Category Archives: Choob chart

Choob Chart – The Top 10 Geekiest Pop Songs


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It’s the time of year for resolutions and one of mine is to update the ol’ blog more regularly than I managed in the second half of last year. So, without any further ado, here is a brand new feature – The Choob Chart.

Thanks to TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory and stars such as 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey, Geeks have never been so cool. So my first choob chart is my list of the 10 geekiest rock and pop songs ever recorded.

Now, there are a few ways of defining geeky music. For the purposes of this chart, the songs must be inspired by, be celebrations of or, at the very least, substantially reference, geek-friendly subject matter. They must NOT have been specially composed as part of a larger geeky project. So, for example, Still Alive, the song from the closing credits of the video game Portal was written for the video game and therefore exists solely as an integral part of something uber-geeky to begin with.

Also, the songs must be the work of established and (to some extent) commercial acts. This means no songs by self-publishing internet amateurs or YouTube stars, no matter how good they are.

10. Mutants In Mega-City One – The Fink Brothers

I Am The Law by Anthrax is the best known song about 2000AD‘s legendary future lawman Judge Dredd. But I’m opting for the more obscure Mutants In Mega-City One by The Fink Brothers (which was a one-off side project of Madness members Suggs and Chas Smash) for two reasons. First, I’m not really a fan of Anthrax. Secondly, and more importantly, I bought the 12-inch single back in 1985. It came with cover art and a free Dredd poster by Brian Bolland.

It’s far from zarjaz, musically, but the guys do know their Dredd lore and the lyrics are full of references to Mega-City life and characters. After the music video below there is a brief appearance by Suggs and Chas in costume as Fink Angel and his brother Mean Machine.

Which brings me to two geeky gripes. First, they should really be called the Angel Brothers since Fink was the christian name of one of the Angel gang, not their surname. And second, the song repeatedly has Dredd referring to citizens as “Earthlets” which, of course, is a word 2000AD’s alien editor Tharg The Mighty uses, not Dredd. Tut!

9. Doctorin’  The Tardis – The Timelords

Again, musically, this mish-mash-up of the Doctor Who theme tune, Gary Glitter’s Rock And Roll (Part Two) and Blockbuster by Sweet is far from brilliant (though this didn’t stop it reaching the top of the charts in the UK in 1988). But its geek credentials are impeccable.

Quite apart from Whovian-cred, The Timelords was an alter ego of The KLF, the anarchic acid house legends whose origins and philosophy were heavily inspired by one of the all-time great works of geek literature, The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. So the Timelords and their 23-year-old song have more than earned their place in this chart. Or, to put it another way, they’re justified and they’re ancient…

8. Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me) – XTC

A Sgt. Rock movie has been in the works for years now. Years ago, Arnie was lined up to play the non-superpowered DC Comics WWII hero of Easy Company. More recently, Bruce Willis has been linked to the role, with Guy Ritchie directing. The latest rumour has the action being rather ridiculously moved from WWII to a future war. Don’t hold your breath. If non-comics geeks are aware of the character at all, it’s probably thanks to this fine track from new wavers XTC, released in 1980.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

7. In The Garage – Weezer

Although this song – from Weezer‘s self-titled 1994 debut album – is more about a young geek’s appreciation of his safe haven, where he can geek out away from prying eyes, without being judged or ridiculed, there are some great references at the start to the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler, along with Dungeons and Dragons and 12-sided die. Pretty good song, too.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

6. The Prisoner – Iron Maiden

Several years before I ever saw an episode of The Prisoner on TV (it was rarely repeated on TV when I was growing up, in the days before video and DVD box sets), I knew the show’s opening dialogue off by heart thanks to this classic Maiden track from their legendary 1982 album The Number Of The Beast. You’re spoiled for choice, really, when looking for geeky references on Maiden songs through the years (for example: The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner, The Wicker Man, Lord Of The Flies, A Brave New World, Murders In The Rue Morgue) but this is one of the earliest and, given the cultish nature of the TV show that inspired it, this is arguably the geekiest. They revisited The Prisoner two years later with Back In The Village, on the album Powerslave.

5. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt. I – The Flaming Lips

Now, you can read this song (and, in parts, the 2002 album of the same name it comes from) in a number of ways, from an anime-inspired futuristic tale of a young woman fighting to save the world from robots in revolt, to a more thoughtful, allegorical meditation on the importance of individuality and creativity in the face of pressure to conform and be subservient in the corporate rat-race.

For the purposes of this chart, I’m going for the former!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

4. The Eighth Day – Hazel O’Connor

Talking of revolting robots, here we have the plot of The Terminator neatly summed up in a song – four years before James Cameron’s movie was released! Okay, so the idea of a war with sentient machines was a sci-fi staple long before 1980, but still. The song qualifies for my chart because although it was written for a film – 1980’s Breaking Glass – it’s not a sci-fi film and so the song is not self-referencing (Hazel O’Connor plays a pop star struggling to cope with sudden fame and The Eighth Day is simply one of her character’s songs).

Adding to the geekiness of the song, note the costume that O’Connor wears while performing the song in the film. Tron wasn’t released for another two years.

3. History Of Everything – Barenaked Ladies

Yes, I’m bending my own rules ever so slightly here, since this song was written to be the theme song for every geek’s favourite sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. However, it does not reference the show or characters and is a great standalone song that crams the creation and 14billion-year history of the universe so far into one minute 45 seconds PLUS its future and ultimate destruction. It also has a great video, about which I have written before.

2. Hanging Out With Halo Jones – Transvision Vamp

Transvision Vamp singer Wendy James had a great voice and there were some great songs on the band’s first two albums. Most interesting from a geek perspective was the song Hanging Out With Halo Jones, from their 1988 debut album Pop Art.

The Ballad of Halo Jones was a much-loved story that appeared fairly early on in the life of 2000AD and is still regarded as one of the comic’s finest strips. Unusually for the macho, testosterone-fuelled 2000AD, in an attempt to make the comic more female-friendly, the main character was an ordinary teenage girl (albeit from the 50th-century Earth) and the storyline was a lot more thoughtful and philosophical than most of the other strips of the day.

It was written by Alan Moore before he hit the big time working for the big American comics publishers and I think it surpasses much of his later, better-known work, including Watchmen. The strip was beautifully illustrated by Ian Gibson, one of my all-time favourite 2000AD artists.

Sadly plans for a nine-volume storyline, following Halo Jones all through her life from youth until old age, fell apart when Moore fell out with the then publishers of 2000AD over creators’ rights and the series stalled after three volumes were published. It’s well worth getting hold of the reprinted collected editions if you’ve never read the story.

Transvision Vamp were clearly fans and this song was great homage to the character:

Since there is no video or live performance for the song I can find, here are a couple of bonuses. They all come from the late, lamented (by me, if nobody else!) Night Network, circa 1988. ITV’s first attempt at through-the-night programming, it aired on Friday and Saturday nights and was aimed squarely at a young audience staggering home from the pub.

The first two videos feature the cast of a Halo Jones stage play performing a couple of scenes plus an interview with 2000AD founding father Pat Mills and acclaimed artist Kevin O’Neill (Nemesis The Warlock, Marshall Law, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

And here are writer Peter Milligan and artist Brett Ewins talking primarily about their 2000AD strip Bad Company.

1. DC Comics and Chocolate Milk Shake – Art Brut

I’ve featured this song on the blog before. Art Brut‘s frontman is the very geeky Eddie Argos, comics reviewer and the world’s biggest Booster Gold fan. The song is about embracing your inner geek and refusing (or being unable) to grow up and leave childish, geeky things behind just ‘cos that’s what’s expected of you. Amen, brother!

And as a special post-festive bonus, here are three more geeky songs that don’t really fit the rock/pop requirement but deserve to be included as companion pieces to the main list.

i. The Galaxy Song – Monty Python

Some excellent astronomy-based geekiness courtesy of Eric Idle. this is probably my favourite song from Monty Python’s 1984 film The Meaning Of Life, although Every Sperm Is Sacred certainly does have its charms…

ii. Elements – Tom Lehrer

The periodic table, in song, from the great Tom Lehrer. Quite the feat of memory, never mind extreme geekiness.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

iii. Star Trekkin’ – The Firm

The Choob has already spotlighted this one. Possibly the most annoying geeky song. Yet we all love it. Um, don’t we…?

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Lost Week: The Best Lost Fan Vids – Part Two


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Well, our six-year journey almost over.

As I type this, we are less than five hours away from the start of the final episode of Lost (less than two hours if you’re on east-coast USA).

So here is the finale of the Choob’s Lost week – one last batch of the best fan videos I could find (plus a few professionally made ones).

Enjoy and I’ll see you in another life, without Lost, Brutha.

Here’s US talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel‘s excellent reaction to the controversial Jacob and Man In Black origin episode a few weeks ago:

I so wish that this product was real:

Previously on Lost:

Muppets!

The Swedish Chef!

Next, The Onion News Network reports on how the final season makes Lost fans more annoying than ever. Harsh but fair!

Desmond: The Brutha! compilation:

And finally, this official ABC promo originally aired, I believe, during the 2006 Superbowl. It’s Robert Palmer‘s Addicted To… Lost?

Final Season Of ‘Lost’ Promises To Make Fans More Annoying Than Ever

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Lost Week – The Top 10 Moments In Lost


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Earlier this week, I posted my list of the best scenes from Lost.

Today, it’s time for my favourite little moments from the show – by which, I mean the brief little incidents, or big action scenes or snippets of dialogue that didn’t necessarily add anything to the ongoing story (though many of them did) but added to the fun and/or the wow factor of the show.

And so, in no particular order, here are the ten best Lost moments:

First up, Dr Leslie Arzt – a cautionary tale. Leslie was one of the more entertaining of the supporting cast of B-list survivors we met. After complaining about not being included in any of the missions carried out by the main cast of survivors, Jack, Kate and co take him along on their expedition to get some dynamite from shipwrecked 19th century sailing ship The Black Rock:

The following scene isn’t really part of my list but was a nice little season six nod back to Leslie’s fate in season one:

Talking of things exploding, there had been much discussion during season two about whether keying those numbers into the compter every 108 minutes did indeed prevent a world-threatening disaster or whether it was just some sort of Dharma Initiative psychological experiment. In the season two finale, we found out:

And here is what happened after Desmond turned that key:

Next Ben at his most vulnerable and wounded:

And here’s Ben at his coldest – specifically,  his response to Locke after killing Keamy, the man who shot his daughter, despite the fact that Keamy had planted a bomb on the freighter, where many of the plane crash survivors had been taken, and rigged it to detonate if his heart stops:

Talking of Ben’s dark side, here’s the moment he sided with The Others and took revenge on his drunken dad and the Dharma Initiative for making his childhood miserable:

That’s enough death and destruction – time for some lurve from the two couples who have, in their different ways, given Lost its heart.

Here’s the heartwarming moment when Rose got her reward for keeping faith that her husband Bernard was still alive somewhere, even though he was not one of the survivors on the beach after the plane crash:

This reunion tops even that:

Next, the island vanishes:

This was Locke’s defining moment in the early years:

And finally, I’m a fan of Glasgow Celtic FC, so these two Desmond moments were just priceless:

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Lost Week: The Top 10 Scenes From Lost


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There have been so many wonderful scenes in Lost over the last six years, it’s tough to pick just 10.

But here goes anyway. This is all from memory – if I did it again tomorrow there might be a few differences but, overall, I think this is a pretty strong representation of the best of Lost. If you think I missed any out, be sure to let me know your favourites in the comments.

The only rule I decided to impose when choosing my list was that the entries had to be proper, full-length scenes that served some sort of purpose in terms of plot or character development. In other words none of the fun little throw-away jokes or brief action-orientated set-pieces – we’ll do that list later in the week.

It goes without saying that the following list contains spoilers if you have not watched up to at least the end of season 5.

So, in descending order:

10. Michael Shoots Anna-Lucia and Libby. We’d seen at least three major characters bite the dust by the time this happened in season two but the way Ana Lucia and Libby died, so sudden and unexpected and at the hands of a friend, means it is still the most shocking death scene in Lost history (though the murder of Ben’s daughter Alex comes close).

9. Ben Saves Locke. Ben Kills Locke. Despairing at his failure to convince the Oceanic Six to return to the island during season four, John Locke decides to end it all. But Ben’s there to save the day. That’s lucky… or not!

8. Destiny Catches Up With Charlie. Despite Desmond’s best attempts to change fate, Charlie was destined to die. But before it happened, in the final episoe of season three, he managed to perform one last heroic deed (though, in saying that, I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument as to why he couldn’t have just shut the door from the other side…):

7. Jack’s Eye and The Crash Site. The opening scene of the very first episode, which hooked us all. Still looks awesome, six years later.

6. Juliet and the Bomb: This one comes in two parts. First, the final scene of season five. Jack believes that detonating an atomic bomb inside one of the island’s weird magnetic pockets in 1977 will return them to their own time and allow everyone to live island-free lives. He drops the bomb down the hole but nothing happens. Then…:

What happened next? We found out Juliet’s fate at the start of season six:

5. Desmond’s Long-Distance Phone Call To Penny. In what may be Lost‘s greatest episode (The Constant: season four, episode five) Desmond is bouncing uncontrollably through time. With the help of Daniel Faraday, he works out that his lost love Penny is his “constant”, who can anchor him to the correct time zone. But for her to do so, he needs to call her from the island in the present, something he can only do if he can persuade her eight years in the past to give him her phone number:

4. Ben Wants Milk. Back in season two, when we didn’t really know whether Ben really was an Other or simple a balloonist who’d been blown off course, this scene provided the first real hint of the darkness within. It also shows exactly why the producers decided that Michael Emerson needed to be added to the main cast instead of their original plan, which was to have him appear for just a few episodes. It comes after “Henry Gale”, as Ben claimed to be called, drew a map showing the location of the remains of his balloon  and Sayid, Ana Lucia and Charlie had set off to find it.

3. Back To The Future With Miles and Hurley. A very funny scene from season five, in which an increasingly exasperated Miles tries to explain the finer points of time travel theory to (the viewers and) a bewildered Hurley… who nonetheless manages to get the final word.

2. Introducing Desmond. The opening scenes of seasons two and three (you can find the latter here) complement each other beautifully. The season two opening gets the nod for this list ahead of the season three intro because it came first, it finally let us see what was inside that hatch they had been teasing us with for most of season one and, of course, it introduced us to Desmond, who would become arguably the show’s most popular character and certainly the most important to solving the riddle of the island (and, I suspect, who will be the key to the story’s resolution). Looking back at this scene, it’s still looks (and sounds) great – but think back to how you felt watching it when it first aired, before you even knew the structure was on the island, before you knew who Desmond was and before you knew what was the deal with that beeping computer.

1. Hoffs/Drawlar: The moment, at the end of season three, that changed everything we thought we knew about Lost

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