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Pesky Indie Kids .. September 3, 2008

Posted by stagedive in Music, Reviews.
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I kept reading about Vampire Weekend and ignored them. I’d heard all I needed to hear on ‘da radio and they sounded twee and somewhat lacking a USP. I aquired a copy of the self titled album and placed the needle on the iPod – infectious, articulate, upbeat, considered … and lots of other superlatives. It’s one of those great lost arts of making an album better than the sum of it’s parts. The two or three singles that I was familiar with, sounded a bit inane on their own, but put together I am leaping round the continuous repeat button like a sprightly teenager. Well done boys, well done …

I don’t even want to mention Noah & the Whale in this post, they are just too lovable to mention … just when I thought it was safe to listen to the Dennis Wilson re-issue, I get distracted again …


What time is love? July 21, 2008

Posted by stagedive in Holiday, Idle Thoughts, Kids, Music, Reviews, Travel.
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It’s been almost a week since I last put pen to paper on here .. I was so inspired by a Monday back at work after a week out that even looking at blog searches from a year ago inspired me.

Whats happened?? 20th Nov last year 31,517 people looked at these pages in one day – thats about a 5000% increase on when I actually wrote anything on here that (I thought) had meaning. If only working life was like that, you take some time out and the worker pixies press buttons for you .. if only. It was a search on panda eyes or something. There was me thinking the only person that read this was gf linking through to Annie Rhiannon’s site cos she is too lazy to bookmark it.

Tips brain contents out onto page so can look back and remember some of this in a year from now ..

We went on a fantastic long holiday and I meant to write about it, Moscow, across Russia, Mongolia, drank Yak’s milk, Beijing, Shanghai, celebrated National Day, Hong Kong, then home .. I even took some notes at the time to get the blog motors rolling, it seems so long ago.

We had a romantic weekend in Bratislava too for gf’s birthday. Lovely place & the best hot chocolate in the whole world ever. I didn’t think it were possible to get that excited about hot chocolate, but it is! A trip across the border to Vienna for the day, without my passport – life on the edge, the closest I get to being a bond villain.

A lovely trip to Canadia to see the in-law’s. The Ontario winter was a sight. I got to drive the Bobcat – I was momentarily ‘Mr Plough’, but alas I wasn’t there long enough to develop my obvious natural ability for a change in career. Two days cross country skiiing by Lake Pigeon in a little log cabin too, it’s harder than it looks.

A rejuvenated TFC had a couple of gigs, one at the Islington Academy with shiny new line-up. I always promised myself I would never be in a band with keyboards, oh the shame I have brought upon this humble home, but that’s another promise broken ..

Went to Latitude with the kids last weekend. Got dirty and didn’t care .. Saw a whole bunch of bands that I hadn’t heard of, watched a whole load of kids walk round with T-Shirts of bands that I hadn’t heard of. It was a great weekend. My shoulders are a different shape from carrying youngest son on shoulders for the enitire (almost) Elbow set down the front. They even had showers this year that worked & toilets that were bearable. Highlights were largely in the Comedy & Literature tents with Russell Howard topping the stand up list & Colin Watson at the Book Club just being mesmiringly mental & taking lots of laughs. I also saw Attila for a bit of left wing nostalgia who was bang on form. Musically, Elbow, Death Cab for Cutie, Joanna Newsome & Okkerville River all ruled.

Booked a bunch of holidays this year … at last. There was a worrying few weeks where we had nothing booked and a bleak horizon of work and no play. The sun is shining again though & in this house the summer starts next week, officially.

You are my Guitar Hero .. November 20, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Idle Thoughts, Music.

Six Strings is the new gold .. Woo Hoo .. Guitars are the currency of the futire and a definite sound (ahem) investment, so says today’s Guardian ..

Now all my slightly lightweight excuses that I do need 7 guitars that I dont’s play are fully justified by accountants. Yo to life ..

Safari .. October 10, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Berlin, Holiday, Idle Thoughts, Travel.
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In a journalistic world there are assignments I would pay to be chosen for .. this is one of them;

The same Berlin Trabi tour that we took earlier this Summer and spookily, the same car .. It was indeed like being trapped inside a Lawn Mower 🙂

Dear David .. October 8, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Holiday, Idle Thoughts, Travel.
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People spotting. Lining up in the Security Queue for our flight to Moscow and standing there right in front of us was … David Cameron. He was alone with a short bloke that had to be most likely an aide rather than a Body Guard. He was flying to Berlin. I had just read about his green polocies a few minutes earlier in the check in queue .. spooky ..

He wasn’t provided anything special by the way of treatment, I thought they whisked the VIPs through the side entrance. Despite the ‘Brits Abroad’ mob that all promised to vote for him if he posed for a picture, he could have been any other face in the crowd.

I am not a fan of the Tories, having grown up in Thatcher’s Britain, but I find increasingly that Cameron talks some sense .. not so much that I would vote for him, but good on him for hitting on some green ideas and some equality for single parents and un-married co-habitees ..

I didn’t ask for a picture, but neither did I have a desire to throw something at him – that might follow if he ever ends up in power for 18 years and (further) brings down the NHS ..

Return .. October 8, 2007

Posted by stagedive in China, Holiday, Idle Thoughts, Mongolia, Russia, Travel.

I haven’t had such a long holiday in years and today it feels like someone has sealed me to the seam of my office chair and layed my hands on the keyboard, flicked the on switch but forgot to charge the batteries ..

It is really nice to be home, to see the kids, approach a routine, but I am still in holiday mood, the wind in my hair*, the inabilty to wash for four days and that old russain lady that had a tardis for a food bag that kept delivering us booty ..

Moscow to Hong Kong, largely via land – the best holiday in the whole world ever .. I’ll write some more to remind me where it all was ..

* technically possible after four weeks with no hair clippers!

More Punk Rock Vicar .. September 12, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Idle Thoughts.

I made a Pot of Tea this morning, next thing I know I find myself putting the pot in the fridge .. what, why, where ..
This tells two things about my current psyche ..

  • The teapot suggests that Iam slipping in to middle age. I used to hate it when my Mum would insist on making a pot of tea, because ‘it tastes better’. She would then roll out a pre-war metallic relic that I might die for today, but at the time just looked aged and unclean. The making of a pot of tea is now hip with me and my homies, everyone is doing it! We are all reaching middle age. I get more excited about Tea Shops than Record Shops now! It’s not hip in the bleached jeans sense of teenage angst/confusion, it’s just that our parents were right .. it does taste better.
  • The tea pot in the fridge . I am seeing the first signs of senility. It was about two months ago when I thought I was still young. Once the switch of 35 years hit me I thought that middle age doesn’t appear all that bad, I can still listen to angry punk rock and smile. That phase however seems to have settled down now and the signs of dementure are creeping in – Old Age. Soon I won’t be dribbling due to too much After Shock, it will be a natural early evening state before the late edition of Coronation Street.

We’re all going on .. August 31, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Holiday, Idle Thoughts, Kids, My Girlfriend, Travel.
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It has been a Summer of holidays this year. I have got to the ungrateful spoilt brat stage of actually looking forward to a weekend at home doing nothing – I don’t mean that in the literal sense as all have been a lot of fun, but when we booked 5 weekends away in a row, it didn’t seem as ambitious as it was/is in reality.

First up was a 10 day roadtrip to;
Amsterdam – Anne Frank, Canal Boat, Trams a go-go, Nasty Hotel
Antwerp – Lavish Hotel, Transvestite Town Square entertainment, pretty walks
Brussels – Manneken Pis, Atonium (which I have wanted to visit since I was a kid & didn’t dissapoint), Euro Parliment
Luxembourg – Not a lot to entertain the tourist, but gorgeous views and the way the City is cut into the hillside has to be seen.
Paris – a day of being a City guide and one day at Disney ..

Then we went to Berlin to sign house stuff. We rented some bikes for the weekendand my Sister and her Boyfriend played the perfect hosts and we toured around on our Fat Tyres. It’s a great way to see Berlin as it is a very dispersed City and also very flat. We also spent a day biking out to Hohenschönhausen Prison, the former Stasi run establishment, used for housing predimenetly Political prisonors/the innocent – now a memorial. A really moving tour, all be it in German only, by former inmates that takes you round the depths of the U-Boat basement cells and recalls tales that you wouldn’t believe unless you were there. Moving and memorable.

Next up was Cambridge for a 40th Birthday Party on the River. For reasons of consuming alcohol, we stayed over and had a hotel looking on Parker’s Piece. Not having ever stayed in Cambridge before, it’s so picturesque and peaceful first thing in the morning when the greens are empty and the tourist haven’t yet woken up.

Last weekend was Warsaw. We flew with Central Wings .. never again. Our outbound flight was delayed by 7 hours, after already being delayed 5 hours advised by e-mail. We therefore sat in the departure lounge until 2am having expected to have landed in Poland at 10pm. The return journey was little better, an immediate delay of 5 hours .. both events the reasons were given as nothing more than ‘Operational’. The part imbetween was great though. My Sister once more played perfect host and we had an apartment all to ourselves. We stayed in and around the Old/New Town on Saturday, went Swimming and ate loads for ‘Brunch’ on Sunday, visited a memorial section of the old Ghetto wall & watched movies. Then Monday we visited a new (to me at least) Museum for the Warsaw Uprising. It was very atmospheric with excellent sound effects in each room, a sympathetic construction, and a number of genuine glimpses of the past.

It’s a lot to be grateful for, and we had a great time at each and every one, aside from some airline delays, but this weekend I have nothing planned, and it feels just great ..

Minor Rebellion .. August 21, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Idle Thoughts.

Is it rebellious to not wear ear rings? <rhetorical> I have been wearing earings since the age of 12. At the time it was a skinhead, youth culture, rebellion thing to do, solely as it annoyed your parents and made all the girls at school go ‘Wow, you’ve got your ear pierced’ .. I lightly dined on that for while ..

Over the years I can’t think that I have really ventured much further along the path of rebellion, sure there were opportunities musically and socially, particularly at College and in the back of a transit van, but somehow most seemed a little staid by the tme I got to thinking about hem, and the casualties that I saw along the way, in particular those folks that have the cotton wool sheltered upbringing until Uni and then ‘let it all hang out’ after fresher’s week, is a sight to behold. The nice polite farmer’s daughter that turned into the Coke crazed, tatooed Goth in the space of a fortinght was a particular blur that always raises a wry smile ..

Anyway, I’m wittering and I shouldn’t cos I’m busy doing other stuff, but suffice to say .. I no longer wear ear rings!!! Nowadays it seems that to not wear them is more a badge of honour than doing so.

I feel liberated, I’m not sure if I should, whether it will last, or whether I will be able to find the darn things if I change my mind, but it feels as rebellious not wearing them as it did getting my ears pierced in the first place ..

Ahh the shadows of your thirties can muster up some strange emotions .. let’s hope my Mum’s not annoyed I’m not wearing them anymore 🙂

Still Game .. July 20, 2007

Posted by stagedive in Idle Thoughts.


I’ve just got through the last series of Still Game on DVD  getting addicted, utterly and hopelessly .. Series 6 started on TV last week too so I had the unadulterated pleasure of catching 7 episodes in one sitting .. Mmmmm ..It is simply the best thing on TV, the Scottish dialect* and inaapropriate language hits the cultural funnybone every time. Greg & Ford have created a comedic niche that has a span of generations .. the grumbling elderlies that aligned with Meldrew, through to the nations youth that have a street corner too few to hang out on, will all find a hook within. In that way it is very similar to the Simpsons, you miss a number of jokes first time around & it’s only on second and third viewing that the depth reveals itself. It’s also great for taking the rise out of social stereotypes and yet positively promoting them at the same time ..

Interestingly for me, I also have two faithfull** friends that sooo remind me of younger versions of Jack & Victor that I’m looking forward to old age with a healthy weight of Scottish ‘Pish’ … Isa, get the kettle on ..

* T can’t see the humour at all .. she can’t even understand the language .. I offered the Babelfish Translator but it didn’t have the Scottish to Canadian option ..

** JC & JEly beware, there are imposters out there..