Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tis the season to be jolly.....

Just a quick post to wish my reader a Happy Christmas. I know, I could have sent a card, but frankly I was too stingy to buy a stamp.

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

In which I get all misty-eyed about Sigur Ros

I don't normally do internet/blog meme things, but this one (courtesy of the ever excellent Patroclus) caught my attention.

It is the great Wikipedia Band Name Meme....

Here's how you play. Click here to be whisked to Wikipedia and then click on 'random article' on the left side of the page, the title of the first article is your band name. Then click it again, that will be the name of your album . Then click 'random article' a further 7-10 times, and those titles are your album track names.

Here is mine:
Band Name: Fjalar
Album Name: 4th Infantry Division
Track Titles
1: Democratic Republic of the Congo
2: Fours
4: Cingulate Sulcus
5: Sohni Lag Di
6: Kora Kagaz
7: Reactivity Series
8: Clinchfield
9: Varfell
10: Transcendental

I think it brings to mind a band clinging desperately on the coat-tails of Sigur Ros. Fjalar are a band with hints of political activism and delusions of grandeur. I like them already....

While I'm thinking of Sigur Ros, I'd just like to mention their new DVD Heima. It is utterly stunning. Sigur Ros are an Icelandic band that specialise in making beautifully ethereal music that is quite unlike anything else. They released a documentary following them as they toured round Iceland promoting their last album Takk. Heima has the documentary as well as a second disc full of concert performances. The main documentary has footage of the band playing at a variety of rather offbeat locations in Iceland.
If you get chance, you MUST see this on a big screen with good quality sound. There are some moments where the combination of the Icelandic scenery and the wonderful music is so staggeringly beautiful that I found myself getting a lump in my throat and actually felt that I might shed a tear or two.

The Departed *****
Cliffhanger **
V for Vendetta ****

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bah Humbug...

This year I'm feeling resolutely un-festive so far. I'm not actively scrooge-ish, but I'm failing to feel the cheer of the season as yet.

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 Do let me know what you think.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Before I crack on with this post I just need to do a bit of housekeeping.

The url of this blog is now 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 ***
Munich ****
Ghostbusters *****
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

Life imitating art

George Bush has never been a man to let facts get in the way of, well, anything.

Monday saw the release of a report by his own intelligence agencies that essentially said that Iran was not building nuclear weapons. Did the conclusion of this report that brought together the collective expertise and knowledge of the 16 branches of US intelligence signal a reduction in Bush's vehement rhetoric against Iran?

Of course not. Here's a quote from one of the candidates vying for Bush's position come the elections next year. Democrat Senator Barack Obama:

"Bush will not let facts get in the way of his ideology... and that's been the problem with their [the Republicans] foreign policy generally."

It seems that Bush and his advisors have got their (black) hearts set on another war before the reins of power are prised out of his hands in 2008. And it seems even his own intelligence agencies won't stand in his way....

Read the story here.

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 ****
Serenity ****
28 Weeks Later ****
Pans Labyrinth *****
Fight Club *****