Monthly Archives: August 2008

“Nearly 64 masquerade bands will parade in the carnival”

That’s a caption from this article – I like it because it reminds me of how unnervingly life can imitate The Mighty Boosh, dismissed by many as ridiculously surreal. “There are over seventeen mirrors in the mirror world”… how does one get nearly 64 masquerade bands?

It looks like the album is getting delayed again, I’ll have news for you on that soon but first I’m off to Edinburgh for a bit. I’ve never been to Scotland before so this is going to be exciting! More updates at some point..!


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Best night ever &c.

Last night was Arnie evening. Three classic Arnolds: compare and contrast. GO!

Commando
Concept: Arnie has a daughter about the size of his fist who gets kidnapped by dickheads. He has a time limit to get her back before they kill her, and formulates a plan so incredibly unlikely to work that it does. Perhaps unsurprsingly, killing people is a key element of this plan. Nietzscheian questions of the value of a single child’s life compared to those of millions of henchmen and innocent bystanders remain resolutely unaddressed. 91%
Baddie: Commando’s weak point is the awful australian adversary, supposedly a commando rival of arnie’s but with arms less muscular than mine (seriously) and an 80s fashion sense which is SO homosexual that not even the most fervent Boy George fan could take him seriously. Also, nothing the baddie does makes any sense – though that’s a trivial objection in a film like this. 53%
Violence: South American Infantry Fall Like Riverdance. 100%
Romance: None whatsoever. Can be forcibly read into continued presence of amateurish female sidekick, but it’s much more likely that they’re there to create as big as possible a contrast with Arnie’s manliness than to be subjected to it directly, as it were. 100%
Occurence of line “Do it”: 100%
One-Liners: “Remember how I said I’d kill you last? I lied!” 100%*
Arnie’s character called ‘John’: Yes. 100%

Eraser
Concept: Once again an all-american citizen with no-one questioning his thick austrian accent, Arnie is in witness protection until James Cromwell shoots himself and he has to protect some woman or other from guns that can shoot through walls. Excellent, though lacking the simple purity of his ealier work. 89%
Baddie: The baddie here, who I won’t disclose for spoiler reasons, is a worthy adversary indeed. He phones it in slightly but after Commando it’s a joy to see. 86%
Violence: Arnie bursts through the floor, picks up two railguns, the rest writes itself. 92%
Romance: None whatsoever. See ‘commando’. 100%
Occurence of line “Do it”: 100%
One-Liners: “You’re Luggage!” 100%
Arnie’s character called ‘John’: Yes. 100%

Total Recall
Concept: A brilliant Philip K. Dick short story merges entirely perceptibly with some of the best special effects you’ve ever seen in you’re entire life, I’m not lying. Arnie isn’t who he thought he was and has to go to mars because of aliens and, more crucially, a puppet in a guy’s stomach. 100%
Baddie: Arnie really doesn’t get on with old-ish businessmen, does he? Especially when they’re trying to destroy psychic mutants (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, there are psychic mutants). 75%
Violence: Brutal Arnie vs. 7 blood-splattered takedown. Almost unwatchable, though the fantasy element waters it down to near-acceptability. 93%
Romance: Early attempts at a sex scene cannot be forgotten despite clear (and wise) lack of romance vibes from the later apparent-love-interest. 65%
Occurence of line “Do it”: 100%
One-Liners: “Consider that a divorce!” 100%
Arnie’s character called ‘John’: It’s not impossible that one of his names is John, but we didn’t notice it. 0%

*Very few films with Schwarzenegger in score less than 100% here. Predator gets 150%.


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Another rant

I saw the intro sequence for a show called Last Choir Standing today. Here it is, in all its pathetic splendour.

I renounced the humble TV a few years ago because I couldn’t be arsed to pay a license fee when I can just rent DVDs of my favourite shows and then not watch adverts for injurylawyers4u (“100% lawyers, 100% compensation”) (yes, that’s a real one) (yes, that’s their actual slogan), and it’s always rewarding to have a decision vindicated. TV sucks, and reality TV is the worst of it, and the people who made it are probably very ugly and probably FANCY THEIR MUMS.

So with that off my chest, let’s talk about Last Choir Standing, the BBC’s attempt to rope the radio 4 audience in to the sort of music-as-sport extravaganza where there are winners and losers instead of art, and twenty second pauses loaded with an absense of emotion before the reading of each result. Of course, the show may well not be any of these things (although you know perfectly well that it is) because I didn’t actually watch any of it – God no, why would I put myself through that? I’ve still only seen two minutes of Big Brother, which is in itself a modest achievment.

I’m not cherishing ignorance, you understand, just cherishing the fact that when I chose to waste humungous amounts of time in front of the Z-Box, I’m at least watching something good (more on last week’s Lethal Weapon marathon soon). What’s that you say? It’s unfair to judge a program without watching it in full? Well you’re quite right. And while you’re off watching everything that has ever been made, ever, I’ll stick the kettle on. Fiver says you find a better show in the first day. Elitist, you call my opinions? No. Patronising the general public by assuming that this shit is the best they deserve is elitist, you arse. Contemplate THAT while your next compensation ad is on mute.

I’m aware that there’s some tension between my mention of compensation ads and the fact that Last Choir Standing is a BBC program. The BBC is a fantastic institution which has never yet shown me a compensation advert, and it has my full respect for that. Now, move all your good programs off BBC4 at midnight and put them somewhere where people who aren’t looking for them might see them.


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A Man and his Dog

The latest video from FaceOmeter is a little bedroom performance of the Magic Lantern’s ‘A Man and his Dog’. A cutting metatextual response to Skipper’s bedroom videos and songwriting… or an awesome song I felt like jamming OUT. Choose whichever interpretation best suits you – go on, choose. DO IT. CHOOSE!


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The Evening Awesome

I’ve always known that I love Tom Waits, since I first heard him back at school, but you know how suddenly you really realise how much you totally love something you’ve up until now just been passively assuming that you love?

Summer 2008 will always be Tom Waits summer for me. And it’s been a nicely Waits-ian summer – grey and drizzy, with bursts of sunshine and a solitary thunderstorm. I took advantage of the moon peeping through small wispy clouds over the deserted midnight streets just now and walked round my neighbourhood, poking into roads I’d never seen before with Rain Dogs on Brian Davidson and my dad’s incredibly cool wide-brimmed hat on my head. I visited the deserted Five Ways Tower (mentioned here previously), tipped the aforementioned headwear at a CCTV camera down Frederick Road, smelled some distant cannabis, didn’t see a single other person on my entire walk, and generally had an incredibly brilliant time. Thanks Tom.


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A little anecdote for y’all

So Jay and I decided that the big screen wasn’t a sufficiently intense forum for The Dark Knight, and looked into tickets at the BIGGEST screen – the imax. It was booked up for weeks, but we managed to get a pair of beauties for last night.

Jay was desperate to get good seats, and insisted on turning up an hour and a half earlier than the proposed rendezvous time, which was itself forty-five minutes before the adverts in front of the film were scheduled to start. The Birmingham imax theatre is part of the Millenium Point Science Museum, a new-ish and exciting development in the slightly inaccessible Digbeth area of the city. But when the Science Museum is shut of a Sunday evening and the only other people in sight are a couple of security guards who are looking at you suspiciously, Millenium Point doesn’t have an enormous amount to offer. We rode some escalators, got some cash from a cash machine, rode some more escalators, imagined how cool the place would be if it was a skate park. It’s incredible how quickly such a situation becomes unpalatable. After about five minutes, Jay snapped. “Let’s go and find some food”, he said.

So we set out into the wilds of Digbeth – about thirty feet away from parts of Birmingham I’ve known all my life, it contains streets I’ve never strolled. We strolled some of them now, complaining bitterly to each other about our lot. On the way, we found a building which entirely summed up the evening so far:

It being Sunday evening, the only food on offer (after a long search) was McDonald’s. I wasn’t hungry enough for a McDonald’s because I hadn’t been on a starvation diet for six months, but Jay perked up with his burgers (yes) and we returned to the blighted Millenium Point with a spring in our step.

Only it wasn’t blighted any more. In the time we’d been away, all the other ticket holders had descended on the imax like locusts. Amidst the hustle and the bustle we finally managed to discern the end of the queue to get in, and joined it. Almost immediately, the queue behind us doubled in length. This was still forty minutes before the doors were due to open – I had no idea that Birmingham’s citizenry were so dedicated to Batman.

After half an hour of standing there playing Cheddar Gorge, I felt a certain discomfort. “The queue will start going in if I go to the toilet, won’t it?”, I asked. “Yes”, Jay replied. We both went anyway. The queue did, indeed, start moving. With the people who’d been holding our place now well inside the theatre, we had no choice but to go all the way to the back.

On the threshold of the theatre, I loitered, looking behind me. “What is it?”, asked Jay. “I just want to make sure we’re literally the last people to go in”, I replied. And we were – having waited two-and-a-quarter hours and arriving long before anyone else, we entered at the very end of the queue. A fabulous evening.


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I Am The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, I Was Born To Give

More on how awesome weezer are, again, later. For now all you need to know is that there’s a new live MP3 over on Myspace. Actually it isn’t new, but you haven’t heard it before – it’s a recording of “William Blake: A Life” from a gig in the basement of the now-sadly-no-longer-with-us King Ludd’s bookstore in Exeter in 2006.

Written in 2005, “A Life” was supposed to be the first in a series of author biography songs, but I’ve never finished any of its sequels, despite the success of the idea live. One day I will!

King Ludd’s was a great place and I was fortunate enough to play two of my best gigs there. The one this recording is taken from was a brilliant evening which coincided with the launch of Campfire Songs, and re-reading the blog from that date I’m surprised that I didn’t mention in more detail how fun it was to play. Still definitely in my top five favourite nights.

In other, slightly less self-indulgent news, those who remember my cereal-based rant last year will be delighted to know that I turned over my box of Weetos this morning and found a wordsearch, some facts about red pandas, and instructions for the memory card game which came inside the packet! It was all related to the Dreamworks film Kung Fu Panda, and “Dreamworks” was one of the words in the wordsearch, which I’m honestly not sure about, but it’s certainly a step up from the HEALTH IS FUN!!!!! approach and despite my reputation I’m always happy to report on any improvements in situations which have prompted me to complain..!


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My Year in Phones

I can’t remember offhand if I’ve ever sat down and explained to this blog at length about the new phone I got around a year ago, but suffice it to say it hasn’t proved popular in the FaceOmeter camp.

That said, it does have a pretty good camera in it. Impossible to use, of course, but over the last twelve months I’ve accumulated some pretty interesting shots by pure blind chance, and now that the machine has actually condescended to let me get those images off the phone and onto my computer, I thought it was time to share some of them with you.

So consider this a highly unscientific summary of some of the more interesting happenstances of the last twelvemonthish – a little tribute to the men and women of Nokia who worked so hard to ensure I had as bad a time as possible. Pictures appear in the order they were taken but are not necessarily united by anything else except the awful, awful phone on which