Saturday, November 01, 2008

Some tunes

Some of the tunes I'm digging at the moment

MGMT - Time To Pretend

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk

Noah and the Whale - 5 Years Time

Amadou et Mariam with Manu Chao. Brilliant album, which some how I lost a must buy for Manu Chao fans.

Rhymefest feat. Kanye West - Brand New

Dawn Landes - Young Folks (bluegrass style)

And if you're in the mood for listening to things, check out ex student radio chum David Hooper's one off Radio 1 show here. Very entertaining.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mark Thomas - Belching Out Out the Devil

We went to go see Mark Thomas, who was promoting his new book, Belching Out Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola , which he was promoting at Citibooks.

His dispatches show on Coca Cola is here:

Blog update - Summer 2008

I haven't updated the blog in ages, so here's a checkilist of some of the thing's I've not blogged about yet...

I am a Godfather - Grace's Christening was in April

We were also "In Bruges". Taking the Eurotunnel across, and meeting up with our friends Rober and Karo, we visited a brewery, tried many beers (all in different glasses) and had some nice food (though Karo tried Steak tartare - raw beef... ugh).
Facebook photos here.

We went to see Avenue Q, a rude musical largely inspired by (and is in the style of) Sesame Street. Jo liked so much she went to see it twice!

My fired Will turned 30, and came over to the UK briefly from Oz. We met in his old hometown of Bradninch where the local music festival was going on and had a few local ales. Photos here.

After living in Brighton for 5 ish years, and never seing the Pride parade, we finally did. It rained for most of the morning, but it was pretty funny, with some outrageous costumes, with the funniest being the Dolly Parton's. Facebook photos. Some other site's photos here.

Our friends Rober & Karo got married in a nice town near Vienna.
Photos; flickr , facebook, photoworks.

Jon & Kate Plus 8

When we were in canada, we watched Jon & Kate Plus 8, a reality television show about the Gosselin family, consisting of parents Jon and Kate and their eight children—a set of fraternal twin girls and a set of sextuplets (three girls and three boys). It was compelling viewing and utterly hilarious.

Sam Sparro

One of the best new CDs we heard was Sam Sparro's. As he was playing just down the road, we thought we'd go visit. It was the first proper standing up gig i've been to in years, but was pretty enjoyable, though seemed very short, i guess because he's only had one album.
There were a lot of young trendy kids there of course, don't know if i need to go get a stripey tshirt, tight black cardigan, tight jeans, pointy shoes and a check scarf...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh Canada!

22 years on from the last time I was in Canada I finally return. It’s a place that I’ve always wanted to return to and it took a while, but sometimes these things do. We flew into Calgary at the same time that the world famous (or at least Calgary famous) Calgary Stampede takes place. It is a celebration of all things cowboy, and everyone in the city sports a cowboy hat during the time that it is on.

The first day we catch some of the World Stock Dog championship, heavy horse show, Shriners (on horse, wearing Tommy cooper hats), IAMS Superdogs. The sheepdog competition is actually pretty riveting stuff, and you find yourself really rooting for the team in the ring. There were often some tense standoffs between the dog and the sheep!

The day was rounds off with the Rodeo, with all sorts of events;
Bareback riding, Bull riding, Ladies Barrel Racing, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling
Tie Down Roping. It’s pretty thrilling, and there’s a saying about the competitors – it’s not if they get hurt, but when.

The riders on the bucking horses and bulls are bounced around like rag dolls, and a sizeable proportion end up flying off. We end off the day with a good old fashioned burger and milkshake at Pete’s Drive In.

We have a second day at the stampede, looking at all the interesting different livestock, and cattle penning (where horse riders have to separate out 3 cows from a herd & pen them in).

In the evening we see chuck wagon racing and the evening show. The evening show is soooo overblown it is ridiculous, with hundreds of people on stage all dressed as Mounties high kicking and singing cheesy musical numbers. A helicopter flew a huge Canadian flag overhead while Oh Canada is being sung at the opening of the grandstand show at the Calgary stampede 2008. Jet lag catches up with us and we duck out early.

We drive from Calgary to Lake Louise. It’s an incredible drive, as the Rocky Mountains inch ever closer. We stop off in Bamf (which looks like a bit of a tourist trap) briefly to go up the gondola to see some incredible views. At Lake Louise we stay at a lovely old-fashioned hotel, Deer Lodge, complete with a Buffalo head above the fireplace. We visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and have a little walk around (a bit of) them. It the evening we eat at Station Restaurant, a converted railway station. Some of the restaurant is actually converted train carriages. Jo has the best steak she’s ever had.

Icefields Parkway is the long road that stretches up to Jasper. It is a stunning drive with many beautiful brightly coloured lakes and waterfalls along the way. Unfortunately for us it was raining on and off most of the day, but it was pretty incredible none the less. There are often “animal traffic jams” caused when drivers slow down to see the interesting wildlife. We were able to spot 2 black bears on this drive. We also stop at Columbia Icefield taking their specially designed ice explorer bus onto the glacier.

It had incredibly localised weather, down the hill it was bright and sunny, but at the top the ice caused a freezing downpour! In the evening we arrive at our destination, Patricia Lake Bungalows at Jasper.

While we are in Jasper we stop for lunch at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where the 8 year old me stayed on my family holiday. I recognised parts of it which was quite interesting. While we are in the area, we walk around Lake Annette.

The following day we have a trip to Maligne Lake, stopping at Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake along the way. We pick up 2 Swiss hitchhikers on the way, and see lots of animals including sheep, deer, and a black bear with 2 cubs.

When we get back we go canoeing on Patricia Lake, and have a 1 hour drive to Miette Hot springs for a soak.

Clearwater is our next destination; it is a town on the mouth of Wells Gray Provincial Park. Wells Gray is a bit more out of the way, not so well known and generally less busy, but like most of this area, it is still absolutely stunning. The first evening there we drive up to look at Saphat Falls and Green Mountain tower, which gives panoramic 360 views of the park.

We get up early the next morning to go horse riding at Helmecken Falls lode. I’ve never been into horse riding, but never got the change to wear a cowboy hat or have a chance of a bear encounter either. Makes it more interesting. In fact, on the drive to get there, a black bear dashes across the road in front of us, before running up a steep slope on the other side of the road. Despite our inexperience we are given free reign with the horses, gut they are pretty well behaved. Mine was a bit lazy and I had to give it a bit of encouragement every now and again. A young Swiss girl had a naughty horse that would stop to eat and would then have a little gallop back to catch up with the rest of the group. Her cries of “Wooooaaah Nevada!” made us all chuckle. An interesting part of the ride was that occasionally the noises of the forest, birds chirping etc would come to a complete halt – this was sign that a bear was around. The leader would occasionally shout “No bears here!” to discourage the bear from coming to investigate us.

Whistler is a ski resort in the winter, and during the summer it becomes a bit of a Mecca for mountain bikers, who use the lifts to get to the top of the mountains, and then ride all the way down to the bottom. We didn’t come for that reason, and our choice of accommodation, the beautiful and tranquil Edgewater Lodge was an indication that we weren’t being particularly xtreme. We did however, have a go at ziplining – at Ziptrek. We whizzed across the forest on five different zip lines, even going upside-down on the last one.

Our last stop in Canada was to Vancouver. The highlight was a trip around Stanley Park, a mammoth city park. We visited the aquarium, in large part to see the beluga whale, which had just recently given birth.

We also stopped at Vancouver Art Gallery to see their exhibition “Krazy! The Delirious World Of Anime + Comics + Video Games” it was a pretty specific exhibition, focusing on a few key artists and not really giving too much of an overview, but it was interesting to see, particularly the original artwork of Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware, whom I have long admired. The exhibition actually encouraged Jo to read Maus, arguably the most significant creation in the graphic novel medium. We also visited the Capelano Suspenson bridge (a bit of a rip off)and Granville Island market.

And that was that. A great holiday & lovely place. Maybe I’ll be back in another 22 years or so.

You can see all our photos at this link.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sun, Sea and Superheroes

I was at Brighton Seafront last in April watching the annual Superhero Challenge fun run, which raises money for the charity Passing It On. It was an excellent event, and there were a lot of very good costumes.

Apparently it is the fourth annual run (I missed the last one as I only found out afterwards) with 550 people taking part, but it sounds like it's getting bigger every year. The weather may have been the best so far this year - with my forehead receiving a touch of sunburn.

There were lots of excellent costumes, including several Dangermouses (Dangermice?, Supermen, Banana Men, Hulks, Buzz lightyears, and some standouts including Iron man, She-Hulk and Silver Surfer. The Penelope Pitstop girls who were helping out the organisers and taking photos looked very cool!

My photos of the day were included in a write up of the day at the Forbidden Planet blog, making me a regular Peter Parker - professional superhero photographer.

My photos:
Featured on a wonderwoman blog!
More of my photos on Facebook gallery.

A youtube video someone did of the day:

Other links:
Argus online write-up and video.
Some more photos here that turned up in a google search.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bone Paperclip

Jo brought home a packet of promotional paperclips, that are in the sape of bones. Which is fair enough, and a pretty cute idea.

Hovever, when you actually use the thing as a paperclip which is afterall its purpose, then this happens:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring '08

I've been neglecting this blog a little - the updates are spread further and further apart. Maybe that comes from having a new job that makes me work longer hours, or maybe Facebook updates make having a blog a little less needed.

Anyway, here are a few highlight of what I've been up to for the past few months:

Christmas was nice - visited home and spent a family christmas with my new niece and Jo's mum visited too. We watched the burning of the clocks on brighton beach again.

Omid Djali at the Brighton Dome - we'd been watching his TV show and seen his stand up on other shows, but his live show was a little meh.

My 30th Birthday - had a big meal at Iguanas (16 people on our table). I love that place, nice food, but especially their 2 for one coctails. Sumit did me an amazing picture for my present - online here.

Then I also had a mini celebration at home.

Always like to take some baby photos when I'm visiting my nieces. Grace has grown so much bigger already!

Mark Ronson at Brighton Dome was one of the best gigs I've ever been to - excellent guest vocalists, string section and horns.

Had to use up my year's holiday allocation and didn't have time or cash to do anything too fancy so we went to Devon. A highlight was a visit to Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary.

Jo's colleague had a wedding up north - we combined that with a visit to Cotswolds & Oxford.

For Christmas, Jo had bought me a Raclette set - basically a hotplate that you can cook your food on while you eat. As an excuse to finally use it we had a Raclette Party, and it went really well - lots of nice food and melted cheese.

April brought snow to Brighton, loads of people built snowmen - and even the beach was coated in snow. I took som cool snow photos.

More recently we visited our friends Linda & Kris and their new baby, William. In a bizzare coincidence, Kris said a google search turned up my blog when he did a seach trying to find out the difference between tangarines and clementines.

And just this week we saw Havana Rakatan at the Brighton Dome for an evening of salsa dancing an music. They were very good and we had front row tickets - quite strange to be quite so close to the performers!

So, there we go, all up to date!

General likes at the moment:
TV: still Flight of the Conchords, Lost (the episode with Desmond is brilliant), Terminator

Films: Enchanted, Stardust, Shoot Em Up
Music: Best of Bootie, Mark Ronson, other cover versions, Regina Spektor

Radio: Russell Brand, Aneas Faversham