Friday, 25 June 2010


So I am trying to remember everything these past weeks I thought: I should blog that.

First up: Bernard is a mouse that lives on the District Line platforms of Embankment Tube Station. Unfortunately he is scared of trains :( I saw him whilst waiting for my train, after the initial silent "wait, that's a mouse!" reaction I just sat there staring at Bernard. He was just minding his own business, trying to get on in life when a train approached the platform. The poor fella was terrified, and started trying to climb up the wall and away. Eventually he ran down the platform. I haven't seen him since but I would like to think he is still there, and still trying to confront his fear of Underground trains. And also it was definitely a mouse, or at least a very small, pale and clean rat.

Also I have been reading xkcd loads. It is nerdy to a ridiculous level, and some of it is quite a long way away from my own knowledge. The guy is clearly intelligent but it is funny and romantic in a very easy-to-relate way. 'Angular Momentum' is my favourite comic, not that funny but very endearing. See it here.

Also I suppose I should comment on the World Cup, I am following England and we've been so-so in the tournament. Come Sunday will we win? Germany might have a marginally better squad, but they seem much better in terms of team balance and tactics. Maybe we will go 4-5-1, with Gareth Barry in a firmly defensive role, trying to counter-act Ozil, Lampard in the middle to link up play and get back when necessary and Gerrard in a more free role behind Rooney. Joe Cole looked a bit pants against Slovenia, so maybe Milner on the right, Wright-Philips on the left. Italy and France going out was a huge shock considering the wealth of talent both countries have, but Argentina might just be the team of the tournament. They have so much great talent going forward, and Maradona has done okay on the tactics side of things.

Also The Guardian Weekly is a great newspaper for articles and discussions, I would highly recommend it if gossip and reactionary "shock" stories bore you. Also The Fly is a damn good music magazine, particularly considering it is free (from participating venues). I have been reading both for a while now and they can make commuting the bit more bearable.

Today I read someone describing "that" bit from LCD Soundsystem's 'Dance Yrself Clean' as "like getting a cumshot from Jesus". The thing is I can see where they are coming from, the first time you hear it is a special moment. All I thought was "oh James, you fucking genius". Whenever you listen to an LCD Soundsystem album you get a sense that this is someone who knows what they are doing, understands music and how to build momentum and energy in a song. That metaphorical climax.

I'm sure some actual "things" will happen in my life soon, when they do I will blog about that. Toodle-pip.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Week Away

So now I find myself on a week of annual leave, with the house to myself. Honestly? I am getting a little bored. I know only boring people get bored but, well, that sort of answers itself. I guess without work I can become bored. How someone with such a good protestant work ethic became an atheist is beyond me.

I have been looking up some interesting topics. Idlers, Freeman-on-the-Land. They seem to be a mystery to me. How do they eat? Do they collect unemployment benefits? It all seems a little dodgy to me, particularly as some of the forums use phrases like "fuck work!" Some kinds of work can be enjoyed, those towards a desirable outcome - the exact definition of "desirable" to be determined by the individual. I find programming to be good in this sense, as if there is something that I really want to do I can work towards it and have an outcome I can use. I code, I compile, I use. It's that simple.

The above brings me to something else: creativity. I have never really paid any attention to my creative side. I can't draw, paint, sculpt, play an instrument, sing, dance, act or do anything remotely creative. I don't know whether these shortcomings are a reason for not indulging my creative side or a product of my non-indulgence. I am considering trying to take a period of time to try and be creative - somehow. Try to write a novel, or poetry or just try to be somehow creative. Because usually I don't create just for creation's sake, if I do create it is for a purpose. I often wonder if art can be useful. Surely designing a good car engine is a sort of art, it is just that it can be used. What about architecture? The skill it takes to create something useful must render its creator a sort of... "technical artist". I don't know, smarter men than me must surely know.

So onto more down-to-Earth matters - I bought some more albums! And books. I have more books than I can read. Actually why don't I have a "Books I Need to Read" list? I have so many that I have bought. I'm not sure I will ever read every single one of them. But either way I bought The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde and In Search of Lost Time 1: The Way By Swann's - Marcel Proust. I'll add it to the quite enormous amount of books I need to read. I have them, I just haven't read them yet. I also bought Errors - Come Down With Me, The Postal Service - Give Up and Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister. I should get an award for all the brilliant albums I buy. I bought those on the 2nd of this month, and once I deflated my head I bought Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, TV on the Radio - Dear Science, The Temper Trap - Conditions and Vampire Weekend - Contra. Haven't listened to any of those last four yet, been listening to the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo podcast. Mark Kermode deserves so many plaudits for his reviews, his rants are epic - his Sex and the City 2 and Pimp reviews were brilliant. As much as I like hearing about films he loves, we all love to hear someone passionate about their topic taking major issue with examples that are an insult to it. I don't know why that is - why is it more entertaining to criticise than to praise?

Anyway I am currently trying and sort of failing to get my placement report written. Need to get right down to the work this week. See, full circle (sort of).

Edit: Totally forgot to say I watched Unthinkable, How To Train Your Dragon and Any Given Sunday. Unthinkable is an interesting moral ride with Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Sheen giving A+ performances, How To Train Your Dragon is a charming family adventure that ticks all the right boxes and Any Given Sunday is in-your-face intensity. The last one isn't really my kind of film but I enjoyed it anyway. Unthinkable was a good film, it came across as quite brave for a Hollywood film with a very well-known lead actor to discuss the legality and morality of torture - even if it did have some slightly gory bits. It isn't an easy watch but it blends some action with some loud discussion of ethics. Well paced and not overly long, it is not a mind-blowingly fabulous film but it is a very solid film.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Vs. Me

Just a quick post to say that the world hates me. So I am going to Benicassim, 12th July to 20th July. Lots of bands and a holiday to Spain. That's pretty good, right? I had to use up all my annual leave so I could go, but still I had no further gigs planned. Then SeeTickets dumps this lot at me:

Those Dancing Days - The Garage (London) - Monday 12th July
The Go! Team - Summer Sundae (Leicester) - Saturday 14th August
Mumford and Sons - Summer Sundae (Leicester) - Sunday 15th August
Frightened Rabbit - Summer Sundae (Leicester) - Sunday 15th August
Errors - Summer Sundae (Leicester) - Sunday 15th August
The Bees - Summer Madness (Isle of Wight) - Sunday 29th August
The Walkmen - O2 Academy Islington (London) - Wednesday 25th August
Those Dancing Days - Bowlie 2 Butlins Minehead (Somerset) - Friday 10th to Sunday 12th December
Frightened Rabbit - Bowlie 2 Butlins Minehead (Somerset) - Friday 10th to Sunday 12th December
Belle & Sebastian - Bowlie 2 Butlins Minehead (Somerset) - Friday 10th to Sunday 12th December

Those. Dancing. Days. And they are in London! And there are tickets! And I can't go! AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! I love Those Dancing Days, I have been desperate to go to a gig for ages, but they haven't been touring. Now a great opportunity comes up and I will be out of the country. Benicassim better be fucking brilliant.

Also The Bees. Except its on the Isle of Wight. And a Sunday. The Walkmen. In the middle of the week. Summer Sundae has a good line up, but its in Leicester and I would have to get back for Monday, somehow. I could see 3 bands I like at the same time, except I would have to get to Somerset, some how. At least it is when I am back at uni, and around my birthday.

But still. Thanks a lot, music world. A heartfelt plea to Those Dancing Days: play a gig in London, on a Saturday. PLEASE.

I think I sound a bit mental with my TDD fascination, but if you listened to them you would understand.

Irritated and now I was supposed to be in bed 10 minutes ago. Bloody early starts.