Thursday, December 29, 2005

As ever all those films that I intended to watch on TV over the Xmas period passed me by completely. In the old days it seamed as though we would lose hours wallowing in wonderful old black & white films, as the holiday break slowly edged past us.

2005 has also seen a marked decrease in our cinema visits, this has mainly been due to the increasing amount of time that we have been spending on hospital visits, as our families lurch from one health crisis to another. "Have you seen the new King Kong?" "No, but have you checked out ward 14 yet? I think it's their best work so far."

Anyway in an effort to change things, our Xmas gifts to each other were rather different this year. Neither of us could come up with particularly inspired options for one another, so rather than just buying things for the sake of it, we have decided to set aside a week in January when we are going to surround ourselves in cinema. For a week, we will watch as many films as we can during the evenings and weekend, we also have the bonus of both of us being at home on Fridays in January, so we may be able to sneak in couple of films then. Bristol does have a good range of cinemas, so hopefully we will be able to find enough things to amuse.

It was great to see "I know where I'm going" the other week, it's a magical film. We are really lucky to be able to see wonderful old films in the cinema. When I was younger I would spend hours looking through the revival cinema listings in the New Yorker to work out an imaginary day of viewing. It's always struck me that one of the signs that you live in a civilised place is that you don't have to have to be dependent on just recent cinema releases for your viewing pleasure. You should be able to watch a classic film from the past, rather than the latest thing that Hollywood wants to push at you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

So it’s over already. It’s the same every year – obviously. The big build up and then in flash, it’s done.

I have to say that I do enjoy Christmas, I know that with my advanced years (another one added on December 24th) I really should be cynical about the whole process, yet somehow I’m not.

The timing this year was really rather nice. Finished work at lunchtime on Friday so had time for an unhurried drink or two on Gloucester road with some colleagues before meeting up with Orynthia for a quick visit to a friend’s new house. Oh the fun we had looking at all his wonderful storage areas. No, really it was fun.

As mentioned before the 24th was my birthday. Orynthia gave the most fantastic present, the complete history of the New Yorker magazine on an 8 volume DVD set. That’s right, every page from over 4,000 issues of the magazine is not at my disposal. Piece after piece by the likes of Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, James Baldwin, Milan Kundera, Lorrie Moore, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth, Oliver Sacks, James Thurber……Then, there’s all the amazing artwork and cartoons. I may never leave the house again! Well actually we did manage to get out for a lovely birthday breakfast in Cotham, before making a quick visit to the Here shop in Stokes Croft and taking a lovely walk around some of the architectural delights of the Cotham area.

Some parts of Christmas day were a little chaotic, but we saw lots of family and I think that everyone had fun. We finally made it to bed at around 1in the morning after being beaten on the final letter at Scrabble by Orynthia’s mum. Can’t believe I lost after using my “Z” on a triple letter, double word spelling of Zebra. Then getting double word points for the “Z” again in Zoot. Must try harder!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

So yesterday I worked a full day on a Friday for what may be the last time! In the New Year I’m going back to working 4 days a week, having Friday as my day off. Orynthia is switching back to a 5 day week in February, so for January we will both have Fridays off which will be great.

I’ve avoided a couple of work Xmas meals so far, but on Thursday we had the Bryan Munich Christmas curry, which was good fun. After leaving the restaurant at around 11:25 we wondered around the Whiteladies Road area for about 25 minutes trying to find a bar that was open. Strangely everything was either closed or closing it looks as though the much heralded 24 hours opening has yet to reach that part of town.

Tonight we are off to Gloucester Road for a meal with some friends; then tomorrow will see a get together with Orynthia’s family for the first of the Christmas birthday gatherings. The only other certain thing for Orynthia and I next week is a trip to Arnolfini on Wednesday evening to see the wonderful “I Know Where I’m Going”. It’s one of the best films from the amazing directorial duo Powell & Pressburger. We’ve seen it many times at home, but the chance to see it at the cinema can’t be missed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Had a great night at the Gaz’s rockin’ blues’s evening down at The Tube last Friday. He plays an extraordinary mixture of reggae, ska, stompin’ R & B, just about anything to set your feet twitching. All the while he stands behind the decks, huge clouds of smoke bellowing from an enormous cigar, laughing and grinning from ear to ear as he watches the poor people try to drag their weary limbs off the dance-floor. Top man.

Had the almighty shock of watching an excellent performance by City on Saturday. A gutsy, spirited and dare I say skilful performance saw us turn the league table upside down, gaining a deserved 2-0 win over Huddersfield. I even leapt from my seat when we scored the 2nd goal...just like the old days.

Over recent days I’ve really been enjoying the iTunes only Belle & Sebastian live recording of the “If you’re Feeling Sinister” album. It brings back so many great memories of seeing them in the early days, Union Chapel, The Bowlie and more.

Other than that I’m loving the new single from The Strokes, have to say that I was horrified when I first heard it. Now I think it’s the best thing that they have done. I love the way that it really charges along; I swear that the record gets shorter each time I play it!

Another great single is “Boot Prints” by King Creosote, taken from the excellent K.C. Rules album this is a wonderfully infectious song. On first hearing it appears to a really silly little song, but the more you listen to it the more complex it becomes. Loads of supremely chirpy organs sounds and a top-notch chorus. Should be number 1 for weeks, then again maybe it is? Must admit that I’ve got very little idea about the charts these days.

Still enjoying “Set Yourself on Fire” by Stars a great pop record from Canada. An album from a few years ago, which I’ve only just picked up, is “Soft Spot” by Clem Snide, plenty of fine songs on that one.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Paid our first visit to the newly open "Tube" in Unity St this evening. Very nice relaxed place, a nice alternative to the mega bars and clubs of central Bristol.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Last night we had a very pleasant evening at Arnolfini in the company of Francois and the Atlas Mountains. They were playing as part of a book launch, so the gig was free and what’s more they provided free drink. As well as the music Francois also showed some short animated films which he had made. That boy has too much talent!

Once again the unbridled enthusiasm and wonderful melodies of this great band, made for an evening of sparkling fun. Looking forward to their album in 2006.

Before the gig I met Orynthia in Obento for some splendid Japanese food. Not only do they sell lovely food they also sell Japanese condensed milk sweets!!!! We first encountered these on the plane out of Tokyo a few years ago. That’s right, the plane out – just when it was too late to buy any. We did find some in New York a few years later, then Selfridges in London was selling them in London as part of a Japanese festival. Now we can get them in Bristol – yum yum. They are the perfect hard sweet, richly creamy and long lasting.

Some of our friends are involved in a new bar / club in Bristol called “Tube”. We missed the opening night last weekend because of our Glasgow trip. Tomorrow they are having a bit of a food promotion which we are going to go along to, then on Friday it plays host to the excellent Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues, top tunes guaranteed.

Monday, December 05, 2005

We had a wonderful time in Glasgow, thanks to all the lovely people in Camera Obscura, their partners and their manager Francis. We were made to feel really welcome at the intimate party to celebrate the end of the recording period for their new album.

On occasions it did feel more akin to a wedding party, with exception of us everyone who was there was friends or family. Party poppers, crisps and chocolates on the table and a free glass of wine when you arrived, splendid. Former football star Pat Nevin played a indie hits DJ set before the band came on, following the short but lovely gig, Victoria from The Concretes took over the DJ role. After a lovely post gathering, we finally got back to our hotel at around 4:30am, exactly 24 hours after we woke up to get our flight to Glasgow, tired but happy.

On Tuesday we are off to see Francois at Arnolfini, he’s a very popular boy with the Camera Obscura crew, should be another good night.