30 September 2007

40th Birthdays

As well as being BBC Radio One's 40th birthday, it is also my brother's 40th too. So Happy Birthday bro' and here is a list of today's top ten singles chart followed by the top ten on the day they were both born:


  1. All About You - Sugababes
  2. No U Hang Up/If It's Ok With You - Shane Ward
  3. Ayo Technology - 50 Cent/Timberlake/Timberland
  4. Beautiful Girls - Sean Kingston
  5. Let Me Think About It - Ida Corr Vs Fedde Le Grand
  6. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
  7. Stronger - Kanye West
  8. 1973 - James Blunt
  9. She's So Lovely - Scouting For Girls
  10. Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna

The Official UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official UK Charts Company


  1. The Last Waltz -Engelbert Humperdinck
  2. Excerpt From 'A Teenage Opera'- Keith West
  3. Itchycoo Park - Small Faces
  4. Flowers In The Rain - Move
  5. Let's Go To San Francisco - Flowerpot Men
  6. Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes
  7. I'll Never Fall In Love Again - Tom Jones
  8. San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie
  9. Hole In My Shoe - Traffic
  10. We Love You / Dandelion - Rolling Stones

I doubt the 2007 tunes will be considered classics, like most of the 1967 tracks are, in 40 years time.

"We Should be Dead"

This quote is stolen from our forum. It was written by Vimes who came for dinner with Dory, his lovely wife, last night. Sally was a star and cooked a lovely shepherds pie and lots of fun was had by all. I felt kind of fuzzy today though.

"So last night we got through

  • 3 bottles of red wine

  • Copious shots of:

  • Gin

  • Sangria

  • White port

  • Red port

  • Cinzano

  • Cherry Vodka

  • Tiramisu

  • oh and coffee liqueurs

(looking at that list we should be dead)But me, Dory and Sally all feel
great today.''

It's lucky the Dooley's had gone off! I would just like to point out drinking these kinds of quanties and playing drinking games is not the norm but it does make me wonder what it's going to be like going to Spain with them next weekend!

28 September 2007

Bands People Want to Reunite

In a week when the Sex Pistols announced another reunion tour and with tickets for The Cure at Wembly going on sale tomorrow this list is about bands getting back together Not that The Cure really went anywhere, I've seen them a couple of times and would love to again).

A poll released this week shows that Pink Floyd are the band that most Music Choice* customers want to re-form. 5000 people were surveyed and the list of groups people want to get back together is below, followed by the ones they wish would split up! People were only given the choice of the ten bands in the list and asked which would be their favourite to get back together, so it's not very scientific, Ive no idea who chose those ten.

If I was asked this question a year ago I would have said The Police, and I've been lucky enough to have my wishes granted and actually got to see them too (review here) and I saw The Who at Glastonbury. It makes my choices very difficult (and Ive kept it to bands with most members still alive! The Beatles anyone?!)

Music Choice Poll Results:
The bands people want to see reform:

  1. Pink Floyd
  2. Abba
  3. Guns n' Roses
  4. The Jam
  5. Talking Heads
  6. Fugees
  7. Van Halen
  8. Wham!
  9. Spandau Ballet
  10. Boyzone

The bands people want to see split up:
  1. Spice Girls
  2. Westlife
  3. Girls Aloud
  4. Oasis
  5. The Rolling Stones
  6. Black Eyed Peas
  7. Coldplay
  8. Bon Jovi
  9. INXS
  10. REM

Bands I'd Like to See Reform**:

  1. The Smiths
  2. The Libertines
  3. Simon and Garfunkle
  4. Suede
  5. Take That! (with Robbie!)
  6. Velvet Underground
  7. Blur
  8. The Kinks
  9. Inspiral Carpets
  10. Stone Roses

*Who are Music Choice, these results are all over the internet so it was a great marketing ploy!

*Now that was tough. I've seen some of those bands (in italics) and I'm sure that reunions of some of them would be terrible but hey, I got up to 10!

27 September 2007

The Top Ten Scenes in Film

The Times Online has published a list of their film writers favourite movie scenes. It's an interesting list but to be honest it's not what I would have chosen (maybe apart from the Apocalypse Now one). So here's the list followed by ten of my own choices (excluding scenes from the movies I have already listed in my top ten movie twists and this blog has had enough Star Wars recently. Oh, and I'm leaving out opening scenes, cos that's for other lists.).

The Times List:

  • The dawn helicopter attack in Apocalypse Now
  • Dil pulls down her tights in The Crying Game
  • The arrival of Uncle Monty at the cottage in Withnail & I
  • The beergarden scene from Cabaret
  • “Funny how? Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?” from Goodfellas
  • “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – The Shining
  • “You wanna have a catch?” from Field of Dreams
  • The lobby carnage in The Matrix
  • The eyes have it in Les Diaboliques
  • “I coulda been a contender” in On the Waterfront

DeeDubya's List:

  • "Like tears in rain", Batty's monologue in Blade Runner
  • The hole in the sunken boat from Jaws
  • "Stuck in the Middle With You" from Reservoir Dogs
  • "I Wanna Be Like You" from The Jungle Book
  • The final chase from The Wrong Trousers
  • "Am I talking to you?" from Taxi Driver
  • Nick Rivers concert in Top Secret!
  • The train fight from Spiderman 2
  • The battle of Helm's Deep - LotR: The Two Towers
  • The chestburster breakfast from Alien

My number one favourite film scene would have to be the "Miss fuzzy britches" reveal from The Shawshank Redemption. Pure class.

26 September 2007

Heroes in the Real World

The internet is a weird, wonderful and sometimes a very disturbing place. When browsing the forum I was warned about a link to some amusing pictures. Curiosity got the better of me and I was confronted with these disturbing images: do not click this link if you are a child, easily disturbed or a Spiderman fan!!! You can't un-see something you've seen!

Despite wanting to wash my eyes out with some powerful detergent it also gave me an idea for a list (that, and a programme on TV about the history of British comics, especially Watchmen). After much searching on the web I've found some real life superheroes out in the real world. These people dress like comic book heroes and do daring deeds. They don't have actual superpowers like the TV programme Heroes but, hey, they're doing their best... sort of.

Super Barrio fights for the rights of the down-trodden

  1. Super Barrio (Mexico) - fights for civil rights for workers and the poor in Mexico City

  2. Terrifica (New York, USA) - Helps drunken women who are being taken advantage of by predatory men in New York bars.

  3. Citizen Prime (Arizona, USA) - promotes good citizenship, visits schools, youth centres and hospitals promoting good will

  4. The Crimefighter Corps: Captain Jackson/Queen of Hearts/Crimefighter Girl (Jackson, Michigan, USA) - Light crime fighting (sanctioned by the local police) and charity work. It seems that Captain Jackson was recently caught drunk-driving.

  5. Angle Grinder Man (Kent, UK) - Vigilante. Cuts wheel clamps of disgruntled drivers cars.

  6. Tothian (New York, USA) - patrolling the seedier areas of New York, protecting the public. President of the Heroes Network

  7. Ragensi (California, USA) - patrols the streets looking for paranormal activity

  8. Polar Man (Iqaluit, Canada) Shovels snow for the elderly and provides food and clothing for the needy.

  9. Doktor DiscorD (Indianapolis, USA) - "We don't care about victimless crime like drug use or people buying prostitutes. the kind of CRIME we're talking about is the kind that makes little old ladies afraid to leave their houses." - quote from his web site.

  10. Metrowoman (Washington DC, USA) - promotes ecological issues and public transport

and a super bonus extra

Now I really don't think I need to comment on this, I don't want to be rude!!!

25 September 2007

Hyphen or not?

It seems the internet and text messaging is making it's mark on the English dictionary. Or rather, it's losing a mark; the hyphen to be precise. I discovered an article on the BBC web site which talks about 16,000 words that have lost their hyphens in the latest edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, changing them into either a single word or two seperate words. Here are some of the previously hyphend words that have changed:

Becoming two words:

  1. Fig leaf
  2. Hobby horse
  3. Ice cream
  4. Pin money
  5. Pot belly
  6. Test tube

Becoming one word:

  1. Leapfrog
  2. Pigeonhole
  3. Bumblebee
  4. Chickpea
  5. Crybaby
  6. Leapfrog
  7. Logjam

24 September 2007

Death of the album cover?

Last night I was watching a programme on BBC4 about the history of Factory Records (with Peter Saville's classic graphic design) and, along with Hard-Fi's latest release, it got me thinking about the demise of the classic record cover. As artistic as the music itself (and sometimes better!) the album sleeve gave way to the smaller cd cover and with the increasing popularity of the music download is is it going to disappear completely? Yes, you can get artwork to download to your iPod screen but its limited size means that you can't pour over a Sgt Pepper type sleeve again.

Like The Beatles following Sgt Pepper with the White album, Hard-Fi's Once Upon a Time in the West with a cover that only has the title and the words "No Cover Art emblazoned across the front where a glossy picture would normally be, highlights how sleeve art is disappearing.

I've decided to search for the what I think are the best covers of the download era, whilst they're still around.

Things I have never done

An idea stolen from the forum I frequent, these are ten things I have never done:

  1. Had any kids
  2. Broken a bone
  3. Seen Dirty Dancing
  4. Flown in a helicopter
  5. Had a tattoo or piercing
  6. Worn women's underwear
  7. Been to New York (or the USA for that matter)
  8. Been arrested
  9. Had any points on my driving licence
  10. Travelled into space

Half of these I would actually like to do at some point. I'll let you guess which ones!

23 September 2007

Star Wars (and Vimes) at 30 part 2 - the prequels

Here's part two of the 30 Facts About Star Wars list, concentrating on the prequels:
  1. The communication device used by Qui-Gon Jinn is a remodeled women's Sensor Excel razor.
  2. The sound was completely re-dubbed for the light-sabre duels, mainly to add the sounds of the light-sabres themselves but also to take out the sound of Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) making the noises with his mouth as he fought.
  3. Like her daughter in the classic trilogy, Queen Amidala is the best shot with a blaster.
  4. The Phantom Menace was the name of a Flash Gordon comics villain
  5. Revenge of the Sith has the highest on-screen body count (if you don't take into account the destruction of the planet Alderean in Episode One), with 115 deaths
  6. Jabba the Hutt's full name is Jabba Desilijic Tiure.
  7. There are many events in the prequels that mirror events in the classic films. In every film a character has part of their arm chopped off with a light-sabre. Boba Fett was able to see through Han Solo's trick of hiding in the asteroid belt because he saw Obi-Wan use the same trick in the Geonosis asteroid belt. Another reference to the earlier films was when Jango Fett bangs his head on the doorway when getting onto his ship in Attack of the Clones (in reference to the classic blooper in Star Wars).
  8. The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film to be released on DVD and the last ever film to be released on Laserdisc.
  9. The Phantom Menace was also the first film to be released with Dolby Digital Surround EX sound.
  10. Padme and Queen Amidala have different speaking voices because Natalie Portman's voice was digitally enhanced to differentiate them.
  11. Many earthly languages were used instead of inventing completely new alien ones. The Sanskrit words for lotus and warrior were used for the names Padme and Yoda.
  12. The same sound was used for Obi-Wan's light-sabre being kicked down the reactor shaft in The Phantom Menace and Luke throwing his light-sabre away when he confronts the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
  13. Each film starts with and ends in the same way. They open with the shot of a star field and the camera tilts to show a planet, whilst they end on a sequence with no dialogue.
  14. Despite being the most expensive to make ($120m) Attack of the Clones is the only film in the series not to top the box office highest takings of the year in the US in the year it was released.
  15. C-3PO speaks the first and last words in the movies. "Did you hear that? They've shut down the main reactor" in Star Wars and "Oh no!" in Revenge of the Sith.

21 September 2007

Tip of the Day

iPod Playlist (on shuffle)

These are the first ten tracks that got played when I set my iPod to Shuffle mode:

  1. I'm Not in Love - 10cc
  2. The Dull Flame of Desire - Bjork
  3. Cash Machine - Hard-Fi
  4. Believe Me Natalie - The Killers
  5. Pure Morning - Placebo
  6. She Loves You - The Beatles
  7. Whistle for the Choir - The Fratellis
  8. Cellphone's Dead - Beck
  9. 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson
  10. Township Rebellion - Rage Against the Machine

'Bit random but there you go

20 September 2007

Beanz Meanz Fartz and other shocking facts

The media (on-line and traditional) have been going on about a scientific study saying that the health of children deteriorates when they eat junk food*. I don't believe it, that's really shocked me, I would never have thought it. Here's a few moreamazing, totally true (honest) facts from recent studies:

  • A government study has found that carrots are less effective for helping you see in the dark than battery-powered torches.
  • Scientists from the European Institute for Statistical Scientific Studies have found that guide dogs can't read braille.
  • Environmental groups have surmised that if every person in Britain were to switch their lights on one hour later than they normally do then admissions to Accident and Emergency wards would go up by 23%.
  • Medical studies prove that new born babies from disadvantaged families are shorter than both parents (if both parents are known).
  • Research shows that Christmas is indeed getting earlier every year and by August 2012 it will already be Christmas 2013.
  • 84% of Americans believe that dead former-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein should never be allowed to rule a country again.
  • According to top pollsters WePoll, cigarettes are the biggest cause of statistics.
  • In a study of three internet polls, 87% of polls were found to be 100% accurate. The other 30% were found to be only 71% accurate with the remainder answering "not known".
  • The Federation of Police Federations have discovered that policemen aren't getting younger but are, in fact, aging at the same rate as civilians and, indeed, convicted criminals.
  • 86% of research is carried out in the last 10% of the time given over to the study, whilst 90% or research budgets are spent down the pub (where most of the next research projects are thought up).

*I had a quick look around for a link to this story somewhere online but all I could find was results to studies showing exactly the same results but all at least three years old.

More Gongs for Amy

With two awards ceremonies taking place last night it seems that drug-addled songstress Amy Winehouse was the big winner, picking up three awards. It must make Pete Doherty, with all his troubles, wonder what he's got to do to be more than just tabloid fodder.

Here are the results of the Music of Black Origin and the Vodafone Live Music awards:

Best UK male: Dizzee Rascal
Best UK female: Amy Winehouse
Best song: Ne-Yo - Because of You
Best video: Kanye West - Stronger
Best international act: Rihanna
Best UK newcomer: N Dubz
Best hip-hop act: Kanye West
Best reggae act: Sean Kingston
Best R&B act: Ne-Yo
Best gospel act: G-Force
Best jazz act: Soweto Kinch
Best DJ: Tim Westwood
Best African act: 2face Idibia (Nigeria)

Vodafone Live Music:
Vodafone Live Act: Arctic Monkeys
International Live Act: The Killers
Best Live Female: Amy Winehouse
Best Live Male: Mika
Tour of the Year: Muse
Vodafone Live Impact in 2007: Gossip
The Freddie Mercury Lifetime Achievement in Live Music: Iggy Pop
Best Live Return: The Police
Best Show Production: Kylie
Best Tour Roadie: Geoff Buckley (James)
Best Live Music DVD: Oasis - Morning Glory: An Album Under Review
Best Live Music Venue: Wembley Stadium
Xfm Live Breakthrough Act: Klaxons
C4 Festival of the Year 2007: Glastonbury
Kerrang! Live Unsigned Act: The Flaming Monkeys

I've got to say I'd rather go and see anybody (bar Mika!) than anyone on the MOBO list, but that's just a matter of taste.

19 September 2007

Talk Like a Pirate

Ahoy, me beauties. Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This be set up by them fine harty mates, John Baur and Mark Summers, at talklikeapirate.com. I be offrin this list from thar, to help all you scurvy land lubbers who ain't got the noggins to grab y'selves a wench.

Top Ten Pickup lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day
(We [the guys from TLaP web site] came up with these in an effort to interest The Other Dave (Letterman) in TLAPD. His staff liked 'em, but alas, his show was"dark" the week of Sept. 19.)

10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
8. Come on up and see me urchins.
7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.
2. Well blow me down?

And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is
1. Prepare to be boarded.

I be planning to get me shipmates at work speaking like this today. Please visit t'web site to pick up more of the vernacular.

18 September 2007

Cool brands

Last week Superbrands (the organisation that presents expert and consumer opinion on branding in the UK) announced it's list of cool brands. Using criteria such as whether the product is stylish, innovative, original, authentic, desirable and unique it produce their list. It seems, if the movers and shakers who decide these kind of things are correct, I'm not as un-cool as I thought!

My I Want One of Those list was topped by an Aston Martin, I'm listening to my iPod and have videos posted on YouTube. I might not have a B&O stereo but I use Google everyday (and for this blog!). I haven't used my PlayStation for a while and although I use a PC isn't my iPod made by Apple? I better buy Sally something from Agent Provocateur though. The Wii needs another airing too. I don't quite understand why Virgin Atlantic are so high (I've never even crossed the pond). From further down the list, the Tate Modern is where me and my wife had our first date, and we've got some Green and Black's chocolates at home. Officially slightly cool I think (though now they're on a list their coolness will have diminished!).

Superbrands official Cool Brands list:

  1. Aston Martin
  2. iPod
  3. YouTube
  4. Bang & Olufsen
  5. Google
  6. PlayStation coolness
  7. Apple
  8. Agent Provocateur
  9. Nintendo
  10. Virgin Atlantic
  11. Ferrari
  12. Ducati
  13. eBay
  14. Rolex
  15. Tate Modern
  16. Prada
  17. Lamborghini
  18. Green & Black’s
  19. iTunes
  20. Amazon

A full list of winners can be found here

17 September 2007

Star Wars (and Vimes) at 30 part 1

I haven't posted all weekend because I spent the weekend celebrating my best buddy's birthday, so Happy 30th Vimes! As a huge fan of Star Wars fan we bought him tickets to the exhibition at County Hall in London (Star Wars is also 30 years old). Of course, me, Sally and a load of our mutual friends had to accompany him. Geeks? No, not at all.

And if you are confronted by a Star Wars geek here is the first part in the list of 30 Star Wars facts that only a true geek would know:

    Vimes with his new master!

  1. The original release, on May 25 1977 was in only 32 cinemas in the United States. No one as confident it would be a hit.

  2. The opening crawler for the original Star Wars was co-written by director Brian DePalma.

  3. The infamous stormtrooper head bang blooper had a "clunk" sound inserted in the Special Edition re-release.

  4. A choice was given to the two over-sized actors in which role they wanted to play. Peter Mayhew chose Chewbacca because he wanted to play a bad guy. David Prowse gave the opposite reason for chosing to play Darth Vader.

  5. The first ever shot created by Industrial Light and Magic, the company George Lucus set up to achieve the special effects that had never been attempted before, was the escape pod being jettisoned from Princess Leia's ship at the beginning of the first film.

  6. The shot where Luke and Leia swing to safety whilst trying to escape the Death Star was done by the actors themselves, rather than stunt doubles. Although a number of takes were shot it was the first attempt that was used.

  7. As in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lucas was set to use existing classical music to score the film until his friend Steven Speilberg introduced him to composer John Williams. As the film was set in a galaxy far far away, Lucas thought it would be better to have an original score which could give emotional cues in an unfamiliar setting.

  8. In early drafts Luke Skywalker was at different points: female, a dwarf and called Luke Starkiller. Han was to be an alien, Jabba the Hutt to be a humanoid and wookees were going to be called jawas. R2-D2 was called A-2 and C3-PO was called C-3.

  9. George Lucas had arguments with cleaners in the studio because they kept polishing the set floors which Lucas wanted to have a grimy "lived-in" look.

  10. TIE, X-Wing and Y-Wing Fighters are never referred to by name in this Star Wars - A New Hope. Nor is the planet Tatooine (though it is mentioned in the other 5 films). TIE Fighter is an acronym for "Twin Ion Engines".

  11. As well as innovations in visual effects, Star Wars was the first movie to be screened in Dolby Stereo, the first in a run of 18 movies that won Oscars for best sound.

  12. The actor who played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy, Denis Lawson (mis-spelt Dennis in the original credits) is the uncle of the actor who would go on to play Obi_wan Kenobi in the prequels, Ewan McGregor.

  13. Star Wars was the only film of all six that was nominated for a best picture academy award.

  14. The actor who plays Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) is producer Robert Watt's half brother.

  15. Vader means "father" in Dutch.

DeeDubya tells Boba Fett who's boss

14 September 2007

Cover versions

So, the Observer Music Monthly is due to release their list of the 50 Greatest Cover Versions. Pop music has always had even the biggest stars churning out their own takes on music by artists that have influenced them. The earliest charts frequently had different versions of the same song battling against each other. Rock and Roll was awash with updates of classic numbers, band like The Beatles (Long Tall Sally) started their careers updating the old r'n'b classics.

The late 70s and early 80s saw punk reclaiming standards as their own (My Way - Sex Pistols) and the new wave and ska/reggae revival thrived on putting a slant on tracks that many people didn't even realise had been released before (Police and Thieves - The Clash, Our Lips Are Sealed - Fun Boy Three, A Message to Rudy - The Specials).

In the 80s and 90s it was the turn of the stadium rockers (Live and Let Die/Knocking on Heavens Door - Guns N Roses, Easy - Faith No More) to pave the way for today's nu rockers to turn tracks into power ballads and lighters-in-the-air live set essentials (Green Day - I Fought the Law, Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm). The "hit factories" of bubblegum pop used drive-in movie themes and glossed them up for a teenage audience (Unchained Melody - Robson and Gerome, Sealed With a Kiss - Jason Donovon). And not forgetting dance music and electronica's reworkings which continue to this day (Tainted Love - Soft Cell, Pet Shop Boys - Always on my Mind - Pet Shop Boys, Happy Mondays - Step On, Over Yet - Klaxons).

With the advent of sampling and the proliferation of boy/girl bands the radio nowadays sounds like one big remix of old tunes (anything by Atomic Kitten/Westlife etc), especially with every other rap record being backed by a eclectic mix of tunes the artists must have raided from their parents record collection (So Many Roads - Example samples The Carpenters!!!).

Even the indie crowd are in on the act, ironically covering pop songs and "guilty pleasure' tunes (Independent Women - Elbow, Hit Me Baby One More Time - Travis, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Keane). Even Jo Whiley's show on Radio One is made listenable by the "LI
ive Lounge" sessions where everyone playing live has to chose a track they want to cover. Today 30 Seconds to Mars made Kanye West's Stronger into a bearable ballad!

Ok, enough, on with the list. These are all random (good and bad) covers which many people don't even realise were cover versions, I'm not going to attempt to say which are "the best"! They were generally bigger hits than the original versions.

  • Twist and Shout - The Beatles (originally recorded by The Topnotes)
  • House of the Rising Sun - The Animals (traditional American folk song)
  • All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix (Bob Dylan)
  • Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Eric Clapton (Bob Dylan)
  • Jealous Guy - Roxy Music (John Lennon)
  • I Fought the Law - The Clash (Sonny Curtis and The Crickets)
  • Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen)
  • New England - Kirsty McColl (Billy Bragg)
  • Go West - Pet Shop Boys (Village People)
  • Stepping Stone - The Farm (The Monkees)
  • Caravan of Love - The Housemartins (Isley-Jasper-Isley)
  • Hurt - Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)
Have you noticed that classical music is mostly covers?

13 September 2007

Unique names

I recently discovered something that surprised me. The name Muhammed is the second most common name given to new born boys in the UK, behind Jack. Now, this is only the case when applying all the different spellings of the name but by next year it is expected to be at number one. The main reason that this is the case is the Muslim practise of bestowing the name as a prefix; before the name the boys will commonly be known by. Mohammed means “one who is praiseworthy” and is given as an honorary name. source: The Times

This got me thinking. In my life I haven't met many Muhammeds (or I have but they chose to be known by their second name), but there are also some people I know quite well that are the only examples of their own denomination that I've come across. Funnily enough, most of them are at my current place of work (and there are only 12 people in the office!).

Here is a list of names of people I have have met that are the only example of people I know with that name*:

  • Amber
  • Angus
  • Antoinette
  • Aubrey
  • Cameron
  • Finn
  • Harvey
  • Lorna
  • Peta (f)
  • Poppy
  • Rhona

* All these people are English otherwise things could get very complicated. I have met them all more than once.

12 September 2007

England 3-0 Russia

So, England move into a much better position in the qualifying rounds to qualify for Euro 08. They actually looked good for a change (as they apparently did on Saturday, I was a bit busy) but I still think that against a team with a bit more bite in the final third that it might be a different story.

This, however, is a blog of lists, so with Michael Owen scoring twice (Rio Ferdinand, of all people, got the third) he took his England tally to 40, only 3 other England players have done so before:

  1. Bobby Charlton - goals: 49, caps: 106 (% 0.46 per match)

  2. Gary Lineker - goals: 48, caps: 80 (% 0.60 per match)

  3. Jimmy Greaves - goals: 44, caps: 57 (% 0.77 per match)

  4. Michael Owen - goals: 40, caps: 85 (% 0.47 per match)

and Owen is the only one still playing.

I really should mention and congratulate Scotland too, they beat the French in Paris 1-0, doing the double over them.

Happy Birthday Mum!

Today is my Mum's birthday so this list is in tribute to her.
So here's a list of people who share her birthday:

  • 1852 - Hubert H. Asquith, British Prime Minister (1908-16)
  • 1902 - Margaret Hamilton, actress (Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz)
  • 1913 - Jesse Owens, athlete who ruined Hitler's 1936 Olympics with 4 gold medals
  • 1931 - Ian Holm, actor (Alien, Lord of the Rings)
  • 1940 - Linda Gray, actress (Sue Ellen Ewing -Dallas)
  • 1944 - Barry White, singer (the walrus of lurve)
  • 1949 - Mark Knopfler, rock singer/guitarist (Dire Straits)
  • 1951 - Joe Pantoliano, actor (The Fugitive, The Matrix)
  • 1956 - Brian Robertson, rock guitarist (Thin Lizzy)
  • 1965 - Moby, musician, composer and pop star (solo artist)
  • 1971 - Johnny Vegas, comedian/actor (Bleak House, Sex Lives of the Potato Men)

Happy birthday Mum.

11 September 2007

How dirty can I get?

There was a really interesting documentary on BBC3 last night called "How Dirty Can I Get?" which was an experiment to see what would happen if the journalist Nicky Taylor (a cross between Morgan Spurlock and Bridget Jones) didn't wash for six weeks. Some research has shown that the rise in many medical problems in Britain could be down to what we put on our skin (especially breast cancer).

''How Dirty Can I Get? Journalist and presenter Nicky Taylor (well-known for her recent BBC Three documentaries How Young Can I Get? and Booze Birds) is back to find out what it's like to give up washing herself for six weeks. On her journey, she'll be asking if we really need all the hygiene products we surround ourselves with. And is it true that your hair starts to self-clean if you leave it alone for long enough?'' from the BBC3 website

It seems it's a myth that you hair starts to naturally clean itself and your teeth do start to fall apart but surprisingly the number of extremely dangerous bacteria on her skin was about normal, her digestive system was better behaved and her skin had a "glow" about it. She did stink though. Now I'm not one of these "metro-sexual" guys, who's always pampering himself and getting manicures etc but it got me thinking about what products I use on myself everyday. So here's a list of what I put on my skin every morning, it's quite shocking really:

  • Lush Seanick seaweed shampoo bar

  • Palmolive shower gel

  • (occasionally Johnson's No Tears Baby Shampoo -recommended to me for tired/itchy eyes)

  • Gillette Sensitive Skin shaving gel

  • Nivea For Men Shaving Balm

  • Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste

  • Generic brand mouthwash

  • Sure For Men deodorant

  • Black and White hair wax

If that's just me it's no wonder that the average British male spends 800% more on cosmetic products since 2000.

10 September 2007

Gordon Bennett..!

...it's a list of Gordons.

Inspired by The Poice concert on Saturday night I had an idea for a list.
For those of you who don't know Sting's real name is Gordon, not a particularly cool name. So here's a list of cool Gordon's:

  1. Sting - lead singer of The Police (Gordon Sumner)
  2. Flash - ah ah, saviour of the Universe
  3. Gin - with ice and lemon on a hot day
  4. Gordon Ramsey - f***ing successful chef
  5. Gordon Banks - bit before my time but he won the World Cup (before losing an eye)
  6. Gordon the Gopher - squeaky star of CBBC's broom cupboard
  7. Commissioner Gordon - Batman's buddy (esp when played by Gary Oldman)
  8. Gordon Freeman - scientist action hero from Half Life games
  9. Richard F Gordon - he's been into space, not many people can say that
  10. Gordon the Big Engine - #4 in the Thomas the Tank Engine universe, can you see I struggled for this one

Not quite making the grade: Gordon Baxter, Hannah Gordon, the Bare Naked Ladies album, the moron from the song Jilted John, Gordon Honeycomb, Gordon Burns, Gordon Strachan and Gordon Brown

09 September 2007

The Police - live at Twickenham Stadium 08/09/07

I didn't make any posts yesterday because Sally had bought me tickets, as an early birthday present, to see the reformed The Police in concert, at Twickenham Stadium in London and I can tell you IT WAS THE BEST GIG I HAVE EVER BEEN TO! The following is an approximation of the set list (they definitely played all these, not necessarily in this order, but it's close!):

  • Message in a Bottle
  • Synchronicity II
  • Walking on the Moon
  • Voice Inside My Head
  • When the World is Running Down You Make The Best of What's Still Around
  • Don't Stand So Close To Me
  • Driven to Tears
  • Hole in my Life
  • Truth Hits Everybody
  • Every Little Thing She Is Magic
  • Wrapped Around Your Finger
  • De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
  • Invisible Sun
  • Walking in Your Footsteps
  • I Can't Stand Losing You
  • Roxanne
  • (Encore) King of Pain
  • So Lonely
  • Every Breath You Take
  • Next to You

As a huge Police fan as a kid I was a bit worried that my childhood's favourite band would come back with a washed out middle of the road reworking of all their classics. When I've seen a solo Sting play the groups classics he's always reinterpreted them depending on his backing band and style of music he's playing at the time. I needn't have worried. Although Sting's voice is fuller and more mature this was classic Police. Yes, there were slight reworkings but it was more of an extra Andy Summers guitar noodling or Stewart Copeland having a manic session on his extra percussion cymbals, tubular bells and massive gong.

From the lights going down to a huge cheer and them fading up to the riff from Message in a Bottle we all know we were in for a rocking night. All the classics were played and it seemed like it was just for the fans. The 55,000 that made it to west London must have had the average age of 45+ and they re-lived their youth (much in the way the three men on stage were) and sang and dance along to every song. It was electric.

The stage and lighting was deceptively simple, with the music doing the talking but the huge lighting/video screens enhanced the show with the famous yellow, blue and red paint stripes wiping across the screens to Synchronicity II and a huge 3D brontosaurus skeleton tramping across the stage to Walking in Your Footsteps. Sting has been accused in the past of preaching but the closest it got to that was the images of Third World Children staring from the screens during Invisible Sun. (Much of the political slant of The Police and especially Sting in his solo career has become mainstream these days anyway - remember this comes from an era pre-Live Aid).

And there's nothing like a concert where it looks like the band themselves are having as good a time as the crowd. Whatever the differences between the band in the past, there's no denying they "make beautiful music together". During So Lonely, Sting even sang in different verses "Welcome to the Andy Summers/Stewart Copeland show" (instead of "one man show").

They're such tight musicians, each were given a chance to shine. I still don't understand how Stewart's flailing arms and poly-rhythmic beats actually fit the songs like they do and Andy's guitar work is stunning. Sting's voice sounds better than ever and live you really notice just how integral his bass playing is. They are back performing together because it so much fun.

With the encore seeming to end on Every Breath You Take before a final flurry of All I Want is to Be Next to You Stewart summed it up as he left the stage when they left the stage: "This is our town - London. I'm American but this is where we come from, right here." It was a special homecoming. Sting had earlier announced it had been 23 years since they last played. Now old enough (or there abouts) to have bus passes they showed us that not all reunions have to be staid, purely cynical money making exercises but can be thrilling events that are done just cos everyone involved is just so damn good at it.

The Police were supported by Sting's son Joe's band Fiction Plane and Maximo Park. Fiction Plane were superb and I will certainly be checking out their CD. It was more than nepotism that made them worthy of taking the stage, it's rare that a band will grab my attention when I know none of their music previously. Joe certainly has his Dad's looks and his voice certainly has the Sting sound every now and then but they had their own sound and they rocked the few who had turned up early enough. Those who decided to watch the England football match on TV missed out.

It's a shame the same can't be said about Maximo Park. Very disappointing. Having caught part of their set at Glastonbury Festival I expected more but was just left feeling that it wasn't difficult to chose their singles, as they were the songs that had a melody of sorts. I can't see them returning in 23 years time to such a reception as the headlining act.

07 September 2007

Video experiment (see previous post)

This week...

... I have done the following things:

  • Cycled in the Norfolk countryside
  • Made sandcastles on a beach
  • Cooked omelettes and a stir fry
  • Started this blog
  • Worked out how to create the following video effect; a vector "paint on" technique turning into real video(see post above)

The video features Tasmin, daughter of our friends Tracey and Cameron

I want one of these...

...but never couldn't justify getting one.

  1. Aston Martin DB5 - The coolest car ever. Hand-made. James Bond drove it. More stylish than anything on the road now (except maybe the Aston Martin DB7).

  1. Laser Graffiti Projector thingie - Eat your heart out Banksie. Ultimately useless! (see video below).

  2. Airsteam caravan - making caravaning look cool. Was parked near Joe Strummer's Airstream one Glastonbury and I fell in love. Image that behind the DB5 (or my VW Camper).

  3. Skycar M400 - It's a car - that flies! VTOL. Avoid traffic jams. Park anywhere. Trouble is you can't go very high without a pilots licence and it would be rubbish when everyone has one.

  4. R2D2 DVD projector - Amongst other things it projects movies (not as holograms unfortunately), plays MP3s and CDs and vacuums the floor (last bit not true unfortunately).

Below: video of laser projector

06 September 2007

Movie twists #1

This list are some of the best film twists ever commited to celluloid. They're only from films I've actually seen and I've avoided movies based on books by Agatha Christie and the likes. Don't worry if you haven't seen them. There are no spoilers here, I suggest you watch them for yourself!

  1. The Usual Suspects

  2. The Shawshank Redemption

  3. Se7en

  4. The Sixth Sense

  5. Fight Club

  6. Angel Heart

  7. Planet of the Apes

  8. 12 Monkeys

  9. Memento

  10. The Empire Strikes Back (everyone knows now but at the time... OMG!)

Do you have any to add? Leave a comment (and no spoilers please!)

Dinner party guests

Here is a list of imaginary dinner party guests (human movie characters) that you WOULDN'T want at your dinner table. As suggested by my Dad*

  1. Mr. Creosote (The Meaning of Life)
    see video below
  2. Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  3. Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)
  4. Ace Ventura (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)
  5. Dan Dark (The Singing Detective)
  6. Karen Carpenter (The Karen Carpenter Story)
  7. Edward Scissorhands (Edward Scissorhands)
  8. John 'Bluto' Blutarsky (National Lampoon's Animal House)
  9. Mr Bean (Mr Bean)
  10. Kevin (Sin City)

* He actually had the idea of ideal dinner party guests but I thought I'd do something slightly different.

05 September 2007

Pastry products

The best pastry products (as suggested by Sally)

  1. Maple and pecan plait
  2. Cornish pasty
  3. Steak and ale pie
  4. Melton Mowbury pork pie
  5. Cherry pie

Classic film openings #1 - Trainspotting

Choose Ewan. Choose Euan. Choose Boyle. Choose a family. Choose a fucking great source novel, choose adrenalin, fast editing, manic chase scene and an Iggy Pop soundtrack. Choose a great script, little known actors, and a writer who penned Shallow Grave. Choose a starter scene with a voice over in a thick Scottish accent. Choose jump cuts, captions and non-linear time frames. Choose ending on a freeze frame of a grinning loon off his head on smack. Choose a surreal real life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose Hollywood. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got Trainspotting?

This is #1 in a list of brilliant opening scenes, this time opening a brilliant movie.

Words that sound rude

This is a list of words that have different meanings in American English compared with British English (or vice versa), that sound a bit rude.

  1. fanny

  2. bum

  3. ass

  4. buns

  5. cock-up

This thread was inspired by the wonderful blog Separated by a Common Language and the childish game of looking up rude words in the dictionary.

Toast toppings

The top five things I like on toast:

  1. Marmite

  2. Baked Beans

  3. Peanut Butter (smooth)

  4. Chicken Liver Paté

  5. Robinson's Silver Shread

**added note**

Just a quick note to add to the previous post, to say congratulations to The Klaxons for winning the Mercury Music Prize last night. The prize is awarded for the best British or Irish album of the last 12 months.

We caught the end of one of their sets at Glastonbury this year and they were great. I wish I'd seen it all. We saw their afternoon appearance (they'd also played the dance tent) and commented at the the time I thought it would have been better at night with the light show. Still good though.

It's nice to see a winner of the prize that is doing something slightly different. I just hope they dont suffer the curse of the Mercury's and disappear into obscurity... Anthony and the Johnsons/Ms Dynamite/Gomez/Roni Size anyone?

04 September 2007

Top 10 Live Acts*

  1. Radiohead - Glastonbury 2003
  2. Paul McCartney 2004
  3. David Bowie 2001
  4. Coldplay 2003 & 2005
  5. Faithless 2002
  6. REM 2002 & ?
  7. Scissor Sisters 2004
  8. The Levellers 2005
  9. Orbital 2004
  10. White Stripes 2002

As my lovely wife Sally has bought me tickets to see my favourite band as a kid, The Police, this weekend, I thought I'd start my lists with best music acts Ive seen live. *I decided to narrow these down to acts Ive seen at Glastonbury Festival since the year 2000. I first went to the festival in 1994 but really cant remember all the bands Ive since then!

10. The White Stripes: Playing mid afternoon The White Stripes blew me away. Relatively unknown back then but championed by the late, great John Peel, Jack and Meg took to the huge stage and filled it ten times over. A blistering, manic set that turned me into a fan. Best moment: Hotel Yobba

9. Orbital: My only regret of the inevitable line-up clash choices at Glastonbury is not going to see Muse on the main Pyramid Stage. I still want to see them but this was the Hartnoll brothers last gig as Orbital in England (and all my mates wanted to see it). Luckily, it was a great, joyous uplifting set, a great way to end that year's festival. (The third time I'd seen them so I knew it'd be good!). Best moment: tricky, probably Chime

8. The Levellers: The massive downpour that everyone woke up to that June morning (a months worth of rain in 7 hours) couldnt stop the faithful partying down to the quintessential Glasto band. Fittingly, everyone had the crusty look but with big smiles on their faces.Ive never seen the Jazz World Field so busy and the atmosphere was brilliant and proved the resilience of the Worthy Farm faithful. Being there with Sally, at her first Glastonbury for her first time, helped. Best moment: One Way

7. Scissor Sisters: For the same reason as The Levellers, Scissor Sisters made it a party in the drizzle and the set made it feel like the sun was shining. Glastonbury throws up a surprise package for me every year and in 2005 it was the camp popsters in sequined jumpsuits. Best moment: Take Your Mama

6. REM: Two brilliant sets, showing the depth and breadth of their amazing back catalogue. Michael Stipe is the perfect frontman with a voice that can be scathing one moment to angelically tender the next. One of my favourite live bands in the perfect setting. Hairs on back of neck to Nightswimming, tears in the eyes to Everybody Hurts, sore throat after End of The World As We Know It. How can I pick a best moment? OK, best moment: Dedicating Imitation of Life to Jean Eavis, Glastonbury supremo's wife, who had died the previous year.

5. Faithless: This was just one of those perfect moments. In my opinion not a great album band and frankly their singles were pretty run of the mill but something special happened in that field that night. My friends were of elsewhere, not interested and for an hour or so I met new ones, stranger in the crowd and we jumped up and down together to a set that vibrated right through the whole crowd. The best moment has gone down in history, and to paraphrase Maxi Jazz, if I live to be 100 I'll never forget that. Best moment: We Come One

4. Coldplay: Two appearances, one that turned them into superstars the second, the returning heroes. Powerful stuff, politics, emotion and a damn good singalong. Best moment: the improv word changes in A Rush of Blood to the Head all about Glastonbury.

3. David Bowie: In 2000 Glastonbury was rammed. Its estimated that as many people jumped the fence as paid. About 80,000 people were at the Pyramid Stage to witness Bowie's greatest hits set that showed why he's been at the top of his game for so long. As soon as he stepped up to the mike and said "Hello" I understood why some people are stars and others just pretenders. With a set list that included the likes of Man Who Sold The World and Life on Mars, how could it fail? Best moment: Heroes

2. Paul McCartney: He was in the Beatles. He started with a non Beatles song (Jet) and it was brilliant. I was with my sister, the biggest Beatles fan born in the 70s I know. My niece was on my shoulders during Hey Jude, the "na na" phrase rang through the whole festival site for hours afterwards. Special. Best moment: the fireworks for Live and Let Die (cos Ive already mentioned Hey Jude)

1. Radiohead: I missed the quagmire years on 97/98 so missed their legendary set in 97. In 03 it waqs just after the release of Hail to the Thief and Radiohead were angrier with the state of the world more than ever. Again my mates were off elsewhere and I just stood alone in a field on thousands, engrossed and emotional, completely wrapped in this amazing sound, energy and feeling coming from the stage. Radiohead play as if there is noone else there and it makes it seem personal in a huge crowd. The best of best moments:Thom Yorke going quiet as the whole field whispered "For a minute there, I lost myself" back at him. Spine tingling just thinking about it.

This was very difficult to keep it down to 10 and these are just There the moments I can think of right now. There were many more.
Special mention also to: Snow Patrol 2004, Ezio - 2000, Brian Wilson 2005, Kaiser Chiefs 2007 , The Who 2007, The Killers 2005/07

Well, a blog has to start somewhere...

These days everyone seems to have a blog. So I thought it was about time that I created one.

The thing is what subject matter could I choose? This is the internet and it's a bit like my brain, full of random things with very little cohesion. A lot of blogs have specific themes others just random postings and some are just online diaries. I wanted to make mine more like the contents of my own grey matter, so I decided to make it a list of, well... lists. Random lists of likes, dislikes, bests and worsts. Anything that crosses my mind really.

And you're all welcome to cut me down in my tracks and deride my choices and even add your own lists.

Well thats my first post, and not a list in sight. Bare with me til I set this all up.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions of lists i could include please feel free to add them into the comments.