Sunday, January 5, 2014

Who watched the Royal Variety Performance on New Year's Eve...?

I won't rant too much here (or maybe I will), but if you know me or my blog even a little, then you will know that one of my hugest gripes is that of "sampling" in music - i.e. the act of taking an existing track (composed by another artist), and then adding different lyrics to it.

The end result, unfortunately, is a track that is considered to be completely new and original, especially if the track that was sampled is from decades ago.
So you end up with youngsters jamming to some "cool" new track that they skeem is lekker kief (sorry guys, had to throw in some South African slang there...), not realising that the so-called artist basically just stole someone else's song and made millions off of it.

One such track that caught my attention was showcased on New Year's Eve 2013, on the Royal Variety Performance.
I usually enjoy most of the performances on the show, however this one just made me wanna be sick.
And I wasn't even drunk.

This act call themselves "Rizzle Kicks", and they are an English hip hop duo who basically pretend to be talented. And they pretty much suck at that as well.
Granted, I have not heard or seen any of their other work, but let me paint a brief outline of their performance (which was put on in front of Prince Charles no less...):

- They performed a track called "Skip to the Good bit", which unfortunately only had bad bits in it.
The real kicker is that they sample (almost entirely) from the hugely successful 90's EMF track "Unbelievable", and they do a fantastic job of destroying the original track.

- Not only was their track terrible, but even the lip-syncing they were doing was odd. One of the duo looked like he was watching what the other was lip-syncing, and then trying to keep up with vague movements of his lips. Awesome.

- Finally, when the track ended (and the audience rejoiced in relief), the duo couldn't even finish their performance gracefully and nearly fell over when the music stopped. Top notch professionals these guys.

Remind me again why plagiarists people like this make millions?
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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 is the year of sleep...

Last year this time, I jumped onto the New Year's resolution bandwagon, and predicted that 2013 would be the year of the smoothie for me.
Thankfully, that one played out well, and I still start out nearly every single day with an ass-kicking peanut butter smoothie.

So onto 2014 - what's it going to be this year?

Well, looking back over the past few years of my life, I have learned just how incredibly important sleep is, and how often we take it for granted.
Now I don't mean taking a nap in the afternoon, or sleeping late on the weekend - sure those are great, and hey, who doesn't need a nap now and then in the context of daily life?

I am talking about a good, uninterrupted night's sleep - enough to fit in a solid 3 hours before midnight, allowing for about 7 - 9 hours sleep in total.
I am no professional on the science of sleep, however I can speak from my own experience on the subject (and lack thereof...).

For starters, I know exactly how I will feel in the morning if I get to bed late, and grumpy doesn't come close to describing it.
Looking back into 2013, I am also able to pick out the nights where I made a concious effort to be in bed early, and the positive effects on my following day were incredible.
Trying to sleep late on weekends simply doesn't cut it for me - it's all about a proper night's sleep.

I also know it can be tough if there are external factors that cut into your sleep - being a dad, I know all about interrupted sleep.
If that's you, don't lose hope - it does improve after the first year :)
I also discovered the hard way, that sleep deprivation (for me at least), can bring on epileptic seizures - I covered that in a post I wrote a few years back.

Finally, I have to say that I usually find myself catching the flu at times when I have been skimping on my sleep, or pulling late night work stints in an attempt to keep up with the workload.
Now let's face it - trying to keep up with our workloads nowadays is often pretty futile. 
We run in circles trying to get more done in less time, but all that happens is that the quality of our work suffers, we make promises that are impossible to fulfil, and ultimately we harm ourselves in the process from a health perspective, lack of sleep being only one factor of many.

The stupidity in all this (and it really is stupidity), is that all too often do we see the avoidance of sleep being held in high regard - the corporate world is a prime culprit here, where it is often expected that employees should work longer hours (often late into the night), in order to maximize company profits, but with no consideration for the well-being of the staff in question.
Prime example - the young copywriter in Indonesia who passed away in December, while pulling a 30 hour stint for her employer:

Nuff sed.

For me then, it makes sense to try and make proper sleep habits the norm, rather than to desperately try make up for lost sleep at every opportunity, while never actually making the problem any better.

Anyway, that's enough rambling for now, and if I am to get anywhere near keeping this resolution then I better get some sleep right about now... ;)
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