Saturday, November 26, 2005

So today we should have spent the day in Devon catching up with my dad. However, yet again a planned visit coincided with some unusually dramatic English weather. Yesterday we had a smattering of snow, down in Devon though they had around 4 inches, resulting in some very slippery narrow roads. Dad called this morning to say that he thought that some of the roads around them were just too dodgy to try. Consequently, we had an unexpected day in Bristol – What to do?

Decided that it would be good to catch up with Orynthia’s mum, so we made our way over to her place. She jumped at the idea of visiting St Marks Road in general and Bristol Sweet Mart in particular. It’s such a great shop even more so when Orynthia’s mum is with us, as she can explain exactly what all those strange vegetables are. Following a bit of shopping we had a pleasant lunch in the Old Casbah (£18 for 3 of us!), whilst we caught up on the family news.

Whilst we were in St Marks Road, I picked up a solo CD by the Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. It’s a live recording of a gig in Tokyo (I love that you can actually hear people coughing in the gaps between songs!) It includes a fantastic version of the Radiohead tune “ Paranoid Android” which goes on for almost 20 minutes. Set me back all of £1.50!

We been doing some more holiday visiting over the last week, my sister has been in for some pretty serious work. For once she let us help her out, which was nice. She is back at home now with her books and dogs, hopefully everything will be ok for her. We really don’t want to spend any time in the B.R.I. next year.

I know I’m repeating myself but really, Moby-Dick is just fantastic. It’s so much funnier than I imagined. Herman Melville has such a brilliant way with words; I love all the little distractions and tangents in the book. Genius!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Much excitement here in Tomorysworld today. Orynthia has won us an invite to the launch party for the new album from Camera Obscura. I think that it’s going to be indie heaven for her, who from the fabulous world of Glasgow music will be in attendance? Well we will just have to wait and see, however we do know that the band themselves will be playing so it should be a great night.

Over the past few days I’ve starting to put myself into the bizarre world created by Herman Melville for his epic Moby-Dick. In the main I’m a reader of 20th& 21st century fiction, but over recent weeks Melville’s’ work has been coming at me from all angles. Eventually I just had to give in and say, “OK, I give up, I’ll read it.”

If you time and live in or around Bristol make sure that you get down to Arnolfini for the fantastic Black Mountain exhibition. Where else could you “hear” mushrooms growing?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Once again this weekend BCFC were at home and I didn’t go, consequently had a great day. A good friend was unexpectedly in town for a couple of days so thought that it would more fun to spend some time with him than watching some so-so football.

So Orynthia, Kev, Petunia and I meet at Ashton’s flat for breakfast before heading off on the Totterdown art trail. Lot’s on interesting, funny eclectic work and people saw the hours fly by. We even bought a Lino cut print (so that someone could give it to us as a Xmas present. Next weekend it’s the Bishopston art trail, should be fun

I’ve just finished reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and really enjoyed it. It’s very tricksy – lot’s of pictures, changes of font size and the like but I thought it would really, really well. A few times last week I work back to work after a lunch time reading session feeling pretty emotional. A very interesting book.

Went for a very chaotic Moroccan in Hotwells last night, there were about 20 of us and the food took an age to arrive, in the very cold restaurant. Still everyone had a fine time. When we realised that one poor chap was doing all the cooking, I guess we just felt sorry for him. The delay gave plenty of time for pictures to taking of us smoking on the hookah with a fez on our head, what more can you want from an evening out?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

When we returned from our recent trip to Glasgow, I think we both felt a little disappointed that Bristol did not offer quite the same sort of upcoming musical talent that that fine city has to offer. Well last night proved that we were wrong.

We went along to The Folk House for a glorious night of music in one of the nicest places in Bristol. First up were Cajita, purveyors of lovely brooding music. Mainly acoustic but with an electronica influence adding a nice twist from time to time. Fine band.

The star of the evening though was the magnificent Francois playing with The Atlas Mountain Ensemble. Now, we’ve seen Francois a few times in the past and it’s been nice, we’ve got a couple of his CD’s and they have their moments of beauty – but last night!

The performance was nothing short of wonderful. The only person that I could link him with is the mercurial Sufjan Stevens. Fantastic arrangements by the huge band (10 or 11 members, I kept losing count), featuring all sorts of instrumentation, added to the sense of wonder. The band played in the middle of the room, with minimal amplification and I’m sure that they must have loved looking around to see so many faces beaming with happiness.

They are playing together again at The Arnolfini on December 6th, well worth seeing if you can.

I finished reading “On Beauty” by Zadie Smith this morning. It’s little strange when academics write books, which are set in the academic world. I know that you are supposed to write about what you know, but how many of us really care about the internal politics of university life? However I did enjoy the book, particularly the adventures of the young son who is determinedly non-academic and makes desperate efforts to hook up with some like-minded people.

Had a bit of a CD buying burst today, picked up Aidan Smith’s “Fancy Barrel (worth buying for that cover alone),”Set Yourself on Fire by the Canadian band Stars and “Tanglewood Numbers by Silver Jews. This week I shall mainly be concentrating on performers who name begins with the letter S!

Whilst I was out shopping with Orynthia, Bristol City were being beaten at home in the F.A. Cup by Notts County. Over the past few months I’ve found it harder to raise much enthusiasm for football at Ashton Gate or particularly in the wider arena. For the first time ever I had to think long and hard about buying a season ticket in the summer and unless something major changes, I don’t think that I’ll bother next season. I just think that there are so many better things that I could do with my time.

It’s not the money, though watching football is far too expensive these days. It really is true that as you get older time is more important than money. So I may well limp through to the end of the season, then watch the World Cup and then that may well be the end of it for me. It will be strange, as I’ve spent most of the last 36 years watching the game, the magic has just slipped away.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Last night we spent our final hour with one of our favourite TV shows - Six feet Under. Over the years it's been a show which has intrigued, engaged, involved, and put us on an emotional roller coaster more than any show I can remember.

I think that the strength of the show was that the characters you liked had the ability to annoy, frustrate and disappoint you, in the same way that the ones you weren't so keen on could suddenly delight and amuse you. In short it was just like life. No one was always good or bad, which kept the show interesting.

As so much of the show was taken up with death it was often a pretty tough show to watch. I don't think that any other series has sent us off to bed with damp checks as often as this one did. We have had quite a lot of issues to deal with over the past year or so, including death and serious health worries for members of the family. Six Feet Under just seemed to have a knack for articulating the emotions we were feeling at the time, which wasn't always comfortable but was in some strange way helpful.

We’ll miss it.