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Mon 28 Nov 2005
This guy is acting out the advice in a spoof self-help book - http://365daysofhystericalliving.blogspot.com/
Not made up my mind if it's funny
or not. Or if he's just making it up...
Sun 27 Nov 2005
Went to the craft fair at the MAC
yet again, and bought myself a lovely clock from http://www.stonesplitterpottery.com/
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
I wasn't really expecting a lot from this film - having read a couple of reviews, I couldn't quit see why people liked it, or more to the point, whether I'd like it. I was thinking "oh dear, could be standard Hollywood fare, with car chases etc.." but no. It's warm, humorous, with nice meta-textual touches that work well. It's these which divert it from any accusation of being a typical mainstream film. The film entangles standard detective novel plots with a plot involving a detective novel. Our hero and narrator pretends he is a PI because he's attracted to the female lead, and, as you might expect, ends up acting this out.
Sat 26 Nov 2005
Buy Nothing Day Santa Parade
Took part in the annual Birmingham
Santa Parade to celebrate Buy Nothing Day. Buy Nothing Day (BND) aims to counteract some of the billions of pounds spent each year on persuading us to buy more (~\xA3500 per person per year in the UK). It encourages us to think: "Do I really need it?", "How was it made?", "Were the people who made it treated fairly?", "Can it be repaired or recycled, or will I just end up throwing it away?" etc...
As always we got a very good response on the day, with loads of people coming up to say "well done" or "I completely agree with you" etc...
I found out there were three seperate groups doing stuff for BND in Brum - a record I think!
- Birmingham Buy Nothing Day Santa Parade:
- We wish you a happy christmas!:
- Buy Nothing Day Santas show solidarity with Mc Donalds workers :-):
Fri 25 Nov 2005
Free software reccommendations
This site ( http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_46_free_utilities.htm
) reccommends all sorts of useful free software for Windows PCs. What I like is that the writer justifies the choices, and explains why they've changed their mind over time.
Thu 24 Nov 2005
Denial of Service attack on my email
I'm currently having email problems due to receiving a very large number of bounced spam emails, with
a fake "From" address at my domain. In one period of about 20 minutes I received nearly 7000. I've put
in some filters now to catch these, but if you've written to me recently I might have lost your mail.
"Denial - it's not just a river in Africa" - sure that's a quote from some film or other.
Wed 23 Nov 2005
BBC Hereford and Worcester have put my British Camp Pictures
onto their gallery at:
Tue 22 Nov 2005
More Birmingham Bloggers
Added Rob James's Warwick based Robot Jam
to my list of (nearby to) Birmingham Bloggers
. Found it very interesting, with lots of nice pictures, a good sense of humour and some interesting links - one to watch!
Some nice stuff at the new exhibition at the Ikon Gallery
, particularly liked the work in the tower room, resembling a shrine or place of worship, and the 2nd floor paintings consisting of crosses (or rather 8 pointed asterisks) each of which was very different from the others, the constituent crosses becoming almost a blank canvas on which the rest of the painting sits.
Ikon also have an offsite project at the moment, in a building virtually next door to Vivid
in Digbeth. There's "Shakespeare in Taxi", a taxi cab painted with portraits in a pseudo-indian style, a 2 screen video installation showing bathers on an israeli beach, and a sound installation of dripping water. OK, my descriptions are a bit bare, but it's a nice set of work and worth visiting
Sat 19 Nov 2005
British Camp, The Malverns
Visited British Camp
at the Malverns again, it was an increadibly foggy day, but once we climed to the top we had an amazing view. The fog hid the land all around, lapping at the edges of the hills like sea around an island. Really beautiful. See more pictures
I also picked some Stump Puffballs, which I've just eaten (on Sunday), so if this blog is never updated again, you'll know I've made a mistake and got a young "Deaths Cap" instead!
- View from British Camp on a foggy day:
- Sunset with Obelisk and Sundog:
Wed 16 Nov 2005
Tristan and Yseult
was full for this fantastic and innovative play, blending myth and legend with circus and even pantomime! Tristan and Yseult is a rocky love story, played out with an audience of the unloved - (mostly) men in balaclavas watching through binoculars and reminiscent of the images in "Girl, Watching" which I saw at the Rep Door
back in 2003 (but for some reason didn't write about...)
Sun 13 Nov 2005
This is the 2nd of these which I've attended at The MAC
, and I'm stunned by the quality of the goods on offer. Luckily, at the first one, I only had a fiver in my pocket, so couldn't buy anything, here I succumbed.
By the way, it's a nightmare trying to work out how to spell succumb. I mean, it sounds like "sucome" to me, but then there could always be a double letter, like succommed, or even maybe even scumed. Though I did notice that Pete Ashton (see left bar) had a top google rank for "sucommed", what does that mean? That the web world's a small place or that Birmingham has some kind of blackhole for spelling?
The Corpse Bride
Saw this film at the MAC
, and quite liked it, though it could have done with a better plot:length ratio. It re-tells an eastern european legend about a man who marries a corpse by mistake, which sounds pretty horrific, but it's all very warm and friendly. It's quite sexist, and presents quite a bizare set of role models for kids, but then I guess it's a fairy story, and I should quit trying to read it any deeper.
Sat 12 Nov 2005
Another nice evening down at The Rainbow
, nice crowd, not too busy to start with but heaving later. Good tunes from all 3, but I must admit to "getting down" to some of the 40's tracks from the Sugarfoot girls.
Fri 11 Nov 2005
At The Jug Of Ale
. Posted live before he'd played a note Gotta beat Pete to it...
See also: Pete Ashton's detailed review
with much better pictures - part of his "Going Deaf for A Fortnight" series, which might well happen if he sits right next to the speaker like at this gig
Jez has also written about the gig - http://www.jezuk.co.uk/cgi-bin/view/jez?id=2675
- but currently, I've written sod all
Posted on the move at 22:05:47
Tue 08 Nov 2005
Sounds a bit wierd to me, but I decided it would be interesting to put down my editorial policy for this website. I think the key bit for me is that it only mentions public events and "public people", so you're not going to read about my friends or my friend's parties - however interesting they are - unless they've got their details up on a poster which anyone could see, or they've got a blog themselves in which they write up the event, and even then you're not going to get any personal details. I guess I felt I'd put this down as I'm kind of suprised when people mention that they've read my site, and I wouldn't want them to think they're going to appear on it
Types of Blog
So, following on from that, I've also been thinking about types of blog. I'd say my Blog is generally an "Events Blog" - typically it's about gigs, theatre, performance, art installations etc. which I've seen. The main reason for starting putting this kind of thing on my website is that I'd see a lot of bands, and not be able to remember whether I should go see them again!
But what are the other types of Blog out there?
- Where you tell the world about your hopes and fears, and the latest disaster in your life
- Where you've gigged, how it went, what you're recording.
I-read-it-on-the-net-Blogs - These can vary. Some form a class which are virtually indistinguishable from each other, each parroting the same links and sites which appear on the most popular link sites (e.g. Meta Filter
, Slash Dot
). Others are used like extended bookmark lists to keep track of things read. More interesting ones include commentary, analysis and follow up.
- Sometimes very well written, home-grown reviews. Often a bit too technical for me as I don't know what the band being compared actually sound like.
MP 3 Blogs
- Can be "the motherlode" if you find one to your taste. You'll be able to legally download lots of interesting music.
- Can you guess?
- No definition needed here.
- I've never had the mis-fortune to run across one of these, but I'm sure they exist.
- Keeping track of what you've done, who you've met. Used to encourage knowledge sharing and create a "corporate memory".
Losing a left bar link
I've dropped Phil's Six Months Blog
from my left bar as it's not currently being updated. I guess the six months are up
Sun 06 Nov 2005
Two bands I've written about recently have been kind enough to give me CDs, so here's a bit about them...
In Search of the Ugandan Goat of Death - The Graham Parsnip Liquidiser Torture Think Tank (Project)
Graham Parsnip's distinctive name stuck in my mind the first time I heard it. I figured that with a name like that, they'd be worth seeing, and when I got my chance last month at A Different Kettle of Fish
, my prediction was confirmed.
My favourite tracks are Tractor Love
. The former being the deeply personal story of a man's voyage through his own psyche, resulting the the discovery of his sexual attraction to large items farmyard of farmyard machinery. It's also well structured and musically complex.
is the poignant story of a scrabble obsessive, who "wants to win the scrabble cup", with a nice"I want to get Quizzical" parody.
GP's work is in the best tradition of British comic songs, though I'd say it's more humourous rather than comic - one of the main differences being the musical quality and that it's possible to listen and re-listen to the tracks.
If you're a booker, book 'em. Your audience will be amused and delighted.
Not sure if this 4 track CD has a title, as I've got a "white label" copy. It's got some of the tracks I like best from seeing Strange Time
live - Ex-Boyfriend
, Dressing Up
, Sweet Delusion
is about a seemingly traumatic subject, the cleverness and simplicity of the lyrics actually make me smile in places - "I hate your house, I hate your mates, I hate your pub, I hate our dates"... you just gotta love that rhyme!
hits the spot again, "do you love me, do you want me, how do I know for sure", "You know the girls in magazines they're not real, air-brushed, nip-tucked, liposucked, they're not real".
Sweet Delusion seems to me the most "gothic" in terms of subject matter, quite a full sound, with a good bass line and lead guitar, spooky, eerie,
If I describe Lust
as a grown up version of "when I think of you, I touch myself" then you've got an idea of the plot.
are gigging in Birmingham fairly frequently at the moment, so you've no excuse not to get down and catch the rest of the repertoire.
Find Strange Time
gigs and listen to tracks at: http://www.purevolume.com/strangetime
Sat 05 Nov 2005
Great installation of pumpkins at the Custard Factory
gallery. Last day today I'm afraid. http://www.pumpkins.ik.com
Posted on the move at 15:38:33
Visited the Chinese Supermarket opposite Cafe Soya
today, in search of dried shiitake mushrooms
, and came back with a bumper crop. Not only did I find the shiitake (at about 1/10th of the price elsewhere) but I also bought "Monkey Head Mushroom", Ling Zhi and "dried black fungus". Trying to work out what the latter actually was, I found this review of how not to eat it, which I found quite funny: http://www.taquitos.net/snacks.php?snack_code=1644
Oh, and I also got some nice truffled
pecorino cheese, looks like it's fungal feast time for me
Sat 05 Nov 2005
I've almost seen Friends of the Stars
when they supported Misty's
at the Jug of Ale
, but they were too popular and I couldn't get in until their set finished, and their fans headed downstairs! They've mailed me to say they've got a blog at http://www.friendsofthestars.co.uk/
which I've added to my list of Birmingham Bloggers
Friends of the Stars also pointed out Andrew Dubber's blog, The Wireless
He's originally from New Zealand (one of our more loyal colony's as I remember) and now based in Birmingham
Thu 03 Nov 2005
Wallace and Gromit
Ok, it's not the standard fare of performance or contemporary arts, up and coming local bands or quality theatre that I normally write about here
but tonight I went to see the latest Wallace and Gromit film at the UGC. Though some aspects of the film are lacking in scientific plausibility, once you get past this, it's great fun.
It's classic Wallace and Gromit, with wonderful crazy Heath-Robinson style inventions, a mysterious enemy, lots of jokes for the grown-ups and (of course) love interest. So classic in fact that at the end I was slightly suprised to find myself sitting in a cinema in November, rather than in front of the TV at Christmas. It's fun! See it
More on belief...
I haven't read all this yet, but it gets off to a flying start... apparently Santa Claus isn't real, and a lot of other beliefs look quite dodgy when you think about them
Now where did I put that satellite?
Nasa has produced this great Java applet which shows you where all the satelites are right now:
If you click on one you get it's name and orbit. Fun, but not particularly useful.
That makes me a sad panda
An escaped Panda is on the loose near me. If you spot it you get free admission to the nature centre for life!
Posted on the move at 09:53:58
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