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Friday 28th December 2007

Best of Blog 2007

It's that time of year again, and I've looked back over all my blog entries for 2007 to pick out some of my favourite things. You can find them in my Best of Blog 2007 smile

Friday 21st December 2007

Birmingham's Water Supply - Elan Valley Dams and Aqueduct

I ran across this interesting site on the Elan Valley Dams and Aqueduct which supply my drinking water (and very fine water it is too).

The water travels all the way from Wales (73 miles) under gravity, without any pumping and takes a day and a half to get here.

You can see a scale model of the Elan Valley in Cannon Hill Park - I always thought they should construct a scale model of Brum at the other end to give an idea of the distance.

Thurs 20th December 2007

Kate Goes... and Betty and the ID

I came in half way through the first support they sounded good but I didn't catch their name. They were considerably younger than the members of Betty and the ID (MySpace %EXT%) though - who have many years of playing and performance behind their multi-guitar based sound.

Betty and the ID

Where did Kate go? This time it was Kate Goes... to a family function with Joe and Beth as grandparents, Bird as dad, and Suzzie as little sister aged 4. Kate herself was nine. The gig was accompanied by a intriguing slide show of family photos. One of the things I like about Kate Goes... is that they seem to have lots of fun on stage, and that was certainly true at this gig. You can check them out on MySpace %EXT% -my favourite song is Heartbeat.

Kate Goes... to a Family Function

Kate Goes... and Opens Some Bucks-Fizz

Art Stalking Ana has also written about this gig %EXT%

Weds 19th December 2007

Bleach & Orange Range

I recently watched the first two episodes of the anime Bleach, on You Tube. A friend told me you can see the whole 150+ episodes on there (in 7 minute segments). It's got quite a cool theme tune by Orange Range %EXT% which seems somehow familiar. You can get the episodes with English subtitles %EXT% (preferred) or dubbed %EXT% (pretty good voices).

I'm currently half way through watching Witch Hunter Robin %EXT% which I'm really enjoying - it also has an excellent theme tune, which you'll find about 1/3rd of the way through the link above.

Saturday 15th December 2007

Mingling and Mistletoe

Plenty of mingling here, but I didn't spot the Mistletoe, this was Crowd 6 Gallery's seasonal gathering bringing together artists (and hangers on like myself) for an exhibition of Christmas cards (or other work of small dimension) and performance.

AAS Presented what I will call "Christmas is Humming..." a neo-pagan performance in which four strangely dressed figures circle a fir tree whilst chanting, and begin decorating it with tinsel which emerged from their robes. As they pulled out more and more, it began to drip with sickly sweet scented blood, oozing off the tree and onto the ground and filling the space with its smell. Art Stalking Ana, who is part of AAS also wrote about this %EXT%. You can also see video on YouTube.

Christmas is humming...

We also had a communication from time traveller Philip (forgot his surname) who could not be "with us in place" as his is still perfecting his "fleshy time machine". Next some Christmas story telling from a pirate and a mermaid, juxtaposing their strange stories:

Pirate and Mermaid

Wednesday 12th December

M.R. James and The Divine Edgar

This was my first visit to Highbury Hall, I'd seen it from inside Highbury Park, but never quite worked out where the entrance was. It's not a particularly imposing building from the outside, but inside it rocks! (note: I don't usually use the phrase "it rocks" but what the hell). Tonight I made sure I found the entrance, so I could go see a 7 Inch Cinema special featuring Christmas Ghost Stories.

The two main films (and I think the two audio stories I heard) were by M.R.James - an author whose name rings a bell but I couldn't really tell you anything about (except I've just read his Wikipedia Entry %EXT% and am now what the modern world refers to as an "expert"). Whistle and I'll Come to You featured Michael Hordern as an absent minded professor was genius! He really portrayed the character well, and it strongly reminded me of people I've met smile

The Divide Edgar made a welcome re-appearance. I'd tried to see it at the Ikon's Halloween Party but unfortunately a police raid put paid to it! Now it was back, with the offending wet leaves removed (apparently they were a safety risk!) As well as writing some quite scary stories, Edgar Allan Poe had a fear of being buried alive, and this performance/installation allowed a single audience member to spend 5 minutes in his world, confronting his terrors. This time there was a signing in book which eliminated the need to queue, and seemed to work well. I enjoyed it and I hope it will re-emerge at other times and places - perhaps a goth night? smile

Highbury Hall's Ceiling!

The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Room

Divine Edgar (with ghosts visible at the edge)

Thursday 6th December 2007

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

I saw these guys back at the Big Chill in August 2006

Tonight, they're at the Town Hall in Birmingham, or Frankfurt as they initially mistake it for (due to the adjacent German market). When I heard they were playing here, I was so please I booked tickets for 15 other people to come too!

A stunning show, and even my friend's who'd never heard them before loved it. The music is good, and the humour fantastic! Highlights for me were a great version of Shaft, with some lovely word play; Wuthering Heights %EXT%; Teenage Dirtbag (A Christmas themed song we were reminded, just before the first line... "Her name is Noel" smile groan!); and of course their world famous Smells Like Teen Spirit %EXT%, a song also covered by popular beat combo Nirvana. So much good stuff!

Verdict: If you get the chance, go see them, otherwise have a gander on YouTube %EXT% then buy MP3s and DVDs on their website.

Happy Feet, The Video

Happy Feet by Kermit the Frog %EXT% - probably one of the most talented frogs of our generation.

Makes me happy anyway!

Yet more Incredible Music...

I ran across this MP3 blog with lots of old and unusual recordings %EXT%. You'll find something worth a listen for sure!

Tuesday 4th December 2007

A Trip I'd Like to Make

Paul Willis writes about his trip to Japan by train. It's a 13 day journey, but I'd be tempted to stop off on the way a little more than he did. Another one for my list of things I'd like to do. The question is: what is the CO2 output compared to flying? It's got to be less surely.

Last December I did the journeys from Birmingham to Munich to Berlin and back by train - shorter but still fun. The food on the train from Munchen to Berlin was fantastic!

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See Also: Web Changes for other recent updates, All Blog Pages for previous blogs. You might also want to read other Birmingham Bloggers

This is my blogchalk: United Kingdom, West Midlands, Birmingham, Moseley
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
betty_and_the_id.jpgjpg betty_and_the_id.jpg manage 23 K 23 Dec 2007 - 14:44 Unknown User Betty and the ID
christmas_is_hum.jpgjpg christmas_is_hum.jpg manage 33 K 19 Dec 2007 - 19:46 Unknown User Christmas is humming...
divine_edgar_with_ghosts.jpgjpg divine_edgar_with_ghosts.jpg manage 36 K 19 Dec 2007 - 19:46 Unknown User Divine Edgar (with ghosts visible at the edge)
highbury_hall_ceiling.jpgjpg highbury_hall_ceiling.jpg manage 28 K 19 Dec 2007 - 19:45 Unknown User Highbury Hall's Ceiling!
highbury_hall_joseph_chamberlain_room.jpgjpg highbury_hall_joseph_chamberlain_room.jpg manage 32 K 19 Dec 2007 - 19:45 Unknown User The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Room
kate_goes_and_opens_some_bucks_fizz.jpgjpg kate_goes_and_opens_some_bucks_fizz.jpg manage 43 K 23 Dec 2007 - 14:46 Unknown User Kate Goes... and Opens Some Bucks-Fizz
kate_goes_to_a_family_function.jpgjpg kate_goes_to_a_family_function.jpg manage 53 K 23 Dec 2007 - 14:45 Unknown User Kate Goes... to a Family Function
pirates_and_mermaids.jpgjpg pirates_and_mermaids.jpg manage 35 K 19 Dec 2007 - 19:46 Unknown User Pirate and Mermaid
susie.jpgjpg susie.jpg manage 18 K 23 Dec 2007 - 14:46 Unknown User Susie from Kate Goes...
Topic revision: r10 - 31 Jan 2008, andyp
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