Monthly Archives: May 2005

Heading down and out

Hmmm, that’s a bit better. Today’s weight is down a wee bit to 202.6 pounds (14 stone 6.6 pounds, 91.9kg). Did the usual walk to and from work – it was quite a nice day for it, too. Bright and sunny, so my trendy designer shades :cool: were required. It was a wee bit windy though, which wasn’t so nice.

When I mentioned that I would aim to do some more exercise bike type stuff tonight, I sort of forgot that I’m going out tonight :duh: . So, no more exercise until tomorrow. And I’ll probably need it as there will be food and a wee drinkie or two involved tonight. :bouncy:

And, err, one more thing. I seem to have been posting a lot this month. This item will make it 63 posts in May, compared with only 39 in April. Hmmm. All total nonsense of course.

More of the same next month. :laugh:

Camera phone fun, or something

Just testing if putting my pictures into Flickr posting from there works or not. Or if it ends up looking like a mess.

Laptop. Not actually on Flickr

Laptop. Not actually on Flickr

Update thingy: I’m not actually using Flickr for pictures on this site now, so this post is not what it says it is, but I’m not going to delete it.

Just a minor setback

This morning’s weight was up a wee bit more at 203.2 pounds (14 stone 7.2 pounds, 92.2kg). I had intended to do a bit more on the exercise bike this evening, but I got a bit sidetracked, and ended up not doing anything of the kind.

Still, back to work tomorrow, so that’s a good walk each way, and maybe I’ll make myself do some more exercise in the evening. We shall see.

55 Degrees North

You know, there’s something really weird about seeing familiar places on TV. Err, no. That’s not quite what I mean. What’s weird isn’t so much the familiar places as the odd way they get rearranged for the purposes of TV.

55 Degrees North, apart from being the latitude of Newcastle and an apartment block that used to be the regional BT offices, is a BBC crime drama now in its second series. It’s watchable enough, and quite entertaining, but I keep getting odd feelings of disassociation[1] when watching it.

Now I can understand that there are all manner of complications in finding locations, and that interiors and exteriors may well be completely different places, and that things are often not what they seem, but it is rather distracting, when I see the currently empty building next door to an office I worked in for over ten years is (a) pretending to be a fictional building society and (b) apparently on a different road from the one it’s always been on. This caused me to shout

That’s not Pilgrim Street, it’s bloody Collingwood Street!

And then there’s the bits where somebody’s chasing someone, and they run down one street, turn a corner and they’re suddenly half a mile away. It’s very distracting, and I keep wondering how they got where they are…

I’m sure this happens all the time with TV and movies, but it’s not often I watch something set so firmly in territory I know so well.

[1] That’s the big word for May :rolleyes:

Three hurt in cheese rolling race

BBC News reports that three people were injured in pursuit of cheese. Well, I’m quite partial to the odd bit of cheese myself, but I can’t say I’ve ever felt the urge to throw myself downhill to get a bit of Double Gloucester. But apparently it’s traditional, so it’s OK :rolleyes:

Mind you, if I had sprained my ankle chasing a cheese downhill, you can be quite sure that I’d eat the damn thing, unlike the winner of this traditional event, who apparently plans to put it in a cupboard.

Patrick Wolf – Wind in the Wires

I first heard of Patrick Wolf from an article in the NME a while back. I was interested enough to find some online samples somewhere[1]. And those interested me enough to get hold of Wind in the Wires, his second album.

So what have we got here? Hmmm, well. Lots of things, mostly going on at the same time. At one level, it could quite reasonably be described as “folk music”, from the instruments used[2], the feel of the tunes and indeed the lyrics. But blended in with all that are an array of effects, noises, and general oddness[3] that makes the album into something altogether more interesting.

Opening track The Libertine sets the scene quite nicely:

But I still have to go
I’ve got to go, so here I go
I’m going to run the risk of being free

I like that – understanding that freedom isn’t necessarily a safe option.

The album was written and recorded in Cornwall, after Patrick left London, and you can feel the wind and the waves on the rocky shore in these songs, as the conventional instruments and electronic effects blend with Patrick’s voice to create an atmosphere that’s quite distinct and which grows with repeated listening. The title track is a good example:

Wind in the wires
It’s the sigh of wild electricity
I’m on the edge of a cliff
Comfort and security

And there’s more. Much more, but I’ll just mention one more song. Lands End would seem to be ever so slightly autobiographical:

The work is done and the record pressed
Now you’re doing battle with the fickle press

So you tell ’em
“I’m leaving London for Lands End
With a green tent and a violin…”

It’s all intriguing, atmospheric stuff. I like it (as you might have gathered). I’ll be backtracking to get hold of Patrick’s first album, Lycanthropy[4]. A report on that may appear here later.

[1] Me? Remember where? You must be confusing me with someone else :lol:
[2] Viola, grand piano, ukulele, accordion, etc – all played by Patrick
[3] And anyone who knows me will understand that to be a compliment :wink:
[4] I used to be a werewolf but I’m alright noooowww!![5]
[5] Yes, it’s an old joke. I do a lot of those :grin:

The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb)

Oh. Wow. You’re probably familiar with IMDB (the Internet Movie Database), which is a great reference source for pretty much every movie ever made.

Well now there’s another rather nice site: The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb). Loads and loads of movie scripts online for your enjoyment. There seems to be a mix of original scripts, drafts and transcripts, and the formatting isn’t pretty in many cases, but who cares? Great for checking those lines you want to quote from whatever your favourite movie happens to be.

Found the link on the always useful Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report, proving that not only does he write good books and the like, he also finds good links.

Another weekend rise

Well, as I expected, I was a bit heavier this morning – 202.8 pounds (14 stone 6.8 pounds, 92.0kg). Still lower than a week ago, and a quite substantial three pounds down on four weeks ago, so it does look like the downward trend is continuing nicely.

I managed to get myself back on the exercise bike for the usual 10km, and again followed that with 180 crunches on the abominable abdominal exerciser. Ouch :eek2:

Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. Depending on how I feel, I might get out for a walk, or I might just stay in. Or, if I feel like facing crowds, I might get down to the free music festival thingy happening around the quayside. I suspect not, though.

Ian McNabb – Before All Of This

Ahhh, Ian McNabb, what can I say? He’s been one of my favourite musicians for many years. Back in the 80s, he was the frontman of that fine Liverpool band The Icicle Works, whose cult following never really translated into commercial success[1]. After splitting up the band, Ian began his solo career with Truth and Beauty, full of characteristic passion and with standout tracks such as Great Dreams of Heaven and Presence of the One.

It has been said that Ian wants to be Neil Young when he grows up[2], and he took a step along that road with his second solo album Head Like a Rock, where he was backed by members of Crazy Horse, who had never been known for playing with anyone other than Mr Young himself. Rawk, and indeed, Roll. A good time had by all.

Since then, Ian has produced a series of albums with some damn fine songwriting. Some of them didn’t get anything like the attention they deserved (and there were a couple where the only way to get them was to send Ian a cheque!). Anyway, here we are with his latest, which is offically out tomorrow, but reached me yesterday, thanks to the nice people at Townsend Records[3]. And I do believe the old Neil Young influence is coming through again[4]. Rather in the manner of Neil’s classic Rust Never Sleeps, Before all of This is divided into acoustic and electric halves[5]. Not only that, but there are two versions of one song. But at least Ian hasn’t gone the whole metaphorical hog :pig: and made them the opening and closing tracks. Well, the electric version of The Lonely Ones is the closing track, so perhaps he’s just gone the semi-hog. :tongue:

I’m only just getting into the album, so what follows are highlights of the songs that stand out on the first few listens.

Acoustic gems include Before All of This and the first version of The Lonely Ones, with Ian signing through some kind of vocal processor thingy, and which sounds oddly familiar. I’m not sure if it’s using a similar rhythm or chord sequence[6] to another song of it’s just one of those songs that just gets into the listener’s brain very quickly.

Now Ian could quite easily get away with doing the acoustic stuff only – he’s got the voice, he’s got the songs. But he does like to, well, rock, and when he does, he makes a damn fine noise indeed. And the electric half of the album is at least as good as the acoustic half. First up is the current single Let the Young Girl Do What She Wants To, then much more, including the seriously loud and rather Crazy Horse-like Lovers at the End of Time:

You will be mine, you will be mine
We will still be lovers at the end of time

Ian calms down a bit after that, with a more tender love song, Picture of the Moon before getting a little more menacing again with The New Me.

Finally, there’s the all-out, bonkers electric version of The Lonely Ones

Talk about the old times as we try to kill the past

We are the lonely ones
This is how we live
We’ve got no-one waiting back at home
We’ve got nothing left to give

It’ll take me a week or two to really get into this album, and really pick up all the lyrics, but my first impressions, as you might have gathered from the length of this post[7], are very good indeed.

Long after I became a fan of Ian, I learned that he was born on the same day as me, back in <mumble>. Just one of those coincidence thingies, of no real significance, but oddly pleasing…

[1] It was when Understanding Jane failed to make a significant dent in the charts that I belatedly realised that the music business made no sense whatsoever
[2] Well, I said it, anyway :lol:
[3] They seem nice, anyway – they email me when Ian has new material coming out, and get it to me before it’s in the shops
[4] I hasten to add that in my terms, that’s a Good Thing :yes:
[5] Back in ancient history, it would have been two sides of a record or tape…
[6] Or some such musician thingy, I wouldn’t know, I just listen to the stuff :wink:
[7] Assuming anyone actually reads this far :wave:

Doctor Who – The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

I think I might have mentioned just how much I’m enjoying the new Doctor Who series. Well, OK, I’ve babbled about it at great length, but hey, that’s the kind of thing I do.

Episodes 9 and 10 comprised a two-part story, which is why I didn’t mention it last week. Having followed a mysterious object through the time vortex, the Doctor and Rose find themselves in London in 1941. Bombs are falling[1] and there’s a strange gas-mask wearing child looking for his Mummy.

Rose, having managed to get herself carried away by a barrage balloon is saved from certain death by the charming and very flirtatious Captain Jack Harkness, a time traveller from the 51st Century currently posing as an American volunteer in the RAF.

Something decidedly odd is happening. What people are being told is an unexploded bomb has been sealed off by the army, and a nearby hospital is not as empty as it appears. Something is transforming people into zombie-like creatures with gas masks growing out of their faces. The sight of a doctor[2][3] changing is one of the ickiest things seen in the series so far – a fine “behind the sofa” moment if there ever was one. The “bomb” is of course, the object the Doctor followed to 1941, brought there by Captain Jack, who was planning to sell it to Time Agents just before it is due to be destroyed by a real bomb. Captain Jack is, in fact, a con man.

The Doctor discovers the cause of the problem, and solves it in a refreshingly peaceful manner – after the high body count of Dalek and some other episodes, the Doctor’s jubilation as he cries “everybody lives!” is genuinely moving and uplifting.

At the end, Captain Jack has redeemed himself and is saved from certain death[4] by the Doctor and Rose. Jack will be along for the ride for the remainder of the series, which should be fun..

Oh yes, and the Doctor really does dance.

[1] Note for younger readers: World War II, Germany, Blitz, etc.
[2] No, not the Doctor, do keep up :tongue:
[3] Played in typical grumpy style by Richard Wilson, best known for the role of Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave
[4] There tends to be a lot of that about in Doctor Who :laugh: