Friday, March 27, 2009

if you leave it alone

Just seen that the new Wave Pictures album has leaked. Argh. There are very very few bands whom I love so unreservedly that I feel I need to wait for the release proper before hearing their new record. Probably none, actually - the pull is too great. But the Wave Pics are right up at the top of the list. What do I do, readers? Download or wait?

My finger is poised on the download button.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

reflections on the move

I helped Dan and Vic move house at the weekend. As I mentioned previously, I feel quite settled in my current flat, and I certainly don't crave for the ultra stressful moving process again - but seeing the blank slate of their new flat made me feel a bit envious. I'm sure that if it were me moving I'd be intimidated by the amount of work needed to turn it into a home, but from the outside looking in it seems like a nice project; the slow unfolding of possessions into their new homes, or conversely the careful folding of a plain piece of paper into a complex origami pattern.

Reading this, if they do, Dan and Vic will doubtless feel a kind of numb rage, indignant at my implying that moving is fun when they know all too well the flip side of the coin. But there is something rather magical about the transformation. On Saturday myself, Ant, Vic and Dan spent several hours in the morning moving stuff into what seemed at the time like a fairly inhospitable environment - it hadn't been cleaned fully and each large white room seemed like an invitation to lots of hard work, and a million miles from a home. By the time, many hours later, we'd transported everything in, it seemed less like a home still and more like a warehouse or a distribution centre; tons of boxes everywhere and large rooms suddenly feeling overstocked and claustrophobic.

Yet when I returned the next day it was strange and extraordinary to see the progress, the way that Dan and Vic were steadily imposing themselves upon the rooms, which were in turn coiling and stretching and responding to the demands of their new inhabitants. Vic - who works like a dervish when duty calls - had pulled off a particular miracle, transforming in the space of a day her room until it was warm, soft and hospitable - and the mirror of the room she'd moved out of just 36 hours earlier. Dan's progress was slower but just as interesting to watch - his priorities are apparently more straightforward. Bed. Stereo. Computer.

I've not been round in a few days now but I'm looking forward to my next visit. I'm not trying to make out they have had the time to do all that much, but I find it interesting and exciting watching them imprint their personalities and position their belongings in their new home. And a part of me - the part that is ignoring all the work and stress and cost - is a bit jealous.

Time to move some furniture around, perhaps.

Friday, March 20, 2009

changing light

Last night I nearly dozed off on the train home, half-conscious of the music playing through my iPod, and half-aware that the train was slowly moving away from a marvellous, satsuma sky to the West - as lovely and as vivid an orange as I could imagine. At one point my eyes opened to a real treat - a flare of light along the platform at Fishersgate. Managed to point my phone at it before we moved off. Lovely.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

thank goodness for that

No Stone Roses reunion. Here's John Squire's latest artwork.
Some things are best left alone. Remember them this way:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

stewart lee on bbc2

Just watched the first episode of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, which aired on BBC2 last night. It’s a sign of how poor a lot of television comedy is that, although I knew already that Lee was my favourite stand-up, I was genuinely taken aback by the gulf of glass between him and pretty much everyone else I’ve seen telling jokes on TV in the last five or six years. One thirty minute episode devoted to books, which took in wonderful linguistic jokes, high-brow cultural references, a sustained, pitiless attack on Chris Moyles and an energy and curiosity absent in most of his peers. Best of all was a long, rambling skit on "rap singers" which was, I think, the most satisfyingly slow-paced and uncompromising joke I've seen on the BBC; not because it was awfully funny (it wasn't), but because Lee insisted on telling it his way and not dumbing down for television. The whole show was a masterclass in intelligence.

So happy there are five more episodes to come. Bringing Stewart Lee back to terrestrial television is probably the best decision that the comedy folk at the BBC have made in recent history. Make sure you catch up with it on iPlayer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

this blows me away


I had an avocado bathroom-suite for a couple of years; I hated it - clean it looked dirty, and dirty it looked horrendous. I am always slightly in awe of the person who goes for an avocado colour scheme though; he or she is someone not easily dissuaded.

ghosts in the machine

Has it ever occurred to you, in all seriousness, that your house is about to explode? It has occurred to me.

Ever since a spate of drilling on the other side of kitchen wall, a few months back, resulted in my kitchen cabinet crashing to the floor in the middle of the night, I have been wary of DIY-related sounds from adjourning flats. Last night I was just putting on my coat and clambering down the stairs to my front door, about to head out and into town for the pub quiz, when I heard a very loud power-drilling noise emanating from somewhere within my flat. Irritated and curious, I nipped back upstairs to locate the origin of the sound, and was thoroughly befuddled to find it at its loudest in my bathroom – which is not adjoined to any neighbouring rooms. I couldn’t work it out. Either someone was drilling up through the floorboards, or down from the roof.

It was really loud. I did another circuit of the flat. Back in the bathroom, I listened hard to the noise. It sounded a touch too loud to be a power drill – it was a real, rattling, whirring hum, insistent and sinister, like an enormous, malevolent mosquito. Where was it coming from? I walked over to the sink, where the noise was loudest. Was it my water pipes? I leant over and placed my hand on one of the taps, and felt it vibrating menacingly. I began to feel quite concerned, and dashed back into the living room to look at the boiler. It seemed absolutely fine, but I turned it off just in case.

I returned to the bathroom. The whole sink appeared to be shaking, as if it might uproot itself and start stamping across the room. I didn’t know what to do.

It’ll stop of its own accord, I told myself – I’ll just head out. I put my coat back on and walked down the stairs. I stood at the door. What the hell was that noise?

It was at that point that I realised that my flat was going to blow up. I ran back up the stairs and looked at the sink. Listened to the noise. And then I reached down and picked up my electric shaver. The second it was removed from its contact with the tap, the drilling noise quietened, the sink stopped shaking. Moreover, the curious vibrating appeared now to be focused upon my hand. I pressed the off button, and the noise stopped completely.

It is deeply troubling that I am capable of being thoroughly outwitted by an electrical appliance.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

coxon on the web

Can I just draw your attention, readers, to how bloody brilliant this website is:

Turn up your computer's volume. Click on the eye. Ace.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Thursday, March 05, 2009

red riding good

Bit early for a post-mortem on Red Riding, but... wow - massively intense and frightening, and it seemed both seriously artistic and bitingly realistic simultaneously, which is surely a hard thing to achieve. Some of the camera work was sublime, especially the framing and use of focus - but most significant was the depth of Peace's plotting and the brilliance of the adaptation. Acting not far behind.

Going to bed seems like a mad thing to do now. I need to find something soothing on Radio 4 before I can contemplate sleep.