30 December 2007

Music: Pet Shop Boys

During my extensive iTunes importing (my vinyl's are now in iTunes) over the last few days, I found my Pet Shop Boys 12" singles which led me to listen to PopArt and other stuff.
I've always felt that PSB are a hugely underrated pop outfit, their music seems on first listen to be very disposable and very 'samey', but the more you listen the more it becomes obvious they are a cut above generic pop. The sheer perfection of 'It's a sin' doesn't sound dated these days, kinda like Talk Talk - they've aged very well.
One aspect is the lyrics, sure the music is poppy, cheerful etc, but listening to the lyrics they tend to be quite melancholic. Quite wistful, quite quirky. There's an element of sadness in most of their lyrics, summed up perfectly in the wonderful 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk'. A reflection of Neil Tennant's relationships? Don't really know, seeing as I can't tell who wrote the lyrics, and wikipedia appears to have failed me.
So yes, I've been enjoying my redipping into PSB. Theres stuff there that has far more emotional investment than you'd expect in 'pop' music, thematically homosexuality, AIDS, relationships - and done with a tongue in check humour. Worth watching their movie too, it's refreshingly different.

Best albums? Nightlife and Actually. For my money anyway.

B x

28 December 2007


I need to rant about the stupidity of todays rock stars, inspired by the insipidness of various Rolling Stone interviews. Don't get me started. I'm going to swear a lot.
but not yet.
I've had a couple of GnTs, and then had a 'nip' of each of my scotches. Finished with the Edradour. It's like sex in a glass.


And strangely, Knocked up, is a reasonably movie. And the music was organised by Loudon Wainwright III and Joe Henry. Cool.

Me xxxx

World's Best: Beer, Radio and Enz

Oude Geuze Boon: Is this my favourite beer in the world? I had one the other night and held off reviewing it to think a bit more about it. I'm prepared to go out and say it may be the best beer I have ever had. There is a lot going in this beer, nice head, citrus hints, slightly fruity (apples?), fizzy (unsurprising), wonderful aroma - again citrus, but also overtones of a white wine (NZ chardonnay). This was the 2003-2004 vintage btw. Obviously lambic with the distinctive bitterness but beautifully balanced against the rest of the flavours.
Go try it.

I just had the last of my Belgian beers, another Timmermans but one I hadn't tried before. Timmermans Lambicus Blanche. A nice light beer, it's very tasty with huge overtones of apricots. Or something sweetish like that anyway. Seems like a wonderful breakfast beer.

And my favourite radio show is back on, Matinee Idol with Phil O'Brian. Woohoo. I would suggest for those of you overseas to check this out, you'll hear pretty much anything. Phil and Simon are great - it's available online here.

Also noted on the RadioNZ site, the brilliant series by Jeremy Ansell on Split Enz, Enzology is available online here. If you haven't already heard it, it's definitely worth checking out.

With hugs and beery thoughts, me

25 December 2007

Cartoon Madness!

My mind has regressed far enough that the following two cartoons have been keeping me amused !!!

The Tick, wonderful series from the comics, co-written by Ben Edlund - it was series 2 that I've been watching. Including the Christmas classic 'The Tick v. Santa'.

and now, Count Duckula, again a classic - voiced by David Jason (well Duckula is). I recently got Series 1 on DVD (thanks HMV) and am beginning to work my way through it. Wonderful subversive stuff.
Not the best quality video, but here' the opening credits.

I suspect Series1 of QI maybe up next.

me xx

Blue Demon!

Following some Wooing Tree Otago Pinot Noir, and another viewing of Death at a Funeral (great fun movie), I've moved onto a Blue Demon flick, The Champions of Justice, and hey guess wot - it's started with a long wrestling sequence. Crickey. How surprising for a Blue Demon movie.
I'll revise that, I'm now 10 mins in and all there's been is wrestling, and some bike riding, oh hang on someone with a machine gun popped up and is shooting people. Seems a reasonable thing to do with a machine gun. Go him. He has a cape. It's red. WTF? "It is the Black hand"."although we killed him and his gang","it's obvious he has returned". Wooohoooo Ms Mexico competition is involved.
For the love of god, now there's frickin dwarves. WHY OH GOD WHY. And yes there is one in Death AAF too.
Why do the dwarves look full sized in the car? Odd. Great soundtrack, wonderful mid-late 60s jazz. Choice. Now a wrestler dressed as a tiger is being done to by 3 dwarves. Oh dear who will save him from the darstadly dwarves.
OK what passed as plot has gone. I wasn't trying to follow it, cos I knew I'd lose, but really all it's been is a series of fights between superhuman strength midgits, and normal sized wrestlers. Fantastic. The 80minutes has just flown by.

damm this cold, and my moderate sobriety. Grr.

me x

24 December 2007

Xmas Midday report

Right, so I have a stinkin head cold. I'm trying to deal with it by ignoring and booze. so after croissants we're watching top gear.
intact thus far: two liquor coffees, glass of trinity hill arneis and now one of my Belgian beers.

The wine: a refreshing wee morning drop. Quite tasty and fruity, moderately sweet. Would go well with spicy stuff methinks, and did work well with croissants and lemon/mustard potatoes. Interesting wee drop and not one we get in NZ a lot, so yay Trinity Hill. I'll be drinking more of that thank you very much.

It's beer o'clock now (while watching Marcus Lush's "Ice") and I'm sipping a Belgian Poperings Hommel Bier. Similar to the wine, it's fruity very zesty, I'd disagree with MJs review I thnk the bitterness is quite high, and I don't sense the honey in there. I like it, and it's a good example of the IPA form. I do get string citrus from it tho', but I'm thinking it's not a morning bier, I should have gone with my first thought and ahd another kriek. Oh well, there's always soon...

Now I just need some Bgrade movies, and things will be bloody marvellous. Ohhh and there's trifle soon. If either of us can be arsed moving.

me xx

Beer 101

Needless to say far more beer will be consumed tomorrow, along with viewing a number of B grade movies. So expect drunken reviews. Actually that's a point, I should organise the movies before I hit the booze tomorrow. Like tonight OMG I'm so excited.
Oops, sorry the thought of making Rudolph's nose red just got to me.

Belgium Beer:

Scotch Silly - a Scotch style ale, and yes I bought it on name. Nothing to write home about, not very hoppy and not a good example of an ale. It is 8% which in kiwi beer drinking style means it's a "good beer" but sadly my requirements for beer have changed. For that reason, find a decent Scottish ale if you want an ale in the style of a Scottish ale. The green on the cover was pretty though.

Next up was from one of my favourite breweries, Timmermans. More precisely, their lambic Kriek. It is frickin stunning. I love a good kriek, and you'd be hard pressed to get better than this one. A slightly bitter lambic taste, the sweetness of the berry - if you want a good example of the type, you could do a lot lot worse than this one. Drink it.

Slainte, B

iPod randomness and Radiohead

So I'm wandering around listening to the new(ish) Radiohead 'In Rainbows' which, btw, is brilliant and will definitely be making my top10 this year. Briefly, it's more tune orientated than the last few albums, so is a more natural successor to Ok Computer. Having said that I love the dissonant stuff they've been doing recently (KidA is one of my fav albums)...basically if you like radiohead, you'll be buying it anyway, the rest of you - if you liked OkComputer or Hail to the Thief, it's worth picking up this one.

But onto the beauty of my ipod randomness, having finished InRainbows, I switched on random. First up was the classic Rare Bird track 'Sympathy', which my favourite band covered. A video of which is included for your viewing pleasure.

And then the ipod switched to the Deep Purple track 'Child in Time'. DP have always struck me as one of the great 'lost' rock bands, everyone seems to know their music (aside from Smoke...) but they never got the recognition of say LedZep, Sabbath etc - and I don't know why. Their music is interesting, rocks, has complexity and the musicianship is stunning. Child in Time is one of my favourite DP tracks, who'da thought a long complex track with a keyboard solo would appeal eh?!
I have fond memories of watching the classic Top of the Pops (repeats obviously!) when CiT was played, and the looks on the audiences faces were priceless. Not so much wot the fuck, as for the love of god, what do we do?! Smile? Clap? Look serious? jiggle?
This isn't that version, but it's still great:

me x

22 December 2007

Xmas Carols!!!

in an attempt to get into the Xmas spirit, here's some vids for the kids:

And for Mr Salmond, where-ever he may be:

Yuletide love, B.

19 December 2007

Food Mojo

Is my mojo back? Admittedly this post comes from a slightly inebriated B, due to a champagne, strawberries and cake for Adelie Penguin's birthday. There's something very right about drinking two bottles of booze before 9am, and then bowling along to a meeting at 9am.

But in the last few days I've actually done some cooking. This is surprising as I've been very much out of sorts with cooking and have had no interest in it wotsoever.

So after Jos invited me over for tea, and said I could do the main and it would involve 'mushrooms' I came up with the following:
* brown rice and a thai (ish) sauce flicked through it
* mushroom, red wine, ricotta and spinach pies
* shiitake mushroom polenta fritters with feta and salad drapped over them

Last night I made a cake for the birthday booze-up this morning, a roast strawberry cake where the strawberries and roasted for about 25mins with balsamic vinegar and icing sugar and dumped in and over a lemon-ish cake.

I also made a nice and hot fish tortilla (also from the current Cuisine). Could have done with being a bit hotter as I pulled back on the chilly a little, but the salsa was pretty much perfect! Made me reach for a lager. And that's never a bad thing.

I wonder if I'll get a small hangover around lunchtime? Might drive back to a pub. Mmmm pub.

B xx

15 December 2007

Some Movies monsieur?

In no particular order here's some movie reviews, admittedly I'm half asleep and have *some* alcohol down me, but let's see wot happens eh? Whose with me? Team...

Hitman - based on the computer game. Yes I know that's generally a reason to avoid it. But what the hey, I like crap movies. Well it's got action, it has Timothy Olyphant (from Deadwood - he's the sheriff in DW), Dougray Scott etc, but scriptwriting was a bit lean and the story does require massive suspension from belief. Tim's character (Agent47) from a shadowy group of assassins (And what do you call assassins who accuse assassins, anyway My friend?) gets backstabbed by his mates. Agent47 gets mildly grumpy and goes about trying to find out whats the haps That's largely the story. There's cops, assassins, russians (the main guy is played by the pedophile in prison break) and lots of dodgy accents that fade in and out. Wonderful. The biggest plus is that its only 90mins long and that there is a fair amount of action.
It's hard to review, given it's crap and knows it, but it is fun. I'd recommend it with the warning that it is *shockingly badly written*, acting is hamstrung by poor directing (Tim O is kinda wasted here).

The snappily titled The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Now I'm in the camp of Brad Pitt is quite a good actor but tends to be overlooked as he's easy on the eye. For that reason a meandering western with Pitt as Jesse James seemed a good test of how good he is. Some critics had been bitching about the length of the movie (160min) but given I like meandering movies that didn't seem a reason to not see it. The story looks at the last couple of heists of the James' gang (at this point consisting of his brother and Jesse), and the manlove of a new recruit. So essentially the whole movie revolves around Pitt (Jesse James) and Casey Affleck (the newbie). Pitt more than adequately holds this movie together. He's brillant, moody, funny and convincing. I'm sold. What I really liked about this movie, and there is a lot to like, is that there is little to distract from the story. The scenery is minimalist and there are not too many extraneous characters. Most scenes revolve around the two leads.
There's also a level of humour in here I wasn't expecting. The movie has some very funny (admittedly black humour) scenes, which certainly helps the pace.
Casey's character develops, initially as a simpleton and then becoming more complex as the movie and his relationship with James' develops. Well written and well acted.
Nice cameo by Nick Cave too :)
The killer of Ford is a nice exploration of the reasons for fame and although it could have been superfluous to the movie, it works well.
I'm quite prepared to say its one of the movies of the year. Go see it.

And finally Eastern Promises, the new Cronenberg exploring the Russian mafia in the UK. Cronenberg seems to have found a muse in Viggo Mortenson and given how good History of Violence and Eastern Promises are, that's fine by me. These two movies have more character and emotional development in them. EP focusses on a baby born to an unknown mother and the nurse who tried to find out who she is and where her relatives are. Viggo plays a prospect in the Russian mafia with style, dealing with the boss' drunk useless son (the boss is a restaurant owner explaining the setting for most of the movie). the twists are excellent, the scriptwriting perfect, the acting stunning. And the directing as exemplary as per norm for Cronenberg.
I loved this movie. Sure there's elements of violence, but it's not over the top and it is tastefully and realistically done.
I'll admit I think Cronenberg is truely the bomb, but this movie should appeal to a wider number of people than his earlier work.
Again one of my favourites of the year. Viggo really turns into a mafia hitman thing, and is absolutely convincing.

B (now even more asleep) xx

11 December 2007

Jean Assam

The chick who shot and killed the gunman in the US who had an issue with evangelical christians.

Apparently god was helping her.

Gotta love the ol' teste god.

Rock on in a hail of godly bullets beeaattchhh.

I wonder since she killed him, and he killed 4 people, if she can get 0.25 of a murder one charge?


Unsurprisingly I'm against the Japanese scientific whaling. Mainly as after the labwork (?!) it ends up on dinner plates. Riiighhhttt...
While reading the DomPost this morning the following solution occurred to me.
So the Japanese believe they can kill 50 whales a year for research, which in no way can be justified from a scientific viewpoint. Why not allow scientific hunting of Japanese to an equal weight each year for 'research purposes'. Even I'd be keen for a bit of human flesh for research.

Gentlemen, get your guns, harpoons, and slicing n dicing implements.
b x

Proggy Goodness

I am currently running phylogenetic analysis to the very loud sounds of an album I haven't listened to for sometime.

And bugger me sideways I'd forgotten how damm good it is.

IQ - Subterranea. It's bloody marvellous. Loud, proggy, rockey, interesting and flows beautifully.

I would put their next studio album, The Seventh House, in my top albums list, and the most recent Dark Matter is meandering it's way up there.

Cool! I do so love it when this happens.

10 December 2007

VCDs, AVIs and nifty apps

Anyone remember VCDs? Those CD sized video's, hugely popular in Asia and never really taking off anywhere else. Except for the TV series episodes - ahhh fond memories of Angel and Buffy on VCDs. Marathon sessions with alcohol, coffee, food and great company. Aaahhhh. Nice.
Anyway, I had the reasonably rare Queen GH III VCD which I recently flicked off on Ebay, having kept a copy of the files on my harddrive. The video files were 'DAT' files, which my AppleTV couldn't play and none of the video things I had sitting around on my machine could convert them to AVI (Handbrake, iDVD, iMovie etc). All abit annoying.

Enter, ffmpegX. What a great wee application. It seems to be able to convert anything to anything else. I seem to remember something very similar on a PC a few years ago, but this one is delightfully easy to use. Didn't seem to have any Queuing function available, but I didn't do much hunting either.

Next up converting some Greg the Bunny 2005 special to something my AppleTV is happier with.

So yeah, big thumbs up for uber powerful and uber easy software for your converting needs.

Me xxx

9 December 2007

Xmas pressies for the special person in your life....

A picture, and a video, wot more could you want! Website here.

7 December 2007


I bought my third ever OS yesterday. First was Win95 upgrade, second was Mandrake 10.1 and the most recent was MacOS 10.5 (Leopard).
Didn't bother about a backup as I figured a) it wouldn't be too likely to kill anything, b) I didn't have much on my laptop I cared about too much and c) I'd back myself to be able to recover anything I did need.
So I checked a few apps homepages to see if I needed to know anything. Adobe CS3 apps are largely supported, NetNewsWire should be fine, and Shapeshifter isn't supported. Those are my three big ones that I checked as I forgot about CLC FreeBench. Oh well, fingers crossed.
Obviously I chose the Upgrade option, the reformat option didn't seem a good plan given my lack of backups! And roughly 45-60mins later I had an upgraded OS. Yup it was that easy. I'd grabbed the 10.5.1 patch off the server at work before I left so ran that and installed the other two patches. Simplicity itself. And all done while watching TopGear and QI. Whoot!

Impressions? It's slightly prettier than 10.4 and I do like the nifty pseudo 3D effect on the Dock. Everything seems to be working properly (aMSN, Adium, Azureus, NetNewsWire, Handbrake of the non-Apple apps) and seeing as my laptop was designed for 10.5 (apparently) it does seem to be running better. But that's probably just imagination.

Initial conclusion: it's not that expensive as an upgrade, but there's not a whole lot of reasons to be upgrading if you are happy with 10.4. Having said that Bootcamp is on this release, and the Mail and Calendar apps are improved. Mail handles RSS now so I'm trying to work out if I transfer my NNW feeds to Mail. The one catch I've found is that Mail doesn't seem to allow folders within the RSS section. And I like my many RSS feed divided up into folders.

Love, B

Dance recitals and Beer

In the continuing vein of trying to screw with peoples heads, the JT concert seemed to work well, I wandered along to a pole dancing review.
The blonde has been pole dancing for fitness for sometime and her group (troupe?) decided to put on a show. As a red-blooded male it would have been churlish to turn down that invite, and it was at Bodega so I could have good beer at the same time. I really enjoyed it, great atmosphere, hot babes in skimpy outfits (the blonde looked particularly fine), and cool choices in music. So how did this differ from strip clubs? For a start clothes stayed on (sadly), and this lot were far far better than anything I've seen at various stag nights. The choreography was tied to the music and worked well - nice and saucy in places too. But the big difference was the atmosphere, supportive, fun, relaxed and not at all lewd (even from me). BHR was also there, not that he'll be reading this blog (you hear that MrMorgue!), and some beer was consumed. I came away thinking the Feelin' Good (either Muse or Nina Simones version) would work *really* well for pole dancing...maybe I could become an impresario? How cool would that be?

Currently watching Steel Mill, ahhh I've missed my metal show. Cult of Luna has just soothed my jangled nerves !

Love, B

5 December 2007

Record holders

Given the readership of the this blog it seems a sensible place to ask:

Anyone have any recommendations for containers to hold LPs?

Me x