Brand New Idol Society Are Back – Kinda

Standard

As many visitors to my once world famous food blog know I almost poisoned myself cooking with Fairy Liquid. As a consequence of this near death experience I must have suffered brain damage because all I’ve been doing since is writing about Japanese music. Aside from the obvious Babymetal, another band that really caught my ear in 2014 was the terribly controversial ‘anti girl’ Idolcore band called Brand New Idol Society. Read the rest of this entry

Derek Acorah to sue Rhyl town council after getting beaten up by yobbo ghosts.

Standard

myfoodeeblog:

oh god

Originally posted on Denbighshire tomorrow, today.:

A POPULAR TV psychic was filming in Rhyl this week for the hit TV show ‘Most Haunted’.

The trip was cut short however, after he was found on the pavement of Edward Henry Street flailing his arms and shouting incoherently. When passers by eventually stopped to help, Acorah claimed a gang of Burberry clad ghosts had assaulted him and was admitted to Bodelwyddan hospital.

acyThe TV star was physically unharmed, and discharged himself before being seen to by the psychiatric specialist.

“I should be free to go about my job without the threat of being attacked like this. They approached me and told me I was on their turf, all I wanted to do was find out if they had any messages for the living.” he said.

The only message here was Acorah receiving what he claims are ‘spiritual wounds’. He has begun proceedings to sue the town council and while…

View original 16 more words

VAMPS: Rock n Roll Isn’t Supposed to be Healthy

Standard

vamps

Not be confused with the British band of the same name, this Japanese rock act have been making quite an impression internationally with their brand of hard rock and unique  image.

I was fortunate to catch up with them online and asked founding members HYDE and K.A.Z their thoughts on vampires, time travel and, erm, internet marketing.

You recently played Rock On The Range in Ohio and I understand you were received very well by an audience quite unfamiliar with you. Why do you think this was?

HYDE: It was one of the few U.S. festivals we’ve done so far, and closer to the end of our set I noticed there was a mosh pit in the crowd. If we had played longer, we would have been able to get the crowd going even crazier! The fact that we’ve gotten used to playing these festivals abroad certainly helped I’m sure, but that’s probably not the only reason. I mean, we’re proud of ourselves as a live band, so maybe people caught on to that, I’m not sure. There was a build-up, too. We were opening up for SIXX:A.M leading up to that show, so maybe that played a part, too.

There’s so much interest in Japanese rock acts recently. What are your thoughts on this?

K.A.Z: We didn’t really feel that when we toured the U.S. to be honest.

HYDE: Probably the only Japanese rock act that people are interested in is BABYMETAL, you know? (laughs)

But still, compared to a few years ago, there’s more awareness of Japanese music in the western music markets. Have you felt that?

HYDE: That’s probably true, but to be honest, it’s hard to tell because we haven’t played that many shows yet. I remember the last time we toured the U.S. we played the WARPED tour and nobody knew about us. But once we start playing on stage, people start to gather and the crowd grew. Compared to back then, I feel that we’ve improved as a band and have more experience behind us, so we are able to attract new audience even more now.

Do you think that the internet plays a big role in spreading Japanese music worldwide?

K.A.Z: Because there’s so much information on the internet already, it’s almost impossible for someone who aren’t familiar with VAMPS to stumble on to our music via the internet. You need something to lead you there like hearing from a friend who’s been to our shows etc. You can’t just put your music up there and hope people will listen to it. You have to find a way for people to look for your music and make them want to listen to your music. People won’t listen to your music just by seeing your name on a website. You have to do something to generate interest, and I think playing shows and performing our music in front of people who may not know us is the best way to do it. People might go “hey, they sound interesting,” or “Wow, these guys are from Japan. That’s cool!” or whatever. We’re a strong live band, so we hope more and more people will get into our music from seeing us perform live.

This year sees you play at Hyper Japan in London alongside Ling Tosite Sigure, [Alexandros] and Okamoto’s. What are your expectations of the London audience?

HYDE: The show we’re playing this time is kind of like a showcase for Japanese bands. We’re used to playing our own shows, but like K.A.Z was saying, these showcase events are a great opportunity to bring awareness to Japanese music. When we go and play our own shows, we don’t feel like we’re representing Japan or anything. But these types of events are all about Japan, so it feels quite different. But I definitely think it’s one way to get your name out there. If you’re able to get a good reaction from the London crowd this time, it’s something you can build up on for the future. I guess it all comes down to whether you can put on an exciting performance or not. That’s the key. And I feel as VAMPS, we’re sounding really tight at the moment. It should be a great show.

You’ve played in London before, but what is your impression of London audiences?

HYDE: I remember seeing a lot of cute girls in the audience (laughs). I wouldn’t go as far as to say they were equally loud as the Japanese fans, but we did feel a lot of love from them. I felt it we keep going back, the audience will be more familiar with our shows and get crazier. But then again, every country is different and they have their own way of enjoying and getting excited, so it will be fun to see how the audience will react this time.

Some fans travelled hundreds of miles across America to see you perform at different shows. Does this surprise you?

HYDE: We feel more flattered than surprised. We get quite spoiled by our fans in Japan but nobody cares about us in other countries (laughs), so even if it is just one fan in the crowd, we feel so grateful. Just the other day – I think it was in San Francisco – it was late at night and we had just finished rehearsing, and we came out of the venue not expecting any fans to be waiting for us. There was this blond girl waiting outside but we didn’t think she was waiting for us. We thought she was probably waiting for Nikki Sixx or someone. But the next day when we played on stage, she was there dancing in the very front and we realized that she was actually waiting for us! That made us really happy. There may not be that many yet, but there are core fans that make an effort to come to our shows and we are so grateful to them. It can get tough touring in other countries away from home, but they make it all worth it.

You seem to style yourself to some extent on mid 1980’s bands like Motley Crue, Guns n Roses. Were these influences on you? What other bands have shaped your style?

HYDE: That was some of the first music I listened to growing up. Also, there was a certain toxic element you felt from those bands, which you don’t see that much these days. A lot of the bands now don’t even drink alcohol. People might say it has nothing to do with the music, but for me, it had a lot to do with the music. Rock n’ Roll music isn’t supposed to be healthy.

K.A.Z : There should be a sense of danger to it.

HYDE: Yeah. That’s the whole appeal. It’s like cigarettes and alcohol. As a kid you fantasize about them because you’re not supposed to go near them. I don’t want to be a band that forgets all that and all of a sudden puts on a clean image and sings about how everything is going to be OK tomorrow, you know (laughs)? That fundamental Rock n Roll attitude is something I never want to lose. Because I believe that is the essence of rock music.

What other bands have shaped your style?

HYDE: I love Linkin Park. Also, what Marilyn Manson does is something I’ve been doing for a long time and can really relate to. The whole blasphemy stuff can sometimes get too much (laughs), but in terms of dealing with the contradictions we face in this world, the things all human beings have, I think he’s got a point. He does get a lot of criticism for it especially from the Christian society, but he’s basically singing about the paradoxical nature of the human world, which I can totally understand.

If you could travel back in time to the mid 1980’s and meet one of your favorite bands, what would you tell them and why?

HYDE: I heard Nikki Sixx used to be a jerk back then (laughs). I’d really like to meet Nikki when we was a real badass. Probably because he went through some pretty rough times and became who he is now. Some of it may have been exaggerated, but I would love to see how crazy he actually was.

K.A.Z: Instead of meeting a band, I would love to go to a festival that happened in the mid-80s. Just to get to see all the bands at their peak and soak in the vibe.

vamps2
If you were going to be played on US/UK radio, what songs would you like to be played before and after your song?

HYDE: Wow.

K.A.Z: We’ve never been asked that question before.

HYDE: I would like to hear them play Linkin Park and then VAMPS and then Depeche Mode.

Any particular song?

HYDE: I don’t mind. Personally I like the earlier stuff from Linkin Park and as far as Depeche Mode, I love all of their stuff.

What about you K.A.Z?

K.A.Z: Musically they are quite different from us, but maybe play AC/DC before us and…. I don’t know… I would love to hear our songs played at strip clubs. You know how like in the movies they play a lot of classic hard rock music at strip clubs in the US. Like Motley Crue are the perfect example. It would be cool to hear our music played in that kind of environment. It would make us feel like we’ve joined the Rock n Roll boy’s club.

At the time you formed Vamps did you have any idea you would be this popular?

HYDE: I thought we would be way much bigger than this (laughs)! This is hardly what I’d imagined at all. We have a long way to go especially on an international level.

I love vampire films and my favorite is Cronos by Guillermo Del Toro What’s your favorite vampire film?

HYDE: It’s not a cult movie or anything but my favorite to this day is “Interview With The Vampire.” I’ve read a lot of Anne Rice’s novels and really like her depiction of vampires. They seem more real, modern and there’s something sexy about them.

K.A.Z: I don’t know if it’s my favorite one, but there’s this vampire movie I saw as a child and I remember it being really scary. I don’t even remember the title, but it was in black and white and there was this scene where a carriage passes through a graveyard full of dead bodies stabbed by crosses. It’s a really old film that I saw at a really young age. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but it certainly was the scariest.

If real vampires could form a band, what kind of music do you think they would play?

HYDE: They would sound exactly like us. We are your living proof.

Vamps headline Japan Night at Hyper Japan on July 10 and 11 at London’s O2.

HMRC have devised the worst online system imaginable

Standard

As many visitors to my amazing website know, i have to submit a self assessment return every year to HMRC. And every year I have to return to the hell on earth that is the HMRC submission website.

I also work as a User Experience consultant (UX) so this post is framed very much with that in mind.

Anyway, lets continue with the post (which may contain some sweary prose)

It’s hard to put into words how terrible the whole business process is, but let’s have a go:

1)Go to email to retrieve login ID

2) Login

3) Find out you are not enrolled for self assessment and be all like WTF

4) Try to enroll but discover you need tax ref (UTR) which you don’t have to hand

5) Phone technical help who give you a number to call

6) Call new number, hold for 15 minutes who then tell you they can’t tell you your UTR over the phone and that you should call the number you called in the first place

7) Hit something

8) Return to the office on a Saturday armed with UTR

9) Login, enroll for self assessment

Capture2

10) Get an error message AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

11) Phone technical help again, hold for 15 minutes.

12) Get told I’m logged into the wrong account WTF and that I am enrolled for self assessment but on another user ID. Think to yourself ‘why the FUCK can’t I just have one account tied to my UTR?’

13) Get told they can send me the right ID by post but this will take between 2 and 10 days AHAHAHAHA and that I can ‘have a shot at the password’ and if I get it wrong 3 times I can request a new one which will be sent out via post also WHY THE FUCK CANT YOU SEND THE PASSWORD OUT WITH THE ID THEN?

14) Cry into keyboard

—-

Here’s a better solution:

1) Go to website

2) Provide a few security details to identify yourself

3) Go to self assessment form which you can easily select from a list

4) Fill it out

Or even:

1) Get the paper form

2) Fill it out

3) Cry at technology

DONE

Summary

Lost passwords and lost IDs are huge problems and some of the biggest reasons companies lose millions of pounds each year through needless administration costs. In this example, this issue was amplified because some genius thought it would be a good idea for a user to be able to create multiple accounts tied to the same UTR and then force the user to enroll for specific services which are not carried over to all accounts using that UTR. Surely a far easier solution would be to make all services available in one centralised, verified account?

Anyway, rant over. What do you think? Think I should keep my IDs and UTRs and passwords in better order and this is partly my fault? Yes maybe. Think IT contractors that work for the government should be shot? Think that passwords sent out by post are less secure? You do? ME TOO!!!

I’m on twitter saying more about this and Japanese rock music and occasionally food.

Malaysia Day 11 And 12

Standard

Day 11IMG_2779[1]

So me and GF were in Langkawi and were all like “What shall we do today” when we saw this amazingly professional advert for a ‘Bad Cave Exploration’ and I was all like “what the hell is a bad cave exploration?” and my GF was all like “maybe the bats turn out to be flesh-eating monsters, never satiated until the last drop of human blood has been spilled” and I was all like “nah, it would be like that James Cameron film where they go to explore some caves and it rains and the caves get flooded and most of them die” . Read the rest of this entry