Thursday, August 31, 2006

Invoking Ed Murrow


If only such journalism actually hit home to the people it critiques.

Opening Line: 31 August 2006

"If she lived in space, man, I'd build a plane"

Still a lovely album, still a fab song. Name of the artiste and song for which this is the opening line?

UPDATE: Stu_n gets this with glee.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On late nights and internet music

Thanks be to Geroege for he makes me feel not so bad.

First up he complains about gigs starting very late in Scotland (a pisser if you have to be at work as early as he does, less so otherwise), and then he passes on yet another recommendation for I really REALLY must set myself up with this as I always like checking out the lists.

And btw G, I take it that Tom Waits is your current favourite artiste as at end of August 2006?!

Medium Rob stirred things up a bit

This 25 favourite characters thing has caused some problems it seems!.

Tres funny

Thanks to Rosby for this gem, and further proof she is a woman of taste in her reaction.

Perhaps the only time I will ever regret having moved out of Coventry


Opening line: 30 August 2006

"If you were worried 'bout where I been or who I saw or"

Wonderful track, wonderful album. Name the artiste and the song please...

Sorry, sorry, sorry: my garden called me

In one week, thanks to two day-long visits from garden men, our garden has gone from this

Photo by Rullsenberg: the embarrassing garden

...via this, this, and this ...

to this:
Photo by Rullsenberg: a clear garden

We can take little credit except for the managing of men on site and the writing of cheques. But given our incompetance and the state the area was in, it needed it! Two lots of 5 men worked to clear it, level it, build a shed base, a small paved area, set in a washing post and remove several dying / unhealthy / unmanageable trees/bushes. If we were at all capable we would have slowly done it ourselves. And in around 2030 we may have just gotten it cleared. Just clearing the ivy (from next-door, but she was desperate to have it removed) took loppers, axes, chainsaws and mighty shovels to demolish.

We have hopes for buying some plants and even (eventually) having a vegetable plot - and we can buy a shed - the height of excitement: someone get me to a pop gig quick! Thank goodness Thomas Truax is only a couple of weeks away!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

What makes a political novel?

Read over at Shakespeare's Sister's place, there's a good response to the recent top 5 listing of political novels from the Wall Street Journal.

As usual, the comments list a good range of political and POLITICAL novels.

Any other suggestions? I mean is "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" really so British as to fall off the radar?

Honey Bunny

Oh yeah, that is so right!

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

It has to be YOUR way. When it isn't, you panic, but hold your ground. You keep your gun pointed and trigger finger ready, but you'd never really hurt anyone. Though you like being tough, feeling control, you often enjoy blending in and being part of the ordinary human race.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Hat tip to NonHippyPaul for the direction.

Fireplace update (2nd attempt)


Let's try and load this post again. And there was me all chuffed 'cos Blogger actually uploaded some pictures....


We have spoken to the lovely salvage yard people (no Lovejoy around...) and they are coming on Friday to measure up and check fittability [that's probably not actually a word...]. It seems we will not have to spend the 6th winter in this house staring at the most hideous fireplaces ever built.

I give you these gems: first up the living room, and then the living room.

Photo by Rullsenberg: living room fireplace 1970s bricks

Photo by Rullsenberg: dining room fireplace 1970s bricks

Lovely aren't they!?

Hopefully instead we will be looking at something like this and this.

Much better I think you would agree...

Still, upstairs we have got the original fireplaces.

One currently buried behind furniture (builders still disrupting the house)

Photo by Rullsenberg: fireplace1

One painted over (we've just got some stuff to do it up...)

Photo by Rullsenberg: fireplace2

And one we've just uncovered from behind a cover (hence the cobwebs and dust!)

[Sorry Blogger unhappy at loading last picture]

Darren in profile!

Yeah, another one of my blog-rolled people makes it onto the Normblog profile list!

Congrats to Darren.

Goth girl Willow-esque T-shirt

Photo of Rullsenberg in Black Cat Bones: Custom spells and hexes T-shirt
I had to have this T-shirt: it sang to me!

Opening Line: 28 August 2006

"All the stars may shine a-bright, all the clouds may be white"

Just a creepy song if you listen to the lyrics, but a real favourite of mine!

Name the artiste and song please...

UPDATE: George gets this, with scary mention for Will alerting us to a very strange cover version!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Do you remember this fireplace?

You know, THIS one?

Here's the picture again.

Photo by Rullsenberg: THE fireplace

Well, we have re-located it at a VERY reputable venue and they ain't going anywhere any time soon. Okay, so it's twice the price than we saw it being sold by the dodgy-geezers-from-a-shop-squat, but at least I don't feel like I would be buying off the back of a lorry. So, with consideration to the large amounts of money we are currently spending on the house we may yet acquire the most beautiful fireplace in the world... It will certainly encourage us to more quickly demolish the hideously monstrous 1970s brick gem that overwhelms our current living room. Wish us luck folks...

Opening Line: 27 August 2006

With apologies for the missing days, here is today's choice:

"Mother, mother, there's too many of you crying"

Too easy for words.

UPDATE: Chrissie gets in first with the answer I was thinking of, but as I say in the comments, props to Rosby for an alternative and equally accurate answer (I think the latter artiste was probably 'paying homage' to the former!)

Favourite character lists

Marie does one that is all-women in response to all the male-dominated ones. It is, needless to say, utterly fabulous (and that she ends on my gal doesn't dissaude me from reiterating the genius that is Marie).

Stu_N gives his here, and it too has some really cracking choices.

Reading these just makes me want to write extra lists.

I am, in case you hadn't spotted before, a bit of a geek for lists...

UPDATE: Fuzzboy adds some great thoughts here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Does anyone else think that...

... the "Evil is waiting" tagline for the new abominable version of the cult classic "The Wicker Man" refers as much to the idea of doing the remake as it might refer to any evil the protagonist may encounter?

Favourite TV characters

Following on from Joss Whedon over at Whedonesque giving his favourite 25 TV characters (as reported by lovely MediumRob), I thought that I should offer a list of my own.

I've thought about it of course, but I've tried to limit myself by giving myself just 15 mins to write the post. I've took a bit longer than than that (it took 7 songs on i-Tunes) but the longer I spend the more likely it was to take over my day.

Anyway, I get to include reference to the Whedonverse - a freedom available to me as I didn't write them. I've also stuck with those created for TV (so no Casanova folks as MUCH as we loved that!), even though that left off a lot of well-portrayed characters who came from elsewhere (Andy Dalziel, for example, or Edward Petherbridge's Lord Peter Wimsey [I'm re-reading some Sayers at the mo which is why that's in my mind]). And although obviously The Doctor is one of THE best TV figures ever created, since the character changes somewhat with every regeneration I've left that one off the list. I also gave considerable thought to disentangling characters from actors: so as much as I have loved performances by people such as Dougie Henshall (Psychos, Kid in the Corner), David Tennant (Blackpool) and Ken Stott(Messiah, The Vice, Takin' Over the Asylum), Christopher Eccleston (Our Friends in the North, The Second Coming), and David Morrissey (Holding On, Blackpool), I've come to the reluctant conclusion that in most instances I was attracted by the performance and the actor's inhabitation and not just the character.

So in thinking out this list I've gone for characters that perhaps anyone else might have played (because the writing was so good) but which had the good fortune of great casting to be given to the best person for the job.

  1. Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - because, well pretty obvious really
  2. Josh Lyman from The West Wing - for being a volatile heart on his sleeve guy
  3. Dr. Dana Scully from The X-Files - for being able to keep a straight face even when the plot went utterly bonkers and her Carter-penned soliloquies became unbearably portentious (you should see her as a double act with Mulder really I guess as a great character)
  4. Brian Topp from Spaced - for anger, pain and painting
  5. Lisa Simpson from the Simpsons - for being smart and surviving
  6. Munch from Homocide: Life on the Street / Law & Order: Special Victims Unit / X-Files 100th episode - for being so fantastically conspiratorial
  7. Gregory House from House - because I just never got Jeeves & Wooster so I have NO problem with the accent and love smart characters
  8. Det. Robert Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent - because again, smart guys
  9. CJ Cregg from The West Wing - because she was just so incredible
  10. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel - for having such a great character arc and huge numbers of great lines
  11. Dr. McCartney from Green Wing - for being quick-witted, but stupid in love
  12. Dr. Joel Fleishman from Northern Exposure - for being sweet (though its a tough call against DJ Chris...)
  13. (Ale)Xander Lavelle Harris from Buffy - because for all his faults he and his humour remained adorable
  14. Bernard Black from Black Books - wickedly funny
  15. Edmund Blackadder - for sustained historical wit and ingenuity
  16. Sue White from Green Wing - for being surreal
  17. Abby from NCIS - goth girl geek!
  18. Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs - for being sarky and soft-hearted
  19. Father Dougal McGuire from Father Ted - for managing to make confusion so appealing
  20. Mal Reynolds from Firefly - for courage and stupidity
  21. Dharma Finkelstein Montgomery from Dharma and Greg - because whilst the actress may be a scary kook, Dharma was a great kook character (especially when having eaten lots of sugar)
  22. Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect - for really taking 'cop shows' to another level
  23. Gil Grissom from CSI - for just being ineffably cool
  24. Niles Crane from Frasier - for being wimpish to the extreme
  25. Lois from Malcolm in the Middle - for somehow holding it together

I could have gone for any number of others instead or as well as these. Any number of great characters from the Whedonverse, or The West Wing, let alone all the random residual memory characters from my TV viewings (Ilya Kuryakin! Burnside from Sandbaggers! Tom and Ruth from Spooks! Marty Hopkirk - the first TV programme I remember watching! Joy Merryweather from Drop the Dead Donkey! Earl Hickey! Francis Urquart!).

It's no good, this list would change in a minute. And excuse the lack of links but I wanted it posted.

UPDATE: MediumRob has his own list which only serves to highlight how partial my list was and how incomplete and how I managed to omit so many great characters. Sheesh, I mean, I doubt my mother will ever forgive me for forgetting Avon from Blake's 7. She's gonna start haunting me I tell ya...

Opening line: 26 August 2006

"At 8 o'clock I said goodbye, that's when I left her house for mine"

It's kinda a story song again. And you know how I love anything with a kind of narrative...

Artiste and song title please for this opening lyric.

UPDATE: Will gets it! (I think it's his Britpop period wired brain...)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mind your finger

No, really, you should mind your finger. It doesn't do to poke fun.

Thanks to Maya for sending me this.

Opening Line: 24 August 2006

"You’re such a beautiful writer, that’s not all you are, I'm sorry about making a pass"

Best chorus rhyme ever... Artiste? Name the song?

UPDATE: Well done Reidski!

Woo and a hoo

A profile of me over at Mars Hill in his '20 questions to a blogger' series. You can also compare it to my Normblog profile and the questions I answered over at Clare's place [May 2005].

That's probably more than anyone really needs to know about me!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Name is

Lover Imparting Stimulation and Affection

[UPDATE: ta MediumRob for resolving my coding problem!]

This courtesy of Gert.

Matt_c: successful short story writer!

See, I've been telling Matt_c for ages he was a good writer. Now I read over at his place that he got second runner-up place in the prestigious Normblog short story competition! You can read his story here.

Bloodshot brilliance

I'm not very au fait with YouTube sharing, so just get your asses to Counago&Spaves to view the excellent Bloodshot Primer that John has so kindly posted.

Opening Line: 23 August 2006

"I went down to the river to watch the fish swim by"

Name the artiste and the song? You just can't help but sing along to this.

UPDATE: Chris got this with great glee!


Wasn't feeling too good yesterday. Didn't get to doing any posts.

Apologies. Feel a bit better tho.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Blogger photo update: walking on Stapleford Canal 20 August 2006

Finally got blogger to upload some pics...

Today I am mostly...

... supervising blokes clearing our garden (because we are too rubbish to do it ourselves...)

Pickled Egg

I have to say that in terms of value for money the "Jar" collection of Pickled Egg releases is amazing. But best of all, it is CHOCK-FULL of absolutely gun-slingingly bloody ace music!

Sorry, just had to say that!


Got a couple of tickets booked! Off to see "The Cryptogram" at the Donmar Warehouse!

Opening Line: 21 August 2006

"Once upon a time when we were friends"

Come along folks, classic album this...

Name the artiste and the song!

UPDATE: Stu_n gets in with this one. For me, I always respond to the lines "But skip the hearts and flowers, skip the ivory towers, you'll be disappointed and I'll lose a friend". And by the time this comes, I'm a wreck: "And I shrug and I say, that maybe today, you'll come home soon".

Fabulous album; beautiful song.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Today we have been mostly...

... walking. I may try and post some pics but blogger has been remarkably reluctant of late to upload pics.

Went along the canal and then dropped in on H. Very nice orange juice.

Then home where we rewatched Sneakers. Still a cracking film.

Here's some pictures: first up, the new redevelopment of a Sandiacre factory building into swish apartments. I know it's near the motorway, a canal, a river, and the countryside. But it's still Sandiacre and still charging around £100-125,000...

Photo by Rullsenberg: Sandiacre apartments
Sandiacre apartments

Photo by Rullsenberg: Sandiacre factory apartments
Sandiacre factory apartments

Photo by Rullsenberg: Stapleford canal
Stapleford canal

Photo by Rullsenberg: view to Sandiacre from canal-path
View to Sandiacre from canal-path

Photo by Rullsenberg: freight railway bridge in Stapleford
Freight railway bridge in Stapleford

Photo by Rullsenberg: Swans on Stapleford Canal
Swans on Stapleford Canal

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Opening Line: 20 August 2006

"In a way it's all a matter of time"

Just re-located this track in my collection. I remember this from one of it's earliest releases (it had several before becoming a hit).

Artiste? Song?

Opening Line: 19 August 2006

"See the stone set in your eyes"

Artiste? Song?

Despite it having a rather bad rep after it's initial success, I still think this album works and this track still tingles me.

UPDATE: Well done to Rayleen Kelly for getting this one so quickly!. I can only suspect she meandered into this blog for my mentions of Paisley, Renfrewshire and occasionally Labour Politics.

I hope she wasn't too disappointed!

UPDATE 2: and she's a Libran too!

El Mahico

You can find their band site here and their MySpace site is here (including downloadable tunes!)

Can I make a recommendation to drop in on these guys and search out their music because if there is any justice they're getting a great record contract really soon.

And yo can even vote for them over at Channel 4's website and the band may get on TV!

Their little CD has been much played since we got back from last weekend's Summer Sundae festival.

West Wing Reviews

Nice little set of reviews from Will Howells on re-viewing the seasons of the West Wing (he's up to 3 so far).

You can catch them here, here and here.

It's well documented on this blog (here, here and here for example) how much we loved The West Wing. Though it undeniably trailed as the seasons progressed, and the shift from Aaron Sorkin to John Wells was generally frustrating, it retained much of its charm and as others have noted, the latter seasons disappointments were mostly because the high mark had been set with those first four seasons.

That said, I would qualify this by saying that Season 3 was possibly more disappointing than I would have liked it to be. Yes, CJ was great as ever. Yes, John Spencer got his Emmy episode with "Bartlet for America". But the 'special episode' and the reasons for it overshadow the whole season and that is saddening.

I would be hard pushed to choose a favourite episode from the first two seasons especially, which to my mind constitute a great level of consistency, whereas the other seasons have highlights but lack that consistency until - arguably - season 6 (which I STILL haven't properly caught up with).

Still, I guess my point is that this was a fantastic series. But hopefully it will continue to draw its audience on DVD etc. It certainly deserves to.

When did Bono turn into Bernard Black?

I've been meaning to blog this for a while, but I can't help hearing these words of Bono's in the inimitable vocal style of Bernard Black:

"You know, we pay a lot of tax by the way, a lot of tax, enormous, millions of tax"

"I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all."


I cleared out some old clothes from my wardrobe. Virtuously I took a large bag full to Oxfam.

And then I went in the local Hospice shop and promptly fell in love with a jumper and shirt. So they came home with me.

Oh, well, that's at least two ways to give money to charity...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Marie's rant against baby boomers

Marie had a bit of a rant yesterday after having drawn in an audience to see Martha Kearney pretending to be Pete Doherty (but presumbly with a passport). Okay, so she took back some of the venom this morning, but damn it is a fine rant.

I caught part of a similarly stupid overview on the earlier news last night. Which classically featured some marketing types musing about baby boomers and what they were like and what they wanted. Of course, they weren't actually TALKING to any baby boomers about what they like or want... marketeers are just intuitive and they know...

Sheesh, it's hard to assess which is worse: blathering boomers or blathering marketeers...

It could have been me

Anyone else think that the woman who caused the plane to be diverted to Boston may have done something like this?

Woman goes into handbag

Finds handcream tube as she rummages for a hankie - she's sweating and nervous because she hates flying anyway


Yee gods, that could so easily have been me as anyone who knows me knows what a panic monkey I am...


Lately I have been playing stuff by Superqueens a fair bit. Their sharply observant social comments, laced the the kind of barbed humour that used to be the preserve of poets like John Cooper Clarke, are utterly addictive.

I've already mentioned Superqueens before from when I was first introduced to them by the lovely George with the still awesome "Rat poison". With two albums under their belt - Cheap Shots and Royal Shit - they're the kind of band who you want to be able to mention in conversation without blank stares.

If you want a flavour of what they're like before you go off to scour indie record stores for their works, then you can check out the audio section on their website, as well as visiting both the Superqueens MySpace and the MySpace site of wordsmith Michael Conroy.

Though heck knows why you can't just take my word for it how great they are... ;)

Opening line: 18 August 2006

"I have never cried in anybody's arms, the way that I have often cried in yours"

I know at least two readers hear have this album so someone out there can give me the artiste and the song title for this opening line...

UPDATE: congrats to Reidski who was clearly reading this ahead of Darren who I also know is also fond of the album this came from.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Opening Line review 21 July - 17 August 2006

Back on 21 July 2006 I did a review of the daily opening lines used to that date.

Well, here's another catch-up of what we've had since then. I'll also give you a note of those still outstanding. And since no one has got the last of those not guessed by 21 July, I guess I better give it.

17 July 2006: "I guess I kinda sort of know I ought to be..."
"Thinking of You" by The Colourfield (aka Terry Hall post Specials and Fun Boy Three)

Anyway, here we go - the ones in bold still need an answer:

21 July 2006: "Between Marx and marzipan in the dictionary there was Mary"
The nearest we got was Jim Jay who got the right artiste but not the track (though he did suggest another from the same period)

22 July 2006: "When we were young nobody died and nobody got older"
Hmmm... this concept works much better if you don't actually choose tracks with the title IN the opening line...
"When we were young" by Whipping Boy guessed by Chrissie.

23 July 2006: "She said 'there's something in the woodshed...'"
Divine Comedy "Something for the Weekend" guessed in a lively comments box by Jo.

24 July 2006: "In the future all this will be yours"

25 July 2006: "Every single night the same arrangement"
Moo got this as the opening track from the magnificent musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Once More with Feeling". It's Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) singing "Going through the Motions".

26 July 2006: "I heard she drove the silvery sports-car along the empty streets last night"
UPDATE: Thanks to George for getting this: St Etienne "Hobart Paving"

27 July 2006: "Chance dreams that cut across the bed, leaving colours there instead"

28 July 2006: "You called me last night on the telephone"
Neil got this after some initial confusion - They Might Be Giants "New York City".

29 July 2006: "I was never cool in school"
Marie beat Anna to getting this: Ben Folds Five "Underground".

30 July 2006: "Best of all...all the things in this world that's worth a look"

31 July 2006: "We've laid the cables and the wires"
George got this: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "God is in the House".

1 August 2006: "You can keep the good times, righteousness, the best parting line"
Despite a lively set of comments, still no answer on this...

2 August 2006: "Clean shirt, new shoes"
After some Reidski confusion (which I addressed another time), Stu_N got this: ZZ Top "Sharp Dressed Man".

3 August 2006: "A million old soldiers will fade away"
I may have transcribed this wrongly, but I'm pretty sure at least one reader knows this...
UPDATE: Chrissie texted me the answer! Todd Rundgren - "A Dream Goes on Forever".

4 August 2006: "Those fingers in my hair"
Chrissie got this in a flash: Frank Sinatra, "Witchcraft"

5 August 2006: "If I walk down this hallway tonight, it's too quiet"
George got this - Kristen Hersh and "Your Ghost" from Hips 'n' Makers

6 August 2006: "My little girl was born on a ray of sound"
Now jams o donnell got the artiste, so what's the song?

7 August 2006: "To a point, you will fail"
Hee. Yes Lisa. It's a really good idea to select occaisonal obscure tracks and then forget to make a note of what you selected... I'm racking my OWN brain to remember this though I can clearly hear the line sung in my head!
Anyone who can jog my memory will get some kind of reward!
UPDATE: I remembered what it is!!!

8 August 2006: "The day you move, I'm probably going to explode"
But I DO recall this one well! Please get it!

9 August 2006: "She sold herself on the one love"
Will got this - it's the Longpigs "Lost Myself"

10 August 2006: "Well I sold my farm to take my woman to where she longed to be"
Chris got this story song "The Streets of Baltimore" by Gram Parsons

11 August 2006: "All the bright young things are talking, showing off their wings and squawking"
Scary shrieky scream.

12 August 2006: "Blue gene baby"
Mike at Troubled Diva beat Reidski to picking this up when it finally came along! It's "Sweet Gene Vincent" by Ian Dury and the Blockheads in honour of us seeing them at Summer Sundae.

13 August 2006: "Once upon a time, not too long ago..."
Will got this, Gomez's best moment "Whipping Piccadilly"

14 August 2006: "Summer in winter, winter in springtime"
Matt_c got this inestimably beautiful track by Belle and Sebastian "A Summer Wasting"

15 August 2006: "She would never say where she came from"
Chrissie obliged with identifying "Ruby Tuesday" by The Rolling Stones (and even got in the Melanie reference!)

So that's the list from the last review point to-date. A few still to get that I think can and should be got, and one that even I've forgotten (though clearly it was up there in my mind at the time...) UPDATE: and which I have just remembered...

Opening line: 17 August 2006

"Better stop dreaming of the quiet life"

Name the artiste and track please...

UPDATE: well done Poly_Gianniba!!


Net was down. Excuse my delay in responding to comments!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Opening Line: 15 August 2006

"She would never say where she came from"

Name of the artiste and song please! Easy peasy! (I'll do another recap soon of the ones not yet picked up from this series).

UPDATE: well done Chrissie for being quickest off the mark!

That Summer Sundae review in full

Well, where to start!?

You've already had the brief versions (Friday review, Saturday review, Sunday review) , where I've indicated most of my favourite moments by the lists of highlights, and Cloudy Neil's version, but what's missing is the true flavour of the festival. So here goes, in no particular order and with length of comment not necessarily indicating value, just recollections at this moment.

There was a lot of good strings at the festival. I fell totally in love with the magnificent violinist/fiddler Sophie Solomon who throws herself into her playing with such enthusiasm it is hard not to be swept along. Seth Lakeman - long since a recommendation by friends - was equally revelatory and I'm definitely getting hold of his stuff (we bought the Sophie album from her hands directly after the gig!).

The girls of the weekend were definitely a highlight and there were lots to get excited about. Nouvelle Vague - French sexy!! Camera Obscura - Scottish sexy! Becky from Tunng, Juanita Stein (PJ Harvey-esque) from Howling Bells: sexy every one! And the girls would have had my heart completely had not delectable Stuart Murdoch stolen in at the last with the audience participatory performance of the festival (of which more later).

Richard Hawley was great - very droll and with a much rockier feel to the performance than is possible on his lushly-orchestrated album Coles Corner. He asked the audience how far they'd come - a fair few had come down from Sheffield ("we could have all stayed at home!") and some wag declared they were from Workshop which drew the retort "my dad was a dustbin-man: he used to make deliveries there": Worksop you may gather is a bit of an arse-end of the region. Anyway, he was excellent and seeing him live solo reinforced my memories of him as being a great asset to the Pulp ensemble from many years back.

We were thrilled to be part of the magnificent Friday night tent-fest that was The Blockheads with Phill Jupitus. Yes, yes, they did a second set at the Indoor stage on the Saturday, but Friday was where it was at man. A delirious crowd yelling “Sex! Drugs! Rock! And Roll!” was a grin-inspiring moment, despite the obvious numbers of teenage daughters there despairing at their fathers’ wigging out! Equally hysterical was watching two middle aged guys in front of us in the tent so stoned already it took them three songs to make one small spliff. Since Dury was always more a 'performer' than a singer - though lord knows he was a great one - it somehow seemed apt to have le Jupitus stepping in. A fan-boy's dream come true. Pleasure all round, and though The Buzzcocks were packed out and suitably thrashy, they lacked the heart that the Blockheads created. It was all a bit, well, forced. Still, it was good to see the Buzzcocks belting through “Ever Fallen in love” and “Orgasm Addict” even if Shelley now looks as if someone should get him a chair for his little pudgy body to sit down on. [I also thought it was pretty funny when Mitch Benn muttered that he quite fancied breaking his fatherly curfew to see the Buzzcocks as “you never know if they’ll still be together next week: ‘Ever formed a band with someone you shouldn’t have formed a band with’…”]

In other ecstatic music, Michael Franti and Spearhead were incredibly bouncy: that guy can seriously jump! They were an excellent culmination to the first day. And we had a similar amount of rockingly dancy good fun with Kissmet, especially when they did a Punjabi cover 'Whole Lotta Love' (had to be seen and heard to be believed!). And someone should PLEASE sign up the wonderful Leicester band El Mahico who were just infectious. Despite hefty hangovers, the guitar playing was faster than a bumble-bee's wings. And they seemed majorly chuffed with the queue / horde that greeted them for free CDs after their set: slipper-shod singer Shayela Khan was rather worried her feet would get trampled in the crush!

The Proclaimers were brilliantly fabulous and full of sing-a-long joy from start to finish. 'Restless Soul', 'Sunshine on Leith', 'I'm on My Way', 'I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)', 'Lets get married', and plenty more. Spine-tingling especially to hear them start up 'Letter from America' as Neil recalled seeing them in Wolves just a couple of days before he saw them at Glasto many moons back. For me, the line that always gets me from that is "But you know our sense of timing, We always wait too long": just shivery. Neil was actually rather surprised at their popularity - a one in, one out was in place for the indoor stage - and we were glad to have staked our mid-arena claim. Hmm. Yes, they ARE popular. And I am sure that none of the women there were at all pursuing an emotional bond with their number one fan. And please note, I am a well-established Proclaimers fan having long worn the cassette tape of Sunshine on Leith to death from its initial purchase back on its 1980s release. Just so you know.

Tunng were quietly awesome and I was well chuffed to have chance to congratulate them on their performance and recommend the gourmet fish and chip stall (they were in the queue!). Buy their album "Comments of the Inner Chorus" because it is just delightful. The harmonies were breath-taking and the musicianship delightful to see up close (we bagged a barrier stand directly in front their lovely female vocalist Becky who also sings with her brother Ben of Max Tundra).

Quirky find of the festival was probably the weird and wonderful world of Mr Hudson & the Library. Hard to describe, musically eclectic, frontman Mr Hudson was a real showman. He acknowledges Chet Baker as an influence - vocally - and he definitely has an appealing style. One to watch! In other quirky news, Now were pretty off-the-wall but great fun and with some wicked percussion moves. We also saw Misterlee again having first caught him in a solo more lo-fi performance supporting David Thomas a couple of years ago. He was with the other members of the band at Summer Sundae and in full-on Beefheart mode. They're more of a performance troupe than a band as such: no label, they play seem to play pretty much for drinks and home-made CD sales, but they did have a very nice case from which they flogged their CDs and other merchandise.

Troopers of the festival award probably has to go to Camera Obscura: they had been in Copenhagen and their gear was still stuck at the airport there. They'd had two hours kip and had had to borrow equipment from local music suppliers Sheehan’s (who handily had a tent on-site!). Bless 'em. They STILL looked and sounded gorgeous. They may have joked that "Lloyd, Are You Ready to be Heartbroken" sounded like the Raw Sex version from French and Saunders, but truly they were admirable. Brilliant stuff just slightly marred by the slut-a-rama-tastic blonde woman who barged in next to me, spent the next song and a bit texting and then was joined by her boyfriend who barged me further. Grrr...

Apropos of nothing, I wonder how young Toby is getting on? This 16-month baby with his parents was the centre of attention in the comedy tent for all three performers on the Sunday show as his non-heckle crying was responded to and integrated into the swearing humour. Overall it was a very good comedic selection. The class reports bit from MC Markus Birdman - who used to be a teacher - will have parents worriedly checking exactly what was said ("she's lovely" / "She's enthusiastic": read between the lines...) And James Dowdeswell made the most of his flaws by a good amount of self-deprecation and some excellent Eminem-style rapping. Looking as he did and coming from the Bristol area ("A little place called Inbredbury - only three people live in the village: me dad, Brian May and Screech from 'Saved by the Bell'...") he quickly had the audience on-side. And his remarks against Mansfield ("they thought I was from the future: 1972") certainly had me in fits [NB that's another local joke]. But it was Mitch Benn who we'd mostly come to see. A big presence in every sense - "the biggest leather trousers in all the world: it's my mid-life crisis and I'll do it how I want to, thank you!" - not helped by the smallest guitar you could find ("people standing outside the tent must be looking in thinking 'He's enormous!'...") he drew much hysteria from the audience from the start. Well, how could he fail when he does his song about a certain well-known ex-military ballad singer. Mind, as he notes "always goes down well, haven't yet found anyone who admits to liking him. And yet, eleven times platinum sales and rising: someone's lying to me..." okay, so his song about male expressions of love was by his own admission probably not being fully appreciated as ironic by much of the audience and his song about Coldplay had a somewhat muted response (except from me and Neil who know all the words and heartily sang along!). On the latter point, he reported his concerns that as he and his band The Attractions released the track as a single - complete with video - the long-awaited Coldplay album was released and there were minor panics that Coldplay might ruin the joke by having changed their style: "but thankfully, no, it was 'Clocks' again!" And I wish I had the Paramount Comedy channel to check out whether they really do play the video for the song at 3am with no explanation ("you just imagine someone waking up with the TV still on thinking 'blimey, that Chris Martin's let himself go'..."). Benn ended a good length set with a request from the audience, despite his reservations that it may have become outdated. Now some of you may remember the multi-musical artistes BBC Children in Need / promotional campaign from a few years back that (no irony at all) used that classic drug-related song Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'. Well, Benn did the whole thing, performing all the voices. And you know what? It was STILL hysterically funny. Comedy genius.

Talking of genius, Belle and Sebastian swept all-comers away with a great culminating performance on the main outdoor stage. You knew it would be good when they were so enthusiastic in their well-established stage antics like getting a lass up from the front (note to self: wish I had been there!) and had her dancing on stage with Stuart and Stevie Jackson to 'Jonathan David' - such a great track! Stuart then got another audience member to apply mascara to him for 'Lord Anthony' from the 'Dear Catastrophe Waitress' [NB I got a lot of schtick at the time of that album that the sullen girl who has put the dinner on the customer resembled me in a bad mood]. And the crowd sang along with gusto whilst many - including children - dancing manically. Hmmm, explain those lyrics some other time maybe?! It was a good mix of the old and new songs and the string section was brilliant. Welcome back!

After all that, with so many acts, it was inevitable some things were less good. There's much hype over James Morrison - you can't move for bloody posters of the guy everywhere - but he came across as just another white boy ballad-esque singer. Nothing to write home about. The new incarnation of Calexico equally didn't sail my boat: certainly not enough to dissaude me from seeing The Proclaimers. Vashti Bunyan I know has drawn a lot of fans, especially since her track 'Diamond Day' was picked up for the Tmobileadvert. And I know before THAT she was a cult figure amongst record collectors. But though she came across as a very sweet woman, self-effacing to the point of whispering her song introductions, it was all a little bit... underwhelming. Beautiful but maybe too light, too soft, too chilling in the midst of such an upbeat festival. When she expressed her shock at hearing "her little song being whistled in the street" you almost wondered if she was still so unworldly as to have not realised she was part of the commercial world of ring-tones and technology. Beautiful but frankly a little dull. I suspect my prejudice is mostly based on the context: in a candle-lit room with a bean-bag she may have garnered me more pleasure. And talking of underwhelming, perhaps my biggest disappointment was Isobel Campbell who, looking more like a hippy momma everyday, delivered an equally beautiful but somewhat soporific set. It wasn't helped by the fact that her co-vocalist, though clearly talented, was just no match for the grizzly vocals of Mark Lanegan and his vocals seemed to be much higher in the mix than hers. Again, as with Bunyan, perhaps the context was wrong. But as we took the chance to see her in the seated area of the indoor stage it was mostly a chance for Cloud to grab some intermittent shut-eye. Shame, because I really like her album Ballad of the Broken Seas.

So that's it folks, done and dusted.

That was my first festival. And very good it was too!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Crockatt & Powell in the news

A mention in the Guardian for Crockatt & Powell over the weekend (Friday? Saturday?): did I imagine it?

Scott Pack approval!

Woo and a hoo!

Marie, whose tag line currently reads "having fun fun fun til her daddy takes her DT away", has had a very good preview/review from Scott Pack!


Opening Line: 14 August 2006

"Summer in winter, winter in springtime"

An early appearance by this track just made things so special!

Name of the artiste and the song folks please, and if you don't know and love it you have no heart!

UPDATE: Matt_c got this with great enthusiasm!

Final brief SummerSundae update (Sunday)

I'll be getting around to a full review - and response to your comments - regarding the weekend's delights and disappointments (there were a few: nothing major). In the meantime, here is another quick overview of the proceedings.

It was a very good final day, though we probably caught less stuff overall. After getting lost in Leicester (trying to park), having already discovered I had no idea at all where that f-ing brolly has hidden itself in my house, we finally got to the site about 12.45. We caught a bit of Redcarsgofaster, and a couple of tracks from Token of my affection before heading indoors for misterlee. We caught background awareness through the day of The Long Blondes, Morning Runner and a very distant bit of Jose Gonzalez doing the advert. Though I liked the T-shirt with the bonkers bunny monster, we only caught a bit of background from The Guillemots, and the drifting sound of "Something to Bang" by Absentee as we came back from some well needed food intake off-site. We also caught a couple of tracks whilst in transit round the site of Stephen Fretwell and snuck into the packed hall for The Buzzcocks.

Main attractions were Sophie Solomon, Camera Obscura, a good dose of comedy that included Marcus Birdman, James Dowdeswell and Mitch Benn, and we ended the night on Belle and Sebastian.

Again, couldn't be everywhere, so missed out on catching Hayley Hutchinson, Waking the Witch, The Boy Least Likely To, or Coldcut (who were up against Belle and Sebastian).

In all: a brilliant experience and despite occasional drizzle and downpours (the latter we largely avoided), it was a fine festival and we'd definitely like to go again!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

2nd brief SummerSundae update (Saturday)

Despite Martha Wainwright having had to pull out (sniff!), had another cracking day: saw a bit of Onion, caught Mr Hudson and the Library, half of the set by Howling Bells, one song of the Brakes, Isobel Campbell, a bit of Vashti Bunyan, most of the set by Kissmet, some comedy in the form of Jason Manford, bought a lovely hippy dippy dress and a handmade jacket, some background awareness of The Young Knives and Forward Russia whilst nattering to the lovely promoter for Gem, most of Nouvelle Vague, and a couple of tracks of the rock incarnation of Calexico. For reasons of weather and, well, just 'cos they are great, we also caught the start of the Blockheads second sundae performance.

Main attractions were El Machico, Tunng, and The Proclaimers.

Again, couldn't be everywhere, so missed out on seeing Kim Richey, Rise Kagona & Champion Doug Veitch, and Joan as Police Woman (though she had provided excellent support to Rufus Wainwright last year - though damn me if my review fails to mention her brilliance...). We also - sorry folks - missed out on Gomez.

It then absolutely pissed it down as we ran to the station for the train home.

We're taking a brolly and the car today...

Opening Line: 13 August 2006

"Once upon a time, not too long ago..."

Still I think their best song. Retains distinctiveness.

Artiste and song this line comes from?

UPDATE: indeed well done Will!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Opening line: 12 August 2006

"Blue gene baby"

Come on! You gotta get this!

Artiste (there's a clue somewhere!) and the song

UPDATE: well done Mike! Sorry for the late credit!

Brief SummerSundae Update

Yeah! Had a great first day, saw Now, a bit of Storm Thieves, a bit of The Buoys, was just feet away from being able to tell Richard Hawley how him and her fell in love over the Coles Corner album (sadly missed my chance!) but did see a goodly portion of his performance, saw bits of James Morrison and Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family, and a snippet of Zil, and one track of Elbow (thankfully one I've heard before!).

Main attractions were Seth Lakeman, The Blockheads featuring Phill Jupitus, and Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Sadly that meant I missed seeing Formication, Stendec, Sofalofa, and Psapp, but you can't be everywhere at a festival!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Sundae

And we're off...

See ya around folks. Will try and drop in before we train over to Leicester and back again over the next few days.

Opening Line: 11 August 2006

"All the bright young things are talking, showing off their wings and squawking"

Great scream....

Name the artiste and the song this lyric comes from...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Opening Line: 10 August 2006

"Well I sold my farm to take my woman to where she longed to be"

Artiste? name of the song?

I'm always partial to this kinda song: it's a story you see and I love stories...

UPDATE: Well done Chris!

Currently reading...

Masterpiece, as borrowed from Bromley House Library.

Yeah, not very old or specific, but it is a fun read.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I can't believe...

... that I hadn't clicked before why the lovely Ashley Jensen had a residual presence in my mind.

Of course, visiting the best place for this kind of information, I suddenly realised WHY.

Lucky, LUCKY girl.

And, checking her CV, she was also in this with these two fabulous Scots as well.

Oh yeah, and I don't know why, but in the black and white picture near the bottom of the page, I don't half think she has an uncanny resemblance to my lovely friend Chrissie as she looked when I first met her 16 years ago.

Today I have mostly been listening to...

Regina Spektor "Begin to Hope" (new album)
Delgados "Complete BBC Peel sessions"
Chemical Underground Records collection "CHEM087CD" (also comes with a DVD)
Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air" (from 2001)
Various [that's the name not collection] "The World is Gone"

Also on constant rotation:
Semisonic "Secret Smile" - because I had never quite forgotten how I really really liked this song and it has nothing to do with me playing this lately
Joy Zipper "1" - because it's summer
Joanna Newsom "Peach, Plum, Pear" - because I always love what George throws our way...

Opening Line: 9 August 2006

"She sold herself on the one love"

Even to the wiggy guitar at the end, I love this song.

Artiste? name of the song?

UPDATE: Will's "90s indie wired brain" gets it right!

She used to play a fanciable fictional FBI agent...

Happy birthday Gillian...

Not to be confused with 'Gillian'

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On film: the New York State of Mind

Thanks for poly_gianniba dropping in, I reminded myself of For the love of Film... a cracking little film blog that I've dropped by at least a couple of times in the past and have been meaning to roll for a while now.

Anyway, top of the posting list when I dropped in was a citation and link to this post at The Reeler about films that put you in a 'New York State of Mind'. It all started here at Green Cine, but seemed to spur a fair bit of controversy since IFC blog's Alison Willmore selected the imaginary New York of The Royal Tenenbaums.

I have to be honest and say that one of the films that always conjures up New York to me is Marathon Man, partly because it is one of our oft-watched films. I mean, really, seriously, we watch that film a lot. And nothing chills like the scene in the diamond district when Lotta Andor-Palfi recognises Szell and calls after him in the street. Still, when it comes to New York movies there are SO many to choose from - so many imaginary and imagined Brooklyns, Queens, Bronxes, Staten Islands, let alone Manhattans - that our mind overflow with them all. It's why the place has that Freudian sense of being uncanny: beyond real, familiar yet unsettling in its familiarity, recognisable even though we may never have 'been' there before. So many movies. So much to recollect.

Hmmm, I may have another rummage in Celluloid Skyline again, both book and site.

Opening Line: 8 August 2006

"The day you move, I'm probably going to explode"

A song I am playing a lot lately. It's the drum and cymbals that do it for me...

Name that song and artiste ...

Monday, August 07, 2006


It's been a while since I dropped in on the good folk at Television Without Pity. Having scaled things back a while ago, they seem to have upped their coverage with enthusiasm and picked up on the New Who Eccles-cake (TM*) series.

(* not sure that is TM to MediumRob but it does sound good.
UPDATE: Seems I owe a debt of gratitude to Stu_N according to MediumRob. Apologies!)

ANYWAY, I was wandering its merry street when I found this thread in their forums on UK/US language problems. I'm not sure whether it is meant to be as much fun as I found it, but whether you come from the UK side of the Atlantic, or the USA side, or are just generally confused by BritSpeak, you should at least find it informative if not down-right hilarious...

I often forget just how strange our phrasing, our habits and our manner can be...

Emily's Open Letter

Stumbled over this and I hope the lovely Emily in Hollywood will forgive me for posting it here:
Dear Mr. Tennant,

I'm writing from Hollywood, California, because your star's rising so brightly I can see it from here, and it's gorgeous, and it's blinding, and I thought you should know what it looks like from 6000 miles. This is also a love letter.

From today I give you a year, maybe eighteen months till you're a household name, top-billed, in the States as well as abroad. Here's what's gonna happen.

They'll make you work out, you beautiful lanky stringbean, and you'll get biceps and a chest and then they'll make you do (more) shirtless scenes. Then you're gonna cultivate an American accent. They'll tell you to do it because more roles'll open up for you. We'll tell you to do it because we want to hear you sound like us, and you'll do it because you got a bit of the cowboy in ya and a damned good ear. Take it for a test drive on Doctor Who this year, because in the age of BBC America you've got a bigger captive audience than Tom Baker ever had, and in a week you'll end up on YouTube.

Next you get a breakthrough hit. Something with critical appeal on a low budget, this year's Trainspotting. I bet the scripts are coming in already, and you're with ICM, so you'll pick the right one. Then it's a question of do you want to do the mainstream summer American romantic comedy they send ya, or do you wait for the villain role in the smaller American thriller? And the girls join the gays, as they tend to, and next thing you're beating out Brad Pitt in every poll there is. Glossy magazines that smell like perfume will call you things like "The Scottish Sensation" and the Desperate Housewives will start fantasizing about you. Quite possibly call you to offer you a six-episode arc.

I just met you this past year because I'm a geek and a fangirl and I watched Eccleston in Who, and, like everyone, thought I'd never get over him once he left. (If you're playing the home game, you had me in three episodes. I marked the moment, it's at the end of "School Reunion" when we get our very first giant Tennant grin, breaking around "my Sarah Jane!")

Since then I've made a point of getting hold of screeners for Casanova, Blackpool, Secret Smile. I watched 2005's Quatermass for you, and the internet provided old episodes of Taking over the Asylum where they noticed you first, all limbs and energy and that weird wisdom in your eyes. You like props and stage business. You like smiles that break from one corner of your mouth to the other, like a wave. You like to touch people. You like to pace, to sit down and get right back up again. You like to cross a room and then look back over your shoulder. You bite your upper lip and shoot a knowing look. Most white guys bite their lower lips, but you've redefined mouth business for a whole new generation, with that pop of your lower jaw and the way the tip of your tongue folds up against the roof of your mouth. I suspect some of that's you, just as I suspect that even when you're not performing your face tells a hell of a story.

So I did twelve years of Tennant in about two months, real time. I watched you grow up and blow up and explode on the screen as Casanova, as Carlisle, as the Doctor. This time you took the slower path, and I tripped through the pages of your book and fell for you as I watched you blow the roof off the place.

The reviews I've read describe your Doctor as quirky, electric, I've even heard "waspish," but if you ask me (and boy how you didn't) I think the key element you bring to the character's what we saw in the very first five minutes we had him on screen -- he's a fellow who's hop, hop, hopping for his life, in perpetual motion because if he ever stops, even for a second, he'll be forced to come to terms with the weight of his 900 years and all his angst and guilt. And so you spin him across the screen with a sort of desperate mania, like the guy who hides his emotions behind humor or the guy who talks too fast because he doesn't want to hear what you're gonna say if he lets you interrupt. Actually, it's kind of chilling. One gets the feeling that just beneath the surface, Tennant's Doctor, for all his infinite adaptibility, is about one good guilt trip away from smiting the universe with his wrath for all of its injustices. Kind and passionate, yeah, but don't ever mistake that for nice.

All this in sharp contrast to your Casanova, though on the surface they do share a sort of Peter Pannish irrepressibility, because you somehow managed to make Casanova -- while entirely a rogue -- the domestic sort. Here's a man who, despite appearances, really does just want that perfect love affair, to run off with his heart's desire and settle down for a life of domestic wedded bliss. And how you managed to do that while keeping him a self-centered cad is just another little indication of why I spent the last two months seeking out every credit of yours I could get my hands on. Casanova who wants nothing more than for his son to be proud of him, or nothing more than to play house with Henriette, and still manages to botch the whole thing up because he's crippled by his own need for instant gratification and because he's got that magpie-like attraction to the shiny and new and untried.

And then Carlisle's a third sort entirely, probably the laziest character I've seen you play. And of course it's not really laziness he's got, but what you present as sort of a combination of complete worldly entitlement and a sort of boredom with everything around him. Your Carlisle slouches through his life completely convinced he'll get whatever he's got his eye on without much effort on his part. When other folks talk, he lets his mind wander. He lopes around with that air of bored confidence, but then, in a really phenomenal performance, you litter all that confidence with nervous behavior, the eye poking, the oral fixation. Like even Carlisle doesn't know how insecure he really is. And it works for him, both the insecurity and the overconfidence; he gets his man, he gets the girl, he's a corrupt antihero and we all root for him anyway.

In other words, you've impressed the socks off me. And that doesn't mean anything, I mean, my opinion, as I'm not famous, or noteworthy, or an asshole, but I'm brighter than most and I've got discerning taste and I'm not even an Anglophile; I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Jewish New Yorker cum-Angeleno, and I think you are the greatest thing to come along since belly lox on a bagel. And not just because you're a beautiful man, which you are, from the loud arch of your eyebrow to your toothy grin that can stop a girl's heart, ka-thud, just like that. And not just because you're a legitimate talent, a genuine actor's actor, an alive, electric performer with a freakish ability to shift from beaming to broken or from charming to creepy with a curl of your lip. Because one bit of stage business isn't enough for you, and they may call you spastic and jumpy but every single one of those movements is controlled, elegant. You slide into your roles like you were born in them, which, I suppose, in the Doctor's case, you were. You make good decisions. You see the whole picture. And I've grown absolutely addicted to watching you do it, and falling just a little bit in love with you besides.

Not even just because you're a Socialist, or you did 7:84 or can probably match me at West Wing trivia, or because you still believe in agitprop, though those are points in your favor. And I didn't fall for you just because you're six feet and can't weigh more than a buck fifty but you move like a dancer and your head's always square on your shoulders and you can't teach that kind of confidence, that kind of posture, that's just born, and either you got it or you don't, and you've got it in spades.

But mostly I'm impressed from 6000 miles away, and I felt the need to write to you, because you're taking this in stride, all of it, hop hop hopping for your life and making good choices and living in the present and building a career not by cutthroat ambition but by sheer talent, each role coming out of the next because we want you, and not the other way around. And you say now that you don't have a five year plan, and I believe you, because I've read articles from '04 where you mentioned trying to get your agent to put you up for a walk-on role on Who. But a year from now you're going to belong to the world, The Next Big Scot, because the scripts are only going to come in faster after Christmas, after Recovery, after whatever's next, and I'm gonna miss you.

Scotland's known you forever, but we just got hold of you over here across the pond, and we're proprietary! I love that this year you're property of the geeks, the fanboys and fangirls and the Pink Paper gays, all of us who always jump on board just a little bit quicker than the rest of the world, all of us who know how to see magic in the mundane and who saw it in your amazing face. We're a clever bunch, geeks and artists, and we usually find the cool stuff first.

We're on the brink, you know? Doesn't it feel like apocalypse weather? This big world and my country's diabolical administration and the conflict that arises when a planet gets too small for its population? Good time for agitprop and a great time for geeks -- we made the microphones and the internet and the podiums and now we've got 'em in our hot little hands. So what do we SAY? What do we DO? How do we use what we got to change the world for the better? Is it any wonder I fantasize about this year's love in the form of a Socialist Scot with a talent that even The Man can't keep down?

But that's also why this is a love letter, because I'm aching for our lost year, because next time you're in LA you'll be bigger than Brad Pitt and rich as Croesus, and I'm never gonna get the chance to work with you, to use your energy and vast, sprawling talent to tell my stories. And we'll never get that drink.

And it woulda been a good drink, David, it woulda been awesome.

Maybe I'm wrong, and you'll stay staunchly where you are, the pride of Scotland and the Pink Paper heartthrob for five more series of Who, and then maybe after that you'll team up with Russell Davies and write your own pilot, and star in that, and spend some more decades with the RSC and follow the path of other actorly British sorts, and you'll crossover to the states when you're seventy and playing Dumbledore in Harry Potter 21.

But either way, I hope you feel the potential, the excitement, the fire of your shooting star. Because from over here, it is absolutely incredible to watch, and I can't look away.

The best of luck to you in everything you do. Come to LA and I'll show you a good time.
Kinda sweet ain't it?


... do so many journalists write about fan-, and especially slash-fiction as if it is some weird previously unheard-of phenomenon that they're just bringing to light?

Okay, sometimes some fiction is a little weird, but really... people, get a grip. After this long, how is it still possible for journalists to get away with writing with such google-eyed panic about the topic?


I don't think I would do too well on the Gert stakes...

Shakesspeare's Sister pleads for Colin 'Fecking' Farrell to properly demonstrate his acting talent

Awh, bless. Shakes is feeling the pain of watching Colin F not quite reaching his potential.

And she's right about Ed Norton too. Damn, he is a really REALLY capable actor but but there are some real dodos in his CV alongside the good stuff.

Here's to actors getting roles worth their talent. Still, given that I will tolerate all manner of rubbish to watch some of my favourite actors, I'm hardly one to talk! And I would much rather see people in work than not...

No Pimms

But we did have good fun. Basically it was an excuse to sit outside, eat lots of food and watch some cricket.

We thought we had packed enough for the entire attending crowd at one point but we actually ate a significant amount ourselves!

The cricket was so-so (the West Indies A team were a tad lethargic) but much fun was had by all and there were some flashes of great cricket by both sides. Of course, nothing quite so funny as this happened, but a good day was had by all. Derbyshire won by the way, an hour ahead of schedule.

PS Pimms! URGH! Cucumber is part of the ritual... in a drink? I don't think that can ever be right!

Opening Line: 7 August 2006

"To a point, you will fail"

Obscure? It shouldn't be. But I do know at least one person who should get this...

Name the artiste and the song for which this is the opening lyric.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Off to cricket

Off to see Derbyshire vs West Indies A (that's the second team).

Hot day... sunshine... enough food to feed the proverbial 5000... good company... and an ice scream van on site...

Sounds good to me!

Opening Line: 6 August 2006

"My little girl was born on a ray of sound"

Spine tingling track this... name the artiste and the song this line comes from...

UPDATE: jams o donnell has the artist, so name that song!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A good day...

This team won (two wins in a row - thank you John Sutton!)!

This team won!

Erm... okay, you guys, you are going to be okay about the fact that this team are ahead of this team because a draw with two goals apiece gets ahead of a draw with one goal apiece...? Am sure you will be thrilled J.J. but if it keeps being this tight...!

Hmm... maybe the holiday is a good idea at the moment...!

UPDATED: how remiss of me! As Rosby notes there has also been success for her team too.. indeed, they have done best of us all in League One. Any other success stories to note? Or just pleasure at the new season starting? Surely John at Counago&Spaves must have hope...?

Opening Line: 5 August 2006

"If I walk down this hallway tonight, it's too quiet"

Name of the artiste and the song this lyric comes from??

UPDATE: bless you George. This is SUCH a good song...

Friday, August 04, 2006

I may yet drag Neil to another Harry potter film...

... though only for her...

Oh Darren...

Dearest Darren, not only do you write a good list, but you give me today's biggest laugh so far...

I WANT that DVD...

The political box

Belatedly I found this little review / comment on the late TV programme we caught whilst in London. The programme concerned was on political drama and was called "Left of Frame". It was originally on BBC Four and I hope that it may get repeated again (though it will probably be in another late night BBC2 slot).

Anyway, I really liked this little review so I thought I would mention it here.

Proof that a bookshop can duck trends

I would much rather shop at a bookshop with this top-seller list. Sadly, I am a bit further away than I would like to be from this particular haven of book joy. Damn.

Book meme response

I haven't thought about this too much really, not least because I was out last night (see another post):
1. One book that changed my life - The Open University degree prospectus (because it led me to go to Summer School 16 years ago [ scroll to question 5])

2. One book that I have read more than once - Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves (though I could equally say The Sandman...)

3. One book I would want on a deserted island - I'd probably go for a book of Buffy Scripts just because it would also provide me with visual entertainment as well as I watch the programmes in my mind's eye. But certainly some kind of script book.

4. One book that made me laugh - blimey, this question was much harder than I expected. Clearly I am a miserable reader who likes to cry, be driven to tension, and horrified/mystified because there is a real dearth of funny books in my collection! There are some usual suspects that have made me laugh - Al Franken being one - but a lot of things that have made me laugh have had a strain of black humour in them. I certainly laughed when reading The Dying of Delight by the lovely Clare, but I also cried to that as well. And I'm taking it that unintentional laughter doesn't count, right? Otherwise it would probably go to The Da Vinci Code...

5. One book that made me cry - still gotta go with His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

6. One book I wish I'd written - the definitive study on Peggy Guggenheim (though some may say I might yet do that...)

7. One book I wish had never been written - plenty I wish had never been read, but written? Certainly there has been as much that has been misinterpreted and mis-used as has been written out of hatred. I would think the most unforgivable book would have to be vile, nasty, and virulently anti-semitic 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'.

8. One book I am currently reading - Pop Fiction (yes, I am revising the Chick Flicks essay)

9. One book I have been meaning to read - Julian Barnes "Arthur and George" (still haven't got around to it; though it does prompt me to ask for my videotape back from HLW...)
Any takers for this meme?

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Went to see the above film by and starring Tommy Lee Jones last night. To be honest, the film was merely an excuse to meet up with a former PhD student from Nottingham, but it turned out to be a masterstroke of scheduling as we would probably not have seen the film otherwise. You see, we originally planned to meet up some time ago but everything kinda got in the way and it got shunted to August. And since we wanted to see a film at 6 and eat afterwards, that pretty much dictated which film we saw.

But what a fab little film: you can well see the hand of Guillermo Arriaga. It was darkly funny, moving and intelligent. It had a good level of political awareness and the characters were well-drawn and acted. And it had the divine Melissa Leo as well. What more could you ask for?

That we had an unexpectedly good film on our hands, AND had a really nice meal afterwards - outside! in Nottingham! - just made it a wonderful evening. And that saying about small world is so true: both my PhD friend and her husband were at Wolves Poly as art students and hence both knew my former tutor, colleague and now friend with whom I met up in Birmingham just the other week. Small world indeed...

Opening Line: 4 August 2006

"Those fingers in my hair"

Song title for this lyric please, and possible artiste?

UPDATE: indeedy Chrissie..., you know me too well and even why this was on my mind!

Funny eh?

I was just looking back at a previous book-related meme I responded to in April 2005, where I muttered I was due for another re-read of the Sandman books.

Guess what I was just finishing reading when I went to London recently?

Yep, I was on "The Wake" - the final of the Sandman books as I was just finishing the series again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pricelessly entertaining: Doctor Who in the 60s, 70s and 80s

Having just been watching "The Unearthly Child", I was probably in just the right mood for this, thanks Paul.

Lots of nostalgia (not least for the music) but also some very witty captioning: I liked the bit about Vicki's planet...

Guess where I will be in October...

Possibly in London.

Possibly visited the Donmar Theatre.

Possibly being deeply swoony.

Ah, someone must know my birthday is in October...

I believe I MAY book a ticket or two for The Cryptogram...

POSTSCRIPT: Of course, you can also tell from this post I was a little excitable about this prospect. "Possibly visited..." Hmmm, seems he causes me to lose the ability to type in the English language...

The down side...


One can only hope that this guy's optimism proves my England-based team capable of sparking such enthusiasm (even if it would be better if they don't get so carried away...)

Book meme

Joe has a great book meme from Deana.

I'll think about this a bit...

Opening Line: 3 August 2006

"A million old soldiers will fade away"

Any takers for this song and artiste?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

PS another nice bit of news I caught this weekend...

3 points. Nice start...


Whilst we were away, we took to having BBC1 news on pre-breakfast. Cue action:

BBC TV: "... and tomorrow we'll be talking to Billie Piper..."

Lisa, previously busy packing to go out for the day, immediately drops her task and turns to TV screen in time to catch gratuitous clip of Doctor Who...

And cue hysterical laughter from Cloud for my sudden and instinctive actions.

Next day, we're watching News24. Then suddenly Cloud changes channel to BBC1. He SAYS it was just coincidence, but I think higher powers were in charge of the moment: he turned over just as they were about to introduce the Billie Piper interview segment which included not only a set report for "The Ruby in the Smoke" but also yet more gratuitous Doctor Who clips (including the throat-clenching, tear-stirring moment when David Tennant says "quite right too" with that lump in his throat cracking his voice).

Lovely. Except that I've now been back again to rewatch that beach sequence and I'm all teary again. Shucks, the DVD set is gonna get a lot of hammering come Xmas...

Opening Line: 2 August 2006

Come along now... you can ALL sing along to this (and probably mime as well)

"Clean shirt, new shoes"

Name that song and artiste...

UPDATE: Stu-N got this. Maybe the timing of the day was wrong for Joe to get it!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Fantastic! We had this piece, followed by Tasmin Little playing this piece, followed by this. For those reading this in early August 2006, you should be able to either hear a repeat or listen again. Highly advised!

For us, this was our first visit to the Royal Albert Hall for anything, never mind a Prom. For Neil, it was his first visit to a classical concert, something I hadn't realised at all (unless there is something we've forgotten, though he did see the Welsh National Opera doing Electra some years ago at Birmingham Hippodrome, courtesy of me being Arts Reviewer for the Student Union paper at Wolves Poly).

Anyway, it was very exciting and even though we were way up high, we had a terrific view and the sound was great. We only had ONE person's mobile go off (after the interval), but I hope they felt suitably horrified. It was a great night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to say that once I had Time Out magazine in my hand, my first thought was 'what Proms are on whilst we are here? And is there anything Russian?' (since I know Neil is very fond of Russian composors). And lo, the Prom for Monday was All-Russian!

Really, they must have known we were coming!

Weekend Review

It's been a big weekend with much travelling and much activity. The upshot of which is that I am determined that despite all the hundreds of things I have to do / am obliged to do over the summer, I really want to get back to London again.

Anyway, Friday kicked off with being lovely and hot and Cloudy Neil drove us over to Walsall. Of course, in the heat, I realised part way through the journey there was a danger of smelling cooked flesh (me, burning in the blazing sun through the car window!) so I had to lather on the suncream quick: but otherwise it was a relatively good and quick journey considering it was Friday. Our ultimate destination was, actually, a piss-up in a brewery: Highgate Brewery in fact, which was great and we had a tour. We were there for a grand occasion of a birthday party and the beers were followed by a curry. There were about 30 there: it was your average kinda do - a couple of MPs, high ranking university professors who work as industrial advisors, political activists... you know the kind of thing...!!!

Anyway, it was utterly fab, the drink flowed all night, the speech by the birthday boy Nick was brilliant (recalling the 'Teddy Bears Pick Nick') and we all staggered back to the hotel at 1am(ish).

Saturday morning and it was time to head back to Nottingham to pick up an afternoon train to the smoke for another occasion: this time to see off a couple of friends who are off to Australia. Yes, yes, we DO think it's something we said since just about everyone we know is migrating to the opposite end of the planet and you just can't get much further away whilst still on earth in habitable lands.

We were ready in loads of time and had a lovely trainride down to London and St Pancras Station. Wow, it is looking good these days... I wish I had took some pictures of it! (Maybe next time!)

We wandered past Mornington Crescent up to Camden and the Sandman pub (well, that's how I think of it...)

A jolly good time, with yet more extensive alcohol, was had by all there. Funnily, having had two of the teddy bears (plus Nick) at the Friday night do, we also had two teddy bears (minus Nick) on Saturday... well, Neil was the central bear and another of the three bears was there on each occasion. Shame we couldn't have had a reunion. There are though it seems no surviving images of the three with or without Nick. I'm not sure whether that is good or bad. I only know I could not make it up that this would be part of my Neil's back history. Or that for years afterwards one of the canteen staff from Wolves Poly would always say when she saw Neil 'you were one of them bears weren't you?!'

After falling back to the hotel in London, we started Sunday with pursuit of breakfast. We passed this (thank you Dave Gorman! I didn't have the nerve to photograph it!) and ended up having a very nice breakie amidst preparations for the Soho Pride day. Fabulous! Balloons over heads in Balans. Wonderful! Okay, so we were there because our favourite haunt Brunos is closed on Sundays, but it was still nice to find a nice place for Sunday brunch. After that we started the long walk. We took in a stroll here, and a walk through here, before ending up here. We then wandered over to here where I booked us tickets to one of these.

We then went here and here before realising we had walked a ridiculous distance and we needed to get a tube back. We then decided to go to Covent Garden to eat, in pursuit of a nice restaurant we had visited last year. Hmm.... our sense of direction sent us in completely the wrong direction for quite some time, but eventually we found Cafe Pasta on Monmouth Street. Lovely food, and a nice atmosphere. We strolled to the South Bank to admire the Eye at night and then walked back up Whitehall and back to the hotel.

We took in some culture on day three (after all the alcohol!) and went to see the magnificent exhibition on at the National Gallery - Rebels and Martyrs. Very good, if male-centric, but very well selected and hung with some real obscure gems alongside the more familiar works. A treat: go and see it! We then dropped by the NPG and I had to go and see the Beatles on the Balcony exhibition. Cracking little show, even if I knew most of the images from my years of Beatles' obsessiveness.

After bookshop wandering, we headed for an (as-ever) delicious meal at Pizza Paradiso in Store Street. Lovely risotto and a panna cotta to end all panna cotta. We then took the tube up to South Kensington and went to have some more culture (see separate review). Brilliant stuff. A real thrill! Then we trooped back by tube to central London and wandered the South Bank - sadly nothing on with the 'Watch this space' activities. Almost wish we could be there next weekend for this but we're scheduled to be at the cricket in Derby.

By today we'd realised we had walked miles. But even so, it was back to Bar Brunos for another slap-up breakfast in one of the few places you can guarantee to hear a Cockney accent nowadays in central London. Then we did a bit more of the NPG (including the always-interesting BP Portrait Award Show), some slow wandering, and a mooch back to the hotel to collect our bags. And it was all over... back to Nottingham...

And yes, I did wear stripes... (if Blogger would let me post the picture I would... it will come!)