Daily Archives: Saturday, 4th Jun 2005

Another new toy

Well, I’d had my work laptop for a couple of years, and while it’s still quite a nice machine, it’s a little bit too heavy sometimes. So it was time for a change. And here it is – my shiny new Dell D410. It’s a similar size to my personal Toshiba, but a wee bit quicker. Got it mostly set up now, with just a few more bits to transfer before I can wipe the old one and make it available to someone else.

D410

D410

That’s not bad

This morning’s weight was down a whole pound to 202.2 pounds (14 stone 6.2 pounds, 91.7kg). A bit higher than this time last week, but still quite acceptable.

Not only that, but I also managed to get on the exercise bike for the traditional 10km, which got my heart rate up to 121, which isn’t all that high, but it’ll do for now.

Doctor Who – Boom Town

Ooooooh!! Now this episode was a lot of fun. For most of the series, Cardiff[1] has been playing the part of London[4], but for this one, the Capital City of Wales was allowed to appear as itself. Most of the action took place in the regenerated Cardiff Bay area.

The Tardis has stopped off in Cardiff to refuel from the energy of the Time Rift that was involved in the Victorian fun and games in an earlier episode. Rose’s boyfriend Mickey arrives with Rose’s passport, which she claimed to need. The Doctor and Captain Jack work on the Tardis while Rose and Mickey go for a drink.

Cardiff has a new Lord Mayor – and it’s not someone you’d want to see in charge of your city. It’s Margaret, one of the Slitheen we met in Aliens of London. She had managed to escape the destruction of Downing Street in the earlier episode, and now has a cunning plan to escape from Earth. She plans to demolish the lovely Cardiff Castle[5] and build a rather large nuclear power station in its place, in a project called Blaidd Drwg – Welsh for “Bad Wolf”.

The Doctor foils Margaret’s plan, only to find that the Slitheen has more than one trick. And he realises that Bad Wolf, whatever that might be has been, err, dogging him and Rose throughout. Is it just coincidence, or is there something more sinister going on?

The on-screen body count was low for once, but it seems that a lot of people involved in the Blaidd Drwg project met with unfortunate accidents.

Expect more death and destruction next week – it seems there are some more Daleks about…

[1] Which regular readers[2] might recall is my place of origin :cymru:
[2] Both of you[3]
[3] At a generous estimate :rolleyes:
[4] Except for the episode where Swansea played the part of Victorian Cardiff
[5] A glorious mix of Roman, Norman and barking mad Victorian architecture. Well worth a visit.

Martha Wainwright

Yes, it’s another Wainwright! Martha Wainwright is the younger sister of Rufus, who might have had the odd mention or two around here. Martha’s music is quite different from her brother’s however – in place of Rufus’s wildly over the top operatic stylings, Martha just gets down to business with an acoustic guitar and some conventional backing. Both approaches have their merits, but Martha’s simpler style lays the songs out for inspection without any frills. If the songs aren’t up to the job, then I always think that this simple style is going to make that much more obvious. But hey. Would I bother reviewing the CD if I didn’t like it?

Martha’s voice vaguely reminds me of someone else, but I can’t quite recall who. It’s probably someone good though. :grin:

Highlight tracks include Factory

These are not my people, I should never have come here
I know a place, I’ve seen a face
And I’ll take the coast from factory to factory

the quite lovely When the day is short

And I don’t care if you
If you love me tomorrow just
Love me tonight and I
I will be all right
I’ll be all right
I’ll be all right
Until tomorrow night

And on the jukebox is your
Is your only song
I have never remembered the words
Now I’ve waited, waited too long
I’ve waited too long
Our love is gone

Then there’s Martha’s equivalent of Rufus’s Dinner at Eight. Both the younger Wainwrights have had a, err, difficult relationship with their father Loudon Wainwright III, and they’ve both written songs about it. Rufus’s was moderately confrontational, with lines such as

But ’til then no, Daddy, don’t be surprised
If I wanna see the tears in your eyes
Then I know it had to be long ago
Actually in the drifting white snow
You loved me

No matter how strong
I’m gonna take you down
With one little stone
I’m gonna break you down
And see what you’re worth
What you’re really worth to me

Martha is a wee bit more direct. For a start, the song is called Bloody Mother F***ing A**hole. Well, that’s how it appears on the CD case. :tongue:

I will not pretend
I will not put on a smile
I will not say I’m all right for you
When all I wanted was to be good
To do everything in truth
You bloody mother f***ing a**hole
You bloody mother f***ing a**hole
You bloody mother f***ing a**hole

An excellent example of swearing used in appropriate context. It came across very well last week on Later.. With Jools Holland, too.Coming towards the end of the song, things build to the point, where that most certainly is the right thing to say. I can’t recall a better example since ‘Til Tuesday‘s Believed you were lucky, where right at the end Aimee Mann sings “life could be f***ing great”, and again, it’s perfect in the context.

All good stuff – listen out for her.

Arcade Fire – Funeral

This is the kind of album for which the word “quirky” might have been invented. The Arcade Fire are a Canadian band led by Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, who play an alarming array of instruments between them. Together with four other band members and some additional strings, they sound like several bands playing at once, not necessarily in the same style. It should be a horrible mess, but somehow a very pleasing, and intriguing sound emerges. The vocals have an unusual distorted feel – almost like they’re being sung down a telephone. Again, that should be dire, but when blended with the musical arrangements[1], the overall effect is rather special.

Standout tracks so far[2] include recent single Neighborhood #2 (Laika)

Alexander, our older brother,
set out for a great adventure.
He tore our images out of his pictures,
he scratched our names out of all his letters.

Our older brother bit by a Vampire!
For a year we caught his tears in a cup
And now we’re going to make him drink it.

Then there’s Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

And the power’s out in the heart of man,
take it from your heart and put it in your hand.
And there’s something wrong in the heart of man,
you take it from your heart and put it in your hand!
Where’d you go?!

There’s a dark undercurrent to much of the album – it’s called Funeral because, as the sleeve notes put it

When family members kept dying they realised they should call their record “Funeral”, noting the irony of their first full length recording bearing a name with such closure.

But for all the darkness, it’s not at all depressing. Some fine tunes, complex arrangements and interesting lyrics[3] all work together to make something well worth listening to. Those nice 6Music people seem to like them, too.

[1] There aren’t a lot of bands who make such extensive use of xylophones…
[2] As ever, with repeated listening, some songs grow…
[3] Even the bits that are in French :yes: