Vuurwerk Vijftig!

Jingle Vara's Vuurwerk (by Vengeance) by Vara's Vuurwerk on Grooveshark

Whoa. Nostalgia. Back when I was a young metalhead, in the long ago days of the late eighties/early nineties, every Tuesday night I would listen to the one radio show that actually played metal, Vara’s Vuurwerk, presented by Dutch singer and media personality Henk Westbroek, with occasional guest presenting by the network’s big boss Marcel van Dam. Hearing that jingle for the first time in years brings back memories, especially of the programme’s annual Top Fifty Metal Songs, broadcast over Christmas and chosen by the listeners. The 1990 edition especially, extended to 65 songs because that was the network’s 65th anniversary year, molded a lot of my tastes in metal. Now, thanks to some enterprising soul, a selection of Vuurwerk programmes, mostly from 1987 but with excerpts from that 1990 list, are available on Grooveshark.

Battle Hymn

Just heard S. won’t be out of hospital tomorrow, as they want to keep her a few days longer to make sure she’s allright, which is … a bit annoying … It put me in the mood for a bit of schlock metal to get rid of some of my frustration — what better than Manowar’s Battle Hymn? The video shows all past and present members of the band rehearsing for their German tour back in 2007 iirc. Naff as fuck, but I’ve always liked this song, first hearing it at the same time as I discovered David Gemmel’s equally shock fantasy novels, especially Legend and Waylander, which it fit perfectly with.

Light linkblogging

Learning to Read Adam Roberts and On Learning to Read Adam Roberts
How do you solve a problem like Adam Roberts, a writer every book of which I’ve read I’ve disagreed with and/or disliked? Whom, despite this, I still keep coming back to every few years or so. Bad writers you can dismiss, writers that you dislike you can dismiss, even writers you like and enjoy you can often set aside more easily than a writer that irritates you, like a piece of sand in an oyster.

Vuijlsteke brainstorms the right colours to use in a health check for some server or something
For now he’s settling on a scheme with five colours between dark green and dark red. Myself, I’ve more and more realised anything but three colours (safe, unknown/undecided and danger Will Robinson danger) is overkill and confusing especially to higher management. Really high management (or “overhead”) only needs two: “need to deal with this to be finally rid of this project” and “let the little people worry about this when we’re gone”.

Remember when Iron Maiden got a number one hit?
The discussion is a bit unfair on “Bring your Daughter …to the Slaughter” which is a better live than single track but interesting in seeing people’s opinions about who’s actually listening to metal. The consensus seem to confirm my own hunch that it was both the boys you wouldn’t trust in woodshop with a sharp knife and the more nerdy dreaming types with Tolkien posters and D&D habits as well as people like, well, Ben.

Somebody else fed up with the Holland Uber Alles message of much current advertising
Not to mention in current politics cultural commentary, popular culture… Holland is a decent enough country to live in, if it were not for a large part of the people living in it and their absymal tastes in everything. Dutch culture does not have to be inferior to anywhere else, but by and large we’ve mostly seem to haven given up competing with the big boys and retreated to celebrating our own mediocrity. As long as it drapes itself in orange and clogs and windmills any old shit can sell as shinola.

The Comics Journal has been redesigned and under new management
It keeps its worst aspect though: having to register to be able to comment. I hate sites that do that, especially when if you really feel the need to filter your readers, use OpenID and let people register with e.g. their Livejournal accounts rather than setting up your own crappy registring process. does this as well and my comments nine out of ten times still get eaten. Doesn’t endear me to the fsckers.

Metal Monday: X, Y, Z — back to AC/DC

For the last (for now) installment of Metal Monday we’ll tackle the last three letters of the alphabet. Or we would, if there was any band worth mentioning whose name starts with those letters. Instead, let’s feature a band from the start of the alphabet not yet featured here: AC/DC. More a hard rock band than a heavy metal band, never quite gotten the same kind of respect a Zeppelin or a Priest has had from the critics, but still going strong thirtyseven years on. Here are some of my favourites:


Back in Black:

Whole Lotta Rosie, featuring AC/DC’s original vocalist, Bon Scott:

Let There Be Rock:

Metal Monday: spandex and the devil

Moving along to the “V” in our Heavy Metal alphabet, two bands spring to mind that are almost as different from each other as you can get within the metal genre: Van Halen and Venom. Van Halen, the American band of Dutch origin was the first big Hair Metal band, making metal mainstream, while Venom was the founding band of the Black Metal subgenre, which revels in satanism and shocking the bourgeoisie. Both are bands I like a couple of songs quite a lot of, while the rest of their oeuvre leaves me cold.

So, which songs do you think about when Van Halen is mentioned? No you pervs, not “Hot for Teacher” but these two:


And “Running with the Devil”:

Venom has never been a, well, a very good band; it’s more the sort of band you put on to shock your mother.

Calvin and Hobbes

Yet the band does have a certain charm and attraction, as shown here in “Welcome to Hell”:

“Countess Bathory”: