Stuff that pops into my head. Innit.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

I'm bored

I'm bored. Bored I tell you. Bored bored bored.

It's saturday lunch time-ish and I'm here all alone -all alone except for the dog - who is asleep, and the cat - who is out doing whatever cats do all day, chasing birds or something, I don't know - My wife and daughter are off looking at a car and then going to Edinburgh to see my sister in laws new twin babies. Aah, sweet. The babies, not the Focus-although that's not bad either as it goes-but me, I'm bored.
I have nothing to do -well nothing that I want to do anyway- there's almost 1000 TV channels at my disposal, and there's nothing that I want to watch on any of them. Whether that's an indictment of me or the current state of TV programming in the UK, well, you guys can decide. Actually, it seems that around 700 out of the 1000 are either showing football or a cookery show and the rest seem to be comprised of Britains Greatest Celebrity Bathroom Disasters 8 or something similar, so maybe I don't have as much choice as I thought. Ho hum.
I could read I suppose -but I don't have anything I haven't already read. Damn.

I think I'll wake the dog up and go for a walk with her.

PS. I'm quite bored you know.

Monday, 24 January 2011

White Lies - Ritual

White Lies first album, To Lose My Life was one of the more pleasant surprises of the year back in 2009 and now they're back with a not-particularly-eagerly-awaited follow up album, Ritual.
Listening to this for the first time, I'm imagining what a night out with these guys might be like (bear with me, this analogy won't last too long, I promise). I'm getting a dull, fairly humourless affair, young men sitting in the corner of a brown pub raising their voices slightly, then two listening intently to the third as he unleashes all of his fury at the way the world is headed. Glasses get smashed, blood drips on the brown pub's brown carpet.
Not that much fun then.
What's happened here is that White Lies have had a classic sophomore slump, the difficult second album as it was called when albums were still things you bought from a shop. For my tastes, this sounds a bit too much like the Killers/Brandon Flowers, and that's never a good thing, although if you liked TLML you might find something to enjoy a bit. Maybe. Your best hope is to put it on quietly and hope that someone thinks it's the Editors. But it isn't, and it isn't even close.

Ooooh, moody

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Short thoughts

Foxes, pretty to look at but dangerous and not to be trusted. That's what country folk say, and perhaps they're right because a couple of day ago in Belarus a fox hunter was shot. By a fox. "A wounded fox shot its would be killer in the Grodno region of Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle."  
He tried to finish it off with the butt of the rifle? Good on the fox for fighting back then.

From the file marked "And you thought you'd heard the last of that" comes a story about the worlds most famous cephalopod. Yes, it's the return of Paul the Octopus! Sort of. His former home in Germany has unveiled plans for a -and I shit you not- "Paul corner where there will be a 6 foot statue of Paul atop a football with a see through centre section to display a golden urn containg his ashes" I'm flabbergasted, really. Not overly tasteful in my opinion, but there you go.

Not Paul, yesterday

Lastly in this roundup of peculiar animal stories from the darkest corners of the web comes news from Boston that a cat has been called for jury service. The cats owner wrote to Suffolk superior crown court explaining that the cat was, well, in fact a cat, but the court wrote back insisting that Mr. Tabby Sal attend the court as scheduled in March. The website for the US judicial system states that "Jurors are not expected to speak perfect English" That's ok then.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Naked and Famous - Passive me, Aggressive you

So, a couple of days ago I'm sitting here at the PC and my daughter Gabi is watching the music channels on the TV as she often does, nothing too unusual there,  but a song comes on and it's very, very good "Who's this, MGMT?" I enquire, "No, I don't know who it is, but it's a girl singing" Hmm. Anyway, we subsequently find out the name of the band and neither of us had heard of them -which, to be fair is a fairly unusual occurrence. A quick google shows me that they're from New Zealand -well you can't have everything- and that the song in question (Punching in a Dream) is in fact their second single. "Terrific", you're thinking, "but what does this have to do with the album?" Well, nothing. But if the first time I hear a band they remind me of MGMT, they're going to be good. Very good. And they are, because PM,AY is a stunning debut album.
There are plenty of 80's and 90's influences at work here, all the way from Duran Duran to Pretty Hate Machine style Nine Inch Nails through Ride style Shoegaze to hints of early Chemical Brothers on the song Spank, and all of these myriad influences are wrapped in a bunch of Indie loveliness.
This is a great album -and one that'll be hard to follow, intriguingly- and it would have figured in my top 10 of 2010 if I'd gotten it earlier.

Go and get it.

Friday, 7 January 2011

A Story

About 18 months ago, our youngest daughter came home from school and announced that one of her friends' cats was going to have kittens. "Terrific" I thought, "I'm very happy for it". Not being much of a cat person myself, I gave it barely anymore thought until one day she came home and asked if she could have one. Around about this point I was acutely aware of everyones eyes being on me. "Sure, why not?" says I - three little words that produced a moment that a parent will always remember, a look of pure joy on your kid's face. Brilliant.
A few weeks pass, and it turns out that the kitty is to be her Christmas present from her mate. Great, we're all prepared for the new arrival, then she drops the bombshell......."Can I have two?" "Two?" It turns out that no-one wants the last remaining kitten of the litter, a frankly gorgeous little grey cat.
Of course we relent, and are treated to another moment like the one I mentioned above. So, a week or so before Christmas we recieve two kittens, a black one named Patton -after the lead singer of Faith No More- and the grey one, named Dixie -after Everton legend Dixie Dean. I'm guessing you must be wondering what the point of this story is by now, and sadly I'm going to have to tell you.
A couple of days ago it seems Dixie was hit by a car and dragged along by it. He died in our house last night at about half past midnight. My wife and daughter are distraught, and frankly, despite my best efforts to hide it, so am I. You wouldn't believe how long it's taken me to type this.

So long little guy, I'll miss you. We all will.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Gorillaz - The Fall

A new Gorillaz album so soon after Plastic Beach? Well yes, sort of.
The Fall is the first album to be recorded on an Ipad, and it plays out as a kind of diary of Gorillaz very long North American tour -which is fine- but I don't think I'd have been overly happy if I'd paid money for it.
I’m not sure whether it’s because of the limitations of the Ipad, but this album doesn't have the usual and unmistakeable Gorillaz feel that the other ones have had. Put it this way, if you didn't know you were listening to Gorillaz, you wouldn't be able to tell from over half of this album. That's not a good thing, although this might work as dinner party ambience music, I'm fairly sure that's not what they were after.

This album was never going to be Damon Albarn’s greatest work. It was written on an Ipad while on tour after all. Experimentation can either go great, or very wrong. It looks like it’s the latter this time. I hope this is not the last we hear from Gorillaz -as has been rumoured- because if it is, they haven’t ended on a great note.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


Hi everyone out there in internet land, it's been quite a while since I last inflicted a blog post on you (ok, it's only been about 2 weeks, but it seems like a long while), and because it seems like a long while, I'm going to do a sort of retrospective of what's been happening since my last post.

Australia have tamely surrendered the Ashes, and although it pains me to say it, England deserved to retain the urn. They've been the better team throughout -Perth aside- and are currently heading towatds a win in the Sydney test too. Happily, these things are cyclical, and it's England's turn to be on top for a while. Not for too long with a bit of luck.

Chin up, Skip

Staying in the southern hemisphere, a 110 year old Malay man has just got married for the 6th time to a youngster of 82. Ahmad Mohamad Isa, who has 20 grandchildren and 40 great grandchildren, showed that romance wasn't dead when he said   
“It doesn’t matter who she is, as long as she can cook for me.”

"Huh, what?"

Ronaldinho might be joining Blackburn. Yes, that Ronaldinho and that Blackburn. I can't say I've ever been jealous of BRFC before, but if this happens........... Come on Bill, sell a few more tickets to one of your shows, find a few quid and sign him. Yes, I know he's not what he was, and that he's a bit fat, but if you ever wanted a signing to raise the profile of the's a minimal risk. Even if he does bear a striking resemblence to Donkey from Shrek.


And finally a sad farewell to British actor Pete Postlethwaite, most famous -to me at least- as Mr Kobayashi from the Usual Suspects, he was once described by Steven Spielberg as the best actor in the world. For what it's worth, I agree.

RIP Pete