Saturday, April 30, 2005

spike Island open weekend 2


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If you live in or near Bristol, make sure you get along to Spike Island for the open weekend. It's also Redland Fair on Monday. Top weekend

Spike Island Bath 2


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Spike Island Bath


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Spike Island open weekend 1


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The end of the book. I just finished reading The Victim by Saul Below, however it's not just me that's finished the book, no one will ever get to read this particular book again. It was a recent 2nd hand purchase for the princely sum of £2.00 and I enjoyed the book, so I certainly got value for money.

The only problem was that, many other people had evidently enjoyed the book as well. Consequently, chunks it were drifting away from the binding, like leaves from a tree on a blustery autumn day. So that's it, it will have to be thrown away, which makes me kind of sad. I have no doubt that there are already plenty of books, hanging around in our house which will never be read again, yet they can quite happily sit on our shelves in the hope that either one of us will read them,  they might be leant to a friend (never to be seen again!) or taken to a charity shop.

This one is different, who knows how many pairs of hand it has passed through? Sadly the end is here.

I've started to read my next one, it's a lovely new book which hopefully has many yeas of being read in front of it - Strangers by Taichi Yamada.

On Sunday we went to The Coral and they really were great. My friend Geoff has been working with them over the last year or so, consequently I've seen them around quite a bit. They came into Imperial on a couple of occasions when I was working there and of course they played the Tsunami benefit gig's a few months ago. On Sunday they played a really good mixture of old and new songs, which went down a storm with the capacity crowd. Their new single is stupidly catchy, should be a huge hit for them.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Having a bit of work done! (part 4)


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Where do all these wires go?

Having a bit of work done! (part 3)


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Having a bit of work done! (part 2)


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Having a bit of work done!


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Sunday, April 17, 2005

In our weekend battle of the canine against the feline, I have to say that the canine came out on top, with Freeze Puppy trumping Evil Kitty, when it came to the most entertaining night out.

We had a fine time at Evil Kitty, but did not do as much dancing as we had hoped too. Top marks on the DJ front went to Andy Jenks of Alpha, who played a great selection of tunes in the upstairs bar.

Saturday night at The Cube was most entertaining. A lovely set from Francois and his band set the tone for the evening, this was followed by the very entertaining idea of videos being shown of 5 different local performers doing versions of freeze Puppy songs. Some very entertaining and curious stuff here, my favourite being Team Bricks, crazed looped vocal take on one of the puppies songs.

Then the man himself, who produced another wide ranging show of musical delights. No two songs in the same genre, this guy really is a unique performer. The fact that cakes were handed to the audience during the set obviously helped as well!

In the bar afterwards, RLF played a great set of 60’s classics to get us dancing more than we had done on Friday. Lots of friendly faces were about, making it a top night.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A busy weekend awaits us, starting on Friday evening at Evil Kitty. It's the 2nd night for the latest club venture from our friends John Stapleton and Ian Green (and another lovely chap who's name escapes me!). It's taking place at The Arc bar, one of the nicest city centre venues and with the special guest being Andy Votel of Twisted Nerve fame, so I'm sure that we're in for a good evening.


On Saturday, I'm off to see City play Wrexham, in what now look like a pointless game for us, although it could be a vital one for Wrexham and they strive to avoid relegation. Then on Saturday evening we are off to The Cube. One of our favourite local musicians Freeze Puppy, is launching his album by playing a gig with a few friends. My old Imperial college RLF is returning from London to DJ at the event, so it should be a top night. It's difficult to describe the music which Mr Freeze Puppy makes, it's unique and really rather wonderful.


I'm going to spend most of Sunday emptying out the kitchen, as we are having some work done next week, which includes replacing the existing ceiling. It's sure to be a messy experience, thankfully my lack of DIY expertise means that I won't actually be doing the work, it's in the safe hands of our friend Matt.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I've had this passed onto me by Jessica, so here goes:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

As Vixgirl said I haven't read Fahrenheit 451 -- but from what I can tell, this is a question about which book you would memorise and, accordingly, which book your life would come to resemble.
So with that in mind, I think that I would have to go for something by the marvellous P. G. Wodehouse. I think I’d plump for Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves as it features Bertie Wooster, Jeeves (of course) and the splendidly hapless Gussie Fink-Nottle. What joy, to be locked in that wonderfully daft world.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Not exactly a crush, by I was thoroughly smitten with the enigmatic Shimamoto in Haruki Murakami’s South of the Boarder, West of the Sun. As with all of Murakami’s protagonists, she has very little to say, yet manages to cast a sublime spell over the book.

The last book you bought is?
A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell. Picked this up for £2 the other day. It’s the first book in Powell’s 12 volume series - A Dance to the Music of Time. It’s actually replacing an old copy which I foolishly lent to an old college and of course never saw again. Back in the the late 80’s I got as far number 8 in the series and one day I know that I’ll go to them and will complete series. For those that don’t know the books, it’s a wonderfully acidic look at the English ruling class. The book in question is delightful penguin 1st edition from 1962

The last book you finished is?
In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami. No relation to Haruki Murakami, this chap looks like becoming another fixture in my ongoing obsession with fiction from Japan. This is a very short but hypnotic journey into the dark side of Tokyo of life. As with many of his compatriots the style is detached and understated, even whilst describing some stomach churning events.

What are you currently reading?
The Victim by Saul Bellow. Another £2 pick up the other day. I tried reading Herzog by Bellow on a couple of occasions, without completing it. I read a lot about him since his recent death and thought it was time to try something else. I’ve only read 14 pages so far, it’s rather too soon to say if I’ll make it to the end of this one.

Five books you would take to a desert island?

Way too tough, this is the sort of list that would change every time I wrote it down. Anyway here is the list for today:
The Corrections By Jonathan Franzen. Plenty of time on a desert island to work my way through this masterful insight into family life. Everyone who moans about their family should read this. Fantastic

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. Yet more upper class English twerps (something of a theme developing!). Still makes me laugh 25 years after I first read it, worth having just for the description of Uncle Podger attempting to hang a picture - genius.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. The first really grown up book I read, I’m still amazed at the way in which Dostoyevsky puts you right in the mind of poor Raskolnikov. The gathering despair and paranoia is mesmerising. This really is a book to lose yourself in.

Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami. I could have chosen any of his books, they all have so much to offer. This is one of his funniest books, as he links Sci-Fi with hard boiled thriller, few others writers could pull this off.
Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto. Another wonderful book from Japan, this one a classic coming of age book, which rewards repeated reading.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Joanna - Compulsive reader, brilliant writer
Pete - Reads lot’s of books I’ve never heard of and always engages my curiosity.
Tally Ho Sulky - Great insights from our native New Yorker.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I must admit that we had a few worries in the run up to Mat & Helens wedding last weekend. They were all linked to the fact that temperatures were plunging and the reception had been arranged in a marquee, it sounded like a recipe for a very chilly evening.

Well we needn't have worried. The weather turned out to be much better than anticipated and the marquee was very pleasantly heated by Helen's very thoughtful parents.

After a slightly delayed Saturday morning departure, we arrived in the village of Pandy , where our accommodation for the evening had been booked. We just had time to change into our glad rags and have a brief look around the splendid old house which we had been booked into. Peacocks and chickens strutted around the grounds, as we nibbled on pasties and sausage rolls (nothing worse than being the owner of a rumbling tummy in packed church). The church was a classic British village one, packed to the rafters with smiling faces. The mood was further enhanced by the vicar, who possessed a marvellously deadpan sense of humour. Whilst the all important paperwork was signed we were entertained by one of Helen's friends who sang wonderful versions of "Fly me to the moon" and "My baby just cares for me" accompanied by a surprisingly jazzy organist.

After a brief pause for pictures, we all took the short stroll to Helen's parents house for the reception, which as I mentioned before was taking place in a huge marquee. The canapes and champagne flowed nicely, then the speeches began. We had to nip off during the these to collect part two of the DJ double act. Part one - Ian Green had made the journey with us, the other half of the act, local legend DJ Derek preferred to indulge his passion for coach and bus travel. Anyway the pair of them did a great set, which resulted in lots and lots dancing.

The next morning I took DJ Derek off to the nearest coach stop, before the rest of made the short journey to Hay-on-Wye, to spend many happy hours wandering around the amazing bookshops of that unique town. Talking of books, I finally managed to get to the end of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Once I got past the dreadful middle section I enjoyed it, the problem was mainly down to me, as lost my reading rhythm at the midway point. Since then I've managed to wizz through "In the Miso soup" by Ryu Murakami. Short and beautifully written, although it does contain one section of eye popping brutality, I really enjoyed this dark and unsettling short novel.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Us at Helen & Mat's wedding


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What a great wedding. I'll write more later about our lovely weekend in the shadow of The Black Mountains.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Last night’s Rufus Wainwright gig at the Colston Hall was quite an evening!

Anticipation levels in the hall were pretty high, when Rufus and his 6 piece band took to the stage, but I think few were prepared for the roller coaster evening which was ahead of us. It all started normally enough, as the band made up for the lack of an orchestra, bu playing subtle versions of some of the more exuberant recent tracks from Canada’s latest musical star.

However a few songs in, the strain started to show on the the vocal chords of Mr Wainwright, yet rather than diminish the evening, the problems added something rather special to the whole event. In the middle period of the set the poor chap had a 30 minute spell, when about 20% time the words just failed to emerge. The lips would move, but not a sound was heard. To his credit, Rufus just brazenly pushed his way through some of his difficult (to sing) songs, wincing and laughing along with the rest of us at his vocal mishaps.

The sheer force of his personality, took him beyond the limitations of his troubled vocal chords to a place where his human frailty was exposed behind his oh so confident manner.

Suddenly the voice came back, just in time for the astounding encores, where to got see more of Rufus (and his band) than one would normally expect in the demure surroundings of the Colston Hall. It was hilariously funny and musically outstanding.

We were shocked to see that when the house lights came up it was 11:20. 2 hours had flown past, if you get the chance to see him make sure that you take it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

A while ago I mentioned that our mothers were taking a holiday together. Well, sadly it was not a huge success.

I think they both ended up thinking that the other was a little strange! My mum was amazed at the way Orynthia’s mum was so involved with Bingo and other communal activities. conversely I think that Orynthia’s mum was surprised that my mum would rather go back to the room in the evening and watch TV or read. It wasn’t a disaster and I’m sure that they are closer friends than they were before, but I can’t see the experiment being repeated somehow.

We’’ve got a busy time coming up over the next few days. This weekend orynthia has gone away to Wales on a hen weekend. I’ve got a City game to watch tomorrow. Then on Monday it’s Orynthia’s birthday, we both have the day off work, so we are going to nip over to Bath on the train for the day. There are a few interesting exhibition’s taking place which should amuse us, in the evening we are back in Bristol for a trip to the Old Vic to see
“Turn of the Screw” By Henry James. The birthday celebrations continue at The Bell on Tuesday evening. although I have another match at Ashton Gate to take in before I join Orynthia & co.

On Wednesday evening we will be the Colston Hall to see Rufus Wainwright. I’ve seen his dad in action a few times over the years, but I think that the pair of them will have rather different ideas about stage craft! In a few weeks time Martha Wainwright is in town, I’m already booked in for something that night, so I guess my Wainwright collection will remain incomplete for a while.
All quiet here in Redland this evening. Well I say all quiet, iTunes is grooving away, attempting to set a rhythm for more hopeless typing.

Since we’ve become fully iPod friendly loading iTunes has become something of an obsession. We take it in turn to grab a handful of CD’s from around the house and transfer them to something wonderfully flexible and free. The only problem is that I seldom get to listen to full albums anymore, the dreaded “shuffle” mode is so addictive that I really have to force myself to play an album in it’s entirety. I know that it a few years time people will be asking what an album is and their thirst for the killer tune means that attention spans become shorter and shorter.

Of course the attraction of the “shuffle” is that it lets us host our own radio station, with the best music in the world and none of the inane chatter getting in the way. Although we know all the tracks locked within that miniature world, we still gasp at the audacity of a Tom Waits track following something by The Shirelles or maybe Bobby Darin followed by Bloc Party, it all so wonderful. And yet...

If all we ever listen too is the music we already own, where will find the music which will inspire and delight us over forthcoming years? Most of the new stuff I do find comes either from evening shows on BBC Radio 2 or BBC Radio 6, occasionally some web surfing will produce a few interesting results and then I can quickly nip around the web to find a few snippets and samples of songs to tempt me in.

Yet it all seems much harder than it was in the old days, which is odd, as in theory everything is more available than it ever has been. The trouble is simple, these days we have to filter the information ourselves. Previously whole armies of people spent their time deciding what would squeeze out of the narrow conduit which bought the music to us. I’m not sure that I have the time to do it. Anyone want a job?