Archive for the ‘Stuff & nonsense’ Category

2009 not the decayed

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Seeing as everyone else is at it I thought I’d try and do a list of my bestest movies, music etc from the last ten years. However, I cast my mind back to the shiny post-grad student with nothing but hopes and great things ahead I was at the turn of the millennium. And, TBH, by the time I’d got to how all of that had turned to shit by the end of 2001 I decided it would be inadvisable to continue wandering down that memory lane.

So, instead, in alphabetical order, here are my things of 2009:

Brew Dog beers
Brew Dog brewery up in coldest Aberdeenshire are currently by far the most interesting beer producer in the country.

After initially dismissing the stuff as Aspecto-shopper chic bottles, it was when the local supermarket began stocking the excellent Imperial Stout Rip Tide. This became the beer of choice when we hit the supermarket.

Back in August we went to a food fair and were introbduced to Paradox definitely the taste of 2009 for me. Brilliantly over the year we’ve manged to taste the Arran, Springbank and (like Sy Bernard as part of an awful 3 hour journey home) Smokehead. I must try these malts now…

The summer tasted quite substantially of icy cold Punk IPA, just a fine everyday tasty beer. There was a brilliant blip where Asda got a box of the Hardcore variation by mistake. I reckon we mananged to get about 2/3 of the lot that was there (assuming one box). It’s crazy hoppt and just awesome.

We were pleased to find Trashy Blond on draught during the Edinburgh Festival. And have dabbled in a few of their other products, especially The Physics and splendid dark lager Zeitgeist. (In a drunken moment of weakness I even bought a share in the company.) Brilliantly we’ve merely scratched the surface.

Unfortunately the Tactical Nuclear Penguin I ordered didn’t manage to get bottled and delivered in time for Xmas. So, I’ll be in Colorado before it turns up and it’ll be next year before I get to drink it. Shame, it would’ve been a good ending to the Brew Dog part of the year.

The Coen Brothers
In a year I largely missed the film I wanted to catch A Serious Man was at least I fine example of what I hoped I was missing. Reminiscent of Ethan’s short story book, it’s a film that largely said nothing but all-is-shit. But, made me howl with laughter and keeps coming back for consideration.

No, I have no answers about it, but that’s whay it was so genius.

Richard Herring (& Andrew Collings)
It must have been last year I started listening to The Collings & Herrin Podcast, I can’t be sure. There was such an intense catching up period. Alongside Smodcast it’s become he one I look forward to the most.

As a result, I’ve started to enjoy Herring’s daily blog Warming Up. I enjoyed the description of the process of getting a comedy show together so much I had to go see Hitler Moustache at the Festival. And, seeing as I was doing that I caught the live podcast. All brill.

Then he did As It Occurs To Me, a live show written in the few hours before performance and performed as such. It was then podcast. It made me laugh out loud on the bus a few times – surely the benchmark for all audio comedy. I’m hoping to make the next series live show; despite the fact sending the money I would spend getting there would probably benefit the production more. I now have a serious crush on TV’s Emma Kennedy.

Also looking forward to see how the ‘tache show’s changed at the Glasgow Comedy Festival.

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine
I got to see Jello Biafra sing Holiday In Cambodia live in the all-too ample flesh. The gig in Bristol was worth the angst and extra expense it took to get there several time over. The ‘original’ stuff was, at points, almost better. Subsequent album The Audacity Of Hype gets mentioned for being essential to keep us on our toes. And, it has the cover of the year by a mile.

Law & Order
We got Law & Order UK and I really liked it. This got me thinking about the original series, which – to me – was something that turned up late at night and you caught one or two episodes. So, I decided to start watching the original and all it’s subsequent offshoots, in order. I’m currently at 2001 (eleven years in) with three flavours running in parallel.

I love a cop show. If you want to buy me enough beer I’ll explain to you how The Bill jumped the shark when it lost the half hour format, and killed itself with Don Beech – no matter how thrilling that was.

David Peace
I read barely anything this year. This makes me sad.

I wanted to read Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace.

Thankfully this seemed to be his year. The Red Riding Trilogy on TV was being advertised in cinemas. The Damned United was storming the critics and filmgoers. I’ve still not seen the latter. The former, was fantastic. Despite the fact it suffered a bit heavily from us being told it was dead good, and the who’s who cast, was very good TV. It could’ve been the best telly of this year. It was never up with the best ever, however.

Took me 6 months to read thart book. But, if I’m honest, I opened it at most six times. So when I was reading it I was feverish with it. I just avoided doing this very often.

I need to read more. Including more of his stuff.

The Phantom Band
Ah, here lies the beast. I first saw The Phantom Band couple of years back at a estival. Despite having thoroughly enjoyed them, they kinda fell off my register. This year they releases their debut album Checkmate Savage. I heard good things and decided to investigate.

I liked it very much, but found nothing exceptionable about it. I found myself returning time and time again, getting more, feeling depths and generally being subsumed by it. By the time I was going to see them at the Festival, I was convinced this was one of the most important (and best) albums I’d ever heard. It’s a record that could only come out of Glasgow. Romantic, but rooted in the industrial. Yet, still so heavily redolent of the west-coast it’s scary. Stunning stuff.

The gig in Edinburgh was cramped but great. The following Glasgow gig blew me away. The one a couple of weeks back, as xmas celebration, was near devotional. Wow.

As an aside, the caught the lead singer doing his solo Rick Redbeard thing. Was baffled by the ‘completely different from the Phantoms’ comments I got. It’s not it’s totally symbiotic to what I’m trying not to get too flowery conveying.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club european tour
What can I say? some friends came over from the states. Within 48 hours one had a broken arm, we’d been to Edinburgh and Argyll & Bute. I was sat in Sleazys talking to one of Trail Of The Dead and feeling the happiest I have done for christ knows how long. This was before the continantal leg involving absinthe in Brussells, the warmth or ‘parisienne arabes’ to americans and my first surreal visit to Switzerland and it’s beautiful people (and a couple of Austrians).

Memories. Ones I should’ve detailed at the time, but I’m keeeping just now.

Oh, and all soundtracked by the TOO AMERICAN TOO LOUD Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. Who I spent New Year with and shall do again in a couple of days.

The Thick of It
So early in the year In The Loop turned up. Basically Armando Iannucci‘s calling card to HBO. It’s very funny, and quite disturbing. But, there’s something not quite right about it. Which is basically the crowbar technique of moving the action to the States. It has one joke that made me laugh so loud I was nearly embarassed, if you’ve seen it I might tell you which. Also, it made the entire Scots contingent in the Curzon, soho cheer very loudly. Again…

Where was the telly series that spawned it going to go from there? (Let’s not mention the loss of the excellent Chris Langham.) What they did….OMG!

Not only did they have they make the astounding choice of Rebecca Front as the new minister, but they sneaked one of the most heartstopping storylines about Malcolm Tucker.

I do not have a TV. If there has been any finer this year than this I’ve missed it. However, I am quite willing to put this series among the best telly ever.

Thank fuck they dropped that Jamie character.

Twitter
As part of my job I had to look into Twitter. I looked, I didn’t like and I very much didn’t understand.

Nope, still not getting it.

Nope, still not getting it.

Oh, right!

Got it now.

The fact I can send a drunken text to no-one is the best thing ever. My friends agree.

I love it now.

Don’t make me ‘investigate’ Facebook, please.

I suppose malt whisky should be in there too, as this year I developed an appreciation that may well be ruinous.

Here’s to the new year; lord knows it can’t be any worse than the last one. Just a shame I can say that about the decade to. See, I am just an optimist.

Anyone that gets back to me on genuine typos, I’ll despise (but possibly amend them). Words that should’ve been picked up by spellckeck, but are actual words, have their own circle in hell for the pedants.

Release you’re inner fogey!

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Nice piece by David Mitchell in today’s Observer:

One of the fastest growing areas in our economy in the years leading up to the crunch was the selling of crap to twats.

Jeez, this man’s younger than me :-/

Also, am I the only one that keeps getting him confused with the author of Cloud Atlas? Obviously, not when actually reading/listening/watching him but when I hear reference to him turning up on something or (as here) writing a column.

Written by Tony Kiernan

08 March 2009 at 10:15 am

Brooker on them Walkers’ crisps

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As ever, brilliant (ok, it’s taken me long enough to come to that opinion) column from Charlie Brooker about the current Walkers’ crisps vote-athon in The Guardian. Although not the funniest point, he’s bang on about the duck & hoi-sin sauce ones:

…although if you close your eyes they taste like the standard Roast Chicken flavour might if the “chicken” in them had been killed with a hammer made of compacted sugar. This is probably something Heston [Blumenthal] actually does in his restaurant.

The unfortunate thing is, he’s managed to make me want to try the rest. Is he secretly in the pay of big buisiness? We should be told!

Written by Tony Kiernan

17 February 2009 at 9:01 pm

“If you’d die, you’d forget me. I want to be remembered.”

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Tucked away in yesterday’s Grauniad:

Trevor Howard, the star of the 1945 movie Brief Encounter, earned the respect of his peers recounting his brave military past, parachuting into Nazi-occupied Norway and taking part in the Allied invasion of Sicily. After his death, Public Record Office files revealed that he had been invalided out of the army and judged to be mentally unstable with a “psychopathic personality”.

Respeck!

Written by Tony Kiernan

04 March 2008 at 12:54 pm

Sk8r Boi: Spike Jonze and not.

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Spike Jonze has made a film for skate footwear company Lakai. This is most bodacious (or whatever the hep young things are saying these days).

Loosely connected, here is the excellent new Fatboy Slim video for his dreadful take on the dreadful Steve Miller track The Joker

This comes via Hobotopia, because of what happens at around 0:55 into it. But, more of that later….

Written by Tony Kiernan

26 February 2008 at 12:06 pm

Charlie Brooker doesn’t like skiing

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The Grauniad:

But that’s not the main reason I’ve never been tempted to go skiing: it’s the people. The moment anyone tells me they’re going skiing, I start to dislike them. This is because I’ve constructed my own imaginary version of a skiing holiday in my head: it involves a fistful of self-satisfied bastards called Dan and Izzy and Sam and Lucy sharing a chalet together, drinking wine while listening to Mark Ronson on Izzy’s iPod speakers, taking 15,000 photos of each other guffawing and pulling silly faces, and occasionally venturing outside to slide down a hill on a pair of glorified planks, at which point with any luck they hurtle headlong into a tree, snapping at least three limbs in the process, and the holiday ends with them lying on their back, twitching like a half-crushed spider, exposed shards of shinbone gleaming in the winter sun as they scream for an air ambulance at the top of their idiot lungs.

Written by Tony Kiernan

26 February 2008 at 11:46 am

Onan The Barbarian

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[Via Fark]

Seminal bastion of the avant garde The Sun is carrying an article about church-types taking issue with Jordan McKenzie‘s current exhibition ‘Spent‘ which may or may not be a load of old wank.

Says he:

I hope people will come and see them – not judge them out of hand.

Written by Tony Kiernan

10 January 2008 at 4:21 pm