by Mark on 02/21/2012
It’s always a relief to see my bees flying in the spring – they’re pretty inactive over the winter, spending most of their time in a cluster keeping warm. Today the sun was out and so were the bees – this colony is a Buckfast queen and surprisingly large for the time of year – fingers crossed for a good honey year and a healthy colony. Bzzzzzz!
by Mark on 01/17/2012
At some point in the dim and distant past I must have signed up for a newsletter from Universal Music, so occasionally I get asked to complete surveys about my listening behaviour. It hasn’t changed much in the last few years – LastFM via my Squeezebox, Vinyl and CD through my Rega 25 and Arcams and downloads on my iPhone.
Universal rewarded me this month with a free download of Spector’s ‘Grey Shirt & Tie’. It’s now a rather nice earworm.
Spector are going to big in 2012 – The Guardian has them as a Critic’s Pop Pick and the BBC have them as the Sound of 2012. I’m predicting that there will be a craze for wearing glasses after frontman Fred Macpherson has made them cool, despite the obvious Buddy Holly comparisons.
by Mark on 01/3/2012
With Christmas and New Year falling on a Sunday in 2011 it’s meant that I’m not sat at my desk since Friday 23rd December. It was hard work waking up early and despite my usual routine of a quick coffee before booting up the MacBook, it did take a while to get into a work groove thing. It didn’t help being distracted by Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield on BBC radio 4Extra, a book I realise I have never actually read, nor that I can remember seeing on the telly. The last adaptation was done in 1999, a lavish £4 million drama with the lovely Bob Hoskins and a young Daniel Radcliffe.
by Mark on 12/31/2011
Our New Year’s Eve tradition is to have a meal with our hosts friends and watch Jules Holland’s Hootenanny on BBC2. Not thinking what was actually involved I suggested making pizzas – I’d make the dough bases and let everyone create their own toppings. I soon realised that would mean making 13 bases which equated to 3kg of dough! Fortunately our friends have a big kitchen and a newly installed Corian work surface which turned out to be perfect for kneading dough on – wish I had the same space at home!
by Mark on 09/30/2011
The next post below will be from years ago – at the moment I currently rescuing my blog from the depths of time – first started in 2005 it disappeared in 2007/8 and thought lost in the ether, but thanks to the Wayback Machine I’m currently rebuilding it, with some editing of course.
Stay tuned for a custom theme and new content!
by Mark on 03/22/2007
We visited Cuba in 1997 just after Buena Vista Social Club CD was released. So it was a great surprise to see ten years later these senior musicians still struting their stuff at the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Hall. There aren’t many of the original line up left, but Cachaito Lopez, Guajiro Mirabel, Aguaje Ramos and Manuel Galban took top billing with some younger musicians filling the ranks. We had seats 10 rows back, having brought tickets at Christmas for this sell out show – and what a show! Fantastic sound, tightly arranged, with a mix of old and new tunes (including a brief cover of The Beatles ‘Yesterday’!) We took our daughter as it’s unlikely these guys will be around much longer – I hope I’m that active when I’m in my 70s!
by Mark on 02/21/2007
Just discovered (pretty crap considering it was a announced in October 2005!) (thanks Elly) that Jean-Pierre Jeunet (the fabulously talented director of Amélie, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen, A Very Long Engagement and Alien Resurrection) is making the Life of Pi into a film, due for release in 2009.
Turning the book, by Yann Martel, would be a tricky film to make for any director due to the fact that the majority of it is set in a boat (have a look at Tom Hanks’s film Cast Away to see how easy it is for single location films to go wrong). However if there was any director that could pull it off then Jeunet is that man – it fits in perfectly with his favourite theme of a story of an orphan fighting against a monster. All his films are full of beautiful visuals with so much attention to detail that you have to watch each film at least three times to spot them all.
I have all his film on DVD, my favourite being The City of Lost Children – it’s the only film I saw on the large screen (Manchester Corner House), it’s the film my partner and I saw on our first date – she was a fan of Delicatessen and also because Jeunet’s favourite actor Dominique Pinon plays seven identical brothers – excellent!
Check out the strange interactive promo of the book.
Good interview with Jeunet, talking about all of his films, including Life of Pi.
by Mark on 02/15/2007
Having tried on someone elses specs the other month I realised how poor my eyesight had become – so after a quick sight test it emerged I wasn’t that blind, I just need specs for distance vision – driving, the cinema etc. Having tried on numerous pairs I quickly worked out that I preferred frames that had a silver colour inside the frame as this effectively made the frame disappear – this left me with 2 choices – either make a statement and look like Peter Sellers – cool, but I’m not quite ready for that! Or a lighter frame – which I’ve gone for (bluck, bluck, bluuuck!).
by Mark on 02/9/2007
Having moved from an Edwardian terrace to a 1970s dormer our ‘period’ furniture looks out of place – especially the dining room. If I had the money (and didn’t have cats) I’d buy original modern classics, (as an alternative to a pension), instead I’ve gone for copies – the chairs are Arne Jacobsen’s series 7 - the butterfly chair – made from a single peice of moulded plywood, first designed in 1955, originals cost around £300, ours (in brown leather) cost £40!
The chair is perhaps best known for the prop used to hide Christine Keeler’s nakedness in Lewis Morley’s iconic portrait of 1963. However this chair, like mine was a copy!
by Mark on 02/8/2007
I’m 40 next year, so I’m old (and eccentric) enough to wear a ‘proper’ hat – and there is none better than the Fedora. A trade mark of many a film noir character, not to mention Indiana Jones, the Fedora has a wider brim than the tribly. Mine is a classic black wool felt one.