Happy New Year!

Like many little girls, I had piano lessons as a child, and reached an acceptable if not exceptional standard – perhaps the story of my life – before I lost interest and picked up the guitar instead. (I never excelled at that, either.)

I had a few sheet music books – Pink Floyd, a mixed songbook with The Beatles and a few others, and of course Tori Amos, since she was synonymous with “piano” when I was in my teens. Cornflake Girl was too hard for me, but Pretty Good Year was fairly easy, and a great way to round off any year. It’s also a fine tune, so here is Tori playing it on Top of the Pops:

Continue reading

Doctor Who

I must admit, I’ve not really been following Doctor Who. I mean, I know I should. I missed Blink, and probably a dozen other memorable episodes too, but somehow, when it really comes down to it, I always have something more pressing going on.

Doctor Who is something I associate with my childhood – something we had on in the background while we sipped tea and ate homemade scones fresh from the oven.

Continue reading

Ultra Vivid Scene feat Kim Deal – Special One

Select Magazine used to come with cover-mounted cassettes entitled Red Tape. These compilation gems pretty much moulded my taste in music, introducing young teenaged me to everyone from Silverfish to Megadeth.

One of the tapes included this song that can still send shivers up my spine. It’s a deceptively simple hook and melody that’s just exquisitely crafted and has stayed with me for fully 20 years. It’s sweet in the way the Carpenters were sweet and breezy the way the Mamas and Papas were breezy. Delicious and light, not saccharine.

Continue reading

Zombieland

I once had a Twinkie for breakfast every day for a week. We don’t get Twinkies in this country, so my friend posted some over, and I started each day with a sugar rush. If I thought the Twinkie’s days on this earth were numbered, I’d probably shoot up some zombies in search of the stuff, but I’m not sure that I’d actually risk my life for the gooey confection.

Continue reading

Boxhed or Boxhead

This one’s a bit odd because I don’t know where it comes from. I’m not referring to whether to credit JG Thirlwell or Julz Finley for the find, but the actual video itself, since I don’t remember seeing the “boxhed” street art meme before today. (Then again, you don’t get much graffiti out in the rural Fens.)

Continue reading

The Five Stages of Fandom

“Wait, that’s your penpal?” I asked, feeling my mouth dry up.
“Yeah, why, have you heard of him?”
I couldn’t believe she hadn’t. I told her he’d sold 65 million books, and linked her to a trailer of the latest adaptation. She seemed, at last, impressed.
The author had contacted her to say how much he’d enjoyed her work – fan mail, if you like. Here was this titled, lauded writer heaping praise on my unassuming friend. She, in turn, is renowned within her field.

I can think of many cases like that. My hero on the red carpet, his friend saying, “Oh, he’s just some guy.” Given time, I start to see him the same way, too. I’ve got friends who are celebrated, but either what they do doesn’t interest me much, or I’ve reached Stage Five of Fandom.

STAGE ONE: I LOVE WHAT YOU DO

This is a lot like falling in love. Someone has made something extraordinary – far beyond what you could ever even dream up – and you are fascinated by it. You can’t get enough of it, and even the thought of it fills you with joy. You feel the need to express it everywhere, to everyone. This is, like, the best thing ever. If you are in the position where you can contact the person who made it, you want to thank them just for making it because of the sheer amount of entertainment and happiness it has brought into your life.

Continue reading

Review of the Year 2010

Everyone is making these “reviews of the year”, so I guess it’s my turn.

Between January and March, I mostly listened to Lady Gaga and 30 Seconds to Mars. I was disappointed with This Is War, but didn’t hate it on first listen. I haven’t listened to it at all since March. Otherwise, my year pretty much went like this (checks Facebook):

JANUARY

watched Avatar. Three hours was not long enough to be looking at Sam Worthington. … Him Indoors kept referring to the Na’vi as “smurfs” – 02 January at 20:37

Continue reading

Top 10 Posts 2010

These aren’t necessarily the ones with the most hits (since 30 March 2010) – though most are.

1 10 Sexiest Nerds

Blimey, you’re a shallow bunch! I wrote this as a bit of light-hearted fluff and it’s had about as many views as every other post put together! Still, if there’s one thing we love here, it’s sexy nerds. Of course, it was controversial when I first put it up: everyone complained that their favourite game developer had been omitted!

2 Fallout New Vegas: The First Hour

Everyone wants to know about Benny. It’s a good game and I’m still enjoying it, but I haven’t blogged about it lately because it would just read “number of radscorpions killed: 15. v good. Paralysed by choice: still not picked a side.”

Continue reading

Sugar – Hoover Dam

This song has been going around in my head for a while now, through playing too much Fallout: New Vegas.

I was never a Sugar fan. This was, to my mind, the only truly good track on the album, Copper Blue. I never got into Husker Du, and thought that, all in all, Bob Mould was overrated.

This song, though. It’s just exquisite songwriting from start to end. The intriguing reversed start, echoed by the off-kilter guitar solo, and that extremely memorable keyboard hook are what reeled me in. The rousing vocals that are too lazy to be properly anthemic. For all the era’s pretenses of low-budget rebellion, the sound on this is twinkling and pristine, and it’s really just a classic rock song built for driving across the Nevada desert.