Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Scrobbled

1 Siouxsie and the Banshees 147 (times played)
2 Muse 146
3 The Clash 135
4 New Model Army 134
5 Paradise Lost 129
6 The Beatles 122
7 The Damned 109
7 The Wildhearts 109
9 Gogol Bordello 106
10 Iron Maiden 104
11 Coheed and Cambria 103
12 Magnum 102
13 Lindisfarne 100
13 Marilyn Manson 100
15 Desmond Dekker 98
16 Pink Floyd 94
17 Ramones 90
18 Rush 89
19 Marillion 86
20 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 85
21 Megadeth 84
22 The Distillers 81
22 Rage Against the Machine 81
22 Roger Waters 81
25 Def Leppard 80
25 Tiken Jah Fakoly 80
25 Status Quo 80
28 Mastodon 76
29 Rancid 73
29 Metallica 73
31 The Exploited 71
31 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 71
31 Richard Wagner 71
31 Placebo 71
35 Nightwish 67
36 Queensrÿche 66
36 Simon & Garfunkel 66
38 Children of Bodom 63
38 Frédéric Chopin 63
40 Dead Kennedys 60
40 Igor Stravinsky (Phil. Orchestra Esa-Pekka Salonen) 60
42 Johnny Cash 59
42 Led Zeppelin 59
44 Bob Marley & The Wailers 58
44 Arctic Monkeys 58
46 Hawkwind 57
47 John Lennon 56
47 Aerosmith 56
47 Babar Luck 56
47 Rammstein 56
51 Feeder 52
52 Ian Dury and the Blockheads 51
53 Bedouin Soundclash 50
54 Motörhead 49
54 Alanis Morissette 49
56 Ms. Dynamite 46
56 Robert Plant 46
56 Candlemass 46
59 The Streets 45
59 The Offspring 45
59 Guns N' Roses 45
62 Killing Joke 44
62 System of a Down 44
64 Arch Enemy 43
65 Little Angels 42
65 The Cooper Temple Clause 42
67 InMe 41
67 The Mad Capsule Markets 41
67 Thin Lizzy 41
67 The Mars Volta 41
71 lostprophets 40
72 Therapy? 39
73 Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band 38
73 Dream Theater 38
73 Deep Purple 38
73 Biffy Clyro 38
77 Avril Lavigne 37
78 Beatallica 36
78 Fish 36
78 Marc A. Pullen 36
78 Lacuna Coil 36
82 Clannad 35
82 Toots and The Maytals 35
84 Disco Ensemble 34
84 Apocalyptica 34
84 Sonata Arctica 34
84 Blondie 34
84 The Darkness 34
84 Howard Shore 34
84 Judas Priest 34
91 Peter Tosh 33
91 Jethro Tull 33
91 Lady Sovereign 33
94 Amy Studt 32
94 Fuck-Off Machete 32
94 Ozzy Osbourne 32
94 1905 32
98 Soundgarden 31
99 Christina Aguilera 30
99 Israel DUB Foundation (I.D.F) 30

Top Tracks

1 The Clash – I'm So Bored With the U.S.A. 10
2 Muse – Knights of Cydonia 9
2 The Clash – Spanish Bombs 9
4 The Clash – Rudie Can't Fail 8
4 The Exploited – Fuck The USA 8
4 Gogol Bordello – Passport 8
4 The Damned – New Rose 8
8 Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of 7
8 Megadeth – Poison Was the Cure 7
8 Desmond Dekker – Archie Wah Wah 7
8 Arctic Monkeys – When the Sun Goes Down 7
8 Muse – Supermassive Black Hole 7
8 The Clash – London Calling 7

I'm hooked on Scrobbling.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

When Rock Gods Go Bad



Aww no Ritchie, what the bloody hell do you look like ? Even Dio wasn't ever this sad. She's alright though.



Ritchie Blackmore used to be in Deep Purple, and Rainbow, he used to play live in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans, and now he spends his spare time dressed like an extra in a cut scene from Lord Of The Rings, it's not a good look Ritchie.
Ooh, Look At The Pretty Things



Isn't this pretty, you can buy this, and other pretty things, from Iris Gems, and Steph will post items overseas from her creative base in Winnipeg.
So Saddam's Dead

I can't say I'm sorry, I don't think the dictator's execution is likely to help the instability in Iraq though. You can only pray for the poor people of Iraq, and even for the deluded maniacs who think they are going to find a path to God by killing themselves in suicide bombings.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sports Quote Of The Year

""Beenie the horse wants to sit next to you on the touchline," she said.

It's diffcult to tell a seven year old that this is the Premiership, I'm known as Psycho and I'm a hard man."

- Stuart Pearce, Man City manager.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sudan's President Backs Peace Plan

Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, has today given his full backing to a UN peace plan for Darfur, where (allegedly) government sponsored militia's are engaged in a campaign of mass rape, land theft and genocide.

Al-Bashir said that he and his government would give their full support to the UN operation, just as long as it didn't include a large scale UN troop deployment in the area.

He went on to say that the government in Khartoum was happy to have the UN running operations in Darfur as long as the Sudanese retained an effective veto over everything.

"We are quite happy to have the UN involved," he said. "We have come to an agreement that the UN will deploy 5 soldiers to a small tin hut near Al-Fashir where they can continue to monitor the Janjaweed's Darfur Assistance Programme."

So far in Darfur, the Janjaweed have assisted 400,000 people into shallow graves, and they have assisted a further 2.5 million people to leave their homes for somewhere where they are less likely to be butchered in their sleep.

Mr. Al-Bashir said that everything in Darfur was going according to plan, and that the final solution to the Darfur problem would be accomplished soon.
Armed Forces Not Too Small To Cope

Defence Secretary Des Browne said yesterday that the UK's armed forces were of sufficient size to cope in all it's current areas of operation. When Nu-Labour came to power the standing army of the UK stood at approx 156,000. Today our army has around 95,000 soldiers.

Mr. Browne outlined government spending plans which would see the Army being allowed to purchase two new tents over the next ten years and would have the Army/Navy special forces units replaced with a Lego Bionicle Gift Set (batteries not included).

Browne said that he was confident that the military could cope wth the threat posed by Al-Queda and the Venom Attack Tilian and had approved spending for a new Action Man ATOM (Alpha Teens On Machines) Unit to replace the fifty odd thousand troops we no longer have.

Despite such a masive drop loss of numbers in the Army, many of our brave soldiers are still having to beg uniforms, armour, bullets, food etc. from their rather better equipped and supplied American allies.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How Drugs Can Affect You

Just look what drugs did to this poor girl over a ten year period.....

The Hulk Joins X (Rated) Men


Er, NSFW ?
Aaargh, My Eyes

Sometimes on the nudist beach, it's better not to look.

NSFW
Michaelangelaaaargh

The Generosity Of Loved Ones

I am rather overwhelmed by the amount of wonderful presents people gave me yesterday, and the thought that everyone put into them, thanks everyone.

My wonderful wife got me a basestation for my i-Pod, now I can treat all my staff (and the customers - it has a decent amount of volume) to my back catalogue of obscure British punk and 90's speed metal, well, at least I'll appreciate it even if they don't.

Much kudos to my Dad for finding a book called The Wine Diet - Drink Red Wine And Eat Chocolate Every Day for a Longer, Happier Life. Dad, that's not just a book, it's a religion!

Sometimes friends say "I couldn't think what to get you, so I got you this book token / bottle of wine." Then they apologise for what they perceive to be a dull present, well let me assure you, there is never a bottle of wine left untouched or a book token not put to good use in this house, everything is much appreciated.

I love everything I received, thanks to everyone, I am listening to / drinking / eating / reading some of the gifts even now, cheers.
Whilst Hundreds Die...

...around the world today from war and starvation, the plonkers from the League Against Cruel Sports claim they have mobilised hundreds of supporters to keep an eye on the activities of hunts across the country.

The LACS are really pissed off that the legislation brought in by Nu-Labour has largely failed to stop hunts across the country, and as they believe that animals are far more important than people, they will be doing their absolute best to search out any evidence of illegal hunting today.

But imagine if we could put this band of volunteers to better use, how about LACS groups breathalyzing people leaving pubs, bars and sports clubs in an effort to cut down on drink driving deaths and accidents, hey who knows, they might even prevent the odd cat or squirrel from getting run over, and that's more important than saving children ? Right ?

Just imagine if they campaigned outside the house of every MP in the country in a noisy but essentially peaceful manner and ask why we have done almost nothing about Darfur ? Is it becuase there isn't any oil or gas there ?

What if they just stood around with collection buckets and raised a few thousand quid to stop people starving to death across large parts of the third world ?

Nah, they'll just piss a few folk off and moan like buggery if the hunts happen to kill a fox or two. That's it folks, get your priorites right.

Just so I can be completely Bono-ish / pain in the arse holier-than-thou about this, I'm giving all today's takings to Farm Africa.
Get Ready....

...for New Year's Day.

See here, some fellow winter water lunatics brace the waters on christmas Day. Pay particular attention to picture 2, because this year we would really like to see some of the ladies joining us in White Wells.

Come on girls, get your kit off!

New Year's Day, 10am, White Wells, Ilkley. Come and see Yorkshire Soul and a select band of complete nutters hard as nails Tykes take on the freezing waters of Ilkley Moor in the Victorian Spa.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas Folks

I hope everyone (even the Australian cricket team) has a very happy Christmas, thanks for stopping by the blog and taking an interest in the things that interest me.

From last weeks Now Show........

"What I'd Like For Christmas - peace on earth, an end to suffering and good will to all men.

Why ? - Because I've already got a Playstation."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.8

There is a new quiz, for the regulars, this should have arrived in your e-mail inbox, if you havn't received it, or you havn't taken part in the quiz before and would like to, e-mail me ( yorkshiresoul@gmail.com ) and I'll send you the quiz and rules.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Mattanza



Joseph and his family lived on the island of Sicily.

He lived there with his father Kevin, his mother Liz, his little sister Ellie and his uncle Mikey and Auntie Meg.

Joe’s father was the best fisherman in the village, he would catch the biggest tuna for Uncle Mikey to cook, Meg would set the tables and his mother would bring beautiful flowers from the hills and sing to baby Ellie.

Every spring the men of the village would follow Joe’s father to the boats and set out to sea to catch the tuna.

They would chant............

“Mattanza, Mattanza,
Big Fish,
Fast Fish,
Strong Fish,
Slippery Fish”

Joe’s father would pull the fish from the sea and take them back to the village.

Uncle Mikey cooked them with herbs, Meg poured the wine and the lemonade for the little ones, Joe’s mother gave tiny bits of fish to Ellie and everyone was full and happy.



One year Joe’s father sailed to sea, the fishermen chanted..........

“Mattanza, Mattanza,
Big Fish,
Fast Fish,
Strong Fish,
Slippery Fish”
But no fish came.

They returned to the village.
Uncle Mikey was sad because he had no tuna to cook.
Auntie Meg was sad because no-one was eating at her pretty tables.
Joseph’s mother was sad because no-one saw the beautiful flowers she had gathered.

“There are no fish” said Joe’s father. “We must find out what is wrong.”




They set out to sea, Joseph’s father rowed, Uncle Mikey steered and Joseph kept lookout, they all chanted...............

“Mattanza, Mattanza,
Big Fish,
Fast Fish,
Strong Fish,
Slippery Fish”

But no fish came.

They sailed further than they had ever gone before, past Gibralter and to the Atlantic Ocean, and they saw a terrible thing.

A huge ship, as big as an island with a red sun flag, and it was sucking up all the tuna fish.

“What shall we do?” asked Joseph.

“I know” said Uncle Mikey “We need the Rainbow People” and he began to splash the water, Joseph and his father began to splash as well, they splashed and splashed and between them they made a rainbow.

Out from the rainbow sailed a beautiful ship, it was painted emerald green and it’s crew were handsome and beautiful and brave and strong.



The Rainbow People sailed up to the big black ship with the red sun, they sailed around and around it, they shouted and made noise.

“Raaaa” they shouted.

And Jospeph’s father shouted “Raaaaa”.

And Uncle Mikey shouted “Raaaaa”.

And Joseph shouted “Raaaa.”

The people on the black ship became fearful, because of all the noise everyone could now see that they were stealing all the tuna fish, they pulled up their anchor and sailed away.

The Rainbow People sailed away with a last, mighty “Raaaa”, just in case the bad ship should think to come back.

Joseph and his father and Uncle Mikey sailed back to the village, his mother and Auntie Meg were waiting on the harbour, they were very pleased to see them.

They all chanted..............

“Mattanza, Mattanza,
Big Fish,
Fast Fish,
Strong Fish,
Slippery Fish”



And the fish came, Joe’s father caught them, Uncle Mikey cooked them, Meg served them on her pretty tables, Joe’s mother sang and danced for Ellie and Ellie laughed.

Everybody was happy again.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

EU Fish Quota Deal Hammered Out

From our correspondent Roy Whiting.....

"Fisherman's represetatives from around Europe have agreed a new Fishing Quota deal for European waters, it runs something like this....when we've eaten all the fish, we'll stop fishing for them."

A couple of years ago I wrote a semi-spoof short story for my Godson based on the Sicilian tuna fishing ritual called the Mattanza (see link The Mattanza, ) now the short story has nearly come true, the tuna do not run any more, the Mattanza ritual is no longer possible because there are not sufficient fish, and a lifestyle that has endured for many generations has vanished in a few short years.

I will dig out the photos I used to illustrate The Mattanza and post the story in the morning.
Coming down Your Chimney.....RUN!!!!



From b3ta mad bloke Cyriak
Tour Will Not Be Cancelled Says Blair

Ageing rockers Nu-Labour say their current tour of the Middle East will not be cancelled despite rumours of low ticket sales and empty stadiums. Reporters have claimed that the veteran UK rockers have not managed to sell out a single night of their current tour.

Front line music paper the New Palestinian Express penned a damning article saying that Bliar and co were "Old hat, out of touch, too Americanised, just not relevant to the Mid East music scene, there is nothing they are saying that means anything to our kids any more, the kids here are into rap and punk like radical Islamist punks Muqtada al-Sadr, they just don't want to hear those old rock dinosaurs."

Iranian punks Tareq al-Hashemi have even released a song poking fun at the old Brits entitled "Tony blair is nothing more than a brainwashed imperialist lickspittle running dog controlled by Great Satan Bush."
The End Of An Era, Thank The Lord

Cricket fans around the world have given a small cheer and a mighty sigh of relief as spin king Shane Warne has announced his retirement. Never since the dual retirement of Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh have fans around the world felt such gratitude towards players of another nation.

Warne will rightly be hailed as the bowler of his generation (there will always be doubts raised over Muri's bowling action even if he does eventually take more wickets than Warne), he has helped to revitalise the international game and has helped to keep Australia at the top of world cricket throughout his career.

The only thing really wrong with Warne's game is his appealling, which holds very little appeal for opposing players and fans. Warne appeals a lot, for just about everything, it is a shame for such a fantastic player that he constantly and blatantly appeals when he knows full well that the batsman is not out. This has become part of his mindset though and now he can't help himself.

Off the pitch Warne is of course a first class muppet, from dubious backhanders for 'weather reports' through being banned for illegal diuretic use to being filmed during three in a bed sex romps, Warne never could manage his private life with the style he managed his cricket career.

On the pitch though, Warne is a man that batsmen fear, not the physical fear that some might have when Ambrose came thundering in from the far end, but Warne could bewitch and bedazzle batsman all over the world, he has consistently been able to make the ball do things that no other spinner can achieve. And he can bat a bit too, the bugger.

Farewell then Shane Warne, it was a gentlemen's game before we let the Ozzies in.....



For further gentle mockery of a world great, see what pops up in this Google picture search for Shane Warne, pics 6&7 may not be quite SFW.
Blonde Diary:


January

Took new scarf back to store because it was too tight.

February

Fired from pharmacy job for failing to print labels. Helllloooo!!!
bottles won't fit in typewriter!

March

Got really excited.....finished jigsaw puzzle in 6 months.....box said
"2-4 years!"

April

Trapped on an escalator for hours.....power went out!

May

Tried to make Kool-Aid....wrong instructions....8 cups of water won't
fit into those little packets!

June

Tried to go water skiing.....couldn't find a lake with a slope.

July

Lost breast stroke swimming competition.....learned later, the other
swimmers cheated, they used their arms!

August

Got locked out of my car in rain storm.....car swamped because soft-top was open.

September

The capital of California is "C".....isn't it?

November

Baked turkey for 4 1/2 days.....instructions said 1 hour per pound and I weigh 108 lbs!

December

Couldn't call 911....."duh".....there's no "eleven" button on the stupid phone!

(Thanks to MR)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cartoon Church



Cartoon Church blog

Cartoon resources for churches

Cartoons for everyone

Psycho........Duck ?

Hangover Of The Gods

Twas the staff Christmas piss up party last night, I really don't need pubs to be open into the small hours, I really am drunk enough by normal, old fashioned closing time.

To make things worse, there's a bloke using a pnuematic drill right outside the house, tha bugger's been at it since 7.45 this morning, I hate him.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best Music of 2006

Albums

1) Black Holes & Revelations - Muse



All the self restraint of Pink Floyd on an unlimited budget.



2) Gypsy Punk Underdog World Strike - Gogol Bordello



Paaaarty!



3) Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys



Britain's best punk band ?


4) Costello Music - The Fratellis



The very essence of infectious pop-rock.



5) Blood Mountain - Mastodon



The kings of sludge metal give it some woaaaaargh!



6) Birthing The Giant - Cancer Bats



Its like a gonzo cross of Black Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd with a dollop of Sepultura.



7) Valor Del Corazon - Ginger



So it's Wildhearts lite.



8) A Matter Of Life And Death - Iron Maiden



The oldest metalheads in town put out a decent album.



9) Care In The Community - Babar Luck



Brit Asian new wave indy folk punk whatever.



10) Liberation Transmission - Lostprophets



The boyos hit the big time.



Albums That sucked 2006

1) Mindcrime 2 - Queensryche
2) Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living - The Streets



Best Live Bands 2006

1) Muse
"it's nice to be blown away by the sheer majesty of it all."

2) Coheed & Cambria
"Sanchez has exactly the vocal range and control that you hear on the album, high pitched, soaring operatic vocal styling with clarity"

3) Gogol Bordello
"On cd the Gogols are great, live they are a phenomenon"

4) The Damned
"So we stay for the encores and miss the last train"

5) Dragonforce
"It really is all about fretwank tonight"

6) Cotheria
"Cotheria also draw the best response from the Faversham crowd"

7) JinZena
"I would have told you a couple of song titles if drunk girl Robyn hadn't nicked my free cd."

Worst Live Bands 2006

1) Trivium
"Matt Heafy meanwhile grinds to a halt, tharn, rabbit in the headlights, lost the plot. "

2) Razorlight
"After seeing this shower live I can't think of a single good thing to say about them"

3) The Voom Blooms
"they sound pretty much like TheStrokesTheBraveryBlocPartyInterpolThePostalServiceTheKillersTheAutomaticBabyshambles with hints of SnowPatrolTestIciclesWeAreScientistsRazorlight."
Rottnest Island

This place is just off the coast near Perth, it's a wildlife sanctuary and big end of term piss up destination. Cars are not allowed so if you want to visit the numerous pretty bays you have it's shanks pony or get on your bike.



It's the Tour De Rottnest, don't you dig those helmets, very black, very chic. Brian and Kath get ready for the big ride.



And off they go, I'd like to say they set off at a pedestrian pace, but pedestrians were soon overtaking them.



A wreck in shallow water at Henrietta Rocks on the South of the island. 17 vessels of various types have come to grief in the waters around the island.



Rottnest lighthouse with packs of cyclists in the foreground. One of the aforementioned wrecks occured when this lighthouse gave the wrong signal to a passing ship.



A gull, I was just playing with my new telephoto lens at this point, it's a good lens, this gull was in Melbourne at the time.



Coastline at the western end of the island, it is very pretty in an arid, Mediterranean srt of way, lots of scrub and low brush, some hardy trees in the more sheltered parts.



Spray from waves striking the rocks at Cape Vlamingh.



I think this is a Red-Knecked Avocet, which uses its upturned bill to stir the mud and disturb its prey.



A falcon, possibly a peregrine, there were quite a few of these soaring around on the thermals and diving down after prey, I've rarely seen more than one hawk at a time over here, but at Cape Vlamingh you see see half a dozen in the air at the same time.



This is a Quokka, a small relative of the Kangaroo and now an endangered species in Australia, they survive well on Rottnest because it is free of cats and foxes.

I really enjoyed my day's cycling around Rottnest, but, my arse is rather wider than the bike seat, and I suffered for it over the next couple of days.
Angel Of Death - Slayer: BSG & CD Remix

Age of the deaf ?

Hey Johnny Depp ?

Another classic ruined.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Back From The Dead ?

23/01/07 Bradford Rio, Ginger from The Wildhearts.

Is this a solo gig ? Rumours are spreading that this might, just might, feature the new Wildhearts line-up, are we going ?
Captions ?

Salute Australia

They've been magnificent, it hurts to watch three heavy stuffings handed out to the English boys but you can't take anything away from the Australian team, they have excelled in every area of the game and have played wonderful, ruthless, beautiful cricket.

I love the Australians attitude, sure they're cocky, even arrogant, but they are the best team in the world and they can afford to be. I like sportsmen to have the self belief of boxers, that surety and determination, and Australia have that and the skills to match, well done.

What lies ahead for England then ? The possiblility of a series whitewash is definitely on the cards, and an orgy of public bloodletting spearheaded by the likes of Boycott is a given. But let's not castigate this team , they have played as well as they could, it's just that they have lost to a better team, to listen to some of our pundits an ex-players you would think that the England team have tried to lose on purpose. I know Boycott (and others) get paid for their opinions, but on occasion their opinions have strayed into the realm of belittlement and personal attacks, this isn't the way to talk in public about the team.

Perhaps we should have played more games in the run up to the Ashes, the Australians played more cricket over here last year before the previous series. Perhaps the team selection should have been different, but we still lost the 3rd Test with Panesar and Mahmood in the side, would Reed have made the difference, I don't think so.

England's side was weakened by the loss of two world class batsman, Vaughan and Trescothick, and of course our bowling was without Simon Jones, but you still can't use this as an excuse, Australia were brilliant.

On the plus side, and there is one, Panesar bowled well, Pieterson continues to bat well as does Collingwood and Bell, Strauss' figures would be better but he's been on the wrong end of a couple of bad decisions (and a couple of self inflicted awful hooks), Hoggard continues to be Mr. Dependable, Flintoff has been ok, fair with the ball, he's had better months with the bat but he will return to better form.

Will we do any better in the Triangular series, I doubt it, and I don't think we'll fare much better in the World Cup, by that time we might just have played too much cricket, the boys will have spent months away from home, if they make it to the tri-series final they might just get a ten days or so back home with their wives and families before setting off to the West Indies.

It isn't all bad news, sure we've been hammered by a tremendous team, but India and Sri Lanka are not looking to next years tours of England and thinking they are going to have an easy time over here, quite the reverse, back at home, with the home crowds cheering them on, England will be rejuvenated and on fire, it could be a hot English summer for the visitors.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Captain Sensible for PM

Vote Blah party and you might just get him in.

Ask The Powerful Five Questions

1) What power have you got ?

2) Where did you get it from ?

3) In whose interests do you exercise it ?

4) To whom are you accountable ?

5) How can we get rid of you ?

Only democracy gives us that right.

That is why no-one with power likes democracy.

And that is why every generation must struggle to win and keep it - including you and me, here and now.

Tony Benn.
What's That Song Again ?

"Grim Leaping Fish," says Chef Robyn. "That's weird."

There you go, I'll not be able to hear Grimly Fiendish again without visions of salmon in dark suits bearing bad news.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Book review : The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde*****



In a present day that is like our own, yet not, Thursday Next is a lowly SpecOps agent with LiteraTec, the branch of SpecOps specialising in literary crimes. The job is usually pretty dull stuff, searching out forged first editions and long lost epic poems, but when master criminal Acheron Hades kidnaps and murders a minor character from Martin Chuzzlewit things begin to heat up.

Fforde's first novel is a hilarious mash-up of time travel sci-fi and literary detective story. Taking place in an England where the Crimean War has never ended, Winston Churchill died at 16 (possibly at the hands of time travelling French Revisionists) and the police have a unit dedicated to vampire control, the action fairly rattles along.

The puns come thick and fast, and you don't have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of English literature to catch them all, I've never read any Bronte or Dickens and it didn't lessen my enjoyment one iota. My favourite, and quite blatant pun a la Terry Pratchett, was the face changing criminal with the surname Tabularasa, ho ho.

It's funny, it is very well constructed, it is in a different vein to early Pratchett but every bit as good. The Eyre Affair brims with clever ideas and daft jokes and is an absolute delight to read.

Strange, the last two novels I read had female leads called Wednesday (Shadowmist - Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross) and Thursday Next in this one, bring on a Friday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't Mention The War

No, don't worry, talk about the war all you want, just don't mention the cricket.

Arse.
Gig Review - Muse, Razorlight - Paris, Palais Omnisports de Bercy 14/12/06*****

For every Arctic Monkeys there's a Razorlight, sadly. After seeing this shower live I can't think of a single good thing to say about them, they are a poor band, their songs are derivative of so many other bands in the Brit indy scene, and they are desperately dull.

Frontman Johnny Borrel looks as if he would rather be anywhere else in the world than in front of 15,000 excitable French teenagers (plus the odd middle aged Brit), he looks pale, ill and uninterested, seldom have I seen a front man with so little charisma and drive. The rest of the band plod through a set of instantly forgettable songs which for reasons totally beyond my comprehension receive warm applause from the gathered Parisians, don't they get much live music here in the French capitol, are they really this easily pleased ?

Razorlight are a pub rock band struck lucky, some A&R man got pissed and signed them up, they are without charm, stage presence and talent, awful, truly awful.

Now, some nights you want to go out to some grotty dive (the Cockpit in Leeds for example) and see some lowly garage punk band take the night by the skin of their teeth, on other nights, it's nice to be blown away by the sheer majesty of it all.

Muse fall in to the latter category, possessed of all subtle self restraint of Pink Floyd on a limitless budget, their stage show is grandiose, over the top, dazzling and utterly wonderful.

Matt Bellamy and company open with the opening track from the new album Black Holes & Revelations, Tale A Bow. It's a song written to be the opener to something wildly over the top, and serves it's purpose perfectly, it winds up and up in a gathering crescendo laying the foundations for the histrionic musical epics to come. Drummer Chris Wolstenholme's kit emerges from a giant diamond screen covered pod, and with a vast screen filling the stage rear these provide a stunning visual display throughout the show.

We are treated to a good long set tonight, Sunburn from their first album, four tracks each from Symmetry and Absolution, then almost all of the current album. The French kids go wild for everything, it's not really moshable music but they make a damn fine attempt at it.

Although Bellamy isn't always overly chatty at gigs, he does say the odd word or two tonight, sometimes even in French, and Wolstenholme takes a percussion break every so often to talk to the fans. At one point he asks everyone to show a light, if you did this ten years ago everyone would have a lighter, now all the kids hold up their mobile phones adding a creepy, cyberpunk look that provides the perfect backdrop for Bellamy's often paranoid lyrics.

Giant robots march across the screens for Supermassive Black Hole, we fly at warp speed through starfields (of course) for Starlight, then the lights dim and a single blue light illuminates Bellamy as he ascends to the piano platform and plays the intro to Feeling Good, finishing the song with a Muse twist by singing the final verse and chorus though a megaphone for some extra weirdness.

There are two encores, including Stockholm Syndrome with a gonzo, distorted ending. The second and final encore is the last track of the new album, and if Take A Bow was written to open concerts, Knights Of Cydonia was created to close them, and as the riff and thunder finishes, Bellamy stalks off as his now trademark abandoned guitar screams a howl of feedback long after the band have left the stage.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sod This.....

...We're off to Paris, see you later.
Mighty Monty

Straya are 243/9, bloody wonderful Monty Panesar has ripped through the batsmen and become only the 4th ever spinner to take a 5for at the WACA.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Whale Watching

And that's not me swimming, but rather the real thing. Humpback whales migrating along the West Australian coast to their summer feeding grounds. Now, whale watching sees to be long periods of staring out sea, followed by a shout that the whales have appeared on the other side of the boat and every other person on board is between you and a decent view. But many of these people are old, inform, or children, so a strapping bloke like myself can soon elbow and gouge his way into a prime viewing position.



Here's a fine shot of Mad Cap'n Brian, ask not for whom the white whale comes Brian, it comes for thee, but that's enough mangled literature, on with the show.



They're not very well trained these whales, the shout goes up, you fumble for your camera, and then......you get a nice shot of the sea. In this picture, the whale has just dived back under the surface.



This is more like it, if you look closely you can see evidence of at least two whales in this picture, one is breathing out creating a v shaped spray, nice.



We saw two groups of whales, a mother and calf who dived away from us fairly quickly, then a pod of three males who seemed not at all bothered by the boat and continued to dive and surface to either side of the boat for quite a while.



The Australians are very keen that visiting Poms don't steal any of their whales, and thus a Whale Protection Cruiser is assigned to each pod.



Then everything went a bit odd, the sky turned purple, a dead albatross fell from above, the air filled with a crackling noise and the metallic coppery taste of ozone and blood, there was a rushing noise and a sense of impending doom, then the sky went black, BLACK I TELL YOU.

Or my camera broke, but I prefer version 1.
Roos In A Zoo



Mrs YS pets a kangaroo at Caversham Wildlife Park, Perth. The roos were most entertaining, they lazed around waiting to be petted but all bounced off en masse when one of the keepers started a lawnmower. Others obligingly put on a roo porn show for us complete with heavy breathing, all good clean family fun. Kangaroos are also good eating, we had them skewered with spicy tomato chutney.



An Egret displays typical Egret nesting behaviour. i.e. Standing in a nest.



Mrs YS bravely feeds an ostrich, I'm standing well back having seen what happened to John Lydon in I'm A Celebrity. Ostrich are also good eating, a bit like beef fillet.



A plump, hairy thing, and a wombat. I couldn't find a restaurant serving wombat, don't know why, there seems to be plenty of meat on them.



It looks sort of cute, but I have forgotten what it is, another kind of wombat perhaps ?



A koala, possibly the most idle creature in existence, they eat, then they sleep, a lot.