A project ‘war room’ can be a pretty dreary place, so what better way to jazz things up a bit and get those juices flowing than a bit of a music. Unfortunately for some of my colleagues I’m the only one with a music collection with me and the on-site contacts to refresh it, allowing me almost unmitigated control of the playlist.
I’m doing quite well in offending people so far. The Chemical Brothers have been described as “noise” while the Beastie Boys gained the moniker of “monkey music” and there’s a whole project full of people left to offend. My chillout selection (Lamb, Massive Attack, DJ Shadow and Air) has only gained a few sneers, but nothing strongly negative yet, which is a shame.
The Foo Fighters are going down well and somewhat surprisingly, so is Korn.

Well, what originally looked like it was to be a quiet weekend turned out out to be more eventful than expected.
On Saturday Penny was working and I was tasked with tinkering with her computer to make it better and…well.. to make it work. I had a go at it but decided in the end to hand it over to a shop to finish off for me. Hopefully I’ll hear today as to what state it’s in.

So, with my copious spare time I decided to use it fruitfully by playing , the expansion to .
DS2:BW Is pretty much more of the same as DS2, a perfectly adequate Diablo 2 clone. The new expansion adds a new character race (the dwarf), two new character classes (the Fist of Stone and the Blood Assassin) and an extra chapter of story. The race is pointless apart from if you liked the visuals of a hairy midget to represent you in the world of Arranna. The two new classes though add a certain amount of depth to characters that make it quite fun, particularly at higher levels. This actually succeeds in adding some more replayability to the game. The story is a little weak but perfectly adequate as you only really pay attention through the first time through. It’s a lot more depressing than the storyline of the main game which fits quite nicely. In the main game you ventured out all hero-like and caused a cataclysm and the deaths of thousands. In the expansion you must deal with the consequences of your short-sighted heroics.
Overall rating: Four cups of coffee out of seven

Saturday night, Penny’s friend Rhea came around for an evening of conversation, vodka and very alcoholic hot chocolate which was very much enjoyed.

On Sunday morning we decided to have a day out in London, principally to see A Scanner Darkly which isn’t showing at any of our local cinemas.

But before we got to the cinema we had a wander down Regent Street, which was all blocked off and rammed with people for the . Basically it was a huge advertising party for the Spanish tourist industry, but it was well done with festive clothing, regional music, food and dance etc. Virgin Radio also had a live music stage where we saw , currently in the charts with Last Request. Not really my bag, but it was there so we watched.

From there, it was off to the Odeon Covent Garden, via a brief sojourn to Forbidden Planet.
, the adaptation of ‘s novel of drugs, identity, reality and paranoia was an excellent film. The rotoscoping worked excellently for the thematics and even managed to help Keanu ‘Wooden’ Reeves emote. It’s not a mass market film really; It doesn’t have a ‘neat’ ending as such, though the ending works well, and some people will not be happy about the reality warping. But I think it’s a very good film indeed and worth watching.

Oh and it looks like the news of the morning is that the crocodile hunter . Never one to come high in the ‘Likely to die peacefully in his bed at a ripe old age’ charts, it seems like the crazy croc baiter, snake wrestler and spider fondler has succumbed to the dangers of a remarkably placid sea creature. It just goes to show that if you expect there to be danger you can plan against it, as Steve himself did professionally, but sometimes shit just happens.

Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell is to write and record the theme tune to the new James Bond film, Casino Royale.

The theme for the 21st Bond film, in which Daniel Craig will debut as 007, is titled You Know My Name.

A film spokeswoman said Cornell’s music was “both soulful and tough” and “the perfect complement” to the film.

Casino Royale will receive its world premiere in London on 14 November. The film is released three days later in the UK and US.

US rocker Cornell was previously the singer with Seattle rock group Soundgarden.


tags: , ,

It took five working days to clear down all the unreads in my ! I am now informed and up to date.
So tonight it’s time to go and see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Do we go to see the plot? The special effects? No. We don’t even go to see it for Keira. (Well…) We go to see Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirate, rogue, rum drinker and inspiration to us all. May he lead us astray, afloat and amused.
Oh, and as for this weekend, interlopers beware! We have a !
Now, I know what you’re thinking… This doesn’t seem to resemble the missing entries on Egypt at all, does it. Well, I do have an excuse, I just won’t bore you with it.
Now, just before my trip to Germany I went to the (link to pictures) in Hyde Park with Tim and Alex and a good time indeed it was! I mainly went to see Massive Attack and DJ Shadow, in that order of preference, but these things never go how you’d expect. It turns out that even though I missed the last 10-15 minutes of the set, DJ Shadow really was the best show in town, even despite the comedy stereotypical rappers for part of the set. The pleasant surprise was by which was very enjoyable indeed. was somewhat predictably fluffy, despite whacking up the bass and volume for the one track everyone actually knows. The Flaming Lips were fun with their bizarre stage set and their comedy cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. Damien Marley proved that he was jammin’, he was jammin’, he was jammin’ to his dad’s music mostly. I’m glad I got to see , but a) I was too far away to really feel it and b) the field was full of people who got free tickets and thought they’d have a look-see at a band they’d heard of and then spent the time nattering to their mates. Such a shame for the headline act to be ruined so. Overall though I’m really glad I got to go and was thrilled to get to go with Tim and Alex, even though they mostly made me feel like a musical dunce once their awesome combined knowledge of all things musical was unleashed.

As further elaboration to DeathOwl’s post, I hereby ask: Wouldn’t it be nice to link your list with Pandora?

Well, you can! More info here:

And, more for my reference than anything else, while we’re on the topic of music tools, don’t forget . Their blurb: Call Shazam on your mobile (2580). Hold out your phone to the music. The phone will hang up after 30 seconds. We send you a text telling you artist name & song.
It doesn’t matter what tariff you’re on, it costs 50p to tag a track on the 3 Network, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone – plus your standard call charges.

Their newest feature is that you can log into their website and buy the tracks that you have ‘tagged’, to use their terminology.

Or, you just go to and download it for $0.10!

So, this summer Penny is going to three different concerts. She’s going to see the Foo Fighters, the Chillis and Radiohead. I’m very happy for her, but I was somewhat grumbley since there was nothing that I was desperate to see or could make time for.

Then I saw it in this morning’s Metro. The O2 Wireless Festival 2006:

Friday: Massive Attack and DJ Shadow
Saturday: Zero 7 (which even makes up for James Blunt being there)
Sunday: Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp and Bauhaus

Genius!

Then I catch the dates, and it’s the 23rd to the 25th of June.
I’m in Germany. Aaargh!

There’s no justice in the world.

Update: There might be a way around this: Go to see Goldfrapp at the end of March and then just go to the Friday afternoon/evening part of the O2 festival to see Massive Attack and DJ Shadow…
It’s a crazy idea, but it might just work! Now just to check whether or not I’m booking one lot of tickets or two…

Update 2: Goldfrapp tickets booked, and just waiting to see if Alex & Alison are joining me for Massive Attack. Nice!

So, Pioneers of the Inevitable LLC, creators of , have created a new media player called . It looks quite pretty, much like Itunes, and has as it’s major selling points that it can\will be able to access multiple online music stores and can play lists of music on a webpage directly as playlists. Neat.

Technologically, it’s built on the Firefox UI engine making it very solid and extensible.

Features missing so far are the very necessary CD burning & ripping and of course extensions themselves. The former is a must before I convert (for I surely shall), and the latter could make Songbird a real must. I’d want an extension for web\satellite\DAB radio, PSP synching and an interface into (yes it’s still legal and will be until September so get your cheap, downloaded, DRM-free music fast) and (and this bit’s a little sad) good visualisations including a party mode where the machine is locked but still playing the playlist.

In short, watch this space and I’ll give you a review of version 0.2 when it’s out, for version 0.1 shows immense promise but there’s no point for me yet.

The last week
Music
This last week I’ve been listening to the a lot. I know I’m a good few months behind the times, but not listening to the radio a lot meant that I didn’t really hear their best known track “Bet you look good on the dancefloor” until New Years Day in Andy’s car, where Radio 1 was playing the most successful tracks of 2005. It’s a cracking track.
TV
Okay, I’ve not really been watching it on TV, but the principle is there. I’ve been enjoying Lost immensely. I caught the first 3 episodes when it first came on telly, but then missed the next three, at which point I gave up. You’ve really got to watch all the episodes concurrently. However over the last week I’ve been watching the episodes I’ve acquired. I’m up to episode 17 (Hurley’s past and the mysterious numbers) and can’t wait to watch more. Then I get to watch them all again because Penny wants to see them now.
Books
Penny’s been reading Memoirs of a Geisha recently because she wants to watch the movie next weekend. She’s been enjoying the book a lot and is hoping the film will do it justice. Me, I’ve been reading rubbish in the form of a couple of re-released novels. Good fun, historical pulp fiction that’s entertaining and occasionally educational. The ones written in the seventies are the best though, the style goes downhill after that.
Graphics
Sadly nothing, though I’m looking forward to the next when it comes out this week.
Christmas
Movies
A bumper crop this Christmas just past. I went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire again, because my dad is a huge fan of Harry Potter films. In terms of DVDs, as previously stated I got Existenz, Memento and Appleseed from. I watched Memento with my parents, but it really wasn’t to their taste, unsurprisingly. I love it though and I’ve still to watch the other two movies, both of which I’ve yet to watch.
Graphics
was my graphic novel gift from Penny. The first collaboration between Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, and what a treat it is.
Last Year
Last year was a good year for music and films. Here are some of my highlights.
Movies
My favourite cinema movie of the year had to be Sin City. Honourable mentions should go to Batman Begins and Harry Potter.
My favourite independent movie of the year, regardless of format, had to be , which I was fortunate enough to see at the London Film Festival.
Music
What a year in music! There was music in the charts that was actually worth listening to! What’s that about?
Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Killers, Razorlight… All good bands. Album of the year has to go to Green Day with American Idiot though.
Authors
I can’t really decide on which were my favourite books of last year, but I thought I’d mention that I was very pleased to have met both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and got them both to sign my stuff.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Song sites face legal crackdown: “The music industry is to extend its copyright war by taking legal action against websites offering unlicensed song scores and lyrics.

The Music Publishers’ Association (MPA), which represents US sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006.

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed.

Guitar licks and song scores are widely available on the internet but are ‘completely illegal’, he told the BBC.

Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can ‘throw in some jail time I think we’ll be a little more effective’.

Next: Music Ass. of America jails teenager for singing in shower without paying royalties.

‘Real’ books

I need something fairly brainless in the mornings to read, so I bought the newest Tom Clancy paperback, ‘Teeth of the Tiger’. If I’m reading for quality, I steer away from Clancy, and his politics do often grate with me, but it’s a fairly decent techno-thriller that you can read with only half of your brain switched on. When I finish that one, I’ve got a collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. All praise Great Cthulhu! After that I have ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke to read. I didn’t really get into it last time, but I’ve got enough time in the evenings to dedicate to it now.

Graphic Novels

I recently acquired, as part of my monthly post-payday Amazon purchase the second ‘Global Frequency’ book and ‘Mr Punch’, a Gaiman/McKean collaboration. I had read GF2 before, but it was quality, so I had to own it. I haven’t read ‘Mr Punch’ yet as it requires a fairly awake brain. I’m getting frustrated that ‘Desolation Jones’ is only bi-monthly and the first (assuming there’s more) storyline is supposed to be six episodes long and I’ve got three of them already. So for those weak in arithmetic, that means I’ve got to wait half a year to finish reading the story. Grrr….

Bryce very kindly brought his library graphic novel acquisitions with him to the game so I had something to read on Sunday morning while everyone else was still asleep. The first was a Constantine book, ‘Highwater’, which was good, and firmly re-establishes Constantine as someone not to be messed with. I quite enjoyed the other book he brought, but am ashamed to say I can’t remember it’s name.

Music

My AudioScrobler profile (see link on right) is slanted. The WMP plugin only records what you actually play using WMP, not what you transfer to your MP3 player. If I’m playing music from the computer, it’s likely to be mellow Sunday morning stuff, or occasional weird stuff, so there’s by plenty of Lamb, Massive Attack, Mr Punch, Goldfrapp etc. However, my MP3 player, which I actually listen to most often, is mostly filled with rockin’ tracks as I’m listening to it on the move and want something to get the adrenaline flowing.

Aside from that, this month’s Amazon purchase included the classic album ‘Moon Safari’ by French electronica outfit, Air.

Films

Haven’t seen any movies recently, not being around in the evenings much. I’ve been filling my time, as mentioned below, watching the second season of 24. However, films I want to see, hopefully are: The Corpse Bride, Nightwatch and Serenity. Next months DVD purchase may include Batman Begins.