Blogathon 9/13 Morbid?

I’m going to update the list, below, as time progresses, and some items will get struck off, but remain as a matter of record, as I try to bring the list down to a manageable number of tracks…

In August 2011 I went to the funeral/cremation of a member of my team.

Grant Burke was a keen motorcyclist, a mad cricketer (in both senses of the phrase), and an online gaming weirdo.

He was also wonderfully sarcastic, bitingly scathing of our politicians, and he would support the underdog until he had no breath left.

Grant had the weirdest taste in music, coupled with an awesome sense of humour and, if you haven’t guessed yet, it was Grant who, over the course of a year of working together, encouraged me back in to motorcycling.

His funeral music included ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ by 10cc for his ‘intro’.

At the conclusion of the service we filed out to the distinctly (but pleasantly) jarring (given the circumstances) instrumental strain of the BBCs Test Match Special.

In between these two pieces, there were other – equally oddball – choices.

And there was dancing. And there was much laughter.

And there were tears.

My point is that Grant’s musical choices for his own funeral/cremation served to underline his larger-than-life (in a John Goodman kind of way) personality.

I hadn’t given the subject of funeral musical any further thought, until recently.

I was having ‘one of those’ deeply intense conversations with someone, recently, when she raised the subject of musical choices, for her funeral.

My first thought was ‘she’s clearly mental!’ (true), but then I remembered Grant, and recalled his musical choices, and what he had done for his friends, his family and his colleagues.

The smiles. The tears. The dancing.

She had a point, my friend, a similar point to the one that Grant had so eloquently made.

I made an effort to listen to her choices; there was much of her character in them.

And as I listened I started to wonder what my music might be.

Inevitably, I began a list.

It quickly grew in to a long list. I’m talking about a very long list indeed!

The first draft was:

  • Ennio Morricone, Per Qualche Dollaro In Piu (for the walk-in)
  • Aimee Mann, Deathly
  • The Winchell Riots, Kandahar Road
  • Missy Higgins, The Special Two
  • Muse, Hysteria
  • Norwegian Recycling, The Pachelbel Mashup
  • The Smiths, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
  • Anemo, Heaven is Waiting?
  • Arcade Fire, Keep The Car Running
  • The Birdinumnums, Little Libertine
  • Buddy Guy, Feels Like Rain
  • The Candle Thieves, We’re All Gonna Die (Have Fun)
  • Dan Black, Hypntz
  • DJ Shadow, Organ Donor
  • Deer Chicago, Frozen Globe, Freezing Teeth
  • Deer Chicago, Quite Like A Tide
  • Elvis Costello, I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea
  • The Epstein, Dance The Night Away
  • The Calling, Wherever You Will Go

To this list got added Phil McMinn’s awesomely beautiful ‘The House You Built From The Wreckage’.

And that, logically, led me to check that ‘Kandahar Road’ by The Winchell Riots had been included (it had, obv), which, in turn, led me straight back to the eye-wateringly, delicate and wonderfully fragile ‘Lavender Hill’ by (once again) Phil McMinn.

Now some of you might think that 21 tracks for a funeral might be slightly excessive, but from the first notes of the walk-in piece of Per Qualche Dollaro In Piu, I dare you not to raise a smile.

Particularly when you see the congregation dressed as American Indians.

(well, maybe not, but they are in my head)

And I haven’t even got any Pink in there yet.

Or Paramore!

The file-out piece, though, is likely to be ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd.

Because that would be apt.

Two brilliant guitar solos in one song.

It would be impossible not to wear a smile after that.

But tell me, despite my list being (currently) infeasibly long, if you were to choose the soundtrack to your own farewell…

what would you include?

 

 

____________________________________________

 

 

So, the (almost) final list:

  • Ennio Morricone, Per Qualche Dollaro In Piu (for the walk-in)
  • The Winchell Riots, Kandahar Road
  • The Smiths, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
  • Anemo, Heaven is Waiting?
  • The Birdinumnums, Little Libertine
  • The Candle Thieves, We’re All Gonna Die (Have Fun)
  • Deer Chicago, Frozen Globe, Freezing Teeth
  • The Calling, Wherever You Will Go
  • Lavender Hill, Phil McMinn
  • Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb (walk out)

Blogathon 8/13 Film review!

The latest British film to attempt to ride on the ‘Four Weddings And A Funeral’ bandwagon (the poster carries the wording ‘From the producers of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually) has hit the cinema.

5905_poster_large

 

‘I Give It A Year’ opened today to what has been (despite the exuberant quotes on the poster) mixed reviews.

 

Without giving too much of the plot away, the central theme revolves around the story of a pair of people who met, fell in love and got married inside seven months.

 

The film tracks their lives from their wedding day to their first wedding anniversary.

The cast has a good go at it.

I find the two leads, Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne) quite sweet, but I didn’t really engage with the characters they played.

Ironically the two main supports, Chloe (Anna Farris) and Guy (Simon Baker) do a more convincing job and had me believing in their characters without great effort.

Let’s be clear.

Although ‘I Give It A Year’ has a few engaging problems, it is not a bad film. It is an above average film.

I laughed 13 times, had 8 chuckles and cringed at one awful cliché which was re-dressed and played back to us in the end titles and yes, I laughed at that too.

But there is, at its heart, a big emotional vacuum.

The only people I cared about were the two supports. The two protagonists were nice enough, but they were just nice.

So although ‘I Give It A Year’ is an above average film it is no Bridget Jones. It is no Love Actually. And, to end the lineage, this film is no Four Weddings And A Funeral.

But it is fun. The laugh ratio is high (but should have been higher). The cringe ration is acceptable.

And Anna Farris is, in her underwear, very easy on the eye.

It’s also worth seeing because the beguiling Minnie Driver is in it.

I’ve given the score of this a lot of thought and, in the end, decided to give this a slightly higher ranking than it should deserve, and this comes after reviewing the laugh count the the performance from the two supports.

If the two leads had been allowed to shine in the same way, this could easily have been an 8/10 or possibly a 9/10, but…

I Give It A Year: 7/10
(worth watching)

Blogathon 7/13 Simon!

Although I’m fairly handy with a set of tools and I am capable of handling most jobs (with the aid of a good set of documentation), I do prefer to leave some things to the specialists.

Maintaining the Bandit is one of those tasks.

Banons Motorcycle Service is the mobile motorcycle mechanic I have been using.

When I bought the Bandit, I wanted the bike to have a complete workover.

Simon took the motorbike away and over the course of a week he did a full strip-down and service.

He found a few things that needed urgent attention, and a couple of longer-term niggles that needed looking at, at some stage within the next twelve months.

And he sent me photos.

A week-and-a-half later, Simon delivered the Bandit back to me.

We shared a mug of coffee and a gossip.

We went through the photos of what he found, and Simon gave me a much more detailed explanation of what he had to do to (including cutting an incorrectly-sized nut off the rear spindle).

Later I hopped on the motorcycle and took it out for a brief run around time.

The Bandit felt even more brilliant; somehow the balance of the bike had been improved; handling was tighter and both the ‘go faster’ and ‘stop now’ responses were breathtaking.

A few days ago Simon came out to take care of a couple of the longer-term niggles, then I popped the Bandit round to the tyre specialist for a new set of tyres.

Bandit_reshod

 

You may not know it, but new tyres, on a motorcycle, should be ‘run-in’ for a hundred miles.

This means no sharp cornering, no rapid acceleration, and *cough* keeping within the speed limit.

 

With limitations like that, it’s going to be a dull hundred miles.

But it’s going to be fun afterwards
🙂

 

Blogathon 6/13 Twat!

warning: this piece contains very many hyperswears that are directed at a specific person and a generic person type. if you are this person or if you are this person type then get a fucking grip of your life and sharpen up because people like me will put all your fucking details all over the fucking internet, you selfish cunt, and if you are offended by very many hyperswears, erm, soz

Last night’s commute home from London was made unpleasant by, well, a very unpleasant person.

A very unpleasant character type.

I label this person – and this character type – as The Space Invader.

You know the sort.

They get on to a table seat and take over the whole fucking width of the table because they are selfish fucking bastards.

This woman spent the entire journey, from Paddington to Charlbury, peering intently at her laptop display as if she was plotting re-entry calculations for the next European Space Agency launch.

She wasn’t, of course.

She was just sending fucking emails to her boring fucking colleagues.

The ‘I’m peering really seriously at my laptop display’ was to try and show everyone how totes fucking important she was, and how completely necessary it was for her to take over the entire width of the fucking table.

Well I’ve got news for you, love, you’re not that fucking important at all, otherwise you would have been in First Class, not here in Standard Class with the rest of us plebs.

This space invading arsehole made absolutely no attempt to apologise for taking over 50% of the table width for her twattish little laptop.

But worse than that, she had the monitor so rakishly angled away from her, that despite having *some* degree of table to put my things on, I actually had no amount of table that I could use, because her laptop screen backwards-overhung the entire width of the table.

Fucking cunt.

Now, because she got off at Charlbury (and I think she was slightly alarmed that I got off at the same stop – because she totes knew she was being a selfish cuntmonster), it would have been soooo easy to follow her to her car.

And write down her registration.

And with one phone call, find out her name and address.

And arrange for a trailerload of rank cowshit to be parked outside her house for three or four weeks.

But I didn’t.

Because I am a truly nice person.

Unlike this selfish pile of shit:

SpaceInvader

 

Blogathon 5/13 Quiet!

HELLO?

I’M ON THE TRAIN!

YES, THE TRAIN.

TO LONDON.

I’M IN SOMETHING CALLED THE QUIET CARRIAGE.

IT’S VERY NICE IN HERE.

AND QUIET.

………

But seriously, what the actual?

I should be able to hear my wristwatch tick (as opposed to my faithful Hunter pocket watch*).

Instead there’s that boy over there playing music out of his mobile phone.

And that girl over there? I can hear her masticating.

And the old lady behind me is sending THE WORLD’S LONGEST TEXT MESSAGE AND SHE HAS HER KEYPAD TONES SWITCHED ON AND SET TO STUN!

Getting rid of 4th class was a backwards step.

Really.

*I don’t actually have a Hunter pocket watch

Blogathon 4/13 Twitter!

A little while ago the lovely Chloe wrote ‘Why Tweet‘, a view on some of the benefits of using Twitter.

This isn’t that kind of article.

This is just a look at some of the funny – and serious – Tweets that I’ve bookmarked, for various reasons, but chiefly because I like (and occasionally agree) with the messages they contain.

I’ve deliberately mixed up the funny with the sarcastic with the ironic with the pointedly political.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogathon 3/13 NewTech!

I have a new toy!

Yes indeedy, the Tablet generation has a new member.

I have finally managed to beg, borrow and/or steal the 32gb version of one of these:

Nexus10

 

 

 

A Nexus 10.

 

 

 

It’s very early days in this fledgling, but hi-tech relationship, but so far things are pretty comfortable.

I’ve installed the same applications on the Nexus 10 that I run on my phone (this blogpost is being typed via the very nifty WordPress application, using the SwiftKey virtual keyboard).

My two laptops have become exclusive to video and audio editing/production, whilst the Nexus 10 has become the primary Internet workhorse.

Because I migrated all of my audio, video, and text-based files and projects on to my NAS, just over a year ago, the Nexus 10 has access, via WiFi, to 1.5tb of multimedia data from anywhere.

One new development is that I’m also using the Nexus 10 as a Kindle.

So I have all this highly portable tech.

Shame I’m mostly using it for Twitter.

Ahem.

Blogathon 2/13 Sparkling!

I didn’t really have plans for today.

And then, yesterday evening, there was some Facebook activity. And a phone call. And some more Facebook activity.

As a result, two members of the Oxford Motorcycle Group (H and me) met up in a cafe, in Moreton in Marsh, at 8.30 this morning.

Half an hour later the two of us pointed our bikes at Worcestershire. We arrived in the village of Hallow just before 10am.

Not many minutes later the Bandit looked like this:

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t too long before it looked like this:

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then it looked like this:

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I gave the Bandit the All Year Biker treatment.

This is a wash, clean, degrease, anti-corrosion treatment that spruces up, gets the winter salt out of the little nooks and cranies and finishes with a wax.

As you can see, the Bandit *gleamed*

While the bike was getting worked on, H and I sat in the sun, drinking tea and chatting.

Later, H and I headed homewards back towards Oxfordshire.

We stopped at Broadway for lunch (and a gossip and a big people-watch).

The Bandit is now put to bed. It’s still gleaming.

But more importantly than being clean, it has had that winter treatment.

The weather was brilliant; it was a fantastic day for a big run across country.

Yep, we avoided the dull dull dull motorways and had a ball on the cross-country route:


View Larger Map

So, a big thanks to H for putting me on to the All Year Biker treatment, and for keeping me company.

Blogathon 1/13 Procrastination!

PC: It’s Groundhog Day [beat, beat] again.

The words of Phil Connors, leading character in the brilliant Groundhog Day (a film about which I know far too much).

(there’s a fun little game played by film buffs called The Mark Strong But Game – so-called because it was brought to popular attention by the actor Mark Strong. You run through the cast of a good film and add the not-good cast member. In the case of the above it would be ‘Groundhog Day. With Bill Murray. But Andie MacDowell’. Yep, it just works, doesn’t it?)

The real Groundhog Day is tomorrow (February 2nd), and yes, it is really held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. So don’t say you don’t learn anything from hanging around here.

Today, though, is the start of my own little Groundhog Day recurring event, it is the first day of the annual February post-a-day-Blogathon, inspired by young Mr Masher.

And here’s a work update.

This afternoon (it is 2pm Thursday), I am sitting on my couch.

I’m between ‘day job’ contracts and, according to my meticulously documented schedule, I am supposed to be working on my writing.

Like all writers, things aren’t going to plan.

I have written my shopping list.

I have written a couple of emails.

I am writing this blogpost.

I’ve written a few Tweets.

Sadly, the one thing that I haven’t written is the rewrite of Episode 3 of ‘Shelved’.

Oh well.

I’ll just have to spend some time over on YouTube looking at video of motorbikes.

Just until inspiration lands.

See you tomorrow, then?

I’ll try to have another interesting fact or two for you.

Ooh, must go!

Jeremy Kyle is on.