Sunday 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

On All Hallow's Eve what do we see by the light of the scary vegetable?

A strange scarecrow/Freddy Krueger hybrid.....

A vicious criminal and Christina Aguilera ( possibly ).....

"Say it! My costume is the best! Say it now!!"

All pumpkins must die. It's sad really.....

"Can I have my treats now?"

Saturday 30 October 2010

Jane Austen's Fight Club

If only this had been in existence when I was being bored out of my brain by Austen's Mansfield Park back in my ( shudder! ) Sixth Form days.

Next: Chuck Palahniuk's Pride And Prejudice!!??

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Like knitting fog.....

..... or eating custard with a fork.

I've just spent the last hour or so trying to write an album review for t'other blog, but got no further than uploading a few pictures and listening to Pixies' Surfer Rosa 3 times.
I've been too busy ( and stressed ) to write much here lately, so it's a good job I'm not getting paid for this waffle. Must try harder.....

Soundtrack: see above

On a happier note, we've just received a text from Sophie ( the first in 2 days ), saying what a great time she's having in beautiful Barcelona. So that cheered me up :-)

Saturday 23 October 2010

Despicable Me ( well, not me personally..... )

It's been an evening of high culture, fast food and evil geniuses tonight.

Whilst Sarah, Sophie and my auntie were enjoying an evening at the ballet, James and I opted for burgers and 3D villainy.
( Well, OK, we did see some of the ballet: Sophie was taking part in a dance workshop at Stroud's Cotswold Playhouse, ahead of the evening performance of Giselle. Very interesting to see a professional dance company rehearsing, and a great chance for Sophie to share a stage with them. )
After sampling the culinary delights of McDonald's, James and I headed to the local fleapit for the latest CGI kids' movie ( no, not the one about the owls ) - Despicable Me.

Very much in the tradition of The Incredibles, this is the story of Gru ( voiced by Steve Carrell ) an evil genius whose schemes tend towards the mediocre. The emergence of a younger, obnoxious new-villain-on-the-block, Vector, spurs Gru on to his most daring plan yet: to steal the Moon! Heh heh evil laugh etc. The vagaries of the plot force our villain-with-a-hidden-heart-of-gold to adopt three orphan girls to aid in his Vector vendetta. At first they are just a means to an end and an irritation to Gru but, inevitably, he learns to love them and ultimately changes his ways. So far, so predictable, but as new experiences like trips to theme parks and ballet lessons begin to take up Gru's time, there is much fun to be had as his black heart melts.

While not as funny or original as the Pixar films it tries to emulate, Despicable Me is still a charming, energetic film with some lovely design work and engaging characters. The 3D is used well, especially in the scenes of wild aircraft chases, rockets blasting to the Moon, and Gru's huge, underground lair. Which brings us to the film's real stars - Gru's henchmen. Dozens of little, bean-shaped yellow critters, all jabbering away and pratfalling in the background, and all fiercely loyal to their leader, the henchmen are a joy to watch.

After stepping back into the real 3D world ( no glasses required ) we picked up the ( hungry ) female contingent and went back to McD's yet again, where I was forced to eat more high calorie, low nutritional foodstuffs. Well, it'd be rude not to.

Soundtrack: Meddle by Pink Floyd ( maaaan )

Saturday 16 October 2010

Bond Babes: Daniela

Another Saturday afternoon, another Bond movie on ITV. After a busy morning of moving furniture, followed by a pie and a pint with my mate Kev, relaxing with England's greatest secret agent was very welcome. Not that Bond had much chance to relax, what with boat and helicopter chases, gypsy duels, that brutal scrap with Robert Shaw's SPECTRE assassin, an exploding Russian embassy and Lotte Lenya's poison toe!

Yep, we're talking From Russia With Love, thought by many to be the best Bond film of the lot ( I won't argue... ), and featuring the delectable Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova.....

Although Daniela's character is the recipient of much standard-issue '60s sexism, she saves the day at the end of the film by rejecting her Russian masters and shooting poison dwarf Rosa Klebb to protect Bond.

And she looks gorgeous doing it.....

Soundtrack: If There Is Something, Virginia Plain and Ladytron by Roxy Music

Thursday 14 October 2010

London locations 2

Just a few photos from onboard and around the London Eye, from our holiday back in August.

It was slightly grey and cloudy, although brighter than these photos suggest.....

And we had a great time!


Sunday 10 October 2010


A scarecrow and a yellow moon
And pretty soon
A carnival on the edge of town
..... King Harvest has surely come

I've finally got round to posting another review on t'other blog,
15 albums: my take on The Band by The Band, otherwise known as "the Brown Album", originally titled "Harvest."

Just take your muddy boots off before you sit down to read it.....

Friday 8 October 2010

Sigourney Weaver

The beautiful and talented Sigourney Weaver is - incredibly - 61 today. So, Happy Birthday to the star of Alien, Aliens, Ghostbusters, The Ice Storm, Avatar, Galaxy Quest, Working Girl and so many more great movies!

Soundtrack: Candy Apple Grey by Husker Du

Sunday 3 October 2010

More Pure Pulp Goodness

Some more wonderful pulp covers from Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Fantastic Novels, two classic fantasy magazines from the '30s and '40s. Artwork by Virgil Finlay and Lawrence Sterne Stevens.

Friday 1 October 2010

Favourite Gig Fridays: Great Xpectations ( The Cure, Carter and co. )

It's been a loooooong time since I've done a Fave Gig Fri. so I'm going to cheat a bit here and quote from an old diary. ( For anyone under the age of 40, a diary is like a blog, but made of paper. How quaint! ) I've done this once before and it's always worth having a laugh at the expense of your own younger self.

The gig in question was Great Xpectations, a fund/consciousness-raiser for the indie radio station Xfm, held in Finsbury Park back in June 1993. The headliners were the mighty Cure, as featured on the NME cover above.

So I'm going to blow the dust and cobwebs off my diary and take you back to the days of floppy fringes, lumberjack shirts and blokes in short trousers playing guitar, with sarcastic modern-day comments in italics:

Me and Sarah ( Sarah and I! ) drove down to London, parked somewhere near Leicester Square and got the Tube to Finsbury Park. ( I obviously had no idea about London geography in those days. ) We had a drink in a local pub - full of Goths - and then went into the park. We'd missed The Family Cat and just saw Kingmaker play their last song - not a great disappointment. The event was compered by Sean Hughes, who seemed to be wasting his time. The first band we saw was The Frank And Walters: Irish nutters in garishly-coloured Oxford/Cambridge uniforms. They belted out their poppy, infectious songs e.g. After All I Still Love You, Fashion Crisis Hits New York, This Is Not A Song etc. Sarah wasn't that keen on them, but I thought they were great. There were a couple of acoustic sets: two of the blokes from Blur ( Damon and Graham ) came on and did their recent single, For Tomorrow - pretty good; unfortunately we were also lumbered with Guy Chadwick from the House Of Love who did some bloody awful solo songs and virtually begged the audience to buy his records. Sad man.

Next up were the Senseless Things. We missed most of their set 'cos we went for a wander around the park ( just us and 20,000 people ), nosing around the stalls etc. They seemed quite good though, especially when doing the snarling, raging Homophobic Asshole. They were followed by Sugar who I'd been really looking forward to. Unfortunately, they were a bit of a let-down. ( Incisive comments as ever! ) Their sound was dodgy to start with - which obviously annoyed Bob Mould - and they had a tendency to thrash through songs that would have benefited from a more subtle approach. They were quite good but, being a fan of Husker Du ( Mould's previous band ) for all this time, I'd expected something better. ( I go on to talk about The Catherine Wheel, but who's interested in them? ) Anyway, Belly were a lot better. Tanya Donnelly and her "rock chick" bass-player bounced all over the stage, obviously having a great time. Their stuff is very catchy but has dark undercurrents in the lyrics e.g. Gepetto seems to be about rape or abuse, all wrapped up in breathy lyrics and a poppy tune. Great stuff.

By now it was late afternoon but still very warm. ( Here's Tom with the weather! ) Next up were Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Jim Bob and Fruit Bat. I'd always quite liked their songs ( Don't hold back! ) but with this gig I was converted. Me and Sarah ( grammar! ) went down the front to get crushed and become Carter fans. They charged through an energetic, crowd-pleasing set: The Only Living Boy In New Cross,Sheriff Fatman, Do Re Mi So Far So Good, a singalong GI Blues etc. etc. Although they come in for a lot of stick, I think they're one of the best British bands going. We had a good time and it set it up well for the headliners.

The Cure came on stage as the sun went down, the hippy/Goth mood only slightly spoiled by Bob Smith's lumberjack shirt. They played a good, varied set, from old favourites like Boys Don't Cry, and A Night Like This / Push ( yay! ) to the Wish album material. It soon became obvious that most of the 20,000+ people had come here to see The Cure. They got a great reaction and the atmosphere was brilliant. Sarah got up on my shoulders to get a better view and nearly got dropped a couple of times 'cos a woman behind us kept on tickling me. The dangers of rock 'n' roll or what?

Finally, it was all over and we attempted to battle our way out of the park. Police on horseback herded us like cattle onto the crowded Underground and we got the Tube back to Leicester Square. By now it was gone midnight and we were hungry so we went and got some huge pieces of pizza. Even though I had to get up for work 6 hours later and we were still over 100 miles from home, we had got to the stage where you think "sod it." We eventually headed for home - another epic journey involving getting bloody lost again. ( This happens to me a lot in London! ) After much farting about and stopping every 5 minutes to try and keep me awake ( some things don't change! ), we got home at 3:30am or some such ridiculous hour. Oh, well.

( I did manage to get to work the next day. I was driving a lorry back then, so I must have been knackered! Phew, rock 'n' roll! )


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