Head Noise Set at Electric Picnic 2013

Head Noise (the chaotic improvisational alter ego of Joshue O Connor) will be playing in the Body & Soul area of the Electric Picnic.

Do drop by – fuzzy beats, drones, mangled samples, cosmic ambience will all mix (in the best possible taste).  After playing the Picnic in 2012, and having a blast – I’ve decided to do it again and really hang my balls out there and do something improvised and truly ‘live’. Many times I’ve been jamming and been graced with nice sounds and synchronous ‘accidents’ and often wished others were around to experience it. Well, now I get my chance (in front of a crowd) and I humbly beseech the Universe to be kind.

My fender Jaguar will go through an Akai Head rush, via a Wah – and I have a couple of midi controllers (MPD24 and Akai Mini MPD25) triggering samples and instruments via Ableton Live.

I’ll be somewhere near these rolling stones..


My new book ‘Pro HTML5 Accessibility’

So I wrote a new book. It’s about building an inclusive web that rocks and that can be used by everyone including older people and people with disabilities. Pro HTML5 Accessibility shows how to build an Inclusive WebOut of some strange perverse Catholic fear of ‘self agrandisment’ I had felt a little duty bound to keep the whole thing on the ‘down-low’ – but not anymore!

While I  have no interest in being on some nerd  ‘The XML Factor’ or ‘HTMLs got Talent’ I am proud of it – and I think its a good book. So if you are interested in HTML5, ARIA, accessibility and user centered design go buy it, or download the eBook.  w00t! Go me.

And to the 6,000 people who’ve already downloaded my book via a torrent – get bent.

Buy Pro HTML5 accessibility on Amazon.co.uk
Buy Pro HTML5 accessibility on Amazon.co.uk
Buy Pro HTML5 Accessibility on Amazon.com
Buy Pro HTML5 Accessibility on Amazon.com
Get Pro HTML5 Accessibility from Safari Books online
Get Pro HTML5 Accessibility from Safari Books online
Buy Pro HTML5 Accessibility from Barnes & Noble
Buy Pro HTML5 Accessibility from Barnes & Noble

Spaced out? Deranged? Hello new baby!

Do you feel like a burned out zombie? Are you mumbling to yourself as you stand spaced out in the supermarket talking to tins of processed food? Is it LSD burn out, jet lag, fallout from a world tour with the Stones? No, welcome to parenthood!

Nothing prepares you for the barrage on the senses that it having a new baby. Now there is a new little man sharing a bed with your beloved, he is demanding, unrepentant, hungry, too hot, too cold, windy (wind is public enemy #1), and very very lovely.

Everything is different. And in a good way but a lot of the sentimental speculation that you did before the arrival of the new Obergruppenfuhrer about how it would be, just don’t stack up. Cute walks in the park, endless re-runs of Kung Fu panda are nowhere to be seen. He didn’t even appreciate the football that we got him (I will keep that for when he is a couple of months).

You do get puked on, pissed on, crapped on and kept awake at times when you would give several internal organs and all your worldly goods for an hours sleep.

But thats the deal. I am now addicted to caffeine, and thank God for West wing boxed sets (I didn’t realise it would be so contrived but witty) and I am counting the days when the cholic will pass and we can try to match the homely mirage of a peaceful family life.

So before I give you the impression that I would sell, or swap my son for an iPod on eBay – I wouldn’t. Before you call social services bear in mind that I love my new son very much, I wash his shitty clothes and lovingly remove the oceans of milk that collect and harden under his little neck while he holds onto my pinky like it was a lifeline through this terrible adventure that is birth.

Playin in a rock and roll band..

The Cookie Monsters, Midand Wasted. Deathly Statue of Bigotry.
The Kali Yuga Liberty Bell

In a dark cave in the wilds of Meath the Cookie Monsters have dusted off their axes, picked up the nearest sticks and stones and started grooving in a punky reggae party stylee.

The Cookie Monsters were born out of the ashes of some old circuitry, broken drum sticks, and past it fuzz pedals. Insert into mixer and blend, add some words and things and shake it up and stir.

The Cookie cocktail that emerges runs the gamut from shiny metal noise and punky riffs, via some lost 13th floor Elevators and MC5 demos. But the Cookies are an unpredictable lot so who knows where it will end? They may even disco..

The new EP “Midland Wasted” is a frenetic mix of DIY punk spirit, improvisation and experimentation. Frenetic energy, and riffs mix with lyrics about stuff. Many of the tracks capture the immediacy of their inception as they are often parts pulled from the air, with Josh’s Stream of consciousness lyrics that reflect the world we are in post 9/11 paranoia, where consumerism is worshiped by unthinking consumer zombies..and thats just Josh.

So whats it all about eh? Is it real,is it all a dream? Are we a part of some cosmic plan or just some minor random atomic accident, on it’s way to rubbing itself out in it’s rush to end up a historical footnote? Who knows! Who cares! Download the Cookie Monsters EP. “Midland Wasted” and find out.

Of course its all here, along with reflections on modern relationships, the search for identity, some passable Dave Gilmour impersonations by Josh and groovy backing vocals from Emmet, and Crocker.

The Cookies are Crocker (Funky Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, vibes), Emmet ‘The Big E’ Newman (Bass, Vibes) and Joshue O Connor (Drums, lead Guitar, vocals, lyrics). EP Engineered by Alun Smyth. Art and Production by Josh. No Cookies were harmed in the making of this record.

Corporate sponsored Miracles and a discount Paradise

“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” [Arthur C. Clarke, “How Science Will Revolutionize the Twenty-First Century” (1999) by Michio Kaku, p. 295

Some believe that sound has a divine source, that it is the primal force of creation and maybe even the source of all things. There is some substantial anthropological culture to back up this view, and it is fun to gather seemingly disparate threads that link the hems of ancient religions some living, some dead.

This idea that ‘somehow’ there is unity and purpose – coupled with the notion that nothing has any meaning are both equally alarming in their implications. How this effects you depends on how you look at things. Either realisation can result in inertia. One brought on by fear the other – laziness. Either way you must own your realisation and try to exist dynamically with your framework of choice.

So what are the threads that bind us? Some random force or a wave of meaning that is refined and merely beyond our senses? Or is the answer somewhere in between? We often look for extremes to define ourselves when more prosaic imagery would no doubt suffice. There is nothing wrong with simplicity. After all it is not the big words that are difficult – but the small ones. People can use big words all day, without the dust that lays on their brain being disturbed by the slightest pulse of movement. It’s the small words that challenge us.

More and more technology engages our senses in amazing ways, but still leaves us doubting them. Too often in this age when we encounter the miraculous (if we are fortunate enough) we treat it with the skeptical distain that we now harbour for the myriad wonders of our age. We may have gone to the moon, or not, I can talk to a friend on the other side of the planet in real time, both are miracles of different character. We are no longer moved by miracles and we now expect them, they are our due. Most now have shiny corporate logos, I await the day when we have apparitions in Lourdes brought to us by Apple.

So have all miracles been devalued to the common place? We are dedicated now to growth at any cost. All modern miracles must support this paradigm or they are seditious. Our continued expectation of an even greater tomorrow means that we will happily sacrifice our present for the hope of some great future. Our oil hungry modern world is a vampire of profligacy and speculation. We not only dig up paradise and pave it, but expect the very act of parking our cars to be an equivalent transcendent experience.

We expect so much now in this time of material strength that we cannot remember the darkness. Over time we take this new happiness to be some deserved solid state – it is anything but. Those who have Gods will thank them for the blessings in their lives, others the blind gene pool that spun their world. Is either view superior? Shall we say one or both are fools? Who is to say one is deluded by seeing the divine in a spiders web? Or another peering through the night sky or viewing a microscopic universe – believing that the sum total of everything is nothing, isn’t? Who is to say that one view is in shadow and the other in sunlight? Maybe desire colours our view more than we can realise, so we may be measured more by the quality of our aspiration than by the quality of our Gods.