Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jerusalem...

Last night Stu and I went to see Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre in London's glitzy West End. It was long play with three acts, two intervals but gripping and very, very funny throughout. A sort of 'Shameless in the woods'.

In Jerusalem, Mark Rylance portrays Johnny Byron, a local man who finds himself in high demand in all corners of the community and not for good reasons. The story takes place on St George’s Day in which a fair has arrived in town for all to enjoy – but with everyone wanting a piece of him, it is only his children that want him to go on the rides. A look around town will highlight the local police, who are after Johnny to put him behind bars for what they perceive to be the activities of a modern day Pied Piper. Elsewhere, the local council wish to have him evicted from his home; Troy Whitworth wants to provide him with a good beating and even his friends are in on the action, wanting to get hold of him so that they can provide him with the normal cocktail of booze and drugs.

The staging involved live chickens, a live tortoise and goldfish and several real trees surrounding an onstage caravan.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad...

So, the Jesus tablet is finally upon us. Apple announced it's long-awaited iPad yesterday in the States. It's feature set looks interesting - but not revolutionary. Will it change the world? Probably not. Will techies want one? Of course.

The specs are:
9.7 inch (25cm) multi-touch display
1 GHz Apple processor
16, 32 or 64 GB of flash memory
0.5in (1.25cm) thick
Weighs 1.5lbs (0.7kgs)
Wi-fi, bluetooth and 3G connectivity
Speaker, microphone
Accelerometer, compass
Battery life of 10 hours? We'll see on that one.

The cheapest iPad, which will come with 16GB of flash memory and wi-fi will cost $499. The most expensive version, with 64GB of storage and the ability to connect via a mobile 3G signal, will cost $829.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lou Reed had ECT for being 'gay'...

Born in 1942 into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, the teenage Lou Reed was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy to “cure” his homosexuality. His parents ordered this as they were "disturbed by his developing homosexuality."

Reed wrote about the experience in his 1974 song, "Kill Your Sons" and also is quoted as saying, "They put the thing down your throat so you don't swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That's what was recommended in Rockland County to discourage homosexual feelings. The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can't read a book because you get to page 17 and have to go right back to page one again."

Reed we went on to work as a house songwriter for Pickwick Records before finding cult fame with art-rock band The Velvet Underground. Post-VU, he released a succession of acclaimed albums, most significantly 1972’s ‘Transformer’, whose themes of drug use and cross-dressing chimed with the mood of the glam-rock movement spearheaded by his friend David Bowie.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Four Lions...

Chris Morris, the genius-man behind The Day Today, Brass Eye and Blue Jam, has spent the last few years researching and making a film about some hapless British would-be terrorists. The film is called Four Lions and has premièred at the Sundance Festival in the States.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Goldfrapp - Rocket...

Fantastic early '80s American synth-driven singer/songwriter mid-tempo pop; Christopher Cross's Ride Like The Wind, Van Halen's Jump and Journey's Don't Stop Believin'.

Radio Gaga...

Some's having fun with Lady Gaga http://www.raraahahahromaromamagagaoohlala.com/

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banksy - Exit Through The Gift Shop...

Arsenal 4 - 2 Bolton...

Sam and I went to the Emirates last night to watch Arsenal make a brilliant comeback from 0-2 down to win 4-2 and so go top of the Premiership League. Goals came from Rosicky (43), Fabregas (52), Vermaelen (65) and Arshavin (85).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Avatar...

Stu, me and the gang went to see a 3D cartoon last night - James Cameron's Avatar at the BFI IMAX.

Starring the rather lovely Sam Worthington (as Jake) it tells the story of him 'becoming' an Avatar and using it to interact with the Na'vi - a tall blue computer-generated race who inhabit the strange blue computer-generated planet of Pandora. Initially Jake's working for the evil RDA trying to exploit the ridiculously named mineral Unobtainium but then he inevitably goes native.

Ok, so the plot is thin as paper and the film way, way too long but it looks great.

Reminded me a bit of Titan A.E.

A sequel or two in the offing? As Cameron said last week, "Yes, there'll be another."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You say potato, I say ghoughpteighbteau...

Ghoughpteighbteau? It's an example of a constructed word, used for illustration of irregularities in spelling in English. It is a respelling of the word 'potato', and like potato is pronounced /poʊˈteɪtoʊ/.

It has:
gh, pronounced /p/ as in hiccough /ˈhɪkəp/;
ough, pronounced /oʊ/ as in though /ðoʊ/;
pt, pronounced /t/ as in ptomaine /ˈtoʊmeɪn/;
eigh, pronounced /eɪ/ as in neigh /neɪ/;
bt, pronounced /t/ as in debt /dɛt/;
eau, pronounced /oʊ/ as in bureau /ˈbjʊəroʊ/.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Goldfrapp - Head First...

Goldfrapp's new album Head First will be out in March - preceded by the single Rocket. Like Felt Mountain, Head First will feature 9 tracks. An unmixed version of the album will be sent to journalists this month.

Here is the track-listing :
1. Rocket
2. Alive
3. Believer
4. Dreaming
5. Shiny and warm
6. I wanna life
7. Head First
8. Voicething

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Promised Myself...

I love this song! Starting with the Nick Kamen original here are just some of the versions I've found. Enjoy!

Nick Kamen's original version


Jose Galisteo


Dead Or Alive


Nick Kamen (2004)


A*Teens (love this camp boys' mime)


John Davies


Basshunter

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Magic Roundabout...

Only in the United Kingdom would you find a large roundabout with five mini-roundabouts. (Not to be confused with the "Magic Roundabout"s in Colchester, Hemel Hempstead or High Wycombe – or, for that matter, this "Magic Roundabout".)

In 2005, it was voted the worst roundabout in a survey by UK insurance company Saga Motor Insurance. In September 2007, the Magic Roundabout was named as one of the World's Worst Junctions by UK motoring magazine Auto Express. In December 2007, BBC News reported a survey identifying The Magic Roundabout as one of the "10 Scariest Junctions in the United Kingdom". However the roundabout provides a better throughput of traffic than other designs and has a better safety record.

Only in the UK, right?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sunday Madness...

Last Sunday Hudd, Mark, Andy, myself, Chris, Andy, Tim, Guy, Darren, Stu, Bryn, Kevin, Michael and Andrew all went out for a bite to eat. But it didn't stop there! Great fun.

Cirque Du Soliel's Varekai...

Last night Stu and I went to see Cirque Du Soliel's Varekai at the Royal Albert Hall. We'd not seen a CdC show before and I hope I don't damn it with faint praise by saying that it was exactly what I expected it to be. A circus show. A spectacular circus show.

The Evening Standard review summed it up very well; At its best Varekai is an exhilarating experience. It has dazzle, imagination, gravity-defying stunts, even a smattering of eroticism. What it needs, perhaps, is more soul.

Apparently Varekai is the Romany word for "wherever", and this characteristically elaborate spectacle by the Canadian company Cirque du Soleil, written and directed by Dominic Champagne, plays with traditional imagery of wandering, rootlessness and flight. The show in fact begins limply, with some charmless clowning and a squeaky-voiced sprite thanking the corporate backers. It relapses a couple of times into mediocrity, notably when yet another clown turns Jacques Brel's imploring "Ne me quitte pas" into a piece of spotlit slapstick. However, there is a huge amount to admire: beautifully costumed by Eiko Ishioka, the production features thrilling trapeze work, moments of balletic poise, a man on crutches moving more athletically than anyone on Britain's Got Talent, and a juggler who treats Panama hats as if they are boomerangs.There may be a story of sorts - loosely connected to the myth of Icarus - but the emphasis is on acrobatic moves and slick choreography. The cast's physical feats are so accomplished that one can lose sight of the risks they involve. Some sections are overlong, and the soundtrack, reminiscent of Claude Challe's Buddha Bar compilations, is cloying. But the visual feast is rich.

The highlight for me was the brothers Andrew and Kevin Atherton, swooping dramatically from the roof on lithe elastic straps.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year's Eve 2009...

Stu, Darren, Mark, Chris, Hudd and I had a fantastic time on New Year's Eve. We celebrated at home first with some dinner, then headed into town for midnight. The Duke Of Wellington was our first and, as it turns out, our only port of call in Soho. My high point - dancing to I Gotta Feeling.

On the way home we decided to pop into the King Edward VI in Angel for a snifter. Messy? Sure. But fun.

Below is a montage of some of the snaps I took. Click here for bigger versions.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Enhance...

A tribute to all those films that try to 'enhance' the impossibly blurry surveillance footage.