Friday, May 06, 2005

Video and Sheckley and Votes and Louie

When I met Jack Wall, he was John Cale's recording engineer, and was engaged to my friend Cindy. And now he and Cindy have been married forever, have a daughter named Grace, and I've watched Jack create a career writing music for games. Recently Jack told me about his latest project -- he wanted to put game music onto the concert stage.

Which is an idea I found simultaneously odd ("Right," says a cynical little Neil with horns and a pitchfork on my left shoulder,"because the world needs to hear the Mario theme rendered by a sixty piece orchestra") and really cool ("Well, yes," says the homuncule me in the white robe with the wings on my right shoulder, "that might be really interesting. And think about the variety of game music around these days. It's not just things going blippetyblobbleblop, after all. It also may wind up both getting people into concert halls who would never go, while at the same time exposing the people who do go to concerts to an entirely new field of music...").

Anyway, Jack and his friends have made it happen. Video Games Live debuts on Wednesday, July 6th at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles featuring the LA Philharmonic. Then it goes all over the US. Check it out at


Robert Sheckley is extremely ill in hospital in Kiev. His condition is grave.

This is not a good thing, and I'll keep my fingers extremely tightly crossed for Bob, and send worried love to his family, and especially to Alisa and Ziva. And then I'll go to and read some Bob Sheckley stories:

Like Protection,
Bad Medicine
or A Wind is Rising


Hey Neil,
Found a reference from last year saying you would be voting in the UK elections. Did you? Any verdict?
Emrys, Oxford

My verdict is that they really don't make it easy to vote from abroad, and that I should have registered to vote-from-abroad long before the election was announced, because while I did register and sent the PDF file in, the relevant voting papers still hadn't arrived by the time I left the house to come here (nor would they have got back to the UK in time if they had).

(On the other hand, Wealden, where I last lived in the UK, was such a monstrously safe Tory seat that my one little lost ballot is unlikely to have done anything. But still.)


I played the kazoo on Louie Louie with the Rock Bottom Remainders, some years ago (I wrote about it here) and was amused to hear that it's just been banned from band.
Proof that school principals don't always read their Snopes.