Thursday 27 February 2014

Still Alive

This oh-so-cute version of the song from the video game Portal is by young vocaloid Oliver, who here takes on the part of GLaDOS, the evil 'Genetic Life-form and Disk Operating System' from the game (a character that is also in the first half of the sequel game Portal 2).

Here he sounds like a five or six year old – half his pitched age of 11 to 12; but d on't be lulled by the young boy's voice or his speech impediment. This robotic character is evil: you just wouldn't necessarily realise it without knowing at least something of the game or by really thinking about the lyrics (which are presented here in amusingly-written subtitles).

Ah well: even at the end, despite all that was done to him, he's 'still alive'...

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism

Something I mention quite often, and have covered here in the past (though swept away in the big clear-out I did last year) is the so-called Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism, whose 'recommendations' (actually a policy programme designed expressly to destroy a society and its culture from within) were being pursued by the Blair and Brown governments of 1997 to 2010.

It is easy enough to spot the precise match when one looks down the list – lifted from the tap 'blog – which also conveniently tells us why several of the 'recommendations' have been made...
  1. The creation of racism offences. 
  2. Continual change to create confusion 
  3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children 
  4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority 
  5. Huge immigration to destroy identity. 
  6. The promotion of excessive drinking 
  7. Emptying of churches 
  8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime 
  9. Dependency on the state or state benefits 
  10. Control and dumbing down of media 
  11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family
It is worth following the above link and reading the rest of the post: it is very illuminating, and shows how Britain has already become, in effect a proto-Communist state. It also proves that, despite the clever sales pitch and the charm of the 'front man', New Labour was, at its core, just as 'red' as it had ever been – just better camouflaged, at least until the already thin veneer started to wear away and ever more people realised they had been duped all along.

Also note that it is near-enough impossible to undo much of the damage already inflicted (we cannot remove racism offences, for an example right from the top of the list), although a few can be corrected – such as number 8. Others fall in between, such as (eventually!) unravelling all of the contradictory and confusing legislation so that Eric Pickles' intended Grand Repeal Bill can go ahead one day.

All of that is, of course, why the present government is making such slow progress in straightening out our by-now severely skewed society, and is significantly hampered through being stuck in coalition with an essentially Labour-complicit party.

That must change next year if we are to have any realistic hope of getting our country back from the Communists. That is how stark the future for Britain now is.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Schrödinger's Kitten

The tale of Schrödinger's cat is widely known, but why not a kitten instead? As today is 'Neko Day' (Cat Day), this delightful Daniwell song – even without English words – featured in an equally delightful video with two Lat Miku models is a very good choice. I particularly like the blue outfit.

As usual with Daniwell's compositions, you just can't help but bounce along to it, smiling and perking up. He just has the effect...

Thursday 20 February 2014

Smallest Budget – Shortest Budget Meeting

Medway Council's meeting this evening to set the coming financial year's budget (including a modest increase in Council Tax), as well as a couple of other items of business, was over in a shorter-than-expected time of around two and a hour hours, in fact a fraction under that.

Again we had the claque of public sector Union bods flooding the public gallery – well, not quite as it happened, as an additional 108 seats (six rows of nine each side of the aisle: I counted 'em) had been put out, but not one of them was needed. Of course they had their own (largely disruptive, as before) agenda, and again they – and Labour councillors – tried to suggest that the sixty or so there represented 'the people of Medway'.

Oh no they don't: they number under a fortieth of a percent of the borough's population, who are vastly more diverse than the one-dimensional batch we had dominating the public gallery this evening. As I strongly suspected last time, this is to become a permanent feature of Full Council meetings for 2014 and beyond. Fortunately, trouble had been anticipated and there was a police presence throughout – which tells you something, and which probably explains why the claque was less extreme in its behaviour this time round.

Not that they had rehearsed or planned the occasion's activities all that well: at least once, Cllr Vince Maple (Labour group leader), deploying his most nasty ever voice, paused significantly for the expected applause, but his dimwit claque forgot to applaud until he glared at them. They shouted over him too much as well, and that caused obvious annoyance to the Labour leader.

This clearly wasn't what they had planned between them (and yes, it was glaringly obvious that it was all a set-up job: one didn't need to a senior member of MENSA to work that out).

As for the speeches: as always at these events, each political group (just three this year) gets unlimited time to speak for one member, after which the normal rules apply including the three-minute limit. Here are the timings for each speaker, with last year's figures in parantheses...
  • Cllr Jarrett [Con] – 36m 42s (2013: 51m 05s)
  • Cllr Maple [Lab] – 17m 55s (2013: 21m 54s)
  • Cllr Juby [LD]  – 5m 15s (2013: 5m 11s)
So, all were shorter – although only fractionally in the Lib Dem case. The pattern was broadly the same, though. Cllr Jarrett went through his budget in moderate detail, highlighting a number of generally good initiatives as he does every year. I could tell that it was becoming a ever tighter struggle to make it work, and was stretching a point here and there; but overall it turns out to be a well designed and structured budget that it, by and large, good news if not exactly wildly exciting.

Labour did what they always do (at least since 2010, when the national government changed, so this is the fifth such occurrence in this exact form), which is to ignore their job and instead abuse the unlimited time-frame and more extensive than usual media presence as a platform to attack the national government on various topics, rather than deal with Medway's council budget.

As ever, they tried to camouflage that aspect by token references to 'the effect on Medway' or 'services in Medway' or some other such artifice, but probably few will be fooled by that. On the rare occasions that there was any actual Medway relevance, it was the usual tired old rhetoric, at best misleading and at its worst out-and-out dishonest.

As in previous years, they have not contributed any budget proposals of their own, either in advance or as amendments on the night, showing they have nothing to offer. Once upon a time (and I witnessed this personally) they did contribute to the budget debate proper, and I have known the Conservative Group occasionally accept at least part of their proposals where they were properly costed, funded from actual sources, and justified – so it can be done.

It just isn't done nowadays, though, because the Labour Group are now worthless to the Medway community; and they obviously realise it themselves, so bluster instead, hoping that no-one will notice. It is very telling indeed that they have felt the need (desperation?) to employ such severely underhand techniques as those we witnessed at this and the previous council meeting.

They have shown not only how low they are prepared to sink, and how inherently dishonest they are, but also that they have absolutely nothing of any value to offer. That is now proven, and will never be forgotten: the line has been crossed, on a one-way street!

In the end, the budget was of course passed, on a so-called 'recorded vote', with the Conservative Group (all but one absebtee who was abroad doing charity work this evening) voting for it, the Labour Group (all but two absenttes) voting against, and two of the Liberal Deocrats not voting at all. The third Lib Dem (Cllr Diana Smith) voting 'for', which probably surprised a few others there – but |I have long known that the lady's heart is in the right place, and I doubt that many if any of the other councillors, of any party, would disagree.

This does mean that Medway's Council Tax will be going up a little (just under two percent), the first rise in four years. Contrast that with the national double of Council Tax during the Labour years, though not as severe as that here, admittedly. It will still be the lowest rate in Kent, and remain one of the lowest in the country. It's a very good deal; and I think that the voters of Medway would do well to remember this when they go to the polls in next year's all-out council elections here.

Addendum: As expected, the Labour-friendly media outlets are already posting slanted (and, frankly, very limited and largely irrelevant) commentary on the meeting. I am not going to waste your time on them, so am not even going to bother to post any links to these (they are that far beneath contempt) but I shall certainly remember who they are, in case of future encounters, perhaps at a later Council meeting.

The biggest clue to the first of these I encountered today was that there was nothing whatsoever in the article about the actual business of the evening: the budget, or any other item on the agenda. Nothing! Big give-away there...

Y'see: there are essentially two types of reporter (and pseudo-reporter): those who report what is, fully and across the board; and those who write selectively to promote a specific agenda. The latter are trash, and best ignored.

Decorator – New Video

This is definitely worth posting here, as a conventional yet significant video of the new kz (livetune) song Decorator. The video was produced by WakamuraP in collaboration with SEGA, which tells us something.

This will be one of the seven songs on kz's upcoming mini-album Decorator EP that is due to be released for purchase from 5 March 2014, and there will also be a DVD with this and a couple of others, along with a Decorator game, about which I know absolutely nothing...

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Paganini, Miku-Style

I'd like to hear any of the Miley/Gaga/Rihanna/Madonna types, or similar ilk, attempt this!

Paganini wrote deliberately challenging violin pieces, which even today very few can play well. Attempting this, his Caprice No. 24, purely vocally is a near-enough impossibility for anyone else – and even Miku finds it is pushing her own limits on the highest notes – is a rare challenge indeed, yet this was produced just over five years ago when Miku was scarcely a year and a half old, and there was still so much for her users to learn.

Older folk here in Britain will recall that this particular composition was used as the theme to London Weekend Television's South Bank Show, which made Melvyn Bragg a household name and featured the Julian Lloyd-Webber 'cello arrangement of the Caprice.

As for playing the violin with a leek (Japanese: 'negi') as a bow – surely that must be a case of Negi-nini more than Paganini...

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Pocket Miku

Those old enough to remember the Stylophone (my brother had one) will recognise its modern equivalent, Pocket Miku. It's the same shape, the pattern of the 'keyboard' is much the same, it has the same kind of stylus attached by a similar short wire – but this gadget sings with Miku's voice – either the notes' sol-fa names or one of five preset lyrics.

You can listen either via the built-in speaker, or headphones/ear buds (I suspect something is supplied with the unit, but cannot be sure of this). As a product of the digital age, it also has a USB port.

If Pocket Miku were ever to be marketed outside of Japan (and perhaps its immediate neighbours), I wonder whether it would still have the kind of 'new fad' impact its precursor did all those decades ago.

I suspect we shall never be able to find out, but perhaps if some were bought 'over there' by western tourists and brought back to their own countries a demand might build to the point where it was irresistible. I suspect it'd need more than five songs and 'Do-Ray-Mi' to be in a version that could sell well here, but that's not difficult to implement.

Warren Wood School

I am so disappointed to find that Warren Wood Primary School has again had a bad Ofsted report and been placed into what are termed 'special measures' for the third time in a decade or so.

The first time was a consequence of the death of its former head teacher, Peter Coker, who was so well liked, respected, and a strong positive influence, that his passing dropped the bottom out of the school's world. That happened a short time before boundary changes moved the school into the – then new – ward I was to jointly represent from May 2003.

Thus I came into an existing situation, and tried (very) hard to be supportive but not intrusive. Though I'd be there for every event to which I was invited, such as the opening of the Evergreen language unit, most of what I did was behind the scenes.

All seemed well; and bearing in mind that schools even then were (rightly) becoming less caught up with their local politicians and more independent in general – not that this fact will stop opposition politicians trying to turn this situation into a party political attack, but that merely shows how low and how dishonest those types are – a watching brief was the right approach and I and my two ward colleagues (one of whom was expert on education) were content throughout the years that followed.

As (now) an outsider, and again not wishing to stick my nose in, I really do not know what has gone wrong since – twice more now – but it is very sad that such an inherently good, very interesting, and formerly well-run primary school is having such difficulties.

Indications are that, yet again, it is pulling itself out of the mire, under new leadership; but I can't help wondering how it got there yet again, on this occasion. Perhaps something serious happened that isn't public knowledge (nothing is referred to in the above-linked article, and I wasn't aware of anything).

The only (possible) clue is the line that "governors have been removed" from the school. Now, I have personal knowledge of how Boards of Governors in certain other schools I could mention have been 'stacked' with what might be termed a specific faction with its own agenda, so yes I am well aware that – as with any other body, especially one with voting and/or speaking rights, boards of governors can also be 'rigged', there is no indication that this was necessarily the case here.

Nevertheless, having governors removed is a significant – and serious – step, for whatever reason, so this might at least be an indicator of something more than trivial in this department. One could speculate (and I have a few possibilities in mind) but at this time we just don't know anything of substance.

The bottom line must be to get this valuable school back up to scratch, and more 'solid' than it has ever been before, so that this might never happen again. We can fully understand and sympathise with the original situation back in 2003, so it seems more reasonable to treat this as the second real case of 'special measures' through avoidable circumstances. Let's not have a third instance of that, ever!

Monday 17 February 2014

Green Green

Just a dose of cuteness with this old familiar song given a new treatment, this is an unreleased child Vocaloid from nearly five years ago, under the title 'Project if', performing in Japanese. From the comments at the video's YouTube page, the gender of the child is indeterminate, and that might even be deliberate so that the product could be used as either male or female.

An interesting point also raised is that, for legal reasons, the voice provider for such a voicebank cannot be identified. The same applies to Yuki Kaai (aged 9) and Oliver (aged 11 to 12), for example.

Anyway, as I was pointed to this over the weekend, we here can still enjoy what might have been, but seems to have been abandoned rather than merely shelved. There is no interesting visual content, but it doesn't really matter on this occasion...

Saturday 15 February 2014

Trilingual Torinoko

I haven't featured Torinoko City, by 40metresP (usually shortened to '40mP), for a long time; so here it is in three languages by the very versatile – I was tempted to write 'talented' – Maika.

The languages switch at the ends of lines, in no particular pattern, so this is in effect a demo piece for Maika. I get the impression that, although the Spanish and English parts are excellent and very good respectively, her Japanese pronunciation, at least here, is less than ideal, one Italian commenter describing it as having "a rude Italian accent" (whatever that means!)

Meanwhile, Maika has been provided as a 14-day free trial download from this page – but be warned: the ZIPfile installer is over a FigiByte in size...

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Making the Wing Shop Statue

This pictorial-style video, without any speech, shows how that impressive life-size figure we saw in the Wing Shop was made...

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Faux ''People's Forum' Meeting

In a rather transparent attempt to further manipulate public perceptions, Medway council's Labour group arranged what they have termed 'an alternative council meeting', under the even more pretentious official name 'The People's Forum'– which was held at the Corn Exchange in Rochester yesterday evening.

As soon as I became aware of this wheeze, about a week ago, I sussed out what it was really all about, and prepared some predictions. I was going to publish them here, then decided it was better not to forewarn the Labour folk that I was well and truly on to them (and no doubt, by extension, others were too) so left it to unfold in its own way. I stocked up on popcorn and awaited the fun...

I had been tempted to put in an appearance myself, but decided against that as well – and, looking back a day after the event, I believe that both those decisions were the right ones. No-one can attempt to claim that I tried to 'influence' or 'subvert' the event in any way: that rug was pulled from under those who might have liked to try that one on!

.Fortunately, there was tweeting going on from within the meeting throughout, most notably by Rd Jennings, who tends to be (on the whole) fairly sharp, and generally spots what os really going on. His tweets are very telling; and the string of them can be read starting here and working forward along his timeline. It is very educational...

Exactly as I expected, it was an attempt to get local voters away from the courtesies of an actual council meeting, so that they could play their political games unimpeded – and, of course, as it was Labour, that was the one and only true purpose of the event, though they will of course claim otherwise. Years of experience has show a hundred percent correlation, though, as simply following how they handle these events and what they claim afterward gives away, every time.

The bottom line was to be (as always) to make Medway Labour look 'good' and 'in touch with residents', unlike 'the wicked Tories'. Plus ça change...

Equally as I predicted, the meeting was stuffed with labour councillors and local party members – and, I suspect, a number of Labour's out-of-area members/activists whom local observers would not have recognised, but who had given away in public places (e.g. Twitter) their intention to be there. The Labour group leaderhas claimed that the majority weren't Labour people. Although this is what one expects to be said, for all anyone knows it is possible.

There is probably no way to find out how many genuine local residents without a Labour affiliation were there: probably not very many in reality, despite that claim, if previous public events by the party locally are any indication (I have been to a fair few of those!) The local media dutifully attended this one, which was of course a vital part of the exercise.

There were two issues to be discussed, and Ed spotted exactly how each was presented in a way that (if you read his tweets in full) was designed expressly for that purpose.

I have to say that I find this sort of thing mildly entertaining: not only is it an attempt to 'cheat' by bypassing rules of conduct at council meetings (and the Labour lot already tried that at the last meeting, much to my non-surprise), but it was selective, one-sided, and with little time for actual debate – just nine minutes for the second item.

That second item, the plans for Rochester Airport's future, had the interesting (and unwanted by Labour) ingredient of my own writings on the topic being briefly quoted. Awkward; and definitely not fitting into Labour's narrative!

The point being raised was that the fears being put about by the scaremongers were ill-founded, as evidenced by the numerous other small airports in Britain that had already done what is now being proposed for Rochester Airport, without trouble and with a reduction in noise – counter to the scare messages.

I shall go into no more detail than that, as it could easily become tedious and make this post over-long. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of what has followed the event is that, rather than their usual trumpeting of their wheezes, claiming this, that and the other, they have in fact been very quiet about it. Apart from a couple of predictably gung-ho tweets, nothing material has appeared in the public realm – or if it has we haven't been pointed to it – a good day later.

My strong suspicion is that they are struggling to find a way to dress it up as any kind of success – which is obviously what they are seeking to do. The impression I have gained from a few sources is that it was something of a damp squib in reality – which at least is consistent with other events run by Medway Labour. For example, one well-publicised event, conveniently located close to shops and on the weekend, attracted fewer members of the public than the exhibitors and presenters.

I was there, so can personally attest to this...

Will people be fooled? I suppose it will depend to a fair extent on how the local newspaper writes up what happened. I don't think they will be gushing with praise for the initiative, though I could be wrong: there are angles they can use as an excuse for builfing this up a long way beyond what it really warrants.

Fortunately, as local election results have shown over the past decade and a half, the public mood had consistently swung more and more toward the Conservatives, and nearly always against Labour. Most people around here who have fully functioning brains have them well sussed-out and aren't falling for any of their nonsense, no matter how cleverly it is dreessed up or how craftily tailored to give the outcome they want (as distinct from that which is true).

Coming as it does some fifteen months before the next all-out local council elections here in Medway, it is likely to have a fairly modest effect for a short while, and that will then fade away, long before polling day. All remains well...

Addendum: It occurred to me, while re-reading it, that those less familiar with my writings might have thought I had actually wished for this meeting to be poorly attended by the public. In fact, for reasons that will probably be obvious to just about any half-decent or better psychologist, my preference is for the exact opposite. I want the public to be drawn into this sort of deception – at least for now.

It is the best way to learn truths, being immersed in the untruths, rather than having avoided them and never learning through personal experience and embarrassment when one realises what has been done to oneself, and just how easily the victims slipped into the pattern so skilfully prepared for them. It is a lesson well worth learning; and will (after it has bitten, and bitten hard!) make my job a lot easier in years to come.

The Wizardry of OS-TER

If you liked OSTER project's Alice In Musicland, which I featured here a few months ago, you'll go for this similarly-presented version of Music Wizard of Oz, again with the Crypton 'Vocaloid All-Stars' playing all the parts and providing the voices, this time with the addition of Gumi..

It will help to know the original story, as no English words have yet been provided – hardly surprising, as it has only just appeared. No doubt a translation in the form of subtitles or captions will appear one day, and I shall then showcase that here.

In the meantime, it is again a mini-masterpiece, longer than the Alice production at just over twenty minutes..

Sunday 9 February 2014

Victor Borge – Hands Off!

While we're enjoying the most entertaining pianists of yesteryear, here's the inimitable Victor Borge in a typical operatic item where some perfectly good soprano gets the 'Borge treatment' and the audience has a wonderfully entertaining time.

As with Liberace, there's nothing like this around today, and the public mood is for 'plastic' performers they can download onto iPods. How shallow has become the talent pool this millennium...

Saturday 8 February 2014

Liberace with Sammy Davis Jr

For those old enough to remember these two – especially the pianist and showman extraordinaire 'Lee' Liberace – and for those who might benefit from knowing what we 'oldies' had back in the day, here's Malaguena and a little bit of nonsense afterward.

It was so much better then, when we had real entertainment with nothing more than a stage and a band. That's genuine talent and showmanship! Who needs a Wrecking Ball when these guys had it all...

Friday 7 February 2014

Let It Slam

This, from Disney's Frozen, has been made available for sharing and embedding, and is well worth a watch and listen. Although it isn't quite to my taste (and I have no idea who is in that photo), and the singer's (one Elsa Frozen) eyes are a bit too stare-y in places, it is truly spectacular and very well devised and realised.

The title is given as Let It Slam, though the main line in the song itself is 'let it go', which thus seems a bit odd, but there you go. I strongly recommend switching the view to full-screen...

Let It Slam (From Disney's "Frozen") [Quad City DJ's vs. Idina Menzel] from djbtown on Vimeo.

Thursday 6 February 2014

Quotation of the Year!

Well, I think it is worthy of that accolade, and is a good reminder of what is and isn't genuine in modern culture. Indeed, there are other areas to which one could apply the same thinking.

This is from one Alan Douglas, and appears on the MikuStar site's Introduction page – and, if you follow that link, yes the mouse pointer is supposed to do that...

"The world is filled with fake celebrities, pretending to be something they are not, remade by image consultants, keeping up appearances with a polished veneer. Hatsune Miku is none of these things. She is exactly what she appears to be, with no pretense or deception. She is the sum total of the hopes and dreams and creative energy of her legions of adoring fans, and can be nothing else. She is quite possibly the most genuine celebrity to ever grace the earth."

Jolly Hockey (Joy)sticks!

This actually surprised me, and looks like great fun! It's the Miku Miku Hockey video game, and is an absolutely charming version of the old bat-and-ball game of yesteryear. You wouldn't think that something so simple and from the past might still have some mileage in it!

I wonder if it will appear in the west one day...

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Snow Miku 2014 Sculpture

Not just that, but a good (though not outstanding) light show on it, featuring two songs including the new Mitchie-M one that I showcased here last week. This happened in Sapporo just hours ago.

The video clip is just over five minutes altogether, including a short announcement at the start...

Dream Fighter – Times Nine

Just for fun, here's an ensemble of no fewer than nine Vocaloids and Utauloids performing Dream Fighter with (much of the time) individual movements. It must have taken a long time to produce this!

The base (Lat) model is identical, simply having different head details to suit each character; and three of them have solo spots within the song – although they are miming to the actual singers who are a human group called Perfume. The song comes from that group's 2009 album titled Triangle.

The performers are (identified by hair colour and style)...
  • Blue (twin tail) : Hatsune Miku
  • Yellow (short) : Kagamine Rin
  • Yellow (side tail) : Akita Neru
  • Red (twin 'drill') : Kasane Teto
  • Pink (shoulder length) : Momone Momo (桃音モモ)
    Purple (short) : Defoko a.k.a. 'Utane Uta'
  • Purple (long) : Utane Oto (Defoko's younger sister)
  • Green (long) : Marine Rimo
    Brown (twin tail) : Eika Sachi

Monday 3 February 2014

Cherry Blossoms Rock!

Not for the first time, though perhaps never before so spectacularly, a Vocaloid song is being 'covered' (as they say these days) by human performers – in this case, the Wagakki Band is performing Senbonzakura ('A Thousand Cherry Blossoms') at a Japanese shrine, with their special combination of modern and traditional instruments.

It is a useful reminder that the sheer quality of Vocaloid music is, inevitably, percolating through into the mainstream, slowly but surely; and now it has begun in earnest it will not stop. The buying public do not always merely soak up commercialised pap, but often demand better. Fortunately, the material and its composer/producers already exists....

The traditional Japanese instruments include koto, shakahachi flute, and the guitar-like shamisen (and the young lady playing one of those is very distracting!) and it all works perhaps surprisingly well: this really is quire something...

Saturday 1 February 2014

Love! Snow! Really Magic!

That is the title of the latest song by the incomparable Mitchie-M, and it really does sum up those wonderful winter festivals they have in Japan this month (February), especially the one in Sapporo that is featured within the song.

This year's Snow Miku is based around the Magical Mirai concept, so all the pieces are slotting together for this song that will no doubt become the festival's theme this year. It is already designated as the Snow Miku 2014 theme, but I can see the festival adopting it as well – if they have any sense, and I'm sure they do.

The video's style uses the cardboard cut-out style characters we saw in OSTER Project's pantomime-style Alice In Musicland video that I featured here some months ago, and works really well, the way this has been structured and presented overall. Very clever, and oh so Japanese! They get all the fun over there...