Monday, December 24, 2007

Bah humbug: merry Xmas to all!

Gah, I'm getting to be pretty damn rubbish at this online life malarky, what with all the - ahem - "real life" stuff intruding.

Still, let me not be accused of not making some effort: I gave you a Christmas card (hopefully some of you may have even had ones to your mail accounts), and I have TRIED to drop by to give some of you some continued Rullsenberg comments.

But by my own admission this last few months have been poor fare for regular readers and I spologise for that.

Still, just to bring to mind something more heartwarming EineKleine Rob reminded me of one of the most wonderful bits of Xmas TV.

You might think, after spending yesterday evening at a local cinema's packed small screen for a showing of "It's a Wonderful Life", that I would be all cried out. Heck, I even gave myself a headache from sobbing. It matters not: you can't be a good sob.

Now I am off to go and hang some Christmas decs (yes, the German in me decided that it had to wait till Xmas Eve*) and meet a friend for lunch.

Hugs to all and may I provide better blogging
Lisa of Rullsenberg

* I'd like to give credit to my semi-Germanic heritage: actually the delay was of course just from the overload of life. Meh.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best use of an unlikely song on a Christmas Card

This has to be seen to be believed.

Care2 Cards have just made my day.

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Development Hell in film land: Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon

It's an old interview (dating from the release of Serenity), but I rather liked this exchange between Joss Whedon (JW) and Neil Gaiman (NG):

JW: I find that when you read a script, or rewrite something, or look at something that's been gone over, you can tell, like rings on a tree, by how bad it is, how long it's been in development.

NG: Yes. It really is this thing of executives loving the smell of their own urine and urinating on things. And then more execs come in, and they urinate. And then the next round. By the end, they have this thing which just smells like pee, and nobody likes it.

JW: There's really no better way to put it.

Pogues 'censored'??!!


I run to the BBC News site for a quick gander at the world at large (its a rare treat these days to lift my head from the files and paperwork around me, let alone review what is happening outside the university).

This nonsense is what I find: "Radio 1 censors Pogues' Fairytale"

BBC Radio 1 has banned the word "faggot" from the Pogues' 1987 Christmas hit Fairytale of New York to avoid offence.

The BBC said: "We are playing an edited version because some members of the audience might find it offensive."

Another line, where MacGowan calls MacColl "an old slut on junk", has also been edited.

But the ban does not apply across the BBC. Radio 2 said it would be playing the full version of the track.
And again, I say: "huh?!"

UPDATED: Although the original story was updated at 15:50, according to a news item on PM, the BBC changed their minds (see the climbdown at 18:00). Maybe someone reminded them that they DO employ Chris Moyles... [as Stu rightly pointed out].

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slack readers

Norm points up a piece bemoaning 'unread books', and remarks that having unread books is perfectly normal for any book buyer/reader.

Thank heavens for that! The new acquisitions from Crockatt & Powell have only just made it from bag to shelf, and at present aren't even on the right shelves (as you know, I'm a bit anal about sorting and shelving).

My four purchases were:
I am looking forward to delving into each.

Xmas Tennant Goodies

Before I sink beneath a weight of unread bloglines updates, emails, un-read forum posts and general online gabbery, just a few brief words:

1) yes, I have seen the new Voyage of the Damned trailer for New Who on tv (and online). My, these trailers are a feast of delight!

2) yes, I have my copy of [delete as per your query] Radio Times, Doctor Who magazine, and Doctor Who adventures. They are all in my bag of goodies for Xmas. See, I DO have willpower...

3) yes, I have spotted that spiffy recommended book, The Wooden Overcoat (see here) is being dramatised over the Xmas period. Yes, thanks to the Radio Times - which has been easier to have a 2 min flick through than getting online to keep up to date - I also know who is in the cast. And yes, I have set EineKleineRob and Joe's mind at rest by acknowledging I (now) know about this. Thanks guys...

4) If you don't like David Tennant, I'd suggest locking yourself away* this Xmas because the boy is everywhere (NB the US had the Christmas Extras episode early? Huh?)

* In fact, lock yourself away anyway. Clearly you need a wake up call: the guy is HAWT! And that tuxedo... drool...

UPDATE: since I already confused Joe, I added a link to the 'Extras' remark...

Crockatt & Powell related stuff

C&P are on the move: it's all go to the Fulham Road SW10. Ken & Chel here they come...*

Recently described as "It's like a Waterstones where you've taken out all the rubbish", they really are a fine treasure trove of goodies. Heck, they've employed the goddess that is Marie Phillips - whose novel Gods Behaving Badly (in case you forgot) is coming to a small screen near you via Ben Stiller. Marie's move to work there was incentive enough for me; once visited it went straight on the 'when in London, must visit' list.

And mentioning Marie, for those who visited her much-loved Struggling Author site for discussion of boilers, shoes, encounters with famous people, countdowns and cancellations of housewarming parties promising encounters with David Tennant, and much much more... well, you've missed your chance. It went Members-Only on release of Marie's first novel and now has said goodbye. Sniff. Thankfully, Marie will continue to blog over at The Woman Who Talked Too Much. That's a relief: blog-life without Marie would be like no bloglife at all.... (speaketh moi who has virtually abandoned blogging of late - not intentionally of course, but by circumstance).

*I for one will be quite sad to see C&P move from Lower Marsh... I rather liked nipping in when I was on the South Bank. No chance of keeping C&P mark 1 and running mark 2 as an additional venture? Sigh.

UPDATE: Hurrah! C&P are STAYING at Lower Marsh and EXPANDING to Fulham Road! Phew, Wooo! and indeed WHOOOO... thanks to Marie for the update!

PS spare copy of The Observer from Sunday 16 December 2007 anyone?

Typical. I only rarely buy it so I guess missing this was inevitable when I'm not online much...

Douglas Henshall and Tena Stivicic talk about Christmas.

Awh, bless.

Treat of the Day: Dougie Henshall talks about Primeval

As if Xmas trailers weren't quite enough of a boost to my drained mind and body, hot in my inbox this morning was a link to this gem:

Thanks as ever to Dianne at the Douglas Henshall yahoo forum and website.

You'll be pleased to know I feel a tad better (this after a very frustrating day yesterday trying to sort the house out).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gradual catch-up: Slow Boats in Rough Trade East

As Cloud said:
Tell them about the honey ... no,not the honey, tell them about someone wearing a Slow Boat Records shop tshirt to go to Rough Trade East. And that someone taking their coat off to flash said t-shirt. And someone else approaching the someone in the t-shirt to say "It's a great shop, isn't it?" expecting a Kiwi accent in response and being surpised.
Indeed. Though I was quick to still praise the Welly-based record emporium, on reflection the guy was probably hopeful of locating a fellow Kiwi. Sorry if I disappointed him!

All that AND seeing Stephen Smith from Newsnight (I felt like saying "you've done the A level now; you don't have to try and hang out with all the cool kids!")

Monday, December 10, 2007

In love with a song about a girl in a time machine

Thanks be to Neilie Cloud for this link to Harry's Place.

By gum, there is some mad stuff on the net.

Songs for Kylie, Time Machine noises, Christmas pop songs...its all fun.

Double Grrrrrr and Meh, Meh, Meh: posts I owe

What can I say people? It's been a tough few weeks.

I know that this autumn I have been rather erratic in providing blog posts: work has been considerably more chaotic and demanding and I have consequently been much more tired and disinclined to be online of an evening; the house has been in a state of upheaval most of the time since we returned from NZ; and despite these difficulties we've also tried to squeeze in some level of a social life.

So: what do I now owe you?

1) blog posts on our recent trip to London - which included a trip to Dulwich Picture Gallery (and a sighting of Timothy Spall in Dulwich Village), a visit to Tate Modern, an enjoyable rummage of Spitalfields Market and the Hawksmoor Church, an unexpected cello recital, an expensive trip to Rough Trade East, support of our favourite London independent bookstore, and much more besides.

2) A Hawk and a Hacksaw live at the Malt Cross Nottingham - this post will appear over at Music is Our Hot Hot Sex

3) update and photographs of the house (including Neil's fabulous book storage)

4) a music acquisitions list (will also be cross-posted at Music is Our Hot Hot Sex

5) my opinions on the first series of Heroes

6) my excitement at the prospect of a second series of Primeval and the return of Doctor Who

...and probably several other things I owe

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Neil Gaiman - Top Geezer

Thanks to Tom over at Dragon's Mind for directing me to this totally heart-warming story.

The narrative is great, but looking at the pictures: awh!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marie's News

(Further) stardom beckons!!!

Marie's book optioned by Ben Stiller....

(The news is all over the place - I first found it at Medium Rob's - but mega congrats to Marie!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Disturbing post of the day award (humourous category)

This from Billy.

I know dreams are weird, but....!

It may be sad, but it's still funny...

The Guardian may have run an article on why England gets so sad about losing at football, but Cloud points to a link that suggests not everyone thinks the same.

Very, very funny.

SwitchOn Posters

With due credit to Stu N who directed me to this poster for the recent Decemberists gig in Wolverhampton, I had a browse of the rest of the site output.

I especially loved this Glasgow 2007 Decemberists poster. Hmmm.... pretty pictures...!

Mother cannot help you now - and neither can God

Tom over at Dragon's Mind provides a really great post on how horror films often take away the security and sanctuary offered by both God and Mother.

Go Read.

Doctor Who Postscript: RIP 'John Smith's' mother - Verity Lambert

Very sad to read the news that Verity Lambert died last night, on the eve of the 44th anniversary of Doctor Who.

As the first producer of Doctor Who, she was most recently remembered in the Doctor Who script for Human Nature/Family of Blood where John Smith identified his parents as 'Verity' and 'Sidney' (Newman).

POSTSCRIPT: There is a very beautiful tribute piece to Verity over at Behind the Sofa. Begun whilst she was still alive and incomplete though it remains, it is nevertheless a very good response to the important contribution she made.

Happy 44th Birthday to Doctor Who

Noted as from the lovely Medium Rob: 44 years ago today, "The Unearthly Child" - the first episode of Doctor Who - launched all the dreams, nighmares, passion, obsession and joy of so many sci-fi fans.

Okay, so first responses were probably a TAD overshadowed by events of 22 November 1963...

PS The Time Warden also offers their thoughts on the birthday/anniversary.

1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die: "What, No Camera Obscura?"

That's a great headline, and sums up one of my first responses on starting to read the Guardian's recent list of "1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die". With Friday here, their regular day for 'Film and Music', they've printed a number of suggestions for items they missed.

Being something of a list-y geek myself (hey, you wouldn't believe the level of pleasure I got from filing into alphabetical order all the CDs last weekend...), this sort of thing always interests me - even if it also infuriates as well. Of course there are plenty out there who think that its Just Another Bloody List, and you can't help but sympathise with in such a list-overloaded age (whose sketch was it about the bloke in a hospital bed with only a week to live whose family/friends kept reeling off and trying to set him up to watch a number of films he hadn't yet seen? "You've never seen 'Taxi Driver'? you have to see THAT before you die!!"). Nevertheless, I'm a girl who likes a list, so for me it brings up my inner geek.

In response, Skuds has come up with a further 27 items (kinda one for each letter) that he felt should be on the list, and nicely links to Jonathan at Assistant Blog who runs through some of the Guardian list identifying from each alphabet letter (A-M first) one CD he already loved and recommended, one he had heard about but not actually heard, and one that was new but sounded interesting. Both approaches offer a helpful slant on appraising the list. And you probably WON'T be surprised to know that I went through each days listings with a pencil ticking off those we had, and starting to log on eMusic a list of those I could download from there.

Just a thought, mind, of at least four artistes that were missing that I would have put on there:

Einsturzende Neubauten
GodSpeed You! Black Emperor
Rufus Wainwright (God, I mean there weren't ANY Wainwrights on there! Except by default Kate McGarrigle was included)

There were plenty more and you may well get bored with some of my rants on this.

I'd also personally have taken a leaf from the Guardian's supposed criteria of "where there was a good alternative to the blindingly obvious album, we went for the alternative" - why 'Different Class' instead of say 'His 'n' Hers'? I know DC is possibly IN a different class to other works in the Pulp discography - its certainly their most consistent album - but H&H really sets the tone for DC. And in that respect - and bearing in mind the Guardian's own criteria - they could have gone for H&H instead.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Written in books

... no, not an Echo and the Bunnymen citation as such, more a riff from reading Norm's recent post on annotating books.

As the person who gave me one of my first big blogging breaks (a Normblog Profile), I obviously have a lot of time for Norm and his enviable focus and allegiance to blogging. He somehow manages a wonderful combination of the erudite with the witty and eclectic as he ranges from cultural, political and philosophical ideas / productions / theories to commentary on current events (mostly, but not exclusively political as there is a goodly dose of sport).

Anyway, I probably come down on the side of having written in books, but not having always been comfortable at having done so. I certainly no longer take a highlighter to the pages anymore (some books having suffered this way in the past - shudder), and I generally avoid pen as well. It's usually pencil if I do it at all now, but I'm increasingly aware that I'm questioning WHY I'm making a note at all: it's all those hours spent advising students that taking notes isn't the same as reading, understanding texts or actually writing the essay [Cloud: shut up. It isn't polite to point out a girl's failings...].

Having said that, there is a fascinating book called Marginalia, which is well worth reading. Think of all the commentaries we wouldn't know of without people writing in books!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is that the sound of people sobbing?

Not sure whose shoes I would less want to be in after this evening's events: his or his. Unsurprisingly, both Wiki pages - as at 11pm on 21 November 2007 - are disabled from editing due to page vandalism.

I suspect that means that there was a fair amount of swearing and scathing 'humour' directed at their respective roles in the night's events, and those leading up to it.

S3 of New Who - a VERY long review

Not by me I hasten to add - although Rob got a full season Carusometer review I'd already made my remarks throughout the season!

Taking one of my regular jaunts to Behind the Sofa, I finally got around to reading Stuart Ian Burn's VERY long review of Season 3 of New Who.

It's VERY VERY long - you're not going to get through it all in a 30sec webpage read - but barring being wary of a ***few mini-spoiler-ish remarks*** its a very sympathetic review of the series as a whole and one where I share a lot of the author's opinions.

Clearly written in at least two long stints, its enthusiasm for the most recent series is nevertheless well conveyed. I suspect that the length was not the only factor affecting other BtS writers adding remarks to the comments: there's a fair amount of determined opinion running counter to much that littered the site in the wake of Sound of Drumms/Last of the Time Lords (aka SOD U LOTT). I found much of the wailing at BtS about the finale hysterically funny - heck, if you're in the mood, pretty much nothing beats their podcast reviews of the finale two eps - but it was nevertheless symptomatic of some of the greatest excesses of fan hatred about the new series.

SIB is much more tempered, whilst still picking out the "No!" moments.

If you can spare the time - and it may warrant setting to one side - then you may well find some interesting thoughts on the season. I certainly got a lot of pleasure reading it.

Support El Mahico

Go! As the regional wildcard for London and the South (though confusingly they've been Midlands based ...?), here's hoping El Mahico make it to the National Final.


Today's laugh out loud post

Swiss Toni provided me with the biggest laugh of the day with this post on people at the gym. It culminated in a classic bit of Swiss T writing, which I hope he won't mind me reproducing:
As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, Darren was also in the changing rooms today. You might remember Darren as the guy who insisted on engaging me in conversation whilst he was stark bollock naked.

He topped that today.

When I first came in to get changed, he tried to make small talk with me whilst he was wearing the most ridiculously skimpy pair of running shorts I have ever seen. That was bad enough, but when I came back in from my run a bit later, he was just on his way to the shower and decided this was a great time -- naked, of course -- to exchange a few words with me. To complete the set, he then decided to wander across the room for a chat after I'd had my shower. Not only was I only wearing a towel and wanting to get dry and back to my desk, but he was also wearing nothing but a really tiny pair of pants and a winning smile. A really tiny pair of pants.


Three great looks, I think you'll agree. Sadly, every time I shut my eyes, I now find one of those three unforgettable images of Darren burned onto my retina.


I think he waxes his chest
That, I think you'll agree, really does burn into the retinas images you don't want... Read the rest of the post which is equally brilliant. In fact, just put him on your favourites. Heck, the earworms and his A-Z review of his CD shelves are worth getting your ass over there for...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Its a 'good start' when ...

... you make a flask of soup and manage to leave it at home, only realising error when you arrive at work.

And I don't get my lunchbreak till 2pm today.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Psst... anyone remember Psychos?

If you know me at all well, then you will know that the television drama Psychos was much loved and is well-remembered.

In the absence of any release on video, DVD or even any gorram repeat (yes, I have been rewatching Serenity), I was thrilled to get the nod that a kind soul on YouTube has made two very fine music vids that capture Danny Nash's Mania and Depression.

A big thanks to Dianne at the usual place because she recognised that I would be VERY chuffed to see these videos.

More Rachel

Rachel has joined that illustrious list of bloggers selected for profile over at Mars Hill.

I was especially taken, with Rachel's take on the Lyrical Terrorist even though it is a long post. She later, rather ably summed up her point as "I am not sure anti-terror legislation should be used to criminalise the morbid online posturings of silly adolescents."

Read 'em folks.

Book pR0n

Oooh, scurrying to Joe's for my weekly dose of E pics, I get a bonus of book pR0n.

That's enough to make ANYONE happy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cross posts: Public Service Music Radio in the UK

Over at Music is Our Hot, Hot Sex you can now read all three of my posts on the public service music radio in the UK.

Radio 1
Radio 2
Radio 3


Friday, November 16, 2007

Meh. Meh. And thrice I say "Meh"

Monday - sore throat, could hardly talk. MEH.
Tuesday - better voice (just) but aching limbs, general bleugh. MEH. Went home ill by 10.30am.
Wednesday - Exhausted. Stayed home ill. MEH.
Thursday and today - back in the office. Voice back, general urgh-ness reduced. Unfortunately workload hasn't gone down in absence. Several students with significant support issues to field. MEH. MEH. MEH.

At least if I can force myself to endure Children in Need I get the pay-off of a Moffatt written double Who mini-episode...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Slight Learners

Yes, it didn't break the mold of TV comedy drama. As the always wonderful Nancy Banks-Smith put it "it was so slight that you could have - you were positively tempted to - poked a small hole in it with your little finger."

A gentle way to pass a Sunday evening, and just what I needed in a house full of newly plastered walls and general chaos.

And yes, David Tennant was very geeky and very lovely.

The 'Troubled Diva' John Barrowman interview

Come on, read it! You know you want to! (BUT BEWARE!!! ***minor Doctor Who season 4 spoiler...***)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Me: the imposter

So, SO true.

I am definitely one of the 70%.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Updated Buffy book list

My sidebar list of Buffy-related materials has been updated (and I may have forgotten something so may yet be updated again!)

Rachel is back...

... with a cracking post on the voices of the net. She's been in debate with Andrew Keen and Microsoft on Richard Bacon's FiveLive radio show.

Nice to see Rachel back on the internet as capable as ever of sparking debate and thought: she's had a rough time for too, too long.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

To try and cheer me... here's my lovely dress I bought in Lincoln

The photos don't really do justice, but that about sums up my days at the moment...

On the upside, ssh, but Blogger is now letting me save draft posts and upload pictures again....

My CD /DVD driver appears to have packed up


I now dare not use the computer to load tracks to iTunes, play music or burn anything.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Arcade Fire Review: 31 Oct 2007, Nottingham Arena

The full review of Arcade Fire at Nottingham Arena is here at the new music blog set up by lovely George.

Just to say here that we had an incredible time and that the delight of patting Win Butler on the shoulder to say thanks for such a great gig was awesome! I was very chuffed to get a nice new t-shirt as well, even if by the end it was as shoogy (I meant soggy!) as if I had got caught in a rainstorm!

And Cloud wore a great T-shirt too!

Friday, November 02, 2007

TV recommendation: Shooting the Past (Saturday 3 November 2007)

Poliakoff is an acquired taste, but Shooting the Past remains one of my favourites of his works. With the divine Lindsay Duncan (god, I love that woman so much) and the utterly wonderful Liam Cunningham... and its about photography and histories... what could be better?

Thanks Mark (TV Today) for the tip off: though I do have it on DVD...

Best titled post of the day

Eine Kleine Rob wins this for a real gem:
Then they came for Ann Coulter and I did not speak up because I was too busy organising the street party

What we did this week: A Very British Coup

Cloud says it well for part 1. A Very British Coup remains a thrilling dramatic ride.

If there is any justice, a 20th anniversary DVD edition will come out next year.

When Perkins makes his national broadcast.... oooh, it makes me have chills just thinking about what happens in the studio!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Music Blog and Arcade Fire review

Just to let you know, we had an utterly awesome time seeing Arcade Fire last night (despite the knob-end pillock who nearly drove the band to cease the gig when he threw something directly at Win Butler that hit him in the face*).

There will be a review - hopefully with some of Neil's pictures - but it may be first appearing as an exclusive on the new music blog: Music Is Our Hot Hot Sex.

Am sure you will enjoy book-marking the new site anyway, which was set up by the lovely George. So far there's a couple of gig reviews and a piece on music radio for your delectation. We're working on the sidebars etc, so stay with us!

* The NME review online is just plain inaccurate on this matter though. The review will say how so.

Work, blah, blah


Sadly, not even the uplift of Arcade Fire has managed to stop today being utterly excessively busy and exhausting.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Hen Shuffle: a Shuffleathon 2007 review

I'm going with the standby reviewing format of track by track. This is not least because at first glance I've not heard of most of the artistes, let alone the songs. That's brilliant as I always like to find new stuff.

With a cracking drum intro, the Hen Shuffle kicks off with a real bang - and a clear statement of intent. "I've done all the dumb things". That would be Australian icon Paul Kelly's work. I'm in quite an upbeat mood from this and a fairly self-reflecting and defiant one too.

We then move onto a slower paced but equally percussion driven track with "That's When I think of you" by 1927. Hmmm. I'm beginning to spot another trend here: there's a distinct antipodean flavour to these tracks! Hey, that's well cool given that this house of Rullsenberg and Roberts has considerable links with the southern hemisphere via Neil's family in NZ and so many friends in Australia.

Right: we now have a piano introduced track - and here comes that cracking percussion again! Woo-hoo! And more than that, this has the sort of lyrics that I just feel SOOOO in-tune with. "I will not go quietly": now doesn't that title just ooze Rullsenberg bolshie-ness!? So with a big hands in the air whoop, I hereby declare that this Southern hemisphere inflected collection is hitting the spot. This track will certainly get airplay in the house on a VERY regular basis. Well done Whitlams.

Onto the next and the pace keeps upward with a mid-tempo, cymbal crack sentiment. There's a real sense of being jollied along here with some carefully thought-through selections. Even with the (male) perspective on life, there's something so affirming about the tunes and lyrics that you can't help but be swept along. So thank you Custard for your "Girls like that".

And now as we start towards the middle zone, there's a definite slowing of pace and its here that we get the softer familiar voices of Savage Garden: with lyrics speaking more directly to a female recipient, we have the tenderness of "Crash and Burn". I certainly think I know of several people who will appreciate these lines:
When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please
To tame your wild wild heart

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I'll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone
Keeping that tone of offering one's self to the beloved, we have the even gentler musical constructions of Crowded House: "Fall at your feet". Again, there is the echo of an offer of caring attention that may not go anywhere but where the love is given in endless hope of something more. Yeah, we have all seen that...

Opening with soft guitar plucking under quirkily half-sung/spoken lyrics, later picking up a slow percussive beat, we now take a very different route. And then we get some jazzy trumpet playing come in: oooh, this is kinda funky! So I get introduced to yet another new band in The Cat Empire and their uplifting "The Crowd". Very nice indeed!

It's a long way in but there it is: a female voice. Welcome Missy Higgins with "Ten Days"! This reminds me very much of someone else but I can't quite make the link - there's elements of the voice of Raissa but not quite. But there's a lovely strings interlude here and everyone here knows how I'm a sucker for the use of strings in pop music.

Again, it's a mid-to-slow paced burner with Hunter and Collectors' "Throw Your Arms Around me" (video here). Again there is the familiar and reasurring drive of a percussive sound and yet another melancholic desire in the lyrics. Overall, I get a sense of longing from this collection - a defiance but also deeply romantic character, acutely aware of relationships, change, unrequited emotions... Of course, that may not be the case at all - hell I have a real penchant for the same... hmm, that may not actually refute my interpertation...

Moving on, we next have a soothing electronica shuffling track by George "Breathe in Now". I especially like the female voice of Katie Noonan. Hmmm: that's throwing my iTunes as I have two other tracks by a band called George from the Pickled Egg collection Jar. Let's just try that out: yep, that voice sounds familiar! Yeah! Brilliant: I already have something by these people.

And so we come to the final track: John Williamson's "True Blue" - a more than heart on sleeve and wryly humoured pean to Australian-ness.

So how has this collection been received in the Rullsenberg house? Very well. Pretty much all the tracks on here will get good rotational airplay, with perhaps only the Missy Higgins track striking a less than fully memorable bullseye. But I can definitely say that the Whitlams track will be well-circulating in recommendations and I'll also be following up on artistes to get more of their work.

Thank you Suburban Hen. A big hit!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shuffleathon 2007 - sent and received!

Well, I now know that despite the best efforts of a delayed UK postal service, the CD I sent in for Swiss Toni's Shuffleathon 2007 has been received. [There's a regularly updated table at the end of this post].

And now I get home and find my gift CD also safely arrived! Hurrah!

A review will be duly posted when I've had chance to fully the goody bag sent to me!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hak Mao blog birthday

Happy birthday snappy cat...

My Black Country boys

Cloud had a bit of moment of joy reading friend Nick's post about the Black Country accent... (Nick has since done a follow up post on the topic).

It's worth directing you to them: enjoy!

Brief Film Review: Little Miss Sunshine

After a year of badgering by various fans of Little Miss Sunshine, we finally got around to watching it. I needed something life affirming, something funny but moving. I got it in bucketloads.

What a completely charming piece of work... I know it wasn't to everyone's taste (Emma: that's you!) but for me and Cloud it was a perfect film for a Monday night in late October.

Brief comedy review: Sean Hughes, Nottingham Playhouse - Saturday 20 October 2007

Sean Hughes current tour seems to be having a rather erratic impact.

All I can say is that I did laugh a lot, but he did tread dangerously close to some unfunny territory, the audience was VERY hard labour indeed for a comic, and I was really glad I wasn't sat closer to the front.

Brief update: health

Currently I am:

  • exhausted

  • have coldsores

  • have back pain

  • find lunchbreaks are a novelty

  • starting work closer to my usual time/finishing nearly on-time, but all this now means is that I'm actually getting further behind in my workload
Anyone think that my job needs to be made permanently funded and that we need more staff?

Friday, October 19, 2007

More Doctor Who fan phrasebook material: Keith Topping has been busy again

Courtesy (of course) of the good people of Behind the Sofa*, comes this gem from Keith Topping. You remember last time? More of the brilliantly hilarious same people...

"And now on BBC one, more time-travelling adventures with Doctor Who. Record the whole series."
The schedulers will be arsing about with the start time over the course of the next month or so.

"Right now on BBC THREE, it's more of the Doctor..."
We've finally worn a hole in our tapes of "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please".

Russell, just leave and cancel the new series NOW!
Yes, I spent the last sixteen years bitching and moaning, protesting outside the BBC and threatening to chain myself to their railings, writing angry letters to Points of View, plotting ways to firebomb Michael Grade's house and get away with it, smashing my TV set with a hammer on the front page of the tabloids, releasing unlistenable protest records and begging on my knees for someone to please, please, please, pretty please bring back Doctor Who, only to suddenly change my mind as soon as the show becomes popular again with people who are aren't me.

RTD can't write for toffee.
Uh-huh, I really did just suggest that one of the most respected writer/producers that British television has produced in two decades can't write because I - wretched done-nothing berk that I am - didn't like an example of his work.

RTD needs to quit!!!
I don't like his episodes. Even though a lot of people do. But I think I'm special and important, so I think the show should be written to my exact specifications.

And this one especially for MediumRob...
Murray Gold's music is too loud/intrusive/generally awful.
Ah, I remember Deadly Dudley Simpson with such fondness.

*Yes, I have no doubt that the Behind the Sofa design team have deliberately chosen the backdrop as the most anti-current Who fan-base pic imaginable...

They're still the bee's knees of funniness though...

OK Computer play

OK Computer - a Radio Four Friday play.

By Joel Horwood, Chris Perkins, Al Smith and Chris Thorpe.

A celebration of Radiohead's seminal 1997 album OK Computer which draws on themes from each of its 12 tracks.

A man wakes up in a hospital in Berlin. He has no memory of who he is, or where he comes from. Once the details of his life are recovered, he is repatriated to Britain and into his former life. But he is haunted by the suspicion that this is not his real life at all.

Paul ...... Tom Brooke
Sarah ...... Liz White
Helen ...... Federay Holmes
Owen ...... Pieter Lawman
Boss ...... Chris Thorpe

Producer Lu Kemp.

Cloud reckons its quite good...

Gig review: The Decemberists at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton 5 October 2007

Sorry for the lateness of this.

Setlist: approximate
Crane Wife 3
The Island: Come and See; The Landlord's Daughter; You'll Not Feel the Drowning
The Gymnast, High Above the Ground
Yankee Bayonet
[Impromptu version of 'You are my Sunshine' and a folk song (sorry, unclear what it was) for reasons to be explained]
Crane Wife 1
As I Rise
Shankhill Butchers
O Valencia!
The Chimbly Sweep
The Perfect Crime #2
Sons & Daughters

Reviews can also be found here and here.

Photo by Rullsenberg: The Decemberists, Wulfrun Hall, Wolves 5 Oct2007

Photo by Rullsenberg: The Decemberists, Wulfrun Hall, Wolves 5 Oct2007
[Apologies for the awful shaky camera work here - my pixels are poorly]

Anyway, this was a rather odd gig. As those who were hoping to see later gigs on the tour will now know and will be grinding their teeth at, post-this gig, the tour was cancelled. You see, lead singer Colin got a bad case of the Wolverhampton curry tummy (or so it seems) and really was on struggling form for the Wolves gig. Consequently, they've subsequently pulled the tour. Methinks that they won't be back in Wolves for a while.

That's a shame since against the odds he and the band turned in a fine performance, in a gloriously intimate venue, albeit one that seemed to miss certain expectations of the audience. Many wanted material from Picareque (me: I would have died and gone to heaven if they had played something from Picaresqueties, especially either Bandit Queen or their wonderful cover of the Joanna Newsom track Bridges and Balloons with its invocation of Cair Paravel). But what they did was grand: and we did get some older tracks from Castaways and Cutouts and from Her Majesty, The Decemberists which alongside the dominant material from The Crane Wife were beautifully played and conveyed to the crowd. I still choked up at O Valencia! ("and your frame went limp in my arms") and Jenny Conlee did some seriously prog-rock gesturing as she played the keyboards with gusto.

Overall, not the grand experience we might have hoped for, but a definite confirmation of their wonderful music. Sorry EineKleineRob, especially after I think it was us who introduced you to them.

If you ever get to Friday and need a lift...

...just check out the lovely E at Joe's place. She really is an unbeatable provider of smiles and delight in the world.

Somehow the world always feels better after looking at E pics...

A reminder that good things come to those who wait...

Billy recently praised the lovely Marie's book, "Gods Behaving Badly" which, if you haven't already read it should be on your 'to buy and read' list!

[PS the link on Marie is to her new open blog rather than Struggling Author which is members only].

PS Sorry MediumRob

I think you got the short end of my long absence from blogging as you have just been inflicted with multiple comments from me! Trust me Medium readers, he does have other commenters!!

What would your child say if...

... they were given some of these books on Xmas day to 'encourage them to grow up rich'...?

Hat tip to John for this disturbing gem...

Sapphire and Steel - follow this up!

Anna asked a very reasonable question and got the best sort of answer(s) possible.

Yes: Sapphire and Steel IS worth watching

It's on my to-buy list!

Dressing David Tennant

Not, actually of course (because you know that's not the way round I'd want to do things), but I have to say that when I first followed Anna's link to this, my initial thought was 'why does it have non-removable boxer shorts?'

I am, without doubt, lost, irredeemably lost...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Things I know today that I didn't know yesterday

I missed Matt_C's birthday. Forshame.

I missed Paul Evans putting Stapleford on the blogging map via his Normblog profile.

I learned that there really are some very strange people in the world.

I learned that film makers can subvert distribution difficulties made worse by bigots.

I also discovered that after way too long away from MediumRob's wonderful blog that he has a new 'quick comments' facility that wasn't there on my last visit (which will age how long it has been since I last formally visited). There will be precisely ZERO prizes for anyone who guesses which of the quick comments on offer made me laugh aloud....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Film Review: 3:10 to Yuma

Of course, the likelihood is that by now this year's remake of 3:10 to Yuma has long since departed the few cinemas where it had its brief run.

That's a real shame because in truth it's actually rather a good film, with much to commend and lots that I enjoyed.

Sure, it stars Russell Crowe and I know for some of you that may not be an incentive. However, it certainly WAS an incentive for Lisette [and, ahem, for me: hey, what can I say? Crowe with an added layer of floppy hair (even if not quite 'The Quick and the Dead' excess) pushes my buttons somewhat...]

So, yes, Crowe; but also Bale. Now come on, that HAS to be a good call. Bale is at least interesting in what he does, and can turn in a beautifully nuanced performance easily even in below par movies (which this wasn't I must add). In recent years, we have had The Machinist, which is at the very least a fascinating film.

Crowe, Bale: what else do we have?

Well, there's the basis of a very fine movie with it picking up a good starting point. I know the original film, and though this is different, it has the right echoes of such a classic Western period (even if the original isn't quite the classic some have tried to claim it to be). The different ages of the protaganists between the films - they 'feel' much older in the 1950s version - adds a different dynamic to the narrative.

It's worth noting that despite a somewhat low-key response to the remake, reviews have been largely very positive: check out the Rotten Tomotoes site for a good overview. Many films do not get such a keen response across so many reviewers.

For me, there were several factors that raised the level of pleasure I could take from this film:
  • the cast - not just the fabulous leads, who each turn in neat performances showing off their best skills (wounded, conflicted heroism for Bale; seductive arrogant violence-beneath-the-surface for Crowe), but also the supporting cast, including a lovely turn from Alan Tudyk (well appreciated as Wash in Serenity/Firefly), an almost unrecognisable Peter Fonda, and an appropraitely terrifying turn from Ben Foster.

  • the cinematography and setting - used to full effect, locations and cinematography come together well here under the control of Phedon Papmicheal (an unlikely figure for such good work given much on his resume). Then again, can you go wrong with such landscape?

  • the music - the score is lovely. Plenty of shades of pilfering the historical repetoire of Morricone's scores for Leone, but that can't be a bad thing. There are some truly uplifting and heart-racing sequences in the film, made even more powerful by the music.

Ultimately, this was a thoroughly emotional and gripping story with fine performances and a grand pace. It probably won't win any/many awards but for an overall feel, it probably deserves some.

If you've missed it, consider it a good rental/purchase on DVD. I'll certainly be watching it again, especially as I missed out taking Cloud to see it.

Wonga's link to Bravia bunnies and more

Awesome link Monsieur Wonga; hope your server shift is going okay.

This has made my day: and given that currently my days are pretty endlessly frustrating amounts of "oh-my-lawdy-I-can't-keep-up" it was MUCH needed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Delayed post: Book reviews: "The Raw Shark Texts" and "Book Lover"

Two very different books but heopfully reviewing together will make sense!

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
It's rather telling that just as the website for the book (above link) is full of the same tricksiness as the book, so too it inspires other equally tricksy sites, alongside some positive reviews.

For me, I enjoyed this book in the same way I enjoyed - and continue to enjoy re-reading - Danielewski's "House of Leaves".

Just as I like The Princess Bride for its tricksiness of fairytale telling (even as it lovingly recreates a similar narrative), so too I can really enjoy intentionally tricksy texts like Hall's Raw Shark Texts and Danielewski's astonishing debut novel.

The Raw Shark Texts has at its heart a range of sci-fi ideas and movies, alongside obvious Moby Dick and Jaws references: but alongside the typographic visual stunts there is both an intriguing exploration of self and a very traditional love story. I couldn't ask for more.

Book Lover by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
In apparently complete contrast< I now bring you a brief review of Book Lover, a book being largely sold as 'chick lit', although actually it's a lot smarter than that (and its partly why these two books go better together than you may at first think).

A trawl through the reviews on Amazon alone makes it clear that whilst there is a light edge to the tale, as a fictional working of the topic of 'books about books' it was obviously going to appeal to me. Woven throughout are references to books and their writers, readers and subjects: Dora (our supposed heroine - though she is far from likeable) is a book addict, and as any book addict knows, we can know and recognise our own kind in an instance.

Perhaps what also enabled me to enjoy the book is hinted at in its original US title: 'Literacy and Longing in L.A.'. No surprise to find I read this in the wake of our holiday to LA so at least some of the references meant something to me (indeed, it was wonderful to be able to visualise some of the locales).

Taking the story of a world-weary rich kid who wants love to be something more than real life seems to throw at her, who wants the intellectual stimulation that so arouses her senses, it would be easy to tire of her spoiled attitudes and excess lifestyle. But as we realise that she can and does have a heart - and that not all that can seem wonderful IS wonderful - we follow her story with increased interest just as she links her own to her favourite classic narratives.

There's a nice list of refs at the end (and the end of the story DOESN'T neatly wrap up everything as you might expect). Like The Raw Shark Texts, it is knowing of its tricksiness in referencing literature, even as it provides a romp of a chick lit read. Again, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Princess Bride

Finally got Cloud to watch The Princess Bride: for years I knew of it (both the book and the film) and had had Lisette raving of its joys, then a couple of years ago she got it on DVD during one of our summer weekends at aunties and we indulged in its brilliance. Now Neil finally knows what we are on about.

It is just SUCH a lovely film: clever and knowing and yet so old-fashioned too. And hopefully a good set-up for seeing Stardust soon.

Its no good: I'm just way too behind with things!

Its all spiralling out of control!

I've just spent an hour or so trying to catch up on a load of fan fic, I've written two posts and realised that I have to upload pics for several others, I've got Cloud downstairs sneezing like Sneezy of the 7 dwarfs (with a corresponding dread fear from me that I may come down with his cold - something my boss would be less than chuffed about since we're so stretched at work presently), and I'm still guilting a little at having taken a day away from house and work stuff - let alone online activities - to go to Lincoln yesterday.

FYI we went to Mrs Miggin's Pie Shop Brown's Pie Shop and Restaurant, Reader's Rest bookshop (got the Buffy book of the SunnyDale High year book!!!) and went to a Vintage clothes fair where Cloud impressed a stallholder by encouraging me TO buy more clothes. I picked up a very fetching gold/orange brocaded jacket and dress [stunning, but needs to be worn as separates rather than as a pair!] and a very lovely once-I-had-tried-it-on-I-had-to-buy-it blue lace 1930s dress with a lace jacket.

It's similar - but not the same as - this image here. When Cloud lets me have the pics he took of me wearing it, I'll post it here.

Soon I will be off to watch The Princess Bride with Cloud. I'll try and keep up and catch up folks but stay with me - I'm aware I don't want to let those I read down but there just aren't enough hours in the day at the mo!

Nudge me with emails if you need to.


Once upon a time there were some very belated posts about a holiday - and here is the end...

You had:
Part One - London
Part Two - London to LA
Part Three - LA
Part Four (a) - New Zealand (which took readers up to the train to Picton for a visit up to Wellington)

And then you kinda had Part Four (b) - New Zealand (which started to take you through the Wellington trip...)

And then things kinda faded... hmm. Sorry 'bout that.

So here to make up for that fading holiday review, is a shorter than hoped but finally completed review of the rest of the holiday.

Wellington, back to Christchurch, back to LA, back to old Blighty...

Alongside the joys of Cuba Street we also took great pleasure in visiting Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand and of the harbour in which it is situated. But it was definitely to Cuba Street we kept returning: with its grafitti murals and excellent restaurants, it was too much fun to miss. Especially when walking from it at night, we were able to see most of the progression of the lunar eclipse (sadly, at precisely the moment when the moon went dusky red with the eclipse, a thundering amount of cloud emerged and completely obliterated any further viewing of the hidden moon... shame).

Next day I once more braved the rip-tide between Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds and was grateful to reach sight of Picton (even if we were delayed by having to let the sister ferry depart harbour).

Back on dry land, we dozed our way back home to Oxford and the waiting pick-up of Neil's parents. We subsequently enjoyed several more days: eating at Cust's Cafe 72 (after which we saw a brief Nor'wester blow in); a trip up on the Christchurch Gondola (from which were these spectacular views [oops, not sure what that last one is doing there!]); a walk around Ferrymead Heritage Park where we enjoyed viewing historical properties and strange views; followed by beautiful sunsets; views of Art Deco Christchurch and some stunning clouds; more astonishing sunsets; saw a public artwork about dyslexia; saw lambs; and finally saw the first spot of really bad weather all holiday in New Zealand on the day we left.

After that it was a flight to Auckland and another 12 hour haul to LA (this was our plane as seen just after we had landed in LA: heat and sun!), where thanks to datelines we landed before we had took off from NZ... very confusing!

We trotted off to El Segundo (where thankfully Neil did not leave his wallet) and the tram network and back on to Hollywood, catching some filming whilst there. Neil stood by the feet of hero Walter Matthau outside Grauman's at night, and we then took in a brief visit to the bar at the top of the LAX Radisson hotel, offering great views of the airport and surrounding area lights and light sculptures.

What we really only discovered on waking the next day was that just prior to arrival, LA had had a rather tricky period of hot weather: well over 100 degree heat, and up to 110/120 in the hills... So with glee we felt quite pleased it was 'only' going to be about 75-80 degrees as we left LAX and took ourselves on our promised trip to the Getty Centre. However, minus a car this trip was easier said than done (and no, frankly I would not have made Neil drive that city even if he had wanted to!). For the first part of the journey we were fine: we took the Line 2 bus out along Sunset Boulevard and enjoyed passing sights such as the Viper Room (RIP River), bits of Bel Air, Beverley Hills and UCLA. But then we got to the point where we had to change buses. Trouble brewed as the road system routes (which way are we facing!?) completely defeated us for over an hour...

We were tantilisingly within sight, but couldn't get to it!

Finally, by luck rather than judgement we saw the bus coming and got on it and a few short mins later were at the entrance to the Getty.


The mono-rail ride up alone was amazing: the sights once there were breathtaking. With the Getty munificence, it's all free - the art, the architecture, the gardens and of course the views.

So although it had been pretty tough to get to, it was sure worth it. Especially on such a beautiful day. I'd definitely like to go back to spend more time there - even if Cloudy Neil does tease it should be on a Getty Fellowship!

Post-Getty, it was just perfect for a trip down to Santa Monica and the promenade where we piled more books into our bags, strolled about, ate at a Greek Taverna and had a fabulously entertaining taxi ride back with an Armenian driver berating the state of the US economic system and the horrors of corruption in eastern Europe.

After that and some sleep it was packing all the way: we had left the UK with one large holdall (which didn't) and a moderate sized hardcase (which had leaked). We'd already bought ANOTHER hard case (to compensate for any problems we amy have with the old hard case. But all our books and t-shirts and other joys had left us cramped already without the 2nd LA trip purchases. So off we trotted to TJ Maxx (TK Maxx to UK readers) and bought ANOTHER suitcase.

En route we had to pass under the flight paths of the incoming flights (sadly I couldn't quite capture the sign complaining 'No LAX expansion' on the Airport Office Center building just as a plane passed overhead): this was a weird experience especially when you consider this shot of a passing plane was taken with NO ZOOM WHATSOEVER!!! Yes, it WAS that low...

Homeward bound, we lost sight of the LA coast and of the outskirts of Las Vegas (howdy Joe!), and of the wilds of the rocky inland areas of the USA and finally hit sight of the UK shores where we enjoyed a calm descent over the Lakes and Blackpool and the fluffy cotton ball clouds of the UK.

It had been a grand holiday.

George's holiday in the lake district (aka is there such a thing as too much rain?)

George provides some fabulous pictures and write-ups of his trip to the lakes last month, which culminated in the stop-over in Nottingham...

Fabulous stuff - and you even get to see Neil, me and G with Robin Hood himself!

Delayed posts: Hardwick Hall and Willesley Woods 16 September 2007

On Sunday 16 September 2007, Cloudy and Neil and I decided to have a day out. Well, we thought we deserved it.

We headed up the M1 to Hardwick Hall ("more glass than wall"), a local National Trust property we had often driven past - usually on the way to Sheffield - and of which we had frequently said "we really should go there".

Well, it was a good day with plenty of sun and some pretty clouds so we paid up our parking fee and then went to pay our entrance costs...

Hmmm, actually, this would work out better for us if we actually JOINED the National Trust: not only would we get in free/park free for the rest of the year but we would also today get a free cream tea each (which seemed a nice additional treat for the day).

So we signed up and now we are members of the NT. How very middle-class of us!

It was a fabulous and fascinating place to visit: the 'New' Hall, the one Bess of Hardwick is best known for is indeed an astonishing building. Even - or sometimes especially - where refurbishment is still taking place, it is historically interesting. For an art/architectural historian (me) it has some real treats with its images and tapestries especially, and there's plenty of quirks in its tales: e.g. the long gallery tapestries were actually made for someone else and the dog images of the previous person's emblem were over-sewn with antlers to make the Hardwick crest!

Bess, rich enough to challenge Queen Elizabeth herself for wealth, was an astute climber of the social ladder: four husbands and good management of her wealth assured her of that. (Cloud did suggest that her 'looking after her husbands' including some judicious portions of arsenic!)

Photo by Rullsenberg: Neil at Hardwick Hall, Sept 16 2007

We were also able to take advantage of the co-running of the 'Old' Hall by the NT and English Heritage to get free entry there too: the Old Hall was in use still when one of the old Dukes of Devonshire decided he really wanted to look out on a ruin (this being the 17th/18th century moment where ruins were deemed beautiful things to look at). So despite servants still leaving there, he simply decided to strategically demolish parts of it to create his new vista: nice.

Photo by Rullsenberg: Old Hardwick Hall, Sept 16 2007

Despite it being late in the day, after leaving Hardwick I really wanted to head down the motorway and visit Willesley Wood, where Lisette kindly planted us some trees last year. So in fading light we got lost in the wilds of Leicestershire and eventually found the newly planted trees of Willesley.

Photo by Rullsenberg: Neil at Hardwick Hall, Sept 16 2007

All in all, a very nice way to spend the day...

EineKleineRob: congratulations on your performance in Rebus...

... but how did you get up the tree?

Both me and Cloud took one look at John Stahl as Andrew McCleod in Friday night's Rebus episode and we both thought "EineKleineRob's an actor?!"

Friday, October 12, 2007

On the Qs

Bless him, just as I only get a fleeting chance to read a few blogs, Paul Fuzz comes up with a gem!

Q awards - take your bow for pointlessness: you've been Fuzzed.

Start your day with a click

Apparantly, there just aren't enough clicks happening at the Breast Cancer Site to provide free screenings.

Go on, click.

And also consider the Child Health, Literacy, Rainforest and Animal Welfare clicks...

Everything is accessible via the Hunger Site.

On the new armed forces memorial

It's just a thought, and maybe it says more about how my mind works. I was listening to Radio 4 discussing the new armed forces memorial being opened today in Alrewas, Staffordshire...

They said it was for all those killed since 1948 (this is confirmed here).

I couldn't help think "why 1948?" when WWII ended in 1945...

I'm just acutely aware of my mother's cousin who died near Haifa between the years of 1945 and 1948, as did many others...

Would that be an inconvenient commemoration?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How come no one told me about my apostrofly?

I've had an apostrofly sitting in Marie's Struggling Author blog listing which read - till just now - "member's only".

I am mortified and have changed it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday

Hey, look, given my erratic postings - and postal strikes - I thought I should say it to myself!

Hopefully at the weekend I will be able to spend most of my time online catching up with the HUGE backlog of posts I owe - now including our visit to see The Decemberists at Wolverhampton.

Cheers to all and I will TRY and get onto bloglines or better still each of your blogs to review your remarks!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yoko's poem for John

John Lennon would have been 67 today.

As an aside, is anyone else listening to the narrative that started on R4 yesterday (on at 7.45pm after Front Row) about a man's reaction to the death of John Lennon and the man's relationships after finding out about the death?

A state of being rubbish

I know, I KNOW!

If you knew the state of the inside of my head, you'd be worried.

That outside of my head - house building stuff, work - is even worse, does not make for a very coherent or blog checking Lisa Rullsenberg...


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Marie's new blog

The Woman Who Talked too Much.

It's as good as ever and is OPEN.


And against her better judgements, she rather undoes her own efforts to NOT make it include refs to DT or Doctor Who by mentioning latter in sentence 3 of her first post.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Apologies: my working life feels like constant fire-fighting at present and my attentiveness to things at home (blogging, emailing etc) is sliding away from me.

Stay with me folks. I will aim to resume normal service - whatever that is! - ASAP.

In the meantime, I at least feel 'happy' that I think I have something suitably put together for the Shuffleathon. I just have to burn and make it. And post it.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Defining "physical exertion"

From the BBC:
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as ME, is a condition with a diverse range of symptoms but particularly characterised by profound muscle fatigue after physical exertion.
To say it's a lot more complicated than that would be an understatement - not least for defining and naming the illness. I'd also remark that, for some, 'exertion' can equate to 'filling a kettle with water and putting it on to boil': that rather puts that definition of physical exertion into a different category than, say, running up a flight of stairs.

I try not to get cranky about these issues, but for anyone experiencing ME, the shorthand of the BBC article would certainly have irked. And when the Communications Manager for Action for ME spoke up, I can't help but hear a typeface for irony/sarcasm in her voice:
Heather Walker, Communications Manager, Action for ME, said: "Wouldn't it be wonderful if eating chocolate every day could alleviate the symptoms of chronic illness?

"If it were that easy, there would not be 250,000 people in the UK today whose lives are being been devastated by ME."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why is it relevant that Paula Radcliffe is now a mother?

The BBC headline read: "Paula Radcliffe is defeated in the Great North Run in her first race as a mother".

The linking page only says:
In the elite women's race, American Kara Goucher triumphed over second placed Paula Radcliffe, who was returning to competition for the first time in 21 months.
Now, I may be being picky but really - surely the significance is that she has been out for 21 months. And I'm not saying that pregnancy and motherhood do not take specific tolls on a person's body, but did the headline really have to imply "She's a mother! She's now rubbish!".

She came second. That's no mean feat. Why can't we just be chuffed at her coming back and being up to such a good standard in her first competitive race in 21 months?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New music acquisitions

So, what have recently entered the Rullsenberg and Cloud household?

This listing dates from mid-August and the Summer Sundae weekender 2007 to the end of September 2007.

The Summer Sundae Showdown

  • Tom Russell: Song of the West - The Cowboy Collection

  • Tom Russell: Love and Fear

  • Various Artists: Wounded Heart of America (Tom Russell Songs)

  • We had a fabulous time in the company of Tom Russell at Summer Sundae and ran off to withdraw money especially to purchase some of his works. He certainly warrants all the plaudits he has garnered over the years.

The LA Pick-up

  • Steve Reich: Phases

  • A box set of 5 CDs providing a Nonesuch retrospective of Reich's work, this was irresistable (not least for the weakened US dollar). Beautiful sounds.

The Slow Boat Splurge

  • La Gloria: Jeramiad

  • Soundscapes made with such items as Roto mikes, Shimshaw, and Pickup Transducers... Sounds up our street and it is sure is!

  • Alastair Galbraith / Matt de Gennaro: From the Dark (South Island) - Long Wires in Dark Museums Vol.2

  • Reading the description of this from the (actually rather substantial "New Zealand - Experimental" section in Slow Boat, we had to pick this up. Cue an at-the-counter additional run through as to what the work involved. This gives a nice understanding:
    Alastair Galbraith is the glue that binds the New Zealand underground. His work ranges from achingly lyrical violin for artists as disparate as Peter Jefferies and the Bats, to the feedback squall she conjures as a member of A Handful of Dust, to the other worldly minatures he crafts for his own solo albums. However, in recent years, Galbraith, along with American Matt de Gennaro, has developed another remarkable performance idiom, one that is positioned closer to the sounding sculptures of Harry Bertoia. In From the Dark (South Island), architectural idiosyncrasies are transformed into nuanced and hypnotic audio. Wires - some as long as 100 feet - are affixed throughout a building. When the wires are taut and stroked with roisined hands or a piece of leather, longitudinal vibrations are sent to the points of attachment, creating a natural resonator. It is not the wires that make the sound, but the wall, railing or window frames at their end: wire length and room acoustics determine the pitch. THe result, achieved in a veil of total darkness, is a beautiful and eeries confluence of chance and accident, architecture and improvisation. As Galbraith puts it, "There is some quite magical feeling of communion turning the lights off and making the building sing."

  • Rosy Tin Tea Caddy - Blind Leading the Blind

  • Cloud picked this up after seeing it at the counter in Slow Boat and reading the following remarks from its inside sleeve:
    Billy Earl and Betty Grey met as youngsters. Since then they have surrounded kitchen tables with cheap wine, old laughter, fresh pasta, dirty children, guitars, a computer and endless cups of tea.
    Now who could resist THAT!?

  • Magnolia Electric Co.: Fading Trails

  • We heard some very nice music whilst I was buying a beautifully tailored suit from Ziggurat and promptly queried who it was by. Finding it to be Jason Molina's Magnolia Electric Co., we promptly picked up something of theirs from Slow Boat just up the road.

  • Tape Man Goes To Outer Space!

  • What can I say? We like the quirky and will take a gamble on all manner of stuff...!

  • Lambchop: Tools in the Dryer

  • Lambchop: The Decline of Country and Western Civilisation Part II: The Woodwind Years (Australia/NZ Edition includes bonus disc - The 'CoLab' EP)

  • One can never have too much of the 'Chop. The dulcit tones of Kurt Wagner on these respective compilations of A-sides, B-sides, live tracks and remixes, and also of A-sides, B-sides, compilation tracks and unreleased songs are particular joys.

  • Two t-shirts, including one advertising Slow Boat Records especially for wearing when visiting Selectadisc.

The Swordfish Snaffle
  • Alastair Galbraith: Talisman

  • Captivated by the acquisition of From the Dark, I thought I would indulge in more from this NZ artiste.

  • The Elysian Quartet: Gabriel Prokofiev String Quartet No.1 with remixes by Edwin Lalio, Boxsaga, David Schweitzer and Max de Wardener

  • At time of typing I still haven't had chance to play this but it just sounded so intriguing!

  • Tunng: Good Arrows

  • This was playing in the store and their unique style was instantly recognisable. Yep: we'll have some more of that!

  • Thelonius Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall

  • Cloud felt almost ill at realising he had NO Monk in his collection. We rectified that with this double-whammy gem featuring Coltrane as well...

The Selectadisc Raid
  • Various Artists: The End of the Fear of God

  • 69 artistes. A totally mad and typical CD inset commentary from the shop (why don't they let you keep a note of those?!). Had to be done.

  • David Grubbs and Susan Howe: Souls of the Labardie Tract

  • I'll be honest here, I basically picked this up (a) because I knew David Grubbs from a FatCat compilation of super-duper stuff and (b) because a friend did her PhD on the poetry of Susan Howe. It's actually rather beautiful, especially with the weird noises and interludes of Grubbs sounds...

  • Mira Calix: Eyes Set Against the Sun

  • Nope, no idea what to expect but selected from the soothing gems of the Post-Rock section I'm sure it can't be all bad...

  • Colleen: Les Ondres Silencieuses

  • Yet more totally bought on a whim material. I want to be surprised! Quiet or loud, I like to take an occasional gamble.

  • Monopolka: Noise Wendy

  • How can one resist a CD whose packaging is hand-made for each one and features cut-up pieces of cassette tape?!

    [There was an additional item which I don't want to mention here because it may become a birthay present for a friend! But its a music DVD I also quite fancy having... decisions, decisions!]

      Neil's selection
    • Scritti Politti: Early

    • Neil's historic love for Green Gartside could not resist picking this up.

    • Patti Smith: Land (1975-2002)

    • Yes, we should buy Smith's ouevre, but for the moment this sampler gives us a top up on our current CD owned material by her (vinyl, yep: CD, we hadn't ... apart from a key George selected gem!)

    • Arise Rootsman: Jamaican Roots 1965-1983

    • Cannot resist getting some Trojan dub classics.

    • Final Fantasy: He Poos Clouds

    • It's an Arcade Fire offspring record. That surely explains the purchase? That and the quirky name that amused Cloud...

      George and Sonia's selections
    • One From the Heart [Soundtrack album]

    • A classic bit of Waits and Gayle. Sonia needed to replace her worn/lost tape. Bargain.

    • Rough Guide to the Music of Iran

    • Stretching out beyond western music - even if our selections push the barriers of 'music' fullstop! - this is a fine selection of tracks that shames me into realising how we need to keep expanding our musical horizons.

    • Ethiopiques - the Very Best of Ethiopiques: Hypnotic Grooves from the Legendary Series

    • Like the fabulous Getatchew Mekurya bringing Eithiopian sax to the fore, this collection promised a full range of gems!

    • Various Artists: Warrior Dubz

    • Magnificent collection of weird and wonderful works in a dub-hip-hop-rap-stylee.

    • John Wiese: Black Magic Pond

    • Simply so grating that its hypnotically compelling and beautiful. A real find!

    • Evan Parker: Time Lapse

    • Jazz man. It's jazz.

    • Ooioo: Ooeyioo - eyioo remix [EP]

    • Hard to type but suitably on the scale of quirky electronic.

    • Free sampler with Plan B magazine

Is that it? I think it may be. I'll try and get links on as many as possible but stay with me folks; this catch up is taking me some time!

The very VERY VERY belated Holiday post: part four - New Zealand (Wellington and back)

Of course, as enjoyable as spending over five hours on a train with beautiful views is, we were on the Tranzcoastal for a purpose: to get the Interislander ferry through the Malborough Sounds, across the sea and over from South Island to North Island - specifically, Wellington.

What really amused us when we landed at Wellington, was that we found the Kaitaki ferry had a big painted over set of letters on its side announcing it had once been 'Pride of Cherbourg': that's a long journey!

Wellington was fabulous, despite a rather overcast start to our main day there: this was mostly because of the Cuba Street zone, the kind of area that makes you want to pack up streets-worth of venues in your TARDIS-sized suitcase and take them home with you. Second hand bookshops! Anarchist bookshop/internet cafes (no Microsoft products in sight)! Vintage clothes stores (Ziggurat - I love you!) Excellent independent restaurants! Slow Boat Records!!! (This last one cued a SPLURGE of purchases that had the stoe owners grinning from ear to ear - but which with the exchange rate was an exceptionally reasonable act).

[This post is a work in progress which thanks to my computer and Blogger conspiring I cannot save as draft]

Friday, September 28, 2007

The very VERY VERY belated Holiday post: part four - New Zealand

We landed in rain. Torrential rain. Coo-er it was like being in the UK all over again. We saw out the window at Auckland airport that our baggage was getting VERY wet being loaded up onto the Christchurch plane. [By the time we had it and got to Neil's family, I realised one of my pieces - a suitcase - was actually wet on the inside! Good job I am the paranoid sort who packs stuff INSIDE carrierbags even inside suitcases...]

We may have took off in rain, but within minutes we were over clouds and glaciers and the mountains of NZ in clear air. Beautiful. We landed in Christchurch and the sun was up and lovely. Mid-Feb equivalent my ass; good job we know that its on the equivalent latitude to Portugal (makes more sense than comparing it to the UK). We headed straight to Neil's parents and looked out on more perfect sunshine and views of clouds. A lovely walk around Oxford and a gradual come-down from all the flying (including Neil recuperating from ear-popping by getting hiccups: hard to know what was worse!)

Having paddled at Santa Monica just before taking off for NZ, it was compulsory I thought to paddle in the sea at the OTHER side of the Pacific. So it was off to Woodend and a beautiful afternoon there with both of us paddling and Neil's parens beachcombing.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we saw and did so much - in addition to the fabulous time we had in the company of Neil's family (especially niece and nephew).

We enjoyed the architectural and sculptural delights of Christchurch, both temporary and more permanant.

We travelled to Hamner Springs (though we ducked out of the thermal pools), taking more pleasure in fabulous views to bungie jump bridges [sorry, I didn't!], water and forest views, walks, and the fun and games of mini-golf... It was warm enough to be just in t-shirts. This was the most extended experience of summer we had had since April in the UK!!

After all that exercise and hilarity we had one of our first superb meals of the visit: this time at Peppers in Hamner. Wonderful! Just the puddings alone were worth the visit but we also had fabulous mains too. Awakening from Cheltenham House, we headed back to Oxford past views that would not look out of place in LA/Santa Monica...

Of course, over the holiday in NZ we had lots of fun with duelling cameras (take five paces, turn and SHOOT!) But with so much beauty in the landscape, it was hard to not just end up shooting the mountains and land around us, especially when we headed on the TranzCoastal train to Picton. What views! Taking in wine country views and regularly running alongside the coastal road, it was a visually stunning journey - with yet MORE gorgeous weather.