November 27, 2006
Sign up for fair use rights

If you are unhappy with the fact that you could go to prison for ripping your CDs to your MP3 player (even if only in theory), sign Suw Charman's on-line petition: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to create a new exception to copyright law that gives individuals the right to create a private copy of copyrighted materials for their own personal use, including back-ups, archiving and shifting format.

Of course, it'll make no difference - the gits in number ten aren't interested in the opinions of those who don't read The Mail or The Sun these days. But still, stand up and be counted.

Via Boing Boing.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
November 08, 2006
Last.fm

Simon pointed me at Last.fm the other night. Interesting site - It looks at what you listen to, recommends new bands that you might like based on other users with similar tastes, and will even build you a custom radio stream. Here's what I'm listening to:

It's a shame that it only takes note of what you listen to whilst on-line - it'll miss out on what I listen to whilst travelling. Even more sad, it can't take advantage of the enormous historical record that my iTunes library has kept for me: 25,879 tracks played, 73 days, 14:10:16 play time. The iTunes Registry does take account of your full history - but it doesn't do recommendations.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
October 31, 2006
Burnt To Bitz track listing

Right, that's it; I'm bored of waiting for a Burnt To Bitz track listing. I've done my own.

Burnt To Bitz cover

Disk 1Track 1Escape SongGraham Coxon3:00
Track 2SpectacularGraham Coxon2:53
Track 3I Can't Look At Your SkinGraham Coxon3:24
Track 4No Good TimeGraham Coxon3:26
Track 5I WishGraham Coxon5:44
Track 6Bittersweet Bundle Of MiseryGraham Coxon5:20
Track 7What's He Got?Graham Coxon4:33
Track 8Girl Done GoneGraham Coxon5:04
Track 9All Over MeGraham Coxon4:48
Track 10Just A State Of MindGraham Coxon5:11
Track 11You & IGraham Coxon4:06
Track 12Standing On My Own AgainGraham Coxon4:30
Track 13Right To PopGraham Coxon2:50
Track 14Don't Let Your Man KnowGraham Coxon3:30
Track 15What Ya Gonna Do Now?Graham Coxon3:01
Track 16Bloody AnnoyingGraham Coxon3:20
Disk 2Track 1Freakin' OutGraham Coxon3:46
Track 2That's When I Reach For My RevolverMission of Burma4:27
Track 3People Of The EarthGraham Coxon3:50
Track 4Big BirdGraham Coxon7:26
Track 5See A Better DayGraham Coxon5:37
Track 6All Mod ConsPaul Weller1:12
Track 7You Always Let me DownGraham Coxon2:52
Track 8I Don't Wanna Go Out (Part 1)Graham Coxon3:20
Track 9I Don't Wanna Go Out (Part 2)Graham Coxon1:31
Track 10Gimme Some LoveGraham Coxon2:52
Track 11Who The Fuck You Looking At?Graham Coxon5:07
Track 12Life It SucksGraham Coxon4:04

Corrections very welcome. Photos of the gig here and here.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
October 26, 2006
Graham Coxon at The Astoria

The Graham Coxon gig last night was fab. My ears are still ringing! Lots of silly jumping about, both on and off stage, and plenty of old-school post punk with all the trimmings.

Silly jumping about - how old do I sound?

Anyway, I picked up the Burnt to Bitz CD on the way out. It's really well put together - despite picking it up on the way out of the gig, it has a good case and cover, and the sound quality is good from what I've heard so far. I'm just waiting for a track listing now...

No tee shirt, though. They had none in my size. <jack-black>Hey, Graham's merchandise people - fat boys like to rock too, you know!</jack-black>

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
October 20, 2006
Try giving the punters what they want

I'm off to see Graham Coxon next week at the Astoria. And this is a good idea - I'll be able to buy a CD of the gig on the way out. Beats the usual tee shirt - though I'll probably get one of those too.

As El Presidente says; "this is what the music industry should be doing rather than screw everyone over with DRM". Try giving the punters what they want. Then they might be happy to pay for it.

Trivia, of interest to no one - Graham Coxon worked as a cook in Clown's Restaurant, Colchester, at some time in the eighties, at the same time as my sister waited table there. He was, apparently, a rubbish cook.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
October 17, 2006
DVD Audio format-shifting on the Mac

OK, Mac gurus - how do I rip the audio from a DVD to MP3, so I can listen to it on my iPod, preferably using open source software?

I own the DVD in question, FWIW. ;-)

Update: Mac the Ripper and ffmpegX did the job between them. Thanks.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
February 07, 2006
Are you Shure?

I picked up some new earphones last week, to go with my shiny new iPod - some Shure E2cs.

The Good

The sound. Just that really, but oh, what a sound! Now, I'm no audiophile, but I can tell the difference between these and the other 'phones I've had. Everything feels so much more lively, and I hear things that I've not heard before.

Sound exclusion is very good, too. It's possible to listen to classical and jazz on the tube now, which is fab, and I can listen to things much more quietly if I want ti, which has got to be good for my ears in the long run.

The Bad

E2cs are awkward and uncomfortable. Part of that us just a function of their sheer size, but I also dislike the way the wire goes over and behind the ear.

The top of my ears is where I am accustomed to keeping the arms of my glasses, and the two just don't sit well together. The other day as I was removing my 'phones to buy a pint of milk on the way to work, the wire caught and I flung my glasses at the checkout girl. Now, fair enough, this is probably mostly due to the Brunning spanner gene enthusiastically extending its phenotype halfway across the supermarket, but didn't anyone with glasses try the design out?

Err, maybe not. They seem to come from Texas, where I'm sure that anyone unable to see while on the back of a bucking bronco doesn't live long enough to breed. Still, it's a minor pain for me.

Oh yes, and they weren't cheap, either.

The Ugly

The ugly? Just look at the things. Hideous. They look like NHS hearing aids - huge, molded from cheap (looking) plastic, and the cables look like you could charge a car battery with them.

Still, looks don't bother me too much. And since the kindest thing that anyone's said about my appearance recently is that I look like geography teacher, perhaps I don't have that much to lose anyway.

The Verdict

Well, for me, the sound's the thing, so I'm happy.

Oh, and if you do get any of these, do look before you cross the road, as you certainly aren't going to be hearing cars coming.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
January 24, 2006
Is the hype over

That didn't last long. Looking at my reciept this morning, I see that it reads "Arctic Monkeys, Whatever".

Well, I like it, anyway.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 06:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 12, 2005
DRM Madness

I screwed up last week - I carelessly bought a DRMed nearly-CD; K.T. Tunstall's Eye to the Telescope. Great musically speaking, but playing it on my CD player (actually a DVD player), it sounded like a record with a scratch. Rather a nostalgic moment, actually. ;-)

Ironically, I ripped it to my Mac without any problem whatsoever, and the CD that iTunes burned for me plays perfectly. They only thing they prevented was the legitimate use.

I'm not going to take this one back, but I'll be more careful to avoid not-quite-CDs in future.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
December 05, 2005
The Constant Gardener

I went so see The Constant Gardener last week at The Clapham Picture House.

Top film, I thought. It had a very 1980's French film to my eyes - bleak in plot, cynical in outlook, and naturalistic in the way it was shot. In particular, the way the main characters' relationship was built up then re-interpreted in the latter half was masterful. Recommended.

Besides - Rachel Weisz with her kit off was worth the ticket price by itself.

Bit of trivia for you - two spaces behind me in the ticket queue was Keira Knightley. Shorter than she looks on screen, but very pretty in a teenage sort of a way.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
November 08, 2005
Kate Bush early demos

As if Aerial wasn't good enough, look what I found - Kate Bush in MP3. If you're a fan, you have got to hear these. And if you're not, you have no taste.

Something Like A Song
is incredible. Why was it never released? Criminal.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
November 07, 2005
Aerial

I couldn't make lunch with Jez et al today - they had to start early, and I had meetings 'till late. Still, it was far from a wasted lunchtime - I picked up Aerial.

I've listened to to it once, but I've been coding, not focusing on it, so I don't really know what I think of it so far. Besides, you can't judge a Kate Bush album 'till you've listened to it a few times. There are certainly some good bits, though. I'll let you know what I think when I've had a chance to listen to it a few more times.

I also got Stars of CCTV and Dookie, too. Well, you can't buy just one CD, can you?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 05:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
October 10, 2005
Cracking toasted Gromit

Looks like someone really didn't like The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
October 07, 2005
That's why I never kiss them on the mouth

I'm off to see Serenity this evening with assorted Marks and others. We'll be meeting up at Waxy O'Connors, and going in the the UGC.

Serenity, in case you've been living under a rock for the last six months, or aren't a total nerd, is the Film follow up to the excellent Firefly TV series. Fingers crossed it's good - and that the georgeous Saffron is in it.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
June 27, 2005
Glastonbury 2005

I was at a bit of a loose end this weekend, so I watched some of Glastonbury on the telly. I left the window open and didn't hoover to give me that outdoor feel - or at least, as near as I'm comfortable with.

Hey, what can I say? I'm a city boy.

Anyway, Coldplay left me as cold as ever. Pretty, but shallow. I did enjoy the Kaiser Chiefs, though. Fabulous band. It's not serious stuff, it's just pop - but it's good pop. They just radiate fun. Employment is recommended.

I'm kicking myself that I missed The White Stripes on Friday. I gather that they mainly played stuff from their superb new album, Get Behind Me Satan. I stayed up 'till two in the morning the day I got this album, playing it again and again and drinking too much red wine.

I also enjoyed Roisin Murphy, too. I've not come across her before, but I'm very impressed. In fact, she may be my perfect woman; talented, beautiful, intelligent, interesting, red-headed, high maintainance, and mad as a snake. I may have to marry her.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
May 17, 2005
Musical baton

Meme of the day via Aurblog.

Total volume of music files on my computer: 15.5 GB.

The last CD I bought was: Bloc Party, Silent Alarm.

Song playing right now: Knocking on Heavens Door, Bob Dylan.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
1. Hysteria, Muse
2. The Song Is You, Jimmy Giuffre
3. Looking For Somebody, Fleetwood Mac
4. Sonata No.1 in G minor, Johann Sebastian Bach
5. Ball and Biscuit, The White Stripes

(That's not totally representative - some of these are relatively recent acquisitions, so naturally I'm listening to them a lot recently, according to iTunes. Old favorites are under represented. But there's no way I can pick five favorites, so it's as good a five as any.)

Five people to whom Iím passing the baton:

1. Andy
2. Darren
3. El Presidente
4. Mum
5. Michael

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
April 28, 2005
Serenity Trailer

I know I'm in danger of turning into a Firefly fanboy here, but I have to point out the Serenity trailer.

While I'm in fanboy mode; I wonder if UNIT can save us from the exploding toads and the zombies?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
March 09, 2005
Firefly

I picked up Firefly the other weekend, on DVD. What can I say? Andy was right, I was wrong. Firefly is the best TV Sci Fi I've seen in years. Believable characters, good actors, an interesting setting and a promising plot. It's a real shame that they cancelled it - I really would have liked to have seen where it would have gone.

Buffy was still rubbish, though.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
March 07, 2005
Up To Twelve

I saw End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones this weekend. It was superb. If you are even slightly into The Ramones, or rock in general, you need to see this. These guys didn't just play punk, they were punk. Tap will never seem the same again...

It was part of a double bill at The Clapham Picture House. The other half was Coffee and Cigarettes, but that went so far over my head that I didn't even feel the wind. There was one obvious theme to start with - people talking but not communicating - but that seemed to tail off towards the second half, and all I was left with was a bunch of unconnected short films with a few shared lines. Some of it was funny, but I'm sure that I missed the point.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
January 06, 2005
Fell in love with a ...

Cor. I've just noticed that "Fell In Love With A Boy" from Joss Stone's The Soul Sessions is a cover of The White Stripes' "Fell In Love With A Girl" from White Blood Cells.

Who'd have thought it? I'd probably never have noticed if iTunes hadn't picked up the composer tag.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 23, 2004
A tip or two for house hunters

One of my favourite jazz venues, The Bull's Head, Barnes, is under threat - Jazz club faces closure after just one complaint.

I'm not sure who's more to blame - Stephanie Fallows, the stupid cow who moved in next door to one of the countries foremost and most famous jazz venues and then was surprised to find that they played jazz there, or Richmond upon Thames Council, who gave planning permission for building the flats in the first place.

Well, a total inability to find their arse with both hands is only to be expected from a local council.

A few tips for house hunters: If you don't like aircraft noise, don't buy a house near an airport. If you object to traffic noise, don't live on a high street. If you want silence in the evening, don't move next to a music club. And if you fuck up and do move somewhere you don't like, either sell up and piss off or just learn to live with it. Don't be utterly selfish and try to close down a club that's been running since before you were born and gives pleasure to thousands.

To express your support, you can email jazz@thebullshead.com. Anyone got an email address for Stephanie Fallows?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
December 17, 2004
Ged no good

Sigh. It could have gone either way, but it turns out that the Earthsea adaptation sucks. :-(

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 19, 2004
Incredible

Cool. They are running previews of The Incredibles at the Clapham Picture House tomorrow. The girls and I will be there...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)
October 26, 2004
The Coolest Man On Earth

What a nasty shock. John Peel has died.

John Peel has been at the forefront of progressive music for more years than 40 years. It's difficult to overstate the impact he's had - would punk have made it big without him? And how many other genres saw their first exposure on John Peel's show?

Obviously, it wasn't all good music - but if you aren't willing to look at new things with an open mind, how can you discover the wheat amongst the chaff? John Peel was always willing to listen.

In recent years, his unpretentious style found an additional natural home - Home Truths. He was able to talk to anybody about anything - always interested, never intrusive, sympathetic, but never condescending.

The BBC will miss him. So will I.

Update - I'm now listening to Teenage Kicks - according to John Peel, the best ever record. "I canít imagine anything you could add to it or subtract from it to make it better." and "I've known the Undertones for so long and I've always claimed that it was my favourite record of all time I'd have to take Teenage Kicks."

I'm not sure that the Busted version went down quite so well.

Another update: The UK blogsphere is in mourning.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
October 25, 2004
First Against The Wall When The Revolution Comes

I saw The Princess Diaries 2 with Freja this weekend.

Avoid.

Having said that, Freja loved it, as did most of the audience. So, let me be more specific. If you're female and between the ages of six and fourteen, or if you are Mark Matthews, you'll probably love it. Otherwise, avoid.

The royal brown-nosing was blatant. The Americans are obviously desperate for a royal family of their own own. Well, they can have ours.

What else was there? Oh yes, unfunny slapstick, suitable-for-pre-teen romance, and (oh, the horror!) Julie Andrews rapping.

Oh, and the product placement was shocking. Shocking.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
October 11, 2004
One not to be missed

Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Why? One word - Milla.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 25, 2004
Somethin' Else

It's here! It's charging and updating as we speak.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
August 24, 2004
Phonograph Blues

Bugger - The Kings of Leon CD, Youth & Young Manhood, won't bloody rip. Bastards. I paid for that fair and square, I did, and I'm not up to anything nefarious.

Double bugger - still no iPod. :-(

Still, plenty of ripping this morning:

ArtistAlbum
Dick Heckstall-SmithWoza Nasu
Dire StraitsMaking Movies
The Fabulous ThunderbirdsButt Rockin'
The Fabulous ThunderbirdsT-Bird Rhythm
Fleetwood MacPeter Green's Fleetwood Mac
GomezBring It On
Harry Connick, Jr.We Are In Love
Jimmy Page and The Black CrowesLive At The Greek
John MayallBlues Breakers With Eric Clapton
Kate BushThe Kick Inside
Kings of LeonYouth and Young Manhood
Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin Remasters
MuseHullabaloo
MuseShowbiz
Nick Cave And The Bad SeedsMurder Ballads
Pink FloydDark Side of the Moon
PJ HarveyRid Of Me
RadioheadHail To The Thief
Robert JohnsonThe Complete Recordings
StingThe Dream Of The Blue Turtles
Thelonious MonkBest Of The Blue Note Years
The White StripesThe White Stripes

I'll be loaded for bear by the time it does come.

Update: El Presidente has managed to rip Youth & Young Manhood using MusicMatch JukeBox, so I'll just grab his MP3s. Thanks, Paul!

I've been using iTunes today. I struggled with it briefly - I tried to get it to name and organise my MP3s the way I had been doing it. It wasn't having any of it. But in fact, the way iTunes wants to organise eveything is pretty nice, so I let it have its own way. It reorganised all my existing stuff for me, and all's well now.

Is this how Mac software is? You have to work its way, but if you do, everything gets organised for you? Sort of like being married...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
August 23, 2004
Jack the Ripper

No sign of my iPod turning up today. Sigh. Still, I've been ripping CDs all morning - I brought in a big stack with me:


ArtistAlbum
Alanis MorissetteJagged Little Pill
Cannonball AdderleySomethin' Else
Dire StraitsDire Straits
Henryk SzeryngBach Sonatas and Paritas for Solo Violin
Miles DavisKind of Blue
Miles DavisSketches Of Spain
MuseAbsolution
MuseOrigin Of Symmetry
Nick Cave And The Bad SeedsHenry's Dream
Nick DrakeWay To Blue
Pink FloydWish You Were Here
The Black CrowesShake Your Money Maker
The Dave Brubeck QuartetTime Out
The Jimmy Giuffre 3The Jimmy Giuffre 3
Tori AmosLittle Earthquakes
The White StripesElephant

I'll do another pile like this tomorrow, so when it does turn up, I'll have plenty of stuff to get me started.

Neil Turner recommended dBpowerAMP Music Converter for doing the ripping. It works a treat - composing this post took far longer than doing the ripping did, discounting the churning-away-in-the-background time. But is there anything better? CDex any good?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)
July 28, 2004
Worst Album Covers Ever

Worst Album Covers Ever, via Simon Willison.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 26, 2004
Your Top Five Stinkers

I was re-reading High Fidelity this weekend, and the irony didn't escape me as I slipped a Sting CD on as I was reading.

So, who would you be really embarrased to admit to having in your CD collection, but that you actually like even though you know you shouldn't? My top five, in no particular order:

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (27)
July 13, 2004
More Tribute Bands

I've mentioned The Marones before. Scary Duck points out some other fab tribute band names; Nudist Priest and the Red Hot Silli Feckers. Wonderful.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 12, 2004
I smell another boycott...

Have you ever tried to use the Odeon website? Well, you have better be using IE for a start; Firefox ain't happening...

Via Boing Boing I find that one Matthew Somerville had fixed this; he scraped the Odeon site and re-presented the data in an accessible manner.

I say had fixed this, because the odious Odeon people have forced him to take the site down.

Sadly this attitude towards accessability is very far from uncommon; I raised the issue with some clients of ours recently for whom we are building a web application, and was ridiculed for my trouble. :-(

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)
July 05, 2004
So Long Angel

Also in my hectic social calendar in the next couple of weeks, So Long Angel, the thinking man's pub blues band, will be at The National Theatre on Wendesday the 14th. They are well worth a listen; they are better at music than they are at web site design, trust me. ;-)

And don't forget the London Java Meetup next Monday, now featuring A-list Java blogger Hani.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
June 28, 2004
Muse at Glastonbury

I watched Muse's set at Glastonbury last night. They were fantastic. They really can do it live.

I wasn't actually there, I'm afraid; I watched it on (mainly) BBC3. Cath took my girls to Glastonbury yesterday, but they would have been in bed by the time Muse came on. Shame - the girls quite like them.

Muse are the find of the decade as far as I'm concerned. I have all three studio albums now; Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry and Absolution, plus their b-sides-plus-live-set effort, Hullabaloo. They are all good, but what's more, the later albums are better than the earlier. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Andy will leave a comment in a minute, calling them Radiohead rip-offs, or some such. You'll see. I think he's wrong, though; cetainly, Radiohead are an influence, but they have a voice of thier own, I think. Besides, I don't intend to start taking guidance in musical taste from a man who raves about Marillion. ;-)

BTW, I've been getting some odd comments on an earlier Muse related post of mine. This is why: www.google.com/search?q=Free+CD+Muse.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
June 23, 2004
Death's too good...

A suspension? Bring back the birch, I say.

Tony Blackburn suspended for playing Cliff Richard.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 28, 2004
Rodeohead

Rodeohead are a Bluegrass Radiohead cover band. This is the best cover band name since the Ramones cover band The Marones.

Hey, while we are doing music; a happy birthday to pocket sized pop temptress Kylie, 36 today.

Via boingboing.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
May 17, 2004
By the fire that flashed from her eyes

UK cinema copyright warnings: a call to action.

"Acquiring the rights to the Iliad was very expensive" - very sharp, Cory.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 05, 2004
More than he could chew

Liam Gallagher looses two front teeth after a brawl with a "group of five computer consultants". Well, if you pick a fight with a bunch of roughy toughy computer programmers, you are bound to get your head kicked in, aren't you?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
April 30, 2004
I'm gonna get medieval on your ass

Weather permitting, I'll take the girls to the medieval fair on Sunday. Should be nice.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
April 29, 2004
I Like It Like That

You know that catchy Salsa style Odeon theme? Google to the rescue! It's by one Pedro Rodriguez, and it's called I Like It Like That.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
April 22, 2004
XFM

God, I hate XFM.

The problem isn't the music. The music isn't too bad at all, though the playlist is a little short, so it gets a bit repetitive.

No, the problem is all the bloody talking. The 'zany banter' between the records is bad enough, but the ads are driving me insane.

Funny thing is, I love Radio 4. So perhaps it isn't talking that I object to so much as asinine bollocks.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
April 21, 2004
Thelonious

I've put some Thelonious Monk on. It's not going down too well. :-(

"Thelonious Sphere Monk" - that's a name! I suppose that he didn't have too much choice of career with a name like that; it was either jazz-man or preacher.

I might try Bluesbreakers next.

Oh, and thanks foir pointing out http://www.allmusic.com, Sam. It's a great site.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
April 16, 2004
A touch of class

My turn to put a bit of music on at the office; Time Out and The Jimmy Giuffre 3.

Ahhhh!

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
March 31, 2004
It's going to cost me a fortune

Working here is introducing me to loads of new bands, some of whom are great. Muse, Absolution - fantastic.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
March 30, 2004
Return to Sender

Alistair Cooke dies aged 95.

"His career with the BBC spanned 70 years. Since Letter from America began, Cooke presented 2,869 shows, making up more than 717 hours of broadcasting time." Wow.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
March 17, 2004
LotR, or I, Robot?

Via SlashDot, I discover that there are plans to film Ursula K.LeGuin's Earthsea books.

Prior to Peter Jackson's superb Lord of the Rings, this would have horrified me. It's difficult to turn a book into a film, and the Earthsea trilogy is special to me. (Yes, Yes, I know that there are five books now; but I've known it as the Earthsea trilogy for so long know that it's difficult to change.) Jackson has demonstrated that it's possible to get it right, though, so perhaps there is some chance that they won't butcher Earthsea too badly. Let's cross our fingers.

Though the new film version of I, Robot starring Will Smith (no, really) doesn't bode well...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
March 15, 2004
A Mighty Relief

As men of discernment agree, Spinal Tap is one of the two funniest films ever made (with the other being Life of Brian). So it was with considerable trepidation that I went to see A Mighty Wind at the weekend.

I needn't have worried. It was brilliant. As with Tap, the humour came from going just that 1% over the top.

Recommended.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
February 16, 2004
Lost in Translation

I saw Lost in Translation yesterday, just off Leicester Square. A brilliant film, I thought, but extremely bleak. A more evocative exposition of loneliness I can't remember. Don't see it alone!

Scarlett Johannson and Bill Murray richly deserved their Baftas, I must say. (This morning on Radio 4, I heard someone opine that Murray's Bafta wouldn't lead to an Oscar, because 'best actor' awards aren't often handed out for comedy roles. Comedy!? Did they see the same film as I did?)

BTW, Leicester Square was a mistake yesterday - it was heaving.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
February 02, 2004
Sticking it to The Man

School of Rock. It does.

Freja, my Father and I all went to see School of Rock this weekend, and all three generations enjoyed themselves immoderately. Recommended to everyone - though if you are or have been a fan of rock, you'll get more out of it. Think of it as Spinal Tap for all ages. And there's no praise higher than that.

A couple of weeks ago, the girls and I saw Freaky Friday. As expected from a Disney flick, there was a certain amount of cloying sentimentality. But unexpectedly, it's also very funny. Jamie Lee Curtis' teenager is fabulous. Go. You'll laugh.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
November 17, 2003
So long, Morden

I was helping out at Dad's club again on Saturday night. I don't intend making a habit of it, but the band, So Long Angel, is particularly good. Besides, Dad was a little under the weather, and needed the help.

The club next door was running an "Over-40's Nite" (sic). From my post at the door, it looked more like a "Comfortably Over-40's Nite". Paul, the landlord, rather uncharitably referred to it as "Grab a Granny".

Sigh. I'm just a few short years off 40 myself. Is this what life holds in store for me?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
November 07, 2003
The Matrix: Revolutions

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

For me, Hugo Weaving (Smith) hamming it up like crazy, and Ian Bliss (Bane) taking him off were the best bits of the film. In general, it wasn't a fraction as deep as it pretended to be, and the action scenes were far too Star Wars-like.

The Matrix: Revolutions - the abridged script (spoilers) is very funny.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
November 06, 2003
Blues on a Saturday night

Another shameless plug. I'll be helping my dad run his new club this Saturday night. The music will be good, at least, and if anyone is brave enough to come to Morden on a Saturday night, I'd be glad to see you.

I recently heard a story that a gaggle of Japanese tourists pitched up at Morden, thinking that they were going to visit Mordor, The Land of Shadow. They didn't go too far wrong, in fact. (Whether this story is actually true, I just don't know. Nor do I care, really.)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
October 27, 2003
Buffy, scary?

According to Channel 4, Buffy provided the 25th scariest moment. Are they kidding? The only thing scary about Buffy is that anyone actually watches it.

Now, I know that my colleague Mark will disagree - he loves the program. Along with, amongst other things, Charmed and (would you believe it!) Popular. Should Mark's IT career stall at any point, he has a good job ahead of him as TV critic for Sugar.

OK, I'll admit to watching Charmed occasionally - but only 'cos Rose McGowan is as fit as a butcher's whippet.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
September 29, 2003
Spirited Away

This weekend, I took Freja to see Spirited Away.

I can't remember the last time I was so knocked out by a film. Truly magical, fantastically beautiful, utterly original, funny and moving, Freja was entranced, and so was I.

Recommended without reservation to those with children of, oh, five and up. If you don't have children, well, I'd recommend it anyway, provided that you're not wedded to realism. This is a "kid's film" in the same way as Philip Pullman is a "kid's author", (and the way J.K. Rowling fails to be, IMNSHO).

I'll almost certainly see this again at the cinema, and the DVD will be bought on sight.

Grauniad review here, BTW, but I'd read no reviews before seeing the film.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
September 23, 2003
Bring back Doctor Who!

Viewers miss Doctor Who the most, says the BBC. Viewers also voted for long-running comedy series Last of the Summer Wine to be taken off air.

I can't disagree with a syllable of that.

And before Dan pokes his head in, I'd like to add Bottom, Gimme Gimme Gimme and Red Dwarf to the put-a-stake-through-its-heart-lest-it-rise-again category.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
August 26, 2003
Perhaps I'll plug my telly in after all

Nude scenes rise after watershed.

I wonder if the BBC will be putting "Reading the Decades" online soon? ;-)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
August 18, 2003
24

A while back, I bought 24 series 1 on DVD. I've just finished watching it.

Despite the rave reviews, I never watched in on TV. It was as much a lifestyle choice as a TV series, and I just didn't feel ready to make the commitment.

I kept quiet about watching it, too, 'cos I just knew that some smart arse would drop hints and spoil if for me if I let it out. Or is that just 24's paranoia getting to me?

Anyway. Fab series. Restores ones faith in the possibility of decent television.

Series 2 any good?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
July 28, 2003
I'm so old they've cancelled my blood type

So long, Bob Hope.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Blake's 7 without the cardboard

Blake's 7 set for hi-tech return.

How sad am I? I'm actually looking forward to this.

Let's hope the production values of the new version aren't too high, though, or it just won't be the same.

Update: Slashdot catches up eventually. ;-)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
July 23, 2003
Cool, but worrying

Take a look at the new Spider-Man II poster.

The last early release Spider-Man movie poster used the World Trade Centre as a back-drop. Now they are (I think) using the Empire State. Not asking for trouble, I hope.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
September 06, 2002
xXx

Swish Cottage likes xXx. I think that I'll have to see it. ;-)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
I'm an intelligent viewer. Get me out of here!

I'm an intelligent viewer. Get me out of here!

David Aaronovitch blasts the latest dreadful UK reality TV programme. It is like laughing at someone with Tourette's. Ouch!

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)