Sunday, December 23, 2007
I like Christmas, but one of the things that annoys me about the festive period is the forced jollity and bonhomie that oozes around for all of December. I combat this by acting like a miserable bugger, while inside I'm hopping up and down excitedly about opening presents. However, there are some things that can crack my Scrooge-ish facade.
In lieu of a Nine Tenths Full of Penguins Christmas gift, I give you Eddie Izzard talking in his own inimitable fashion about the first Christmas.
There are a couple of swear words in there, so be warned....
Wishing you a Happy Christmas (or insert faith-neutral good wishes here).
Right thats it! I am no longer myself. I have got old and soft. I found myself watching the first Santa Clause movie today. 'Whats so bad about that?' I hear you cry, well wait for the kicker. I quite enjoyed it......
I feel wrong. Just wrong. I think I'm going to crawl into a whiskey bottle for the remainder of my Christmas break. I'm just ashamed. Oh well, at least my Pandora Radio station is good, that offsets the shame somewhat.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The Departed *****
V for Vendetta ****
Friday, December 14, 2007
In an attempt to kick-start some yuletide goodwill I offer you this marvellous little ditty/video by the wonderful Sufjan Stevens.
Ah thats a bit better......bring on the mince pies.
I decided on a bit of a colour scheme change to go with the switch to www.ninetenthsfullofpenguins.co.uk. Do let me know what you think.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The url of this blog is now http://www.ninetenthsfullofpenguins.co.uk/. Of course, you'll still be able to get to it via the blogspot address, its just that this one is a bit more streamlined. Why not bookmark it now?
On to business. I spent the weekend in a very grey and sodden Birmingham, a place that has on every occasion I have visited it, treated me to lots of rain. So it was that I pitched up at Birmingham New Street train station at about 6pm on Friday evening. As I was a little earlier than expected, I needed to wait outside the station for a while.
I bought myself a rather large coffee in a cardboard beaker the size of a small tanker and plonked myself outside the station to wait. I had come directly from work in Manchester, so I was still wearing a shirt and tie and my smart black coat. As I was sitting on my bag, reading a book (the excellent Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin incidentally), my open coffee steaming enticingly by my side, deflecting panhandlers with aplomb; something unexpected happened.
Engrossed in a particularly gripping chapter, I almost failed to respond when a smartly dressed gentlemen bent down and calmly deposited 20p in my coffee cup, which was still half full. He generously said something along the lines of "Here you go mate" before moving off. I was rather taken aback and all I could respond with was "Ermmmmm" in my best teacher voice. On hearing this, our Good Samaritan turned back and looked at me properly, horror dawning in his eyes as he realised what he'd just done.
He scurried back apologising so profusely and with such embarrassment on his face that I couldn't help bursting into laughter. After a few minutes conversation he went on his way with a face like a belisha beacon, but with the knowledge that he'd given me the best laugh I've had in ages.
Incidentally, while I'm talking about coffee; I visited a Costa Coffee in Solihull (kicking weekend eh?) and foolishly ordered a large black coffee. I was expecting a large black coffee, what I received was this two handled soup bowl containing over a pint of black liquid.
Hot Fuzz ****
Kingdom of Heaven ***
Beowulf 3D ***
I really enjoyed this at the cinema, mainly due to it being in utterly stunning 3D. However, be warned on two counts. Firstly, if you do watch it in 3D, expect a splitting headache when you come out. Secondly, its certified 12A which means in theory, you could take young children to it. Whatever you do, don't do that. Its considerably more adult than 12A would lead you to believe. Definitely worth a watch in 3D though....
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
It scares me that the Iran-US storyline in Spooks at the moment is increasingly seeming less inconceivable by the week.
Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix ****
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I've been thinking quite a lot about music recently as I have received many gratifyingly positive comments about my Pandora station (Quite Early Music, which can be heard here) since I blogged about it last week.
I will leave you to judge which, if any, I am slightly embarrassed about....
Sadly, not my CD collection
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
A random fan video to a great song by Mae. Here is the official music video version. I think I like the random one a wee bit more.
Look at their website here: http://www.whatismae.com/default.aspx
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I did want to give you a couple of pictures, but sadly Blogger is being recalcitrant in that area right now. I may add them later. However, you can look at all my Safari Park pictures on photobucket here.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In a new venue in South Manchester; myself and Eyan's pub quiz returned in autumnal glory (See previous quiz shenanigans by clicking here). By clicking on this link right here, you can see his sports round. Below for your edu-tainment is my picture round which will fiendishly test your knowledge of Manchester people. Click on the image for a bigger picture.
No googling allowed...... I will know.
*Answers in the comments*
The Bourne Ultimatum *****
Children of Men *****
Blades of Glory ***
Alien vs Predator *
Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron ****
Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai *****
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
"[the Tories] suggested the PM used the armed forces as a "political football". Sir John Major also questioned the timing of the announcement and Mr Brown's visit.
But No 10 said it was "preposterous" to suggest the PM was playing politics"
Allow me to translate No. 10's response into non-spokesperson speak:
"Ah. duuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... (accompanied by Friends-style head wobbling)
Must be a slow news day on the BBC.... Anyhoo, it gives me a chance to post this marvellous cartoon by Steve Bell.
While we're talking about political cartoons. Here's one by the Guardian's Martin Rowson about David Cameron's intriguing approach to concrete policies.
I love political cartoons.
*sigh* I'm so middle class......
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
It would appear that Big Brother contestants and identically annoying Manchester twins Sam & Amanda Marchant are releasing a pop single. That in itself is not a surprise, many pathetically short and usually crap pop careers have been spawned by the inexplicable phenomenon that is Big Brother. No, the truly hideous element of this story is that some moron at Sony actively sought out this monumentally irriating duo to cover...... Barbie Girl by Aqua* (give me strength....).
One or other of them was quoted as saying (in a no doubt giggly high-pitched way)
"There were all these agents there, saying Sony want you to release Barbie Girl, and we were like 'wow' cos it's our favourite song, it's dead girlie."
Okaaaaayyyy. Although, before I move on, here is another quote from the dynamic duo on their 'brand' Samanda.
"We don't want to be individuals, we want to be one"
Okaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy. Read the full story here.
Also in today's MEN. an interesting little article tucked away on the inner pages. According to a poll by ettiquette experts Debrett's, 63% of British women voted manners the most important factor in their choice of a partner. Meanwhile, 29% were swayed by intelligence with a mere 5% saying good looks were the deciding factor. Right, so we infer from this that most women prefer intelligent, well mannered men rather than rude, handsome ones.....
Now, I am both exceedingly well-mannered and reasonably intelligent. But ask me how many dates I have been on in the last year. Go on - ask me.
The answer is none.
This of course, may have something to do with:
A) my beer belly,
B) the fact I have a face like a bearded egg
C) a combination of A & B
I'm not saying this to elicit sympathy in any way, just to point out the futility of this type of poll. I put it to you that what we can learn from this poll is that 5% of women are brave enough to tell the truth to a complete stranger in the street brandishing a clipboard at them.
A polite intelligent man yesterday
While we're talking about bands, check out this oh-so-indie video by Starflyer 59. Its for a track called I Win off their My Island album. Marvellously, the band featured in the video are not Starflyer 59 and their legendary frontman Jason Martin doesn't appear in it at all. Watch it here.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I always found Anthony Wilson rather annoying, but during this programme I started warming to him. The concept behind Factory was not just to sell records and make money. It was also a kind of social experiment to see if music and the Hacienda could help effect citywide change. The thing that started my Wilson thaw was his obvious love for Manchester. It came through in everything he was saying, both in the recent interviews and the archive footage. I've been living in Manchester for over 6 years now and I love it, there is something about the place that gets under your skin. Watching this programme made me realise that the atmosphere and energy of Manchester that so many love is in no small part down to people like Wilson and Factory Records. I salute them now....
Plus this gives me an excuse to post footage of Manchester legends Joy Division, which is always worthwhile
Mrs Brown ****
Kind Hearts & Coronets *****
Black Gold *****
An amazing and terrifying documentary about the coffee industry. Watch it. I will NEVER drink non-fairtrade coffee ever again. What the big coffee companies do is little short of evil...
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back *****
Thursday, September 13, 2007
However in this post, I want to vent my spleen at the truly hideous publication that is Didsbury Magazine. It is the free glossy magazine that is shoved through our doors once a month. I am aware that Didsbury is a fairly affluent area (although, I myself am far from affluent), but Didsbury Magazine is the most offensively capitalist, middle class toilet rag I have ever had the misfortune to set my eyes upon.
Here's how it describes itself on its website:
"Didsbury Magazine is the glossy lifestyle magazine for the style concious (sic) citizens of Didsbury and South Manchester"
Arrrrgh, I'm already furious, just reading that description (let alone the bloody spelling mistake). It is full of toothily perfect rich people talking about how marvellous their lives are. It tells you the best places for 'ladies who lunch' (there is genuinely an article using that term in the latest edition. I'm not joking - 'Ladies who Lunch'! for f*@k's sake...). It completely ignores the fact that its coverage area includes some estates like Merseybank & Nell Lane where the daily problem of which £50 moisturiser to use or what to do with your seed heads is not really an issue.
Now we get to the point that had me speechless with rage. In July, Didsbury Magazine had a fund-raising ball. It was 007 themed and was attended by lots of people and lots of local companies donated prizes. Now, I am the first to applaud the wealthy putting their hands in their pockets to help those less well off. If you follow this link you can see photos from the big night. How much money do you think all those exceedingly well dressed, well troughed people raised on the night?
Lets just think about that shall we? At first glance, that sounds like a lot of money. Until you think how many people were there, how much the whole thing will have cost to put together. Then suddenly £1000 seems like an insultingly small amount. I remember a youth group I was involved with that only had about 10 members who managed to raise over £500 pounds for charity.
How dare this vile publication brag about raising what is, frankly, pocket change? If they'd got their guests to put in £20 a piece and saved the money from the event, they'd probably have raised double the money. It seems to me that the evening was a chance for wannabe WAGs and Sloane Rangers to get pissed out their tree and show off their impressive wealth while feeling they were "making a difference."
Or maybe I'm completely wrong about the whole thing. But hey, that's what blogs are for, venting spleen. I feel much better now....
By the way, you may be asking yourself: "If he hates the magazine so much, why does he read it?" That is an excellent question, well done for asking it. I read it because I like to get cross about things from time to time....
Monday, September 10, 2007
Tim at Cultural Snow encouraged his ample readership (I am, of course, speaking numerically - I'm not suggesting that loads of fat people read his blog) to pick a blog from his blogroll, read it and then leave a post. Read the post here.
I looked at a few and left posts on a couple. As I did so I reflected on how many quality blogs are out there. So, in order to help you sort the quality wheat from the new-meeja chaff, I've decided to present to you the .....
(Keep a weather eye for the TV programme of the same name appearing on Living TV soon. Paul Tonkinson, Keavy Lynch from B*witched & her who plays Louise in Two Pints of Lager & A Packet of Crisps have already been signed up)
1) Fat Roland
The random and highly amusing ramblings of my radio partner-in-crime Eyan. Expect the surreal and a passion for Electronica.
A blog that has been in existence for 6 years. Which means in blogosphere terms that it is practically on a par with the Dead Sea Scrolls.
3) Post Secret
PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. It can be funny, disturbing, uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking.
4) The Manchizzle
Essential Manchester blogging hub....
5) Never Knowingly Underwhelmed
The blog of Andrew Collins, who I have had a great deal of respect for since his Radio 1 show with Stuart Maconie back in the day. He is also the author of the only biography I have ever read and enjoyed - Still Suitable for Miners, which is about Billy Bragg.
* Well, I say ever.....
Star Wars: A New Hope *****
The Truman Show ****
Run Fatboy Run ***
Hot Fuzz ****
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Saturday dawned sunny, bright and (because I was getting up at an ungodly hour) bloody freezing. I was terribly excited as at 9am I slunk in behind the microphone for the first of my Greenbelt Today shows. These shows were a bit of a departure for me in terms of radio. If you've ever heard any of mine and Eyan's podcasts (if not, click here), you'll have discovered that our radio style is a bit ramshackle, with lots of banter and generally very silly. Greenbelt Today is more like a Radio 2 thing with live guests talking about serious things.
In my first show I interviewed various people, most notably a gentleman with the superb moniker of Greg Valerio. Greg is the founder and CEO of a company called Cred Jewellery who make ethically sourced and produced jewellery. He was our favourite guest because he was interesting to interview and he actually brought real gold with him to show us. Sadly, he took it with him at the end of the interview. We also met two randomly selected lovely people who were to become our Greenbelt Today Guinea Pigs. Mark and Katie kindly agreed to go to something at the festival every day that was selected by us and then come on the show the following day, tell us about it and receive their next assignment.
My show passed without a crisis but then, due to a mix up, I found myself staying on the air afterwards to present a music show for which I was completely unprepared! It was great fun as I got to meet Kit Ashton and the Greenbelt Minstrels who came on and chatted for a bit and played a couple of marvellous live tunes. Later in the day, I randomly ran into my old vicar and boss from my youthworkerin' days, bought an exceptional hat (brown fedora!! Just like Indiana Jones - yay!), edited stuff for other shows and generally worked till about 9pm.
Despite being shattered, in the late late evening I visited the beer tent and met up with various Manchester bods. It felt strange, as I was sitting with them I felt out of place. Just a couple of years ago, these were people that I felt very comfortable around. But it really hit home to me how much I have changed (for the better I think) since I separated from my wife in January 06. With a few notable exceptions (including the legendary Fil the Destroyer and his long-suffering better half Di), I felt I just didn't fit in. I didn't feel bad about that, just thoughtful.
Anyhoo, I took myself off to my tent and was asleep shortly after midnight as I had to be up at 6:45am the next morning.....
In the next installment of Greenbelt Phlegm:
Something or other happens.....
Back in the real world however, I have started my new job. This is exciting and extremely tiring. I also had a rather silly flat-warming party roughly themed on the Big Lebowski (which was mainly an excuse for guests to wear dressing gowns and drink alarming numbers of White Russians.
The Bourne Ultimatum *****
Back to the Future Pt 2 ****
Back to the Future Pt 3 ***
Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom ****
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Billy Bragg, which was amazing. The man may not have a great voice, but his songs are as powerful and passionate as ever and he can work a crowd brilliantly. My favourite line from Billy that night was a throwaway comment about how that as he has aged, his music has been upgraded from punk to folk. It had me chuckling quietly under my breath like a lunatic for 5 minutes.
We also tried in vain to go and see something young and trendy in The Gentlemen, who are a very exciting young Sheffield band who Eyan and I cruelly labelled as the Christian Busted on Refresh FM at Easter. They are much better than that and deserve to do exceedingly well. Sadly about 7 million people had the same idea as us and we couldn't squeeze ourselves into the venue to see them.
Finally, the evening started as the day had begun, in the beer tent. I met up with various Manchester people who all commented on the belisha beacon sunburn look I had assiduously cultivated during the day. Thanks go particularly to Stephen Devine who managed to mock my excessively red face despite it being near pitch dark in the beer garden.
In the next thrilling installment of Greenbelt Phlegm:
More beer! I actually get unleashed on a microphone! I interview some Minstrels (not chocolate ones)! I hold real gold in my hand! We inflate chairs! I eat a jacket potato! I buy a hat!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I am more excited than a bucket of hamsters running over a bucket of pigeons today. In less than an hour's time I will be cramming my many-pocketed rucksack into a small car full of lovely people and winging my way to the Greenbelt Festival. Like last year, I am working for the festival radio station Greenbelt FM (see last year's post about my adventures here) which will no doubt be great fun once more.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Click on the underlined titles to to be whisked to the download site...
Two gladiators yesterday
The Simpsons Movie ***
Sunday, August 12, 2007
For some bizarre reason, when my computer is out of action or if I am somehow unable to get access to t'interweb I have loads of great ideas for stunningly creative and gut-wrenchingly funny blog posts. Sadly, by the time I get round to actually blogging, all those ideas have sailed out of my mind like a flotilla of racing yachts in a gale. Therefore, I will give you some of the highlights from my brain over the last couple of weeks....
There are 5 things because 5 is the 3rd prime number (its also a Fermat prime dontcha know....)
In the house I share we are completely addicted to ten-pin bowling on the Wii (we are now a 2 Wii house). I like it because its about half-way between real bowling and previous attempts at computer bowling. However, recently we have had TWO house outings to partake in real-life meatspace bowling, which were exceedingly good fun. Now I hadn't gone real bowling for ages so over the two visits scores of 138, 122, 99 and 117 were most satisfying. Sadly, I think I'll never replicate my Wii best score of 212 in real life...
2) Underage Festival
A festival in that there London for young whippersnappers. Read this article from the Guardian. Near the end Conor McNicholas, Editor of NME makes a comment. NME makes me very grumpy, nay, furiously angry at times. NME has been quite vocal about how modern festivals are being ruined due to old people insisting on attending. Apparently it would like Glastonbury to improve its atmosphere for 2008 by attracting the 'NME & Radio 1 crowd' who it would seem are all 16-17 years old. Now I don't know about you, but most 16-17 year olds are unlikely to read NME as it is a magazine written by people predominantly in their 30s and upwards. So there's an inherent contradiction in their whole argument that makes me very grumpy.
I visited my friends Andrew & Ann in their new home in Somerset last week. The weather was lovely and the cider most agreeable. Do read Ann's blog here. This is what I have decided to name Taff's View. This is the view from the patio at the bottom of their garden. I am most envious... Click on it for a larger view.
4) For the love of all that is holy, don't read this book!
I had the misfortune to pick up Next by Michael Crichton in the middle of a long train journey. It is dreadful. Don't read it. I only read it because the alternative was staring out the window for 5 hours. In my defence I had 3 minutes to buy a book before I had catch my connection at Bristol so I grabbed it as I enjoyed reading Jurassic Park. However, there were warning signs I should have spotted. Firstly, the half price ticket - a new(ish) book being sold for £3.50? Secondly, these fateful words on the cover which I didn't see till too late "Completely Brilliant!" - the Daily Mail. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I read a book the Daily Mail thinks is brilliant? I feel violated somehow.
5) Toad in the Hole
I learnt how to make Toad in the Hole! Which was rather exciting, in an 'I'm clearly 30 years old and rather sad' way. I made two for my housemates, which they seemed to enjoy, which was also gratifying.
(Possibly the dumbest movie I've seen in a long time. But its great fun and the effects are jaw dropping)
The Thing *****
(How a sci-fi horror movie should be done. The effects are wonderfully gruesome and creative considering it was made in 1984)
The New World *
(Beautifully shot, but incredibly dull and boring at the same time. Full of shots of people walking through grass looking pained and emotional)
The Departed *****
The Contractor *
Breaking & Entering **
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Accordingly, I have been playing the Wii edition of Resident Evil 4 for the last few days. RE4 on the Wii is a marvellous thing; the controls are the most intuitive of any of the Resident Evil games, its beautifully atmospheric, immersive and the monsters are great.
Ahhh, the monsters....
You see, my problem with games like this (and I've loved the Resident Evil games since I played one of the early ones on the PS1) is that I'm not very good at them. I have the unfortunate tendency to get rather nervous and jump out of my skin when the latest monstrosity bursts out of a door/through a window/floor/ceiling and proceeds to tear me to pieces.
So instead of keeping calm and going for the all important head shot at the Zombie/Hunter/ Ganados/Tyrant currently eviscerating me, I panic and spray bullets anywhere but where I should be while repeating the familiar litany of "crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap - come on, COME ON, COME ON! (disgusting squelching/tearing sound) BOLLOCKS - I'm dead...."
My current least favourite RE4 beastie is the delightful Regenerator.
These lovely creatures regenerate themselves as you shoot them, they look creepy and their harsh groaning breathing is very disconcerting when you start to hear it. I spent an unhappy hour trying to work out how to kill them (an hour I might add where I died 45 times and repeated a similar litany to that above every single time). I finally discovered that an elaborate combination of running, flash grenades, shotgun and using an infrared scope on my rifle to identify up to 5 otherwise invisible parasites inside its body was what was required. Here is a delightful video of a Regenerator in action. You can shoot it till the cows come home, but it can still do extremely unpleasant things to you. Blerrrrrghh..... (warning - its a bit gruesome)
I know what some of you may be thinking: What is a 30 year old man doing playing games and even worse, blogging about it? Well, its a good question. All I will say is, it beats doing DIY hands down....
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Die Hard 2 ****
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix ****
Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark *****
*Answers to the last quiz rounds can now be found in the comments on this post
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
But in a twist worthy of Machiavelli himself I cunningly decided to replace said picture round with the already legendary cheese round. Each team had a plate of 10 cheeses which they had to identify by appearance and taste. Sadly, I can't replicate the full experience in the blogosphere so you've got to go simply on appearance. Click on the picture for a bigger version.
Edited highlights of the Music Round
1) Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional was used in which superhero movie? X-Men 2, Spiderman 2 or The Fantastic Four
2) Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen was used as the opening to the film documentary in which Morgan Spurlock lived off just junk food for a month. Name the film. Bonus point for naming the other half of the Double-A side that Fat Bottomed Girls was released as.
My birthday is on 19th July, when I hit the magic 3-0. No. 1 singles from my lifetime.
3) What was the No 1 single on my birthday in 1997?
a) Aqua - Barbie Girl
b) Elton John – Candle in the Wind
c) Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean
4) No 1 Single on my birthday in 1987?
a) Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin
b) Starship - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
c) Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
5) No 1 Single on the day I was born in 1977?
a) Donna Summer – I Feel Love
b) Hot Chocolate – So You Win Again
c) Wings – Mull of Kintyre
6) Which acclaimed BBC sitcom used this Half the World Away by Oasis as its theme tune?
7) Which German car maker Strange & Beautiful by Aqualung to advertise a new model in 2002? BMW, Audi, VW or Mercedes
8) Name the top 5 best selling UK single of all time?
No googling allowed! Answers sometime next week. *
Just a quick word about Dr Who, the series that has just finished has been generally great. However, just when you thought they'd got it right they hire Catherine bloody 'Am I bovvered' Tate for the next season! What on earth is going on? Check out Tim at Cultural Snow and James Henry for more.
*Answers now the in the comments section
Red Violin ****
Star Trek 6 ***
Die Hard *****
Die Hard with a Vengeance ****
Saturday, June 23, 2007
(in the spectacularly named Grailblazers) and twists them in a very humorously English way.
Children of Men *****
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I find this highly amusing...
"Can you imagine what it would have been like if we'd walked the entire way?"
Hot Fuzz ****
Oceans 13 **
The Fountain ****
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The second band, Iona, have a special place in my musical heart. They are a rather unique mix of prog rock and folk music. I first saw them live in 1990 at Band on the Wall in Manchester and they made me realise that music could be more than just something you had in the background; that it could be something extraordinary. Two of the most amazing moments I've experienced at gigs have been at Iona concerts. I saw them in the mid nineties and as one of their encores they played a piece called Reels which started slowly and just built faster and faster to a dazzling display of musical virtuosity that got the entire audience dancing like idiots, myself included (if you know me, you know I never dance).
The other was at their 1999 Royal Festival Hall Woven Cord concert. They performed backed by a full orchestra and it was amazing. But the most incredible moment was during a song called Beyond these Shores. It's a very simple song and it was so beautiful that as it faded away at the end, you could hear a pin drop and it took a few moments for people to come to themselves and start applauding. Listening to their music has reminded me all over again, just how good they were and still are.
Other Miscellany, of which there are two items because two is the oddest prime number.
1) I have been catching up with real-life old friends on Facebook which has been cool. Facebook is ridiculously addictive and I find it very easy to waste an hour or two fiddling about on there reviewing movies, exchanging wall posts with friends and playing the iLike music game. It feels satisfyingly sociable without any of the pesky actual in-person socialising or 'meatspace' interaction if you like. (hat tip to Patroclus for the meatspace term)
2) Dr Who. The latest series of Dr Who has finally hit its stride ,with the past 4 episodes being excellent. The Lazarus Experiment, the Family of Blood two parter and this week's episode Blink were all very good. Blink had the most genuinely creepy monsters of the whole series in the Weeping Angels (if you watched, how cool were they?!!) and although the Doctor wasn't in the episode much, it was a cracker.
Friday, June 08, 2007
In which we talked about our feud with Abi on Drivetime, American and Australian funny shaped buildings and London's Space Gherkin, belly button fluff, God's playlist, listeners letters, gummy eyeballs, Inspector Gadget vs Inspector Morse, Radio 2 & Terry Wogan .
In which we talked about Grits & hooves, monkey obsession, penguin fractions, the Day Today, erm-ing, Christian fiction and how crap Left Behind is, Evil & Non Evil music, our professionalism(!), Lee sounding like his Mum, Aled Jones playing drums for Chris de Burgh, Reception animals.
Getting ourselves in the right frame of mind for presenting a radio show on Christian radio
In which we talked about Mash ups, inane drivel, Lee & Eyan not being Sarah, Darts, the Queen & the Pope's iPods, Cake & Test Match Special, Round 2 of the feud with Abi on Drivetime, the use of lips in blowing up balloons, Eyan gets a ride in LZ7's hot wheels, taking breaths in recorded albums a la Muse, how Lee is eating too many vegetables and has wind, our new DJ names - Flabby & Flappy.
Games: Balloons & Darts
There are three more podcasts to come including the second Theatre of Noise show. As soon as the engineering gremlins sort them out, they will be winging their way to Nine Tenths Full of Penguins.
The Bunker ***
Patriot Games ***
Pirates of the Carribbean 3 *
The only good thing was a magnificent scene-chewing turn from Geoffrey Rush hamming it up as Captain Barbossa. Oh yeah, the effects were pretty good in places...
2) What is measured on the Beaufort scale?
3) What is the pirate's skull and cross-bones flag called?
4) Which bird is the international symbol of happiness?
5) They may be complex, vulgar or mixed. What are they?
6) Which country is the home of feta cheese?
7) Which well-loved cartoon animal made his debut in 1937?
8) Roald Dahl wrote the book called BFG. What do the initials stand for?
9) The first official Bond movie was released in 1964. What was the title?
10) Which was the first football team with the word Rovers in their name to win the Premiership?
The aftermath of June's pub quiz
Theme: Greek Mythology
1) The son of Thetis the sea-goddess, Achilles was impervious to harm apart for one weakness. Where was that weakness?
2) Jason & The Argonauts sailed on the ship Argo to find what?
3) Jason was tutored by Chiron the centaur. A centaur is half man and half what?
4) Name the King & Queen of the Gods.
5) What is the name of mountain atop which the Greek gods lived?
6) Medusa was a Gorgon with the charming ability to turn people into stone with a single look. What was the name of the hero who killed her and how did he avoid being turned into stone?
7) Which hero famed for his colossal strength undertook a series of heroic tasks or Labours?
8) According to Greek myth the dead were transported to the underworld Hades by a mysterious ferryman. What was the name of the river they crossed?
9) What was the name of the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, books telling the stories of the siege of Troy and Odysseus’ adventures on his return from Troy?
10) Theseus solved the mystery of the Labyrinth of Crete with little more than a ball of thread. However, what monster made its home in the Labyrinth?
Answers sometime next week...
update 21/06/07 - answers now in the comments region
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
This album was released in 1999 and is an absolute gem. The undisputed creative highpoint of Delirious' output, there are elements of U2, Manic St Preachers and, in places, the mighty Radiohead to enjoy. I hadn't listened to it at all until fairly recently and I was surprised all over again at just how good it is. One of the band's trump cards is guitarist Stu Garrard, who has one of the most recognisable sounds around, possibly rivalling Starflyer 59's Jason Martin for distinctiveness.
The album was unusually well received critically for a band who were and continue to be overtly religious. See this slightly grudging 4 star review from Q magazine, who also included the standout track Metamorphis on their CD of some of the best music of 1999. Previously, due to their roots in creating (admittedly excellent) worship music, Delirious had often been overlooked in the music press and shunned by radio. With this album gaining them critical acclaim, the time was right for a sustained attempt on the charts and mainstream recognition.
However, despite two of the singles charting in the top 20 (a feat considerably harder than it is today), backing from clearly non-religious celebs (Neil Morrissey, who introduced them when they played Glastonbury that year) and appearances on the Big Breakfast and Jonathon Ross' Radio 2 show; Radio 1 still refused to playlist their songs or indeed, play them at all, apart from in the weekly Top 40 so the limited chart success was mainly down to a dedicated fan base. (A later album 'Audio Lessonover' was so called because it is an anagram of 'Radio One Loves Us' in reference to their refusal to play any of their songs)
Live @ the Royal Albert Hall
Yet within that fan base, discontent was growing in places. Many fans disliked the 'new' Delirious, feeling that they had gone too 'secular' and had sold out to the mainstream. I interviewed Delirious in the summer of 1999, and they expressed their frustration at the criticism they received from some Christians because the album didn't contain the word 'Jesus'. Despite the critcism of Mezzamorphis, it is still an album that reflects the faith of the band clearly (in fact, 'Kiss Your Feet' has since been recognised as one their most potent 'worship' songs). Controversy also followed in America with many Christian retailers withdrawing the album due to the lyric 'She's as pretty as hell' in the song 'It's OK'. Lead singer, Martin Smith responded with this press release.It is a shame that Delirious fell in between two stools, with one side thinking they were too religious and the other often considering them insufficiently religious. This completely overshadowed what was an excellent album, regardless of the 'Christian Rock' label. If Q Magazine could overcome the religious element to see the quality, its a great pity others couldn't. This dispiriting experience no doubt contributed to Delirious' decision to return exclusively to the Christian sub-culture they started in. While still an excellent band, they have never yet scaled the heights of Mezzamorphis (although the next album 'glo' came close). Don't be put off by the 'religious' label, Mezzamorphis has more in common with U2/Radiohead than it does Cliff Richard.
Star Trek: Nemesis ***
Taxi Driver *****
The Station Agent *****
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
If, by the way, you are in the vicinity of South Manchester and would like to join us for our shiny pub quiz (there's real beer and everything), come to the upstairs of the Didsbury Village Restaurant at 8pm on the first wednesday of every single shiny month.
Anyhoo, here are the answers:
Picture Round - click here to see the beautiful piccies.
These were all Oscar losers - i.e people who had been nominated but had lost at least once at the Oscars over the past 5 years.
1) Leonardo Di Caprio
2) Eddie Murphy
3) Heath Ledger
4) Holly Hunter
5) Johnny Depp
6) Keira Knightley
7) Ken Watanabe
8) Kate Winslet
9) Natalie Portman
10) Judi Dench
11) Will Smith
12) Steven Spielberg
13) Peter O'Toole
14) Clint Eastwood
15) Meryl Streep
And the Sports Round
1) Name at least two penalty scorers from the Liverpool Chelsea Champions League Semi.
Bolo Zenden, Frank Lampard, Xavi Alonso, Steven Gerrard or Dirk Kuyt
2) Two snooker legends played each other in the first round of this years Snooker World Championship. Who won – John Parrott or Steve Davis?
3) Which golfer is currently top of the world rankings?
4) The next F1 race is to be held in Spain on the 13th May. In which city is the Grand Prix to be run?
5) On Saturday 5th May Sale Sharks were hammered 49-0 by which London side?
6) Which were the two teams to contest the 2007 Cricket World Cup final?
Australia & Sri Lanka
7) Canada beat Germany 8-3 in an international final on April the 8th. But in which winter sport did this hard fought victory come?
8) In which sport would you find the terms rinks, jacks, ends and sets?
Crown green bowls
9) Last week, China's Qiu Hongmei set a new clean and jerk world record. In what sport was he involved at the time?
10) Which football club’s stadium is closest to the River Mersey?