Okay, so I’m procrastinating fixing the downstairs loo, and after four hours of sleep, I’m not feeling creative enough to come up with my parts to the Exalted Play by Post. So, instead, we shall speak of ‘The D’ and why they weren’t in my Reading highlights.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a funny show, but the problem was it was scripted to within an inch of it’s life. The crowd loved what they were doing and interacted with Jack Black, but it was a one way street. Black almost seemed to see it as an unwelcome interruption  before his next scripted line. This stole a lot of the enjoyment of the show for me.

The kids loved it though, and it sems they’ve all memorised the lyrics for all the ‘Pick of Destiny’ songs, which I never got on that well with.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the lavatory calls, demanding fixing.

Shame the last few “tweets” (don’t ask, I didn’t invent the ridiculous term) didn’t really come through yesterday. But, due to someone dropping out I got to go to the Reading Festival after all, and got to see:

  • Hadouken!
  • Feeder
  • Johnny Foreigner
  • Feeder
  • Tenacious D
  • Last of the Shadow Puppets
  • CSS
  • Metallica.

It was quite a good day, despite me still not feeling 100%. Highlights were:

  • Hadouken! were quite good, got the crowd moving
  • Best time jumping up and down in a crowded tent went to CSS
  • Best song went to Metallica doing ‘Enter Sandman’. I didn’t see all of Metallica, since I’m not a hardcore metaller, but what I saw was good
  • Feeder rocked, really great show.

Of course this means we now have two days worth of chores to do in one day… Oops.

Backlog-tastic! I’d better get this down before it all leaves my tired and dessicated brain. Recently, Penny, Tim and I headed to one day of the Lovebox Weekender. The main reasons for me were a good time there with Tim the year before and I really wanted to see Goldfrapp live, after missing them do the Royal Albert Hall not once, but twice. So, here’s what we saw:

Sebastien Tellier, who couldn’t be more French if he tried. Imagine a one-man, bisexual, smoking, long-haired, bearded, disco Daft Punk and you kind of get the idea. Musically, I wasn’t really that enthused, but he certainly was compelling to watch. He is known for causing controversy this year for entering the first English language entry for France into the Eurovision song contest. There’s a wonderful quote by him: Mr Tellier, whose album is called Sexuality, defended his choice, saying he needed to use the English language to achieve his artistic goals. “To explain the vision of French people of sexuality and of life and so, to be understood, I need to sing in English,” he said.

There was then a bit of a gap for food (excellent) and exploring, following by the folk sounds of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, a Geordie folk singer, her sister and band. They were quite good, from my perspective. Tim, who is more folk-tolerant than I, was moved to tears and Penny bought their album, so there you go.

Next was one of my choices, the very young, Australian band, Operator Please who rocked the tent with their music that Tim described as “The B52s meet the Levellers, which souldn’t work, but does”. I’ve been listening to their album a fair bit.

Next up, Penny split off to see the Dandy Warhols, who she didn’t enjoy live, and Tim and I went to see Goldfrapp perform. It was a great performance, though it must be said that the new album didn’t work as well live as the older material. The dancers kept the crowd interested though, using a maypole  for a pole-dancing routine; a logical extension of use, if you ask me. Very glad I saw them live, though I still think they’d have been better in the Royal Albert Hall. And yes, I’m still bitter.

Finally, we bopped along to the mixed up frenetics that are The Go! Team, which was fun and a perfect, upbeat way to end our day in Victoria Park.

It’ll be a busy weekend for me, as of tonight.

Tonight, Penny and I travel to sunny Chelmsford in preparation for Kev & Lynsey’s wedding tomorrow where I will be assisting in the ushering. You can look forward to me not uploading pictures of me in a morning suit.

Saturday we’re going with the shifty ferret to Wembley to see the Foo Fighters, supported by the Futureheads and Supergrass. Very exciting!

Sunday, Penny and I go our separate ways. Penny will be walking the hills of Montenegro for eight days, while I will finally be taking advantage of my Christmas present from 2006(!) and going tall ships sailing.

Movies

There haven’t been too many movies I’ve got to see recently, but I did get to see The Orphanage in the cinema. This is a Spanish language haunted house tale “presented” by Guillermo “Pan’s Labyrinth” del Toro. Overall it was quite good, though they did over-use the old trick of loud noise to make you jump at the creepy bits. I don’t think it needed it and overall would have been better as a chiller with some creepy overtones rather than using the “BANG! Made you jump!” technique. Also, the last two minutes were entirely redundant, but other than that it was quite a good movie. I rate it… Must Rent.

I also finally caught the modern remake of 3:10 to Yuma on BluRay rental, because I like westerns and I like Christian Bale. Hmm… The score was good, the visuals looked lovely in HD BluRay glory and the score was good and well used. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the 50’s original to compare, but the story was really weak. It started off okay, but veered a little around the middle and by the end had unravelled entirely to the point that my suspension of disbelief had, itself, been completely suspended. I rate it… Avoid.
I knew I should have gone with The Assassination of Jesse James etc.

TV

Yeah, not too much here either. The new season of Heroes hasn’t really blown me away yet neither has Doctor Who. I’ve been watched Season 1 of House which started well. The fact that this is a blatant medical Sherlock Holmes (Homes? House? You see what they did… Oh never mind) crossed with CSI quite appeals to me, as does Hugh Laurie’s misanthropic titular character. But it’s becoming pretty damn samey, pretty damn fast. I’ve been assured that more character development and variation is coming, but I’m losing faith fast.

Books

I’ve been working my way through the recent trend of supernatural pulp detective novels, the most famous of which is the mildly entertaining Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher which was made into an utterly rubbish TV show. The books are fun, but are being bogged down by their own mythology by now. Then I moved onto the Rachel Morgan series, when I read Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, which was blatantly the Dresden Files, by a female author, with a female protagonist for a female audience. Half of it read like a the relationship self-help sections of women’s magazines. I didn’t bother picking up the rest of the series. But now I’ve moved onto Mike “Hellblazer” Carey’s Felix Castor series, beginning with The Devil You Know. I realise I may be a little biased towards the writer I already know I like, but I would say that Carey’s books are my favourite of this genre. I’ll hopefully be picking up the second book in the series today.

Graphic Novels

Not much for a while, but I read Warren Ellis’ Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E and laughed like a drain and I don’t even know what that means! Penny’s usually not much into Ellis, but she read the whole thing, frequently muttering “That’s just wrong!” and then carrying on reading.

Music

Well, due to my current client, I’m exposed to a lot more music these days, but not all of it is new. I’ve been listening to We Are Scientists, The Hives, The Datsuns and, for a complete change of style, Remi Nicole. And I wasn’t too impressed with Portishead’s first single off the new album, finding it too industrial for my tastes.

Games

Most of my gaming right now is on the PSP. I played God of War and enjoyed it immensely! For six hours. Let me reiterate that, to make it quite clear: This £25 game entertained me for a mere six hours! Once, I take off the trade-in value, that means I paid £2.30 per hour of entertainment.
On the other hand, I’m still playing Final Fantasy Tactics and according to my save game file, I’ve played it for 30 hours so far…
As for the PS3, Gran Tourismo 5 Prologue is beautiful, cheap and fun. It is worth your money and is very friendly to casual play.

Well, it’s been quite a year so far for music. In terms of listening to music, most of my friends are quite sick of me bleating on about the by now, but I’m not yet tired of them in any way. They are my happy find of 2007. I can’t remember the last time I bought an album that I could just re-listen to again and again.

Lovebox Weekender

July saw Tim accompany me to the second day of the Weekender in Victoria Park. Pictures here.

I saw:

– Who were very interesting and I’ll pick up their album
– Who I enjoyed and have ordered the album of.

I also saw a remote controlled mechanical robot horse.

Tim joined me and we saw:

– Who were so-so and we went elsewhere
– Who were quite good
The B-52s – Who were amusing
– Who kind of had the home crowd advantage, this being their festival, but they really rocked the park. Totally awesome. And when playing live are a whole league above their albums.

Reading Festival

Then just last weekend I accompanied Penny to the last day of the . Pictures here.

We saw:

Funeral for a friend – Who were okay, but not really my thing.
Fall Out Boy – Who were quite entertaining, fun to watch and, because “it sucks going to festivals and not knowing all the words”, peppered their set with covers of “Beat it”, “The Power of Love” and others.
Lost Prophets – Who were very good indeed, particularly in their mastery of the crowd. The swirling vortex of running, dancing and moshing was intense and did, as predicted, swallow up all around it, including us. It was lead singer Ian Watkins’ goal “to have Trevor MacDonald report that Lost Prophets got the whole crowd jumping at Reading”. I didn’t catch the news, but the statement was certainly true; an ocean of people jumping up and down liked crazed pogo stick testers.
NIN – Who performed excellently and it was nice to hear a couple of the tracks that I liked but were a bit heavy for me.

We also saw .

Crowdsurfing can be dangerous to you and others

Then Penny and I split. I went to see:

– Who were an accident as I was just trying to get into the tent early and their set was running late. But what I heard I liked. Thankfully Tim has lent me their first album.
The Klaxons – Hurrah! Considering that when I agreed to go to Reading I had never heard of them, never mind knew they were playing, this was a result! The tent was insane. It was rammed to the gills, the roar of the crowd was deafening and everyone was jumping. Well, apart from lead singer Jamie Reynolds who was there in his crutches due to a fractured ankle.

Penny saw:

– First the good: The old tracks that Penny loved were still good. The bad has been reported by , but Penny tells me they tamed down the quotes a fair bit. Let’s just say that did not achieve rapport with the crowd, he was in no way complimentary of his female fans and somehow believed that saying “See – isn’t it great to be alternative – You can say all those things” would get him out of it.

I always say I won’t do these anymore, then I get lax for one reason or another and do another catchup post. But, here we are again and once again my assurance that this will be the last of it’s kind unless something dramatic happens in the form of the destruction of the internet, abduction by fae who see in me their long-lost and recently reincarnated god-king or I happen to catch ebola.

And so, in roughly chronological order:

  • I am the happy owner of a Sony 3. I am very pleased with my investment and have been getting a lot of pleasure out of it. This warrants it’s own, in-depth, post which I hope won’t take another month to emerge.
  • Penny went to Iran, had a good time, was fascinated by the cultural differences, saw interesting sights and missed a by the morality police by 24 hours. She is slowly but surely uploading pictures to her and hopes to blog her experiences.
  • As , I spent a weekend up in Cheltenham, drinking beer, hiking, observing the local predators at play and taking a steam train around the villages. Most enjoyable.
  • Since I last blogged I saw two movies in the cinema, both of which I was disappointed by, namely 300 and Spiderman 3. The former was either too hammy or the hamminess was not done by actors who could actually pull it off. The central themes and black humour of the graphic novel were not sufficiently present and the whole thing came off as a very pretty hack fest. Pretty, good battles but soulless. Spiderman 3 was great on special effects but it rubbed me up the wrong way with it’s constant lame gags to distract the kiddies from the darkness and the massive emphasis on Forgiveness. Do all superhero films now have to have a moral? All in all, watchable and fun, but does not compare favourably with it’s superior predecessors. This makes this years personal cinema chart look as follows:
  1. Hot Fuzz
  2. In Pursuit of Happyness (sic)
  3. 300
  4. Spiderman 3
  • Next cinema films I intend to watch are Pirates 3, Harry Potter 5, Stardust, 28 weeks later, Bourne Ultimatum and Beowulf.
  • Music-wise I’ve been to the , and .
  • In books, I’ve been devouring Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series about a tough Chicago private eye… wizard. Excellent stuff, very good escapism.
  • Penny and I went camping last weekend down on the south coast. The little village of Rye is incredibly charming while the Camber Sands Leisure Park where we pitched up is dire beyond mention. here. It was a pleasant weekend and the new tent, a , held up spectacularly in adverse conditions. All the more impressive considering the minuscule weight of just over 1kg.

Right, I’ve probably missed bits out, but it’s a good start!

TV

Well, I’ve still got a backlog of movies and programs to watch on the PVR, so I still haven’t watched the end of Season 1 of ‘‘. I’ve been mostly enjoying it, though it’s not really fantastic. But certainly watchable. What I have been enjoying is ‘‘ on Sky Three since for some reason my reception improved. A team of geniuses attempts to unravel the mystery of an alien DNA/behaviour altering viral intelligence. Production values aren’t up there with some of the stuff coming out of the states, but it’s certainly interesting to watch. Getting Sky Three back also allowed me to watch an episode of ‘‘. You’d think a pseudo-supernatural, time traveling investigation drama, starring whose character seems to only own low cut tops would appeal to me. But no, it’s fairly pants. I won’t bother watching any more.

Movies

I recently watched ‘‘ on DVD and found myself surprisingly enjoying it. A lot of recent animal themed animations like ‘‘ and such have been rather boring. But despite OtH’s standard “rogue finds redemption through the fellowship of his new-found friends” storyline (yes, I know it’s for kids) I actually found OtH laugh-out-loud funny in several places. And finally there was a role truly worthy of William Shatner’s overacting…

Graphic Novels

Not a lot recently, though I did re-read all of ‘Transmetropolitan’ a few weeks back, beginning to end. What an excellent series. But what I did buy recently was Frank “Sin City” Miller’s ‘300’, the tale of the Spartan’s holding back the massed army of the Persians. A totally excellent graphic novel that I would recommend to anyone, both in terms of art and story. The gallows humour doesn’t hurt it either. There is a movie due out in March and Chris “Cursed Empire” Louziou (sorry for the spelling) is running a playtest of a ‘300’ roleplaying game at Conception using the appropriately lethal ‘Cursed Empire’ rules.

“Real” Novels

I’m currently in the middle of two. I’m re-reading ‘The Sign of Four’ from my complete Sherlock Holmes book that I got for Christmas and also reading James Herbert’s ‘The Secret of Crickley Hall’. It’s a very old-fashioned ghost story so far. You know the drill… Haunted house, new residents, a terrible past… It’s all there. It’s enjoyable for all that, but I was hoping for more of an updated twist in the traditional haunted house scenario.

Music

Too much and too varied for me to individually list out, particularly now the Ipod speaker system is properly set up in the lounge.