Prince and the New Power Generation website

Prince’s NPG Music Club website

Posted by Alienboy on July 31, 2005 04:18 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)
Filed under: Music, Culture/Tech: Internet, Music: Funk, ReviewScroll down to read comments on this story and/or add one of your own.

Exodus
New Power Generation
Music from Msi
Release date: 02 September, 2003

Dear Prince, NPGMusicClub

Ever since I was introduced to your music, I’ve been a keen fan of your work. It was back in the day when I worked at what used to be one of the great Independent record companies, Rough Trade. I was talking about music with one Bob Scotland, (who was fiercely intellectual, Socialist, Scottish and if memory serves, rather a good bass player also!). He was already a huge fan of yours and slipped me a cassette of your mind-blowing double album “1999? – which was only released as a single album in the UK unfortunately – not that that stopped me getting a copy!

I don’t know what happened to Bob, but I know what happened to me:- a lifelong casual love affair began with your music, and just as important, the implied life style, the funk! I could feel the force!! Since then, you’ve been an important part of my life, for funky music is just so damn sexy – and there is so little of it around these days. You were always there for me when I wanted to bump or grind – or both! And I was always there for you, when you correctly told WB to take a hike, turned yourself into a symbol, formed the New Power Generation (10 years on, “Exodus? is STILL one of the GREAT albums in my life’s soundtrack) and later reclaimed your regal crown, I stood by you, defended you, once almost fought for you.

Prince, when the chance came to review your website, the NPG Music Club I was so excited. I thought it might give me a little taste of what it might have been like to visit the now defunct Glam Slam or get in to Paisley Park for one of those hot live party nights you do sometimes.

What I’m about to say might astound you because, unfortunately, the site really doesn’t do you justice. Even over broadband it’s quite slow to load, the click-on-images-not-text links idea has always been better from a designer’s point of view than a user’s – I want to know where I’m going, damn it, too busy to play guessing games, the whole site is too fussy, and finding the links I want so irritating; you really should go find whoever came up with that idea and slap them upside the head. How many people might not take the time to find their way around? Quite a lot is my guess, so the site effectively discourages people from spending time and money there. It’s also not compatible with modern html standards compliant browsers (that means Firefox if you didn’t get that) so sucks technically.

You’re still one of the greatest American musicians, play a mean guitar (along with almost every other instrument), sing like the devil and all that, but the site could be a lot more, well, fun. That said, I’m thrilled to be a member, and already paid to download 2 albums, but that’s just me. However, the track downloads are clunky and not user friendly. I followed the instructions to the letter but it all went wrong and nothing would play. It’s taken over half an hour with your tech support people, who only work Californian hours, and it’s not been sorted yet. HOPEFULLY it will all get sorted in the end.

And why should I have to download each track of a CD separately? I ought to be able to simply download the whole album in one simple operation. And why don’t you include some information? You know, who played what on which tracks, production credits, the making of, that kind of thing. Printable artwork would be nice too. So you missed out on the chance to cross-sell other stuff by keeping me current and you didn’t enhance the music. SLOPPY!

What’s that? What about the music, you say? Well, that’s another story for another day. You’re still one of the coolest creatures that ever walked this Earth but nowadays I guess we’re hearing the same music but somehow dancing to a different tune…

This review of Prince’s NPGMusicClub is also presented on BlogCritics.

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Exodus/New Power Generation Prince & The New Power Generation/Prince
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An apology and several new beginnings…

First of all, I must apologise both to this blog and the entire blogiverse for letting this blog get out of control. There are a million reasons, moving, re-structuring, re-locating relatives, pressure of work, but none of them seems to justify not posting here for the last 3 months.

However, a lot has happened these last few weeks, not least of which is the launch today of 2 New Blogs, both of which are incredibly tightly focussed compared to life here in Alienboy’s World.

With the start of the new football season getting excitingly close, I haven’t been able to resist the opportunity of launching About Manchester United , the blog that does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s all about the greatest football club in the world! This will naturally feature one distant fan’s view of his home town club, one of the persistent features of an ever-changing life!

Another ever present feature of life is food and, to help my continued efforts to diet and lose weight, I’ve started All I Ate Today which is going to detail EVERYTHING I eat, meal by meal, course by course, every little munchie day by day, the whole truth WILL be told. That and a whole load of tangentially connected foodie thoughts can be found.

So, hopefully as life starts to take on a little more definition, after a long period of fluidity and change, a little more stability will allow this blog of mine to grow to a size worthy of an entire world, Alienboy’s World .

work is a 4 letter word

So there I am, hunched over the computer, 20-odd Firefox tabs open, battling to get my head round re-designing our Antequera Villa Rental website, when in from the garden comes Ursula, asking for advice. So we go outside and down the garden path where I find a mound of vine prunings and Ursula turns and says “I’m tired and just wondered if you could help me by picking up these prunings?”.

At this moment it’s a choice between giving in to the presumption that physical labour is somehow “better” than working on the puter and venting frustration that I have now totally lost the precious little concentration and understanding I can muster to upgrade the site. Concentration lost, frustration won. I won but also lost, lol.

Busy days in Antequera…

Ursula and I have now got 8 weeks and counting to finish all the building work and find a new place to live – both for ourselves and Ursula’s mother Stella, who has now decided to move to Spain to enjoy some decent weather.

This week we are putting in a new shower room with the help of our builder Miguel and plumber Antonio. They have seen us through several crises over the last four years and we know we can trust them to do good work!

Meanwhile our best friends here in Spain, Mark and Åsa, are painting the entire exterior whilst Ursula tends to the garden. This is a bigger task than it might sound – there’s over 4000 metres of it for a start – and our newly hired gardener has quit after only one week!

And our new electrician, Andy Parker, who has only recently joined the great European migration trail to the South, is sorting out the tangled web of circuitry left by his predecessor whilst looking after the varied demands of a wife and 2 teenage daughters and coping with his first does of Spanish flu.

As for me, I’m still figuring out how to do a significant upgrade of our website which involves a steep learning curve as an RSS feed or two, Amazon Associates coding, PayPal payment coding , an MPG of Ursula’s Recent satellite TV interview and a total design overhaul to be done. and I’ve only ever built 2 websites before, and that thanks to the user-friendly Web Studio software. It should be an interesting challenge for both it and me!

My First Blogcritique

How Herman Hesse Changed My Life Forever

Posted by Alienboy on March 20, 2005 09:33 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)
Filed under: Books, Books: Philosophy, Books: SFScroll down to read comments on this story and/or add one of your own.

The Glass Bead Game : (Magister Ludi) A Novel
Hermann Hesse
Book from Picador
Release date: 06 December, 2002

As a callow 16 year old virgin, forced by circumstances beyond my control to take premature control of my life, I had many romantic ideas about the world.

Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game completely revolutionised the way I saw the world, showed me the limitations of fixed beliefs and committed me to a life of transcending the usual life options. Or so it seemed at the time, lol

This is a great, if lengthy, book which repays the persistent reader with a wonderful work of fiction, science fiction, a tantalising concept, the Glass Bead Game itself, and a profound understanding of human nature. Great stuff!

I can’t better the writeup at Amazon, so i’ll quote it

“The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, The Glass Bead Game is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature

Set in the 23rd century, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).”

The really great thing is that Knecht (German for servant, I suspect), despite his intellectual brilliance, never forgets the importance of simple human life, indeed comes to value it more highly than intellectual perfection.

Many people are fascinated with the game itself and there many sites devoted to it, notably http://www.glassbeadgame.com/

More fine reading at Blogcritics.org.

(Magister Ludi) A Novel/Hermann HesseThis post originally made to Blogcritics

I must be on a roll

I’ve been accepted as a contributor at Blogcritics , which is great.

They have a wonderfully diverse group of reviewers or “sinister cabal of superior bloggers on music, books, film, popular culture, technology, and politics” as they have been called, although there is also a provocative sprinkling of diehards, blowhards and totally out there loonies!

I’ve been commenting on many of the posts for a few weeks now, so it just seemed right to get a little more involved now…

Awww!

Well, I just logged in to the Manchester United server of the Sunday League to see how the competition to take over my team is going and found this in the Hall of Fame…

Alienboy
Alienboy was one of Man 2’s greats, and is in the minority of managers who can claim to have been a commanding presence on the game over ‘generations’. A real old school manager, his brilliance on the game and wit on the forums hadn’t faded since he joined in late 2002 to when he left early 2005. If anything, one could say he moved from strength to strength – 3 Elite Cups underline just how good this manager was. Proved his resilience on countless occasions, surviving defeats on the forum and on the game to come back stronger, usually having the last laugh along the way. A legend who learnt his trade with the old guard and – along with Pparch – the only manager who stayed at the very top until they decided to call it a day.

* blushes*