren’t going to talk about how lovely the Winter Olympics are whilst completely ignoring the arrested people who did some protesting or other general human rights violations, because we are just going to generally gloss over the whole thing.  We certainly aren’t going to bring up the fact that the Gawker reported that Pussy Riot were detained again.  We have put a link there though, in case you want to look yourselves.

Also, the UK won their first ever Paralympic Gold Medal in skiing, which is nice.  If we’re going to be over there we may as well take home gold.

Much like the badger cull, which lacked significant evidence to proceed, and had limited success because those bloody cunning badgers moved the goal posts, the government’s argument towards limiting immigration seems to have limited (no?) evidence to support it.  Apparently no-one is taking our jobs… who knew?  A report stating this was not published, but The Mirror seems to have dug it up, so you can have a look. Maybe the immigrants moved the goal posts, or maybe the right-wing propaganda machine simply isn’t what it was.

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Weather with The Wall Street Bull

By popular demand, we’re getting some photo (7)spring-like weather, and it’s about effing time. (Sorry–I don’t do gratitude very well.) Unfortunately, Uggs-wearers have not gotten the memo. So if you have a friend who wears those hideous things, drop a hint, wouldya?

Along with the marginal improvement in New Yorkers’ attitudes, Spring inevitably brings another NYC staple: fornicating pigeons. It’s as Big Apple as public urination, but visitors don’t seem to embrace either of those things as an essential part of the tourism experience. Solution? Include this in the @I_LOVE_NY advertisements. You’re welcome.

Good news: looks like temps will stay in the 40s for the next 10 days, even going up to 55 on Tuesday. Look for a buff bronze brother enjoying a salad at the outside seating section of Cafe Fiorello if my body double can work for me that day and if Fiorello’s changes its stupid “no bovines” rule.

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Weather With The Wall Street Bull

photo (7)We have a new weather segment here on Newsnibbles, as do all the best news reporting… thingies… Our brand new “Weather Correspondent” is @TheWallStBull ! Excitings.  His première report is below, along with a “selfie” wot he took of himself.  We are hoping that each weather report will be accompanied by an appropriately weathered picture… see what we did there?

 

 So when I heard that a crippling storm was predicted for my home-town, I knew that I’d had enough of the stupid winter weather ruining our lives. I assumed an aggressive stance with my sharp horns pointed upwards and dared the weather to hit us as hard as it could. Not surprisingly, it ran off crying like a little baby, leaving just a dusting of snow–barely enough to make the city streets look temporarily clean. #punkass

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Can You Say No-body Cares?

Have you been wondering why we haven’t

Our Canine Correspondent is on the bank of a precarious river that she could fall into and get wet. We recommend you don't get this close to a river. Only reporters should.

Our Canine Correspondent is on the bank of a precarious river that she could fall into and get wet. We recommend you don’t get this close to a river. Only reporters should.

posted for a while? Well, it’s because there is nothing interesting happening.  But, just in case you missed us, here is a list of things the news has been covering of late.

The Weather

Have you noticed that it’s been raining here in the UK? Well, for our foreign readers, yes, it has been fairly rainy here in the the United Kingdom.  If residents were incapable of looking up to the sky and saying “golly gosh, it’s precipitating today” it has been covered on the news, daily.  OK, so there have been some big waves, and there have been floods, but mostly, we have been talking about rain.  Rest assured that had it snowed we would be talking about that, and in the summer there will be a heat wave and hosepipe bans, because, despite all this rain no-one will have thought to stock up on water. Nope.  On that note, weather can be dangerous, and people have been warned to stay away from big waves etc.  This warning does not deter the BBC reporters though, oh no.  Whilst standing, resolutely on the sea wall the intrepid reporter tells us that everyone has been warned not to stand on the sea wall because the waves are super big!  Does working for the BBC make you suddenly immortal, or is the life insurance really good?  Surely the message could have come across just as well from the studio? Why risk a reporter, they’re expensive.  It’s like when they put the weather presenter out in the snow to prove it’s snowing.  We don’t need to torment them, we’ll look out the window and spot it. Let them stay in the warm BBC.  It’s cruel!

Kate Middleton Was in a Play

On BBC breakfast this morning it was reported that some newspaper or other (the theme of this post dictates that we simply don’t care about the specifics) has discovered pictures of Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge for those American readers who think all that stuff is quaint) was in a school play when she was eleven.  If we didn’t care about the Royal Baby we most certainly don’t care about this.  You will find it difficult to believe just how little we care.  Actually not at all.  But apparently this is big news.  The breakfast reporters discussed it in great length about how the current generation cannot expect to have any secrets with all the Facebooking blah blah blah.  Then some random chap in a in a shirt, roll neck jumper and a sports jacket (are the beeb cutting down on the heating bills? Maybe they should stop putting their reporters in such precarious positions and then the insurance premiums would go down) saying how ironic it is that she was playing Eliza Doolittle.  Has he seen My Fair Lady? Clearly not.  And also, NO-ONE CARES!!! She was in a play! Big bloody deal! It’s hardly scandalous is it?  It’s not like she was in a biker gang and has left a large hairy ex called Bubba who has her face tattooed to his chest with Kate4eves underneath.  Even if that was the case we wouldn’t care, but it’s not.  She was in a play. Big whoop.

The Olympic Ring

Now, whilst we care that we have sent our reporters and athletes to a country with questionable human rights policies we DO NOT CARE that the 6th ring did not light up during the opening ceremony and they used dress rehearsal footage to broadcast to make it look better.  We just don’t care.  Let’s focus on that because heaven forbid we focus on something that actually matters like the prisoners of conscience or their anti-gay laws.  That would ruin our enjoyment of the sports wouldn’t it?  Let’s just talk about the ring and the fact that it didn’t like properly, or, here’s an idea, LET’S NOT!!!

 

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The Naked Truth

Police in Australia were called out this week to rescue a naked man from a washing

Here is Annie re-enacting the washing machine hide and seek. She is a professional and this was done under controlled circumstances. DO NOT try this at home.

machine.  Really.  The man, as yet unnamed but reported to be in his twenties climbed into the top loading washing machine because he was playing hide and seek, and according to the BBC Report wanted to surprise his partner.  We are sure his partner was surprised by the battalion of emergency service crews called out to the home, who, apparently had to resort to using olive oil as a lubricant to extract the wedged joker.  It was a mission that took them twenty minutes.  What the BBC report tactfully avoids, but since we are incredibly hard hitting and newshoundy (wot evs) we are going to address head on is:

Why naked?

Why naked hide and seek?  Did he misunderstand what “naked hide and seek” actually is?  After a quick poll of the interns, most of whom are lethargic students we have determined that when they have embarked on a game of “naked hide and seek” they have never hidden any part of themselves, let alone their whole boding inside a household appliance.  Apparently the rules are very different.  One of them did say that they had used olive oil, and another whipped cream.  We sent that one home with a stern warning about hygiene.  One thing is clear, the clothes that come out of that washing machine will never be clean again.

Just for funzies (cos that’s how we roll) we decided to ask the fans to come up with a list of things they might do with a household appliance such as a washing machine.

Whilst Kat suggested mixing a giant batch of guacamole, no-one thought to say naked hide and seek… just sayin’…

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The Film Wot Badger Wrote

Well, Nibblers, we know we haven’t been posting as much of late, and when we have it’s been more serious than our usual topics, but it’s Christmas, and we wanted to celebrate with a chuckle, so here is the festive film that Badger scripted on behalf of a small local charity.  We hope you enjoy it, and have a lovely festive period.  See you in the New Year.

 

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Pussy Riot to be Free by New Year!

Exciting news for  those of you following the Pussy Riot case, or anyone interested in human rights and freedom of speech, as it was announced this week that the two members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot, who were imprisoned last year after performing a protest song in a church will be free by January.  The move has come as part of an amnesty law, which allows prisoners who have committed non violent crimes and mothers with young children early release.  There has been speculation amongst some of the news sites that this amnesty is a PR move in during the build up to the winter Olympics.  Russia’s recent “anti-gay” bill, which passed unanimously in the State Duma and approved by the Kremlin earlier this year has been met with international criticism,  and it could be argued that this amnesty is an attempt to improve its international profile in advance of the Olympics. According to Billboard.com Putin was very careful to point out that the amnesty was not designed to justify the early release of Pussy Riot, and it is simply that they meet the criteria, along with other 25,000 other prisoners, stating:

“This isn’t a revision of the court verdict. This is an overall decision, which applies to them.”

Whilst it wasn’t a revision of the court verdict, pressure from international media, agencies like Amnesty International as well as The Russian Supreme Court declaring the sentence unlawful can’t have hurt their case either. Unfortunately this does not mean the immediate release of the two imprisoned Pussy Riot members, because, according to Billboard:

 …prison authorities say they are waiting for documents necessary for their release, including birth certificates and other forms of identification, before they are freed.

which has led to concerns here in the Newsnibbles office, as to how the authorities know they have the right people in prison at all… but it’s probably best not to get bogged in semantics, no-one else seems to. On a slightly amusing side note President Obama is sending Billie Jean King as one of as one of the delegation to the Moscow Olympics. Nice one.

 

 



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Battlelore: Middle-Earth Meets Metal

Battlelore is a Fantasy Metal band established in Finland. They base their distinctive sound on the literary works of J R R Tolkien, perhaps most famous for his Lord of the Rings trilogy of books.

Despite the fact that Guitar Hero has not yet released a Fantasy Metal edition, Rockonnection has once more been able to find a use for me. This is perhaps because I am a massive fantasy literature fan, and own the extended edition of Lord of the Rings.

Founded in ’99, Battlelore blend a mixture of Celtic folk music with a heavy metal undertone which makes their sound quite distinctive. Use of instruments such as the flute, in combination with guitar, bass and drums which are perhaps more traditionally associated with Rock and Metal lends an almost classical sound to parts of the music, whilst a steady bass rhythm never lets us forget that metal is at the soul of the music. I caught up with Jyri Vahvanen (guitar/lyrics), founder member of the band to find out more about his Tolkien fascination, and vision for the group.

“I was twelve years old when I found Tolkien’s books through a role-playing game.” He tells me. “His tales of Middle-Earth were the first fantasy theme I ever read and I totally fell in his books. Since then he has been the number one fantasy author for me.”

The work of Tolkien is laced with heroic deeds and epic battles just crying out to be set to music. The picturesque Finnish countryside seems so perfect for staging the battles of Middle-Earth that one could question what motivated Peter Jackson to use New Zealand. Battlore’s videos incorporate fantasy costumes with the idyllic settings that one imagines when reading his work. But is metal really the best way to represent the adventures of all these wonderful fantasy creatures?

“In our case it is.” Jyri informs me. “I used to play metal before I founded Battlelore, so it was very natural development for me to unite metal music and Tolkien’s writings. Maybe classical or folk music might catch Tolkien’s Middle-Earth’s ‘medieval-like’ atmosphere a bit easier, but I like to do it with the elements of metal music.”

Even with my Hobbit obsession, I have never, until this point considered what it would be like to hear an Orc sing. Had I taken hours to contemplate what the phenomenon of a singing Orc would sound like, I would doubtless have come to the conclusion that it would sound a lot like the guttural sound of Tomi Mykkänen’s vocals. His contrast with the more Celtic, feminine sounding vocals of Kaisa Jouhki is vaguely reminiscent of Enya meets Napalm Death. To me this contrast represents the conflicting forces of Orcs and Elves, which are a constant in the novels of Tolkien. At the risk of sounding like I totally missed the point I mentioned this view to Jyri.

“Yes, you are correct about that.” Phew, not just Guitar Hero then. “Back in the days it was even more intentional, but nowadays we have mixed their roles a little bit. Of course it is much easier to reach the certain kind of atmosphere for the song if you have a wider scale of vocals to use. For example the fey female vocals for the speech of a furious demon might mislead a listener too much and it is nice to write lyrics where there is kind of a conversation between the characters of the song.”

Battlelore’s latest album, Doombound is their first “concept album”. Although their previous work is themed to the work of Tolkien, this is the first album dedicated to a single novel. The novel chosen was the posthumously published The Children of Hurin. This is not a feel good romp of mythical creatures. For the hardcore fans of Tolkien this is an interesting read, as it is set a long way prior to The Lord of the Rings when Morgorth was a man, and Sauron is just a Lieutenant. It is a tragic tale of the family of Hurin, who is cursed Morgorth. There is murder, incest and betrayal, nice capped off with multiple suicide, (I am of course just breaking it down to the bare bones). So, having read it and taken a couple of Vallium I felt obliged to ask why choose this book to base your first concept album on?

“Some may say that all of our albums have been concept albums, because we write about Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, but for me Doombound is the first true concept album, because of the continuous story which goes through the album. I had an idea for the concept album when we started to write our third album Evernight, but back then I found it too challenging. Now I felt that the time could be right to try it again and this time we managed to make it work. There were also some other options for the album’s concept, but somehow we just chose this particular story of Túrin Turambar/Children of Húrin. Afterwards I noticed that this story has a lot of similarities to Finnish epic Kaleva which also a nice feature as we are a Finnish band, but this wasn’t really intentional choice.”

Fortunately the album itself did not make me want to slit my wrists – unlike the book, which was a majorly depressing read. So what if you were pregnant by your brother, go on Jerry Springer and discuss it, don’t jump off a cliff, but I digress.

The album successfully tells the story of the novel lyrically, without losing the integrity of a metal album. We hear the vocalists less conflicted than in earlier albums, in some instances signing together, sharing verses. This is perhaps because the Middle-Earth represented in The Children of Hurin is saturated by the forces of Morgorth, so the Elf voice is less prominent. Having said that, there is still the distinct vocal contrast that we have come to expect from Battlelore. The album combines classic guitar riffs and fast drumming with storytelling. The music itself represents the emotions reflected as the story progresses. Turin’s anger and pride is built up by the speed of the instrumentals. The final track on the album, “Kielo” is an instrumental track. This is a brave decision for a metal album as it moves away from the fast paced shouting vocals we have come to expect. Opening with a steady drum beat, it is a melancholy track which seems to use a cello, flute and piano to represent the gloomy ending of the book. It also showcases very well Battlelore’s diversity as musicians. It is an excellent finish to the concept album, as the tragic ending of the novel would have been difficult to represent in song, although traditional metal heads may not appreciate the final track as much as the rest of the album.

I have tried to review the album in terms of the book, as it represents itself as being linked to the story as a concept album. However, you don’t need to have read the most depressing story ever to appreciate the music. It can stand alone quite comfortably. Knowledge of the work of Tolkien merely adds an extra dimension to the music, and perhaps an appreciation for the videos. Although they have no confirmed gigs for the UK Jyri tells me “hopefully there will be. There’s going to be a little break for our touring in June-July, because a few of us are having additions to our families so that will slow the ride for a little while. We really would like to play some good shows in UK, as your country has been a very nice to us and the gigs have been awesome.”

We at Rockonnection will keep our eyes peeled and let you know when it is confirmed that Battlelore are crossing the water. In the words of Jyri Vahvanen “Take care and keep it metal!”

Originally published on Rockonnection.com

 

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