Archive for October, 2006


October 31, 2006

About last night: What better way to spend Halloween night than watching comedy monsters Lordi,  You remember them right?  The guys who won Eurovision?

Before that though was support band Turisas.  These mad Finns dressed like vikings having a wardrobe malfunction and played a kind of heavy metal drinking music.  They call it battle metal which has to be one of the stupidest subgenres to emerge in recent memory.  They were good fun and proved that the only thing better than an accordion is two accordions.

As you can clearly see in the photo above, Lordi have a rather elaborate stage setup.  They also have a very drawn out intro – three minutes of a terrible song on tape followed by lots of ominous bell ringing, a talky intro tape and then finally a band.  Who was it again?  Oh yes, Lordi.  I’d nearly forgotten.

The stage show is elaborate, with ear splitting pyrotechnics and wacky things constantly happening on stage.  In fact there’s no escaping the fireworks.  After ten minutes the whole place stank like a swimming pool, after half an hour we were all watching the gig through a thick fog.

Having said that, their whole show is very funny and clearly hugely popular with the whole audience.  If you like your rock music half way between Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie (with a big slice of cheese) you should go and see them


The Damned

October 28, 2006

About last night: OK, so I’m so late with this update it’s ridiculous but anyhoo.

This was a punk all-dayer and somehow we managed to miss half the bands even though we only turned up two hours after doors opening.

We caught the end of the Anti-Nowhere League (it was a shame we missed them, they’re entertaining).  We then saw the Angelic Upstarts who looked like the five ages of Ray Winstone.  Can’t say I enjoyed them much.

Next up was Sham 69 who were very good.  Sadly they did a song about 9/11 that made my brain itch but otherwise a good effort.

Finally The Damned.  They often tailor their shows to the audience and sure enough it was a punkier set.  There was very little on-stage banter, which is unusual for them (Monty the keyboard player didn’t even winge about having drinks thrown at him).

Other than the bands I think it’s fair to say that the venue was cramped, the audience (while not aggressive) were a pain in the arse and getting drinks was a bit of a nightmare.  Yep, The Sheperds Bush Empire is not my favorite venue.

Does this post seem a little rushed?

The Webcam

October 26, 2006

I walked into the server room at work yesterday and was going about my normal business when I discovered something unexpected – a webcam.  No one told me about this!

Our boss had recently bought a very expensive webcam and now, without warning, it was pointing at the door watching everyone who was going in and out.  Very disconcerting.

So, we knew this outrage could not go on without some kind of action.  But what?

Well I’ve seen a few too many bank raid movies in my time so it was pretty obvious.  We needed to put a picture of the door in front of the webcam.

We logged into the cam, took a screen shot of what it was displaying, printed it on our top notch colour printer and then with some careful adjustment we were able to make it look like everything was normal.  Here it is:

Here’s the setup.  The photo is attached to a box with paperclips.  The webcam is the small white box on a grey stand.  It’s sitting on some really old hard disks to give it the right height.

And here’s the view from the webcam.  Pretty good eh?

Market Research

October 12, 2006

So a month or so ago I got a call at work.  It was one of these interminable market research calls where they ask about 8 million questions about who I am, what I do, what my company does, what they buy, who buys it, who they buy it from, how much they spend, etc.

And they don’t ask these questions once, oh no.  They will ask the same question but in different formations again and again.  And don’t bother asking how long it’ll take to do their survey because they always lie knowing full well that no one would agree to the Spanish Inquisition if they knew it involoved a comfy chair and cusions.

So yeah, I got one of those calls and this was particularly painful.  The guy was calling from France (presumably the Indian call centres had too much work that week) on a bad line.  I was sometimes struggling to understand him and he kept getting cut off and ringing me back.  I only kept going with this whole fiasco because I was having a bad day and this would made me look busy without actually having to do any work.

I get to the end of the inquisition and he tells me, for the first time in this entire call, that having answered all these questions I am now entitled to a cheque for fifty euros.  I really wasn’t that bothered and asked if maybe he’d prefer to give it to charity but apparently they’re not allowed to do that.  Hmm, well I suppose if they’re going to give away free money I shouldn’t object too much….

Anyway I’d completely forgotten about all of this until this morning when I received a letter.  And that letter had a cheque attached to it.  And it is indeed for the princely sum of fifty euros.


Unfortunately he spelt my name so badly I can’t cash it.


“Extras” & “That Mitchell & Webb Look”

October 6, 2006

So we’re half way through the second season of Ricky Gervais’ Extras and quite frankly, while it’s not terrible, it is certainly one of the most self indulgent comedy shows I’ve ever seen.  Gervais’ character is the writer of a popular yet shit sitcom and he gets to hangout with celebs and go to awards shows.  It’s very off putting to know that the writers are sitting at their computers and saying “this how we might have been if we weren’t comedy geniuses.”

What makes this show even harder to enjoy is that the writers have a very limited range of voices resulting in different characters all sounding the same.  Oh look here’s Chris Martin and he sounds like Ricky Gervais being Chris Martin.  Here’s Orlando Bloom sounding like Ricky Gervais being Orlando Bloom.

And the jokes are getting predictable too.  Would you tell your ditzy mate any secrets if you know perfectly well they’ll blab it to exactly the wrong person?

Still, the bit with Diana Rigg last week was pretty funny.

A much better bet if you are after laughs is the show that currently follows extras: That Mitchell and Webb Look.  They’re currently best know for starring in Peep Show, a very funny sitcom about two flat mates.  It turns out they can also do an inspired sketch show.  Unlike Little Britain or The Fast Show they don’t rely on repetition of catchphrases in different settings but on constantly offering outlandish and surprising ideas.

Here’s one of my favorite sketches.  Enjoy.

Wednesday 13

October 5, 2006

What’s all this then? Well, as you can see in the comments in this post from halonine I had a cunning plan to post photos live from gigs that I go to.  This plan didn’t go entirely to plan last night because The Mean Fiddler is in a basement and so there was zero signal there.  I sent this as soon as I got outside.  Anyway, I thought it might be cool to add a little more about the gig itself.

About last night: The evening started with the usual irritations.  After getting into the lift at the tube station and waiting for the doors to close and begin the descent, a wanker holding a beer can got in just as the doors were closing and held them open.  He let his friend in who then blocked the doors again to let yet more wankers in (all with beer cans).  Wanker number one then says “I wonder if Pete Doherty will actually show tonight?” to which wanker number two retorts “I just want to get smashed.”  Oooohh Tarquin, you’re such a rebel!  So much so that you get your thrills vicariously through a sad-sack junkie who lives in a hovel.


Anyway, the gig.  I have no idea who the support band were, they were just the usual rabble who turns up and trundles through one inane song after another.  This gave me and Lady Geezer of Dodgenshire the opportunity to ponder the unponderable: questions like “Does Shane McGowan brush his tooth?”

When Wednesday 13 rocked up we installed ourselves behind the mixing desk.  The lines you can see in the above photo are the cage surrounding the desk.  Also the desk is like some kind of Buck Rogers affair with LCD panels and more lights than a mobile disco.

This is about the third time I’ve seen Mr 13 and I think this was his least interesting performance out of those.  Don’t get me wrong, it was fun but they didn’t seem to be going through the motions.  Strangely enough this was probably the fullest show he’s done at this venue so clearly he’s becoming more popular in this corner of the world.  Good for him, he does this shit better than most.