Monday, August 31, 2015

Pheaturing Glenn Aitken

Hi there, good evening and welcome to the Phile for a Monday.  So, Ashley Madison brags about landing 80,000 new women who they pinky swear are not robots. First, hackers released private data about who was using website Ashley Madison for "discrete" dating, aka cheating. Then, we found out that Ashley Madison users were overwhelmingly men and robots. And now, Ashley Madison's parent company has released a statement about how chill everything is over at illicit robot affair headquarters. Avid Media is bragging that "hundreds of thousands" of new users have signed up even since the hack, and that 87,596 of them are women. Just ladies, ladies everywhere. Human ladies. And you know what's so sexy about them? How they're not bots.  How much would you love a Hawaiian vacation right now? What if that vacation lasted a whole year? And you spent it in a dome located in an abandoned quarry, locked inside with five other people? Sound good? Also, you have to put on a spacesuit to leave. That's the treat in store for six volunteers taking part in NASA's Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (or HI-SEAS) experiment. The experiment is meant to test the viability of a manned mission to Mars by simulating the experience of living in a Mars base right here on Earth. That means eating nothing but canned food, breathing nothing but canned air, and having nothing but canned conversations with the same five people for a full year. They won't even have full access to the Internet. The aim of HI-SEAS is to see if the "astronauts" will be able to get along, or if they'll try to murder each other and become sole despot of Mars. I give it three weeks.  Do you know who Rachel Bilson is? Well, she gave her baby a Disney princess name. But it's a weird one, because she's a celebrity. Actress Rachel Bilson and you-probably-forgot-he-was-her-husband Hayden Christensen named their baby Briar Rose. And Christensen told "Us Weekly" the reason: "There’s a Disney reference there I suppose. The original Sleeping Beauty is called Briar Rose. Rachel... we both love Disney... but Rachel especially was very keen on the name." Yeah, I suppose that is a reference when you give someone the exact same name as a character whom you love. I see the connection. But Briar Rose is kind of an obscure reference (at least it's not "Br'er Rose"... that would be a whole different news story). If they really wanted people to get the Disney aspect, they should have just gone with Sleeping Beauty Bilson-Christensen. Or Minnie Mouse.  Did you kids watch the VMAs last night? I kinda wish I did now. Miley Cyrus officially left nothing to our imaginations, she flashed her nipple on live TV. This "nip slip" was by far the most calculated moment of the Video Music Awards. It was more planned than the Taylor Swift/Nicki Minaj kiss-and-make-up sesh. It was much, much more orchestrated than Nicki Minaj throwing the B word in Miley's face. It was... inevitable. The Free the Nipple campaign is one of Miley Cyrus's pet projects, so of course she wore her button proudly last night. Her button is the nipple itself. What's there even to say about seeing Miley Cyrus's nipple? It's like when you haven't even seen a movie, but everyone around you has seen it and talks about it so much that you feel like you were there opening night. Miley Cyrus's nipple is the Citizen Kane of nipples: exactly what you expected. Here it is just in case you wanna see it.

Start writing those complaint emails now, people. Moving on...  Last night also at the VMAs, Kanye announced he's going to run for president in 2020. Just another reason why it's important for young people to watch TV. When West was presented the Video Vanguard award, he made an honest 12-minute speech about art, his reputation, millennials, and the future. And most shockingly of all, he criticized all brands. This was a rare moment in the show that didn't feel planned by our VMA overlords to stir up excitement (unlike Taylor lying that "College Dropout" was the first album she bought on iTunes).  Bryce Petty, the new quarterback for the New York Jets, made an offhand tweet about pizza and his fans went crazy. After leaning about Domino's new AnyWare system, which allows you to text Domino's a pizza emoji as a means of ordering pizza, he basically tweeted, "Whoa. That's cool." No big deal, right? Well, seeing as New York is the pizza capital of the world, and how as quarterback for the Jets it is Petty's duty to be unapologetically jingoistic about how amazing NY pizza is, his fans went off. Bryce was quick to realize what he had done, and issued an apology. He also made a joke about the whole "scandal," after seeing that it was posted about online. This has been Pizzagate 2015.  So, did you survive Hurricane Erika?

We will rebuild. Haha.  Did you see the new Bernie Sanders campaign poster?

Briliant!  There's a new movie Batman movie coming out. No, not that Batman movie... This Batman movie.

Mexican Batman. I bet it'll be good.  By the way, this is not me age I went to school...

It looks like me though, right? No, he's better looking.  Remember when you'd go to summer camp as a kid and they'd make you write a letter home, so your parents would know that you're not dead? Well, the last few weeks I have been showing you actual letters kids wrote from summer camp. This is the last of the summer entries so I will show you one more letter.

That was brief, right? And now for some sad news.

Wes Craven 
August 2nd, 1939 — August 30th, 2015
He was born in Cleveland, which explains quite a bit.

Oliver Sacks 
July 9th, 1933 — August 30th, 2015
I'm racking my brain over here trying to think of something funny to say about this guy.

Wayne Dyer
May 10th, 1940 — August 29th, 2015
Looking for a funny obit? Help yourself.

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so back in November I think it was the Norway ride Maelstrom at Epcot closed down to make way for a Frozen ride. In the old ride there was a polar bear who kinda was glad he was free because what he really wanted to do was stand-up. So, various times I had him on the Phile here to tell some jokes and try out his material. He hasn't been here in awhile so I thought it was due time I had him back. So, please welcome to the Phile once again...

Me: Hey, Petter, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Petter: Hei, Jason, ikke veldig bra. Fortsatt prøver å gjøre mitt komedie.

Me: Ummmm... Petter, once again I don't understand Norwegian and I don't think my readers do either.

Petter: Unnskyld... I mean sorry.

Me: That's okay. So, do you have any jokes for us?

Petter: How does a polar bear stop a VCR?

Me: Haha, Polar bears still use VCRs? Ha. I don't know, Petter.

Petter: It just presses the "paws" button.

Me: Funny. That could of been used with any animal that has paws.

Petter: How do you keep a polar bear from charging?

Me: I don't know.

Petter: Insist that it pay cash!

Me: Petter, I hate to say it but these jokes are really bad.

Petter: What did the polar bear put on the sign when seals were very scarce?

Me: I don't know.

Petter: "Tourists Welcome!"

Me: Ugh. Petter, you have one more chance then we have to move on.

Petter: What do you call a dream in which polar bears are attacking you?

Me: A nightmare.

Petter: A bitemare!

Me: Petter, good try. Thanks for coming back. Come back real soon, okay. Good luck out there.

Petter: Takk, Jason. Bye, alle sammen.

The 39th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Suzi will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a very talented musician originally from New Zealand whose new album "Platform" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Glenn Aitken.

Me: Hello, Glenn, welcome to the Phile. First of, I have to say I am a really big fan after I downloaded your album "Platform" from iTunes. How are you, sir?

Glenn: Hi, Jason, great to be here! I am doing very well thanks and many thanks for becoming a believer in my music.

Me: You're originally from New Zealand, right, but live in London now. What made you decide to move?

Glenn: Yes indeed, I grew up in New Zealand and left the beautiful country for the world in 1995, I travelled throughout Asia... China, Malaysia, Bali, playing music in 5 star hotels 6 nights a week and ended up on a desert island in the Maldives for about 5 years! I was destined to be there forever until a chance meeting with my all-time musical influence offered me the chance of a lifetime... to come to London and pursue my musical dream.

Me: I am originally from London, but live in Florida. I was born in Balhem but lived in Putney near Wimbledon. Whereabout's do you live?

Glenn: I live just around the corner from Putney, in Fulham SW6.

Me: Cool!  Do people ever think you are Jason Statham when they see you? Haha!

Glenn: That's a common one actually... either that or Freddie Lumberg (I believe he's a footballer). Someone on Facebook recently posted a pic of me and R Kelly saying we looked alike. Hmmmm. Not really no.

Me: Yeah, he's black. Let me see if I can find a picture of Freddie Lumberg...

Me: Yeah, I can see that. By the way, his name is Ljungberg. I just watched the video you made for the song "Ordinary People" from your last album "Extraordinary Lives" and really liked it. Whose idea was to film it that way?

Glenn: Thanks! It was all my idea (he says humbly). I am also a photographer/videographer and I wanted to do something very difficult photographically... which was to shoot the whole video at a very slow shutter speed, and have me move at 300% of normal life... then when we sped it up to normal I was moving normal and everyone else is blurred and fast. It was REALLY hard! Playing that slow in –1 degree C (it was winter time) and walking is tough as you need gravity to move and when you have to walk without it... sore legs!

Me: Was that the first video you made? Was it fun, or boring?

Glenn: It wasn't the first video I have made, but the first that I starred in. I loved every minute of it, except perhaps when the police stopped us for filming at Heathrow...

Me: Where was it filmed and how did you get those people to move so fast while you moved slow? 

Glenn: We filmed in various locations around central London, anywhere there were crowds or action. I decided on Westminster as there was a demonstration, Covent Garden as its always jammed, and Heathrow because of the traffic and planes. As I mentioned, it was using a photographic trick... where I sung along to the track (slowed down 300%) and walked and moved like a zombie (funny in a crowd I tell you), and everyone else just was themselves. Because of the slow shutter speed (1/6 sec) when we sped it up they became blurred and I was more or less normal. I really wanted to make the effort, rather than shooting against some dumb green screen. Its not perfect, but I feel it suits the subject matter for the song.

Me: I have a screen shot of the video to show everybody. It really is cool.

Me: This pic does it no justice, but you are playing slow and the cars are whizzing by you. You have a really good band on your two albums, and it is produced nicely. Did you get to choose who you would work with?

Glenn: I was very lucky to work with John Ravenhall... a very big producer who has worked with Sting and Kylie and many others... he was in charge of the whole album project, and had some musicians he wanted to use, and we put them together with some of mine too, with the sole ambition of doing what was best for the song / album. I brought in my favourite sax player Greg Lyons... who played on Central Park in Fall, and my favourite bass player, Paul McCartney (winking smile) who played on "Ordinary People."  

Me: Do you have your own band? \

Glenn: Yes, I do, I have a fab 5 piece band and we are currently touring the U.K., doing select festivals and smaller venues. I am on vocals, acoustic, saxophones and Simon Small the guitarist also for Chicane and who has worked with Tom Jones and Rod Stewart on guitar, Wojtek Kroll... who has worked with Groove Armada and Maxfield on bass, Alex Paolillo on keyboards and Lee Aaron... U.K. young drummer of the year finalist on drums.

Me: Glenn, you traveled to some crazy places, places I would never want to go to. Do you like to travel?

Glenn: Yes, definitely... travel is the essence of life and I am always going somewhere! I got to see the most amazing places and people and experiences on my travels, and it gave me so much to write about for my albums.

Me: Tell the readers some of the places you've been to. Ever been to America?

Glenn: I have been throughout China on the trains, the whole way around. So much history, sadness,  poverty. I have flown completely around the equator to so many small and crazy countries like Oman and places in the Caribbean and South Pacific, some beautiful, some exotic, some tragic. I have been to America a couple of times... we recorded and mixed in Chicago... such a great city.

Me: What about touring over here? Would there be anyone you would like to tour with? Say... Paul McCartney...

Glenn: I would love to tour the USA... I have had many emails pleading me to come over since Paul McCartney put one of my tracks on his "UNCUT" magazine album of favourites. If you can get your readers to buy enough albums I certainly will ! And as for supporting Paul .. well...  

Me: Okay, you know I had to ask, Glenn. You signed to his publishing company MPL Communications. How did that happen?

Glenn: It came about in the Maldives where he came on holiday, he got to see me play and I guess was suitably impressed.

Me: So, you met the man? Where, how and what was that like? Did you shit in your pants?

Glenn: Yes, very much so, I spent a lot of time with Paul, I was filming his underwater dives, recording the backing tracks with him for the DVD, doing a private dinner gig for him (which brought about my publishing deal as I played some of my tunes) and also doing a private gig with him where we played about 7 Beatles tunes together. Unforgettable.

Me: Are you still mates with him?

Glenn: I am very honoured to have him as a friend, we see each other not so often as he is the most busy musician on the planet, but I have had a few dinners and meetings and had him come and play on the album too, which is just the greatest musical moment of my life.

Me: You are a lucky bastard. LOL. You were a finalist in a U.K. Songwriting contest three years in a row which is cool. You must really like what you are doing. How many songs have you written?

Glenn: As I said at the beginning of my album credits... I am a lucky man. Bastard probably. But having said that, I have always pushed for my dream, paid my dues (read: played 6 nights a week for 10 years) and have... although Paul helped open a door and shine a light... walked the path myself. I wrote over 130 songs for the first album, and did well in the song writing contests, won the U.K. Loopstation contest, and other things, which is nice to get recognition.

Me: Was it easy or hard to pick the songs for the albums?

Glenn: Very tough! Lucky I had a good producer to help. Imagine only one in ten songs gets to be heard on the album... heart wrenching!

Me: So, what's next, Glenn? Any new music planned?

Glenn: Always! Always writing new stuff, I am really excited about the next album... which will become reality when I pay this one off! (So about 2130 then).  "Overload"... one my new tunes was finalist in 2010s U.K. song writing contest... so at least I know I am on the right track.

Me: Man, I wish you continued success. I really love the album, and cannot wait for more music from you. Why don't you go plug your website, sir?

Glenn: Thanks again for your support, Jason, and please help to be one of my musical ambassadors. My website is, Facebook is Glenn Aitken Music, Twitter is @GlennAitken and just Youtube Glenn Aitken to see more.

Me: Take care, and tell Paul I said hello.

Glenn: Thanks again. Will do! Thanks again in for your belief and support.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Glenn Aitlen for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with musician Chad Valley. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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