Thursday, 13 December 2012

christmas is cancelled

After giving it some thought, Christmas was shite when l was a kid, and l'm not ecstatic about this years celebrations either.  Therefore, it's pretty much cancelled, and l am having a break, but will probably return sometime in the new year.  Yo ho ho

toodle pip

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

the lone italian fan

This is a classic!  Arrigo Brovedani is a fan of the Italian club Udinese, and at their away Serie A game against Sampdoria, he was the only Udinese fan in the away end.  I hope he didn't try to kick off afterwards.

toodle pip

tower bridge opens for a large yellow duck

I wish l had seen this!  A large (50 foot) yellow duck heading up the Thames in London.  Something to do with crap about people having fun and enjoying themselves.  More here.

toodle pip

homeland - series 2

I started off enjoying Homeland, albeit with a few plot reservations, as some of it seemed implausible.   I then managed to stick it through to series two, and have been diligently watching it with the FPO, but it has finally made me snap, and quite frankly, l couldn't care less what happens to any of them.  Carrie is constantly disobeying orders, Brodie is better, but still unbelievable, and........that's it - l've lost interest.  The final straw for me was when Carrie was released from captivity, called the CIA (who told her to stay put as they were on their way), but once again put her life at risk by returning, unarmed, to confront her captor (who was armed).  It was also laughable the amount of time she kept her disguise on (a black wig and head scarf) while undercover abroad, and she never tries to conceal her hair or appearance when doing stake outs.
I still want to give the original Israeli series (Hatufim / Prisoners of War) a go, and l anticipate that will be a lot better (as the originals usually are), but this is the kind of implausible American remake that drives me nuts.  Bastards!

toodle pip

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

books l read in egypt (#7) micromegas - voltaire

More top tales from the satirical Frenchman.  One of Voltaire's shorter tales, but once again, involving travel.  This time, it's of the science fiction kind, as two giants from other planets (Sirius and Saturn) come to Earth, and discover to their amazement that there is life below them in the shape of whales and mankind.  This is due to the fact that Micromegas (a banished heretic on his own planet) is 20,000 feet tall, so it is pretty difficult to see and hear them.  The other worldly giants make a hearing device to converse with the humans, who then argue philosophy, and explain the planet was made uniquely for mankind (much to the giants amusement).  Micromegas tells the humans he will write them a book explaining the point of life, but when they open it later, it is blank.  What a card!

books l read in egypt (#6) the secret history of rock - roni sarig

This was sometimes boring, and there were parts that could be skipped, but it achieved its aim in making me want to re-listen to some of my music, and get out there and try out some new stuff l hadn't given ear time to before (which isn't much). A ramshackle history of underground artists, with breakdowns of their recorded work, plus quotes from admirers.  If l only had the time.....

toodle pip

books l read in egypt (#5) zadig (or, the book of fate) - voltaire

Rather like the other major work of Voltaire's, (Candide), Zadig ends up (through unusual circumstances) on a forced and eventful journey, through ancient Babylonia.  It's subtitle (The book of fate), is very apt, as Zadig has to cope with all that is unexpectedly thrown in front of him, which he does with great wisdom and courage. He falls in love, but is also sentenced to death, exiled and cheated.  Towards the end, extra wisdom is bestowed upon him by  a wise man, but life in general is haphazard, random and dangerous.  I prefer Candide, but this is still a classic.

toodle pip

books l read in egypt (#4) danny baker - going to sea in a sieve

Danny Baker can be full of crap, and an annoying opinionated arse to boot, but he is also intelligent, witty, and has certainly got some tales to tell. Going to Sea in a Sieve covers his childhood years and first job experiences. For most people, this could be dull, but there's football, violence, celebrities galore, and his families (mainly his fathers) outlook on life. Along the way, he manages to go on tour with The Clash, become a somewhat reluctant spokesperson for Punk, and Marc Bolan gives him the shirt off his back (a classy and cool thing to do). Sometimes a bit bombastic, and l strongly disagree with some of his opinions, but very entertaining nonetheless.  I'm already looking forward to the second book (if he gets around to it).

toodle pip

books l read in egypt (#3) hideous kinky - esther freud

Hideous Kinky was one of the many books that l had stashed on my kindle for free, and as l fancied a change, l dived in.  An semi autobiographical tale of Esther Freud's childhood exploits with her sister and mother in 1960's Morocco, it drove me crazy.  A bloody middle class/upper class hippy, swanning around, following exotic eastern religions, getting hysterical, and copping off with the natives, while the children are left to roam and pretty much fend for themselves. Mummy lite (or light) at its worst.  Now a major film starring Kate Winslet!!!!  Don't bother with my ticket, l'm busy.

toodle pip

books l read in egypt (#2) the devil rides out - paul o'grady

The second of Paul O'Grady's autobiographies, The Devil Rides Out tells of his troubles just generally surviving, trying to make some kind of living in menial jobs, plus extended stints as a bar man and carer.  He eventually decides to move from his Birkenhead home to the bright lights of London full time, and nurtures the ideas that will one day spring forth as his Lily Savage character. It also deals with his mothers attitude towards him, plus his feelings about having fathered a child (and getting married). It's interesting and funny, and it has sparked my interest in reading his first book.  If l had paid good money for this, he would soon have been doubling it.  Sadly for him, that is not the case (but he's a lot richer than me anyway).

toodle pip

books l read in egypt (#1) we - yevgeny zamyatin

Well, l finally got around to finishing this while away in Egypt (Sharm el-Sheikh), as l had been starting and stopping it for some time, mainly because l was reading it at night while l was tired at work.  'We' (by Yevgeny Zamyatin) tells the story of a glass covered and bleak dystopian future, where everything is state controlled, and kept in order by 'One State', until some of the citizens (who have no names, only numbers) decide to rebel and go back to the old days and break down the (literal) green wall separating them from nature.  They try to enlist D-503, the architect of a rocket, who falls in love with one of them (1-330).  However, he feels he may be being used, and thinks the rebels goals are insane as (to him) everything is logical and perfect, but he slowly starts to come around to their way of thinking.  In the meantime, the state fights back by ordering compulsory  'Great Operations', basically a lobotomy that will put the populace back under their control.  From 1921, and the first book to be banned by the Soviet censorship board, it's well worth sticking with, even if it does take some time, and it's weird to think that Zamyatin got some of the ideas for the book while working in the shipyards at Jesmond, Newcastle (just up the road from me).

toodle pip

american bomber pilots decorated jackets

There's a a great article in Collectors Weekly (I'm a sad old git) about the way American World War Two (and later) pilots and crew used to decorate their leather jackets, which have since become collectible items. As it states in the article, most of the men were still pretty young, did not expect to live long, and reverted back to the iconic images of their not so long distant youths for their designs.  The commanders tolerated this as it was a way for the men to cope with the huge amounts of stress that they must have been under.
The item at the bottom is known as a blood chit, and was sewn inside of the jackets, to be used as an extra pocket, but more importantly, it has the message in Chinese that there will be a reward if the person the jacket belongs to is assisted to safety.  Once again, people had it tough in the old days.

toodle pip

film of claude monet painting

This is something that l did not expect to see.  It's an old film from 1915 showing the artist Caude Monet at work. Two cultures coming together, with the old master looking like he is at deaths door, and the explosion of film and entertainment devices just around the corner.  Then again, Monet lived to 1926, so he got to see the First World War (or The Great War, as it was known then) before his death.  Lucky him.

toodle pip

jesus use me - the faith tones

Deart God - Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!
'Jesus Use Me' by The Faith Tones.  A record l will not be buying in the near future.

toodle pip

cauliflower explosions

These photographs are of famous explosions, recreated using cauliflower (of course they are, what could be more natural?). By the artist Brock Davis, but I don't think this is going to be a long series by him, after all, how many famous explosions are there?  They look kind of ultra realistic, yet surreal at the same time.  Nice.

toodle pip

old juke joints

In those not so far away days of segregation in the United States, you would often have to go down to the 'other side of the tracks' to find  a Juke Joint with some rocking (or bluesy) music to get on down and cut a rug to.  Luckily the American government sent out people to document the places, and there are some fine photographs of the old Joints still preserved. These are from a series called 'General Stores and Juke Joints: FSA Photographs in Color, 1942-1945' and more information about the series (and more photos) can be found here.  Times were hard for some people (let's face it, mainly the blacks) back in the day.

toodle pip

anti usa poster (l think)

I don't know where this poster is from, nor what the message is, but it looks to be anti American, so l assume it's about the USA interfering with other nations, throwing their weight about, and spreading their capitalist ideals gangster style, at the cost of the innocent children.   Then again, maybe the American is looking at the child in disgust as he has been killed by someone else, and the Americans are coming in to rescue the country (and children).  Either way, it's still a striking poster. If only l could read the propaganda writing, it would make more sense, but if l was a betting man, my money would be on the Americans being the baddies.

toodle pip

iya traore juggling a football

I thought l could juggle a football, but this is pretty impressive, and while on a plinth as well.  The man doing it is called  Iya Traore and is from Guinea, and because it is now the space age, he has his own website (of course he does).  If the weather gets a bit better l might drag myself out in the garden and get some more practise hours in, as looking at this, l certainly need them.

toodle pip

Monday, 10 December 2012

a charlie brown and bad brains christmas

From Tad Was Here on Vimeo.

This fits together superbly and works so well.  Good work my son!

toodle pip

clockwork orange babies

If only this Clockwork Orange Babies series were real, it would be great.  Unfortunately they are a spoof concept by Butcher Billy, and more artwork from the series can be found here.  How long before these are posted as from a real series?

toodle pip

steve harris has his house for sale

Steve Harris from Iron Maiden has put his Harlow house on the market, for a cool £6.7 million.  It has seven bedrooms and land attached, but more importantly, all the classic rock star features included, so it is ready to move into straight away.  Tennis Court?  Football Pitch?  Red telephone box?  Indoor swimming pool?  Bar?   All present and correct.  More information can be found here, and if l had the money, l would be turning up there tomorrow with my removal van and junk.

toodle pip

sir patrick moore has died

I have arrived back from Egypt in one piece, and Sir Patrick Moore has just died, not that l think the two are in any way related.   One of the facts about him that is amazing, is that he met the first man to fly (Orville Wright), the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin), and the first man on the moon (Neil Armstrong).  A pretty rare, if not unique feat.  The world changed so much in his lifetime, it's staggering trying to get your head around it.  Who knows what will happen in the next 80 odd years (Moore was 89).

toodle pip

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

that's it - l'm off to egypt

This is where l will be in a few hours - Newcastle Airport, as l am on a work trip to Egypt.  It's a hard job, but somebody's got to do it, and that somebody is usually me. Apart from setting off to the airport at 5.30am, l'm looking forward to it.  If l don't get blown up by the terrorists (always painful) l'll be back next week.  As for now, time for a power nap.

toodle pip

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

there's something about mary (1998) - the farrelly brothers

There's Something About Mary is one of those outrageously rare things.  An American film that is actually funny.  This features just the right amount of visual humour, slapstick, surreal episodes and emotional moments, plus it has the added advantage of the serenading Jonathan Richman appearing throughout, who can do little wrong in my eyes (and ears).  Everyone must know the story by now, as it's been out for years and it was a huge success, so l won't ramble on about that, but all of the actors are just right in their roles. Cameron Diaz has never looked better, but all of them play their part in making the movie such a runaway hit.  The story has a twist or two along the way, and the episodes with the zip and the hair cream are the most famous, but for me, the segments with the dog steal the film, especially Ben Stiller's.  This was about the third time l have seen it, and it was still worth it.  If only all the 'so called American comedies' were like this.

toodle pip