Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Well, the Christmas decorations are back in their boxes and up in the attic for another year. So, that’s it for 2012, but these two will be back next Christmas as a reminder of what a year it was.

So I guess this is about as late as a review of 2012 can be posted, right? Okay, some lists and photos coming up, no great insights. If I had any of them I’d have posted them at the relevant time.

The You-Know-What Games

I started work at Visit London back in April 2005, so I’d been there just three months when we won the 2012 Olympics. The next seven years were all building up to that event. Was it worth it?

Yes. I was lucky in the ballot of tickets and got two lots of Athletics tickets – morning sessions, “just” heats, but I got to see both Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah in action.

More photos of my London 2012


After the games were over Lettice and I had a holiday in Bath – I’ve never been before. Loved it – the Roman Baths, loved the American Museum, loved the Postal Museum, everything.

More photos of Bath


For books, see the last post. Museums and art, apart from all the stuff in Bath, I went to Mapping the Underground at the London Transport Museum, Bronze at the Royal Academy and the Crossrail archaeology exhibition.


I managed five trips to the cinema, more than in the last few years. The Iron Lady, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Prometheus, Avengers and Skyfall. They are all films that reinvent icons. Is that a theme at the moment?


I also manged six trips to the theatre. Noises Off, The Ladykillers, One Man, Two Guvnors, Timon of Athens, Hedda Gabler and Chrous of Disapproval.


Adam Ant at the Fairfield halls! Also saw Ben, Howie, et al at the Surya; and The Life and Death at the Cavendish Arms – first time I’ve actually seen Justin play live in the ten years I’ve known him.

And the rest

I joined the 21st century and bought a smart phone. After seeing me get very lopsided carying my old SLR around Bath, Lettice bought me a new camera for Christmas. And as I replaced my PC last Christmas, I’ve had a near complete technological upgrade this year. Still no jetpack though.

For my birthday, Lettice took me to East London – Mudchute City Farm, the new cable car across the Thames, and treasure house that is the Who Shop. I love this crazy city where you have a World War II anti-aircraft gun in the middle of a farm, within sight of the towers of high finance.

Well, come on 2013. So far you’ve been full of stress, germs and broken boilers. Let’s see if you can do better?

After 30 years of being a fan, I finally saw Adam Ant play live last night.

All the hits, some new songs, and a proper full-on, turned up to 11, giving it some welly, rock gig; not just a by-the-numbers recreation of the 1980s.



At work, we’ve been doing Desert Island Discs and this week is my turn. I’ll be buggered if I’m writing all this lot up and not turning it into a blog post.

I win. No seriously, I win this game because I have had a theme tune written for me. Well, technically it was written for my blog, oh okay, it was inspired by the name of my blog. What? This isn’t a contest and I can’t win? Oh. Sorry.

According to my mother my first musical experience was dancing (or being danced, as I was baby at the time) round the room to T Rex. Was I too young to be influenced by this? Or did it somehow generate an interest in dinosaurs rather than glam rock? Lucky escape.

Adam and the Ants – Stand and Deliver

I was torn between a classic Ants track or something from his later albums. In the end memories of Saturday morning’s spent watching this video on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop won the day (but if you’ve only heard his old material check out the 1995 album “Wonderful”).

Drill Queen – Born Depressed

Justin is an information architect with whom I worked on several projects; he also played guitar for Drill Queen.

Traveling Wilburys – Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Just about the only bits of vinyl from my dad’s music collection that I copied to tape, and one of the few bands that Lettice and I both love. It looks like the record label have been at YouTube so we’re lucky to find this animation:

Moxy Früvous – My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors

Moxy Früvous were a cool, funny, somewhat cheesey Canadian band who I was introduced to via two friends at university. If you saw the groaning bookshelves in our flat you’d know why this song always makes me smile.

Cerys Matthews – Oxygen

I can’t sing. I really can’t sing. Neither can my brother, though as churchgoer he makes up with gusto for what he lacks in aptitude. Clearly we got our singing genes from the English or Swedish parts of our family not the Welsh.

Pulp – Mis-shapes

The end of the summer of 1995. On the news it’s Blur vs Oasis. But, before Blair, there was a much better third way.

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh – Ay Dilber
Stiff Little Fingers – Tin Soldiers

Hands up who wanted (or even expected) to hear some Azerbaijani Jazz today? Well, you’re out of luck as I can’t find it anywhere on the web. So have some classic punk instead.

Tanita Tikaram – And I Think Of You

The reason I’m here. Sort of. I created my first home page in 1995 (personal home pages, remember them? Like Facebook profiles but you had to do all the work yourself) and wanted to do a bit more. So looking around the nascent web for the various artists I liked I spotted that Tanita didn’t have any fan pages dedicated to her. The resulting site helped to get me my first job at a web design agency.


Assuming I’m going to be here for a while then I want something fairly long. An old favourite or something I’ve never gotten around to? I think I’ll go for the latter and take Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography to remind myself of home.

Luxury Item

A brewing kit. Let’s see which of the fruit on the island makes the best booze.

So I found this file, last modified 10 June 1997, on a set of back ups and it’s a pub quiz that I ran in Balliol bar. In fact considering the date I suspect that this is the night that Lettice first clapped eyes on me and thought “nice guy, shame about the jumper”.

People on Facebook and Twitter said that they wanted to see the quiz, so here goes.

Read the rest of this very true thing…

This blog now has a theme tune courtesy of Brother Typewriter of the Burning Lodge.

Very True Things is a tribute to my friend Steve’s blog of the same name. The idea was to have a 16-note sequence running throughout the whole song and then play different stuff against that – which sort of worked, I think. Actually it was more to do with the fact that I couldn’t be bothered to write any more complex sequence in Moog Modular V. I am VLT – Very Lazy Thing.)

Thank you Howie, I think…

Saw The Lord of the Rings musical courtesy of work and the producers. It’s not really fair to call it a musical as it barely contains more songs than the books do, though the fight scenes are superbly choreographed to music. The producers prefer the term ‘spectacle’ and it fits that label very well. The design element is superb – Black Riders, Ents, Shelob, the Balrog are all achieved on stage in innovative but effective ways that you probably wouldn’t imagine. The use of crutches and prosthetics to distinguish the orcs may not be very politically correct but it does convey the twisted and deformed nature of their creation.

It’s quite long but still has to compress the story somewhat. The first act follows the first book reasonably closely (no Tom Bombardil, though he does get namechecked at the end, no Barrow Wights, no Glorfindel, and the Nazgul attacks on the Prancing Pony and Weathertop are combined), but after the interval things start to diverge rather more. I was starting to get suspicious when Boromir kept on talking about “The Kingdom of Men” rather than Gondor and it turned out that they had indeed combined Rohan and Gondor – and hence Theoden and Denethor, and Helm’s Deep and Pelennor Fields. Whilst this moved the plot along quite quickly it removed some of the subtlety from the story and a lot of “fan favourite” characters and scenes – no Eomer, no Eowyn, no Faramir, no Palantír, no Wormtongue, no Paths of the Dead, no Witch King. On the plus side they do, briefly, include the Scouring of the Shire.

The performances ranged from the very good to the very camp but even Malcolm Storry as an excellent Gandalf suffers somewhat in comparison with Ian McKellan in the films. In fact the hardest thing to keep in mind when reviewing or just watching the stage version is that it’s an independent adaptation of the book not the film. It aims for a very different feel – more mythic, more rooted in fairy tales, rather than the “realistic” fantasy of the films. In this sense it’s perhaps a little truer to the spirit of Tolkein even if it taks much bigger liberties with his story.

On Saturday I bought a song from iTunes by Drill Queen, one of whose members I know in real life.

On Monday a package from Amazon arrived for me, I didn’t remember ordering anything but thought that I might have done when I set up work as a delivery address (Amazon’s courier company is totally incapable of delivering to home). Today I checked the delivery note and discovered that someone else had bought it for me off my wishlist.

I didn’t recognise the name and so checked my Gmail archive to see if it was anyone who had ever spoken to me. It was, a little while ago he had sent me this e-mail:

Hi there, you responded to one of my messages on Usenet, full details here.…

I was wondering if you could please remove it from Google’s archives (you can do this by creating a Google Groups Account, looging in, finding the message and pressing remove).

I’m just not keen on having that URL on the Internet now that it’s used for something different.

Thank in advance,

Used for something different means not used for an escort site anymore. (I’d answered a technical question about the site coding not anything related to the content.) Anyway, today I sent back the message

Bribery worked.

Nice to know that after all these years of giving free advice on Usenet I’m finally getting some reward.

… the people who are pointing out that Britney’s “Toxic” wasn’t released on 7″ vinyl?

Like, it could never be rereleased in said format at some point in the next five billion years?

Anyway, a rather mixed episode (oh by the way I’m talking about “The End of the World”, episode two of the new Doctor Who series). Ecclestone’s Doctor is fascinating – with what we learn in this episode it’s easy to see his inappropriate flippancy and rudeness (not to mention his becoming what could be seen as a cold blooded vigilante murderer) as symptoms of post-traumatic shock. But I have a feeling that such an analysis will turn out to be overly simplistic.

The aliens were a very mixed bunch. Cassandra, the trees and the Moxx of Balhoun were excellent but the background aliens, and they looked like background aliens, were shown a little too prominently. Was I the only one who had a flashback to Dune when the Face of Boe was wheeled in? Oh, and am I right in thinking that every character with a speaking part got killed off? Good to see that the high body counts of the old series are being continued.

7/10 (9/10 for effects and acting but only 5/10 for plot)