27 January 2008

The movie page

of the Dompost. I don't know why, but I read it. I seem to be drawn to it, I know they only interview idiots and yet I still read it.

The most recent column includes such wonders as "Highlight: Julie Roberts" (movie: Charlie Wilson's War). Now I haven't seen this movie, but I will lay money on the fact that Julia Roberts is not the highlight. In fact anything else in the movie, be it the credits, the scenery, the script, the popcorn in your hand - even the fat guy wheezing in the seat behind you - is going to be more of a highlight.

Possibly topping that for sheer surprise value are reviews of Sweeney Todd. These includes gems such as "Lowlight: Too much gore" and "Creepy. You don't just cut people's throats like that." and "Too much singing...". Uhuh. Right and what exactly did you expect from a musical? Oh right, more sign language. It's also a musical about a 'demon butcher' who slits throats. That would, I'd respectively suggest, imply a level of violence, indeed throat slitting. Any knowledge of Tim Burton's oeuvre (ignoring Planet, as all good people should) reveals dark, sometimes twisted, humour. A level of violence is usually present. Nightmare before Xmas wasn't really a rom-com of the traditional form now, was it!

On the plus side reading these columns gives me a chance to point, laugh and rant. So it's not all bad.

Off for brekkie now, and coffee. Actually more coffee then brekkie.

Love and lozenges, B

26 January 2008


It's been a hellish busy week. But managed to catch up with Andrew and Alex which was great, possibly drank a little more than was good for me last night. Thankfully the areas of my body that cope with that challenge were well up for it. Result!
Spent today flat hunting. It's been sometime since I did that (4-5 years I think, possibly 6). Things have changed.

In the olden days when Andrew and I or France and I were flat hunting, the maximum we ever looked at was four. And landlords were desperate, if you took your chequebook you got the flat. Simple.

Alas not so now. There are so many people looking for flats you leave names, need references, need to lie convincingly etc. So for the past couple of weeks I've been looking at flats and getting despondent.
But I've just had a phone call from one I liked today who wants me. Woohoo. In a strange turn of events it's next door to the flat I had as an undergrad/masters student in Sydenham St., Northland. I blame Andrew. Many of the readers will know various occupants of that flat, aside from most of our 3rd year Biochem class having the odd party there flatmates included: Nigel, Carmen, Mike Meads and the aforementioned Andrew. Ahhh memories. This was the place my legendary home brew and still inhabited the kitchen area - and that Karen and Rob were underneath.

So now I'm having a quiet 'me-time' night. I've watched the first three episodes of Jericho S2 which I can thoroughly recommend, they are running a conspiracy type story arc and it's great. The first season was good, but I got the feeling the writers weren't entirely sure where they were going. Not so in this series. Tight well written storyline so far.
I'm wandering through Rome S2 at the moment, not great, but not bad. And in the Stephen Fry FanBoy (TM) stocks, I'm watching my Complete Jeeves and Wooster.
Right at the moment I'm watching the Steel Mill from last night, which has been good - including Napalm Death, In Flames and Strapping Young Lad. I really liked the Strapping Young Lad, anyone recommend anything by them?

Music: my PF boxset turned up. Yeah ok cliche, wotever, the early stuff is gold. Pure gold. And I haven't heard Final Cut for years, mmm tasty.
I'm thoroughly enjoying James Dean Bradfields solo effort (of the Manic's fame), also up there new Oceansize. Reviews may, or may not turn up.

Highlight of my wardrobe is the new Marillion 'signature' series t-shirts. The Steve Rothery one appealed to me on many levels, religion, evolution and of course Marillion. You've probably seen the pic now (click here to buy it) the back slogan is "Even Richard Dawkins thinks Steve Rothery is God". Priceless.

I saw a PT tour t-shirt wandering around Wellington yesterday. That was exciting, given the only PT t-shirts I ever see are the ones I wear!

Feet up now, chilling, with spirulina. B xx

21 January 2008


With thanks to the adorable 'i agree with everything you said' fan-person, here's a link to 25 signs of mac geekdom.

Is it bad I want a mac keg dispenser? Other than that, I came through reasonably unscathed.

20 January 2008

Tonight Matthew, I'm drinking...

I went for a wander to the supermarket, the Island Bay New World. A Mr Maurice Bennett owns this supermarket, which explains the particularly fine beer selection there.
Feeling inspired I decided I wanted a something nice and warm, a fish madras seemed perfect. And indeed after many hours of sitting in the sauce it was.
To wash this rather tasty meal down I had a Marston's Single Malt, the single malt referring to the beer being brewed with 100% Golden Promise malt - used by Scotch Whiskey distillers. I like it, a lot. Worked beautifully with the madras. It's a very clean taste, very dry with strong hops. There is a distinct scotch hint to it. Lovely aftertaste too.
Definitely recommend this beer - at least an 8.5/10 from me. Not too strong (4.2%) and comes in the standard 500ml bottle.

As an aside I heard that the microbrewery Islay Ales has brewed a strong (9%) beer with the wort from Bruichladdich. Any of my beer readers tried this? Psychochicken, I'm looking at you...

Had a productive day reading/writing stuff while chilling to ActiveFM's Jazz and Americana shows. Now finishing my beer and watching Antiques Roadshow.

me x

19 January 2008

A brief observation

The Radiohead track 'Knives Out' has a strong musical similarity to Alan Parsons Project 'Old and Wise'.

As I said, brief.


14 January 2008

HIV - somewhat long

We've been watching the recent documentary by Stephen Fry, HIV and me. I've raved about the intelligent, sensitive and aware doco that was Fry's discussion on manic-depression (bi-polar). The HIV doco was far more moving, indepth and ultimately, depressing.

Fry, as I've mentioned, is one of the most articulate and interesting hosts out there, and as such god only knows when it will be played on NZ TV.
He looked at the historical death sentence that HIV was in the early 80s, and the development of drugs (around 24 now) to treat, suppress but not cure, HIV infection. Of far more interest was the current behaviour of both straight and homosexual youth in the face of the horrendous number of HIV infections in Britain (it's thought that around 20-40%? of people in the UK with HIV have yet to be diagnosed). They were, to put it politely, cavaliar about sexual behaviour. Unprotected sex, rampant numbers of partners. Dumb fucks. I've got nothing against rampant sexuality, but unprotected sex? yeah think I'll pass on that one. It's been awhile since we've seen full blown AIDS victims dying, that's how good the drugs have become. As such it was a shock to see them. I think that was the point Fry was trying to get across. Those of us who followed HIV in the 80s can remember Rock Hudson (vaguely), other images on the news of the death sentence, and of course Freddie. Admittedly he said that he had AIDS one day and dead the next, so not the most useful for HIV protection campaigning.

In addition to the stupidity of the youth, the social stigma associated with HIV has, apparently, got worse. As such the people who did front up to the camera to discuss HIV were in the minority. But hells bells they scared me. Kids with HIV who were infected in utero, living with HIV, getting yelled at by parents of their boyfriends. Ahhh ignorance.Bless it.

But the big one for me is a pet peeve of mine. Actually two pet peeves. Sub-saharan Africa has the biggest. and the fastest growing, rate of HIV infection. I've read that in various countries it is impossible to find a family who hasn't lost someone to the virus. First up is the gross stupidity of the South African government who deny the link between HIV and AIDS. Now this used to be questioned by Western scientists, but that was the early-mid 80s. I don't think, or at least I haven't read, anyone who disagrees that HIV infection causes AIDS recently. Apparently this hasn't reached SA. But this is a culture where STDs cannot be spread by having sex with virgins. there was some good news, but the implication was strongly that individuals, definitely not the government, were trying to educate people.

Uganda was also mentioned. A country where education in the 90s was helping control the rates of infection. But then early 2000 something happened in a land far far away that fucked that up. And no, there isn't a better way of phrasing that. The man who proudly asserted today that there will be peace between Israel and the Palestine curtailed funding to countries and organisations that did not live up to his 'faith based requirements'. And gosh gee darn whiz apparently condoms don't quite fit with George's requirements. I wonder if we level charges of genocide against him? Manslaughter by omission? Although given his inability to help various waterlogged regions of his own country, maybe we shouldn't complain too much... *I'll curtail the rant a bit*.

This, more than anything else in the doco, provoked heated discussion. S felt that treatment should be provided to those who are infected with the virus. My view is that yeah that's great and noble, but:
- inherent corruption in governments inhibits either purchase or distribution of the drugs
- costs of the drugs are prohibitive and if the first point isn't an issue, then the victims only have access to a limited supply of older style drugs. the efficacy of which is low and resistant is quite frequently built up
- getting to the hospital or drug distribution centre is prohibitive. One family Fry talked to took 3 hours to get to the nearest hospital - and I think we can assume the roads aren't as good as ours.
So S's point that everyone should have the right to treatment is, although noble and inherently good, I think misplaced. And that's what lead to our arguments.

My point is that putting money into providing drugs, and this is ignoring the George Bush problem (which exacerbated the problem immensely) had too many issues.
Firstly getting a consistent supply to the people who need them.
Second making sure the people take them.
Thirdly what to do when they develop resistance?

Obviously the drug companies are unlikely to give away their product for free. And given the amount of money involved in getting drugs through the FDA approval process, and requirement to their shareholders, nor should they. If nothing else, if they don't make a profit for investors there's going to be nothing available for R and D for the next generation of drugs. I realise that's over simplifying things, and that an argument could be advanced for subsided or lower profit margins, after the West has made their money. But I'm not going there today.

The distribution, corruption and ensuring the drug regime is followed are immense problems. If one of those issues occurs, then the viral load increases again and potentially causing resistance to develop.

My position, which caused the argument, was to largely ignore those already with the virus. The "what-ifs" are too likely to occur meaning money invested in the drug treatment is likely to be wasted. What strikes me as a more meaningful way of dealing with the problem is to focus on education. And focus on women. Most of the African societies are patrilineal - with women as chattels (as mentioned on the doco).Various aid organisations have found by funding women initiatives the return on the investments is better. Therefore if you can get the message to them to start wearing condoms it will begin to slow the virus infections. Education should also encourage women to pass this onto the children, in addition to education of the children. This could lead to more of a paradigm change than throwing money at corrupt governments.
Idealistic? yeah probably, but if the education system is emphasised with 'hey how many people do you know have died from HIV' and 'did they look good?' and 'do you want your children to die like that?' I imagine the pickup rate might be ok. From the doco, one of the most moving scenes was Fry talking to African women with HIV who were making 'Memory Books' for their children. Akin to planning your own funeral.
Now most of you will realise my leanings are left, which I think is why my suggestion of 'why waste money/resources on people who are drying anyway' caused such an argument. I think Western society has tried too many other options, which haven't worked, and as the drugs are not available all that is being achieved by giving the victims old school drugs is prolonging their ability to spread the disease. What really needs to happen is a shift of perception.
So by letting people die and focussing on women by saying 'hey, wanna end up like that?, no? wear a condom'. Might be the only way of achieving it. By allowing males to continue to have unprotected sex with HIV and giving them drugs - all you are doing is letting them live longer and infect more people.

And I think that leads to another problem that Stephen identified, the 'eh we can live for years with drugs' issue in the UK population. Why should they care when the new regime of drugs keeps people alive for years, and new drugs are continually being developed. But that's more a Western issue at the moment, the epidemic in Africa is at the point where HIV was in the 80s for Western society, except that the information isn't getting out there on how to have safe sex.

So who should be doing this? Obviously in a democracy with a rational leader you'd expect the government to take charge. But as the South African example shows, that ain't going to happen, and in the countries who don't have a democracy you've got even less chance due to higher levels of corruption. So it's going to fall to international aid agencies. And there's the crunch. The nice people who give donations to these organisations are going to get all upset if it comes out that the agencies are focussing on education to the detriment of victims. Sure it makes sense to stop the infection by telling people how it's transmitted and that contraception will stop it, but the lag time before improvement is seen (i'd guess 5-10 years) and the dramatic pictures of end-stage AIDS death ain't going to look good.

One other aspect that has crossed my mind is compulsory testing. Should everyone having sex get tested? Personally I'd suggest yes. I'd also suggest that it should be compulsory for pregnant women to get tested. Is this likely to happen? Very unlikely I'd say. But there is a comparable example, organ donation. I noticed this morning that the British government is considering making it an 'opt-out' rather than 'opt-in' issue in order to turn around the horrendously low donation rate. Now this is a topic I've thought about a lot. I'm fully in favour of it. Before the usual cliches are trotted out, bear in mind that one of the world's most Roman Catholic countries, Spain, has the 'opt-out' clause. The rate of donation is most Western countries is appallingly low, and sadly most families when placed in the position of making their recently deceased member's organs available, are too stressed to say yes. I would suggest presumed consent is a better way to go. Even if you do believe in a supernatural being, or soul, or whatever insecurity takes your fancy, then having a lung, heart, kidney, eye missing isn't going to affect that. In an ironic way donation might up the deceased's karma!

From a biological perspective, HIV is particularly efficient virus. It's spread by the one thing we all do, has long latency before symptoms show up - allowing plenty of time to spread the virus, and is able to mutate quickly to evade drugs being thrown at it. The one criticism I have of HIV is the low infection rate. Only exchange of bodily fluids transmits it, and even then it's still betting odds if you get infected or not. The upside to this inefficiency is that it gives us a method of control. Cut it off at the early stage - copulation. Notice how I'm avoiding abstinence as a solution? That's never worked - case in point, faith based "no sex til marriage" twats in the USA (sigh) have a higher pregnancy rate that the general populace. Apparently god is a horny wee beaver, or should that be buck?

Oh dear, now that kinda went on a bit longer than I thought it would. Those of you who would like to view this doco, give me a yell. And yep, this is a topic that depresses me.

Editorial at Nature:
Focus on Uganda:
South Africa and their 'lunatic fringe' view:
The Doco:
Muhammad Yunus : small funding bank founder and Nobel Prize winner


11 January 2008


My favourite RSS reader, NetNewsWire is now free to Windows, Mac and Linux users. More details here.

I've been using it for a year or so now and have no complaints - the lovely mr P put me onto it. And if he likes it, then it's gotta be good.


10 January 2008

Vinyl beauty

Queen II sounds bloody fab on vinyl.
From the Complete Works boxset btw.

That's all.

Bye bye.

8 January 2008

A Clayton's blog

I'm still meandering around my blog on music, so in the meantime here's some vids to keep you all amused.

First up, Spitting Image, I was ripping the 12" to mp3 the other day and found the video. Keep watching as there's a couple of skits at the end of it.

And one of my all-time favourite songs. I have memories of being a wee nipper and whatever radio station mum had on in the morning (I suspect 2ZB) played the Manfred Mann version a lot. One of those tracks that originated with the Bob-ster and was then covered by all and sundry.

Love, B

5 January 2008

I'm glum

Martin has just informed me there is to be a Transformers 2.
Sadly IMDB confirms it.

I'd become more friendly to a certain organisation if they managed to blow up that movie...there's a challenge for you Mr BL.

I mean I won't be seeing it, but it will be for the betterment of mankind that no-one else has to see it either.


2 January 2008

The Top10

I reckon 2007 was a particularly good year for music with most of my favourite bands releasing albums, making the top10 quite tricky. And in many respects, surprising.
This is the first of a few blogs about music as I'd like to discuss/rant about where I see music heading in the next few years, and rant about the stupidity of various people in music.

Firstly the "I can't believe they didn't make the Top10" list, more commonly known as the "I'd like to squeeze in more, but just can't" list.
Marillion - Somewhere Else. An album that polarised fans, more than anything else I can remember. Personally I love the 'trilogy', and 'The Wound' would make it to my top10 Marillion songs. But given the strength of other albums released this year SWE just wouldn't fit in. I still love the band and have pre-ordered Album15 - but am really surprised at this.

The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour. A really cool quirky Canadian band, but their new album doesn't seem as good as the previous two ("Left and leaving" and "Reconstruction site"), so if you want to give them a go, try those two.
Blackfield II and Porcupine Tree "Fear of a blank planet". BF II is a distinct improvement over BFI, the song structure is better and the songs are allowed to breathe. The 'pop' project of Steve Wilson, the hooks in BF are fantastic and thankfully the lyrics, although still melancholic, don't reek so much of teenage angst and emo. The Porcupine Tree offering is good - and in 5.1 surround absolutely astounding for the nuances in the music. Somehow the passion present in other PT releases is missing tho. Possibly it's the subject matter (lost teenages) which at times seems trite lyrically. There isn't really a track that stands out on the album either, unlike say Deadwing with Arriving Somewhere... which sums up everything PT are capable of, both musically and lyrically.
Pineapple Thief"What we have sown" only arrived a couple of weeks ago so I haven't had a real chance to absorb it. I can see it sneaking its way into the Top10, but I also sense a 'business as usual' approach on the album. I think it's better than Little Man (possibly) but it's not breaking any new ground for me at least. For those of you who like melancholic tuneful music (think Snow Patrol, early Radiohead - but more mellow) I would definitely recommend spinning the theif. And supporting indie by buying from the website would be just peachy keen too!

So the top10. In reverse order, obviously, to keep you all guessing. Although most of you will be able to predict the top 2 :) and yes I've cheated in having two 10s.

10= Joe Henry "Civilians" An artist who kinda slides up and knocks you over. I heard some tracks off the previous release (Tiny Voices) and a critic I like raved about it, so on a whim I picked it up. I love that record. So hopes were high for this release, and he delivers. Obviously a bit more label push behind this with (shock horror) advertising present for this release. Musically and lyrically Henry sits somewhere between Tom Waits and Mark Knopfler (his recent stuff), very blues influenced - and you feel yourself sinking down into the music. Highlight of the album is difficult to pick one, it's one of those all or nothing albums. It's all I can do to stop myself pouring a large scotch and finding a cigar... You'll find Joe on the Anti label, who also have Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, The Weakerthans, Neko Case etc. I'm thinking that's a label I like !

10= Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House. I bought this without hearing anything due to the number of spins Mr Rouse was getting by Psychochicken. For all of you who think all I listen to is prog (I'm talking to you Invercargill styles...), Rouse is pop. And 70s style pop at that. Really happy cheery stuff in fact (there goes another rumour about me). It's a beautiful album, sunny, happy, wonderful tunes. It's worth spinning a couple of them (there are samples on his website), they are bound to put a smile on your dial.

9 - Grinderman - Grinderman. So what does Nick Cave do when he's not releasing Nick Cave albums, or writing soundtracks? He goes back to his manic roots and effectively jams an album with the core of the Bad Seeds. It's fresh, it's rude, it's rough and I love it. The passion is there, but it's not polished. It's raw and how music should sound. You don't want blues rock to be studio-fied, and you can't accuse this album of being too near a producers badtouch! I have no idea how this sounded for other NC fans, but the Grizzled one and I really rated it. Those of you who liked Nick's earlier work should like this, and it makes a good counterpoint to the highly produced studio work of Lyre.

8- So so modern - Friendly Fires. Short EP from the New Zealand group. Synth-lowfi-pop seems a good enough label for them. A good comparison would be to the UKs "The lost levels" from BurningShed. Happy light fluffy music, still quirky, and doesn't outstay its welcome. Potentially this style could become annoying, synth's have that affect, but nope the band wisely keep the album short. As such its a perfect slice of homebaked pop pie, easily digestible and very very yummy.

7 - Little Bushman - Pendulum. The second of the NZ bands. Their debut was stunning, think a mixture of Led Zep, Floyd with some Hawkwind, but with a musical sensibility harking back to Maxwell's band 'Trinity Roots'. Again long dirty blues based jams, but more political awareness, or rather more overt political awareness on this one. At this stage I like it, a lot. I'm not sure of it's staying power, but the first album has lasted well, so here's hoping. They are currently touring around NZ so I might pop along and see how the new stuff goes live. Lyrically I'm not so sure on LB, I think Warren ends up trying to push too much meaning in his lyrics rather than letting stuff flow. That might just be me tho' as I haven't seen much criticism of his lyrics.

6 - Fish - 13th Star. It seems the big man needs emotional trauma to produce his best work. This is not his best work, but it's a damm sight better than much of his recent output. The first thing that struck me was music, very groove ridden - and it's quite obvious it was written by a bass player! Lyrically Fish is back to his best, which is a refreshing change. Fellini Days (Daze?) wasn't too good lyrically, and best we dont' talk about the music there. Fish has also realised that his voice is better suited to a menacing growl rather than the youthful screaming of say Market Square Heroes. With a great groove rocking along from Vantsis and Fish singing there's a lot to remind me of 'Do not walk outside this area". Lyrically it's up there with Sunsets, Vigil and Raingods. Musically Vigil and possibly Sunsets are better. Stand out track? Manchmal. Fantastic heavy groove track. My one criticism is that Fish has taken to putting too many ballads in, sure they are nice (and there's nothing as painful as Tara on this one), but they do become tiresome.
I'm truely impressed by this album, I never thought I'd see the day when a Fish album easily outranks a Marillion one. Go the big man!

5 - Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos. My first iTunes download purchase! Yes even I move with the times and be hip with da yoof. I chose this album for a first online purchase as I wanted to hear it, but wasn't keen on paying local prices as their most recent effort (Octavarium) didn't work for me - a huge disappointment after the beauty that was Train of Thought. Expectations were not high for this one. But it's great. Hard rocking, brilliant musicianship, interesting lyrics - a real return to form. Even the weak track 'Repentance' is very good, I just find the whole 'get others to record stuff and put on our album' trick boring, and when it's apologies for stuff, it tires very quickly. Still a good track, and the samples aren't too long and they (thankfully) keep the music going underneath, so it's tolerable. I caught DT on their UK tour and am glad I did, really fun time and as they were supported by SymphonyX (who very nearly made the top10 too) I was one happy camper. It will be interesting to see what DT do next, as they are certainly varied in their albums. I still don't like Metropolis II, but love 6doit (which everyone else seems to dislike) so if they can engender such varied responses then they are definitely still a top band I'll be spending more money on.

4 - The National - Boxer. This one is the find of the year. An indie band from New York. Describing them is difficult, but think indie guitar, vaguely alt-country, with incredible lyrics. Lots of piano, which I like, a voice that sounds Nick Cave, The Killers, Williard Grant Conspiracy and a bit Johnny Cash. I think, in an ordinary year this album could have topped my list. It's had critics raving about it including Scotty Too Hotty, who lists it as one of his fav's too. Lyrically/musically, again Williard Grant Conspiracy, a bit of the Killers and Dredg. The element of alt-country is more the lyrical content rather than the music, which is more indie rock. Fans of Nick, Dredg, Killers should give this album a spin. The more I listen the more I think I'm going to be back catalogue hunting.

3 - Radiohead - In Rainbows. I used their download option to get the album. I wasn't thrilled by Hail to the Thief, but loved KidA so was more than happy with their blip-blip style of recent times. I can't get over how much this album just clicked. I'd go so far as to say it's a more logical progression to OK Computer than HttT (which was touted as such). But still pushing themselves. I'm sure most of the readers who like Radiohead will already have the album, but if you are still undecided, go get it. Those of you who like God's own format, it's on vinyl this month.Possibly even out now! Run run run run run run ....

And now the big two, a few of you will have already guessed what they were going to be, the big question was really what order. I had decided to have PF as #1 on the basis I occasionally drank beer and watched rugger with Luke at the Bodge or JJ's, but that seemed a little unfair to the foreigners. In the end I copped out and gave out a #1= ranking.
The big news? There are three NZ bands in my top10, how cool is that!!!

1= The Phoenix Foundation - Happy Ending. The last PF album topped my list. The new album tops my list. Gotta love consistency. It's less meandering than it's predecessor 'Pegasus' and more alt-country than prog (suggesting Sam rather than Luke was focussing on the music). How to describe the band? Err how about alt-country-prog-pop. It's as good a label as any as there are strong influences of each in the band. There's happy chirpy pop songs (Bright Grey), there's meandering space-prog (Floydian?) stuff (Gandalf, which ya gotta love). The band are now on the Flying Nun label (part of Warners now) and the extra label support has seen more publicity floating around. I'm not sure how sales are on this one, but if there is any justice in the world the album should be huge. It won't be, of course, but those of you who haven't heard PF before should check them out. Happy Ending is getting a US release next month (according to cduniverse anyway).

1= Gazpacho - Night. Ok so as an unsigned indie band who has just released a fantastic pop-rock album (Firebird) what's your next step? That's right, focus the commercial edge and push for a signing. Not the route the Norwegians take if Gazpacho is a guide. Night is gloriously non-commercial, there's no point in singling out a track to sample, it doesn't work that way. This is an five track album, written to be played as an album, immersing yourself in it. Everything, including the kitchen sink and violin have been thrown into the mix. And bloody hell does it work or wot. there are soaring vocals, lush melodies, painfully emotional lyrics, simple melodies between violin and piano, and rock. The whole pantheon. Sure it's prog, but in a good way. Prog in the same way PF "Pegasus" or RH "OK Computer" are prog - refreshing the genre and showing what it's capable of.
Being fully independent finding the albums can be a bit tricky, but there is a store on their website or marillion.com stock them too.

Strangely this year has been less heavy than normal. We'll see what heaviness pops it's way this year. And in the 'I wish I'd found that last year' Scott Walker 'Drift'. The doco on his life was fascinating and led to a lot of music purchases.

Love, B

People are idiots, continued.

Continuing the theme of 'people are idiots': why do people, while waiting for a train, keep on walking to the edge of the platform and looking for it? Even those already standing on the edge keep turning and looking for it.
Surely having it pull up in front of you should tell you that it has arrived?
Is a train that hasn't arrived and you can't see somewhat akin to Schrodinger's Train?



1 January 2008

Movie: Beowulf

Oh dear god. The reviews have been kind to this movie. Too kind. The filming is kinda cool, the characters are 'cartoonised' (I'm sure there's a technical term for this) in the same style as Robert Zemeckis' last movie'Polar Express' - except it looks better, and doesn't have Tom Hanks.
Storywise, meh predictable stuff - even if you don't know the poem. Evil doers (demons) fought by visiting hero (Beowulf). Bad things happen. Offspring of satan. yadda yadda yadda.
The story was laboured and flowed poorly. Think Harry Potter (esp movie#1) bad. Pacing was highly uneven, and the script was something George Lucus would have happily used in StarWars. Yes, that bad. That was a surprise given Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary wrote it. Oh well, even they fail.
The envisaging of Grendel was great, as were most of the special effects. But it is a cartoon so you'd expect that.

So why would you see it? Well it has been filmed in 3D and it looks good. Not great (iMax kicks its ass), but certainly interesting and worth a peek.
Rating: 3/10. Drunk in the mood for a b-grade it might get a 5. No more. It would have scored far far more highly if Grendel was introduced by this:

Love, B