Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Wasted Time by Burning Lady

Good stuff from a decent French punk outfit.

That's A Salami ?

My Amazon shopping adventure isn't going well, I know that sausages can come in all shapes and sizes, but I'm pretty sure that's a poncho.

Pricing Structure

So, why would anyone buy the top product ?

Keep On Running

Well the blog's not dead, although there's hardly been a breath of life in it for almost two years and I have no idea if anyone will even read this, does anyone read blogs anymore ? I'm happy to write for my own amusement anyway.

The last time I wrote about health and exercise I'd managed to lose 4 stone and had run a half marathon. At the time I said "Becoming big is just something that creeps up on you gradually." And it does. At some point after that achievement my regular running dropped away, I stopped watching what I ate and the weight crept back on. At the end of 2015 I'd gone back up to 15 stone, still a stone a half short of my heaviest, I was drinking pretty much every night, eating what I wanted, taking no exercise and them boom, at the start of December I had a stroke.

I thought I had food poisoning, I was up half the night with violent vomiting and diarrhea and I felt awful. In the morning it dawned on me that my left arm wasn't working at all properly, I couldn't pick up a glass or fasten my shirt buttons. I called the doctor and got Dad to drive me across, a few basic tests later and I was in the back of a 999 ambulance on the way to Bradford Royal Infirmary.

I seem to be halfway between stroke and TIA, the effects lasted more than day which my doctor tells me is the diagnosis for a stroke, but the effects had gone within about three days leaving me feeling just as I did before the event.

I've had a ton of health advice, all of which I'm trying to follow, lose some weight, cut down on fatty and rich foods, cut down on alcohol, eat oily fish at least twice a week, eat 5 A Day, get more exercise, don't forget to take my morning stash of tablets.

I've really cut down on my drinking. My habit had become to open a bottle of beer and drink that while I was cooking dinner, then have at least two half a bottle of wine with dinner, and then a whisky after that if I fancied, and if we went out I'd have a whole bottle of wine to myself. I like wine and beer, they taste great, and wine with dinner just seems normal and civilised to me, but if the Doc says to cut down then I will. I'm trying to stay somewhere close to the recommended 14 units per week. 

I'm back to running again, I have even gone so far as to join a running club, the Airecentre Pacers, aka #OrangeArmy, although Dutch football fans might have first dibs on that. From struggling to do 3 miles at New Year, I'm now breezing through regular 6-7 mile runs and trying to get back to half marathon levels of fitness.  The running club is good fun, they seem like nice folk and running in groups both keeps you going and fires up that bit of competitiveness in me, I definately run harder when I'm running 'against' others.

I've lost a stone, again, and I'm back down to 14 stone, so still some work to do there, but at least it's coming off. 

When I was in hospital it seemed I'd had the luckiest of escapes. I'd had a stroke but comparing my situation to that of others on the ward I wasn't in a bad state. There were blokes whose strokes were life changing events, brain bleeds that left people unable to walk or communicate, left them locked within themselves unable to function without help. Me, I'd had a bad night, had a hilariously wobbly arm, got a months' driving band and the everything went back to normal. But I don't fancy another one, you can bet that a second event wouldn't be quite so harm free as the first, so diet, exercise and moderation it is.

Me and Dad would toast ourselves with "Everything in moderation, especially moderation" and we still will, but now I'll have to raise a glass of lemonade for half the week.

Ilkley Real Food Market

"Ilkley is going to host a speciality fine food market on the first Sunday of every month.
The first Real Food Ilkley Market will be held on South Hawksworth Street from 10.30am to 3pm on 6 March.

(pic from

Stalls range from handmade Yorkshire artisan cheeses, chutneys from Ilkley and fruit liqueurs from Addingham to authentic Indian sauces from Leeds and award-winning gluten-free cakes from Burley-in-Wharfedale."

Full article on

When playing a game really means something.

"It's a scary one when your mortgage is due to come on the first of the month and you're playing in a game where you might not have a job the week after," said Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond when speaking about the play-off game against Bradford Bulls.

This rather neatly sums up one of the major differences between football and rugby league, there are very few wealthy players in league, none at all who compare financially with the big earners in football, and also none at all who fake injury or try to get opposing players sent off.

Roll on the new Super League season.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Music of 2015 - Artists

All stats from

Scrobbles     42,045
Scrobbles per day (average)     114
Artists 3394

1              Muse    821
2              Smoke Fairies    537

Smoke Fairies

3              Chumbawamba 420
4              The Young'Uns 358
5              Under A Banner 353
6              The Unthanks 325
7              Saxon    316
8              Souad Massi       306
9              Rancid   295
10           The Asteroids Galaxy Tour  294

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

11           She Keeps Bees                281
12           The Pretty Reckless  264
13           Alpha Blondy 263
14           Megadeth           261
15           Motörhead         255
16           Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox    255
17           Pink Floyd           247
18           Katie Herzig        237
19           Coheed and Cambria      235
20           Tiken Jah Fakoly  221

21           Kongos                   217
22           The Beatles  216
23           Ramones   213
24           The Wildhearts                  213
25           Khaled 212
26           Magnum   209
27           Thrice    202
28           The Frowning Clouds      202
29           Manu Chao         198
30           Led Zeppelin      194
31           King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard    193
32           The Cranberries    190
33           Rasputina     187
34           The Decemberists     187
35           Rebirth Brass Band          179
36           Achanak     179
37           The King Blues   178
38           Turbonegro        176
39           Rage Against the Machine    174
40           Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds   174
41           Howard Shore   173
42           Marillion              172
43           Oysterband        172
44           AC/DC     169
45           Simon & Garfunkel    167
46           Soul Rebels Brass Band   167
47           Billie Holiday       164
48           Siouxsie and the Banshees    160
49           Jack Off Jill          158
50           Staff Benda Bilili   158

Staff Benda Bilili

51           Fake Club     158
52           Metallica   155
53           Marilyn Manson    152
54           Massive Wagons    152
55           Lindsey Stirling 150
56           Status Quo          146
57           Placebo    143
58           The Rolling Stones    142
59           Black Moth         141
60           Das Pack    136
61           Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends   136
62           Dropkick Murphys  132
63           Toseland    132
64           Lily Allen   129
65           Mastodon    128
66           Monster Magnet    127
67           Lacuna Coil          127
68           Veronica Falls    127
69           Toots and The Maytals 126
70           The Divine Comedy         125        
71          The Dirty Dozen Brass Band          125
72           Halestorm           124
73           Charm City Devils             124
74           The Clash             123
75           Nature Sounds 121
76           Lucky Dube         119
77           Judas Priest        118
78           Blues Pills    118
79           Devo     116
80           Michael Monroe              116
81           The Offspring    115
82           Johnny Cash       115
83           Lindisfarne          115
84           Skånska Mord   115
85           The Civil Wars    113
86           Green Day          112
87           Airbourne           112
88           Sauti Sol               112
89           Blackwolf             110
90           Professor Elemental       109
91           Black Spiders      108
92           Madness             108
93           UFO       107
94           The Vincent Black Shadow 107
95           The Proclaimers    104
96           Somi      103
97           Enter Shikari       102
98           Rush      101
99           Tracer   101
100         Sidilarsen  100

The Music of 2015 - Tracks

Dominated by Muse's Drones album, I did listen to a lot of Muse last year....

1              Muse — Dead Inside      57
2              Muse — Psycho   56
3              Muse — Reapers   55
4              Muse — The Handler     54
5              Muse — [JFK]    54
6              Muse — Mercy                  53
7              Le Loup — Breathing Rapture     44
8              Muse — Defector  43
9              Kongos — I'm Only Joking   38
10           Muse — Drones  33
11           Smoke Fairies — Strange Moon Rising   30
12           Muse — Aftermath  30
13           Kongos — Come With Me Now                 29
14           Muse — Revolt                   29
15           The Young'Uns — No More Frying Bacon              26
16           Devendra Banhart — Golden Girls           25
17           Muse — Stockholm Syndrome 24
18           Under A Banner — Close To The Clouds                24
19           The Young'Uns — Following the Old 'Oss              23
20           The Unthanks — Where've Yer Bin Dick?              22
21           Fake Club — Bullet Brain               22
22           Under A Banner — Numbers      22
23           Under A Banner — Impossible Day          22
24           Smoke Fairies — Dragon   21
25           Smoke Fairies — Blue Skies Fall                 21
26           Muse — The Globalist   21
27           Muse — Take a Bow       20
28           The Unthanks — The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw    20
29           Smoke Fairies — Storm Song      20
30           Smoke Fairies — Devil In My Mind           20
31           Kongos — I Want to Know           20
32           Halestorm — Daughters of Darkness      20
33           Under A Banner — How Martyrs Are made         20
34           The Asteroids Galaxy Tour — The Golden Age    19
35           Smoke Fairies — Feeling Is Turning Blue                19
36           Fake Club — Do What You Gotta Do        19
37           Katie Herzig — I Hurt Too             18
38           The Asteroids Galaxy Tour — Crazy         18
39           Kongos — It's a Good Life 18
40           Muse — The 2nd Law: Unsustainable     18
41           The Young'Uns — Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana  18
42           The Young'Uns — The Running Fox         18
43           Under A Banner — City Alone    18
44           The Asteroids Galaxy Tour — Hero   17
45           The Unthanks — Not Much Luck In Our House   17
46           Smoke Fairies — Morning Blues                  17
47           Smoke Fairies — We've Seen Birds 17
48           Fake Club — Beauty Queen 17
49           Under A Banner — Steam            17
50                           Under A Banner — Don't Give A... 17

Friday, August 07, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

TV Review - Sense 8 : 9*

It isn't often that I rave over a TV series, GoT and Penny Dreadful aside, but the scope, depth and grandeur of Sense 8 had me hooked from the start. Sumptuously filmed with an above averagely good-looking cast, gorgeous locations and carefully used special effects, this is a big budget series which is seriously beautiful.

If you are looking for a quick fix one-shot this-is the-crime-this-is-the-capture sort of show then the Wachowski's production for Netflix might not be your thing. This is a real slow-burner, True Detective not CSI. The opening episode introduces the lives of some of the main characters, but it is does introduce much if anything in the way of plot. At the end of the that episode, in which the everyday lives of people are built up layer on layer, and the underlying themes are only gently referred to I was amazed. I'd watched an hour of TV and had no idea what was happening. This is how the great horror writer Stephen King makes his characters work, he fills in the minutiae of people's lives and thoughts until we become familiar and at ease with them, and then he pulls the rug from under them.

In Sense 8 the rug-pulling isn't so obvious. Many of the characters live lives which include an element of danger, Tuppence Middleton's Riley associates with dubious friends on the edge of the London nightlife scene, the almost obnoxiously handsome Miguel Angel Silvestre's actor Lito Rodriguez has to hide his true sexuality to protect his career, and in nicely opposite manner, Jamie Clayton's transgender Nomi Marks flaunts and displays her sexuality in a precarious present built on Pride and harder times. Most often, when these characters have their worlds changed it isn't so much as a result of their newly awakened mental powers but as a result of some change in their normal lives.

Jamie Clayton

As the eight members of the Cluster begin to recognise what is happening to them, we see a the series take a more human than superhuman direction. In a more traditional comic book style series we might expect a superpower to unveil itself at the moment of deepest need, and this does happen in Sense 8, but what we also see is much more emotionally based set of psychic abilities in which the characters sense and mirror each others emotional states and desires. When Capheus channels the fighting abilities of Doona Bae's Sun Bak the danger and thrill is palpable, but we learn more about the Cluster members when they mirror each others fear, misery and lust.

Sense 8 is a wonderful achievement, it brings a richness of character development not often seen in sci-fi and it champions love as much as it relies on action and tension. Just as importantly is that Sense 8 has not jettisoned the friends and lovers of the Cluster in order to focus on the central players, the importance of Nomi's girlfriend Amanita (Freema Agyeman) to her emotional stability and ability to interact with her Cluster companions is vital, and the odd and painful/hilarious symbiosis between Lito, Hernando ( Alfonso Herrara) and Daniela (Erendira Ibarra) is beautifully played out.

Tuppence Middleton as Riley

Visually Sense 8 is a masterpiece, shot on location in Nairobi, Mumbai, Mexico City, London, Chicago, Berlin, Seoul and San Francisco, emotionally it is heart-warming and empowering and it draws you in, makes you love the characters and feel and fear for them, and this was surely the intention, as the characters mirror each others emotions on screen that we in turn mirror their feelings in watching and become part in turn of the events.

The biggest challenge for Sense 8 in series 2, and I do hope there is one, will be to keep the series away from being just another sci-fi plot in which the shadowy bad guys hunt the good guys. Sense 8 feels in a way more like Warren Ellis' FreakAngels than it does say X-Men, because more often in life, when you're feeling lost and alone, fragile and scared, what you need most in the world isn't a man with a metal exo-skeleton and retractable knuckle blades, what you need most is a friend.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cutting For Ian

There were unsettling scenes yesterday as thousands of fans of the disgraced singer Ian Bieber descended on the prison where the god awful little creep is incarcerated. Fans waved toddlers in the air and took to Twitter with hashtags like




in order to profess their misguided support for the foul actions of the rock singer.

Locals were aid to be horrified at the crowd's reaction.

"He's a horrible, disgusting person, he makes me sick, hanging's too good for him" said one local woman. "And I'm none too keen on Ian Watkins either."