It's coming... o v e r y o u r h e a d . . .


Crawling through technology, life and love

Contact me:
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home


Listening:

Playing:
Pool Paradise - GC on Wii

iTuning:
Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry

Reading:
All 24 25 Tintin books

Bits and Bobs:
Wish List
Gerry's Lyrics Pop Quiz
Minipops Quiz

Sites I like:
Marc Almond
Top 40 Singles
News
IMdb
The Register
Hacks
Recent GBlogs
Arsenal FC

Some blogs I enjoy:
bboyblues2000
bitful
blogadoon
brainsluice
chig
groc
minkered
scally
sparky
troubled diva

Books recently read:
Time Out Guide to Havana (and Cuba)
And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks - William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
At My Mother's Knee ... and Other Low Joints: The Autobiography - Paul O'Grady
Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
Then We Come To The End - Joshua Ferris
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
I Never Knew That About London - Christopher Winn
The Arsenal Miscellany - Adam Gold
Young Hearts Run Free: The Real Story of the 1970s - Dave Haslam
Magical Thinking - Augusten Burroughs
Veronika Decides To Die - Paulo Coelho
Time Out Guide - Amsterdam
Lillian's Story - Kate Grenville
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Schott's Original Miscellany - Ben Schott
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling
A Gay History Of Britain - Matt Cook
Time Out Guide to Madrid
Time Out Guide to New York
Kingdom Come - J. G. Ballard
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Mutants - Aramand Marie Leroi
A Young Man's Passage - Julian Clary
Growing Pains - Billie Piper
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Highbury: The Story of Arsenal N.5 - Jon Spurling
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins - Rupert Everett
Affinity - Sarah Waters
Lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
Tipping The Velvet - Sarah Waters
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Lucky Man - Michael J Fox
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
The Pedant's Revolt - Andrea Barham
The Republic Of Trees - Sam Taylor
Written On tbe Body - Jeanette Winterson
Untold Stories - Alan Bennett
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Read All About It - Max Clifford
The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst
Thursbitch - Alan Garner
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
Staying Alive - Matt Beaumont
The Bookseller Of Kabul - Asne Seierstad
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
A Short History Of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Count Karlstein - Philip Pullman
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Spell - Alan Hollinghurst
The Double Life Of Daniel Glick - Maurice Caldera
The Smoking Diaries - Simon Gray
Straight- Boy George
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Deception Point - Dan Brown
The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Sydney - Time Out Guide
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland
The Scarecrow and His Servant - Philip Pullman
Tha Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
The Line Of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
Barcelona - Time Out Guide
The Closed Circle - Jonathan Coe
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
Copenhagen - TimeOut Guide
The Butterfly Tattoo - Philip Pullman
The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman
In Search of the Pleasure Palace - Marc Almond
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
Last Exit To Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr
You Shall Know Our Velocity - Dave Eggers
Touching The Void - Joe Simpson
Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
Istanbul - Time Out Guide
Millennium People - J G Ballard
The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down - Jesse Browner
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Our Man In Havana - Graham Greene
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman
Doran - Will Self
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
the book, the film, the t-shirt - matt beaumont
High Society - Ben Elton
Man And Wife - Tony Parsons
I Was A Rat - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix - J R Rowling
Great Apes - Will Self
Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
Round Ireland With A Fridge - Tony Hawkes
Close Range - Annie Proux
The Third Way - Anthony Giddens
dot.con - John Cassidy
The Salmon of Doubt - Douglas Adams
One Hit Wonderland - Tony Hawkes
The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Cloud Sketcher - Richard Rayner
Keane: the Autobiography - Roy Keane
A Wasteland of Strangers - Bill Pronzini
The English - Jeremy Paxman
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman (again)
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Bear and The Dragon - Tom Clancy
101 Reykjavik - Hallgrimur Helgason
Forward The Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Carter Beats The Devil - Glen David Gold
The Tin Princess - Philip Pullman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Tiger In The Well - Philip Pullman
The Rotters Club - Jonathan Coe
Generation X - Douglas Copeland
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland
The Shadow In The North - Phillip Pullman
No Logon - Naomi Klein
The Dirt - Motley Crue
Miss Wyoming - Douglas Coupland
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman
The Ruby in the Smoke - Phillip Pullman
The Sandman - Miles Gibson
Blood and Gold: The Vampire Marius - Anne Rice
The Actrocity Exhibition - J G Ballard
Shameless - Paul Burston
Sing Out! - Boze Hadleigh
Brilliant Orange - David Winner
New Boy - William Sutcliffe
London - Peter Ackroyd
Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
One For My Baby - Tony Parsons
How To Be Good - Nick Hornby
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Lust - Geoff Ryman
Tulip Fever - Deborah Moggach
Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
The House Of Sleep - Jonathan Coe
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
What a carve up! - Jonathan Coe
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
The Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Heartwood - James Lee Burke
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Man and Boy - Tony Parsons
The Map Of Love - Ahdaf Soueif
e - Matt Beaumont
The e Before Christmas - Matt Beaumont


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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Marc Almond Tour...
ORPHEUS IN EXILE
Marc has decided to delay the release of his new album, Orpheus In Exile, until September. Marc feels it makes more sense to proceed the Autumn tour with the album for maximum exposure of both album and tour.

AUTUMN TOUR
The Autumn shows will be diverse in the choice of material; Marc will be debuting some new songs from his forthcoming album currently being recorded (due for release in 2010), as well as some back catalogue favourites not played for a while and, of course, some old favourites without which a Marc Almond concert wouldn't be a Marc Almond concert so everybody, he hopes, will be satisfied and enjoy the shows.

The confirmed dates for the Autumn tour are below (please note the new telephone number for Leeds Grand Theatre, the phone number previously sent out no longer works!)

29 October - Birmingham Alexandra Theatre (0870 607 7533)
30 October - Manchester Academy 2 (0161 832 1111)
1 November - London Roundhouse (0844 482 8008)
3 November - Bournemouth Opera House (08700 600 100)
4 November - Leeds Grand Theatre (0113 222 6222)

Tickets available online from www.gigsandtours.com and from the 24 hour credit card hotline on 0871 2200 260.

Please note that tickets do not go on sale until 9am on Friday 1 May - please do not ring venue box offices or ticket lines before this time.


EDF Energy...
EDF Energy deigned to give me a refund to my electricity bill of £265.54 a few days ago. Money that they had overcharged me over the past three months. The swines! (An insult that has some resonance of late).


Jesusophile...
I love his forward head nods at the end of each video as if to say, "I'm right, aren't I?" Got to be a joke right?

If not, he's a sick man. Watch Jesusophile's musing on a vagina full of AIDS and why atheists' arguments don't work.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Swine 'Flu / Overreaction...
The internet has responded to the absolutely positively inevitable pandemic of swine flu with typical restraint and a decent sense of proportion, providing everything from context-sensitive maps to an iPhone application for those preparing to flee for the hills.

The irksome fact that the majority of people who contract the new H1N1 flu strain get a bit peaky and then recover provides no reason not to panic, and Web 2.0 is ready to provide you with up-to-the second updates in case you're starting to get relaxed about the whole issue.


Swine 'Flu / Let's Shoot The Messenger...
Someone on the tube this morning had a face mask on with a Metro under his arm reading 'pig flu could kill millions'. I wanted to punch him.

If the media is to be believed we're in for Black Death 2.0. I have just one thing to say to that. Y2K.

Let's shoot the messenger!

Sky News, BBC News, CNN, ITN, Fox News (especially Fox News!) let's line them all up and shoot them all!

I think there's plenty of guilt to go around. Perhaps BBC Three's 60 Second News team could be spared - to be used later as our Let's Shoot The Messenger Ministry of Information.

I'm too much of a realist to by an optimist and too much of a cynic to be a realist. Life is shit and then you die. On the plus side however death will be slightly more pleasurable than listening to another scare story about swine 'flu!

Let's. Shoot. The. Messenger.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Windows XP Mode for Windows 7...
Techy item to follow so look away now if you're not into that sort of stuff.

Windows 7 is on the way. But what about backward compatibility? Well, Microsoft have a (long over-due) trick up their sleeve: Windows XP Mode (XPM) for Windows 7.

XPM consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site. (That is, it will not be included in the box with Windows 7, but is considered an out-of-band update, like Windows Live Essentials.) XPM works much like today's Virtual PC products, but with one important exception: As with the enterprise-based MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) product, XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, as you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (With shortcuts placed in the Start Menu.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.

Obviously, XPM has huge ramifications for Windows going forward. By removing the onus of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft can strip away deadwood technology from future versions of Windows at a speedier clip, because customers who need to run older applications can simply do so with XPM. For Windows 7 specifically, XPM is a huge convenience, especially for Microsoft's corporate customers, who can of course control XPM behavior via standard Microsoft administration and management technologies like Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy (GP). And it significantly recasts the Windows 7 compatibility picture. Before, Microsoft could claim that Windows 7 would be at least as compatible as Windows Vista. Now, they can claim almost complete Windows XP compatibility, or almost 100 percent compatibility with all currently running Windows applications.

Now that has to be a good thing. Now where did I put those legacy apps...?


Monday, April 27, 2009
Sniff Swig Puff...
Bea Arthur RIP. I used to love Bea's Dorothy Zbornak character in The Golden Girls. Brilliant. But that was nothing compared to her preceding eponymous Maude Findlay character and it's manic theme music. Sublime. Maude repeats please.

In the meantime, how about this marvellous clip of two gay icons singing about recreational drug use.


[Thanks David]


Sunday, April 26, 2009
Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough...
It was a lovely sunny day, our spirits were high and the boys didn't disappoint. We outclassed them today. Middlesbrough are going down.


Missing Link Answer...
9p. Break open each one of the pieces of a single three-link chain completely (3p) and rejoin each through two other ends (6p).


Friday, April 24, 2009
Missing Link...
A little quiz for Friday. If it costs a penny to break a link, and two pence to weld it again, what is the least it would cost to join in a single length of chain the five segments shown here?


Thursday, April 23, 2009
Mobius Strip...
Why did the mobius strip cross the road?

To get to the other s..., er... oh.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sellotape on the Door Lock...
How weird is this? I got home last night and the Yale lock on my front door had a piece of sellotape over it. Clear sellotape. That's odd, I thought.

Now this got me thinking. Why would somebody do that? Local kids mucking about? Well, no. I'd have thought they'd do something a bit more 'out there' than tape over a door lock.

Then at 5am this morning it occurred to me. That's exactly what a burglar would do if they were 'casing the joint'. Put a piece of sellotape over a lock and if it's still there a day or so later then the people who lived there must be away.

So at 5am I was bolt upright in bed thinking, "Shit! We're going to be burgled!"

Me being me, I couldn't get back to sleep afterwards so I got up.

So now I'm sort of in two minds. Should I just ignore it or should I perhaps let neighbourhood watch or the local constabulary know? Or am I just being paranoid?


Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal...
What an amazing game it was last night. With a much depleted side we went into the game expecting to lose. And Liverpool were way the better side on the night too. So imagine our surprise when not only did we score any goals at all but four. All coming from the same player, Arshavin. A clasic match.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Nouvelle Vague...
Last Friday Stu and went to the NFT to see a couple of French films in their Nouvelle Vague season.

The first was Zazie dans le Métro (1960). A really sweet (and funny) story of how provincial 12 year-old Zazie stays in Paris with her Uncle Gabriel (a female impersonator) for two days, while her mother spends some time with her lover. Zazie manages to evade her uncle's custody, however, and, métro strike notwithstanding, sets out to explore the city on her own. It is a hilarious story not too distant from a Carry On film at times in it's absurdity. Much of the film is shot as a pastiche of other film styles - slapstick, jump-cut and cartoon being the obvious ones. We loved it.

The second film we saw was And God Created Woman (Et Dieu… créa la femme) (1956) a starlet vehicle for director Roger Vadim's nubile missus Brigitte Bardot. The film tells the story of Juliette, an 18-year old orphan with a high level of sexual energy. Barefooted she captivates all the men around her - jealousy and social commentary abound. Fab. The scene of Bardot dancing barefoot on a table is arguably one of the sexiest scenes put on celluloid.


Monday, April 20, 2009
J.G. Ballard RIP...
One of my favourite authors J. G. Ballard has died. Among many of his wonderful works is one of my favourites, The Unlimited Dream Company.


Saturday, April 18, 2009
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea...
Paul and I went to Wembley earlier today to see the FA Cup semi-final. It wasn't a classic by any means and all the goals came from mistakes. Arsenal just didn't do enough. Revenge in the Champions League Final? More snaps here.


Friday, April 17, 2009
A Rather Fabulous Samsung Advert...


Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Live to Projection...
Last night Sarah, Ben, Stu, Simon, I (et al) went to the Royal Albert Hall to see a screening of the Peter Jackson film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The film was accompanied by a live renditioning of the original score performed by all the original performers - the London Philharmonic, London Voices and the London Oratory School Schola boys chorus.

And it was fantastic.

We had 200 people on stage singing and playing their hearts out along to a giant screen showing the film behind them. In fact the music was so good you pretty much forgot that their was this ruddy great big ensemble in front of you and just got lost in the film. A sort of 7.1 200.1 surround sound.

The film is long (of course) so they broke it up into two parts to furnish us with an intermission (i.e. bar and loo break). The first part lead us up until the forming of the fellowship and the second part thereafter.

The film was shown with subtitles which was a good thing as a swelling orchestra and chorus is hard to hear over.

Next year they are going to repeat the performance but with The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. Can't wait.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Lloyds Bank Shit...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
David Byrne...
Last night Paul and I went to the Royal Festival Hall to see one of our heroes, David Byrne. He is currently touring with a show that promotes his recent album with one of our other heroes, Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. The show is built around not only this album but also all the other collaborative works that Byrne and Eno have both worked on; My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, the three Talking Heads' albums More Songs About Buildings And Food, Fear Of Music and the sublime Remain In Light.

The show was spot on. Great sound, great singing and great visuals. The dancers were excellent and the theatrical nature of the show had strong echoes of the Stop Making Sense tour.

Dressed in white, Dave joked about how we could all take photos of the concert if we wanted but that we should only upload the good ones online - security would be checking for any bad ones on the way out and deleting them.

The set list was pretty much as you might expect and included all out favourites Air, Houses In Motion, Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On), Once in a Lifetime, Take Me To The River, Life During Wartime and Heaven.

Everyone was on their feet dancing half way through the show and we had forty minutes of encores.

Top track of the night: Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
Moment of the night: Eno appearing to sing on the final encore (there were four in total)


Monday, April 13, 2009
Hamster News...


Friday, April 10, 2009
Tintin...
I am now the proud owner of something I used to own many years ago and now have bought again; all 24 25 books in Hergé's series The Adventures of Tintin. I used to own them all back in the day when a trip down to Pilot (now renamed the Tintin Shop) in Floral Street was a weekly pilgrimage. Sadly I lost them somewhere along the way so I wanted to replace them.

Amazon was my port of call having decided to buy the paperback versions rather than the hardcovers. OK, they may not last me as long but it's the flexible covers that tickle by nostalgia nerves the most - and they were cheaper.

I've always loved the Tintin books but perhaps have an even fonder recollection of the five minute Saturday morning cartoons Hergé's Adventures of Tintin and can still hear in my head the booming voice announcing, "HERG-AYE'S ADVENT-URES OF TIN! TIN!"

So for the next month or so I intend to submerge myself in Herge's world of the alcoholic Captain Haddock, the absent-minded Professor Cuthbert Calculus, the bumbling Thomson and Thompson, the diva Bianca Castafiore and of course the white fox-terrier Snowy and Tintin himself.


Thursday, April 09, 2009
ABC...
Last night Paul, Simon, Stu and I went to see ABC perform all the songs from their 1982 debut album, The Lexicon of Love, at London's Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra - conducted by Anne Dudley who arranged and played on the original album.

The first half started off with a collection of ABC's hits; That Was Then but This Is Now, S.O.S., (How to Be a) Millionaire, Be Near Me, Ocean Blue, King Without a Crown, One Better World (Sterling Void should sue), The Very First Time (the only newy of the night and of course When Smokey Sings.

After the interval they performed The Lexicon of Love album start to finish. This part was introduced by Trevor Horn, the album's producer who gave a rather touching speech about all the people involved on the record and how it was his favourite album ever.

The sound in the RAH was excellent. Martin Fry's voice was pitch perfect and I swear you could hear every single intrument and every single word of those amazing lyrics. And as if 'twere needed, the orchestration brought the album quite vividly to life.

We absolutely loved it. And needless to say they got a standing ovation.

If you want to hear it yourself, it's been recorded by the BBC and will be on BBC Radio 2 this Saturday at 10pm.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Radiohead - Paranoid Android on Mario Paint Composer...
I love Mario. I love Radiohead. So how could a literal transcribing of Paranoid Android into Mario Paint Composer be anything but genius? Here's how.

It seems to be music video week here on OYH.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009
I Heard That Song Before...
A clever demonstration of the awesome power of the chords E, B, C#m and A.


Monday, April 06, 2009
Arsenal 2-0 Man City...
Paul and I were at the game on Saturday afternoon. It was sunny, we had a beer or two inside us, the team were in top form and Man C were in poor form (to put it mildly). So a fairly result I think. Hopefully this will solidify our fourth placing.


The Triplets...
On Friday I went over to Ben and Sarah's to see the triplets. Now three and half they are all talking, walking, singing, playing and getting up to mischief. It was so lovely to catch up with everyone. We went to Dulwich Park for a picnic and a tough and tumble. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves (but probably not half as much as I did). I took some snaps as you can see below. And lots more here.




Friday, April 03, 2009
Spring Awakening...
Last night Stu treated me to dinner and a show. For dinner we went to Sway (great food and great service). For the show we went to the Novello Theatre in London's glitzy West End to see Spring Awakening, the musical based on Frank Wedekind's groundbreaking 1890s play exploring teenage sexual awakening.

It was fab. It retained it's period setting by way of the set, costumes and language whilst the songs were really quite contemporary. We touched on elements of angst, school pressure, parental pressure, lack of sex education, dating failure, suicide, child abuse, unwanted pregnancy, abortion - all the usual teenage things!

So it was Busted meets Oliver Twist. A sort of 19th Century musical version of Skins - set in Germany.



Thursday, April 02, 2009
Ben Goldacre on London Tonight...
My hero Ben Goldacre doing a piece on London Tonight about MMR, Autism and Media Mendacity. Bad Science indeed. It's obviously video week here on OYH.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009
The Prisoner: A Sneak Preview...
The remake of The Prisoner by AMC will be shown in the States later this year and on ITV1 in early 2010. Here's a sneak preview.

[Thanks Paul]


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