Top stuff, just got in from seeing Yo La Tengo and Gorky's Zygotic Monki at the St David's Hall. Its the first time me and Mrs Dio have been into town on a Saturday for a long time (18+ months?) and it was a welcome change from forcing oneself into one of the packed pubs - I must be getting old...
Last time I went to St David's was to see John Cale about 3 years ago, its a weird thing to go to rock gig where you have to sit down. In a way its nice because it forces you to concentrate on the music rather than what's happening around you. After spending the day on my feet it was welcome! One thing is certain though, there is no known way on the planet to look good whilst wigging out to the music in a seat. Just no way...
Hadn't been very fussed on seeing Gorky's, but I'm glad I did as they were very good. A nice blend of organ / electro wig out and slow folksy ballads. I've not got a lot of there records, so it was good they played several I knew and played them darn well.
After a interval spent queuing to get a nice pint of Brains Smooth, we headed back in for some sublime time with Yo La Tengo. In a word or two, fuckin' brilliant. They played a good spread of material, some I was well familiar with, some not so. For three people they succeeded in filling the large stage and auditorium with their presence and their sound. They chose several off the newest album Summer Sun which is great, because Elis would have loved it - we always have it in the background when he's trying to get off to sleep.
They did Little Eyes and Tiny Birds, my two favourite tracks as well as a hilarious comedy version of Nothing But You And Me (do-wops and cheesy dance routine.) I found myself choking back the tears during Little Eyes, feeling elated, happy and excited all in one - I suppose that's what not going out much does to you. They mentioned someone had emailed them with a request for the show. Had I known there was an open request line I would have asked for Deeper In To Movies - when they came back on for their encore, they asked some guy in the front row for a request. Annoyingly he asked them for a cover. Now imagine - you say to the audience, 'which song of ours would you like to hear?' The audience reply, a cover! Spookily it was a cover of a John Cale song.
To end the night, YLT mentioned how happy they were to be in Wales for the first time, and how much they loved Gorky's, and to celebrate St David's Day, they ended by getting Gorky's on stage to do a sterling cover of Rebel Rebel (Geddit, David Bowie, St David's Hall, St David's Day). Top marks.
Bumped into some work colleagues - members of the Bethan and Huw team were there to record the Gorky's gig for broadcast on Thursday's show. That means I get to listen to the the Gorky's set again on Thursday when I do their site updates. Now if I'd had my wits about me I would have asked them to accidentally leave the tape running when Yo La Tengo came on. D'oh. Live and learn.
From this story via Holy Moly.
"Hopoate, 27, was found guilty on three separate counts of deliberately sticking his fingers up the anuses of Peter Jones, Paul Bowman and Glenn Morrison in Saturday night's match at Dairy Farmers Stadium."
There's a punchline in there about Dairy Farmers and anal intrusion but its yet to come to me.
I was asked to help out facilitating a creative session today. A new series of the crusty cult classic Doctor Who is soon to go into production here in Wales after a very long break from our screens. The session today was to look at interactive / multi-platform ideas which could sit along side existing web content and the programme.
Some exciting new ideas were hatched and I'm sure there is a lot of development and brainstorming still to be done before any of them make it to the screen.
It was interesting to be at a brainstormer as a creative facilitator. Its very hard to try and not direct the action how you want it. Sometimes you have to spark off the talk and others you have to listen carefully and take lots of notes. I can see me being roped in to doing a bit more of it in the future which is great, it's good fun and a nice break from the norm.
It was out at Fonmon Castle Where we did the creative training last year. Its a lovely building that they open up for special functions. They have loads of original old art on the walls, including a grimy old Panini in the kitchen which must be worth a bomb and is very nice if unloved. I had the camera today so I took a few interior shots, and then bugger me if it didn't start snowing in the afternoon - we had a few CMs and expect the country to grind to a halt very shortly...
It feels very alien for an innercity lad like me to be in such grand old house - especially one with strong royal connections. But flaming hell its a lovely place. Loads of antiques and great art. It would be even nicer if it wasn't directly under the flight path of Rhoose Airport, but hey - they didn't know that in the 12th century so we can hardly blame them. Anyway, some shots from today.
Had to take Elis to the doctors - he's not happy at the moment - he has conjunctivitis and is just getting over a cough. Poor mite is as good as gold though, and always has a smile for his old man. Some nice snow cloud sunset tonight, quick snaps pushing him home, but of course...
I just sat through a fairly new French horror flick called Haute Tension and it was one of the most gruelling horrors of recent years. Forget all your MTV Hollywood horror (remakes of classics and all), this is is the real deal.
Intense, nasty and utterly compelling - it did what it said in the heading. Taking its mean-spirited nihilism from classics like Texas Chainsaw and Last House, I haven't sat through such an unsettling horror flick for a long, long time, and believe me, I have sat through plenty of them...
Hats off (and plenty of body parts).
After a frustrating week trying to get my head around ripping VHS to DVD I was about ready to give in as the results on DVD so far have been pants. I surfed across DigtialFAQ.com - formerly Lord Smurf Dot Com which has basically transformed how I do it in a night and now I'm just about getting it right on DVD.
To say its a black art is an understatement. Interlaced input, screen resolutions and codec fun. I've been converting DivX to DVD for a while now, but VHS to DVD should open up some nice new business avenues. Smurf Lord basically pointed out where I was going wrong - and how to fix it.
Basically my cards not been up to proper mpeg capture as it forces it to Deinterlace (causing flickering and jittery motion.) Capturing it as interlaced .avi and then converting to mpg seems to be working out lovely, the DVD footage is as smooth as the original VHS in its motion.
Now I can get all those my old videos on to DVD before the tapes disintegrate and offer people the same service for a few more shekels.
I finally got my act together and compiled the lovely array of web searches you peeps have used to get to my blog, turning them into a [DEAD LINK] web page in its own right.
You can drop in to visit it any time now as I've added a little link to it in the nav bit on the right, if you look closely. See the full range of the filth, fevered imaginations, degradation and sheer desperation. Also admire my poor spellings aplenty, and the gutter speak and filth of the average web surfer on a mission.
These are a few of my recent favourites:
"Miners Club" children bible fun
dirty Book of world Records
funny dirty music down loads
welsh girls that want to fuck
web blog orgasm
larvae in boob
pictures of arses (not dirty ones)
how men use objects up the arse to give pleasure
I keep thinking I should turn them into a novel or short story, moving from one search to the next, using them in each paragraph or sentence.
If its engrossing enough to make you forget about sleep, personal hygiene and other humans, why not use it for pain relief? BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Real pain dulled in virtual worlds
Nothing to do with Hutton or the beeb, finally got my arse in gear to do my first B3ta challenge animation for a very long timeThe theme this week is 'Software That We Really Need' and this is my effort:
I'm quite pleased because it the first time I've made a complicated gif fully in Adobe ImageReady - that weird little bit of Photoshop I've ignored for too long. Normally I do the layers in PhotoShop, save them off as Jpegs and animate in Gif Move Gear. I don't know why it took me so long to get into ImageReady, but after the ease of use today I wonder how I did without it.
Out for a couple of snaps today, little exciting, more nice skies and bits and bobs in the weir. Unable to focus today. Elis has a bad chesty cough so I can expect some nice sleepless nights over the next few days. Anyway, enough of my moaning, here are the pictures.
I am getting increasingly unnerved by how well computer models are predicting and knowing me, based on my habits and input. I did a quick run through on this [DEAD LINK] Physical Attraction Test which Badly Dubbed Boy had up on his blog. Its rewarding to find out I "don't buy into society's check list for 'mainstream' attractiveness" and consider "attraction is about the total package" as well as a preference for "natural looking women".
It was also funny to have the feedback tell me the traits I like most in women are those which Mrs Dio has - uncanny or what? The test has a lot of fast reaction type things to do to get the unconscious working. Worth taking a bit of time as its interesting if nothing else - I surprised myself with its results.
Then yesterday I clicked on to Amazon to look for something to find its top 3 recommendations for me to buy were three firm favourite albums (out of the multitude I have). Ok, based on past sales and recommendations its sort of understandable, but constantly seeing my tastes and favourites displayed like that is getting to be strange - am I really that predictable? Apparently so.
It told me I should check out: Kitchens Of Distinction's Love Is Hell, Iggy And The Stooges' Raw Power and Nico's The End - that would be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, if only it didn't keep giving me the ones I already own.
Took a stroll out with the camera today, down by Llandaff weir. I fancied a change of scenery to the grave yard and cathedral so I took a wander along the bank of the Taff. The water was right down on the weir so I could get into the flow of the river below the weir, all the time trying not to fall in.
Lots of rubbish and debris washed down from the Valleys during the recent heavy rains, hanging from the trees and all over the shop. Sickeningly, sanitary towels make up a large percentage of the white things you see hanging from the branches. However, I was actually disappointed to not find any condoms dangling of any of the branches, it seems they are all earmarked for the beach at Barry Island.
To be honest though, most of the day has been about the sky. It was amazing today. It's been big, blousy, blustery, interesting and slashed through with vapour trails, lots of different cloud shapes and contrasts - most of the stuff I shot has a large portion of sky in it, just because it's so entertaining.
I like this one because it reminds me of the feel of some of Hopper's paintings (famous American artist - not the cat).
But the real pay dirt come on the way home from work. Last night had been good, but I was pushing Elis home from the crèche, and stopped to take a photo of the lovely sunset only to have the camera batteries die immediately afterwards…
We've hit that week or two of the year when I walk home during magic hour - Mrs Dio had picked up Elis tonight so I was eager to get moving as the skies during the day had promised much for the walk home. And boy did I get it! A glorious sunset "all red and yellow and on fire…"
It started with some nicely sculpted and pink billowing vapour trails and ended with some lovely dying moments shots on the top of the dell. Magic hour indeed...
I don't know what's funnier about this, the fact that they pulled off this 'jape' or the fact that you only have to sell 4,000 singles to get to #28 in the UK charts. Chart music about image? No, really? You only just figured that out?
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Ageing punks' single stunt a hit
Good to see arch bigot and homophobe Michael Howard in Burnley, presumably on a recruitment drive for the Conservatives. BBC NEWS | Politics | Howard confronts BNP 'extremists'
The words pot and kettle spring to mind.
This makes us the best phone perverts in the world? BBC NEWS | Wales | Wales' damning asthma record
Is it any wonder giving our industrial heritage, poverty and love of cigarettes.
After the drunken revelries and moaning of the weekend, a quick photo blast as I managed to get some shots Saturday at St Fagans and today on my lunch-break. Elis is teething like a bugger so I’m in a rush to get to bed as I’m sure we will spend most of the night up.
At St Fagans the sun shone briefly, a few nice shots from around the place.
And today - grey, no sun so I took a few more detail bits using the fill-in flash – nothing overly exciting but some nice compositions.
Typically, their biggest fans still don't get that they are the musical equivalent of Ali G and utterly taking the piss. Goldie Lookin' Chain rocks and are due to be mad famous by the end of the year, by which time they will have worn well thin...
Take a listen as I put [DEAD LINK] this page up today. They are hilarious. The Baron Knights of Hip Hop. Get the album 'The Manifesto' as it is top marks funny.
Elis' heart monitor bed thingy just went off. It went off merely because he had shifted from one end of his cot to the other. Needless to say, me and Mrs. Dio rushed like mad fuckers to find he was actually fine.
Silver Mt. Zion, or to give them their full title, Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band With Choir are fast becoming my favourite band. Since mid December my most played records has been theirs. I got their newest album 'This Is Our Punk Rock' just before Xmas and because I liked that so much, couldn't resist picking up their 2nd album shortly afterwards (I've had the first for a while now).
They are the musical equivalent of a good whiskey session with your best friend, when nothing is held sacred, your best moments are relived and enjoyed again and all to a soundtrack of the tunes you love (Nursey will know what I mean…)
The band are critically pigeon-holed as Post Rock (I love that title) which is still a new genre for me - in a way it’s a familiar genre and one I want to live in and explore before it becomes post-post rock and pastiches itself to death with comedy orchestrations and pretensions.
ASMZ are an offshoot of Godspeed You Black Emperor. They are Canadian. They make music which is classical, timeless, atmospheric and heartfelt - it is filled with political anarchy and constantly makes me want to curl up with oblivion.
Given their anarchistic / anti-capitalist leanings they do a good job in making you covert their records. The Canadian label they are on, Constellation, is truly indie and truly unique. All their packaging is hand made by local artisans. It fells good to hold and looks great. You should buy two of every album and lock-one up for the future as these will be collectors items in a decades time. I want to buy their entire back catalogue.
Anyway, a quick review of the their albums #2 and #3 - I did album # 1 a while back here. Feel free to click on the links and purchase the discs, earning me a few sheckles towards buying some more handsome Constellation releases…
Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards
A lot less minimal than the breathy first album - sparks veers from quiet repetition to intense noise, intercut with found sounds like the beautiful childish rant for joy at the beginning of 'Built Then Burnt (Hurrah, Hurrah!)' which goes:
"Lets promenade down the boulevards, with terrific pride, twelve foot tall and staggering, sick with joy", to almost dead air filled with birds chirping in the air. This record is engaging from first to last.
Up until now, as Mr Chicky knows, the one song I want played at my funeral is 'Black Angels Death Song' by The Velvet Underground. As I haven't seen him recently, that has changed to the two songs I want played at my funeral, the second being ASMZ's 'BY The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes', one of the few pieces of music to actually reduce me to tears. "There's beauty in this land, but I don't often see it…" Simply unique.
This Is Our Punk Rock Thee Rusted Satellites Gather And Sing
Throw in an amateur choir, some more reverb drenched found sounds and strip back the orchestration to feature a whole load more creaky-arsed singing and ASMZ have done it again.
I've often been quoted as ripping-off somebody else's quote which goes 'all my favourite singers couldn't sing'. Efrim of ASMZ and GSYBE certainly falls into this category, and just to make his non-singing voice sound better than ever he has enlisted the aid of a non-singing choir.
Only 4 tracks, each schizophrenic and yearning and utterly compelling. What have I done to deserve such goodness? Come on now everybody sing along - "And everybody, gets, a little lost sometimes..."
So far this month just isn't happening. I've not shot any photographs the whole month. The one time in February it was nice enough to shoot I was to ill to go out. I feel washed out and fed up. Life's as busy as ever and I have a 100 new ideas for stuff I really must do and can't seem to focus enough to do any of them.
Work has thrown up some nice opportunities for creativity outside of my job, but I need time to develop a few things to throw at the people who take them on-board and have the power to make them real. At the moment, nothing is gelling. I must pull my finger out and do something. Maybe just a little a day, but if I don't grab these opportunities whilst they are there then I may as well turn over now!
That bloody illness hit me for six. We will be going to St Fagans tomorrow, so maybe I can shoot a few frames there. If not I'm likely to go loopy! Hopefully the sun will grace us with its presence…
I'm kicking back tonight, got some whiskey on the go - this is the first drink I've enjoyed in a month. Now hopefully the little 'un will have a good night, as the last night I chanced a drink he decided to punish me by staying up all night coming down with an illness, keeping Mrs. Dio up to pour scorn on me…
Them's the break.
Nice little self test thing - not quite cool enough to pick up a Black or a Red, but I can agree with this.
Your dominant hue is green. You're logical and steadfast, focused on figuring life out and doing what makes sense. You value being trusted because you know you're taking the time to figure things out and everyone should just follow you.
Your saturation level is low - You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.
Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
That should put a nice hole in the her student debts (no pun intended) BBC NEWS | England | Bristol | Virginity auction ends on net
Already the copy cat auctions are up and running. Would you like to [DEAD LINK] deflower this 34 Year old bloke?
Well, what a truly awful week I've had. It all went pear-shaped about 12.30 on Monday night when laying in bed my stomach felt a bit dicky. An hour later there was vomit and retching and a night spent in the grip of a vicious fever.
I spent the night tossing and turning, in and out of consciousness. Every minute lasted for an age and I was hallucinating a Yakuza assault on my bed. Every turn of my body sparked a new turn of Yakuza violence and intrigue in the covers. I had been watching Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive earlier in the night, which is what I'm sure inspired the night of gangster weirdness which infected my waking dreaming. I was time tripping and all sorts. The fever carried on till Wednesday night when it finally broke leaving me in a cold sweat, aching and with continuing stomach cramps.
So Tuesday and Wednesday, and a large portion of Thursday were spent in bed. Its been rotten - I'm only just now getting it back together. And its contagious, Mrs Dio has gone to bed with it tonight and her mum had it Thursday. Touch wood Elis avoids it.
If you are wondering why I have been as visible as an Iraqi WMD, that's the reason.