Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Last Sunday Roast

Sunday I went to the parent's house. The place I used to refer to as home. It still is home in some sense, there'll be the odd time I'll say I'm going home, when what I mean is I'm going to see the parents. This was the last time I would go as they are due to move house shortly to downsize. It's been a great home and full of plenty of memories. Christmases, spectrum computers, lego, washing up liquid bottle water fights, snow, hurricanes, pets, friends. But really none of those memories are tied to the bricks of the place, rather the items and people that were in them. I loved living there and the rolling views, the ability to walk off the end of the garden and pick up a footpath and head up to Ashover, but it's not a place I've called home for a long time now. It was nice to gather as a family, eat and reminisce. I helped with a few chores before taking away the last few items that belong to me. It'll be a bit strange not to be going back there again, though my mark has been made. I scrawled on a number of the walls at various ages as the wall paper had been stripped :)

Nostalgic weekend

It's been ages since I've blogged, I seem to spend most of my net time on scrabulous these days. Anyway, thought I'd blog about some stuff, so I'll start with a few weeks ago, though I'll set the post date to match the time it occured.

Saturday afternoon I headed to Bolton to see the wonderful monkey swallows the universe and I gave a lift to ag to help with transportation. JT and his girlf came down too, so it was a good opportunity to meet up with them and introduce them to the live sound of mstu. The venue was actually quite nice, a little pub with small band stage and a huge video backdrop, that for the most part of the evening was playing anime. It was pretty strange to watch mstu with some futuristic japanese backdrop. As always I enjoyed the gig, despite a few technical problems with the mikes and mixing desk. Oh yes, the other really exciting part about the set was that I had been asked to put the songs on their set list into a running order. So the song order was in the main part how I'd picked them. A few changes had been made due to instruments required in the songs. The weather had turned for the worse so on the way back i decided to go via the m62, ag played dj on the iPod and we were making good progress despite the driving rain. As we came down the M1 the variable message signs were informing 'pedestrians in road' 50mph. We dismissed this as foolish, suggesting that surely they meant workers in road. A couple of miles later and out of apparently nowhere some guy was thumbing for a lift right in the hard shoulder. It was crazy, what on earth was he doing there!
Sunday afternoon I spent going through the numerous boxes of stuff I'd picked up from my parents a few days previously. I'm rubbish at throwing things away and I was faced with the quandry of what to do with a pile of smash hits from the late 80s, piles of school books, and boxes of old birthday and christmas cards. In the end most got sealed in boxes ready to go into my loft. I did come across a few interesting things. A class project on how to keep warm in winter was full of lots of useful advice, though I seemed to get sidetracked and talked about playing He-Man. I was Battle-Cat. Also a bit strange to read John's entry, even back then he got a mention for his beloved Liverpool FC in the scarf he wore. Reading through my creative writing journal was also tinged with sadness as I read many 'famous five' inspired adventures where me and my friend John would solve some mystery or other. I'm sure if John was still here he would've taken great delight in reading them now. There was another piece that described the things I liked and was amused that the things i liked when i was ten pretty much still stand: Reading, maths, walking.

More tips on how to keep warm in winter can be found here

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Music reviews

I've been to a couple of gigs this week and had one review published on teletext - hooray. This was from a gig at the leadmill on monday, though I actually preferred the support act - sound grade, but I quite liked it, so to rescue the words from obscurity I shall paste them here:
I was a cub scout - live leadmill 29/10

I don't know what Todd Marriott's fire making or knot tying skills are like, but on tonight's performance he will be gaining his synth twiddling badge with distinction. Bedroom synth pop is given life and vibrancy from driving live percussion, this is no geeky art noise but a colossus of pulsing pop. Todd's distinct vocals work well with the clattering guitar and his passionate performance is infective. Pinks squares epitomises the best of their catchy sound. Akela would be pleased.


Forward Russia were the headline act, and although they produced a riotous noise, the lack of vocal variety began to bore me a bit.i was a cub scout. The penned review didn't make the planet I'm always a little embarrassed when a slightly critical review is published, I really respect anyone who forms and plays in a band - creativity should be encouraged and i hope my criticism can help encourage them to greater things. They probably will never see it anyway ;)

The second gig was the remarkable arcade fire who i saw at nottingham arena. The third time i've seen them live this year. Being seated i felt that somehow the passion on the stage was sucked out by the cavernous venue and so i didn't really get into the live experience as much as previous times. The music was still unbelievably good, musical prowess at it's height, they have a knack of arranging a myriad of musical sounds to form a cacophony of pulsing rock. I'm pleased that they are reaching super group status, but sorry that the energy of more intimate gigs can not be felt as strongly. There were a couple of new songs played and also a Smiths cover, but disappointingly some idiots thought it would be good to throw bottles at the band. Win Butler was understandably annoyed and promptly left the stage after finishing the song where the incident occurred. The band did reappear but another bottle was thrown enraging Butler further who exclaimed the band would never play Nottingham again if anything else came their way. Thankfully nothing did and the band did return for an encore, but I can't help thinking that the encore was somewhat reduced in length because of the incident. Bah - arena gigs are a let down (apart from the white stripes who were awesome a few years ago)