Tag Archives: United States

CHESS In Concert DVD & CDs Available Tuesday

Chess In ConcertIf you think the only musical theatre entry of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA is MAMMA MIA!, you’d be wrong. Shortly after the last songs of ABBA’s catalogue were completed, the members of ABBA decided to take a break from the group, and Björn & Benny decided to try their hand at writing a musical. Tim Rice, well known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, was in the market for new composers to work with for his idea of building a musical around the idea of a Chess championship. After having met Björn & Benny and deciding to work together, the process of bringing Chess to life was born.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice established a successful formula of trying out the songs from shows they wrote in a “Concept Album” format that got released to the public long before a staged version of the show got made. This methodology was an invaluable way to see if the songs were good enough to warrant the time and expense of launching a full scale musical. Instead of going to the expense of launching a full show, it’s a chance to release the album to the public and see if it generates enough interest. If the album tanks, a fortune has been saved, and if it succeeds, then it creates an audience for the show when it gets launched.

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Why The Music Industry Is Failing In Today’s World

Longing For Lullabies - Kleerup Featuring TityoI’ve long felt that the music industry has been out of touch with reality with the business model it has been using since the Internet became so popular. My opinion remains unchanged but I wanted to share a recent experience, that had the record industry been set up to capitalize on it, they would have not only gotten a sale from me, for which I was perfectly willing to spend money on, but because of sheer stupidity and region issues, I was forced into downloading for free, what I was perfectly willing to pay for.

I am a subscriber to Sirius Satellite Radio and one of the programs I like to record on my Sirius Radio is a weekly broadcast called “Nordic Rox” which is a three hour program specializing in music from Scandinavia. The witty tagline for the show is that it is home for “Good Looking Music.” The program is hosted by Sven Lindström and is sometimes joined by Per Gessle of my favorite group, Roxette. As I tend to like acts from Sweden, it’s a good opportunity each week to hear some classic and new material from Scandinavian artists. Well on one of the recent shows, I came across a song entitled “Longing For Lullabies” performed by the remix outfit called Kleerup featuring vocals by Titiyo. Titiyo is the younger sister of Neneh Cherry, and half-sister to Eagle-Eye Cherry.

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The Stockholm Syndrome: Is America Becoming Like Sweden?

Stockholm SyndromeWith the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States, and the election of the most liberal congress in many years, the concern is that socialistic government ideas are going to be making their way to America and turning America into another Sweden. Sweden is one of the most highly taxed nations in the world and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” a politically minded show with a strong emphasis on the comedy of it, takes a satirical look at what they dubbed, “The Stockholm Syndrome.”

To accomplish this task of seeing out the differences between America’s traditionally capitalistic society and it’s proposed future as a socialistic society, the Daily Show sent “reporter” Wyatt Cenac to Stockholm to explore socialism. In the process he meets up with Swedish people for interviews on the street, interviews of conditions in the factory of a Swedish truck manufacturer as well as government officials and Swedish pop stars Robyn and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA. The topics include health care and high taxation. There’s even an amusing surprise revelation at the end of this two part report.

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First Look – Mamma Mia! The Movie Deluxe Edition Soundtrack

Due to one of my local retailers putting out their stock of new releases on Sunday instead of Tuesday, I am able to offer a sneak peak to Tuesday’s US release of the new Mamma Mia! The Movie Deluxe Edition Soundtrack.

The Packaging

The Deluxe Edition Soundtrack is housed in a hardbound book that’s roughly the size of a standard DVD plastic case. When the “book” style packaging is opened it reveals a printed book attached the the front part of the cover and a heavy duty 2 disc clear plastic tray glued down the the back side. As the book tends to look more like a booklet that’s just glued to the front side of the cover, when you open it, you’ll see the back cover of the booklet and you’ll have to manually flip to the pages you want.

The discs included are a soundtrack CD that features different screen printing on the actual disc from the previously released version. Instead of a photo from the “Voulez-Vous” scene, the disc now features a shot of the main cast in their “Waterloo” scene outfits lined up with sparks flying in the background. The track listing of the CD is also printed on the disc below the image. The bonus DVD that’s exclusive to this package, also features the same “Waterloo” image except the text below the image indicates it’s a bonus DVD.

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Wow, $1.32 For A One Hour Call From The USA To Australia


With the closure of ABBAMAIL, I decided to give former ABBAMAIL list and site owner, Graeme Read, a call. In the past when I’ve called him, I’ve used pre-paid calling cards to get phone rates as low as 11 cents a minute, which isn’t too bad from the United States to Australia. This time I decided to give Skype a shot, which was promising a rate of 2.1 cents per minute to Australian land line numbers for routing the call over the Internet. And the slightly more than an hour that I spoke with Graeme, only cost $1.32.

As technology advances, it gets to be quite amazing how things change. Had I have used a pre-paid calling card, at the previously great rate of 11 cents a minute, the call would have cost approximately, $7 between the connection fee and the time of the call. This was literally a savings of approximately 80%. Had I made the call directly on my cell phone without using Skype, the call would have cost $70 at 69 cents per minute, bring the Skype call a savings of 98%.

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Deep Discount Has Big DVD/Blu-Ray Sale

DeepDiscount.com is having a big sale on DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs. Between now and November 23, 2008, there is a chance to save an additional 25% off their already low sale prices. And all orders are eligible for free shipping within the United States (reasonable shipping costs for outside the US).

With most of the latest Blu-Ray titles selling between $20-$30 on DeepDiscount.com, the additional discount brings the cost down to at or slightly below $20 a disc. This can be quite a savings if you’ve had your eye on a few items such as the lastest James Bond discs, or even Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” title. There can be quite significant savings on big box sets such as the new 40th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition of Planet Of The Apes and the Matrix collection.

Don’t feel left out if you’re not yet into Blu-Ray discs, the savings apply to standard DVDs too. There’s a vast collection of movies already released and now is a good time to get extra savings on them. Most of the Star Trek films are available for under $10 a movie before the discount gets applied. TV season sets are also eligible, and now’s a good chance to get a discount on those highly overpriced BBC sets like the latest incarnations of Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Chronicles. Even the Planet Earth series is discounted. Or favorite American TV shows like Star Trek, Desperate Housewives, or Quantum Leap.

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ABBAMAIL Closes Down After Nearly 12 Years

It was a bit of bittersweet sad news today when Graeme Read and Grant Whittingham decided to shut down both ABBAMAIL.com and the ABBAMAIL mailing list which has been a big part of my life for almost 12 years now. The closing was just under three months shy of ABBAMAIL’s 12th birthday.

ABBAMAIL wasn’t so much just a bunch of ABBA fans as it was a living, breathing community. While in the late 1990’s, a lot of online fan communities consisted of lists, fairly impersonal message boards, and fairly simple webpages, I personally was a member of a quite a number of them for various hobbies and interests. And it seemed without fail that as soon as the subjects of the list seemed to disappear off the pop culture radar, so did the people in these communities and many of them fade out and disappeared. ABBAMAIL was different.

Unlike any other forum I had been a part of from the same era, ABBAMAIL was quite a unique beast. A lot of that is due to the community’s founders, Graeme Read and Grant Whittingham, who fostered a true sense of community, simply being an ABBA fan was something all of us on the list had in common, but for Graeme and Grant that simply wasn’t enough. Members of the list were expected to introduce themselves and share that person behind behind the letters that make up our names.

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