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  • O. Buxton "Olly Buxton (@electricray)" - Vitriol tempered with redemption: The Floyd smell the coffee

    What with the punk explosion, the late 70s must have been a tough time for prog-rockers - and none would have felt it worse than the kings of unfathomable psychedelic rock themselves, Pink Floyd.

    Well, think about it: as far as Joe Public is concerned, it's a flip of the coin whether you or the Callaghan Labour government are responsible for the Sex Pistols. Either way it doesn't look good for your prospect of selling any records.

    So is the goose finally cooked, then?

    Not quite.

    Step forward Roger Waters, a thoughtful and articulate - if irretrievably hung-up - man, and a man who must have been growing increasingly frustrated at being typecast as the progenitor of long albums peppered with infrequent, impenetrable lyrics (been "caught in the crossfire between childhood and stardom" recently, anyone?), lavish but inexpert keyboard knoodling and gifted but indulgent lead guitar work. (Readers may like to know I take a dim view of Wish You Were Here.)

    So Mister Waters calls a band meeting. He says, "alright chaps, now listen up: this time we're going to do it my way. David: crank your guitar up. Play urgent, driving, dissonant chords. Make your solos somehow less comfy - put some edge in there, make it discordant, really wind it up. Rick: less knoodling from you, please: just play a few chords and keep your mouth shut. Nick: go drive one of your racing cars. I'll call you when I need you. If I need you. Everyone: Here are the lyrics I've written. They're about pigs, dogs, sheep and Mary Whitehouse. It's a political allegory. There are forty five pages of them."

    Well, you can just imagine the curt stage whisper from D. Gilmour, can't you. Gilmour is known for his dry wit. But at this point, what remained of Waters' sense of humour had all but evaporated - he was shortly to get to the point of gobbing at fans in concert - so perhaps Gilmour saw the valour of discretion and kept his trap shut. And, like a general directing an army, Waters brooked no further argument. Animals was born. Ironic, really.

    Happily, the result is just what the doctor ordered as an antidote to "the malaise": an intense, urgent, driving album. In parts, it's (deliberately) ugly. But mostly, it's angry: Waters' invective is at his most stinging, and this time the targets (political and moralist figures amongst them) are thoroughly deserving of his ire.

    And suddenly, the Sex Pistols and the Floyd are on the same side of the fence again. You wouldn't read about it.

    Nevertheless, the record starts and ends on an unexpectedly reflective note - opener Pigs and its closing reprise are far more tender than you'd credit, and for that very reason I think the album itself works better than its more reknowned successors. Where both the Wall and the Final Cut transpire to be permanent downers, Animals has the scent of redemption about it.

    Not something you'd say about much of Roger waters' recorded output since, methinks.

  • Charles LaBorde "Charles L" - 3D Glasses at Bargain Price

    I just bought my second Panasonic 3D television for a second home. With my first 3D set, the starter bundle, which included Panasonic's own active shutter glasses, was part of the deal. This time with no such offer, I had to decide between the Panasonic type I already owned or trying a new option. I opted to try the SainSonics, since reviews were positive from most buyers and the glasses were less than half the price of the Panasonic glasses.

    Result of my quest for a quality but economic alternative are very positive. These glasses work great. I see no difference in quality from the more expensive brand. I have no problem fitting the glasses over my own prescription glasses. The glasses are lightweight but well-built. They also have extra nose pads, but I haven't needed those. The glasses come with a cloth bag to protect them. The Panasonics came with a hard case. The bag has a drawstring and is an acceptable alternative to the Panasonic case. The charging cable works great and is virtually identical to the cable for the more expensive pair.

    I see no downside to these glasses. They look great, feel great, and work as well as the Panasonics at half the price. Great deal. Great product.