Back up of my "Myspace" Media related Blog

This is a backup of my Media related blog on Myspace and Wordpress. Perhaps not a true blog, in the rambling daily life kind of way that most blogs are, but rather a multi-media centric list of what has been passing through my life in any particular week. Not a review site and not a true blog. Something a little different I hope.

Mark.

 
Sunday 25th April 2010
Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #265] – Eisner Awards; C2E2; New Releases of the Week; Age Of TV Heroes HC (TwoMorrows) by George Khoury, Jason Hofius and Alex Ross;

[Sessler's Soapbox - 3/2/2010] – Adam weighs in about this week’s PS3 glitch and how he thinks this might be a warning of things to come. I think he may have a point here.

[Fresh Ink Online] – Fresh Ink Online Blair Butler host reviews Marvels Project, Northlanders, The Guild, Tank Girl, Nemesis, Orc Station, Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way, Supergod and Blackest Night: Green Lantern.

[Fresh Ink Online] – Fresh Ink Online host Blair Butler delves into a slew of new comics this week including God of War, Cloak and Dagger, Blackest Night and The Sword.

[Fresh Ink Online] – Host Blair Butler reviews Last Unicorn, Man With The Getaway Face,  Shield, Batman and Robin, Captain America Black Panther, Ultimate X, Superman Secret Origin, Avengers The Origin, Invincible Returns, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

[Fresh Ink Online] – Fresh Ink Online’s Blair Butler reviews comics Black Widow, Secret Six, Punisher Max, Siege, Brightest Day, Daytripper, The Unwritten and Brightest Day: The Flash.

DVD/Bluray:

[2012 - Bluray] – Preposterous special effects and story but mildly entertaining none the less. The special effects were amazing but just so unrealistic it spoiled the movie. Limo’s leaping through crashing buildings, small planes and RV’s outrunning volcanic eruptions were just some of the quite frankly stupid chase scenes. This movie was even more stupid than “The Day after Tomorrow” which at least had a great story until about 45 minutes in. I would watch it again just for those eye candy special effects but it has the worst believability factor in any movie I have ever seen.

[Inglorious Basterds – Bluray] – Absolutely classic Quentin Tarrantino movie which is an R rated cross between The Dirty Dozen and a Spaghetti Western. Very violent and at times very funny. The acting is spot on and the story an excellent alternate world war 2 scenario. Highly reccomended.

[Swiss Tony- Season 1 - DVD] – Who would have thought that a “fast show” sketch could work so well as a series. Swiss Toni is a very funny situation comedy with a great set of supporting characters. My personal favorite is his alcoholic salesman Jeff who gets some of the best lines in the show. Brilliant!

[Swiss Tony- Season 2 - DVD] – Very funny Fast show spin off. The second series is based on a down on his luck Swiss Toni in a grotty used car salesroom. It is even funnier than the first season especially the final episode and the episode where Toni sleeps with Paul’s mum.

[Bottom – Series 2 Episode 1 – Digger – DVD] – Absolutely classic Bottom episode especially the Love Bureau scene at the start “Whazzo pair of Jugs”.

[Little Britain USA episodes 1 to 3 - DVD] – I wasn’t sure that little Britain would work in the USA but this hbo series is real treat. There is lot more nudity than the UK version (well body suits anyways) and they push the realms of taste even further. Some of the new characters are really funny especialy “elly Mae” , “bubbles” and the body builders. Great show

Books:

*Reading* [Witchblade Compendium, Vol. 1 Hardcover] – (Marc Silvestri, Michael Turner, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, Christina Z, Rick Veitch, Paul Jenkins, Tony Daniel, Randy Green, Brian Ching). [ISBN-13: 978-1582407982]

[Freddy Vs. Jason VS. Ash] – (Jame Kuhoric, James Craig) – I am a big Army of darkness fan but this was the first time I have read a Graphic novel based upon it. I didn’t really have very high expectations especially as the Nightmare on Elm street and Friday 13th franchises had become such a parody of themselves. The book turned out to be a very enjoyable read and it worked very well, probably better than it would as a Movie (it was original a Movie script idea). The artwork is very good and the gore is off the scale. Ash is true to his movie roll and comes across very nicely in print.  This book was a pleasant surprise. [ISBN-13: 978-1401220044]. 7/10

Music :

[Bjork's Greatest Hits] – (Bjork) – A very talented and very strange lady. Excellent CD and so many tunes that could have been Bond themes. Good Stuff.

[The Courage Of Others] – (Midlake) – A surprisingly British Folk rock sounding album from a Texan band. Great tunes and perhaps only missing some twiddly Jam sections to reach to achieve 5 stars. Very easy to listen too.

Games:

[Uncharted 2 - Drakes Fortune - PS3] – I got this game for my Birthday based upon the amazing reveiws it got especially from X-Play. The graphics are very nice, the sound is fantastic and the story really is like an interactive movie. When I started playing it I was a bit dissapointed. I found the control system to be very awkward and the restrictive third person camera angles to be very claustrophobic. I prefer first person games such as “Deus Ex/ Halflife” to 3rd person games like “Price of Persia/ Tomb Raider”. This game reminds me a lot of Tomb Raider. That is not the end of the story though as the more I played the game the more I like it. The control system has become a lot easier to use and although the camera angles can be a bit awkward at times this can be forgiven as the graphics are gorgeous. There are numerous points in the game where it is hard to figure out what to do to solve a puzzle but the computer eventually gives you hints when it figures you are really stuck. Excellent game.

[Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 – PS3] – Stunning graphics and great control. An amazing selection of weapons  all with top notch sound.  The game plays pretty much like all the other call of duty games but it is more special forces based (less huge battles). I still enjoy the fire fights best (the Brazilian ghettos were particularly enjoyable) and some of the more stealthy stuff a bit less.  The settings for this game are bit controversial as they include battles in US suburbs and airports and the like. I think that the single player campaign was a bit short. I am very impressed. Multiplayer is pretty good if a little frantic.

 
Sunday 11th April 2010
Music:

[Bjork's Greatest Hits] – (Bjork) – A very talented and very strange lady. Excellent CD and so many tunes that could have been Bond themes. Good Stuff.

Podcasts:

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 11/28/09] – Jonathan Ross and Rob Brydon have an Elvis-off plus comedian Stephen K Amos talks about his royal encounter. Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 12/8/09] – Jonathan is joined by the star of TV Burp, Harry Hill.  Oscar winning actress Penelope Cruz is here to tell us about her new film Nine and comedian Michael McIntyre lays to rest a few myths of his own creation. Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 12/14/09] – Jonathan is joined by Beautiful People and Peep Show star, Olivia Colman.  Jimmy Carr talks about dodgy christmas gifts and Jack Dee shares some thoughts on Jonathan’s ‘man bag’!Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 12/20/09] – Jonathan is joined by West End star Ruthie Henshall who is back in Chicago for the 4th time!  Comedian Jason Manford has back-stage news from the Royal Variety Show and humourist David Sedaris tells us why he loves Japan. Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 1/9/10] – Jonathan chats to film actress Hayley Mills and tries to convince her to smuggle a warthog back from the Wild At Heart set plus Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis talks about playing Ian Dury in his new film – Sex & Drugs & Rock’n'Roll. Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 1/16/10] – Jonathan talks to actor Damian Lewis about his current role as The Misanthrope in London’s West End and John Hurt chats about his new film 44″ Chest. Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 1/26/10] – Jonathan asks American singer/songwriter John Mayer for some advice on how best to keep his toenails in order and Griff Rhys Jones keeps his anger in check to tell us about playing Fagin in Oliver! in London’s West End. Funny Podacast.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 2/1/10] – David Tennant and Catherine Tate stand in for Jonathan Ross for one week giving them a chance to catch up with Ricky Gervais and Anthony Head. Turned out pretty funny , especially the Ricky Gervais Interview.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 2/8/10] – Jonathan tries to impress dance judge Nigel Lythgoe with his cool moves and Martine McCutcheon talks about the move from acting to writing her first novel.  Pretty funny

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 3/31/10] – Jonathan is joined by David Baddiel and Omid Djalili – writer and star of new film ‘The Infidel’ plus comedian Katy Brand talks about taking her talents on tour.  Funny podcast.

[Roy Harper Podcast 29 - Nick Harper Special 2] – This episode we have news about the new Roy Harper website, including downloads. Also part two of a two part interview with Mark Bishop. We also have listener feedback and some music. Good podcast but the end is a bit bizzarre.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #264] – DGTL Comics; WonderCon, Image and The Crusades; iFanboy; New Releases of the Week; Camelot 3000 Deluxe HC Deluxe Edition by Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland; Running time: 20m 19s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #263 - DGTL Comics; Invincible Volume 5 HC; Superman Vs Muhammad Ali; New Releases of the Week; Jack Kirby's Kamandi and Devil Dinosaur; Running time: 32m 04s

Books

[Preacher Vol 2: Until the end of the World] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon) – Fantastic story and great artwork.  Another one of Garth Ennis’s finest works. This book has a fantastic back story about Jesse’s traumatic childhood and his battle with his Grandmother.  The subject matter is very disturbing but it is done in a way that makes it palatable.  The remainder of the book concentrates on the Grail backstory where we encounter some incredible sexual and morale deviants. The subject matter covers some pretty strong themes but the sense of humor keeps the whole thing light.  Better than the first book and well worth a read (ISBN-13: 978-1563893124). 9/10

Sunday 28th March 2010
DVD/BluRay:

[My Name Is Bruce - DVD] – Low budget spoof horror flick written and direct by Bruce Campbell on his own property. The movie is basically OK and has a few funny lines but it’s not in the same league as “Army of Darkness”. I actually enjoyed the lengthy special features more than the movie.

[2012 - Bluray] – Preposterous special effects and story but entertaining none the less. The special effects were amazing but just so unrealistic it spoiled the movie. Limo’s leaping through crashing buildings, small planes and RV’s outrunning volcanic eruptions were just some of the quite frankly stupid chase scenes. This movie was even more stupid than “The Day after Tomorrow” which at least had a great story until about 45 minutes in. I would watch it again just for those eye candy special effects.

[Cracker Series 2 Episode 3 - "Men Should Weep" - DVD] – The case of a serial rapist who wears a mask, yet tries to develop a relationship with his victims strikes at the heart of Fitz’s personal and professional life when Penhaligon is raped and the rapist, apparently acting on Fitz’s advice, starts to kill as well. An absolute emotional roller coaster and a thrilling end to Season 2. A fantastic episode

[Cracker Series 3 Episode 1 - "Brotherly Love" - DVD] – The brutal murder and violation of a prostitute quickly leads to an arrest, but while the suspect is in custody, an identical murder happens. At the same time, the death of Fitz’s mother reunites him with his brother Danny, and Jimmy Beck finally reaches his breaking point. After the tremendous shocking finale of season 2 it was hard to think they could top it but in this episode the emotional rollecoaster combes back just as shocking.  Fantastic episode with a shocking end.

[British Rally Championships : 2008 - DVD] – Excellent coverage as usual and now with better picture Quality and widescreen. The little crash montages are particularly impressive.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/jonathancreek/episodeguide/index.shtml

[Jonathan Creek - Christmas Special 1998 - "Black Canary" - DVD] -  Creek & Magellan investigate the apparently impossible suicide of a female illusionist, who happens to be a former flame of Creek’s, and whose twin sister was killed fifteen years previously. But there is another lateral mind at work this time, in the form of swashbuckling Det Insp Gideon Pryke. Rik Mayall is really good in this well put together mystery episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 3rd Series 1999 - "The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish" - DVD] – A couple’s lives are dramatically transformed after the husband enters into a pact with the devil – he has since found buried treasure and appears to be able to defy death. Great episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 3rd Series 1999 - "The Eyes of Tiresias" - DVD] – An old lady appears to be able to predict death through her vivid dreams, when an international businessman is murdered in a way in which she foresaw. And then there is another death which she appears to have had a premonition about. Great episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 3rd Series 1999 - "The Omega Man" - DVD] – The US government hires Creek to help retrieve the skeleton of an alien life form that has mysteriously gone missing. Very clever plot on this one (very X- Files).

[Jonathan Creek - 3rd Series 1999 - "Miracle in Crooked Lane" - DVD] – A young woman, who has led a scandalous life that has shocked the local village community, suffers severe burns in an appalling accident. But how can she have returned to her village church in order to seek forgiveness for her past sins, when she is lying in a coma in hospital? Another great episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 3rd Series 1999 - "The Three Gamblers" - DVD] – Intrigued by a strange tale about a murdered drug runner who apparently returns to haunt his killers using the power of voodoo, Creek and Magellan set off to investigate the ruins of an isolated farmhouse. A grusome tale and enjoyable.

[Jonathan Creek - Christmas Special 2001 - "Satan's Chimney" - DVD] – Magellan is in Texas publicising her new book about her work with Creek, while he remains in England, trying to become an advisor to American escapologist Alan Kalanak. On the set of the film Black Snow in Hampshire, the leading actress Vivian Brodie is killed, apparently through a firmly closed window, and without motive. Together with Kalanak’s agent, Carla Borrega, he sets out to solve the mystery. The hunt takes them to the isolated Doomdorf Castle in Scotland, which belongs to the film’s director Herman Grole, where there is a dungeon with a terrifying reputation.  A really good long episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 2nd Series 1998 - "The Scented Room" - DVD] – Despised theatre critic Sylvester Le Fley is enraged when a priceless El Greco painting is stolen during a school trip to his luxurious stately home. He’s even angrier when the escaping thief attacks him. For once, Jonathan Creek spots the solution almost immediately. There’s just one thing keeping Maddy away from a £50,000 rewards for the painting’s recovery – Jonathan hates Le Fley so much that he’ll be damned if he’s going to reveal how the theft occurred… Maddy is left to figure out how ornate woodwork and Spam sandwiches might provide an answer to the conundrum. A good Episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 2nd Series 1998 - "The Problem at Gallows Gate (1) - DVD] – Spurned by the love of his life, Felicity Vale, wealthy socialite Duncan Proctor kills himself at a party at his mansion by jumping from a high balcony. How, then can Kitty, the eccentric sister of Adam Klaus, identify Duncan as the man she saw strangle Felicity weeks later at her cottage? With so many witnesses, an ambulance crew and so much blood, how could have Duncan faked his death? Why are several pairs of tights and a pipe left under Felicity’s sink baffling Jonathan, and just why does Kitty keep referring to her brother as Chester?  Good Episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 2nd Series 1998 - "The Problem at Gallows Gate (2) - DVD] – Jonathan and Maddy are having a hard time convincing the police that they aren’t involved in the murder of Felicity Vale. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that Maddy has been less than complimentary about the detective in charge of the case in one of her books. Do the healing hands of Felicity’s housemate Clare hold the answer, or perhaps former lover Neville Bruce and his new fiancée Kiko? Jonathan begins to suspect that Kitty may not have witnessed a murder after all…  Great second Part.

[Jonathan Creek - 2nd Series 1998 - "Mother Redcap" - DVD] – Forrest Sweetland, the judge presiding over the trial of a group of Chinese gangsters, is murdered right under the noses of the police security detachment guarding him on the night before sentencing. The man seems to have been murdered by a rapier-like blade, judging by the wound WPC Fay Radnor finds to his heart, but the only unusual object found at the murder scene is a torn fingernail. Meanwhile, whilst researching the history of The Mother Redcap, an inn where several men had died of fright over the years, Maddy discovers the body of a vagrant woman, one of her fingernails torn off. Jonathan thinks he can connect the two mysteries, with shocking results… Very Good episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 2nd Series 1998 - "Danse Macabre" - DVD] – Queen of Horror, the best-selling author Emma Lazarus, is killed at her daughter Lorna’s home, shortly after a Halloween costume party, also attended by her husband Tom. The assailant, dressed as a skeleton, then knocks Lorna unconscious and attempts to escape with her. But the plan backfires when bodyguard Hal shoots out the tyres of the getaway car, leaving the criminal trapped with Lorna in a garage with no means of escape. When the police arrive, however, he has indeed fled, leaving Lorna behind, baffled and upset. How did the killer escape from the sealed room? Lorna’s husband, the Reverend Stephen Claithorne, seeks Maddy’s help. But with Jonathan sorting out Adam Klaus’s complex love life, can she get to the bottom of the mystery with only limited access to her friend’s expertise?. Good episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 2nd Series 1998 - "Time Waits for Norman" - DVD] – Norman Stangerson is temporophobic: terrified of the relentless passage of time. Despite this, he’s doing rather well for himself, hopping back and forth across the Atlantic in his job, working for a New York publishing house. Norman’s world falls apart, however, when an employee of a fast food restaurant in Bishop’s Stortford returns his wallet, supposedly left at the establishment when Norman should have been tucked up in bed after a meal with colleagues in the Big Apple. Stangerson swears he was in America, a fact to which all his colleagues testify. Jonathan Creek has other ideas however, and when Norman seemingly dies in a freak accident during his next trip, Creek’s suspicions are confirmed. Good episode.

[Jonathan Creek - 1st Series 1997 - "The Wrestlers Tomb" - DVD] – Exhuberant artist Hedley Shale is found dead; his lover Francesca bound and gagged beside him. Francesca claims they were victims of a violent burglary in which Shale was gunned down, but did his jealous wife Serena stage the whole thing – even though she apparently never left her 13th-floor office at the time the murder took place?  Nice opening episode to the series. Investigative crime journalist Maddy Magellan is suspicious of Serena’s alibi, and enlists Jonathan Creek, the unconventional technical genius behind the illusions of top magician Adam Klaus – to help in her enquiries.

Creek seemingly solves the puzzle of Serena’s alibi, but elastic bands and a defaced painting ultimately lead him to another, more surprising, conclusion. Long Episode!

[Jonathan Creek - 1st Series 1997 - "Jack In The Box" - DVD] – Comedy legend Jack Holiday’s career is on the wane. Once a popular film star, loved for his brand of slapstick humour, Jack’s now reduced to making tacky commercials for bananas. What’s worse is that his hands are crippled with arthritis, leaving him hardly able to pour a drink any more. How, then, does he manage to seal himself into the nuclear bunker at his remote cliff-top house and commit suicide? Could the answer lie with Alan Rokesmith, recently acquitted of the murder of Holiday’s first wife, thanks to new evidence uncovered by Maddy Magellan? When Rokesmith goes missing, believed lost at sea in a freak boating accident days before Holiday’s death, Jonathan Creek is left with a locked room mystery – and no other living suspects. Could an impressive toilet and a dim light bulb hold the key? Good Episode.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Sally" - DVD] – Bret and Jemaine go to a party at Dave’s place where Jemaine sees, and falls for, a beautiful girl named Sally. Jemaine’s growing relationship leaves Bret feeling neglected and Murray helps the band film a music video. Songs Featured: “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room),” “Not Crying,” “The Humans Are Dead/Robots” A pretty good opening episode. It’s a bit like a pretty deadpan Mighty Boosh without the color and Glam.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Bret Gives Up the Dream" - DVD] – The band’s poor financial state leads Bret to get a job as a human billboard to help make ends meet. However, it interferes with the band’s gig at a travel expo, so Murray and Jemaine replace Bret with a cassette tape in hopes of outdoing the flashier Australian display. Bret is attracted to a girl, Coco, at his new job. Songs Featured: “Inner City Pressure,” “Boom,” “Rock the Party”. The Pet shop boys style “Inner City Pressure” was well done . Ok Episode.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Mugged" - DVD] – Bret loses Jemaine’s trust after Bret abandons him when they get mugged. To regain it, Bret tries to retrieve Jemaine’s stolen “camera phone” (a phone with a camera taped to it) from their muggers, who are experiencing their own trust issues. Songs Featured: “Hiphopapotamus vs. Rhymenoceros,” “Think About It” . Ok Episode.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Yoko" - DVD] – Bret begins dating Coco, but Jemaine won’t stop tagging along on the dates. When Bret asks him to stop, Jemaine concludes that Coco is trying to break up the band. Songs Featured: “If You’re Into It/Coco’s Song,” “Pencils in the Wind/Sellotape”. Ok Episode, I think the series is starting to grow on me.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Sally Returns" - DVD] – After Jemaine reconnects with Sally, Bret decides that he wants to pursue her as well. However, when they both show up at her birthday party to woo her with their homemade presents, they are in for a shock. Songs Featured: “Business Time,” “Song for Sally”: Ok Episode.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Bowie" - DVD] – After a photo session, Bret develops body image issues and gets some advice in a series of dreams featuring his idol, David Bowie (played by Jemaine). Jemaine plots to cheer him up and Murray tries to get one of the band’s tunes used for a musical greeting card. Songs Featured: “Bret, You’ve Got It Going On,” “Bowie/Bowie’s in Space”  Funny Episode.

[Flight Of the Concords - Season 1 (2007)- "Drive By" - DVD] – Bret and Jemaine are shocked by the prejudiced actions of a fruit vendor who won’t sell to them because they are New Zealanders. Dave recommends a strong response and teaches them how to “flip the bird”. Murray is smitten with the new tech support lady at the consulate. Pretty Funny.

Songs Featured: “Albi the Racist Dragon,” “Mutha’uckas,” “Leggy Blonde”

[Alice in Wonderland 3D - Movie Theater] – Pretty good movie with some great characters. 3D really didn’t add much to this movie. Mat Lucas and Johnny Depp were great.

Music:

[The Road Back Home, The Best Of] – (The Flower Kings) – Although they produce some wonderful Prog rock, in the vein of “Cinema Show” by Genesis, they are just a little too safe. They lack that certain edginess that Genesis have. They remind me of Spocks Beard but they are easier to listen too and they don’t have the cheesy lyrics that spoil Spocks Beard for me. They do have some excellent instrumental sections that can match much of what the likes of Genesis and Yes put out but again they lacks that Steve Hackett and banks type edginess. More AOR than prog really. Easy to listen to.

[Wolfmother] – (Wolfmother) – A great Led Zeppelin inspired album with catchy tunes and driving pace.

[The Courage Of Others] – (Midlake) – A surprisingly British Folk rock sounding album from a Texan band. Great tunes and perhaps only missing some twiddly Jam sections to reach to achieve 5 stars. Very easy to listen too.

[Live at the Lyceum (1980)] – (Genesis) -  My favorite Genesis concert. An absolute classic performance from the Phil Collins era.

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive.

[Company of Heroes - PC] – One of the best looking historically accurate RTS games out there. Fiendishly difficult at times but great gameplay, deformable terrain and awesome sound. Works best on a PC with a lot of horsepower. One of my all time top 10 RTS’s.

[Dirt - Xbox 360] – Pretty good Arcade style off road racing game with a huge variety of disciplines including everything from Rallying to Desert raids. Good fun and reasonable graphics.

Music:

Podcasts

[NPR Live Concerts From All Songs Considered - Sonic Youth] – After spending nearly 20 years delivering crunchy, underground guitar rock for a major label, Sonic Youth has returned to its indie roots for its 16th studio album, The Eternal. Out now on Matador Records, Sonic Youth’s latest effort is among the band’s finest, with a fuzzy, tightly orchestrated mix of psych-punk rock and noisy jams. The band showcased the album in a full concert, recorded live from Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club July 7. I really like some of the stuff that Sonic Youth perform but I also really hate the stuff sang by that wailing banshee of a female singer. This concert has a lot of the brash nosiy stuff that I don’t like as much but there are still some excellent Pink Floyd like Jam sessions. I still can’t understand why they have that woman singer. She is truly awful. Not a horrendous gig but It could have been so much better.

[The News Quiz 29 May 2009] – Reform.  Nick Clegg’s proposals for reform, Julie Kirkbride’s expenses, and the nuclear ambitions of North Korea get the News Quiz treatment.  Host Sandi Toksvig presides over Rory Bremner, Fred Macaulay, Andy Zaltzman and Danielle Ward.  Produced by Victoria Lloyd. Good Episode

[The News Quiz 5 Jun 2009] – Election and Exodus: Gordon Brown’s battle to keep his job, the aftermath of the European elections, and the perils of drunken trampolining get the News Quiz treatment.  Sandi Toksvig presides over team regulars Andy Hamilton, Jeremy Hardy, Sue Perkins and Francis Wheen.  Produced by Victoria Lloyd. Good Episode

[The News Quiz 12 Jun 2009]- A Tale of Two Gordons: Gordons Brown and Ramsay get the News Quiz treatment.  Sandi Toksvig heads up a team that includes Andy Hamilton, Phill Jupitus, Jeremy Hardy and Carrie Quinlan.  Produced by Victoria Lloyd. Good Episode.

[The News Quiz 19 Jun 2009] – Iranian Elections, Iraq Inquiries, and Lawn Tennis Laws: this week’s biggest stories get the News Quiz treatment.  Host Sandi Toksvig is joined by Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton, Francis Wheen, and Mark Steel.  Produced by Victoria Lloyd. Good episode.

[The News Quiz 25 Sep 2009] – Politics, Princesses and Pants.  Sandi Toksvig and the team look at the stories of the week – from Nick Clegg wanting to be Prime Minister, to the perils of dressing for the left-handed man.  Francis Wheen, Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel and Andy Hamilton make up the distinguished panel. Good Episode.

[The News Quiz 2 Oct 2009] – Chumps, China and Childminding.  Sandi Toksvig and the team take a look at the headlines in the week when Labour went to Brighton, and the Sun didn’t shine on them; China’s communist regime celebrated it’s 60th anniversary and the first clown went into space.  Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Sue Perkins and Hugo Rifkind make up the panel. Good Episode.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #259] – Five Year Anniversary; 40 A Doonesbury Retrospective; Steve Ditko Part 4 – Interview with Craig Yoe, Art of Ditko; Running time: 47m 09s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #260] – More Five Year Anniversary’s; Modern Masters Updates; New Releases of the Week; Jack Kirby’s The Losers (DC Comics); Running time: 25m 15s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #261] – Amazon; C2E2; New Releases of the Week; Jack Kirby’s The Demon (DC Comics).

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #262] – Digital Comics Library; Marvelman; New Releases of the Week; Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s The Sandman HC plus The Sandman Archives Volume 1 (DC Comics); Running time: 31m 45s

[Web Soup Video Podcast] – Funny, gross and a bit creepy at times. Enjoyable podcast that makes you laugh and cringe.

Books:

[Hellboy Library Edition, Vol. 2: The Chained Coffin, The Right Hand of Doom, and Others] – (Mike Mignola) – Hellboy Volume 2 collects fifteen stories, presented for the first time in chronological order, with the original Chained Coffin introduction by P. Craig Russell, and a new, expanded sketchbook. The art is excellent and the stories are witty and well written. As much fun to read as the first volume.[ISBN-13: 978-1593079895]

[Charley's War: 1 August - 17 October 1916 (Hardcover)] – (Pat Mills, Joe Colquhoun) – Collects episodes 30-59. Absolutely fantastic well written world war 1 story based around trench warfare. The artwork is top rate and the stories are much deeper than anything you expect from a comic. Extras are great too [ISBN-13: 978-1840239294]

[Charley's War: 17 October 1916 - 21 February 1917 (Hardcover)] – (Pat Mills, Joe Colquhoun) – Collects episodes 60-83 – The best book yet in the series. Truly riveting stuff that is hard to put down. Its not often a comic book moves me but this one did. Excellent art, story and great extras too. [ISBN-13: 978-1845762704]

[Robo-Hunter: The Droid Files Vol. 1] – (John Wagner) – Robo-Hunter is my favorite comic series of all time. This book was a real treat for me as it includes story arcs that I have never read before. The first story arc “Verdus” is fantastic and has all the great hallmarks of the series. I cant believe I have never read this . The second story is One of my all time favorites in the shape of “Day of the Droids” . The final stories are based in “Brit City” and are really good also. I wish they would do a deluxe version in color but even in its original black and white it is a real treat. – [ISBN-13: 978-1906735210]

21st February 2010
Graphic novels:

*Reading* [Robo-Hunter: The Droid Files Vol. 1] – (John Wagner) – Robo-Hunter is my favorite comic series of all time. This book was a real treat for me as it includes story arcs that I have never read before. The first story arc “Verdus” is fantastic and has all the great hallmarks of the series. I cant believe I have never read this . The second story is One of my all time favorites in the shape of “Day of the Droids” . The final stories are based in “Brit City” and are really good also. I wish they would do a deluxe version in color but even in its original black and white it is a real treat. – [ISBN-13: 978-1906735210]

DVD/ Bluray:

[In loving Memory Series 2 episodes 1 and 2 -DVD] - The Outing and Play To Me, Gipsy. Harmless fun.

[Cracker Series 2 Episode 2 - "The Big Crunch" - DVD] – A young girl missing for several days is discovered naked, covered in strange symbols and quoting the Bible. The trail leads to a fringe Christian sect and its charismatic leader. Another harrowing yet enjoyable Cracker episode.

[Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Season 1 - Episodes 1 to 4 - DVD] – Crazy Japanese game show with hilarious US overdubbing.  Really funny.

[Night at the Museum - Battle At The Smithsonian] – Pretty much like the first movie and I enjoyed that. Harmless fun, some good special effects and few laughs too. Entertaining and harmless fun.

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. I am also enjoying Skirmish.

[Uncharted 2 - Drakes Fortune - PS3] – I got this game for my Birthday based upon the amazing reveiws it got especially from X-Play. The graphics are very nice, the sound is fantastic and the story really is like an interactive movie. When I started playing it I was a bit dissapointed. I found the control system to be very awkward and the restrictive third person camera angles to be very claustrophobic. I prefer first person games such as “Deus Ex/ Halflife” to 3rd person games like “Price of Pesia/ Tomb Raider”. This game reminds me a lot of Tomb Raider. That is not the end of the story though as I am beginning to enjoy the game more the further I progress. The Jungle and Nepal settings are fantastic. This game is growing on me big time. I am currently a bit stuck.

Music:

[Oceansize Effloresce Live at the Manchester Road House] – (Oceansize) – A superb live gig where they perform my favorite Oceansize album in its entirety.

[Live at the Lyceum] – (Genesis) – Absolutely Classic genesis gig. One of my all time favorite live concerts.

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Podcasts:

[XM Weekly Music Episode 42 : XMU] – Kamera has a new release and Billy features the first single called Lies. Next up is the band Little Pieces and two songs from their self-titled release. Next up Zero features two XM Radio podcast flashback bands, Eskimo Joe and The Virgins. Both bands are doing amazingly well after being featured on the podcast and The Virgins are now signed to a major label deal. Last up this week is two songs from Blackstrap and their release entitled “Steal My Horses and Run.”. Not bad but nothing that really jumped out at me.

[XM Weekly Music Episode 44 : XMU] -First up this week is a song from the Split EP from the band Annuals. We’ll here the first track on the record. Tracks 4 and 5 on the EP were done by the same musicians in Annuals, but they created a new band and they play different instruments. Next is two songs from the new record from Eef Barzelay and then two songs from the I Love Math release. Don’t confuse this I love math with the punk band. This I Love Math is from Texas. Last up, Fleet Foxes from their self titled release. We’ll hear my favorite song, “White Winter Hymnal.”. Not bad but nothing that really jumped out at me.

[XM Weekly Music Episode 45 : XMU] – First up this week is Los Angeles native singer-songwriter, Graham Macrae from his self-titled release. Next up, two songs from the debut release from the Atlanta duo known as Anthem In. Cued up is Little Beirut, a rock quartet from Portland. We’ll hear two from their release “High Dive.” Last up this week, two tracks from the Buffalo New York outfit known as The Innocent Bystanders. Not bad but nothing that really jumped out at me.

[XM Weekly Music Episode 46 : XMU] – Another week and this podcast kicks off the second half of 2008. Check the title track from the new Herman Dune release 1-2-3 Appletree. The Charlatans UK have a new one as well and we’ll hear “The Misbegotten.” Next is Dead Heart Bloom from their EP entitled Fall In and we’ll hear “Come Back.” The Dandy Warhols are set to tour beginning in September, we’ll hear “Come On” and “Love Song” from the release Earth To The Dandy Warhols. The Rock was held back this week until the very end. We’ll hear two from Regurgitator’s release, Love And Paranoia.

[The Roy Harper Podcast, Episode 28] – Welcome to the 28th Roy Harper podcast. This episode we have news about the new Roy Harper web site, which includes downloads for the first time. Also part two of a two part interview with Mark Bishop. We also have listener feedback and some music. Another excellent podcast.

[Ricky Gervais Podcast - 2/15/2010] – The 10th and final episode in this series – The Ricky Gervais Guide To The Earth – continues this new run of in-depth discussions. This free excerpt and bonus chat features a salutary lesson in bed buying. Get the full episode from February 23 on iTunes Audiobooks. Very Funny

[Ricky Gervais Podcast - 1/26/2010] – The 9th episode – The Ricky Gervais Guide To The Human Body – continues this new run of in-depth discussions. This free excerpt and bonus chat features some minty fresh memories. Get the full episode from January 26 on iTunes Audiobooks. Funny

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #255] – Fire and Water: Bill Everett, for $1000; New Releases of the Week; Review of Logicomix: An Epic Search For Truth (Bloomsbury); Running time: 26m 05s.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #256] – Bat-Manga Volume 2, LBC; New Releases of the Week; Steve Ditko Part 1 – Marvel Comics 1956-1966; Running time: 25m 37s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #257] – IDW Fallen Angel Omnibus; Absolute All-Star Superman; DC and Marvel New Releases of the Week; Steve Ditko Part 2 – Charlton and DC 1966-1984; Running time: 21m 40s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #258] – Glyph Awards; Eisner Hall of Fame; Legion Of Superheroes Volume 8; New Releases of the Week; Steve Ditko Part 3 – Back To Marvel and Independent Work 1979-2010; Running time: 28m 34s

 

14th February 2010
DVD/Bluray

[Blue Murder Series 2 Eposode 1] – Hit and Run – Janine Lewis, who fears she will struggle to balance her responsibilities as she returns to work following maternity leave. However, she soon gets back into the swing of things as she investigates the murder of a lap-dancer – who just happened to work for a man involved in a hit-and-run accident. A fairly light hearted crime drama series that is closer to Frost than it is Cracker or Morse. An enjoyable watch.

[Blue Murder Series 2 Eposode 2] – Up In Smoke – The pressure is piled on still more as Janine’s domestic situation continues to deteriorate : first her eldest son Michael gets into serious trouble at school, then her youngest, Tom, suffers an asthma attack. With ex-husband Pete’s bitter accusations of neglect ringing in her ears, the troubled DCI visits Lesley Tulley to inform her that Dean Hendrix has been arrested for the crime : but a phone call from Richard leads to the chilling realisation that her own life is in danger. A fairly light hearted crime drama series that is closer to Frost than it is Cracker or Morse. An enjoyable watch. This was a good episode with some nice plot twists.

[My Name is Bruce - DVD] – A pretty silly Bruce Campbell movie that I though was OK but nothing special. I think I enjoyed the special features more where they documented making a movie on a budget of less that 2 million $.

Books

["Commando": The Dirty Dozen - The Best 12 "Commando" Books of All Time] - (Various) : The memories came flooding back of childhood war comics and although the style of writing is pretty dated they are still a fun read in 2010.  Reading 12 commando stories in close succession makes you realize how they employed a particular formula for many of the books. It is funny how in the books they portray an overwhelming ambition of the hero to get to the front to fight for king and country. The gritty realism of movies like saving Private Ryan were not around when these books were popular. The books are written to quite a rigid moral code which really does date them but in a good way. A lot of the books have a common theme where the hero has a wrong impression of another class, army unit, country or colleague and by the end of the book all the issues have been resolved. The artwork is excellent and the books are actually quite educational. A great read. [ISBN-13: 978-1844423071]

*Reading* [Robo-Hunter: The Droid Files Vol. 1] – (John Wagner) – Robo-Hunter is my favorite comic series of all time. This book was a real treat for me as it includes story arcs that I have never read before. The first story arc “Verdus” is fantastic and has all the great hallmarks of the series. I cant believe I have never read this . I wish they would do a deluxe version in color. – [ISBN-13: 978-1906735210]

Games:

[Uncharted 2 - Drakes Fortune - PS3] – I got this game for my Birthday based upon the amazing reveiws it got especially from X-Play. The graphics are very nice, the sound is fantastic and the story really is like an interactive movie. When I started playing it I was a bit dissapointed. I found the control system to be very awkward and the restrictive third person camera angles to be very claustrophobic. I prefer first person games such as “Deus Ex/ Halflife” to 3rd person games like “Price of Pesia/ Tomb Raider”. This game reminds me a lot of Tomb Raider.

That is not the end of the story though as I am beginning to enjoy the game more the further I progress. The Jungle and Nepal settings are fantastic. This game is growing on me big time.

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. I am also enjoying Skirmish.

Music:

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

[Rook] – (Shearwater) – A Folky album with strange and haunting vocals and great musicianship. A true gem of an album that mixes Indie music with Richard Thompson style vocals and Folk ballads. I cant see this having any commercial success but I really like it.

[Slade Live at The BBC] – (Slade) – Absolutely fantastic double CD with Slade at their rawest and best.

[Wavering Radiant] – (Isis) – A great band  and a great album musically. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as “In the Absence of Truth” because they seem to have returned to the guttural vocals again. I really do not understand why they have these crappy vocals as it put a black mark on an otherwise excellent band.

[In The Absence Of Truth] – (Isis) – I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn’t spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band.

Podcasts:

[Sessler's Soap Box - 1/26/2010] – Adam sits down and explains why he’s so glad that a game as good as Mass Effect 2 was released in January. I am sad that this is the last podcast :(

[Sessler's Soap Box - 1/19/2010] Adam talks about how pleasantly surprised he was with Bayonetta’s combat, art direction, and story.

[Web Soup Video Podcast] – Pretty insane vid clips and mucking about.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #254]  – Black Panther Masterworks; A Few DC Books for May 2010; New Releases of the Week; Irredeemable TPB Vols. 1-2 (Boom! Studios); Running time: 18m 53s

 

7th February 2010
DVD/BluRay

[Cracker Series 2 Episode 1 - "To Be A Somebody"- DVD] – (10 October to 24 October 1994) A Pakistani shopkeeper is killed and a skinhead seen leaving the premises. The police are at first convinced that it is a racist killing until a white, English psychologist helping out with the case and DCI Billborough are murdered by the same man. Fitz, while facing his own problems with his family and a hurt Penhaligon, is brought in to investigate, convinced that the killer is not a mere racist hood but actually an ordinary citizen gone horribly wrong. A gruelling story where Fitz makes it so hard to like him. The death of Dr Who is a real shocker!

Reading:

["Commando": The Dirty Dozen - The Best 12 "Commando" Books of All Time] – (Various)- [ISBN-13: 978-1844423071]

Games:

[Uncharted 2 - Drakes Fortune - PS3] – I got this game for my Birthday based upon the amazing reveiws it got especially from X-Play. The graphics are very nice, the sound is fantastic and the story really is like an interactive movie. When I started playing it I was a bit dissapointed. I found the control system to be very awkward and the restrictive third person camera angles to be very claustrophobic. I prefer first person games such as “Deus Ex/ Halflife” to 3rd person games like “Price of Pesia/ Tomb Raider”. This game reminds me a lot of Tomb Raider. That is not the end of the story though as I am beginning to enjoy the game more the further I progress. I am particularily enjoying the jungle scenario where it is less stealth and more shooting. I think this game will grow on me.

Podcasts:

[Sesslers Soapbox - 1/13/10] – Adam discusses all the new 3-D technologies shown off at CES 2010 and wonders if they will represent the next step in game immersion. I disagree with what he says about the futire of 3D.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 1/6/10] – Adam sits down on this first week of January to talk about what he’s excited about and what he expects from the gaming industry in 2010.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 12/30/09] – Adam takes the opportunity to look back at the past decade of gaming and what made this such an important time for interactive entertainment.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 12/23/09] – Adam looks back at the past year and discusses what he thinks were the largest events in the world of gaming.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 12/16/09] – Adam talks about what made Uncharted 2 X-Play’s choice for Game of the Year.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 12/2/09] – Adam talks about New Super Mario Bros. Wii and explains why he thinks this new installment in the Nintendo franchise doesn’t grab him like other Mario games.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 11/24/09] – Adam takes a moment to explain why some sequels may get lower scores than their predecessors.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 11/18/09] – Adam grieves for all the people who worked at Pandemic Studios, and discusses the possible future plans of their publisher, EA.

Music:

[Lafayette Marquis] – (C.C. Adcock) – A good album with some catchy tunes. It is sort of country/blues/rock with some great guitar work. I have also heard his work described as swamp pop or Cajun. It has a sort of a deep south tinge to it.

[The Courage Of Others] – (Midlake) – A suprisingly British Folk rock sounding album from a Texan band. Great tunes and perhaps only missing some twiddly Jam sections to reach to achieve 5 stars. Very easy to listen too.

 

24th January 2010
Music

[Grace Under Pressure Tour Live] – (Rush) – The musicianship and the choice of songs is spot on on this enjoyable live gig.  A great addition to any Rush fan’s live collection.

[The Boxing Lesson EP] – (The Boxing Lesson) – A really good E.P. Great vocals and musicianship. They have a Manchester Band sound but with a Texan twist. This EP is a fantastic record and the guitar sounds are an absolute joy to listen too.

[Radiation] – (The Boxing Lesson) – Another great album from the Texan trio. Very atmospheric and interesting arrangements that have more than hint of The Doves. Where The Boxing Lesson score over the Doves is in their wonderful production and amazing guitar mixes. Fantastic layered expressive music that ebbs and flows then swells with some impressive guitar sections. Good vocals too. My Favorite tracks are “Radiation” , The more I listen to this Album the more I like it.

[Wild Streaks and Windy Days] – (The Boxing Lesson) – Much more upbeat than radiation which was a little sombre at times. They seem to be going for a much more commercial and less proggy sound with this album. They remind me of a cross between Doves and Dandy Warhols at times. Track 3 “Lower” is more like the earlier stuff but the rest of the tracks are much more upbeat. Some of the stuff is pretty heavy and angry. “Muerta” and “scoundrel” are my favorite tracks on the album and these are the most proggy. The guitar sounds on this album are fantastic.

[Seasond End Remaster] – (Marillion) – Marillion’s first album after Fish left actually stands the test of time really well. There are some superb tracks and only two tracks that have not aged well. “Uninvited Guest” and “Hooks In You” really didn’t work well for me at the time of release and they don’t sound any better today. Hogarth’s voice really doesn’t work well on the upbeat stuff. The bonus CD has some good stuff especially the track “The bell and the sea” which should really have made it onto the album.

[Somewhere Else] – (Marillion) – Pretty much like all their recent stuff. They seem to be playing it very safe on the later albums and there arent really any standout tracks. Steven Rothery has some good guitar moments but Mark Kelly is strangely subdued on the keyboards. For the most part Hogarths vocals are good but on “Most Toys” his voice really grates. “Most Toys” is the stinker of the album. Nicely layered tunes and stuff and well produced but upon first listen I didn’t find a sparkle.

[Highly Refined Pirates] – (Minus The Bear) – An up beat Indy rock band with very tight arrangements and complex riffs. Good Stuff.

[Sugar] – (Aloha) – This band is very hard to categorize so I am not even going to try. Oh well….they are sort of free form Jazz experimental Indie band. Their music is complex, with strange time signatures and instruments and Is quite a challenge to listen too. It is not really brash or harsh but there is so much going on and you rarely get a comfortable feeling that you know where the songs are going next. Xylophones seem to feature prominently. I listened to this album once back in 2004 and discarded it. I found it about 5 years later while tidying up and gave it a second chance. I am glad I did as either my musical tastes have broadened or the album has improved with age. It gets better every time I listen to it.

[The Great Communicator] – (Aloha) -  A unique sounding Indie experimental band with complicated time signatures and a freerange Jazz approach to song writing.  Xylophones feature prominently in the arrangements. Fantastic EP without some of the complexity in the later albums “Sugar” and “That’s Your Fire” but filled with smoothly layered musical arrangements and still using some experimental time signatures. This EP also has some great early synth sounds. I think this EP is a great starting point for listening to Aloha.

[Live in Caracas] – (Marillion) – A bit rough around the edges this one but new boy Hoaggy does a fine job of covering the Fish era back catalogue. He does particularly well on Warm Wet Circles but no so good on script. The band are on fine form too.

[Misplaced Childhood with Bonus CD] – This is an absolute classic Fish era Marillion album that I almost listened to death when it was first released. It still sounds good today. The bonus disk has some interesting early mixes of the Album that are in many ways quite different to the final polished versions. Some live gigs from that time are even more different and I reckon Fish was making up the words as he went along. A great double CD.

[Kamera] – (Kamera) – A brit pop sound with a hint of late Duran Duran. Easy to listen too.

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #254] – Black Panther Masterworks; A Few DC Books for May 2010; New Releases of the Week; Irredeemable TPB Vols. 1-2 (Boom! Studios); Running time: 18m 53s.

[XM Weekly Music Podcast # 40] – This week Billy Zero highlights music from Ed Harcourt and a track from his latest release in which Graham Coxon from Blur plays guitar. Next up is music from the latest release from the Submarines. Juniper Lane has a new record and we’ll hear one of the stand-out tracks called “Take Me Home.” Dirty On Purpose is up next with a song from their Like Bees EP which contains a cover of “Send Me An Angel.” Val Emmich sent in one track which Zero features. Last, two songs from the new Supergrass release entitled Diamond Hoo Ha. Nothing that really grabbed me by the short and curlies but the Ed Harcourt track was good and a bit different.

[XM Weekly Music Podcast # 42] – Kamera has a new release and Billy features the first single called Lies. Next up is the band Little Pieces and two songs from their self-titled release. Next up Zero features two XM Radio podcast flashback bands, Eskimo Joe and The Virgins. Both bands are doing amazingly well after being featured on the podcast and The Virgins are now signed to a major label deal. Last up this week is two songs from Blackstrap and their release entitled “Steal My Horses and Run.”. I enjoyed the “Kamera” track which had a kind of a Duran Duran crossed with the Chameleons sound. I really like the Eskimo Joe track too.

DVD/Bluray/UMD

[Cracker Series 1 Episode 2 - "To Say I Love You" - DVD] – 25 October 1993. While his own marriage is falling apart, Fitz goes up against a young couple who would literally kill for their love, leading to an equally literally explosive climax. A really good episode that is an emotional roller coaster. Crime drama’s don’t get any grittier than this. Harrowing at times.

[Cracker Series 1 Episode 3 - "One Day A Lemming Will Fly" - DVD] -8 November 1993 – The disappearance of a 13-year-old boy inflames the local community as a teacher becomes the prime suspect. But has Fitz got the right man and is a result that fits more important than the truth? Another harrowing episode with a bit of an unsatisfactory ending. A good watch.

 

17th January 2010
I had a week working in Argentina so this media blog covers two weeks and two very long plane flights.

Music:

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Reading:

[100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance] – (Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Grant Goleash, Clem Robins) – After reading the first book I though this series was just going to be a collection of short tales of revenge but within this book many layers of the overall plot are revealed .  The story is intriguing and after the author revealed a few clues about agents “Graves” and “Fisher” I think I am properly hooked.  I had some difficulties understanding the street dialogue and in the section set in Paris I feel some sort of subtitles were in order. I had similar difficulties in the first book. The artwork is good and both stories were very enjoyable to read. The only real letdown is the poor paper quality but this is typical for Vertigo and the price isn’t too bad. This novel advances the series along very nicely.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Sin City –DVD] – I have no time for the Sin City graphic novels but this movie is a masterpiece of Comic book to silver screen translation.  The graphic novel turns me off with its overly simplified art style but the artwork and screenplay in the movie are simply breathtaking. The movie looks fantastic using a black and white palette mixed with not so subtle primary colours (e.g. The scene is all black and white but the woman’s dress is bright red). The actors are excellent especially Mickey Rourke although Bruce Willis does a good job too.  Sin City is a very violent movie and there is some nudity but it is done in a very graphic novel style.  Excellent movie that improves with every watch.

[Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – DVD] – One of my all time favorite movies. British thugs at their best. Excellent !!!!

[Snatch] – Just as good as “Lock, Stock” with s surprisingly good performance by Bradd Pitt. Excellent !!

[[The incredible Hulk – bluray]-  A surprisingly good comic book movie with a good story and top notch effects. So much better than the last Hulk movie and poor TV series.

[Fargo - DVD] – A really good crime drama set in the frozen backwoods of the USA. Based upon a true story and full of bizzarre characters and accents. Destined to be a real classic. This is the 4th time I have seen it and it doesn’t grow old.

[A Fistful of Dynamite AKA "Duck You Sucker" - DVD] – My favorite Spaghetti western. It’s a little drawn out at times but it has a depth and atmosphere that makes it very special. Set during the Mexican revolution rather than the usual cowboy backdrop makes the message hit home just that bit harder. Fantastic Ennio Morricane score too.

[Shaun of the Dead - DVD] – The best and funniest Simon Peg movie (Hot fuzz comes close) with a great cast of British comedy actors. Great and very funny movie.

[Flying Scotsman - DVD] – The Graeme Obree Story told in an excellent movie. Not as shocking as the book but a great adaptation. I have always been a huge fan of Graeme and his amazing dedication. I think most cycling movies are dreadful but this one is really well done.

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. I am also enjoying Skirmish.

[Gran Turismo PSP] (PSP) – Actually A pretty good car game on the PSP. It reminds me of the PS2 version. Need to play it more before giving a full review but the lack of a career mode is a bit disappointing. Still not very impressed with this game.

[Test Drive Unlimited – Xbox 360] – A on line/offline MMO style car racing game set on a Hawaiian Island that is fully modeled with great graphics. There is a fantastic selection of well rendered cars ,  although it does take a lot of time to build up a reasonable collection (you have to buy houses to store them in). Good sound, Interesting roads that you have total freedom to explore  and a robust driving model means that this is the ultimate evolution of the “test drive” franchise. When it first came out there were tons of people online playing the game but when I played the other evening I was lucky to find 3-4 people and none of them were entering the online racing events. It is a shame that this game didn’t do better but the racing game genre is very crowded and it isn’t really in the same league as the Gotham and Forza.

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #250] – New and Recolored Sandman Trade Paperbacks; Complete Rocketeer Deluxe Edition Sells Out; New Releases of the Week; The Complete Far Side 2 Volume Slipcase HC by Gary Lason (Andrews-McMeel)

[X Play's Daily Video Podcast] -  The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #251] – Top 10 Collected of 2009; The 2009 Year In Review; Running time: 92m 25s. Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #252] – Invincible Iron Man HC Volume 1 page count flub; Diamond GEM Awards; Adopt a Character for 2010 I pick Spider-Man and Steve Ditko; Running time: 16m 05s.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #253]  - Human Target rant; Interview with Kim Thompson, Vice President of Fantagraphics

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 11/15/09] – Jonathan is joined by the many voices of Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson, out-going Dr Who, David Tennant, plus the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, James Earl Jones talks about returning to the West End stage. Classic Stuff

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 11/28/09] – Jonathan Ross and Rob Brydon have an Elvis-off plus comedian Stephen K Amos talks about his royal encounter. Classic Stuff

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 12/05/09] – Jonathan is joined by the star of TV Burp, Harry Hill.  Oscar winning actress Penelope Cruz is here to tell us about her new film Nine and comedian Michael McIntyre lays to rest a few myths of his own creation. Classic Stuff

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 12/12/09] – Jonathan is joined by Beautiful People and Peep Show star, Olivia Colman.  Jimmy Carr talks about dodgy christmas gifts and Jack Dee shares some thoughts on Jonathan’s ‘man bag’!. Classic Stuff

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Fargo - DVD] – A really good crime drama set in the frozen backwoods of the USA. Based upon a true story and full of bizzarre characters and accents. Destined to be a real classic. This is the 4th time I have seen it and it doesn’t grow old.

[A Fistful of Dynamite AKA "Duck You Sucker" - DVD] – My favorite Spaghetti western. It’s a little drawn out at times but it has a depth and atmosphere that makes it very special. Set during the Mexican revolution rather than the usual cowboy backdrop makes the message hit home just that bit harder. Fantastic Ennio Morricane score too.

[Shaun of the Dead - DVD] – The best and funniest Simon Peg movie (Hot fuzz comes close) with a great cast of British comedy actors. Great and very funny movie.

[Flying Scotsman - DVD] – The Graeme Obree Story told in an excellent movie. Not as shocking as the book but a great adaptation. I have always been a huge fan of Graeme and his amazing dedication. I think most cycling movies are dreadful but this one is really well done.

 

3rd  January 2010
Books:

[Punisher Max, Vol. 5 - Hardcover] -  (Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin, Goran Parlov) – Two fantastic books make up this hardbound volume, “Long Cold Dark” and “Valley Forge”. In “Long Cold Dark” we see the return of the ultra violent killing machine  Barracuda and it’s a battle that the punisher barely comes out of alive. I found the artwork to be a little inconsistent in this story but things settled down as the story progressed. The story itself is fantastic.  “Valley Forge” is also an excellent Punisher story with an unusual amount of prose thrown in. The prose sections are good and thought provoking but they do tend to break up the action a little bit. The artwork in this collection is definitely less colorful than the earlier volumes and it resorts to classic comic style palettes (must have been costing too much to make). Great ending to Garth Ennis’s stint on the Punisher. [ISBN-13: 978-0785137825]

*Reading ["Commando": The Dirty Dozen, The 12 best "Commando" books of all time] – (George low) – [ISBN-13: 978-1844423071]

Cinema:

[Avatar 3D] – Stunning movie and absolutely amazing 3D.  Got to be in my all time top 10. You have to see it in 3D to appreciate how good 3D can be.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Vicar of Dibley Final Christmas special Parts 1 and 2 -DVD] – Funny finale to the Dibley series and some great extras on the DVD too.

[Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – Bluray] – I didn’t enjoy this movie at all. I thought it was very dull. Perhaps you have to read the book to make it more interesting. Bluray picture quality was nothing special either.

[In Loving Memory Series 1 episodes 1 to 6- DVD] – A  sitcom set in a Northern England undertakers many years ago. The jokes are a bit predictable at times but it’s still very enjoyable. Harmless fun.

[Life of Brian - Bluray] – One of the finest comedy movies ever made and my all time favorite. Monty Python’s finest moment.

[Touch of Frost Series 14 – Episodes 2 and 3- In the Public Interest and mind Games - DVD] – Even after 14 series this is by far my favorite detective series.  Both episodes had a the classic Frost touches  and left you with a real feel good factor. David Jason’s finest hour. Hopefully we will get series 15 for Christmas next year.

Music:

[Am I Evil, the Anthology] – (Diamond Head) – Excellent British Metal album from a band that were big in the eighties. Has all the classic tracks especially such classics as “Am I evil” and “Borrowed Time”. It Still sounds surprisingly fresh today and I had forgotten how good the guitar work was.

[Live In Montreal] – (Genesis) – Absolutely Classic genesis bootleg from the peter Gabriel/Hacket era. Very raw and the sound is poor at times but the magic is there.

[Slade Live at The BBC] – (Slade) – Absolutely fantastic double CD with Slade at their rawest and best.

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. I am also enjoying Skirmish.

[Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 – PS3] – Stunning graphics and great control. An amazing selection of weapons  all with top notch sound.  The game plays pretty much like all the other call of duty games but it is more special forces based (less huge battles). I still enjoy the fire fights best (the Brazilian ghettos were particularly enjoyable) and some of the more stealthy stuff a bit less.  The settings for this game are bit controversial as they include battles in US suburbs and airports and the like. I have only played the campaign so far and the story and acting are great but I fear it is going by too quickly. I think that the single player campaign was a bit short. I am very impressed.

[Alien Storm – Sega megadrive] – A difficult side scrolling beat em up shooter. Feels very dated and not a huge amount of fun.

[The Club – PS3] – A fun and tricky 3rd person shooter/beatemup where you have challenges to complete to try to get the highest score. The controls are a little tricky and get in the way of making this a much more fun game. It’s fun for an hour or so every now and then.

[GT5 Time Trial demo – PS3] – Demo for Gran Turismo 5 involving two time trials on the Indy Circuit. One in a tuned 350Z and one in a stock 350Z.  Pretty addictive stuff and the tuned car is far easier to drive. My first few laps in the stock 350z were comical. It would probably be a lot easier with a wheel. The time trial had online rankings and I am about 10 seconds off the best times for both vehicles.

Sunday 27th December 2009
Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive.

[Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 – PS3] – Stunning graphics and great control. An amazing selection of weapons  all with top notch sound.  The game plays pretty much like all the other call of duty games but it is more special forces based (less huge battles). I still enjoy the fire fights best (the Brazilian ghettos were particularly enjoyable) and some of the more stealthy stuff a bit less.  The settings for this game are bit controversial as they include battles in US suburbs and airports and the like. I have only played the campaign so far and the story and acting are great but I fear it is going by too quickly. I put in a solid 5 hours+ so far and I get the impression that the single player campaign may be a bit short. I am very impressed with the Special ops mode. Great Game

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Home Alone – DVD] – A great Christmas movie where the human characters are beaten up just like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Not as good as I remembered it to be but a good laugh none the less.

[Vicar of Dibley – The Christmas Dinner Incident – DVD] – Watching the Christmas vicar of Dibley is a great tradition in our house. A very funny episode and one I never tire of watching.

[Knowing Me Knowing Yule – Alan Partridge - DVD] – The Alan Partridge Christmas special with the usual amount of uncomfortable moments and embarrassingly funny moments. Great festive Fun.

[Porridge – The Christmas Specials – DVD] – Two classic Christmas specials are collected on this DVD, "No Way Out" and "The Desperate Hours". They are both very funny but if I was to choose a favorite it would be "No Way Out" where Ronnie Barker is on absolute top form trying to get to spend Christmas in the prison hospital.

[Touch of Frost Series 13 – Endangered Species - DVD] – An excellent frost episode based around the illegal trafficking of endangered species. All the hallmarks of a classic Frost episode are present.

[Touch of Frost Series 14 – Episode 1 – Mind games – DVD] – Excellent Frost episode with many twists, turns and surprises. Still as good as ever.

[Peter Kay’s Special Kay – DVD] – A very funny collection of appearances by Peter on various shows, deleted sketches, adverts and other little gubbins. Some of it is rib bustingly funny especially the sketch with Catherine Tate.

Podcasts:

[Jonathon Ross Podcast - 11/9/09] - Jonathan is joined by comedian Rhod Gilbert who's talking Cats, Nicholas Lyndhurst and award winning mince pies! And Dizzee Rascal pops in to update Jonathan's 'street slang' dictionary. Very funny as usual

[Jonathon Ross Podcast - 11/15/09] - Jonathan is joined by the many voices of Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson, out-going Dr Who, David Tennant, plus the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, James Earl Jones talks about returning to the West End stage. Very funny as usual

Music :

[Project 42] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

[Am I Evil, the Anthology] - (Diamond Head) - Excellent British Metal album from a band that were big in the eighties. Has all the classic tracks especially such classics as "Am I evil" and "Borrowed Time".

Still sounds surprisingly fresh today and I had forgotten how good the guitarwork was.

[Live at the Lyceum] - (Genesis) - Absolutely Classic genesis gig. One of my all time favorite live concerts.

[Slade Live at The BBC] – (Slade) – Absolutely fantastic double CD with Slade at their rawest and best.

[The Alternative] (IAMX) - Discovered this band through an XM radio podcast. Fantastic 80's style synth sound and driving beats. Chris Corner also has a great voice and the lyrics are both catchy and thought provoking. A bit like a cross between “Dirty Vegas” and “She Wants Revenge”. This one is highly recommended for fans of Electronic Synth Pop.

[Marbles Live] - (Marillion) - A good live album with some nicely twiddly bits.

Books:

*Reading [Punisher Max, Vol. 5 - Hardcover] (Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin, Goran Parlov) – [ISBN-13: 978-0785137825]

Sunday 20th December 2009
DVD,Bluray,UMD:

[Himalaya - Micheael Palin] - Another excellent travel/ adventure series with the Monty Python star. He takes in some absolutely breathtaking scenery on his trip along the spine of the Himalayas. Its a little more laid back than his previous adventures but no less interesting. Episodes 1 to 4.

Books:

[Brit Volume 2: AWOL] - (Robert Kirkman, Bruce Brown, Andy Kuhn, Cliff Rathburn) - This volume collects BRIT issues #7-12. Another great addition to the indestructable anti hero "Brit". This book has a bewildering number of twists and turns and It's quite a feat to be able to even keep up with it all. The artwork is great and the coloring spot on. The story is well crafted and by the end of the book things fall nicely into place. A good read.

*Reading [Punisher Max, Vol. 5 - Hardcover] (Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin, Goran Parlov) - [ISBN-13: 978-0785137825]

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #248] - DC's new Batman and Superman Earth One Graphic Novels; New Releases of the Week; Asterios Polyp HC by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon); 29m 29s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #249] - Marvel's Greatest Comics; Superman Earth One Graphic Novel info; New Releases of the Week; Criminal Definitive Edition HC (Marvel/Icon); 23m 16s

[NPR All Songs Considered - Moby Recorded Live in Berlin] - Moby's latest album, Wait for Me, is his best new release in a decade, full of beauty, sadness and celebration. The singer and electronic artist is currently on tour in support of the record, giving sold-out performances to packed arenas and smaller clubs throughout Europe and the U.S. For this stellar concert, recorded live in Berlin on June 26, Moby treated fans to nearly two hours of new songs and old favorites from a career spanning nearly 20 years. A pretty good Gig.

Music:

[Transmissions From Atomhenge] - (Hawkwind) - There seems to be hundreds of Hawkwind complilation CD's in circulation and this is one of the better ones. A great selection of tracks (some I have never heard before) and some right good Hawkwind jamming sessions.

[Government Comissions: BBC Sessions 1996 - 2003] - (Mogwai) - Absolutely fantastic stuff for Mogwai fans. It Manages to improve on the studio versions in oh so many many ways and the sound is gorgeous.

[Led Zeppelin Live] - Some great stuff but I sometimes find Robert Plant a bit annoying. Jimmy Page is a guitar god.

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. I am also enjoying Skirmish.

[Fallout 3] – (PS3) – When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50’s soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it. I am starting to get the hang of the Quests but still gain the most satisfaction from wandering around killing stuff and looking for ammo and stimpacks. Its a pretty hard game and draining at times. Oh for a bit of sunshine and color.

Sunday 13th December 2009
Music:

Various stuff from Karnivool, Ocenasize and Anethema

[Transmissions From Atomhenge] – (Hawkwind) – There seems to be hundreds of Hawkwind complilation CD’s in circulation and this is one of the better ones. A great selection of tracks (some I have never heard before) and some right good Hawkwind jamming sessions.

[Government Comissions: BBC Sessions 1996 - 2003] – Absolutely fantastic stuff for Mogwai fans. It Manages to improve on the studio versions in oh so many many ways and the sound is gorgeous.

[Outlaws] – (Luke Doucet) – I wouldn’t normally be into this type of country stuff but the guitar work sounds amazing and there is some real fire and passion to the lyrics. The title Track “Outlaws” is outstanding. The whole album is pretty good.

[Triptych] – (The Bevis Frond) – Incredible prog rock album recorded by some bloke in his living room. Great songs and absolutely fantastic guitar playing. Pretty folky vocals and distinctly British. A very raw sound but wonderful with it.

Podcasts:

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Of Montreal] – Kevin Barnes (or “Georgie Fruit” in this case) and the cast of Of Montreal treats the KEXP airwaves to acoustic versions of the tracks from their funky glam-pop opus “Skeletal Lamping.” Recorded on 11/19/08 – 5 songs: Beware Our Nubile Miscreants, “Triphallus, To Punctuate!”, Touched Something’s Hollow, An Eluardian Instance, For Our Elegant Caste. I Really enjoyed This Podcast and the acoustic mixes were a refreshing change. The interviewer is terrible though and its best to fast forward past these sections.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #247] – Holiday Guide; New Releases of the Week; Driven By Lemons HC (Adhouse) and Trial Of Sherlock Holmes HC (Dynamite); 23m 05s

[NPR Live Concerts From All Songs Considered - Sonic Youth] – After spending nearly 20 years delivering crunchy, underground guitar rock for a major label, Sonic Youth has returned to its indie roots for its 16th studio album, The Eternal. Out now on Matador Records, Sonic Youth’s latest effort is among the band’s finest, with a fuzzy, tightly orchestrated mix of psych-punk rock and noisy jams. The band showcased the album in a full concert, recorded live from Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club July 7.

I really like some of the stuff that Sonic Youth perform but I also really hate the stuff sang by that wailing banshee of a female singer. This concert has a lot of the brash nosiy stuff that I don’t like as much but there are still some excellent Pink Floyd like Jam sessions. I still can’t understand why they have that woman singer. She is truly awful. Not a bad gig but It could have been so much better.

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Ed Harcourt]- British singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ed Harcourt stops by KEXP with a guitar and a handful of his wonderfully varied pop tracks for a lovely acoustic live performance. Recorded on  7/10/09, 4 songs: Killed By The Morning Sun, Church Of No Religion, Caterpillar, Blues Run The Game. A pretty good session with a fun interview.

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Lyrics Born]The funky Bay Area microphone acrobat Lyrics Born joins KEXP on his home turf during our live broadcast from Berkeley, California. He’s joined by singer (and his wife) Joyo Velarde, and DJ D-Sharp for some tight renditions of tracks from “Everywhere At Once.” Recorded live on  1/29/09 – 4 songs: Don’t Change, Hott 2 Deff, I’m A Phreak, I Like It, I Love It.  A very Talented Berkeley Hip Hopper.

Books:

[30 Days of Night] – (Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith) – I got this book as part of an excellent 3 part boxed and signed signed collectors set. I decided to buy it after watching the enjoyable movie based on the book. I was initially quite dissapointed when I got my copy. The books are printed on nice glossy stock and look fantastic but the artwork in an unusual abstract style. I like my graphic novels to be more conventional and less confusing to read (Its sometimes difficult to tell Vampire from Human as both parties are shown with bared teeth). The story is good (different from the movie) and I found it engaging enough to read in one sitting but it was a little short. Quite a large section of the book is given over to previews of the next books and advertisements for other books (I think this is a waste of paper). A good book but I enjoyed the movie more. [ISBN-10: 0971977550]

[Dark Days - 30 Days of Night, Book 2] – I got this book as part of an excellent 3 part boxed and signed signed collectors set. The setting for this book has changed. The heoroine from the first part has moved down to LA to continue the war on the vampires. I think this is a better book than the first one although the concept of the first was more engaging. There are many plot twists and turns and sublots going on within this relatively short tale. I am not sure if I am getting used to Ben Templesmiths art style but I found it more enjoyable in the second book and the abstract gore fest certainly portrays an atmosphere. A great book. [ISBN-10: 1932382364]

[Return to Barrow - 30 Days of Night, Book 3] – (Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith) – I got this book as part of an excellent 3 part boxed and signed signed collectors set. For this book we return to Barrow to discover the poor old town is still beset by Vampires. This time the town is ready for it…or are they ? I can only assume the more you look at  Ben Templesmiths artwork the better it gets. Its still kind of chaotic and confusing but I now feel it suits the story perfectly. The third novel is a rip roaring adventure tale with great back stories and suprises. Out of the three books this was my favorite (I read all three books on consecutive evenings). A great trilogy. [ISBN-10: 1932382364]

*Reading [Brit Volume 2 : AWOL] – (Robert Kirkman, Bruce Brown, Andy Kuhn, and Cliff Rathburn] – (ISBN-13: 978-1582408644)

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The New Avengers (76) - DVD] – I used to really enjoy this series as a child and watching it again brings the memories flooding back. By today’s standards the effects, dialogue and acting are pretty poor bit this all adds to the charm. EP 2 : “The Midas Touch”. An Ok episode with some truly awful acting and effects. Hong Kong Harry was particularily funny as the worst ever portrayal of a chinese person by a white actor. Purdy still looked great and there was a car chase between and XJS and a Aston Martin DBS so it wasn’t all bad. EP 3 : “House of Cards”. A very enjoyable episode and it featured Steeds Custom XJR12…Nice.

[Michael Palin Sahara - DVD Episodes 1 and 2] – I am a huge fan of Palin’s travel logs and this one is as good as ever. He has a unique way of fitting in with the locals and capturing the real essence of the places he visits. Like all his videos this is not an adventure for the gastronomically weak. The video Diary extras are a great bonus.

Games:

[Left 4 Dead 2 - XBOX360] – A pretty fun game with excellent weapons and insane numbers of Zombies on screen. The single player is very short and a bit disappointing. I have played a few online games and its seems OK but its too early to draw any conclusions. Great Graphics. The game seems very unbalanced online but I am persevering.

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. I am also enjoying Skirmish.

[Fallout 3] – (PS3) – When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50’s soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it. I am starting to get the hang of the Quests but still gain the most satisfaction from wandering around killing stuff and looking for ammo and stimpacks. Its a pretty hard game and draining at times. Oh for a bit of sunshine and color.

Sunday 6th December 2009
DVD/Bluray/UMD
 
[Golden Compass -Bluray] - Although this movie got terrible reviews I really enjoyed it. I thought the story was very good and the special effects were excellent without being over the top. There is something special about hi-tec in a Victorian setting. To cap it all off the baddies were called Samoyeds which was a definite bonus. Hope they make the other two books.
 
[Corraline - Bluray] - A great combination of puppets and computer graphics with an engaging and witty story. Very Tim Burton in style but none the worse for that. I tried watching the 3D version to begin with but the color was crappy and I got a headache after about 10 minutes . Red/Green 3D is utter rubbish !!!
 
[Touch of Frost Season 12 -  Near Death Experience - DVD] - Another Excellent Frost special. Most series go seriously off the boil by this time in their life but Frost is still sharp. Great and engaging murder mystery.

[Qi the C series - Series 3 - Episodes 4 to 6] - An enjoyable show hosted by Stephen Fry. Some clever and witty guests. Funny and educational too. 

[The New Avengers (76) - DVD] - I used to really enjoy this series as a child and watching it again brings the memories flooding back. By today's standards the effects, dialogue and acting are pretty poor bit this all adds to the charm. EP 1 : "The Eagle's Nest". A enjoyable episode where some Monks up in Scotland try to raise Hitler. Joanna Lumley looks very fit in this episode.
 
Podcasts:
 
[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Around the Net] - This is still one of the best and funniest podcasts out there.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #246] - All 27 Spirit Archives; Upcoming on the CCL; New Releases of the Week; Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign Premiere HC; 31m 05s.

Games:

[Killzone 2 - PS3] - I found Killzone 2 to be an enjoyable 1 player campaign but I am less impressed by the skirmish and online play. Skirmish isn't bad but nothing to really write home about. Online play suffers from the bane of most console based games in that you here the incessant babbling of spoilt brat teenagers. I wish the headset had never been invented for Online play. Not very impressed.

[Left 4 Dead 2 - XBOX360] - A pretty fun game with excellent weapons and insane numbers of Zombies on screen. The single player is very short and a bit disappointing. I have played a few online games and its seems OK but its too early to draw any conclusions. Great Graphics.

Music

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Books:

[Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Darick Robertson, Tom Mandrake, Cam Kennedy, John McCrea, Dougie Braithwaite, Joe Quesada,) – Fantastic collection of punisher stories by Garth Ennis in an absolutely humungous hard cover book. Not as hard edged as the MAX series but no worse for this. Garth really is the master of the Punisher. The artwork is also very good.  The only slightly weak area in this collection was where Superheroes were included. I think Garth really struggles with superheroes and I thought the final superhero showdown was pretty week. Garth's take on Wolverine was also horrible. This book is an amazing collection.(ISBN-10: 0785133836)

Sunday 29th November
DVD/Bluray:

[Carry On Emanuel - DVD] - Not the funniest Carry on movie but not still worth a watch. Not as smutty as you would expect and lacking in the charm of the earlier movies. The star is a great double of the real Emanuel.

[The best of Dave Allen - DVD] - A funny Irish Comedian that often poked fun at religion and a great collection of his sketches and monologues.

[A Touch Of Frost - Series 11 Episodes 1 and 2 -DVD] - The first episode "Another Life" I though was a great return for Frost after his suspension. All the usual Frost specialties were there and it was a great story. The second episode "Dancing in the Dark" wasn’t as good and it seemed to lack the certain spark Frost always has. Still enjoyable though.

[30 Days of Night - DVD] - A very enjoyable vampire movie with a twist. A great idea that was well executed. Scary vamps too.

Podcasts
 
[Sesslers Soapbox 11/18/2009] - Adam grieves for all the people who worked at Pandemic Studios, and discusses the possible future plans of their publisher, EA.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #245] - eBay Market Watch; New Releases of the Week; DC, Marvel, Dark Horse and Dynamite Solicitations for April 2010; 24m 18s

[John Cleese Podcast #22]- John has a word or two to say about fear and stage fright. Excellent stuff as usual.

[John Cleese Podcast #23]- Just a Shrek 3 trailer.

[John Cleese Podcast #28] - 'Tis the holiday season, in which people everywhere gather to celebrate this precious time of giving. Assembled around a blazing fire, families eat themselves sick, drink themselves silly, and fight for their entertainment options with unaccustomed ferocity. So, in order to leaven this dark time, we bring you John Cleese's Very Own Version of: The Night Before Christmas. With lots of festive love from all the Podcast Reindeer. Very funny.

[The News Quiz 15 May 2009] - Expenses mistakes. Sandi Toksvig and the team take a look at MPs expenses and, in contrast to most major newspapers this week, some other stories as well. Fred MacAulay, Josie Long, Hugo Rifkind and Jeremy Hardy are the guests. Produced by Ed Morrish. Not a particularly good episode. Josie Long was terrible and not in the least bit funny.

[The News Quiz 22 May 2009] - Speaking and Not Speaking.  Gordon Brown's refusal to call an snap election, the leader of the BNP taking tea with the Queen, and Speaker Michael Martin's resignation get the News Quiz treatment.  Host Sandi Toksvig is joined by Francis Wheen, Fred Macaulay, Robin Ince and Now Show regular Steve Punt.  Carolyn Brown reads the news.  Produced by Victoria Lloyd. Back to form on this episode.

[The News Quiz 29 May 2009] - Reform.  Nick Clegg's proposals for reform, Julie Kirkbride's expenses, and the nuclear ambitions of North Korea get the News Quiz treatment.  Host Sandi Toksvig presides over Rory Bremner, Fred Macaulay, Andy Zaltzman and Danielle Ward.  Produced by Victoria Lloyd. Good stuff.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 31 Oct 2009] - Jonathan is joined by upcoming young actor and former So Solid Crew member, Ashley Walters, plus there's a touch of glamour with Hammer House girls Madeline Smith and Valerie Leon. I particularly enjoyed the Hammer ladies as it brought back many memories.

Music:

[Am I Evil, the Anthology] - (Diamond Head) - Excellent British Metal album from a band that were big in the eighties. Has all the best tracks especially such classics as "Am I evil" and "Borrowed Time".  Still sounds surprisingly fresh today and I had forgotten how good the guitarwork was.

[Bjork's Greatest Hits] - (Bjork) - A very talented and very strange lady. Excellent CD and so many tunes that could have been Bond themes. Good Stuff.

[Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots ] – (The Flaming Lips) – A strange yet enjoyable CD with some great electronic sounds. The version I have has some alternative mixes which are even better than the originals.

Books:

*Reading [Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Darick Robertson, Tom Mandrake, Cam Kennedy, John McCrea, Dougie Braithwaite, Joe Quesada,) – (ISBN-10: 0785133836)

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] - One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. The ORC's seemed to be a real pain to beat when they seem to be spawning an endless supply of cannon fodder. I finally figured out there weak spot.

[Killzone 2 - PS3] - I found Killzone 2 to be an enjoyable 1 player campaign but never tried the skirmish and online play. Skirmish isnt bad but nothing to really write home about. Online play suffers from the bane of most console based games in that you here the incessant babbling of spoilt brat teenagers. I wish the headset had never been invented for Online play. Not very impressed.

Sunday 22nd November 2009
DVD/UMD/Bluray:

[Two Ronnies Christmas Special 1982] – Absolutely classic British Comedy. So good you can watch it when its not xmas.

Podcasts:

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] – The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Around the Net] – This is still one of the best and funniest podcasts out there.

[Sesslers Soapbox 10/21/2009] – Adam uses Borderlands as an example of how “grinding” can be as satisfying experience if the game’s mechanics are solid. It is true, you cant beat levelling up when you are stressed.

[Sesslers Soapbox 11/4/2009] – Adam takes Infinity Ward to task for their involvement with a recent Modern Warfare 2 viral video that included offensive language. Adam definitely has his angry head on for this one.

[Sesslers Soapbox 11/11/2009] – Adam discusses the infamous Modern Warfare 2 airport scene, and why he thinks the gaming industry must be allowed to push the envelope. The man has a point.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 10/19/2009] – Jonathan talks about the joys of cooking with River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall plus actor Carlos Bernard, one of the stars of hit series ‘24' resists Jonathan’s attempts to discover the plot of season 8. Great stuff.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 10/24/2009] – Jonathan is joined by The Thick of It and In The Loop star, Peter Capaldi, plus actress Tracy Ann Oberman talks about appearing in an on-line only thriller – Girl Number 9. Great stuff.

Games:

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. The ORC’s are a real pain to beat when they seem to be spawning an endless supply of cannon fodder.

Music:

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

[Themata] – (Karnivool) – A pretty good nu metal album with some hints of Tool in some of the arrangements. I have heard better stuff by them.
[Man of Aran] – (British Sea Power) – I didnt realize that this was going to be a soundtrack, I just automatically bought it because it was BSP and I am a BSP fan. After the first two tracks I was thinking they were taking the mickey and was wondering if the album was ever going to get going. The soundtrack is pretty dull and repetetive to listen to on its own although there are some Clannad moments. Music to meditate to but not to groove to?

[Sugar] – (Aloha) – This band is very hard to categorize so I am not even going to try. Oh well….they are sort of free form Jazz experimental Indie band. Their music is complex, with strange time signatures and instruments and Is quite a challenge to listen too. It is not really brash or harsh but there is so much going on and you rarely get a comfortable feeling that you know where the songs are going next. Xylophones seem to feature prominently. I listened to this album once back in 2004 and discarded it. I found it last week while tidying up and gave it a second chance. I am glad I did as either my musical tastes have broadened or the album has improved with age. It gets better every time I listen to it.
 

[That's Your Fire] – (Aloha) – A unique sounding Indie experimental band with complicated time signatures and a freerange Jazz approach to song writing. Xylophones feature prominently in the arrangements. This album is similar in style to the later release “Sugar” but it is a little more laid back and it doesn’t give your ears quite the same work out. Great band and a great album.

[Live In America] – (The Sweet) – I was really surprised just how good this concert is. All the hits are there and all of them are played flawlessly. They even have the extended version of “Love is Like Oxygen”. Some of the tracks I am not so familiar with but I was shocked at just how much like Deep Purple they sounded. Excellent album especially if you are a Sweet fan.

Books:

*Reading [Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC]– (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Darick Robertson, Tom Mandrake, Cam Kennedy, John McCrea, Dougie Braithwaite, Joe Quesada,) – (ISBN-10: 0785133836)

Sunday 15th November 2009
Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #243] – TwoMorrows Modern Masters sale; 2 Free Witchblade Trades from Top Cow; New Releases of the Week; Hellboy Library Volume 2 The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom and Volume 3 Conqueror Worm and Strange Places; 24m 15s

[XM Weekly Music Podcast # 38] – Billy Zero features music from Two Hours Traffic and music from the new release from Cinderpop. Next up is the lush sounds of Saint Bernadette and a track from the latest release from We Are Scientists. Billy just can’t get enough of Santogold so we feature another track from the self-titled release. Last up this week is two songs from a band that delivers the rock. They call themselves The Night Marchers. No really bad bands but nothing that caught my attention Either.

[XM Weekly Music Podcast # 40] – This week Billy Zero highlights music from Ed Harcourt and a track from his latest release in which Graham Coxon from Blur plays guitar. Next up is music from the latest release from the Submarines. Juniper Lane has a new record and we’ll hear one of the stand-out tracks called “Take Me Home.” Dirty On Purpose is up next with a song from their Like Bees EP which contains a cover of “Send Me An Angel.” Val Emmich sent in one track which Zero features. Last, two songs from the new Supergrass release entitled Diamond Hoo Ha. Nothing that really grabbed me by the short and curlies.

[Ricky Gervais] – The 6th episode – The Ricky Gervais Guide To Society – kicks off a new run of discussions for your listening edification. This free excerpt features Karl Pilkington’s model adoption agency. Get the full episode from Nov 3 on iTunes Audiobooks.

Music:

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

[Set Fire To The Hive EP] – (Karnivool) – Very strong Heavy prog band. “Themata” and “Deadman” are particularily strong tracks with a hint of tool to them. “Deadman” is a great live version of my favorite track by them.

[Live at the Caledonien] – (In the Woods) -  A slightly progressive live metal album that’s earns its progressive title by having some pretty long arrangements and a wacky operatic female vocals. There are some good guitar riffs and twin lead solos but the vocals are a bit rough. What lets the band down more than anything is the frankly awful female vocalist who wails and catawalls like a demented opera singer. A very generic metal band at times with flashes of something special just when you were about to write them off. “Deadmans Creek” is probably the best song on this double album.

[Coma Divine - Special Edition] – (Porcupine Tree) – One of the best Porcupine Tree albums at the peak of their Progressive spacey rock stage. The production is fantastic and it has some superb live versions of tracks such as “Radiocative Toy” and “Waiting”. An absolute gem.

[The incident] – (Porcupine Tree) – This album is not growing on me at all. Apart from the excellent “Time Flies” the rest of the album leaves me cold. A bit disappointing really.

[Effloresce] – (Oceansize) – A great album from a great band. If you like Pineapple Thief and Porcupine Tree you should really like this band. The album is Proggy but at the same time indy sounding and at other times very heavy. There are some great melodies and mood changes in the songs. The way the songs a layered and progress reminds me of Mogwai but they are far more up than them. This is an excellent album that seems to improve with every listen.

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Games:

[Bejewelled Blitz - PC] – A very very very very addictive facebook puzzle game. I might have to go into rehab to get off this one.

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive. The ORC’s are a real pain to beat when they seem to be spawning an endless supply of cannon fodder.

[Final Fantasy Tactics] (PSP) – Fantastic time killer for long flights or train rides and a classic tactical game. Pretty difficult at times. I am stuck on a particularily hard boss battle and may need to retire this game :-(

[Gran Turismo PSP] (PSP) – Actually A pretty good car game on the PSP. It reminds me of the PS2 version. Need to play it more before giving a full review but the lack of a career mode is a bit disappointing. Still not very impressed with this game.

Sunday 8th November 2009
Live Stuff:

[John Cleese at the Fox Theater in Redwood City] – We managed to get very good seats at this very nice and cosy theater and were only a few rows away from John. John was very funny and his set had the audience in raptures. Despite being 72 years old he is still as sharp as a razor blade. Excellent !

Music:

[The incident] – (Porcupine Tree) – This album is not growing on me at all. Apart from the excellent “Time Flies” the rest of the album leaves me cold. A bit disappointing really.

[Effloresce] – (Oceansize) – A great album from a great band. If you like Pineapple Thief and Porcupine Tree you should really like this band. The album is Proggy but at the same time indy sounding and at other times very heavy. There are some great melodies and mood changes in the songs. The way the songs a layered and progress reminds me of Mogwai but they are far more up than them. This is an excellent album that seems to improve with every listen.

[Project 42] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Podcasts:

[Roy Harper Podcast #27] This episode had an archive radio interview with Roy and Nick Harper from 1994, from Radio Scotland. Also part one of a two part interview with Mark Bishop. As usual this was great stuff from the creator Paul.

Games:

[Bejewelled Blitz - PC] – A very very very very addictive facebook puzzle game. I might have to go into rehab to get off this one.

[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] – One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me. I couldn’t really make any progress and wasn’t really enjoying it so I swallowed my pride and set it to easy mode and that left me with a fun and still challenging RTS. I particularly like the campaign and conquer mode. Its very addictive.

[Final Fantasy Tactics] (PSP) – Fantastic time killer for long flights or train rides and a classic tactical game. Pretty difficult at times.

[Gran Turismo PSP] (PSP) – Actually A pretty good car game on the PSP. It reminds me of the PS2 version. Need to play it more before giving a full review but the lack of a career mode is a bit disappointing.

Books:

[The Daily Coyote] – (Shreve Stockton) – One of the few books I have read recently that isn’t a Graphic Novel although it does have some amazing pictures. A great story from an ex city lady living in Wyoming and bringing up a Coyote pup. I could relate to this book on many levels. Very enjoyable. [ISBN-10 1-4165-9218-0]

Video:

[Ali G Show Season 1 Episode 1 to 6 and extras - PSP UMD] – Not as funny as the English version of the show but it does have some seriously funny moments.

Sunday 1st November 2009
DVD/Bluray:

[Run Fat Boy Run - DVD] –  Not as funny as “Hot Fuzz” or “Shaun of the Dead” but a lighthearted romp. I enjoyed it.

Music:

[Pearl Jam Greatest Hits] – (Pearl Jam) – A pretty good selection from one of my favorite bands. This band has some fantastic guitar and vocals.

[Triptych] – (The Bevis Frond) – Incredible prog rock album recorded by some bloke in his living room. Great songs and absolutely fantastic guitar playing. Pretty folky vocals and distinctly British. A very raw sound but wonderful with it.

[Steve Hacket Live at Nearfest] – (Steve Hacket) – Good concert with some of his best Genesis bits arranged into interesting melodies. There are also some elevator music type sections with some frankly awful saxophone solos.

[Hidria Spacefolk - EP] – Kind of a Spacey Hawkwindy type band but nowhere near as heavy. They have some good moments but generally speaking their live stuff is much better.

Podcasts :

[KEXP live Performances Podcast - School of Seven Bells] – Stripped down to acoustic guitars and keyboard, Ben Curtis’ (ex-Secret Machines) School of Seven Bells perform a luminous set of songs featuring the preternaturally euphonious vocal harmonies of twin sisters Claudia and Alejandra Deheza. Recorded on 11/25/08 – 4 songs: Wired for Light, Caldo, White Elephant Coat, My Cabal. Dreamy female vocal and lush acoustics. Sort of remind me of a less dancey Stereolab.

[KEXP live Performances Podcast - The Mighty Underdogs] – Don’t let the name fool you, The Mighty Underdogs are hip-hop heavyweights: Gift Of Gab and Lateef The Truth Speaker on rhymes, and Headnodic on beats. The debut “Droppin’ Science Fiction” is a diverse, confident, and fun take on grown folks hip-hop. Gab and Lateef stop by KEXP with DJ Zeph for a real nice live set. Recorded on 11/17/08 – 4 songs: Monster, Gun Fight, Want You Back, UFC Remix. I really enjoyed the first two tracks as they were fresh and different. I didn’t like the second hackneyed Hip Hop tracks at all.  A mixed bag really.

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] – The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Around the Net] – This is still one of the best and funniest podcasts out there.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 9-9-2009] – X-Play’s Adam Sessler takes a look at The Beatles: Rock Band and how the game stands up to the legacy of the music.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 9-16-2009] – Adam explains why he thinks final boss battles are often anticlimactic, and asks for your help to come up with ideas on how to improve them.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 9-23-2009] – Adam discusses the new game Halo 3: ODST and if it has the same “Halo Effect” as other games in the franchise

[Sesslers Soapbox - 9-30-2009] – Adam sits down to explain why he gave Uncharted 2 such a glowing review and why it is the must play game on PS3 this year.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 10-07-2009] – Adam Sessler explains why Zombies are an important part of American culture.

[Sesslers Soapbox - 10-14-2009] – G4 Editor in Chief Adam Sessler dissects the art of storytelling in video games, where it’s been and where it’s going.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #241] – Iron Man Omnibus Volume 2; Diamond Spring 2010 Catalog; New Releases of the Week; Spooky Halloween - Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer; 27m 52s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #242] – Dark Horse Horror Archives in February 2010; New Releases of the Week; The Inhumans Collected Editions including Marvel Masterworks and War Of Kings; 28m 55s

Books:

*Reading [Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Darick Robertson, Tom Mandrake, Cam Kennedy, John McCrea, Dougie Braithwaite, Joe Quesada,) – (ISBN-10: 0785133836)

Sunday 25th October 2009
Books:

[Dead@17: Ultimate Edition (Paperback)] – (Josh Howard) – I was Initially put off by the cartoony Anime style graphics but scratch through the glossy exterior and a great book lies underneath. It’s the usual tale of good vs evil, heaven vs Hell with some Zombies thrown in for good measure. I read this pretty long book in one sitting which Is a good indication of how hard it was to put down. This volume collects the entire DEAD@17 saga: DEAD@17, DEAD@17: Blood of Saints, DEAD@17: Revolution, and DEAD@17: The 13th Brother. Nice Bonus artwork Too.{ISBN-10: 1607060906)

*Reading [Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Darick Robertson, Tom Mandrake, Cam Kennedy, John McCrea, Dougie Braithwaite, Joe Quesada,) – (ISBN-10: 0785133836)

DVD/BluRay:

[Two Ronnies Series 3 Episodes 1 to 3] – Classic British Entertainment with two of Britain’s Most Talented Comedians. The script writers also included some of Britains best including many of the Monty Python Team. Some of the musical acts now seem very dated but the comedy is timeless. This series doesn’t have a themed play.

[Touch Of Frost Season 10 Episodes 1 to 3] – Even by season 10 Frost hasn’t lost its charm. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these three 1.5 hour episodes on consecutive nights.

Music:

[Blinding Darkness - Live] – (Pallas) – A great double live Prog Rock CD spanning their whole career. An enjoyable listen but on the first few listens I found the mix a to be a bit too much “in your face” and cluttered. I don’t really notice this anymore. The excellent solo guitar work is sometimes fighting to be heard but the magic is still there. The alternative mix of the Atlantis suite is growing on me but I still prefer the original.

[Rage Against The Machine] – (Rage Against The Machine) – Fantastic melting pot of Rap and heavy rock. Amazing aggression and energy and fantastic musicianship. Hard to pick any one track that really stands out but I suppose “Killing In The Name Of” is my favorite.

[Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots ] – (The Flaming Lips) – A strange yet enjoyable CD with some great electronic sounds. The version I have has some alternative mixes which are even better than the originals.

[Private Life : The Compass Point Sessions] – (Grace Jones) – Superb Double album with some of the best sounding music you will ever here. The production on some of the tracks is so amazing that it will make the cheapest of HI FI systems sound amazing. Although I am not a huge fan of everything on the Album I thin “Private Life”, “Love is the Drug”, “Pull Up to the bumper”, “Walking In The Rain”, “I’ve seen That face before” and “Slave to the Rhythm” are excellent.

[The Best Of Diamond Head] – (Diamond Head) – Its got some of the classic tracks on it but its not a patch on “Anthology”. Leaves me strangely cold.

[Derek and Clive Ad Nauseam] – Totally and utterly offensive and shocking…I love it. Classic pairing of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore present their R rated stuff. I challenge anyone to not find at least one part of the CD a real shocker.

[The Prospective Before Us] – (The Albion Dance Band) – Some of the Albion’s best stuff. A great mixture of catchy British folk with a rock twist and some great Old stuff (I mean really old as in Medieval). My favorite Albion Dance Band CD.

[Moon Safari] – (Air) – Dreamy smooth and relaxed electronica with a good beat. All I need is the best track and it features some superb analog Synth sounds.

[The Sophtware Slump] – (Grandaddy) – A good Indy soft rock album with more than its fair share of strange tunes, strange lyrics and weird sounds (Sounds like that thing Rolph Harris used to sell). First half is better than the second and the standout track is Hewlets Daughter.

Podcasts:

[KEXP live Performances Podcast - School of Seven Bells]- Stripped down to acoustic guitars and keyboard, Ben Curtis’ (ex-Secret Machines) School of Seven Bells perform a luminous set of songs featuring the preternaturally euphonious vocal harmonies of twin sisters Claudia and Alejandra Deheza. Recorded on 11/25/08 – 4 songs: Wired for Light, Caldo, White Elephant Coat, My Cabal. Dreamy female vocal and lush acoustics. Sort of remind me of a less dancey Stereolab.

[KEXP live Performances Podcast - Passion Pit] – Boston’s Michael Angelakos started Passion Pit as a private Valentine’s Day present to his girlfriend, but luckily for us he’s teamed up with friends to create a real band. They bring their electro-pop love letters with Italo-disco synths and impossibly high vocals to KEXP for a live set. Recorded on 10/28/08 – 4 songs: Better Things, I’ve Got Your Number, Live To Tell The Tale, Sleepyhead. An enjoyable but unfortunately short set. I liked the retro keyboard sounds.

[KEXP live Performances Podcast - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds] – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performing four songs from their latest album during an exclusive session for KEXP. Recorded 9/24/08 – 4 songs: Moonland, “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!”, Jesus Of The Moon, Midnight Man. A great Session and I think Nick warrants further investigation [KEXP live Performances Podcast - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds] – French singer Yelle plays warm, dreamy acoustic pop songs, live at KEXP. Recorded 10/27/08. 2 songs – Ce Jeu, Je Veux Te Voir. Not a bad session but a bit of a creepy interviewer.

[KEXP live Performances Podcast - Deerhoof] – San Francisco noise-pop experimentalists Deerhoof play an exclusive set for KEXP at CMJ live from Gibson Studios in New York. Recorded on 10/20/08 – 4 songs: Blue Cash, The Tears and Music of Love, Fresh Born, Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back. Bizzarely disorganized session that took a while to get going but it was interesting non the less. Vocal mikes seemed to be turned off.

[Ricky Gervais Podacast - 9/20/2009] – Karl Pilkington gives Ricky his thoughts on This Side Of The Truth which is in cinemas Friday 2 October. As always it is Carl who is the true star here. His veiw of life is so funny.

[Ricky Gervais Podacast - 10/5/2009] – [Ricky Gervais Podacast] – Ricky, as guest editor for Esquire magazine, has roped Karl in to help. Carl is funny as usual is his usual stupid kind of way.

 
18th October 2009
Books/ Graphic Novels:

*Reading* [Punisher by Garth Ennis Omnibus - Hardcover] – ISBN-10: 0785133836

DVD/Bluray :

[Touch of Frost - Season 9.0 - Mistaken Identity] – Another classic 2 part Frost episode with all the ingredients that make this program so enjoyable to watch. Great!

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #238] – Thoughts and some news and notes concerning a few upcoming collected editions Dreadstar: The Beginning, The Creeper, The Newsboy Legion, Superboy: The Greatest Team-Ups Ever Told, Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Vol. 8, Essential X-Factor Vol. 3, Thor: Tales Of Asgard and more; 31m 44s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #239] – LitGraphic; Titanium Rain; Shazam Monster Society of Evil Cancelled; New Releases of the Week; When Trades Collide! The Hunter and Batman Ego And Other Tales, Selina’s Big Score; 20m 55s

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #240] – 10 Years of CCL; Retailer Summit, Wednesday Comics HC, Blackest Night HC; New Releases of the Week; A hard look at the DC Comics Classics Library; 28m 34s

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 9/14/2009] – Jonathan remembers the eighties with original girl group Bananarama and talks to one of the men behind top satirical shows The Thick of It and In The Loop, writer, Armando Iannucci. Funny as usual.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 9/21/2009] – Jonathan is joined by the Lord of the Mince, Julian Clary, plus actors Colin Morgan and Bradley James talk about life as Merlin and Arthur. Another Great show.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 9/28/2009] – Jonathan chats to actor John Simm about being Dr Who’s Master and how it can affect life on the West End stage and Jonathan has some advice for comedian Stewart Lee to help him stand out from his many look-a-likes. Definitely worth a listen.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 10/3/2009] – Jonathan talks to comedian Ross Noble about personal hygiene, kangaroos and his motorcycle trip around Australia while actress Romola Garai tells him what went on behind the scenes of BBC One’s new drama Emma.Definitely worth a listen.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast 10/11/2009] – Jonathan talks weird science with Discovery Channel ‘mythbuster’ Adam Savage and actress Jaime Winstone talks about taking on her first ever stage role. Excellent podcast.

[Sesslers Soapbox 10/23/2009] – Adam discusses the new game Halo 3: ODST and if it has the same “Halo Effect” as other games in the franchise. Still my favorite games journalist.

Music:

[Levitation] – (Hawkwind) – Absolutely classic Hawkwind album featuring “Levitation”, “Motorway City” and the epic “Fith Second of forever – Dust of Time” track. Amazing stuff.

[Live at the Academy Vol 1 and 2] (The Chameleons) – A classic live album from of this very “Manchester” sounding indy band. Great choice of tracks and the atmosphere of the live performance really comes across. Has some guest spots from original band members too. Great Album.

[Blinding Darkness - Live] – (Pallas) – A great double live Prog Rock CD spanning their whole career. An enjoyable listen but on the first few listens I found the mix a to be a bit too much “in your face” and cluttered. I don’t really notice this anymore. The excellent solo guitar work is sometimes fighting to be heard but the magic is still there. The alternative mix of the Atlantis suite is growing on me but I still prefer the original.

[Window to the Soul] – (GPS) – A Good prog rock album from former members of Asia and SpocksBeard. Title track is the gem of this CD. There are some amazing Guitar and Keyboard solos on this album. I am not so sure about the religious theme but a great album none the less.

[The River Sessions Volume 1] – (Pallas) – Excellent Live album full of early Pallas stuff. A treat for Pallas fans and a great selection of tracks. Raw and wonderful.

[The River Sessions 2] – (Pallas) – A pretty raw concert with no hint of studio overdubbing. There is a bit of a shaky start (especially the drumming) to a great version of Shock Treatment to start things off which is followed up by a very Genesis like Crown of thorns. I didn’t recognise Dinosaur or Sanctuary but they are both good tracks.

[Government Comissions: BBC Sessions 1996 - 2003] – Absolutely fantastic stuff for Mogwai fans. It Manages to improve on the studio versions in oh so many many ways and the sound is gorgeous.

THE MYSPACE BLOG ENDED HERE AND I MOVED ONTO WORDPRESS
Sunday 11th October 2009
Week Beginning 5th October 2009:
 
Music:
 
[Project 42] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm 

[Window to the Soul] - (GPS) - A Good prog rock album from former members of Asia and SpocksBeard. Title track is the gem.
 
[Madonna's Greatest Hits] - (Madonna) - I am not a big Madonna fan but she did do some cracking tunes.
 
Movies:
 
[Zombie Land] - A funny and gory Zombie spoof. 
 
Podcasts:
 
[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Of Montreal] - Kevin Barnes (or "Georgie Fruit" in this case) and the cast of Of Montreal treats the KEXP airwaves to acoustic versions of the tracks from their funky glam-pop opus "Skeletal Lamping." Recorded on 11/19/08 - 5 songs: Beware Our Nubile Miscreants, "Triphallus, To Punctuate!", Touched Something's Hollow, An Eluardian Instance, For Our Elegant Caste. I Really enjoyed This Podcast and the acoustic mixes were a refreshing change. The interviewer is terrible though and its best to fast forward past these sections.

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Lykke Li] - Swedish singer Lykke Li performs an affecting set of some of her most popular songs for KEXP at CMJ 2008. Recorded live at Gibson Showroom on 10/21/08 - 4 songs: Dance Dance Dance, I'm Good I'm Gone, Little Bit, Tonight. Pretty good podcast with some interesting arrangements. Certainly a fresh sound but the Interview portion is a bit hard work to listen too.

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Mahjongg] - Chicago electro-tribal experimentalists Mahjongg raid Engine Room Studio in this exclusive live performance on KEXP. Recorded on 7/16/08 - 4 songs: Tell the Police the Truth, Whoop, Those Birds Are Bats, Trilogy. Seriously wacky garage style electro stuff. I really liked "Tell the Police" but the other stuff didn't do so much for me.

[News Quiz 02/06/2009] - Sandi Toksvig presents the satirical panel show, with guests Jeremy Hardy, Phill Jupitus, Chris Addison and Andy Hamilton. Apparently there has been some cold weather this week. If you've missed that story, the team can tell you everything you need to know. Good stuff.
 
[News Quiz 02/13/2009] - Bankers, Big Horses and Charity Shops on the skids. Sandi Toksvig and guests dissect the week's headlines.  With Andy Hamilton, Dave Gorman, Jeremy Hardy and Francis Wheen. A particularily funny episode.

[News Quiz 02/20/2009] - Cricket and Kissing.  Sandi Toksvig takes a look at the week's news with guests Jeremy Hardy, Fred Macaulay, Mark Steel and Shappi Khorsandi. A bit Flat in this episode.
 
[Jonathon Ross Podcast - 9/14/2009] - Jonathan remembers the eighties with original girl group Bananarama and talks to one of the men behind top satirical shows The Thick of It and In The Loop, writer, Armando Iannucci. Great podcast.
 
[Collected Comics Library Podcast #235]  -  Dark Shadows and Hermes Press; Silver Surfer Requiem; ElfQuest Archives; 2009 Summer Movie and Collected Editions Tie-In Retrospective; 27m 55s.
 
[Collected Comics Library Podcast #237] - Interview with Brian Fies author of Mom's Cancer and Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? (Abrams); 57m 12s.

Games:
 
[Jungle Jewels - PC] - A Facebook Puzzle Game. Very Addictive
 
[Bejewelled Blitz - PC] - A very addictive facebook puzzle game.
 
[Warhammer 40,000 Dark Crusade - PC] - One of the best RTS series although this expansion seems pretty hard to me.
Sunday 4th October 2009
Week Beginning 28th September 2009:
 
DVD/BluRay/HD
 
[Touch Of Frost – Series 8 – Benefit of the Doubt - DVD] – David Jason is fantastic in this quirky detective series. Another great episode with many twists and turns. Yet another Classic two parter.
 
[Qi the C series - Series 3 - Episodes 1 to 3] - An enjoyable show hosted by Stephen Fry. Some clever and witty guests and educational too (well sort of). 
 
Podcasts:
 
[News Quiz 01/09/2009] - Sandi Toksvig returns with the satirical panel show. This week's eminent guest panellists are Clive Anderson, Jeremy Hardy, Laurence Howarth, and Phill Jupitus. The reader is Harriet Cass. A funny show.

[News Quiz 01/23/2009] - Sandi Toksvig presents The News Quiz - your satirical look at all things news, with guests this week Fred Macaulay, Andy Hamilton, Jeremy Hardy and Danielle Ward. A funny show.
 
[News Quiz 01/30/2009] -Bringing you a satirical take on the week's news with the cream of UK comedy talent from BBC Radio 4.  Currently offering the News Quiz.
 
Music:
 
[Blinding Darkness - Live] - (Pallas) - A great double live CD spanning their whole career. An enjoyable listen but I find the mix a bit too much "in your face" and cluttered. The excellent guitar work is often fighting to be heard. Its the sort of CD you have to sit down and concentrate on rather than have it playing in the car although I do play it in the car a lot  :-)
 
[Slade B Sides and Rareties] - (Slade) - Some real gems on this Album such as "One Way Hotel" and "Wondering Why" and a Quite a few forgettable tracks. A good listen for Slade fans.
 
[Marbles Live] - (Marillion) - A great live album with some great twiddly bits.
 
[Project 42] -
http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Books:

[Essex County] - The art style in this book is simple black and white drawings with an artful layout and presentation. This book isn't about saving the world, or superheroes it is just about living and growing up in Canada. Strangely compelling book that grabs hold of you and wont let go. I cant figure out why exactly but this book really moved me. Excellent effort and nothing like any of the other books in my Graphic novel collection.
 
*Reading* - [Lost Girls Hardcover Edition - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie) - [ISBN-13: 978-1603090445]
Sunday 20th September 2009
Week Beginning 14th September 2009:
 
DVD/UMD/Bluray:
 
[Touch Of Frost – Series 6 Episode 4 – Keys to the Car - DVD] – David Jason is fantastic in this quirky detective series. Another great episode with many twists and turns. Frost has to contend with the “Witch In The Wardrobe” whilst “Horn Rimmed Harry” is on a golfing vacation.
 
Books:
 
[Essex County] - The art style in this book is simple black and white drawings with an artful layout and presentation. This book isn't about saving the world, or superheroes it is just about living and growing up in Canada. Strangely compelling book that grabs hold of you and wont let go. I cant figure out why exactly but this book really moved me. Excellent effort and nothing like any of the other books in my Graphic novel collection.
 
*Reading* - [Lost Girls Hardcover Edition] - (Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie) - [ISBN-13: 978-1603090445]
 
Podcasts:
 
[Jonathon Ross Podcast 9/7/2009] - Jonathan is back from his summer break and joined by John Barrowman who's hanging up his Captain Jack boots and putting on stilettos, plus comedian Shappi Khorsandi has some thoughts on how to be English. I had no idea how camp John Barrowman was.
 
[Now Show 05 Dec 2008] - Grooming the Mole. The Now Show team investigate leaks from the House of Commons and worry about the Queen undertaking too many writing commitments, what with her big Christmas gig being just a few weeks away. Mitch updates us on Knut the polar bear, Jon has a disproportionately large grumble about complaints and Marcus picks his Porcelain Hedgehog of the Year. Starring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Marcus Brigstocke and Jon Holmes. Produced by Colin Anderson. Moderately Funny BBC radio 4 comedy.
 
[Now Show 12 Dec 2008] - Not Only Saved The World. Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis believe the children are the future, but everyone else wants them to get more exercise, steer clear of fast food and tobacco and be taught fewer subjects in school. Still, so long as Gordon Brown's already saved the world. Jon takes a look at what went wrong with the Large Hadron Collider, Laura inhales too much Helium, Marcus is worried about the climate and there are songs about cars, Coldplay and that Gordon Brown clanger from Mitch. Starring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Marcus Brigstocke and Jon Holmes. Produced by Colin Anderson. Moderately Funny BBC radio 4 comedy.
 
[Now Show 19 Dec 2008] - Bungling Bungle-Monger. In a particularly silly show the team get sidetracked from maths and corruption when they hit upon tabloid use of the word "bungle". Mitch identifies the group he expects will be most affected by the expected closure of Woolies and makes an urgent appeal for listeners to defy the X-Factor Christmas release. Meanwhile Jon doesn't think the police should be encouraging drunk people to blow bubbles and special guest Holly Walsh serves up some top tips for a credit crunch Christmas. Starring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Jon Holmes and Holly Walsh. Produced by Colin Anderson. Actually getting funnier as the series goes on.
 
[Now Show 2 Jan 2009] - What lessons can be learned from 2008, as we head into 2009? Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis take a look back at some of the best bits of The Now Show from the last year, with Mitch Benn, Marcus Brigstocke, Jon Holmes and Laura Shavin. Not bad.
 
[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.
 
Music:
 
[Warszawa} - (Porcupine Tree] - A fantastic live album that has many of my favourite songs. Great production.
 
[Live in Denmark 1972] - (Deep Purple) - Classic Deep Purple from their heyday just prior to the release of Machine head. Plenty of jamming on most of the tracks and Ritchie and Jon Lord were on great form. Gillans vocals are pretty good but his screaming grates a bit.
 
[The incident - Special edition] - (Porcupine Tree) - New Album is pretty good on the first couple of listens. "Time Flies" is probably my favourite track on the album. Two extra live bonus tracks are really good.
 
[Blackfield II] - (Blackfield) - A good second album from Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson side project. Blackfield are a lot more AOR than Prog Rock and I have heard of them referred to as "Porcupine Tree Light". There are some great tunes on this CD and wonderful production that is a real treat for the ears on a high end sound system. "Epidemic" is my favorite track on the album closed followed by "End of the World". Both these tracks sound even better Live and I have fond memories of the San Francisco gig.
 
Live Music:
 
I fought my way through the drug dealers, crack addicts and pimps to get to the Warfield. Its a great venue but not in a nice area, especially after dark. I managed to get pretty near the front and it was warm and clammy  but people were generally well behaved (no mosh pit here).
 
The support act was just plain strange. He was OK for 10 minutes or so but a bit much for 1/2 hour. He was funny and his facial expressions a treat but music didnt do much for me.
 
Porcupine Tree sounded great and the new album went down pretty good live. I have been listening to it a lot this week so the tracks were familiar especially the extended version of Time flies which really hit the spot. I thought Wesley was on particularily good form.
 
After a 10 minute break they did a set of the older stuff but managed to avoid playing any of my all time favorites. This second set went down much better with the audience and they were pretty heavy. I really enjoyed this set with the exception of the track before the encore which I didnt recognize. Nice session for the encore and they finished with Trains which was a real crowd favorite.
 
Not the best Porcupine Tree gig I have been to but still very good. Porcupine tree have evolved into a heavier band  but I miss stuff like "Smart Kid". "Shes Moved On", "Russia on Ice" etc
Sunday 13th September 2009

DVD/UMD/Bluray:


[Touch Of Frost – Series 6 Episode 3 – Private Lives - DVD] – David Jason is fantastic in this quirky detective series. Another great episode with many twists and turns.


[Minder Series 1 - Episodes 10 & 11] – Classic minder before it all got a bit silly. George Cole is really good as Arthur Daley in the earlier series and Dennis Waterman is cheery and witty as the ex boxer con Terry. In later series all Terry did was moan and whine and Arthur was a little less believable. Great stuff.


[Family Guy Season 3 – Episode 1,2,3,4,5] – Great and controversial comedy series. I like Stewie and Brian the best.

 

Games:


[Fallout 3] – (PS3) – When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate and confusing.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50’s soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it. I am starting to get the hang of the Quests but still spend most my time wandering the wasteland killing stuff and looking for ammo and stimpacks. Its a pretty hard game and draining at times. Oh for a bit of sunshine and color :-)


Movies:


[Inglorious Basterds] – I really enjoyed this movie. It was like a cross between a Spaghetti western and the dirty Dozen but with a Tarrantino twist. The movie was very violent but the great characters and witty dialog made it feel pretty light hearted. Although the movie was nearly 2.5 hours long it really didn’t feel it. I thought it felt a bit slow in places but this is a minor criticism. Ranks amongst his best works along with “Kill Bill” and “Pulp Fiction”. Brad Pitt was excellent , especially his Italian accent :)   

 

Music:

 

[Judgment] - (Anathema) - Excellent kind of laid back Prog Rock album with some amazing guitar and catchy tunes. "Deep" and "Emotional Winter"

in particular are standout prog rock ballads.

 

[Resonance] - (Anathema) - A somewhat folky pastoral record that is quite different to their other stuff. Some of the female vocal tracks sound particularly out of character. Tracks 5,6 and 7 are the closest to their normal stuff but still more ballod than rock based. The live bootleg track "Angelica" is a great track but it sounds like someone recorded it on a cell phone.

 

[Resonance 2] - (Anathema) - Doom and Gloom Death Metal album that isn't amongst their best work but it does get a better as the album progresses. More Like Isis and Opeth than their later stuff. Amazing contrast from "Resonance". Musically it is fine but the vocals are a bit of a turnoff at times. They have a Roy Harper cover ! Best track on the album is "Fragile Dreams" which is cracking. Empty is pretty good too.

 

Podcasts: 

 

[Sessler's Soapbox - 7/22/2009] - Adam explains why he thinks that a console lacking backwards compatibility is not only acceptable, but possibly good for the gaming industry. I disagree with Adam on this as Video game hardware is not the most reliable of creatures. I would like to be still able to play old games in the future.

 

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast.

I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

 

[Around The Net] - Funny videos from around the net with Kevin and the oh so cute Olivia amongst other funny presenters. Probably one of the best free Video podcasts out there. Risky humor makes it fun. How far will they push it.

 

[Roy Harper Podcast #26] - This month there was an archive interview with Roy Harper from 1994, conducted by David Burnham. There was also the A-Z of Harper ('Y' this month), listener feedback, and plenty of music. The interview on this show was fantastic and it was the best show in a long while. It was also announced that the show will no longer be monthly :(


[Collected Comics Library Podcast #235] - Contents of Essential Sub-Mariner Volume 1; Review of Dilbert 2.0 :20 Years Of Dilbert by Scott Adams (Andrews McMeel); The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.


[Now Show 28-Nov-08] - Arrr for Recession. The Now Show team return with talk of the Credit Crunch, the leaking of a BNP membership list, a range of broadcasting controversies, and a discussion of Somali piracy descends into the inevitable range of silly comedy voices. Meanwhile, Marcus takes on the "Moral Minority", and Jon embraces the new Guns n' Roses album. Starring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Marcus Brigstocke and Jon Holmes. Produced by Colin Anderson. A moderately funny program.


[The Pleasure Principle] – (Gary Numan) – “Cars” is the standout track on this album but there are some other pretty good tracks too. The more I relisten to it the better they sound. I particularly enjoyed the sounds of the retro synths although they weren’t retro at the time.


Books:

 

[Queen and Country – Volume 1 - Definitive Edition] – (Greg Rucka, Steve Rolston, Brian Hurtt, Leandro Fernandez)) – I must have picked up this book about twenty times with a view to buying it but was always put off by the simplistic black and white art style. In the end I decided to take a risk and bought it anyways. The art really is very simplistic and comic like but the stories themselves are actually very good. Queen and country is about a British secret service agency (SIS) that often operates outside the law. In particular it concentrates on the three minders that form the SIS’s elite squad. It’s classic espionage stuff with some nice twists and modern day themes. I enjoyed this first volume comprising of “Operation Broken Ground”, “Operation Morning Star” and “”Operation Crystal Ball” but I am not sure I liked it enough to buy any further volumes. The artwork really is a bit of a turnoff. [ISBN – 978-1-932664-87-4]


*Reading* - [Lost Girls Hardcover Edition] - (Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie) - [ISBN-13: 978-1603090445]


*Reading* - [The Complete Essex County Hardcover Edition] – (Jeff Lemire) – [ISBN-13: 978-1603090469]
Sunday 6th September 2009

Week Beginning 31st August 2009:

DVD/UMD/Bluray:

 

[Goodnight Sweetheart - Series 2 - Episodes 1 to 10 - DVD] - Nicholas Lyndhurst stars in this intriguing and light hearted comedy series about a TV repairman married to an overpowering woman who manages to find his way back to the 1940's. He finds a new Sweetheart back in 1940 and the series plays around with the ideas of time travel, morality and trying to keep 2 relationships going. It has some genuinely funny moments and is an easy watch. I enjoyed it and I think they did a particularly good Job of recreating 1940's London (must have eaten up the budget Quite a bit). His wife in the present is that ghastly actress who was one of the Stars of "Rita, Sue and Bob too" and a Coronation Street regular. His best friend is an ex "Bread" cast member.   Nicholas Lyndhurst is still pretty "Rodney" although not such a plonker :-). Series 2 follows on pretty much the same as the first series. Hard to figure out how they will lead into the third season.


[Pushing Daisies Season 2 Episode 13- Bluray] - The final episode of Pushing Daisies brought to a close this excellent TV series. Most of the loose ends were tied up but it felt like it was a little rushed (I don't think they were expecting to be cancelled). The only loose end that was left dangling in the Breeze was the mysterious stranger that rescued the Piemaker and Olive from the cliff top whom we presumed was the Piemaker's father. Perhaps they expected to expand on this story line in Season 3. Sorry to see this end so soon but at least they ended on a high note.


[Touch Of Frost – Series 6 Episode 1 – The Appendix man - DVD] – David Jason is fantastic in this quirky detective series. Another great episode.


[Touch Of Frost – Series 6 Episode 2 – One Mans Meat -DVD] – David Jason is fantastic in this quirky detective series. Another great episode.


[Camblewick Green – Episodes 1 to 4 - DVD] – Childhood memories :)

 

[Minder Series 1 - Episodes 8 and 9] – Classic minder before it all got a bit silly. George Cole is really good as Arthur Daley in the earlier series and Dennis Waterman is cheery and witty as the ex boxer con Terry. In later series all Terry did was moan and whine and Arthur was a little less believable. Great stuff.


Books:


[Mice Templar Volume 1] - (Michael Avon Oeming, Bryan J.Glass) - Collects Mice Templar #1-6 - As the title of the book suggests, this is a story with mice and a sword and sorcery theme. This deluxe soft cover has excellent paper and  way better than usual set of extras including some very in depth articles. The artwork is well done but lacks a little detail in favor of artistic presentation. This made it a little difficult for me to tell who was who at times. The story was pretty good with some nice plot twists and turns and it had the same sort of serious tone that watership Down used so effectively NOT Disney at all). I have yet to find animal based Graphic Novel that approaches my favorite authors work (William Horwood) but this wasn't bad at all. Very comprehensive set of extras. [ISBN-13: 978-1607061274]

 

[Battler Britton] – (Garth Ennis, Colin Wilson)- Garth Ennis brings back one of the golden age of British war comics with great illustrations by Colin Wilson. The style certainly took me back to my days of reading “Warlord” and “Commando” comics as a kid, although I never read “Battler Britton” when it was popular. I enjoyed the story but I felt that it was a little short for the $20 asking price. [ISBN-13: 978-1-4012-1378-7]

 

*Reading* - [Lost Girls Hardcover Edition - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie) - [ISBN-13: 978-1603090445]

 

Podcasts:

 

[Sesslers Soapbox - 8/26/09] - Adam explains that, like art, game critiques must include works of the past and present in order so the reader has a frame of reference. Serious stuff for a change.


[Jonathon Ross - 29th June 2009]- Jonathan learns some basic measuring techniques from 'Mathmagician' Johnny Ball and singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright talks about his foray into the world of opera.

 

[Jonathon Ross -  5th July 2009] - Jonathan is joined by comedian and writer Danny Wallace who talks about the rights and wrongs of looking up old friends and Myleene Klass is around with some tips on staying young!

 

[Jonathon Ross -  14th July 2009]- Jonathan is joined by Avenger and Bond girl, Honor Blackman, plus Oasis frontman, Noel Gallagher gives us an insight into the life behind the rock and roll star

 

[Jonathon Ross -  20th July 2009] - Jonathan is joined by one of the country's best known artists and creator of the Sgt Peppers album cover, Sir Peter Blake, plus comedian Jason Manford has some thoughts on bringing up twins!

 

[Jonathan Ross - 24th July 2009] - Jonathon discusses the curse of good looks with fellow hearthrob and Hollywood actor, Ethan Hawke, and Charlie Brooker talks about what "You Have Been Watching".

 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #234] - Interview with Terry Moore, Strangers In Paradise Omnibus (Abstract Studios). THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.


Music:

 

[Jeff Beck Greatest Hits] - (Jeff Beck) - I have never really listened to any of Jeff Beck's work with the exception of "Hi Ho Silver Lining" but after reading good things about him in a guitar mag I decided to check him out. He is obviously a excellent guitarist but this greatest hits collection did nothing for me. Some of the instrumental stuff had a very "elevator music" feel to me. It was interesting to hear the original version of "Shapes of Things" as I had previously only heard Gary Moore's version. I much prefer Gary's rendition.


[Thunder and Lightning] - (Thin Lizzy) - Although this album did not achieve critical acclaim it is my favourite Lizzy studio album and the live album supporting it "Life" is my favorite Lizzy live album. It has some fantastic tracks from the pounding "Thunder and Lightning" and "Cold Sweat" to the melodic "Sun Goes Down" and "This is The one". Phil's final effort was a testement to his immense talents.

 

[The River Sessions Volume 1] - (Pallas) - Excellent Live album full of early Pallas stuff. A treat for Pallas fans and a great selection of tracks. Raw and wonderfull.

 

[Am I Evil, the Anthology] - (Diamond Head) - Excellent British Metal album from a band that were big in the eighties. Has all the classic tracks especially such classics as "Am I evil" and "Borrowed Time".  Still sounds surprisingly fresh today and I had forgotten how good the guitarwork was.

 

[Elvis 30 Number 1 hits] - (Elvis Presley) - Hail to the king baby.

 

[Live in Cologne 1976] - (Rainbow) - Classic Rainbow line up with Dio and a great choice of songs. Ritchie was on particularily good form for this gig. The version of Mistreated is a match for anything done by Purple. It also has "Stargazer" and "Catch The Rainbow"...nuff said.

 

[The Very Beast of Dio]- (Dio) - I think RJ Dio is one of the best heavy rock vocalists of all time. I particularly enjoyed his stint in Rainbow where I reckon he did some of his best work. This album contains my favorite Dio tracks, Holy Diver, Rainbow In The Dark, Dream Evil and the last in line. I saw him live a few years back and he was still fantastic.


[Brothers in Arms] - (Dire Straits) - I havent listened to this album for over 10 years although I pretty much listened it to death when it was released. I even saw them on the Brothers in arms tour. Some of it sounds very dated now like the first 3 tracks which were by far the most commercial offerings on the album. What did shock me was how good the rest of the album still sounds. The production is amazing. "Latest Trick" is still my favorite track on the album.

Sunday 30th August 2009

Week Beginning 24th August 2009:
 

Live Music:

 

[Bigelf – San Jose] – Felt like I was transported back to the seventies. Huge beards, long hair, velvet hats and two Hammond Organs on stage. Bigelf were a very entertaining act. The mix was a little muddy at times but the energy more than made up for it. I thought I even saw a minimoog on stage. I would probably go see them again.

 

[Zappa Plays Zappa – San Jose] – Incredibly complex and well played Zappa tunes by a super talented bunch of musicians. I am not very familiar with the Zappa back catalogue but that didn’t matter one bit. They were so tight and each member of the band pulled off some storming solos. Would definitely go to see again.


[Dream Theater – San Jose] – Dream Theater were a disappointment for me. They are obviously very talented musicians but the mix was so in your face it was very fatiguing to listen too. After about 4 tracks I had enough and we left before the encore. They definitely seem to be playing to a heavy metal audience these days. I always enjoyed their live efforts on DVD and CD but in person the solos just came across as musical “wan*ing. I would not go see them again.


Podcasts:

 

[XM Weekly Music Podcast #38] - Billy Zero features music from Two Hours Traffic and music from the new release from Cinderpop. Next up is the lush sounds of Saint Bernadette and a track from the latest release from We Are Scientists. Billy just can't get enough of Santogold so we feature another track from the self-titled release. Last up this week is two songs from a band that delivers the rock. They call themselves The Night Marchers. Not a bad selection on this Podcast but only Saint Bernadette warrants any further investigation.

 

[Jonathon Ross - 6th June 2009] - Jonathan is joined by talk show host turned west end star Jerry Springer plus tennis ace Andy Roddick gets some helpful tips to improve his game.

 

[Jonathon Ross - 22nd June 2009]- Jonathan is joined by the current kings of black comedy, the League of Gentlemen's Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith plus actor Con O'Neill talks about piling on the pounds to play Joe Meek in the film Telstar

 

[Jonathon Ross - 13th June 2009]Jonathan Ross takes on Jimmy Carr in a chocolate eating competition and Alice Cooper brings us news of his upcoming UK tour.

 

[Sesslers Soapbox - 7/29/2009] - Adam discusses all the games that have been delayed recently and the many reasons why it's not really such bad news.

 

[Sesslers Soapbox - 8/5/2009]Adam lists the many reasons why he thinks downloadable games are important for the gaming industry and gamers alike.

 

[Sesslers Soapbox - 8/12/2009] - X-Play host Adam Sessler tells gives you his professional opinion on the latest news and gossip in the videogame industry.  Straight-shooter Sessler tells it like it is in this weekly podcast and keeps you informed on the in's and out's of the videogame industry.

 

[Sesslers Soapbox - 8/19/2009] - Adam talks about Sony's reveal of the Slim PS3 and how he thinks this new model and price drop will affect the gaming industry.

 

[Around the Net - Episode 8:19:09] - Bear at Quakecon, Fake Avatar Trailer, Fatal Farm Movie Award Rejects, The Ferret Lady, Demo Reel. This is still one of the best and funniest podcasts out there. The bit with the ferrets was particularly strange.

 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #223] - Collected Comics Library Podcast #233 - Interview with Steve Saffel, editor of The Best of Simon and Kirby (Titan Books) . Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.


Music:

 

[I wanna Tell You Something] - (Saint Bernadette) - A band featuring a Female vocalist with sound that is a mixture of rock and a hint of country. Pretty Good.

 

[Touring The Angel] - (Depeche Mode) - A Pretty good live album even though I am not a big fan.

 

[Coma Divine - Special Edition] - (Porcupine Tree) – This is one of the best Porcupine Tree albums at the peak of their Progressive spacey rock stage. The production is fantastic and it has some superb live versions of tracks such as "Radioactive Toy" and "Waiting". An absolute gem.

 

[Voyage 34] - (Porcupine Tree) - A strange ambient electronic album about LSD by mr Wilson. At least he is up front about it. There are some great guitar parts too (another Brick in the wall springs to mind). This is an enjoyable album in part but probably not for fans of the later Porcupine tree stuff. The first two tracks are interesting musically but parts 3 and 4 are less fun. I find Parts 1 and 2 good tracks to drive to or have on in the background while working.

 

[Heavy Blues]- (Classic Rock Magazine Cover CD) – An impressive lineup on first listen.

 

Books:

 

*Reading* - [Mice Templar Volume 1] - (Michael Avon Oeming , Bryan J.

Glass) - Collects Mice Templar #1-6 - As the title of the book suggests, this is the a story with mice and a sword and sorcery theme. This deluxe soft cover has excellent paper and  way better than usual set of extras including some very in depth articles. The artwork is well done but lacks a little detail in favor of artistic presentation. This made it a little difficult for me to tell who was who at times. The story was pretty good with some nice plot twists and turns and it had the same sort of serious tone that watership Down used so effectively NOT Disney at all). I have yet to find animal based Graphic Novel that approaches my favorite authors work (William Horwood) but this wasn't bad at all. I am still reading the vast array of extras. [ISBN-13: 978-1607061274]

 

*Reading* - [Lost Girls Hardcover Edition - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie)  - [ISBN-13: 978-1603090445]

 

DVD/UMD/Bluray:

 

[Pushing Daisies Series 2 Episodes 10, 11 and 12 - Bluray] – If ever there was a TV series that needed Bluray then this is it. The rich and vibrant color palette simply jumps off the screen. It also reveals that Anna Friel is getting to look a bit rough too. Series 2 Just keeps getting better and the running story lines make watching the episode a very addictive proposition.

Sunday 23rd August 2009

Week Beginning 17th August 2009


Books

 

[Bloody Mary] – (Garth Ennis, Carlos Ezquerra) – Another excellent novel from the class pairing of Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra. The premise of this novel is revenge by an ex special services lady in a war torn Europe where fascists have gone to war with Britain and the USA. It has plenty of blood and violence excellently illustrated by Carlos in his own unique style (has a look of Strontium Dog to it). As usual for Ennis the book has a great dry sense of humor and pokes fun at the establishment. It has great character development across the three stories contained in this TPB and the stories are interesting and compelling. Mary is a great hero (or should that be anti-hero) but my favorite character is “the Major” who is an old world upper class SAS stereotype. My only criticism of this book is that it is printed on toilet paper. Shame Vertigo can’t use better quality paper in their TPB’s especially as it lists for $20 [ISBN-13: 978-1401207250]


Music:


[The Boxing Lesson EP] - (The Boxing Lesson) - A really good E.P. Great vocals and musicianship. They have a Manchester Band sound but with a Texan twist. This EP is a fantastic record and the guitar sounds are an absolute joy to listen too.


[Radiation] - (The Boxing Lesson) - Another great album from the Texan trio. Very atmospheric and interesting arrangements that have more than hint of The Doves. Where The Boxing Lesson score over the Doves is in their wonderful production and amazing guitar mixes. Fantastic layered expressive music that ebbs and flows then swells with some impressive guitar sections. Good vocals too. My Favorite tracks are "Radiation" , The more I listen to this Album the more I like it.


[Wild Streaks and Windy Days] - (The Boxing Lesson) - Much more upbeat than radiation which was a little sombre at times. They seem to be going for a much more commercial and less proggy sound with this album. They remind me of a cross between Doves and Dandy Warhols at times. Track 3 "Lower" is more like the earlier stuff but the rest of the tracks are much more upbeat. Some of the stuff is pretty heavy and angry. "Muerta" and "scoundrel" are my favorite tracks on the album and these are the most proggy. The guitar sounds on this album are fantastic.


[A Natural Disaster] - (Anathema) - A really good Progressive rock album in a similar vein to Porcupine Tree, Pineapple Thief and Riverside.

 

There are definitely some Floyd influences in there too. Wonderful production and a deep and complex soundstage make it a pleasure to listen too. Reccomended.

 

[A Fine Day to Exit] - (Anathema) - A good AOR album but not really proggy like there other stuff. Great production and an enjoyable listen.

 

[Smashing Pumkins Greatest Hits] – This is a Great compilation from this excellent band. Favorite track is "1979"

 

[The Power to Believe] - (King Crimson) - Strange proggy goodness that sounds a lot like their old stuff. A few flashes of brilliance in this mainly instrumental album. This CD is Strangely compelling to listen too.


[Project 42] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

 

DVD/UMD/Bluray:


[Pushing Daisies Series 2 Episodes 8 to 9 - Bluray] – If ever there was a TV series that needed Bluray then this is it. The rich and vibrant color palette simply jumps off the screen. It also reveals that Anna Friel is getting to look a bit rough too. Series 2 Just keeps getting better and the running story lines make watching the episode a very addictive proposition.


Games:

 
[Diablo II – PC] – I was inspired to load this onto my laptop for a blast from the past. It wouldn’t run properly at all in Vista until I applied the patch from the Blizzard website. I was shocked how poor the graphics look today and how poor the control elements are. The hack and slash leveling up rush is still there though and I did enjoy playing it.
Sunday 16th August 2009

Week Beginning 10th Aug 2009

 

DVD/UMD/Bluray:
 

[Moment to Moment] – (Pallas) – An enjoyable live concert from Poland and nice to see what the band looks like today. A good choice of songs spanning their whole career but it feels a little sterile. I found the extras very enjoyable and some of the handcam concert footage really had that raw power I have come to expect from Pallas. The concert seems to be getting better with each watch. I was probably a little harsh with my first thoughts.

[Frames Live - Oceansize - DVD ] - I really like the album "Effloresce"

but I never really got into "Frames". This sort of Live DVD, filmed with the band on their own in an abandoned factory,  hasn't really changed that opinion. There are some good tracks but nothing really special.

Some of it really grates. The video work and sound are great.

 

[Gary Moore & Friends, One Night In Dublin, A tribute to Phil Lynott - DVD] - Good choice of songs and great to see Gary Moore, Brian Robertson, Scott Gorham and Eric Bell playing Lizzy numbers. A pretty good gig with the highlight being the Black Rose.

 

[Pushing Daisies Series 2 Episodes 4 to 7 - Bluray] – If ever there was a TV series that needed Bluray then this is it. The rich and vibrant color palette simply jumps off the screen. It also reveals that Anna Friel is getting to look a bit rough too. Series 2 Just keeps getting better and the running story lines make watching the episode a very addictive proposition.

 

Music:

 

[Project 42] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm


[The Boxing Lesson EP] - (The Boxing Lesson) - A really good E.P. Great vocals and musicianship. Hard to compare them to anyone else but they have a kind of a Manchester Band sound but with a Texan twist.

 

[Retribution Gospel Choir] - (Retribution Gospel Choir) - A dark, and dirty sounding heavy guitar based Indie band with music that is often deeply complex and atonal. Unusual lyrics. Heavily ditorted and rough guitar sounds mixed with delicate lead work. Great stuff and I find it hard to think of a band that sounds similar. The first 6 tracks are very dark and great. The remainding 4 tracks are typical indie stuff with a bit of an Elvis Costello feel and nothing special although the guitar solo on "Kids" is great and reminiscent of Fairport Convention.

 

[Live at Roadburn] - (Earthless) - Track 1 is A 56 minute long Hawkwind/Groundhogs/Led Zeppelin like instrumental only guitar solo. Sounds like it would be horrible but actually its actually rather good if you are in the mood. Track 2 is something similar but less than 40 minutes long. Classic trio of Lead, Bass and Drums from this San Diego band. Definitely not for everyone but they are hugely talented.


Podcasts:

 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #231]  - New IDW Library of American Classics; Criminal Deluxe Edition Update; New Releases of the Week; Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater by Eric P. Nash (Abrams ComicArts); 27m 48s Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.

 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #232] - Fantastic Four Omnibus by Mark Millar and Brian Hitch; Wednesday Comics Collected; New Releases of the Week; Marvel Premiere Classic: Spider-Man: Torment (Variant Volume 27); 25m 46s Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.

 

[Around The Net] - Funny videos from around the net with Kevin and the oh so cute Olivia amongst other funny presenters. Probably one of the best free Video podcasts out there. Risky humor makes it fun.

 

[Roy Harper Podcast - 25th Roy Harper podcast for August 2009] - This month there was part two of an interview with Nigel Mazlyn Jones, conducted by guest interviewer John Cholmondeley. Very enjoyable podcast.

 

[News Quiz 11/21/2008] - Sandi Toksvig hosts the topical panel show with guests this week Francis Wheen, Fred Macaulay, Jeremy Hardy and Andy Hamilton. Worth a listen.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 6/4/2009] - Adam is beyond pleased with E3 2009.

Not only did Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have amazing press conferences with huge revelations, but games like Mass Effect 2 and Heavy Rain are examples of how high the level of quality is this year.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 6/10/2009] - Adam explains why you don't need a degree in computer science or animation to work on video games, and he even suggests ways you could study to help develop your creative story-telling ability.

 

[Sessler's Soapbox - 6/17/2009] - Adam weighs in on the Left 4 Dead 2 internet petition and explains why he thinks Valve is actually doing a good thing by releasing the sequel so quickly.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 6/24/2009] - Adam talks about Scribblenauts; the little Nintendo DS game that surprised and impressed everyone at E3 2009. After all the reviews and awards, Scribblenauts is a shining example of how good games are getting these days.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 7/1/2009] - Adam takes a moment to discuss the gaming possibilities of the iPhone because of its mass appeal and ease of development. I have managed to resist the iPhone bandwagon and this discussion has done nothing to convince me otherwise.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 7/8/2009] - Adam realizes that he's been working in video game television for 11 years, so he tells the story of how he got his first hosting job. This was a very interesting Podcast and I finally found out how it all started for Adam.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 7/15/2009] - With the announcement of the Indie Game Challenge, Adam wanted to explain why he feels independent games are so important.


[Sessler's Soapbox - 7/22/2009] - Adam uses the anniversary of the Lady Chatterley's Lover censorship case to talk about how it applies to video games.


[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast.

I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.


[XM Weekly Music Podcast #37] - This week Billy Zero starts off with the cool sounds of The Vibrants from their three-song EP. Next up is an amazing band called Jacksonknife and you'll hear two tracks from this record. Then Zero features a song from The Black And White Years on Brando Records and a song from The Lodger's release called Life is Sweet. Next is a band called This Is Radio Freedom and a song that could be a hit called "Bombthreat." Last up this week is Retribution Gospel Choir and a song from their self-titled release. "The Lodger" and "This is Radio Freedom" definitely warrant some further investigation but the standout band on this podcast was "Retribution Gospel Choir"


Books:

 

[Brit – Volume 1- Old Soldier] – (Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Cliff Rathburn, Val Staples) - Fans of Robert Kirkham should feel right at home with this Trade paperback as it reads much like his other work. It is a story of an indestructible old age pensioner, his young stripper wife, a corrupt government and his battles to save the world. The TPB contains three Brit story lines all of which are very good. The usual Kirkham whit is prevalent throughout and the artwork is very good although at times it is pretty gory (not as outrageous as Battle Pope). I am not usually a big fan of the superhero stuff but this is just different enough for me to enjoy.[ISBN-13: 978-1582406787]


*Reading* [Bloody Mary] – (Garth Ennis, Carlos Ezquerra) – [ISBN: 1-4012-0725-1]

 

Games:

 

[Diablo II – PC] – I was inspired to load this onto my laptop for a blast from the past. It wouldn’t run properly at all in Vista until I applied the patch from the Blizzard website. I was shocked how poor the graphics look today and how poor the control elements are. The hack and slash leveling up rush is still there though and I did enjoy playing it.

 

[Guitar Hero 3, Legends of Rock –PS3] – I admit I am no Guitar legend as I have to play this game on easy. It’s still a fun game though and this one has some great tunes. 
Sunday 6th August 2009

Week Beginning 2 Aug 2009

Podcasts:

 

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Japandroids] -  A rockin' live set from the spirited duo from Vancouver, B.C. whose minimal garage-pop is as noisy as it is catchy. Japandroids play songs from the debut LP "Post-Nothing" and do a nice cover of Big Black's "Racer X." Recorded on 6/16/2009 - 4 songs: Crazy/Forever, Heart Sweats, Racer X, Young Hearts Spark Fire. Musically I like this band as they have drive and energy and a certain rawness. Vocally I am less convinced but they are still worth a listen if you like your music raw and back to basics.
 

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Steve Earle] Veteran country rocker Steve Earle plays tribute to one of America's late-great songwriters Townes Van Zandt with his covers record "Townes." He stops by KEXP for a candid interview about Mr. Van Zandt and an acoustic live set featuring three songs from the record and "Copperhead Road" one of his own early classics. Recorded on 5/16/2009 - 4 songs: Pancho And Lefty, Brand New Companion, Lungs, Copperhead Road. I was not very Impressed with the stuff from the new record. To be honest the only song I like by Steve Earle is Copperhead Road. The solo version on this session is not too bad.


[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Of Montreal] - Kevin Barnes (or "Georgie Fruit" in this case) and the cast of Of Montreal treats the KEXP airwaves to acoustic versions of the tracks from their funky glam-pop opus "Skeletal Lamping." Recorded on 11/19/08 - 5 songs: Beware Our Nubile Miscreants, "Triphallus, To Punctuate!", Touched Something's Hollow, An Eluardian Instance, For Our Elegant Caste. I Really enjoyed This Podcast and the acoustic mixes were a refreshing change. The interviewer is terrible though and its best to fast forward past these sections.


[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Lykke Li] - Swedish singer Lykke Li performs an affecting set of some of her most popular songs for KEXP at CMJ 2008. Recorded live at Gibson Showroom on 10/21/08 - 4 songs: Dance Dance Dance, I'm Good I'm Gone, Little Bit, Tonight. Pretty good podcast with some interesting arrangements. Certainly a fresh sound but the Interview portion is a bit hard work to listen too.


[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Mahjongg] - Chicago electro-tribal experimentalists Mahjongg raid Engine Room Studio in this exclusive live performance on KEXP. Recorded on 7/16/08 - 4 songs: Tell the Police the Truth, Whoop, Those Birds Are Bats, Trilogy. Seriously wacky garage style electro stuff. I really liked "Tell the Police" but the other stuff didn't do so much for me.


[XM Weekly Podcast #36] - This week Billy Zero features Tres Bien from Florida and a new song from the Dub Pistols latest release. Billy also features a great new band from Texas called The Morning Benders who are on tour with The Kooks in 2008. Next is Gospel Gossip and a song from the self-titled Jim Noir release on Barsuk. Last to be featured this week is a band called Sleepercar and we'll hear two tracks from their release, West Texas. Nothing particularly noteworthy in this weeks show.

 

Music:

 

[Cheat The Gallows] - (Bigelf) - This band have a very seventies sound with strong influences from Early Deep Purple, Zappa, Uriah Heap, Marc Bolan and a bit of glam rock too. Great musicianship with particularily noteworthy Keyboard and Guitar solos. The music can be a bit over dramatic in parts but it is inventive and there are lots of variation within the same song. Good Stuff if you like your Galm Rock with a modern twist.

 

[Hex] - (Bigelf) - A very seventies sounding rock album with some hints of many big bands. I particularily noticed some Sabbath influences on this one. Good Album with great Guitar and Keyboards. I didn't enjoy this album as much as "Cheat the Gallows".

 

[Act III - Life And Death] - (The Dear Hunter) - A record based upon strong vocal harmonies with a little bit of a Queen or Killers feel to it. Pretty Good but I don't think I would class it as prog.


[Still Dangerous] - (Thin Lizzy) - A 1977 concert from Philadelphias live theater that was recently released after remaining Dormant for many years. A fantastic live album with great vocals and pristine double lead guitars. As good as Live and Dangerous. I hope they can find some more stuff like this.

 

DVD/Bluray/UMD:
 

[Snuff Box Series 1 - DVD] - Snuff Box  is a BBC Three sketch show starring and written by Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher with additional material by Nicky Gargano. Both actors use their real names for their main characters. Berry plays a hangman ("High Executioner to the King of England"), and Fulcher his assistant. Both these gentlemen were regulars on the Mighty Boosh. The majority of the program is set in a "gentlemen's club for hangmen", although the show is also interspersed with sequences of sketches, often featuring different characters. This program is definitely way out there in terms of material and it doesn’t surprise me that it wasn’t a great success. I actually enjoyed Snuff Box and found its bizzarre sense of humor to be compelling and the music actually pretty good. Snuff Box is definitely not for everyone but worth a look if you have an open mind. I Really like the theme tune.

 

[Watchmen Directors Cut – Bluray]- A very long (3 hour +) movie based upon the Alan Moore graphic novel illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The sound and picture quality was fantastic and the dynamic range often had me jumping out of my seat. The movie seems to be pretty faithful to the comic and it is violent and gritty. I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book which I thought was very overrated. The movie does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of the locations and the characters. As good a movie as can be expected taking into consideration the source material. I reckon that if you had not read the book you would find the whole thing quite confusing.


[Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic (2009)- Chapters 1 to 3 - DVD] – I got this for $5 from Target so I thought it was worth a try. It’s actually pretty good.

 

Games

 

[Shining Force – Sega Genesis] – A fun and at times frustrating RPG game that is similar to FF tactics. No random battles here but some very long scripted ones. The music drives everyone else in the house mad.

 

[ESWAT – Sega Genesis] – An incredibly difficult and frustrating side scrolling platformer. They don’t make them like this anymore. Fortunately.

 

Books


[Just A Pilgrim - Hardcover] – (Garth Ennis, Carlos Ezquerra) – This is an absolutely stunning graphic novel with some of the best artwork Carlos Ezquerra has ever done. I have always been a big fan of Carlos but much of his work is in black and white. The coloring in this book absolutely brings his work to life.  The story covers the tale of a maniacal Pilgrim on a crusade against evil in a post apocalyptic world. There are two novels within this hardcover and they are both excellent. The extras are stunning too. This book slams into my all time top ten list. [ISBN 1-60690-003-x]

Sunday, Jul 26th, 2009

Week Beginning 19th July
Versus’s excellent live HD coverage of the Tour De France has taken up most of my media time this week. I will be sorry to see the finish.


DVD/Bluray/UMD:
 

[Slade In Flame - DVD] - Excellent movie starring the members of Slade. This movie is a gritty story of an imaginary band and their rise to Fame. It's a warts and all portrayal of the music business and must surely be based on some real experiences of the band members. I really like this movie and its soundtrack. It is a proper movie with a story and subplots unlike some of the similar things done by the Beatles, Monkees etc. It also helps that it has my favorite Slade song.
 

[Goodnight Sweetheart - Series 1 - Episodes 3 to 6 -DVD] - Nicholas Lyndhurst stars in this intriguing and light hearted comedy series about a TV repairman married to an overpowering woman who manages to find his way back to the 1940's. He finds a new Sweetheart back in 1940 and the series plays around with the ideas of time travel, morality and trying to keep 2 relationships going. It has some genuinely funny moments and is an easy watch. I enjoyed it and I think they did a particularly good Job of recreating 1940's London (must have eaten up the budget Quite a bit). His wife in the present is that ghastly actress who was one of the Stars of "Rita, Sue and Bob too" and a Coronation Street regular. His best friend is an ex "Bread" cast member.   Nicholas Lyndhurst is still pretty "Rodney" like although not such a plonker :-)
 

[Robin Of Sherwood - Series One Episode 1 - Robin and The Sorcerer - DVD] - This is an excellent adaptation of the Robin Hood story by HTV.

 

It is far more mystical than anything before it and almost has a Lord of The Rings feel to it. Great actors, Characterization and music by Clannad. It has stood the test of time very well and remains a favorite of mine to this day.
 

[Kung Fu - Series 1 Episodes 1, 2 and 3 - DVD] - A great TV series exploring the mysteries of Shaolin monks and the racial intolerance of the wild west. The DVD release has fantastic picture Quality and is in Widescreen although I know this presentation has upset a lot of people on the internet. It is cropped 4:3 rather than true widescreen. It doesn't bother me at all.  First Episode (Blood Brother) see's Caine fighting for the rights of his murdered friend and the second episode see him befriending an orphaned child and fighting off a bounty hunter. In episode 2 (King of the Mountain) Caine actually has some romantic interest. In Episode 3 (Dark Angel) Caine befriends a slightly dishonest preacher, has a run in with some native Americans and finds his grandfather who is not pleased to see him. Ahead of its time and now 37 years old.
 

Podcasts:
 

[The News Quiz - 11/21/2008] - Sandi Toksvig hosts the topical panel show with guests this week Francis Wheen, Fred Macaulay, Jeremy Hardy and Andy Hamilton. Pretty funny show.
 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #226] - The Harvey Awards Nominees; Howard Chaykin and Dynamite Entertainment; Comics Podcast Companion; New Releases of the Week; The Essential Nova Vol. 1; Running time: 25m 36s Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions. Worth a listen if you are into graphic novels.
 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #227] - IDW and Archie, Starman Omnibus Volume 4; DC Universe: Origins; New Releases of the Week; Sold Collected Editions on eBay; Running time: 24m 34s Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions. Worth a listen if you are into graphic novels.
 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #228] - Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions. Worth a listen if you are into graphic novels.
 

[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Of Montreal] - Kevin Barnes (or "Georgie Fruit" in this case) and the cast of Of Montreal treats the KEXP airwaves to acoustic versions of the tracks from their funky glam-pop opus "Skeletal Lamping." Recorded on 11/19/08 - 5 songs: Beware Our Nubile Miscreants, "Triphallus, To Punctuate!", Touched Something's Hollow, An Eluardian Instance, For Our Elegant Caste. I Really enjoyed This Podcast and the acoustic mixes were a refreshing change.
 

Music:

[Out of Myself] - (Riverside)
- Excellent modern guitar based heavy prog rock. Some fantastic electric guitar work and great vocals too. Hints of Floyd perhaps but songs crashing across all the genres of Prog. Pretty heavy at times and very ambient at others. Great Album.
 

[In the Flesh Live] - (Roger Waters) - A superb live Album with Roger Waters and an amazingly talented group of musicians. The  renditions of the Floyd Back Catalog are easily up to the standards of Floyd Themselves. The rendition of "Dogs" from "Animals" is totally amazing (Play it very Loud). Doyle Bramhall II and Snowy White manage to pull off what I thought was only possible by Gilmour himself. Vocals are really good too. Five Star Album.
 

[The Liberty of Norton Folgate] - (Madness) - Reflecting the Eastern European Invasion of the UK perhaps this has a not all together SKA feel to it. I was very surprised they could pull off as good of an album as this after all these years. Perhaps not up to the greatest hits but more than listenable too. After a few listens it just keeps getting better.
 

[Let It Roll: Songs by George…] – (George Harrison) – This is a pretty good greatest hits by the Talented Beatle. The live version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is the highlight of the album for me.
 

[The Alternative] (IAMX) - Discovered this band through an XM radio podcast. Fantastic 80's style synth sound and driving beats. Chris Corner also has a great voice and the lyrics are both catchy and thought provoking. A bit like a cross between “Dirty Vegas” and “She Wants Revenge”. This one is highly recommended for fans of Electronic Synth Pop.
 

Games:
 

[Shining Force – Sega Genesis] – A classic tactics based RPG. It is very simple to play but also challenging to beat. Good Fun.
 

Books:
 

[The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore) - This book reminds me of annuals I used to read as a child. It has a mixture of Graphic novel sections to narrate the story and some lengthy prose sections to represent the "Black Dossier" itself. Although the book is well written and nicely laid out with different textures of papers and such I did not really enjoy it that much. Some of the semi erotic art work is particularly well done but the prose sections just drag for me. Even the back story just doesn't seem to have any drive or edge to it and the prose sections really disrupt the flow. Some sections are quite enjoyable such as the interplay with Jimmy Bond and the Bertie Wooster story but other sections are incredibly hard work. The “Crazy Wide Forever” story is virtually unreadable. The 3D section looks pretty impressive but does not provide a very satisfying end to the affair. Reading this book has been more of a chore than a pleasure especially when the characters are speaking in strange tongues. [ISBN-13: 978-1401217105]

Sunday, Jul 21st, 2009

Week Beginning 5th July 2009

Watching Daily Coverage of the Tour de France On Vs and a business trip to Alaska ate up a lot of my multimedia time over the last two weeks

Podcasts:

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.
 
[Around The Net] - Funny videos from around the net with Kevin and the oh so cute Olivia amongst other funny presenters. Probably one of the best free Video podcasts out there. Risky humor makes it fun.

[Sesslers Soapbox] - Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.  I look forward to these rants and reviews. He seems to have calmed down a little bit but still makes some very good points.

Music:

[Amnesiac] - (Radiohead) - Radiohead in their second strange Electronic album. It's a good listen although some of the tracks are a bit challengiing. "Knives Out" is the only real standout track.
 
[The Bends] - (Radiohead) - Radio Head hit great form with this Album and it is my runner up favorite Album Next to "OK Computer". Fantastic Tracks such as "Fake Plastic Trees" and "My Iron Lung"

[Pablo Honey] - (Radiohead) - Good Early album that begins to show signs of greatness with the track "Creep"

[Project 42] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

[Greatest Hits : Why Try Harder] - (FatBoy Slim) - Its amazing how many catchy tunes this guy has put out. He spans many Electronic and a couple of not so Electronic genres with up beat and danceable tunes. Good Stuff.
 
DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Let Them Eat Cake Series 1 - DVD] - I was never a big fan of French and Saunders but I really enjoyed this comedy series. "Let Them Eat Cake" is set just prior to the French revolution and has the same sort of over the top comedy made popular in Black Adder. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are inspired and in fine form. Jennifer Saunders was great in "AB Fab" and Dawn French was superb in "The Vicar of Dibley" but together I always felt they missed the mark. This series puts that to rights. 
 
[Goodnight Sweetheart Series 1 : Episodes 1 to 3 - DVD] - An intruiging and light hearted comedy about a TV repairman that finds a way to go back to 1940. Funny and well written series starring "Rodney" from "Only Fools and Horses". The first series does a great Job of establishing the plot.
 
[Saxondale Series 2 - Episodes 4 to 6 and extras] - Enjoyable second series with Steve Coogan. I reckon it is as good as the first series if not better and with some great but uncomfortable moments. Great music they even had a Gillan and Groundhogs track. Saxondale seems to polarize people and although at first I didnt think it was as good as his Alan Partridge stuff I warmed to it as the series progressed. I especially enjoyed the new annoying Neighbor character.
Games:

[Megadrive (Genesis) Collection - PS3] - A great chunk of Sega Nostalgia including nearly 40 games. For some reason it is very light on "Shootemups" but it does include the wonderful "Streets of Rage"
trilogy. There is also an extensive collection of RPG's to keep you occupied. I have been spending most of my time playing the sequel to "Shining In The Darkness" RPG "Shining Force". Primitive graphics but very playable.

Books :

Reading - [The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore). - [ISBN-13: 978-1401217105]

Sunday, Jul 5th, 2009
Week Beginning 28th June

HD coverage of the Tour De France on Versus taking up most of my time. Awesome !

DVD/UMD/Bluray:

[Moment to Moment] – (Pallas) – An enjoyable live concert from Poland and nice to see what the band looks like today. A good choice of songs spanning their whole career but it feels a little sterile. I found the extras very enjoyable and some of the handcam concert footage really had that raw power I have come to expect from Pallas. I think the concert may need a few more watches for me to appreciate.

[The Day to Day – Bonus Disk - DVD] – Generous portions but unfortunately quite a lot of it recycled from the actual series. Enjoyable though.

[Saxondale Series 2 - Episodes 1 to 4] - Enjoyable second series with Steve Coogan. As good as the first series if not better with some great but uncomfortable moments at times. Great music they even had a Gillan and Groundhogs track. Saxondale seems to polarize people and although at first I didnt think it was as good as his Alan Partridge stuff I warmed to it as the series progressed. i enjoyed the new annoying Neighbor character.

[Letters From Iwo Jima - Bluray] - A thought provoking slow paced war movie from a Japanese perspective directed by Clint Eastwood. A good movie.

Music:

[The Alternative] (IAMX) - Discovered this band through an XM radio podcast. Fantastic 80's style synth sound and driving beats. Chris Corner also has a great voice and the lyrics are both catchy and thought provoking. A bit like a cross between “Dirty Vegas” and “She Wants Revenge”. This one is highly recommended for fans of Electronic Synth Pop.

[Arrive Alive] - (Pallas) - Absolutely classic Pallas with standout tracks such as "Arrive Alive" and the "Ripper".  This album has the raw live energy that they seemed to lose on subsequent studio albums. A must for prog rock fans.

[Out of Myself] - (Riverside) - Excellent modern guitar based heavy prog rock. Some fantastic electric guitar work and great vocals too. Hints of Floyd perhaps but songs crashing across all the genres of Prog. Pretty heavy at times and very ambient at others. Great Album.
 
[Voices In My Head] - (Riverside) - A more mellow album than "Out of Myself" but still excellent. Strong hints of Floyd again. Great vocal harmony work on some of the tracks and fantastic guitar work throughout the album. I think the 3 Live Bonus tracks are the real gems are the highlights of this great work.
 
[Second Life Syndrome] - (Riverside) - Another great heavy Prog album from Riverside featuring my favorite track "Volte Face" which is a bit Hawkwindy. This one is a bit heavier than the previous two albums but still has some very Floydy moments. Title track is a real epic and well worth a listen. Classic stuff.

[Rapid Eye Movement] - (Riverside) - Some Porcupine Tree Influence on this one and perhap some Dream Theater. Probably a bit more proggy than the earlier albums. Another great Album. "Ultimate Trip" is probably my fave track.

Podcasts:

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan talks life on The Apprentice with Sir Alan Sugar's right-hand man, Nick Hewer and Lesley Garrett gives us a taste of her current West End show, Carousel. Funny as always. I met Alan Sugar when I was testing one of his PC's many years ago. Strange man and none to friendly I recall.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan gets to chat about one of his favourite subjects with comic book writer Neil Gaiman plus Maureen Lipman tells us about her current role in the west end. Never been a big fan of Gaiman's comic book work. I think the Sandman is hugely overrated.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan talks Eurovision with new host Graham Norton. Alistair McGowan takes us on a tour of his best impressions and opera diva Katherine Jenkins tells us what its like to be on Barbara Streisand's party list!

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan talks weight loss with GMTV host Kate Garraway.  Strictly Come Dancing professionals Darren Bennett & Lilia Kopylova bring a bit of Latin Fever to the show and comedian Neil Mullarkey has some inspirational words.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan gets all the latest nature news from Springwatch host Kate Humble plus, fresh from the West End stage, Hairspray star and friend of the show, Michael Ball.

Books:
 
Reading - [The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore). - [ISBN-13: 978-1401217105

 

Sunday, Jun 28th, 2009
Week Beginning 21st June

Games:


[Killzone 2 - PS3] - Very impressive opening credits and cut scenes that truly show off the PS3's graphical power. In game graphics are pretty good too with a high level of realism. This realism sometimes gets in the way of actually playing the game and at times it feels very cluttered and claustrophobic. I found the controls to be a bit loose and definitely not as good as "Resistance Fall of Man" which I reckon is a better game. The story is OK and the weapons pretty much run of the mill FPS stuff. I found this game to be a real challenge and decided to drop the difficulty level down a notch after playing for a few hours. Because this game has no multiple saves I had to start from the beginning on the new difficulty level and my previous progress was lost. I think this is a crappy solution on a modern game.

When I first started playing I thought the game was very overhyped but the more I played it the more I came to enjoy it. Some Boss level type battles are very frustrating. The final one with Radek took me ages to finish. It was frustrating when he kept teleporting everywhere but eventually I managed to get him (no thanks to Ricoh).

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The Day Today – Series 1 – DVD] – A comedy news program with amongst others Allan Partridge. It isn’t always laugh out loud funny but some of the news is so outrageous you cant help but chuckle. Probably needs a few watches to really get into.

Music:

[Blinding Darkness - Live] - (Pallas) - A great double live CD spanning their whole career. An enjoyable listen but I find the mix a bit too much "in your face" and cluttered. The excellent guitar work is often fighting to be heard. Its the sort of CD you have to sit down and concentrate on rather than have it playing in the car.

[Good Problems] - (Astra Heights) - A very seventies sounding band but with a modern twist. Hints of Roy Wood, Slade, Sweet etc. but not the Glam rock stuff. "The Whole World Changes" and "Never A Reason" are the standout tracks for me. Not a Bad album at all.

[The Boxing Lesson EP] - (The Boxing Lesson) - A really good E.P. Great vocals and musicianship. Hard to compare them to anyone else but they have a kind of a Manchester Band sound but with a Texan twist.

[Arrive Alive] - (Pallas) - Absolutely classic Pallas with standout tracks such as "Arrive Alive" and the "Ripper".  This album has the raw live energy that they seemed to lose on subsequent studio albums. A must for prog rock fans.
 
[In The Absence Of Truth] - (Isis) - I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn't spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band.

[Hometown] - (Francis Dunnery) - A live gig in his hometown and mine with Simon Pegg. The ex "IT Bites" frontman is very talented and he is on fine form in this gig.

[Thank You] – (STP) – Greatest hits album with all the good stuff and very little of the later iffy stuff. Classic tracks like Plush, Vaseline and Creep.

Podcasts:

[Jonathon Ross Podcast]  - Jonathan is joined by Robin Hood's newest gang member Friar Tuck (aka David Harewood), comedian Mark Thomas tells about his plans to improve the economy and Dame Evelyn Glennie takes us into her world of sound.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan offers some sartorial tips to fellow Radio 2 presenter Mark Radcliffe and actor Nigel Harman tells us about the backstage life at The Apollo Theatre

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan Ross chats to comedy actor Chris Addison about his new film 'In The Loop' and satisfies his sweet toothe with chocolate guru Willie Harcourt-Cooze

[Collected Comics Library Podcast] (#224) - Heroes and WW Philly Cons; Problems with Showcase Presents; Shipping and Product Changes; New Releases of the Week; A Look at Captain America Collected Editions

Books :

Reading - [The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier - Hardcover] - (Alan Moore). - [ISBN-13: 978-1401217105]

[Punisher MAX, Vol. 3 (Hardcover)] – (Garth Ennis, Leandro Fernandez, Goran Parlov) - This deluxe hardcover collects Punisher MAX Vol. 5: The Slavers and Punisher MAX Vol. 6: Barracuda, plus extras.

The first story “the Slavers” is a superb story based on human trafficking and prostitution and Frank Castle trying to put things right. It is an often overused quote but I really could not put this book down once I started it. I ended up getting to bed an hour later than I should have. The whole tale is very realistically portrayed and there is a lot of truth behind the back story. Fantastic story and good artwork too.

Punisher Max Barracuda is a really good punisher story that turns up the gore and violence another notch. In this story Frank fights the evil that is corporate America rather than some drug lord, government or crime boss. Barracuda makes an excellent adversary for Frank and their battle is simply brutal. A well paced story line that has a very satisfying ending. Yet another punisher story that I struggled to put down once I started reading. [ISBN-13: 978-0785119814]
Sunday, Jun 21st, 2009
Week Beginning 14th June
DVD/Bluray/UMD:
[Gran Turino - bluray] - Fantastic Clint Eastwood movie that is well paced, well acted and well worth watching. Clint plays the perfect part for his twilight years. Not going to give anything away that will spoil the movie. Watch it.
[The Good Life - Series 3 DVD- Episode 7 and the 1973 Christmas Special - DVD] - Perhaps not generally accepted as the peak of British Comedy but it is harmless fun. I still enjoy watching them today. Margo has some great one liners and of course it has Felicity Kendal. Funny how Felicity Kendal didn’t appear in the documentary in the extras section.
[3:10 to Yuba -DVD] - An excellent modern and gritty Western. Fantastic character development and pace right up till the very end. Best western I have seen in many years. Classic!
Music:
[Chunk of Change] - (Passion Pit) - Lots of retro synths in this light and airy electro indie band. Similar to "The Postal Service" in song structure but with weaker vocals and less of a bassy dirty sound. Vocals are very strange at times. Not for everyone.
[The Boxing Lesson EP] - (The Boxing Lesson) - A really good E.P. Great vocals and musicianship. Hard to compare them to anyone else but they have a kind of a Manchester Band sound but with a Texan twist.
[Radiation] - (The Boxing Lesson) - A good album from the Texan trio that seems to lack a little of the sparkle that the EP had. The album has quite a somber tone. Fantastic layered expressive music that ebbs and flows then swells with some impressive guitar sections. Good vocals too.  They sort of remind me of "Doves" but with a lighter sound.
[Wild Streaks and Windy Days] - (The Boxing Lesson) - Much more upbeat than radiation which was a little sombre at times. They seem to be going for a much more commercial and less proggy sound with this album. Track 3 "Lower" is more like the earlier stuff but the rest of the tracks are much more upbeat. Some of the stuff is pretty heavy and angry. "Muerta" and "scoundrel" are my favorite tracks on the album and these are the most proggy. Most of the shorter tracks are pretty forgettable and dont have the distinctive sound that drew me to this band. This album is a mixed bag with some great stuff and some not so good.
[In The Absence Of Truth] - (Isis) - I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn't spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band.
[Steal This Album] - (System Of A Down) - This is an album that has to be played loud, VERY LOUD. "Steal this Album" is an assualt on the senses almost unlike the output from any other band. One song can instantly change from full on heavy metal onslaught to operatic singing and the gentle chimes of a triangle and then back to full on funky heavy metal and all this within the blink of the eye. They manage to put so much variety and energy into their music that unlike other heavy bands it never becomes boring. The production is also excellent with none of the muddiness such heavy music normally has. The lyrics are also pretty funny and very inventive. This is a fantastic album if you are in the mood for it and you almost feel exhausted when it is finished.  How would I describe System of a Down ? They are like the love child of Napalm Death and the Red Hot Chile Peppers that were brought up by Led Zepelin and The Offspring. I have got to see them live.
[Anathema – Various] – Various Stuff on random play
Books:
[Punisher MAX: Born] - (Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson) - A great prequel to the Punisher series where Garth Ennis explores Frank Castles Vietnam war history and gives a big hint as to why The Punisher is such a killing machine. Extremely well written and illustrated TPB collecting 4 issues of Punisher Born with some nice extras too. Its message might be a lttle bit uncomfortable for some but I found it to be a great read and easily on Par with the rest of the Punisher Max series. In my childhood I was a big fan of the war comic "Warlord" and I still have a very soft spot for war stories. I think Garth Ennis handles this subject very well. (ISBN-13: 978-0785110255)
Reading [Punisher MAX, Vol. 3 (Hardcover)] – (Garth Ennis, Leandro Fernandez, Goran parlov) - This deluxe hardcover collects Punisher MAX Vol. 5: The Slavers and Punisher MAX Vol. 6: Barracuda, plus extras.
The first story “the Slavers” is a superb story based on human trafficking and prostitution and Frank Castle trying to put things right. It is an often overused quote but I really could not put this book down once I started it. I ended up getting to bed an hour later than I should have. The whole tale is very realistically portrayed and there is a lot of truth behind the back story.Fantastic story and good artwork too.

Podcasts:

[XM Weekly Music Episode 32] - Billy Zero showcases seven artists this week starting with The Boxing lesson and Derby. Next it’s indie pop from Baltimore with a band called Wye Oak and infectious pop at it’s finest with Tally Hall. French Kicks have a new album called Swimming and Zero features track one. Last week Zero featured a song from Astra Heights and he spent some time with the record and felt it was mandatory to feature another track. Finally Zero features Pretendo whose name is a nod to Nintendo and the band features past and present members of Enon, Creedle, Rugburns, Skeleton Key and Morricone Youth. All the tracks are pretty good but the "Boxing Lesson" track really stands out and this band warrants further investigation. "Astra Heights" and "Pretendo" also warrant further investigation.
[XM Weekly Music Episode 34] - Billy Zero features music that makes you laugh, makes you cry and makes you want to wiggle on this weeks podcast. First, tracks from Tokyo Police Clubs latest release entitled Elephant Shell. Next, two tracks from the latest Rarities collection from The Apples in Stereo including a custom theme written for Stephen Colbert. Then, a track from American Mars which includes a serving of pop and a side of twang. Then it’s Foals, with a cut from their release, Antidotes. We close the show with Business Time from Flight of the Conchords and a second track from the Tokyo Police Club release.  Ok but nothing that really jumped out at me.
[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.
[Sesslers Soapbox] - Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.  I look forward to these rants and reviews. He seems to have calmed down a little bit but still makes some very good points.
[John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 24) - Part One of a four part keynote speech that John gave at The National Radio Conference in Sydney Australia in October 2006.... May contain transmissions.
[John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 25) - Part Two of the keynote speech John gave at The National Radio Conference in Sydney, Australia in October 2006. John describes and plays some radio advertising he recorded for (among others) Planters (Pretzels) and Callard and Bowser.
[John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 26) - Part Three of the keynote speech John gave at The National Radio Conference in Sydney, Australia in October 2006. A continuation of the original way, not only John, but the rest of the Pythons, handled marketing and advertising.
[John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 27) - The final part of the keynote speech John gave at The National Radio Conference in Sydney, Australia in October 2006.
[Jonathon Ross Podcast] (21 March 2009) - Jonathan Ross talks to Jodie Prenger about life on the West End stage playing Nancy in Oliver and comedy actor Chris O'Dowd describes life on the ocean waves as a pirate DJ in the new Richard Curtis film 'The Boat That Rocked'.
[Collected Comics Library Podcast] (#224) - DC and Marvel for November and December 2009; Showcase Presents SuperFriends Cancelled; New Releases of the Week; X-O Manowar: Birth HC (Valiant). Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.
Games:
[Lord Of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-Earth 2 – PC] – A fun RTS that is one of my favorites. I enjoy the skirmish mode the best as you can set the difficulty level to give yourself a very real challenge. This can result in some very long games, especially if you like to play defensively.
 
[Killzone 2 - PS3] - Very impressive opening credits and cut scenes that truly show off the PS3's graphical power. In game graphics are pretty good too with a high level of realism. This realism sometimes gets in the way of actually playing the game and at times it feels very cluttered and claustrophobic. I found the controls to be a bit loose and definitely not as good as "Resistance Fall of Man" which I reckon is a better game. The story is OK and the weapons pretty much run of the mill FPS stuff. I found this game to be a real challenge and decided to drop the difficulty level down a notch after playing for a few hours. Because this game has no multiple saves I had to start from the beginning on the new difficulty level and my previous progress was lost. I think this is a crappy solution on a modern game.
 
When I first started playing I thought the game was very overhyped but the more I played it the more I came to enjoy it. Some Boss level type battles are very frustrating and I think I am on the final level at the moment (In the Palace). I have been stuck on this level for a while now and it is very difficult (but fun).
Sunday, Jun 14th, 2009

Week Beginning 7th June

Books: 

[Punisher MAX, Vol. 2 (Hardcover)] - (Garth Ennis, Dougie Braithwaite, Leandro Fernandez) - Collects Punisher Max Vol. 3: Mother Russia and Punisher Max Vol. 4: Up Is Down And Black Is White.  

In Mother Russia, The punisher is forced into a suicide mission deep inside Russia with the goal to retrieve a deadly retrovirus.  This story is full of the graphic violence and action the punisher series is famous for but this time with a slightly more military bent.  The artwork is pretty good and really stands out on the premium paper. Fantastic tale with many subplots and twists to keep the reader hooked.  The dialogue and level of violence are off the scale and quite a few scenes have jaw dropping politically incorrect references. I really enjoyed this story. It is probably my favorite Punisher book to date.  

Up is down and Black is White is a mafia based tale based around evil mafia mobster Nicky Cavella who finally figures out what is required to send Frank Castle over the edge (he desecrates his family's grave). The violence that ensues is even shocking for the Punisher and it is an absolute bloodfest. The language and situations are very adult orientated and some of the flashbacks to fill in the background on main characters such as Nicky Cavella are particularly shocking. Highly recommended read for adult audiences only. Artwork is not bad but nothing really special. Collects Punisher #13-24. [ISBN-13: 978-0785120223]

[100 Bullets Vol. 1: First Shot, Last Call] – (Brian Azzarrello) – I picked up this book in Borders and started reading it and it seemed to be an interesting story line. This coupled with the fact that it was only $10 made me take a chance. I am glad I did as this is good book that really gets you thinking. The basic premise is that some sort of government agent approaches people who have been wronged and offers them a gun with 100 bullets that are untraceable for them to put things right. Of the three stories contained in this first book, the first is by far the best. It is a really good story of gangland Chicago from a street gangs perspective. Very well drawn and good dialogue (even if I had no idea what they were saying half the time). Because it is a Vertigo book the only down side is that it appears to be printed on toilet paper rather than the glossy stuff you get from other publishers. [ISBN-13: 978-1563896453]

Music:

[Porcupine Tree XM] - (Porcupine Tree) - This session produced for XM radio is so close to the album versions of the tracks that I cant really figure out why they bothered. It is remarkable how close they managed to recreate the originals but when things get this close they might of well just used the original tracks. Music is still great but a pointless purchase if you have the originals. Sounds like either backing tapes or a lot of overdubbing was done on some tracks. One for die hard fans only. 

[Porcupine Tree XM2] - (Porcupine Tree) - A much better session than XM1 due to the fact it has more of a live feel to it and good track choice. Excellent album suitable for hardened fans and casual alike.

[Roy Harper] – lots if different live stuff.

[Steal This Album] - (System Of A Down) - This is an album that has to be played loud, VERY LOUD. "Steal this Album" is an assualt on the senses almost unlike the output from any other band. One song can instantly change from full on heavy metal onslaught to operatic singing and the gentle chimes of a triangle and then back to full on funky heavy metal and all this within the blink of the eye. They manage to put so much variety and energy into their music that unlike other heavy bands it never becomes boring. The production is also excellent with none of the muddiness such heavy music normally has. The lyrics are also pretty funny and very inventive. This is a fantastic album if you are in the mood for it and you almost feel exhausted when it is finished.  How would I describe System of a Down ? They are like the love child of Napalm Death and the Red Hot Chile Peppers that were brought up by Led Zepelin and The Offspring. I have got to see them live.   

[Bush Various] - Listening to some Bush albums on random play. Great guitar based new rock.   

[A Matter of Life and Death] - (Iron Maiden) - I was really surprised by "A matter of Life and Death" as so often comebacks have no sparkle or the band just doesnt sound as good as they used to . For this album It sounds like Maiden have never been away but slowly eveolved to include some later musical influences. It is unmistakeably Iron Maiden but it could be also looked upon as a heavy Prog album. This is a surprise for Iron Maiden even though some of their earlier work had some prog tendencies too (Ancient mariner springs to mind). I can here some classic influences in the form of Rainbow and Dio but there are also some Tool influences lurking in there. Really good comeback album.   

[Manners] - (Passion Pit) - After listening to a live concert on NPR with this band I thought they were like "of Montreal" but with more of an eighties synth feel. I particularly liked the keyboards but not the vocals so much. This album has a different feel to the live gig in that the vocals are very much more polished and far less high pitched and in your face. The keyboards are also much less to the front and the musical mix is more balanced to all the instruments. They still have an eighties feel to them and I would still class them as electro pop. Definitely worth a listen.  

[In The Absence Of Truth] - (Isis) - I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn't spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band. 

Podcasts: 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #222] - New Releases of the Week; The Pricing of Collected Editions Part 1 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #223] - Criminal Omnibus; Rude Dude Trouble; New Releases of the Week; The Pricing of Collected Editions Part 2; 

[Sessler’s Soapbox] - Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.  I look forward to these rants and reviews. He is getting All excited about e3 in this weeks podcast. 

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now. The podcasts I have been watching have been based on their rather excellent e3 coverage. 

[Versus Podcast] - Watching coverage of the 2009 Dauphine Libre 

[NPR: Live Concerts from All Things Considered]  - (Passion Pit) - Selections from Manners and more in a full concert recorded live from Washington, D.C. The band reminds me very much of "of Montreal" but with a gentler edge and less smut. The high pitched vocals put me off at first but the dreamy retro synths won me over in the end. Worth a listen if you are into retro electro pop.  

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[28 Weeks Later – Bluray] – An excellent follow up to the cult movie 28 days later. None of the usual slow lumbering Zombies in this movie. When people get infected with rage it takes hold fast and they get supercharged. This movie is Gory, fast paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat (just like the first). There is a very clever use of special effects to make London look like a deserted city. Unlike most movies nowadays the effects are believable and the heroes very life like. The helicopter scene in Hyde Park is probably the most farfetched part of the movie but great fun.
Sunday, Jun 7th, 2009
Week Beginning 1st June 2009
Games:
 [Half Life 2 – Episode 1 – Xbox 360] – An episode taking place just after the end of Half Life 2. So far it all seems to be based around the citadel and the only weapon is the gravity gun. A bit more puzzle based than the first outing but still fun. As you progress the game gradually adds back in all the weapons you are used too in the first game.
Good fun and as challenging as the original if a lot shorter.
[Lord Of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-Earth 2 – PC] – A fun RTS that is one of my favorites.
DVD/Bluray/UMD:
[Carry On Cabby – DVD] – Classic Black and white carry on movie starring the usual carry on suspects (Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey and Jim Dale.). Good fun and not as smutty as the later movies.
TV:
[The Fith Element – HD] – One of my top 10 movies of all time. A fun and witty science fiction romp set in a cyber punk type future. Luc Besson is inspired. It is a great shame he doesn’t make more movies like this. The sets, costumes, actors and special effects are all top rate. Amazing movie and spectacular in HD.
Books/Graphic Novels :
[The Exterminators Vol. 1: Bug Brothers] – (Simon Oliver, Tony Moore) – The book is set in a not very nice part of LA where pests, evil landlords and drug pushers rule the roost and poor people suffer. Our hero is an ex con who is now working as a pest exterminator. Unfortunately the pests are fighting back and his colleagues seem to be just as dangerous. This is an extremely well written book that is full of adult themes and great atmospheric art. Not a book for the squeamish or younger readers but a very intriguing mature read. The main plot twists around and opens up new clues and story lines at a fair old rate. I am hooked and will be out to buy book 2 to find out just what the significance of that scarab really is.  Good value too. [ISBN -4012-1064-3]
Reading [Punisher Max, Vol 2 - Hardcover] – (Garth Ennis, Dougie Braithwaite, Leandro Fernandez) - ..
Podcasts : (Catching up on my Podcasts this week)
 [X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.
 [Sesslers Soapbox] - Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.  I look forward to these rants and reviews. He seems to have calmed down a little bit but still makes some very good points.
 [John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 34 - The Headmaster) - John reminds us of that much-loved first day of a new academic year, as he greets the school with the traditional Headmaster's speech. This reminds me of his excellent headmaster portrayal in the movie clockwise. Good stuff
 [John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 33 - The Brain Explained) - John gives a marvellously lucid and compellingly detailed run through of the functioning of the human brain with particular reference to mimblerophlactus. Very clever stuff.
 [John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 32 - The Scientist At Work) - Delivered to you from a laboratory deep in the heart of Northamptonshire, England, a short lecture on God. Classic John Cleese.
 [John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episode 31 - Tour Guide) - All in all one would hope never to be caught up in this situation. John becomes the coachtrip courier from hell. Basil Faulty finds a new Job.
 [KEXP Live Performances Podcast] (Broken Social Scene Live @ CMJ) - Broken Social Scene perform a laid-back and off-the-cuff set live on KEXP from New York City for CMJ. Recorded live at the Gibson Showroom on 10/24/08, this set contains 4 songs from the radio set plus an impromtu song song for the studio audience and selections from your favorite children's tunes: Hit the Wall, Untitled (or Choose Your Own Adventure), Xerxes, Love is New, Audience Song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/ABC/Puff the Magic Dragon. A pretty good gig with lots of improv. A little too much chat and I think they should have cut before the kiddie stuff but worth a listen.
 [Collected Comics Library Podcast #219]  - Motor City Comic Con; Deathlom Masdterworks at $65; Product and Shipping Changes; New Releases of the Week; Star Trek Collected Editions 1967-2009; Running time: 28m 51s . Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.
 [Collected Comics Library Podcast #220]  - Seth and his Covers; Product and Shipping Changes; New Releases of the Week; Motor City Comic Con and a few other things on my mind. Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.
[Collected Comics Library Podcast #221] - Neil Gaiman and Absolute Death Pricing; Upcoming Captain Britain and Madman Atomic Comics Trade Paperbacks; Product and Shipping Changes; New Releases of the Week; Queen and Country Definitive Editions 03 and 04. Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall, THE Trade Paperback Podcast. The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic book collected editions.

[The Adam Carolla Podcast - 2009.05.19] - I thought bits of "the man show" and "love line" were pretty funny so I thought I would give this show a listen. I just found Adam to be really annoying so I wont be listening to any more.
[The Roy Harper Podcast, Episode 23] This month there was an interview with Simon Taylor which I really enjoyed and some good Roy Tracks too. Another excellent podcast.
 
[XM Weekly Music Podcast #31] - This week Billy Zero features a new band called Finest Dearest with "Naming Ceremony" and Birds of Avalon with "Measure of the Same." South has a great new CD entitled You Are Here and Zero plays a song called "Wasted." Miniature Tigers just released a four-song EP and we’ll hear track 1, "The Wolf." Then it’s the debut album from Astra Heights and we’ll hear the stand-out track, "The March." Finally, it’s another debut from an infectious duo, Jan and Dries, and their band The Black Box Revelation. We’ll hear the first two tracks from their album, Set Your Head On Fire.  Three of the bands particularily stood out for me, "Finest Dearest", "Birds of Avalon" and "South". I was particularily impressed by "Finest Dearest"

 
Music:

 
[The Optomist] - (Turin Brakes) - A great debut album from these very talented musicians. Some fantastic vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar work. I like most of the tracks but there is one that really stands out for me and that is the stunning title track "Optomist".

[Pacemaker - EP] - (Finest Dearest) - An enjoyable Indie band with female vocals reminescent of the early eighties. Nice inventive backing music with some interesting arrangements make it better than the usual Indie pop. All the tracks are great although I find the beginning of Slow Going has some uncomfortable vocal moments. Pacemaker is a fantastic track.
 
[Finest Dearest] - (Finest Dearest) - A great Indie album with inventive musical backdrops and slightly punky yet slightly folky female vocals.  A lot of good tracks carrying on from the EP. Try "Making a Sound 2" or "Naming Ceromony" as a great introduction to this band.
 
[Afghan Whigs - Various Stuff on random play] - A good band musically but the vocals are horrible. Still worth a listen

[Tori Amos Bootlegs Vol 1] - (Tori Amos) - There is not a whole lot of variety and many of the songs seem to roll iinto one but there is a tremendous album to listen too if you want to chill out while driving. A very talented lady.

[Lord Of The Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring – Unabridged Audio Book] – Excellent way to pass away a 11 hour car journey (I got through 9 CD’s).  Robert Inglis does an amazing job with the character's voices.
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
The Giro is all over and Menchov won.

Week Beginning 25th May 2009
Games
[Half Life 2 - Xbox 360] - When I first started playing this game again I thought the Graphics looked a little dated but I soon began to appreciate the crispness and uncluttered detail. Controls are pretty good for a console fps and the level of challenge is absolutely spot on. Some of the puzzles require some serious thought but rarely do you remain stuck for long. I always seem to be on the cusp of not having enough ammo but that just adds to the challenge. The gravity gun is very satisfying to use, especially when you decapitate a bunch of Zombies using a saw blade.
Managed to finish this excellent game and it finished with a satisfying finale.
[Half Life 2 – Episode 1 – Xbox 360] – An episode taking place just after the end of Half Life 2. So far it all seems to be based around the citadel and the only weapon is the gravity gun. A bit more puzzle based than the first outing but still fun.
TV:
Universal sports excellent daily coverage of the Tour of Italy bike race has been eating up most of my multimedia time. 2 Hours a day of coverage to watch
http://www.universalsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=23000&ATCLID=3734597
Music: 
[Quark Strangeness and Charm - With 9 bonus live tracks] - Fantastic Hawkwind album that was pretty hard to get hold of on CD for a while. Contains the classic triple whammy of "Spririt of the Age", "Damnation Alley" and "Fable of a failed Race". "Hassan I Sabha" is also worth a mention. The live Bonus stuff is pretty good and would have been worth buying as a CD on its own.
DVD/Bluray/UMD:
[Stephen Fry in America - episodes 4, 5 and 6 and extras – DVD] – This was a very enjoyable series to watch although mr Fry did not look well for most of it. His observations of the people and scenery of America is spot on. I particularly enjoyed his conversations with the Native Americans, the spectacular scenery in Arizona, his visit to a brothel and the whalers he met in Alaska (very funny people). The only section that didn’t work was the lengthy bit in Vegas where it really dragged.
A very enjoyable romp across the states and it certainly inspired me to get out of California and see more of the USA. Highly recommended.
[Frames Live – Oceansize – DVD ] – I really like the album “Effloresce” but I never really got into “Frames”. This sort of Live DVD, filmed with the band on their own in an abandoned factory,  hasn’t really changed that opinion. There are some good tracks but nothing really special. The video work and sound are great.
Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Week Beginning 9th May 2009

TV:

Universal sports excellent daily coverage of the Tour of Italy bike race has been eating up most of my multimedia time. 2 Hours a day of coverage to watch J

http://www.universalsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=23000&ATCLID=3734597

Music: 

[Quark Strangeness and Charm - With 9 bonus live tracks] - Fantastic Hawkwind album that was pretty hard to get hold of on CD for a while. Contains the classic triple whammy of "Spririt of the Age", "Damnation Alley" and "Fable of a failed Race". "Hassan I Sabha" is also worth a mention. The live Bonus stuff is pretty good and would have been worth buying as a CD on its own.

[Project 42]  - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm

Podcasts :

[Jonathon Ross] - [18th April] - Jonathan Ross chats to comedy actor Chris Addison about his new film 'In The Loop' and satisfies his sweet toothe with chocolate guru Willie Harcourt-Cooze.

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

Games :

[Half Life 2 - Xbox 360] - When I first started playing this game again I thought the Graphics looked a little dated but I soon began to appreciate the crispness and uncluttered detail. Controls are pretty good for a console fps and the level of challenge is absolutely spot on. Some of the puzzles require some serious thought but rarely do you remain stuck for long. I always seem to be on the cusp of not having enough ammo but that just adds to the challenge. The gravity gun is very satisfying to use, especially when you decapitate a bunch of Zombies using a saw blade. Excellent game and huge too.

Just got through a particularly challenging sniper level and currently battling it out with TRIPODS that are a real PITA. The difficulty level has definitely ramped up so I reckon I must be getting near the end.

[Killzone 2 - PS3] - Very impressive opening credits and cut scenes that truly show off the PS3's graphical power. In game graphics are pretty good too with a high level of realism. This realism sometimes gets in the way of actually playing the game and at times it feels very cluttered and claustrophobic. I found the controls to be a bit loose and definitely not as good as "Resistance Fall of Man" which I reckon is a better game. The story is OK and the weapons pretty much run of the mill FPS stuff. I found this game to be a real challenge and decided to drop the difficulty level down a notch after playing for a few hours. Because this game has no multiple saves I had to start from the beginning on the new difficulty level and my previous progress was lost. I think this is a crappy solution on a modern game. I am enjoying playing through but I reckon this game was over hyped (at least for single player). Some Boss level type battles are very frustrating. The game is getting better the more I play it.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Gimme, Gimme, Gimme - Season 1 : DVD] - Very funny British comedy series starring Kathy Burke (Harry Enfield, AB Fab etc)  and James Dreyfus (Thin Blue Line). Definitely not PC but in a non offensive way.

Friday,May 8th, 2009

Week Beginning 2nd May 2009

Games:

[Half Life 2 - Xbox 360] - When I first started playing this game again I thought the Graphics looked a little dated but I soon began to appreciate the crispness and uncluttered detail. Controls are pretty good for a console fps and the level of challenge is absolutely spot on. Some of the puzzles require some serious thought but rarely do you remain stuck for long. I always seem to be on the cusp of not having enough ammo but that just adds to the challenge. The gravity gun is very satisfying to use, especially when you decapitate a bunch of Zombies using a saw blade. Excellent game.

[Killzone 2 - PS3] - Very impressive opening credits and cut scenes that truly show off the PS3's graphical power. In game graphics are pretty good too with a high level of realism. This realism sometimes gets in the way of actually playing the game and at times it feels very cluttered and claustrophobic. I found the controls to be a bit loose and definitely not as good as "Resistance Fall of Man" which I reckon is a better game. The story is OK and the weapons pretty much run of the mill FPS stuff. I found this game to be a real challenge and decided to drop the difficulty level down a notch after playing for a few hours. Because this game has no multiple saves I had to start from the beginning on the new difficulty level and my previous progress was lost. I think this is a crappy solution on a modern game. I am enjoying playing through but I reckon this game was over hyped (at least for single player). Some Boss level type battles are very frustrating. 

Books:

[The Goon Volume 4: Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof ] - (Eric Powell) - Another classic edition to the Goon series with fantastic artwork and great stories. The level of humor is absolutely spot on and if you like the previous 3 books you will love this one. I particularly enjoyed the "Fish Canners" story.

Podcasts :

[Ricky Gervais Show - Season 3] - Should still be called The Karl Pilkington show as he truly is the star. Very funny.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The Best of Whats Left of Not Only But Also – Peter Cook and Dudley Moore – DVD] – Classic British comedy and light entertainment. At is funniest when Peter Cook “ad-libs” and Dudley tries his best not to laugh.

Friday,May 1st, 2009

Week Beginning 24th April 2009

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[300 – DVD] – Great Spartan movie done in a comic book style with extreme violence and a good story. A bit far fetched but it doesn’t spoil the plot (giant elephants and freaks not withstanding)

[Death Proof] – Some good car stunts and Kurt Russel is great as “stunt man Mike” but frills are few and far between in this dialogue marathon. I enjoyed it the first time I watched it but on the re-watch I ended up fast forwarding past lots of dialogue. A homage to the car chase films of the 70’s but too much talk and not enough chase.

Music: 

[Project 42] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/42.htm 

[Deep Purple] - (Deep Purple) - I really like the early Rod Evans stuff. Even though it is very sixties Pop in style there are still flashes of later Rocking Purple in Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord's solos.   

[Live At The Caledonien Hall] - (In The Woods) - An unusual progressive metal band with good musicianship but not so good vocals. Great guitars make for an enjoyable album but with a few areas that seem a little awkward (e.g. the female opera singer). It has the kind of Live sound you typically get on live radio broadcasts and doesn't sound as if there has been any post production trickery going on. This rawness add to the albums appeal. It definitely grew on me by about the third listen.  

[Script of the Bridge - 25th Anniversary Edition] - (The Chameleons)  - Classic Chameleons with my favorite tracks. This version has a really good live disk too. 

Games: 

[Resistance Fall of Man – PS3] – This game has gorgeous Graphics, believable backdrops (some of the York scenery felt familiar to me) and great fun. I really like the weapons and the 1950's alternate English theme. It is a huge game and I enjoyed fighting my way all the way through to the end. The enemies that fire through walls are really challenging near the end. One of the best games I have played this year and I am sorry to have finished it. I tried out the multiplayer but didn't really get hooked. 

[Half Life 2 - XBOX 360] - A pretty difficult and challenging game with an intriguing story and interesting puzzles. The graphics are pretty good (especially the facial close ups) and so is the sound. Controls are OK on the XBOX360 but its sometimes a bit awkward on the collision detection. It feels a bit dated compared to the latest shooters but it is a real classic. I played through half of it back in December but decided to start again. 

Podcasts : 

[Ricky Gervais Show - Season 2] - Should be called The Karl Pilkington show as he truly is the star. Very funny and some classic funnies from Steve Marchant too. 

[Ricky Gervais Show - Season 3] - Should still be called The Karl Pilkington show as he truly is the star. Very funny. 

[Mills : Matt Lucas & David Walliams 16 Mar 09] - Pretty funny Podcast with the Little Britain Team. 

[Mills : Napolean Live ! 4 Mar 09]  : Scott was joined in the studio by Beccy's replacement Napoleon the parrot, who also took on Chappers in Oh! What's Occurring?. While Greg James joined us to play the Honesty Game. I thought the whole parrot thing was pretty lame but the show is easy on the ear.

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Week Beginning 4th April 2009

Books:

[The Goon – Heaps of Ruination] – (Eric Powell) – Another classic collection of goon stories with witty dialogue and great artwork. If you enjoyed the first two books you will love this. The Hellboy Crossover story is a special treat.
 

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Quantum of Solace – Bluray] – A really good hard paced action movie with no cheesy bits. One of the best Bond films I have seen since since “Die Another day”. Good fight and chase scenes and a more realistic feel to it.
 

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #215] - Entertaining collected comics podcast. Vampire theme this week.
 

[UK] - [UK] - 1978 Progressive Rock concept album with lots of layered Synths and Eighties new romantic style vocals. Standout track is  In the Dead of Night which also has some great guitar work.
 

[Early Stages : Official Bootleg Box  Set :  1982 - 1987 : Disk 6] - (Marillion)  - Fantastic Marillion Live stuff in the Fish era. Brilliant !
 

[Early Stages : Official Bootleg Box  Set :  1982 - 1987 : Disk 5] - (Marillion) -  Probably one of the strongest discs in the box set. By the time this album was recorded they were very polished on stuff from Script and Fugazi. Fugazi is not one of my favorite albums but both Assassing and Incubus on this CD are absolutely fantastic live, especially Incubus. Highlight of the album is the preview of the soon to be released "Misplaced Childhood".  Different from the final studio release in many ways but so very very good. Timeless !
 

[Zoom Tour Live - Sound track of the DVD] - (ELO) - Jeff Lynne is on fine form on this comeback concert to promote the new album Zoom. The new Zoom stuff is pretty good but it is the old stuff that really shines. The quality is excellent and it is so much nicer to hear an ELO concert in an intimate setting rather than some vast stadium. I am really sorry I didnt get to see this tour live. I have been a huge ELO fan since the 70's and have never seen them live.
 

[Arrive Alive] - (Pallas) - Absolutely classic Pallas with standout tracks such as "Arrive Alive" and the "Ripper".  This album has the raw live energy that they seemed to lose on subsequent studio albums. A must for prog rock fans.

[In The Absence Of Truth] - (Isis) - I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn't spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band.

Friday, April 03rd, 2009

Week Beginning 29th March 2009

Books:

[Punisher MAX, Vol. 4 (Hardcover)] – (Garth Ennis - Leandro Fernandez, Lan Medina) – This hardback collects the two stories “Man of Stone” and “Widowmaker”. The quality of the paper in this collection is excellent and the images really jump off the page. “Man of Stone” is a compelling story with strong dialogue and great artwork. The main focus of the story is the punisher vs a barbaric Russian general. This is one of the best books I have read this year. The second story “Widowmaker” took me a while to get into but it had a satisfying conclusion. This was a very violent story of female revenge and featured a female punisher. Definitely not as good as “Man of Stone”. Artwork was very good.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The Good Life - Series 3 DVD- Episode 3 to 6] - Perhaps not generally accepted as the peak of British Comedy but it is harmless fun. I still enjoy watching them today. Margo has some great one liners and of course it has Felicity Kendal. Series 3 is not as good as the earlier series
 

Music:
 

[Marks Top 100 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Marks_Top_100_2009
 

[Argus "Then Again" Live] - (Wishbone Ash) - A concert organized by XM Radio where an artist replays one of their classic albums live and a few other tunes too. This one is a peach !
 

[Everything and Nothing Boxset] - (David Sylvian) - New Romantic insane lounge lizard stuff.  Good laid back electronic experimental tunes from ex Japan front man.  "Ride" is the absolute standout track. Some of the stuff is very strange indeed (e.g Pop Song) but the rest is pretty listenable
 

[That's Your Fire] - (Aloha) -  A unique sounding Indie experimental band with complicated time signatures and a freerange Jazz approach to song writing.  Xylophones feature prominently in the arrangements. This album is similar in style to the later release "Sugar" but it is a little more laid back and it doesn't give your ears quite the same work out. Great band and a great album.
 

[Live At Leeds] - (The Groundhogs) - Live recordings of the Groundhogs don't always turn out that good but this recording from 1971 is excellent. The band play stuff from Split  and Thank Christ for the Bomb and they are on top form. Excellent EP.
 

[Aenema] - (Tool) -  One of the best albums ever made and my favorite TOOL album. The production, creativity and inventiveness of this album are incredible. This album will give your HI FI the workout of its life if you crank the volume up. Particular standout tracks include Stinkfest, Eulogy, Fourty Six & Two and of course Aenema itself.
 

[Between My Ears There is Nothing but Music] - (Baby Bird) - A Good singer songwriter with some inventive writing and a variety of styles. Not just your usual guitar and man singing about the woes of the world.
 

Games:
 

[Forza Motorsport] - (XBOX360) - A Very well put together car racing game with pretty good physics, great graphics, great sound and it is fun to play. I miss some of the racing modes from Forza 1 but its vastly superior in many other ways. Challenging if you crank the realism up.
 

[Warhammer Online]  (PC) – I am still having a lot of fun with this game especially the PVP. This week I have been playing old "Piecrust" the Squig herder and getting my bottom kicked in PVP. It seems to be a bit laggy at the moment.
 

[Fallout 3] – (PS3) – When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate and confusing.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50’s soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it. I still cant get the hang of the Quests and spend my time wandering the wasteland killing stuff and looking for ammo and stimpacks. Its a pretty hard game and draining at times. Oh for a bit of sunshine and color :-)
 

Podcasts:
 

[Roy Harper Podcast #21] - Another Great Podcast from Paul. The Roy Harper Dance remix was a bit questionable though. I really enjoyed the interview.
 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #214] - Entertaining collected comics podcast. A very interesting interview with Chris Staros, Publisher of Top Shelf Productions.
 

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] – Very funny as usual.

Sunday, March 27th, 2009

Week Beginning 21st March 2009
 

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Serenity - Bluray] – This movie was a continuation of the cancelled Space western series “Firefly”. Despite some luke warm reviews I found it to be a very enjoyable Sci-Fi romp and good deal darker than the TV series. Although this was a fairly low budget movie I thought the special effects were excellent, especially the big space battle with the reavers. It has been a while since I watched “Firefly” but I seem to remember that they were generally a goody two shoes type of crew so I thought them pulling a bank heist felt a little out of character. Video Quality on Bluray was excellent and the dynamic range of the sound had me jumping out of my seat a few times. If you enjoyed “Firefly” you should enjoy this.

[Tropic Thunder – Bluray] – Funny Platoon style dark comedy with awesome special effects and great sound. Much better than I was expecting.

[The Good Life - Series 3 DVD- Episode 1 and 2] - Perhaps not generally accepted as the peak of British Comedy but it is harmless fun. I still enjoy watching them today. Margo has some great one liners and of course it has Felicity Kendal.

[Family Guy - Season 3 - Episodes 1 and 2, 3 and 4] - So far Season 3 doesn't seem to be as good as seasons 1 and 2 but still very watchable. There is nobody safe from their sarcastic wit not even us Brits ;-).
 

[Quantum of Solace – DVD] – Actually a really good hard paced action movie with no cheesy bits. One of the best Bond films I have seen.

Books:
 

[The Goon Volume 2: My Murderous Childhood] – (Eric Powell) – The Goon is a kind of anti hero mobster set somewhere back in the 40’s or 50’s in a land infested by all sorts of Zombies and other strange creatures. It’s a comic book version of a cult B movie. The artwork is consistently excellent and the stories are funny and well written. I was especially impressed by the way the pencil drawings were used to show flash backs. Volume 2 was as good if not better than the first volume and does a great Job of filling in the back story for the characters.  A highly recommended read. (ISBN: 978-1-59307-109-7).
 

Reading [Punisher MAX, Vol. 4 (Hardcover)] – (Garth Ennis - Leandro Fernandez, Lan Medina) – This hardback collects the two stories “Man of Stone” and “Widowmaker”. The quality of the paper in this collection is excellent and the images really jump off the page. “Man of Stone” is a compelling story with strong dialogue and great artwork. The main focus of the story is the punisher vs a barbaric Russian general. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

Music:

[A collection Of Tull Tales] - (Various Artists) - This Album is a collection of Tull covers and I didn't have high hopes for it but as it featured Roy Harper I had to have a listen.  I am sorry to say that probably the weakest song on the CD is the Roy Track that seems out of place . The rest of the album is very impressive with some absolutely fantastic covers (especially Magellan).

[Impending Ascension] - (Magellan) - A prog record that is sort of like a cross between Yes, ELO and It Bites. Symphonic progressive pop/rock that is worth a listen.

[Test Of Wills] - (Magellan)- A much heavier record than "Impending Ascension" with a style that is very like Early Styx. There are also some Jethro Tull influences creeping in on this CD. Many of the tracks are a bit brash for my tastes and I didn't really enjoy listening to this album.

[Atom Heart Mother] - (Pink Floyd) - Way too wacky and psychedelic for some but this is one of my favorite Floyd albums. Strange sounds, orchestral scores, choirs and stereo panning effects abound throughout this creation. The opening track alone is worth the price of the CD. The most conventional track on the Album is probably "Fat Old Sun" which is an absolute gem.

[No Answer - Expanded Edition] - (ELO) -   A simply stunning album of Early ELO stuff and rarities. Some really strange and challenging stuff but rewarding with it.

[Marks Top 100 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Marks_Top_100_2009.
 

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #212] - Entertaining collected comics podcast.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #213] - Entertaining collected comics podcast. Spider Man theme this week.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast]  - Jonathan Ross talks to Jodie Prenger about life on the West End stage playing Nancy in Oliver and comedy actor Chris O'Dowd describes life on the ocean waves as a pirate DJ in the new Richard Curtis film 'The Boat That Rocked'. Very funny show and still one of my favorite Podcasts.

[Around The Net] - Funny videos from around the net with Kevin and the oh so cute Olivia. Probably one of the best free Video podcasts out there. Risky humor makes it fun.

[Best of Chris Moyles - The Saviour Returns 13th March]  - First podcast I have heard with Chris Moyles himself. What a miserable SOB he is. Won’t be listening to any more of these.

[Scott Mills Daily] - Owls at weddings, Scott pretends to be a Spook but will anyone believe him? And What Are Those Old People On About?  Listenable.

Games:

[Warhammer Online – PC]
– I am still having a lot of fun developing a Zealot Healer. Public quests and PvP are great fun.

Sunday, March 20th, 2009

Week Starting 16th March

Games:

Retro goodness !!!

[Ghost Pilots] – (Neo Geo) – A pretty good shootemup that is really just a 1941 clone. Hard if you don’t keep powered up and as usual for these game types the boss battles are very hard if you don’t have plenty of bombs.

[Aero Figfhters 2] – (Neo Geo) – A reasonable shootemup where you pilot various plane types. 1941 clone but not as satisfying.

[Pulstar] -  (Neo Geo) –
A very difficult R type clone with amazing almost 3d graphics and explosions.

[Sengoku] – (Neo Geo) – A pretty Poor streets of rage style beat em up with some novel twists but not a lot of fun to play. Reasonable graphics.

[Shock troopers] – (Neo Geo) – A Fun Ikari warriors Clone with much bigger weapons. Not Bad at all.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Randall and Hopkirk deceased – Series 2, episodes 6 and 7  - DVD] – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer star in this comedy remake by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson. There are a whole host of familiar British comedy faces appearing as guest stars and it is both funny and a bit macabre. The second series was as much fun as the first and has some league of Gentlemen chaps writing on it too.

[Stephen Fry In America – Episodes 1,2,3 and 4] –
This series follows Stephen Fry as he drives a London Taxi cab round all 50 US states. It is an enjoyable watch but doesn’t really have the same edge as Michael Palin’s adventures (Palin is the master at such things). I would go as far as to say that Stephen looks decidedly unwell for most of the episodes and he doesn’t seem to be as sharp or witty as he is in his usual TV stuff.  The program explores parts of the US most programs don’t and he gets to meet some real characters. He doesn’t shy away from some of the more rundown parts of the US either. Unfortunately the time allocated to each program means a very fleeting glimpse of some states.

Podcasts:

[Jonathon Ross Podcast]  -
Jonathan and Jack Dee talk about what it's like to be one of Sir Alan's hopefuls on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice. Very funny show and still one of my favorite Podcasts.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] -
Jonathan is joined by Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant to talk about the Pet Shop Boys new album plus Eastenders new girl Josie Lawrence tells us about life on the square. Very funny show and still one of my favorite Podcasts.

[Stephen Fry's Podgrams - Episode 4] - In this fourth episode, Stephen delivers a speech on the BBC and the future of broadcasting. I always enjoy listening to Stephen Fry's monologues. He always has something worth saying.

[Stephen Fry's Podgrams - Episode 5] - In the fith episode, Stephen delivers a rant on the subject of WWW, seat belts and car phones. I always enjoy listening to Stephen Fry's monologues. He always has something worth saying.

[Stephen Fry's Podgrams - Episode 1 : Series 2 ] - Stephen Fry discusses his new 2.0 website. I always enjoy listening to Stephen Fry's monologues. He always has something worth saying.

[Stephen Fry's Podgrams - Episode 2  : Series 2 ] - Stephen Fry discusses why Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales continue to exert the same pull over the imagination and emotions as they did when he first read them to his children in the 1880s. I always enjoy listening to Stephen Fry's monologues.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #211
] - Entertaining collected comics podcast.

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.
Books:

[DC/Top Cow Crossovers] - (Jeph Loeb, Scott Lobdell, Marc Silvestri, David Finch) - A collection of crossovers between the stars of DC and the stars of Top Cow. #1: Darkness/ Batman was a must read for me as it filled in a few blanks the Darkness Omnibus I read recently. This is the first Batman I have read in about 20 years and I actually enjoyed it although it did feel to me as if they were throwing in characters just for the sake of it. #2: Witchblade/JLA. Not a bad story but a little confusing and techy at the start. I am not a big fan of JLA and think the whole thing is a little pointless. A bit like using a 20,000 pound hydraulic press to crack a walnut. #3: Darkness/ Superman. I really enjoyed this story of Ecstacado trying to become the mob lord of Metropolis. I am not a big superman fan but this was definitely one of the better crossovers. The pacing was good and it filled in some more blanks for me in the Darkness story. Art was pretty good too. #4: JLA/ Cyberforce. I am not familiar with Cyberforce at all but found this story to be enjoyable if a little formulaic. Why is it in every story featuring superman they have to make him vulnerable in some way regardless of who his adversary is? Artwork was pretty good in this tale too. [ISBN-13: 978-1401213381]

Music:

[Marks Top 100 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Marks_Top_100_2009

[Clutching At Straws] – (Marillion) – Not as good as Misplaced Childhood but still a good listen. A strong Drinking themed concept album with some great fish lyrics.  Incommunicado is probably the weakest song on the CD and obviously written to be the “single”.

Sunday, March 15th, 2009
Week Starting 7th March

Games:

Retro goodness !!!

[Metal Slug] – (Neo Geo) – One of the greatest side scrolling shooters of all time. Superb graphics and insanely difficult without using lots of continues.

[Metal Slug 2] – (Neo Geo) – One of the greatest side scrolling shooter series of all time. Superb graphics and insanely difficult boss battles. Even better than Metal Slug 1.

[Metal Slug 3] – (Neo Geo) – One of the greatest side scrolling shooter series of all time. Superb graphics and insanely difficult boss battles. Even more difficult than 1 and 2. The zombie section is particularly challenging.

[Metal Slug X] – (Neo Geo) – This is one of the greatest side scrolling shooter series of all time. Superb graphics and insanely difficult boss battles. Perhaps the weakest entry in the series but still very good.


Modern Stuff !!!

[Fallout 3 – PS3] –
When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate and confusing.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50’s soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:


[Randall and Hopkirk deceased – Series 2 episodes 3, 4, 5 and 6  - DVD] – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer star in this comedy remake by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson. There are a whole host of familiar British comedy faces appearing as guest stars and it is both funny and a bit macabre. The second series is keeping up the good work.


[Lakeland Rock]
– A 1885 C4 Climbing series based in the English Lake District in the UK hosted by Chris Bonnington. Climbing doesn’t get any rawer than this and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. One of the highlights of this series is that Chris gets together with people who first did some of the climbs and repeats them with the same equipment. Seeing a 64 year old guy attempt to repeat a climb he last did at 20 years old is a very special experience. I have never seen a program that captures how scary climbing can be like this and this might really upset you if you have vertigo. It takes me back to my first attempts at climbing a long time ago where I quickly realized that I have a real fear of heights. Excellent stuff.

[
British Rally Championships 2007 - Round 3 (Manx), Round 4 (Ulster), Round 5 (Trackrod). Rounds 6-7 (Rally GB Wales)]  - Great coverage of my favorite rally series but a shame that Higgins didn't win. The scene with the JCB was just totally insane.

Books:

[Complete Robusters] – (Pat Mills) –
This book represents real nostalgia for me. I read all these stories the first time round in Starlord and 2000AD but for some reason I don’t remember any of the specifics so it is like a first read. The photocopying isn’t always of very high standard and some of the pages are a bit smudgy and blurry but the stories are as good as ever. This collection was a very enjoyable read for me. A must read for fans of 2000AD and Starlord. (ISBN: 978-1-905437-82-5).

[
The Goon Volume 1: Nothin' But Misery] – (Eric Powell) –
The Goon is a kind of anti hero mobster set somewhere back in the 40’s or 50’s in a land infested by all sorts of Zombies and other strange creatures. It’s a comic book version of a cult B movie. The artwork is consistently excellent and the stories are funny and well written. I was especially impressed by the way the pencil drawings are used to show flash backs.   (ISBN: 978-1569719985).

Music:


[Marks Top 100 2009] -
http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Marks_Top_100_2009

[
Happiness Is the Road : Volume 1 : Essence] - (Marillion) - A very good and easy to listen to Marillion CD just like Vol 2,  Hogarth's voice is better suited to the quieter almost pastoral stuff that form the majority of this album. Great Production.

[
Happiness is the road Vol 2 : The hard Shoulder] - (Marillion) - This is very much in the same vein as the recent albums. I think Hoggarths voice is much better suited to the crooning stuff rather than some of the brash rock stuff they have turned out in the past. This has nice easy listening tunes and beautifully layered music. Marillion are definitely mellowing more with age and this is a very easy album to just let flow over you. No real bad tracks or anything to offend the ears. It has wonderful production and an incredible depth to the mixes especially considering the MP3 source.  Some real nice guitar solos too. Asylum Satellite 1 is my favorite track on the album (especially the last 2 minutes).

Podcasts:

[Best of Chris Moyles]
- (Moyles : Vernon Kay. 06 Mar 09) - Light hearted fun. Nothing too deep or intellectual.

[Ricky Gervais Podcast] - (Episode 4 is out 17 March 2009) -
It's the Ricky Gervais Guide To... Philosophy. Here's Ricky Steve and Karl to tell you about it and introduce a clip from the new episode. Very funny :-)

[Sesslers Soapbox]
- Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.  I look forward to these rants and reviews. This episode he gives a well argued rant on children and M rated games.

[Karl Pilkington Podcast] - Karl reads from his new book, Karlology; Karl Pilkington has embarked on a tour of discovery to make up for the lost years of learning, and to find out more stuff. To this end he submits himself to a brain scan, attempts to join MENSA, scours books, the internet and newspapers for "facts" and visits England's most celebrated museums and galleries in his search for knowledge. Karlology is the result. I cant figure out if Karl is brilliant or actually really stupid. Whatever the answer is he is very funny.

[John Cleese Podcasts] - (Episodes 17,18 and 19) -
More strange and unusual prants and facts from Mr Cleese.
Friday, March 6th, 2009

Week Starting 2nd March

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Randall and Hopkirk deceased – Series 2 episodes 1 and 2  - DVD] – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer star in this comedy remake by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson. There are a whole host of familiar British comedy faces appearing as guest stars and it is both funny and a bit macabre. The second series is keeping up the good work.

[The Brittas Empire Series 7 - Episodes 6 to 8 plus xmas special - DVD] - Classic comedy and still funny at series seven. Not many comedies can keep you laughing that long. My favorite character has to be Colin.

Music :

[Daves Top 100 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Daves_Top_100_2009.
 

[Hats Off] - (Roy Harper) - Very good "Greatest Hits" album for one of the most influential artists of my life. This album is an good introduction to Roy's studio stuff and it covers most of his musical styles. One of things listening to this album has hammered home for me is that in many cases I much prefer the live versions of Roy's stuff. This mainly applies to some of the older stuff. A better Introduction to Roy Harper may be the fantastic live Album "Unhinged" although it doesn't encompass so a wide variety of Roy.

[Atom Heart Mother] - (Pink Floyd) - A hugely entertaining and underrated Floyd Album. Orchestral, strange, demented Choirs and ladened with unusual sound effects. Might not appeal to the main stream Floyd fan but to me it is pure magic. Rock and Roll needs more brass!

Podcast:

[NPR : Tom Jones Tiny Desk Concert] -
Sir Tom Jones, a full-throated legend among legends, wasn't an obvious choice for a Tiny Desk concert. When we began the series last year, the goal was to bring in quieter, more intimate artists (Laura Gibson, Vic Chestnut) who are often drowned out by the clinking glasses and chatter of the small clubs they usually play. When a publicist for Tom Jones contacted us and said the singer wanted to do a "Big Desk Concert" for us, the thought of Jones' rather substantial voice filling our office left us laughing... and dying to do it. Great Video Quality and an enjoyable unplugged Gig.

[X Play's Daily Video Podcast
] -  The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Around The Net] - Funny videos from around the net with Kevin and the oh so cute Olivia. Probably one of the best free Video podcasts out there. Risky humor makes it fun.

[The Roy Harper Podcast Episode 20
] - Another great Podcast from Paul.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast]  -
Jonathan is joined by Shane Richie who is currently being 'Minded' on Channel 5, and Maxine Peake gives us an insight into policing in the eighties via her new series 'Red Riding'. Very funny show and still one of my favorite Podcasts.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #209] - Entertaining collected comics podcast.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #210
] - Entertaining collected comics podcast.

Sunday, March 3rd, 2009

Week Starting 22nd February

Books:

Reading [Complete Robusters] – (Pat Mills) - Real Nostalgia for me. I read all these stories the first time round in Starlord and 2000AD but for some reason I don’t remember any of the specifics so it is like a first read. The photocopying isn’t of very high standard and some of the pages are a bit smudgy and blurry but the stories are good. Shame really. (ISBN: 978-1-905437-82-5).

[Suckle The Status of Basil] – (Dave Cooper) One of the weirdest books I have read in a long time. A very strange and whimsical book that is more than a little erotic. Nicely bound and presented too. For Mature Readers only. (ISBN: 1-56097-301-3)

Games:

I am a bit of an avid old school video game collector and occasionally fire up some old school retro stuff to relive past glories. This week has been a major retro week.
 

[Final Fight – Capcom] – (Arcade Game) – A 1989 side scrolling beat em up that started it all for Capcom. Similar to streets of rage.

[Cadillacs and Dinosaurs - Capcom] – (Arcade Game) – A 1992 side scrolling beat em up like final fight. Great fun for a quick retro blast and one of my favorite of the genre.

[Punisher - Capcom] – (Arcade Game) – A 1993 side scrolling beat em up like Final fight, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs etc. Great Fun for a quick retro blast.

[Alien vs Predator - Capcom] – (Arcade Game) - A 1994 side scrolling beat em up like Final fight, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs etc. This one is a lot more weapon based and is pretty difficult. The screens are absolutely crawling with Aliens and you have to really mash the buttons to survive.

[Armored Warriors - Capcom] – (Arcade Game) - A 1994 side scrolling beat em up like Final fight but with big armored mechs. Fun for a quick retro blast.

[Amidar - Konami] – (Arcade Game) – A deceptively simple yet fiendishly difficult game . Gobble the dots a bit like Pac man or paint the boxes a bit like painter. It has Great music too. I first played this in a coffee shop I used to meet my mum and dad in every Thursday in my school lunch hour. 1981.

[Moon Cresta – Nichibutsu] – (Arcade Game) – One of my favorite arcade shoot em ups of all time. I still remember the first time I played this in an arcade in Blackpool. Docking the rockets is always very satisfying and the sounds are great. I had forgotten how difficult it was or I have grown old and slow. 1980.

[Nemesis – Konami] – (Arcade Game) – A difficult side scrolling shoot em up that is an evolution of Scramble. I used to spend a lot of time on this one. Very difficult especially trying to balance the power ups. 1985.

[Salamander – Konami] – (Arcade Game) – An evolution of nemesis with an easier power up system but ridiculous odds. It was almost impossible to survive if you were not heavily powered up. 1986.

[Phoenix - Amstar] – (Arcade Game) – Fiendishly difficult shoot em up that mixes elements of Space Invaders and Galaxians with its own unique shooting bits. Very Difficult. 1980.

[Metal Slug] – (Neo Geo) – One of the greatest side scrolling shooters of all time. Superb graphics and insanely difficult without using lots of continues.

Music:

[Marks Top 100 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Marks_Top_100_2009.

[Daves Top 100 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Daves_Top_100_2009.

[Andy's Top 100
 2009] - http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Andys_2009_Top_100.

[Space Ritual] - (Hawkwind) - A Pretty wacky 2 cd concept album based on an early seventies tour. Some good music but I am not a great lover of the spoken word stuff. Stuff Like "Electronic number 1" doesnt really stand the test of time very well either.

[Back to Basics] - (Anvil) - I listened to this because I heard the band interviewed on Jonathon Ross and they sounded Interesting.  An old school metal album. Not bad if you are into this sort of thing but it sounds a bit Spinal Tap.

[Rainbows] - (Radiohead) - Growing on Me.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Dead Like Me - Movie - DVD] - I am a great fan of the TV series but I was a bit dissapointed with the movie. It seemed to be very slow paced and a bit awkward at times. The new Daisy didnt work for me and Rube was sorely missed. It lacked the fire that the TV series had.

[The Brittas Empire Series 7 - Episodes 1 to 5 - DVD] - Classic comedy and still funny at series seven. Not many comedies can keep you laughing that long.

[2007 British Rally Championships - DVD] -  Great production from the Duke team on this review of the 2007 British Rally Championships. A series I follow with great enthusiasm.

Podcasts:

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] - Jonathan talks to Midge Ure about the Ultravox reunion tour and comedian Michael McIntyre tells us about his own tour plans. Very funny.

[Jonathon Ross Podcast] -  Jonathan is joined by cult heavy metal band Anvil who are telling their story in a new film and comedian Rhod Gilbert gives some tips for Valentine's Day. Very Funny.

[John Cleese Podcast #16] - Funny anecdotes about going death. I dont know why the sound Quality was so appalling. Perhaps it was a part of the Joke ;-)

[Around The Net] - Funny videos from around the net with Kevin and the oh so cute Olivia. Probably one of the best free Video podcasts out there. Risky humor makes it fun.

[Sesslers Soapbox] - Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.  I look forward to these rants and reviews. This week he gives a very favorable review to a 50 cent game (who wud of thunk it).

Monday, Feb 22nd, 2009

Week Starting 14th February

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Clarkson – Super Car Showdown – DVD] – This DVD is my favorite Clarkson Video. It has fantastic cars, good high speed footage and some genuinely shocking crashes. Poor GT3!

[IT Crowd Series 2 Episodes 1 to 3 – DVD] – Great British alternative comedy with some pretty strange characters.

[Tin Man – Episode 1-3] – This is an enjoyable science fantasy retelling of the Wizard of OZ. The setting is refreshing, the characters easy to follow and the story is upbeat (similar in feel to Firefly). I didn't like the original Wizard of Oz but I enjoyed watching this series.

Books:

[Slaine: The Books of Invasions: Volume 3] (Pat Mills & Clint Langley) - The third volume in the stunning “Books of Invasions” series collects books 5 and 6. The standard of artwork is again fantastic and the stories are top notch too. I really enjoyed both the books. The first book “Odacon” is a very satisfying conclusion to the battle with his adversaries and ends with Slaine setting off to look for his son. Slaine finds his son working in a freak show in the second book “Carnival”. The story in this book is a bit of a departure from the other books in that it takes the form of a bit of a murder mystery. The story and artwork in this story are probably the best in the series.

[Battle Pope Volume 2 : Mayhem] - (Brian K Vaughan, Roberts, Moore, Staples) - Battle Pope is lewd, Crude and offensive. It is also pretty funny and a very entertaining read even if you are a Catholic. The artwork fits the story perfectly and the large list of characters are superbly drawn. Battle Pope is like a comedy punisher with an over active sex drive. His partner who also happens to be the son of God is a meek and mild Hippy type that is apparently hung like a grand national winner. Volume two is as good as the first Volume and that makes it a great read. If you are sensitive and easily offended please stay away but for us hardy types it's a great way to while away an hour. Extras are pretty good too. ISBN 978-1-58240-652-7.


[Battle Pope Volume 3: Pillow Talk]
- (Brian K Vaughan, Roberts, Walker, Su, Moore, Staples). The third volume in the Battle Pope Series is as good as the first two volumes. It is still just as offensive and funny and the art is spot on. This volume introduces Santa and Mary as new characters to great effect. Mr. Vaughan is overdue a visit from the Spanish Inquisition I think :-).Definitely not recommended for sensitive religious types. ISBN 978-1-58240-677-0

[Battle Pope Volume 4: Mayhem] - (Brian K Vaughan, Moore, Staples) – The final book in the series follows on in the same vein with its crude and funny style. In this book Battle Pope ends up fighting with God himself which is pretty Bizarre. A very enjoyable series. ISBN 978-1-58240-751-7.
 

Podcasts:
 

[John Cleese Podcast #13] – Funny Anecdotes from Mr Cleese.

[John Cleese Podcast #14] - Great Interview with John Cleese and a Canadian Journalist. Very funny.

[John Cleese Podcast #15] – Great Interview with John Cleese and a Canadian Journalist. Very funny.

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #208] - Informative Collected Comics Podcast.
 

Video Games :

[Fable 2 – XBOX 360] – This game has gorgeous Graphics, great voice acting and natural feeling controls. It is the best RPG game I have played for years (perhaps ever). The more I play it the more I like it.

[Fallout 3 – PS3] – When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate and confusing.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50’s soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it.

Music:

[Around the World] – (It Bites) – This is a fantastic album from this much underrated band. They were so much more than just “Calling All the Heroes”. My favorite “It Bites” Album.

[Chasing the Sun] – (Indigenous) - A good Blues Rock album.
 

[Marks Top 100 2009] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Marks_Top_100_2009

[Daves Top 100 2009] – http://www.zensurweb.com/booksnstuff/top100.htm#Daves_Top_100_2009

[Genesis Archives 2 – Disk 3] – (Genesis) – Not the best Period of Genesis but some pretty good tunes for an early morning drive.

[War of the Worlds] – (Jeff Wayne) – Even after all these years this is still a fantastic rock opera.

Saturday, Feb 14th, 2009
Week Starting February 10th 2009


DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[First Blood - Bluray] This is one of my all time favorite movies. When I first saw it I was hooked by the survival theme of the movie as at the time I was doing a lot of fell walking and exploring forests off the beaten track. I always wanted a big survival knife like Rambo but such things were frowned upon in the UK. This is the first time I have seen the movie in about 15 years and it has aged very well indeed. Bluray is so much better than the grainy old VHS copy I still own and I enjoyed the extras. It was interesting to see the movie with the original ending although I think they made the right choice with the happy ending. The deleted rumpy pumpy scene definitely didn’t fit in with the movie but was very enjoyable.

[Clarkson – Thriller – DVD] – This DVD pretty much followed the same formula as all his other videos but it was still entertaining. There are some great cars featured especially the Zonda F but it gets a little bit cheesy at times.

Music:

[Blackfield II] - (Blackfield) – A good second album from Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson side project. Blackfield are a lot more AOR than Prog Rock and I have heard of them referred to as "Porcupine Tree Light". There are some great tunes on this CD and wonderful production that is a real treat for the ears on a high end sound system. "Epidemic" is my favorite track on the album closed followed by "End of the World". Both these tracks sound even better Live and I have fond memories of the San Francisco gig. 
 

[Hawkwind - Epoch Eclipse: 30 Year Anthology Disk 2 ] - (Hawkwind) - Some really great classic stuff (Motorhead, Assault and Battery, Hassan I Sahba, Spirit of the Age and High Rise) and a couple of forgettable not so great poppy punky tracks.
 

[Arrive Alive] - (Pallas) - Absolutely classic Pallas with standout tracks such as "Arrive Alive" and the "Ripper".  This album has the raw live energy that they seemed to lose on subsequent studio albums. A must for prog rock fans.
 
[Fireball] - (Deep Purple) - This is my favorite Deep Purple album mainly because of the fantastic instrumental work by Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord.  The Instrumental bits on "No No No" and "Demons Eye" are stupendous. There are also some great lyrics on this album, "Anyone's Daughter" is a great example. The title track "Fireball" is also a classic Purple track . One of the tracks called "Fools" is very prog rock.

 

[The Best of Hawkwind friends and relations]- (Hawkwind)- An enjoyable romp through some old Hawkwind stuff. I am a huge hawkwind fan and feel they never got the respect they deserved  due to the rather poor nature of their commercial success "Silver Machine". They are a really heavy band at times. Some of the stuff on this album is a bit strange but generally its very enjoyable for a Hawkwind fan.  I have been after a copy of the track "Rajh Neesh" for about 20 years !
 

[Greenslade] - (Greenslade) - Classic old school prog rock with multiple lead keyboards. The keyboard, Bass and guitar sounds are a real treat for fans of old school rock music. The first album is definitely the best and although I think this it is superb I have never managed to convince my other proggy friends of its merits. 
 

Podcasts:
 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #206] - Chris was pretty angry this week about the comics industry. It made entertaining listening to hear someone blow off steam like this. 
 

[Collected Comics Library Podcast #207] - Chris was back to normal for this Trade Paperback based podacast. An entertaining listen.
 

[Jonathan Ross Podcast] - Really funny (as always) with a special treat for me in the shape of  Bruce Campbell as a guest. I am a huge Bruce fan.
 

[Now Show - Civil Liberties] - A run of the mill political comedy show with some funny bits but generally pretty poor. They mentioned Roy Harper and Altamont so it wasnt all bad. 
 

[Now Show - Bad Science] - A run of the mill high brow comedy show with some funny bits but generally pretty poor. This episode was a real stinker. One particular section about racism fell very flat indeed. 
 

[Now Show - Summits Up] - A run of the mill political comedy show with some funny bits but generally pretty poor. This show still isn't getting much better. 
 

[News Quiz 31-Oct-08] - Sandi Toksvig heads this funny and witty Radio 4 comedy Quiz show. Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand are amongst the targets in this episode. 
 

[News Quiz 7-Nov-08] - Sandi Toksvig heads this funny and whitty Radio 4 comedy Quiz show. A little too political this week. 
 

[Sesslers Soapbox] - I look forward to Adams rants and find his Soapboxes very entertaining. It was quite surprising to see a disclaimer before one of the podcasts I watched this week so I knew it was going to be something special. I was not disappointed and it was fun to hear Adam Blowing off steam (seems to be happening in a lot of podcasts this week). I think one of the frustrating things in the game industry is it is filled with self opinionated spoilt Kids. For this reason I don't play online games (with the exception of Warhammer Online) very much anymore. Generally speaking you seem to find a better online crowd on the PC than you do on consoles. Perhaps I am too old to be playing video games but I still get a real kick out of them in the same way I did playing "Moon Cresta" in the arcades or "Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum games" way back in the early Eighties.  Infact I still remember playing  "mouse" on the Commodore pet back in the 70's. Kids just don't appreciate what they have got ;)

 

Books:


[Slaine: The Books of Invasions: Scota and Tara: Volume 2] (Pat Mills & Clint Langley) - The second collection picks up nicely from where Volume One left off and it includes Books 3 and 4 of the Books of Invasions. Another well written and easy to read story with visually stunning art that is especially impressive on the monsters. Like the first two books there is plenty of gore and nudity but it is all tastefully done. Despite the unbelievably high quality art in the Book of Invasion series one thing has started to irritate me a bit while reading them. The faces of the characters in the book often don't have appropriate expressions for the action or dialogue and they seem to be looking in random directions rather than at whatever the particular frame is concentrating on. In some ways it reminds me of those cheezy photo love stories you used to see in comics in the 70's where the pictures and actors impressions never quite seemed to match the subject of the frame. Its only a minor niggle however and no doubt it is a byproduct of the digital manipulation. I reckon if you were to look carefully at the book you would find that the facial art is re-used a lot. It's the only possible way Langley can maintain this level of detail otherwise each frame would take many many hours to draw. Special mention has to go to the Bonus Covers section of this volume where the art is absolutely stunning.

Live Gig :

Indigenous Live at Jackson Rancheria

I drove up to Jackson Rancheria through rain storms of biblical proportions to see the blues rock band Indigenous. It was cool going to see a Native American Band on Tribal lands. Although the Gig was probably only half full, the audience were very enthusiastic and there was a great atmosphere. Many of the audience were shouting out innapropraite requests for covers such as Freebird but for me the funniest moment was when someone called out for George Micheal and Mato started playing the first few bars of Faith.
The band themselves were very good. I was expecting Mato to dominate the proceedings but actually all the musicains were excellent. There were some fantastic solos from both the Keyboard player and the Slide Guitar player.
The encore was absolutely fantastic and a tremendous way to finish off the evening. I managed to meet Mato afterwards and got a signed CD. Great Stuff.

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Week Starting 31st January 2009

Music:

[The Backroom] – (Editors) – This is a Great album with just a hint of Big Country.

[
Wire Tap Scars] - (Sparta)  - A great Indie band that sound somewhat similar to AFI but at the same time different. This is probably my favorite album by them. They were formed from the split up of "At The Drive In". The other half of "At The Drive In" went on to form the wonderful "Mars Volta". The drum sound is excellent on this recording.

[Porcelain] - (Sparta) - A good indie album that is similar to their earlier release "Wiretap Scars" in many ways but not Quite as melodic. My favorite track on the Album is "Tensioning".

[Keyboard Wizards & Classic Tracks] - (Various)  - I am a bit of a keyboard fan and this album looked to be very intriguing. Its an unusual selection of covers (a Lot of Pink Floyd covers) and originals played by many different artists. Its a strange album with songs from Synth Pop to Prog rock to ambient electronica.  Strangely enough for an album promoting the virtues of Keyboard it is some of the guitar work that really stands out on this double album. There is some very weird ambient stuff but generally most of it is very listenable too.

[Live at The Pachyderm Studio 1998] - (Indigenous) - Awesome guitar. Close your eyes and you would swear it was SRV. I reckon Mato Nanji is a good as old Stevey and this is one heck of a gig.

Books:

*First Read [Conan, Volume 1: The Frost Giant's Daughter and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek, Dave Stewart, Thomas Yeates, Cary Nord) – I really enjoyed this book. The story was well written and it captured Conan perfectly. The artwork was beautifully colored and a pleasure to look at. It is done without bold inks so the images have a bit of a water color look to them. At first I found them to be a little lacking in detail but I soon warmed to the lush style. Nice biography of Howard at the end too.

*First Read [Conan, Volume 2: God in the Bowl and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord, Thomas Yeates, Dave Stewart) – There are many Graphical novels that are quite a challenge to read. They often have confusing cluttered art work and convoluted story lines. This is not one of them. Conan, God In The Bowl is a straight forward classic adventure tale with a bit of murder mystery thrown in for good measure. The artwork is perfectly suited to the subject matter and great to look at. The character of Conan is built up nicely from the first volume and I found it difficult to put the book down once I started.

*First Read [Caliber First Canon Of Justice] – (Sam Sarkar, Garrie Gastonny) – I bought this book because I was impressed with artwork , thought the premise of the story was interesting and mainly because it was on sale for only $10 in hardcover. The story was pretty good but I found it very difficult to tell the characters apart as they all looked pretty similar. All in all a very stylish book but a bit weak on script.

*First Read [Slaine - The Books of Invasions: Moloch and Golamh v. 1 (Hardcover)] – (Pat Mills, Clint Langley) – I used to read Slaine many years ago in 2000AD but it never looked like this. The artwork in this book is very detailed, colorful and unusual. Apparently Clint uses a combination of conventional art and digital manipulation to achieve the lush and often bizarre pictures. What you end up with is a comic strip with art quality and detail that would normally only be reserved for cover art. The two stories in this book are both very enjoyable and extremely violent.  Classic Pat Mills work with grotesque characters and situations. ISBN # 978-1904265825.

Video Games:

[Warhammer Online – PC]
– I am still having a lot of fun developing a Zealot Healer. Public quests and PvP are great fun.


 

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Rab C. Nesbitt Christmas Special] -
Not strictly a DVD release but a friend sent me a copy of this on DVD as we don't get Rab in the US (no way he would be understood). Despite getting a bit of a slating in the British Press I really enjoyed watching this. All the Classic Rab elements are in there and the story is refreshingly modern and up to date. Rab, Mary, Jamesie and Ella are all in fine form and a sober RAB was a novel twist. I wonder if many of the reviewers were fans of the original stuff. I am a very biased reviewer as I am a huge Rab C Nesbitt fan but I think it was as good as the old stuff. I found myself laughing out loud while watching this on the train

[Black Adder Christmas Special] - Classic Black adder

[Two Ronnies Series 2 -Episode 1]
- Classic British Comedy

Podcasts:


[
Ricky Gervaise Podcast -Feb 2009] - Only a 10 minute long teaser but very funny as usual.

[
Roy Harper Podcast - Episode 19] - Paul was getting a bit adventurous with his prisoner Jingles in this one and put out another cracking good podcast.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Week Starting 26th January 2009


DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Lost - Season 4 –Episodes 1 &2 - Bluray] –
I have watched “Lost” before. My wife watches it but it never really appealed to me. Last night she started watching season 4 by playing the 8m15 long plot synopsis which was pretty insane and entertaining. It drew me in and I ended up watching two episodes. Lost is a bit confusing but I enjoyed it. I think the bluray season pass feature (it remembers where you were up to) is a fantastic idea. I reckon I will watch a few more.

[Father Ted - Series 1 Episode 1] - Fantastic comedy and this is my favorite episode.

Podcasts:

* First Listen
[KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Of Montreal] - Kevin Barnes (or "Georgie Fruit" in this case) and the cast of Of Montreal treats the KEXP airwaves to acoustic versions of the tracks from their funky glam-pop opus "Skeletal Lamping." Recorded on 11/19/08 - 5 songs: Beware Our Nubile Miscreants, "Triphallus, To Punctuate!", Touched Something's Hollow, An Eluardian Instance, For Our Elegant Caste. I Really enjoyed This Podcast and the acoustic mixes were a refreshing change.

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Elliot Brood] - This Ontario trio may tackle dark themes, but their roots-flavored indie rock is inspiriting and chock-full of catchy hooks. Elliott Brood visits KEXP for a rousing live radio performance. Recorded 9-22-2008 - 4 songs: Garden River, Cadillac Dust, The Valley Town, The Bridge.  Pretty good band that are sort of Indie Bluegrass.

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Lykke Li] - Swedish singer Lykke Li performs an affecting set of some of her most popular songs for KEXP at CMJ 2008. Recorded live at Gibson Showroom on 10/21/08 - 4 songs: Dance Dance Dance, I'm Good I'm Gone, Little Bit, Tonight. Pretty good podcast with some interesting arrangements. Certainly a fresh sound but the Interview portion is a bit hard work to listen too.

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances Podcast - Bang Bang Eche] - NZ dance-punkers Bang Bang Eche rock the Gibson Showroom for KEXP from CMJ 2008. Recorded 10/22/08 - 5 songs: Fingers In The Till, Exchange, Four To The Floor, Time Mismanagement, Hangers. A very high energy and pretty enjoyable podcast. Cant think of anyone they remind me of. I am not usually a fan of music that is this much in your face but there was enough variety going on to keep things fun.

* First Listen [Jonathon Ross Podcast - Very funny show and still one of my favorite Podcasts.

* First Listen [Sesslers Soapbox] - Video Games Industry snippets from mr Video Games himself.

*First Listen [Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall #205] - The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic books and collected editions including DC Comics Archives, Marvel Masterworks, Absolutes, Omnibus's, Graphic Novels and all other hardcover and softcover favorites - the CCL covers it all! An informative collected comic books podcast that I listen too to find out news of new releases and pointer towards new books to try.

Music:

[Skeletal Lamping] - (Of Montreal) - Strange and often Bizarre Indie pop with dodgy lyrics. Hard Core Bee Gees on drugs. Great Stuff :-).

[Riverside - Various Stuff on Shuffle Play].

Monday, January 26, 2009 

Week Starting 17th January 2009.
Books:

[The Darkness Compendium Volume 1 – Hardcover] – This is a hefty monster of a book (1280 pages) that is almost too heavy to read comfortably in bed. The artwork is vibrant and although I don’t normally read this type of mainstream graphic novel I was intrigued enough by the Garth Ennis connection to give it a go. There are times when the story arcs can be a little bit confusing (story probably running in parallel with Witchblade) but it is generally an easy read. Some of the double page spreads can be physically hard to read especially if you are like me and don’t want to damage the books spine. I didn’t enjoy the “Tales of the Darkness” stories as much but the preview of volume 2 was right back on form.

Music:

[Sugar] – (Aloha) – This band is very hard to categorize so I am not even going to try. Oh well….they are sort of free form Jazz experimental Indie band. Their music is complex, with strange time signatures and instruments and Is quite a challenge to listen too. It is not really brash or harsh but there is so much going on and you rarely get a comfortable feeling that you know where the songs are going next. Xylophones seem to feature prominently. I listened to this album once back in 2004 and discarded it. I found it last week while tidying up and gave it a second chance. I am glad I did as either my musical tastes have broadened or the album has improved with age. It gets better every time I listen to it.

[Rainbows] – (Radiohead) – Not a strong Radiohead album but it has a few moments.

[The Decline of British Sea Power] - (British Sea Power) - A fantastic live band with a barking mad stage show and a unique sound. A British Indy/Pop band from Cumbria in the UK (Best Place on Earth). The first album is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the stuff I really like and some I find a bit brash. "The Lonely", "Carrion", "Childhood Memories" and "Blackout" are fantastic tracks.

[Live Herald
] - (Steve Hillage) - I haven't listened to this album for years but it brought back great memories. I think Steve Hilage was ahead of his time with his brand of Psychedelic space rock. Great spacey sounds and mixes especially if listened to through headphones. I reckon there wasn't a lot of studio overdubbing on this live recording. The "Dervish Riff" is very Hawkwind sounding.

[Live At The BBC
] - (Steve Hilage) - I haven't listened to this Radio 1 live concert for years. Great Psychedelic space rock but not quite as good as Live Herald. Perhaps less overdubbing :-)

[No Answer - With Bonus Tracks] - (ELO) - A simply stunning album of Early ELO stuff and rarities. Some really strange and challenging stuff but rewarding with it.

Video Games:

[Warhammer Online – PC] –
I am still having a lot of fun developing a green skin squig herder and a Chaos Chosen one. Public quests and PvP are great fun.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Randall and Hopkirk deceased – Series 1 episodes 5, 6 and Extras - DVD] – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer star in this comedy remake by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson. There are a whole host of familiar British comedy faces appearing as guest stars and it is both funny and a bit macabre. Episode 6 was a great finale to the series. The behind the scenes documentary was pretty funny too.

[Only Fools and Horses – Diamonds Are For Heather & Thicker than Water – Christmas Crackers] – Not sure what made me want to watch 3 Christmas Specials in January but funny stuff anyways.

Podcasts:

[Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall] - The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic books and collected editions including DC Comics Archives, Marvel Masterworks, Absolutes, Omnibus's, Graphic Novels and all other hardcover and softcover favorites - the CCL covers it all! An informative collected comic books podcast that I listen too to find out news of new releases and pointer towards new books to try.

[Roy Harper Podcast – Matt Churchill Special] – A very enjoyable podcast with some great music. I never heard of matt before this but I will have to check out his stuff in the future. Great guitarist.

[Ricky Gervais Podcasts] – Extremely funny podcasts. These are very rare things indeed in that I have listened to them many times (I rarely listen to a Podcast More Than Once). I never liked the “Office” and thought Ricky was crap in “night at the museum” but he won me over big time with “Extras” and these podcasts. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 

Week Starting 10th January

Music:

[Effloresce] - (Oceansize) – A great album from a great band. If you like Pineapple Thief and Porcupine Tree you should really like this band. Proggy but at the same time indy sounding and at times very heavy. There are some great melodies and mood changes in the songs. Some stuff sounds a bit like Mogwai.

[Magenta] – I listened to various stuff on shuffle play while cleaning out the garage for a few hours.

[Blackfield II] – (Blackfield) – Steve Wilson side project band. A bit of a Porcupine Tree light but they have their own distinct sound. I like the first and second albums about the same. They both have some pretty catch tunes.

[Sugar] – (Aloha) – This band is very hard to categorize so I am not even going to try. Oh well….they are sort of free form Jazz experimental Indie band. Their music is complex, with strange time signatures and instruments and Is quite a challenge to listen too. It is not really brash or harsh but there is so much going on and you rarely get a comfortable feeling that you know where the songs are going next. Xylophones seem to feature prominently. I listened to this album once back in 2004 and discarded it. I found it today while tidying up and gave it a second chance. I am glad I did as either my musical tastes have broadened or the album has improved with age.

* First Listen [Ra Ra Riot EP] - (Ra Ra Riot) - A good indie POP band with a warm sound. Great vocals that are slightly reminicent of the Smiths or perhaps Dexy's midnight runners or Hot Hot Heat (If you can imagine that ..). Having a Cello as one of the instruments is a nice touch and the tracks are very upbeat. Sounds better than the live podcast on KEXP. I enjoyed the first 3 tracks the best.

* First Listen [That's Your Fire] - (Aloha) -  A unique sounding Indie experimental band with complicated time signatures and a freerange Jazz approach to song writing.  Xylophones feature prominently in the arrangements. This album is similar in style to the later release "Sugar" but it is a lttle more laid back and it doesnt give your ears quite the same work out. Great band and a great album.

* First Listen [The Great Communicator] - (Aloha) -  A unique sounding Indie experimental band with complicated time signatures and a freerange Jazz approach to song writing.  Xylophones feature prominently in the arrangements. Fantastic EP without some of the complexity in the later albums "Sugar" and "That's Your Fire" but filled with smoothly layered musical arrangements and still using some experimental time signatures. This EP also has some great early synth sounds. I think this EP is a great starting point for listening to Aloha.

[The Decline of British Sea Power] - (British Sea Power) - A fantastic live band with a barking mad stage show and a unique sound. A British Indy/Pop band from Cumbria in the UK (Best Place on Earth). The first album is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the stuff I really like and some I find a bit brash. "The Lonely", "Carrion" and "Blackout" are fantastic tracks.

[Open Season] - (British Sea Power) - A great follow up album to "the decline of British Sea Power".  Normally second albums can be a bit weak but not this one. In many ways it is a much easier album to listen to than the first. Standout tracks include "It ended on an Oily Stage", "Be Gone" and "Please Stand Up".

* First Listen  [Krankenhaus? -EP] - (British Sea Power) - Pelican is strange 60's style track but it is probably the most memorable track on the EP.  The rest of the album is ok but it might take a few more listens before I get into it.

[Catch the Spirit] - (Mostly Autumn) - Mostly Autumn are a progressive rock/folk band that are fairly similar to Magenta in that both bands have a classic sounding female vocalist and a folky sounding male vocalist.  Mostly Autum are a smoother and more commercial sounding band than Magenta. This double album is a great Introduction to the band and has some really good tracks. "Evergreen" is my favorite on the album. Some of the tracks are a little too commercial sounding for my taste.

* First Listen [Heart Full of Sky] - (Mostly Autumn) - A smooth AOR Album. Great opening track "Fading Colours" and some nice guitar on other tracks but some of the tracks are a bit too mellow and commercial for me. "Walk With a Storm" is a little trip back the their earlier Proggy folk roots and starts off a bit slow but has a great instrumental finish.

Books:

READING: [The Darkness Compendium Volume 1 – Hardcover] This is a hefty monster of a book (1280 pages) that is almost too heavy to read comfortably in bed. The artwork is vibrant and although I don’t normally read this type of mainstream graphic novel I was intrigued enough by the Garth Ennis connection to give it a go. There are times when the story arcs can be a little bit confusing (story probably running in parallel with Witchblade) but it is generally an easy read. Some of the double page spreads can be hard to read especially if you are like me and don’t want to damage the books spine.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Get Smart – Bluray] – This movie is based upon a based on the '60s spy parody TV show “Get Smart” which I have never even heard of. It has some good action scenes, the odd funny moment and good special effects.  The movie wasn’t bad but I couldn’t emphasize with the leading character Maxwell Smart.

[Randall and Hopkirk deceased – Series 1 episodes 3 and 4- DVD] – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer star in this comedy remake by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson. There are a whole host of familiar British comedy faces appearing as guest stars and it is both funny and a bit macabre. Episode 3 was the funniest yet, especially the interview sketch. Episode 4 seemed to have 90% of the Fast Show cast.

Video Games:

[Warhammer Online – PC] – Things didn’t get off to a good start with this game. The first disk I got didn’t work at all. The next disk wouldn’t work on my Vista PC DVD drive but I eventually got an external DVD rom drive to recognize it.  With the game finally installed I had the usual farce of trying to find the .exe file in Vista. The only one I could find was a patch.exe and when I clicked on this things started to happen and it started to download an absolutely huge file. The best part of half a day was lost installing this game.

First impressions once the game actually loaded were pretty good. The opening cinematic was absolutely stunning. Game play itself is very much like WOW but the graphics are not as pretty. I am still having a lot of fun developing a green skin squig herder. Public quests are great fun.

[Fable 2 – XBOX 360] – This game has gorgeous Graphics, great voice acting and a natural feeling controls. It is the best RPG game I have played for years (perhaps ever). The more I play it the more I like it.

Podcasts:

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances - Ra Ra Riot] - An easy to listen to gig but nothing special to make it stand out from the rather crowded  Indie Pop scene. The Cello is a nice touch and the last track "Dying is Fine" is my favorite.

[Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall] - The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic books and collected editions including DC Comics Archives, Marvel Masterworks, Absolutes, Omnibus's, Graphic Novels and all other hardcover and softcover favorites - the CCL covers it all! An informative collected comic books podcast that I listen too to find out news of new releases and pointer towards new books to try.
Friday, January 09, 2009

Week Starting 3rd January 2008.
Music:
[Double Life] – (Nick Harper) – I think this album really captures the essence of Nick Harper. There is some fantastic guitar work and often wacky vocals. He sounds so much like his dad but at the same time he is very unique.
 

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The Dark Knight – Bluray] – Yet another batman movie with a different set of actors. For this incarnation they moved Gotham out of its dark gothic setting into somewhere like New York. It was quite refreshing to have a brighter more open color palette but I do think the Gothic rendition of Gotham was somehow more appropriate. The movie itself is very well done and keeps you on the edge of your seat right until the end. Although Bale does a pretty good job playing the Dark Knight it is Heath Ledgers portrayal of the Joker that makes this movie. Michael Kane plays a great Alfred and for a change Gary Oldman plays a good guy in the role of Commissioner Gordon. Its probably a reflection of the movies I have seen recently but the special effects are so well done you almost stop thinking of them as such. On Bluray the sound is fantastic and my poor old Yamaha RV620 amplifier overheated and gave up the will to live near the end of this long movie.

[Carry On England] – A pretty average carry on movie without some of the best actors.

[Carry on Follow That Camel] -  A pretty good carry on movie but Phil Silver is a very poor replacement for Sid James.

[Randall and Hopkirk deceased – Series 1 episodes 1 & 2- DVD] – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer star in this pretty funny comedy remake by the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson. The first episode is pretty slow to get going but once Hopkirk is actually dead the program improves dramatically. There are a whole host of familiar British comedy faces  appearing as guest stars and it is fun to watch.

[Bottom – Series 2 Episode 1 – Digger – DVD] – Absolutely classic Bottom episode especially the Love Bureau scene at the start “Whazzo pair of Jugs”.

Books:

READING: [The Darkness Compendium Volume 1 – Hardcover] – This is a hefty monster of a book (1280 pages) that is almost too heavy to read comfortably in bed. The artwork is vibrant and although I don’t normally read this type of mainstream graphic novel I was intrigued enough by the Garth Ennis connection to give it a go. There are times when the story arcs can be a little bit confusing (story probably running in parallel with Witchblade) but it is generally an easy read. Some of the double page spreads can be hard to read especially if you are like me and don’t want to damage the books spine.

[Robohunter – Day of the Droids] – (John Wagner, Alan Grant, Ian Gibson) – This is my favorite comic story of all time.  I read it when it first appeared in 2000AD back in the 80’s and I still read it to this day. The writing is witty and well paced and the artwork top rate for a black and white comic. Every comic book fan should read this.

Video Games:

[Warhammer Online – PC] – Things didn’t get off to a good start with this game. The first disk I got didn’t work at all. The next disk wouldn’t work on my Vista PC DVD drive but I eventually got an external DVD rom drive to recognize it.  With the game finally installed I had the usual farce of trying to find the .exe file in Vista. The only one I could find was a patch.exe and when I clicked on this things started to happen and it started to download an absolutely huge file. The best part of half a day was lost installing this game.
First impressions once the game actually loaded were pretty good. The opening cinematic was absolutely stunning. Game play itself is very much like WOW but the graphics are not as pretty. I am having a lot of fun developing a green skin squig herder. Oh no not another world of Warcrack addiction ;).

Podcasts:

[Pineapple Thief – Podcast 4] – Another wacky podcast from the Pineapple Thief team. No music on this one but plenty of self depreciation.

[Ricky Gervais Podcasts] – Extremely funny podcasts. These are very rare things indeed in that I have listened to them many times (I rarely listen to a Podcast More Than Once). I never liked the “Office” and thought Ricky was crap in night at the museum but he won me over big time with “Extras” and these podcasts. Highly recommended.

[Sessler's Soapbox] - X-Play host Adam Sessler tells gives you his professional opinion on the latest news and gossip in the videogame industry. Straight-shooter Sessler tells it like it is in this weekly podcast and keeps you informed on the in's and out's of the videogame industry. Excellent Podcast.

[X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Roy Harper Podcast 18] – Another fine podcast from Paul at Stormcock with some great tracks thrown in for good measure.  I really enjoyed the interview with Nick Harpers PR lady who sounded a lot like Joanna Lumley.

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances - School of  Seven Bells] - A strange and mystical acoustic set featuring the haunting dual harmony of the twin Deheza sisters layered with incredibly warm sounding guitar. I love the acoustic guitar work in this session. At times I am reminded of Steve Hacketts acoustic work (especially on white Elephant coat).

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances - Two Gallants ] - A US folk indie band. Sort of like a Dylan/Neil Young but very melancholy, some might say depressing. Doesnt really float my boat.

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances - The Hold Steady] - This is an unplugged acoustic set and has a sort of Blue Grass Rock sound. The songs have gritty hard hitting vocals, great lyrics and inventive themes.

* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances - Nada Surf] -  Remind me a little of Crowded House or perhaps Death cab for Cutie. Doesnt really capture my imagination.


* First Listen [KEXP Live Performances - Blind Pilot] - Nice laid back electric folky, bluegrassy sound with an indie bent. Catchy foot tapping tunes and an enjoyable podcast.

* First Listen [XM Weekly Podcast - 24] A great way of finding new bands. Bands worth Further Investigation from this months podcast - Solid Gold.

* First Listen [XM Weekly Podcasts - 25] - A great way of finding new bands. Bands worth Further Investigation from this months podcast  - Murder By Death, State Bird.

* First Listen [XM Weekly Podcasts - 26] - A great way of finding new bands. Bands worth Further Investigation from this months podcast  - Luke Doucet and the White Falcon, Fools and Horses & Aerodrone.

* First Listen [XM Weekly Podcasts - 27] - A great way of finding new bands. Bands worth Further Investigation from this months podcast  - Absentstar, Ghostly, Iry.

* First Listen [XM Weekly Podcasts - 28] - A great way of finding new bands. Bands worth Further Investigation from this months podcast  - My Brightest Diamond.

* First Listen [XM Weekly Podcasts - 30] - A great way of finding new bands. Bands worth Further Investigation from this months podcast  - Delta Spirit.

[KEXP Live Performances - Fugiya and Miyagi] - A enjoyable set played by a British band that reminds me a lot of of Stereolab. Knickerbocker is the standout track in this session.

[Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall] - The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic books and collected editions including DC Comics Archives, Marvel Masterworks, Absolutes, Omnibus's, Graphic Novels and all other hardcover and softcover favorites - the CCL covers it all! An informative collected comic books podcast that I listen too to find out news of new releases and pointer towards new books to try.
03 Jan 2009

Week Starting 27th December

Music:

[Stormcock]- (Roy Harper) – Even though I have been a Roy fan for about 24 years I have never heard Stormcock the studio album. I am very familiar with the live versions of "The Same Old Rock", "One Man Rock and Roll Band" and "Me and My Woman" but this was the very first time I have heard the original versions. On first listen I was a little disappointed finding the vocals to be a little weak and the arrangements to be a little overdone. I still prefer the live version of "Same old Rock" from "Unhinged", "Me and my Woman" from "Live at Albert Hall" and "One Man Rock and roll Band" from various live shows but this studio album is growing on me.

First Listen * [Double Life] – (Nick Harper) – I think this album really captures the essence of Nick Harper. There is some fantastic guitar work and often wacky vocals. He sounds so much like his dad but at the same time he is very unique.

[In The Absence Of Truth] - (Isis) - I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn't spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band. 

[Frost] - (Milliontown EP) - A great Album with the totally amazing track "Black Light Machine". It's a shame they never released any more material although I hear rumors they may be touring in 2009. 

Video Games:

First Play* [Fable 2 – XBOX 360] – This game has gorgeous Graphics, great voice acting and a natural feeling controls. It is the best RPG game I have played for years (perhaps ever). The more I play it the more I like it.

First Play* [Fallout 3 – PS3] – When I first started playing this game I found the controls and graphics confusing. Although the post apocalyptic world is nicely rendered I found it difficult to navigate and confusing.  The voice acting is good and the strange 50's soundtrack is perfectly suited to the landscape. I also struggled with combat to begin with. After about 4 hours of play things started to gel and I began to enjoy myself. The controls became natural and the combat scheme a great tactical experience. The more I play the more I like it.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The IT Crowd ver 1.0 – Episode 3- 6] – Very funny Comedy series about some IT staff in an office. Bizarre stuff.

First Watch* - [Wanted –Bluray] – I enjoyed this movie although it was only very loosely based upon the Graphic novel. The special effects were very good and the violence was pretty extreme.  They basically stripped all the superhero/super villain aspects from the plot but kept the headshot count.

[Carry On Camping - DVD] – Another classic Carry on Movie, set in a camp site in the South of England. Great picture Quality on this DVD edition.

[Carry On Abroad - DVD] – Another Classic Carry on Movie. Great picture Quality on this DVD edition.

[Carry On Doctor – DVD] – Enjoyable Carry on romp set in a hospital. All the usual stars are present in this funny movie.

Books:

First Read * [Wanted] – (Mark Millar, J.G. Jones & Paul Mounts) – Excellent artwork and story. Wanted is a very violent book with a somewhat controversial ending. I think if you enjoy stuff like Punisher Max you will probably enjoy this although there isn't much in the way of a moral code. Extras are pretty good too.

READING: [The Darkness Compendium Volume 1 – Hardcover] – This is a hefty monster of a book that is almost too heavy to read comfortably in bed. The artwork is vibrant and although I don't normally read this type of mainstream graphic novel I was intrigued enough by the Garth Ennis connection to give it a go. I am going to be reading this one for a long while.

Podcasts:

[Stephen Fry – podgram] – Always a welcome trip to the intelligent and witty boudoir of actor Stephen Fry.

27 Dec 2008

Week starting 23rd December:

Music:

[Warszawa] (Porcupine Tree) - Absolutely classic Porcupine Tree gig. This CD is highly recommended as an introduction to Porcupine Tree.

First Listen * [The Invisible Invasion] - (The Coral) - This album has a very sixties sound with a hint of darkness. Great guitar and lyrics providing retro rock goodness. Perhaps a little too sixties for some people but a pretty good listen. 

First Listen * [Goverment Commissions :BBC Sessions 1996-2003] - (Mogwai) This is a great collection of Mogwai session stuff at the BBC. The music rolls over you in warm fuzzy layers occasionally ramping up to moments of aggression. Mainly instrumental but none the worse for it.

[In The Absence Of Truth] - (Isis) - I first saw this band as a support act for Tool back in 200x. I think the band really found themselves with this album and it is far more accessible than their earlier stuff. A band that is similar to Mogwai but much less instrumental and a bit heavier (they unfortunately have some guttural screaming vocals but it doesn't spoil this album). This is fantastic album and a great starter to get a taste of the band. 

[Epoch - Eclipse 30 Year Anthology - CD 1]  - (Hawkwind) : Some good early Hawkwind stuff on here but "Hurry on Sundown" , "Masters of the Universe" and "Orgone Accumulator" are probably the most memorable.

First Listen * [Stormcock]- (Roy Harper) – Even though I have been a Roy fan for about 24 years I have never heard Stormcock the studio album. I am very familiar with the live versions of "The Same Old Rock", "One Man Rock and Roll Band" and "Me and My Woman" but this was the very first time I have heard the original versions. On first listen I was a little disappointed finding the vocals to be a little weak and the arrangements to be a little overdone. I still prefer the live version of "Same old Rock" from "Unhinged", "Me and my Woman" from "Live at Albert Hall" and "One Man Rock and roll Band" from various live shows but this studio album is growing on me.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[The IT Crowd vet 1.0 – Episode 1- 3] – Very funny Comedy series about some IT staff in an office.

First Watch* - [Ratatouille - Blu-ray] – This is an absolutely gorgeous looking movie ..ay and a very enjoyable cartoon. I love the textures on the rats and the fast paced chase and running scenes are spectacular.

[Carry On at Your Convenience - DVD] – One of my favorite Carry On movies and I still find it funny after all these years. Classic British Toilet Humor ;)

[The Two Ronnies – The Christmas Specials - DVD] – No Christmas was complete without the Two Ronnies when I was growing up. I still watch them at Christmas and still really enjoy them.

[Full Bottom – Holy - DVD boxset] – The ultimate Christmas special by the crazy Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. A very funny re-telling of the nativity with comic violence.

[Porridge – The Christmas Specials – DVD] – Two classic Christmas specials are collected on this DVD, "No Way Out" and "The Desperate Hours". They are both very funny but if I was to choose a favorite it would be "No Way Out" where Ronnie Barker is on absolute top form trying to get to spend Christmas in the prison hospital.

Books:

First Read * [Hellboy Library Edition, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil (v. 1)] (Mike Minola, John Byrne)

I have always been put off trying out the Hellboy books by the rather simplistic art but I do like the movies. When a chance to purchase the library edition came up at an amazing price I decided to take the plunge. I am glad I did as once you start to read the books the art fits the story perfectly.  The art in this huge format library edition in particular looks fantastic. The first story "Seed of destruction" is a great read and it introduces many of the characters I recognize from the movies. The second part "Wake the Devil" continues on with the interesting Ragna RoK Nazi supernatural theme and hammers home the fact I was so wrong to dismiss these books in the past. Minola does a superb job of creating a sense of suspense and horror in these tales. The extras in this book are also top notch.

First Read * [Preacher Vol. 4: Ancient History] – (Garth Ennis,  Steve Pugh, Carlos Ezquerra, Richard Case.)

This book is a collection of 3 back stories covering some of the characters in the Preacher series. The first story is an absolute classic and it covers the bizarre history of the Saint of Sinners. Although the artwork does vary between artists in this tale the overall effect is very good indeed. Superb! The second tale I enjoyed less and it fills in the back story for Ar*e face. The style and content of this little tale doesn't really seem to fit in well with the rest of the Preacher series although it is still pretty violent and shocking. Ar*e face himself doesn't look as grotesque as he did in the Preacher books. The final tale covers the insane Good Old Boys Jody and T.C. in a ultra violent side story. The art work and storytelling are fantastic and these guys really deserve their own book.

[ABC WARRIORS: HELLBRINGER- ISBN905437560] - (Pat Mills – Tony Skinner – Kev Walker)

Although I was a big fan of Robusters I didn't enjoy the spin off series "ABC warriors" Quite as much. That's not to say I didnt enjoy ABC warriors but just that some of the characters were not as compelling. Hellbringer is a very colorful graphic novel but I find the artwork a bit cluttered and confusing at times. I also didn't like the way Hammerstein and Ro- Jaws were drawn. The story is OK but the highlight of the book is the short bonus story at the end.

Podcasts :

[Sessler's Soapbox] - X-Play host Adam Sessler tells gives you his professional opinion on the latest news and gossip in the videogame industry. Straight-shooter Sessler tells it like it is in this weekly podcast and keeps you informed on the in's and out's of the videogame industry. Excellent Podcast.

 [X- Play's Daily Video Podcast] - The original and best X-Play podcast. I stopped watching the TV show and just watch the podcasts now.

[Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall] - The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic books and collected editions including DC Comics Archives, Marvel Masterworks, Absolutes, Omnibus's, Graphic Novels and all other hardcover and softcover favorites - the CCL covers it all! An informative collected comic books podcast that I listen too to find out news of new releases and pointer towards new books to try.

22 Dec 2008

Week starting December 13, 2008

This weeks Update is a bit late but better late than never.

Music:

[The Blinding Darkness- Live] (Pallas) – Great Live 2cd gig with a nice rendition of the Atlantis Suite and the Ripper. They still got it.

[The Alternative] (IAMX) - Discovered this band through an XM radio podcast. Fantastic 80's style synth sound and driving beats. Chris Corner also has a great voice and the lyrics are both catchy and thought provoking. A bit like a cross between "Dirty Vegas" and "She Wants Revenge". This one is highly recommended for fans of Electronic Synth Pop. 

[Peace sells but who's Buying -Remaster] (Megadeth) - I originally bought this album on picture disk when it first came out and it was not the best quality pressing in the world but that didn't stop me listening to it allot. Revisiting it through this re-master brought home how fresh it still sounds today and what an excellent album it is.   I am not sure the remixes add anything to the original.

[Am I Evil] - (Diamond Head) - I got into Diamond Head through Tommy Vance and the Friday Rock show. The music does sound quite dated today but tracks like "Am I evil" , "Heat of the Night" and "Borrowed Time" still rock. A great nostalgia trip for me and still enjoyable after all these years. I still listen to the old Friday rock show tapes which I feel have a lot more edge to them than this studio version. I haven't blown the dust off my old Vinyl Borrowed Time LP for about 12 years but I am sure it sounded different (especially Borrowed Time). I don't recognize the last track on this album.

[Arrive Alive] - (Pallas) - Absolutely classic Pallas with standout tracks such as "Arrive Alive" and the "Ripper".  This album has the raw live energy that they seemed to lose on subsequent studio albums. A must for prog rock fans.

[The Sentinel] -(Pallas) - This is my favorite Pallas album. My favorite versions of the tracks were the BBC sessions played on the Friday Rock show. The later 1984 LP vinyl release was still really good but it was a little over produced and lost a bit of the drive those BBC session recordings had.  The much later 2004 CD release was a totally different affair bringing in much material that never made it on the LP release.  I will probably upset many fans by saying this but I think EMI were probably right to do what they did in leaving out some of this stuff. The CD is very different in feel to the old LP and some of the extra tracks don't really add to the experience. Perhaps my mind plays tricks. I need to dig out the old vinyl LP. It is growing on me with each listen.

[Effloresce] -(Oceansize) - Great album from a great band. If you like Pineapple Thief and Porcupine Tree you should really like this band. Proggy but at the same time indy sounding and at times very heavy. Great melodies and mood changes in the songs. Some stuff sounds a bit like Mogwai.

[Keyboard Wizards & Classic Tracks] - (Various)  - I am a bit of a keyboard fan and this album looked to be very intriguing. Its an unusual selection of covers (a Lot of Pink Floyd covers) and originals played by many different artists. Its a strange album with songs from Synth Pop to Prog rock to ambient electronica.  Strangely enough for an album promoting the virtues of Keyboard it is some of the guitar work that really stands out on this double album. There is some very weird ambient stuff but generally most of it is very listenable too.

[Quark Strangeness and Charm - With 9 bonus live tracks] - Fantastic Hawkwind album that was pretty hard to get hold of on CD for a while. Contains the classic triple whammy of "Spririt of the Age", "Damnation Alley" and "Fable of a failed Race". "Hassan I Sabha" is also worth a mention. The live Bonus stuff is pretty good and would have been worth buying as a CD on its own.

Books

First Read * [The Chronicles Of Wormwood – The Last Enemy] (Garth Ennis – Rob Steen)

This is a pretty good but very short addition to the chronicles of Wormwood saga. This volume deals with the popes attempts to capture Jay by using the killer eunuch.  It's in a similar vein to the first book and the story is pretty entertaining. There are some funny moments and the usual amounts of shocking scenes (the fight with the eunuch springs to mind) but it just doesn't work as well as the first book. The artwork is OK but not as good as "Jacen Burrows" work.

New-Read * [Charley's War] - (Pat Mills - Joe Colquhoun)

 I was a big reader of war comics as a child but I read "Warlord" and not "Battle" where Charley's war was first published. I am also a big fan of Pat Mills as he penned some of my all time favorite comic strips such as Ro-busters and  ABC warriors. I decided to buy this hardback version of Charley's war as Amazon.co.uk was selling them very cheaply. I particularly enjoyed the extras in the book with interviews, timelines, real history and background stories. The artwork is very faithful to the old comic book originals and as such fairly low tech but it fits the subject matter so well. The story is engaging and very though provoking especially as Pat Mills went through huge amounts of research to keep it authentic. I would even go as far as saying the book is moving in a way few comic strips can hope to achieve. Highly recommended.

First Read * [Hellboy Library Edition, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil (v. 1)] (Mike Minola, John Byrne)

[Still Reading]

Video Games:

First Play* [Resistance Fall of Man – PS3] – This game has gorgeous Graphics, believable backdrops (some of the York scenery felt familiar to me) and great fun. I really like the weapons and the 1950's alternate English theme. If I have one slight criticism it is that the difficulty level is inconsistent between levels rather than progressing as you fight your way through the scenario. One of the best games I have played this year.

[Final Fantasy Tactics] (PSP) - Fantastic time killer for long flights or train rides and a classic tactical game.

First Play* [Guitar Hero 3 – Legends of Rock –PS3] – I finally broke down and bought a guitar hero type game. Its good fun to play and pretty difficult for a first timer (especially the boss battle). Its pretty crap if I can only play 10 songs because I cant get past the boss battle which I don't find much fun.

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge - The Complete Series (1998)] – (Alan Partridge). Episodes 1 to 6 and knowing me Knowing Yule. Classic Steve Coogan talk show spoof. Great stuff

[The Good Life - Series 2 DVD- Episode 7 - Going to Pot] - Perhaps not generally accepted as the peak of British Comedy but it is harmless fun. I still enjoy watching them today. Margo has some great one liners and of course it has Felicity Kendal.

Podcasts :

[Collected Comics Library, hosted by Chris Marshall] - The only podcast solely dedicated to news, information and reviews on all sorts of comic books and collected editions including DC Comics Archives, Marvel Masterworks, Absolutes, Omnibus's, Graphic Novels and all other hardcover and softcover favorites - the CCL covers it all! This is An informative collected comic books podcast that I listen too to find out news of new releases and pointer towards new books to try.

[The Devil & Me Podcast ] - Offers a voyeuristic view into the lives of Marvel comic book artist Skottie Young and his better half, singer-songwriter Casey McCauley. Strange but somehow compelling in a big brother kind of way.

13 Dec 2008

Week starting December 7, 2008

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[War of The Worlds – Live On Stage] – This stage show is an amazing version of one of my all time favorite albums. Jeff Wayne did an amazing job of turning an obviously heavily studio worked Album into a seamless stage show. Justin Hayward and Russell Watson are still in fine voice after all these years. It's a shame David Essex couldn't participate as he really made the artillery man part his own and Phil Lynott is missed as the Parson.

First watch* [Dave Gormans Googlewhack Adventure] – A very enjoyable one man show that is both funny and informative.

Video Games:

[Call of Duty 4 – Modern warfare] (XBOX 360) – Played some multiplayer/Arcade action on this excellent shooter.

[Duke Nukem 3D] (XBOX 360) – A faithful translation of a PC classic. I used to play this one to death on the PC and was surprised to find it on XBOX live. It feels very dated compared to modern day shooters and It is much more difficult than I remember. I only played the free demo but it gives you a pretty long session and it was a great bit of nostalagia.

[Unreal Tournament 3 - PS3] . Great graphics and controls. I used to play Unreal Tournament to death on the PC and this version is like meeting up with an old friend. The bot AI makes for some great single person play without having to deal with all the idiots online (I am really jaded with online games).  I am surprised how easy it is to control without Keyboard and mouse.

[Final Fantasy Tactics] (PSP) - Fantastic time killer for long flights or train rides and a classic tactical game.

Books

First Read * [Steampunk: Manimatron]- (Joe Kelly

This is a very challenging book to read and definitely not for everyone. The art work is beautifully colored and drawn but often the way it is laid out makes it very confusing. The script is also very disjointed and hard to follow. The first few chapters gave me a headache and left me wondering if this was art for arts sake. By part 3 some of the threads of story started to make some kind of sense but it was still the sort of book you have to lock yourself away in a quiet room to have any chance of following. Does a graphic novel have to be this frustrating just so hardened comic book readers have a sense of superiority over the more casual reader ?

First Read * [Battle Pope: Genesis] – (Kirkman –Moore - Staples)

I really enjoyed this book even though it could be considered quite offensive. Just like the great religious parodies "Life of Brian" and "Dogma" it pokes a bit of fun at organized religion but does so in a light hearted slapstick way. This color version of the collected books 1 to 4  is gorgeous to look at and the drawing is excellent. The script is fun and witty and the action never lets up. If I can make one criticism it is that the book is a little short. 

First Read * [The Chronicles Of Wormwood] (Garth Ennis - Jacen Burrows)

 One of my all time favorite graphic novels is "303" which was written by "Garth Ennis" and illustrated by "Jacen Burrows". How could I not buy "Chronicles of Wormwood" when the same pair were back together. I am glad to say I was not disappointed, the artwork in Chronicles is fantastic and the story is amongst Ennis's best work. Ennis likes poking fun at religion (the Catholic Faith in particular) in several of his books but this one is probably the most extreme. It makes "The Preacher" look a bit tame and not only includes, offensive drawings, strong language and nudity but it also has blasphemous story line to seal the deal. I loved it. There is something about the laid back story telling style that keeps the whole thing light and amusing (Laugh out loud at times) rather than offensive. I am not sure what the Vatican would make of the scene with the Oz pope having a threesome with three naked nuns.

The story is based around the apocalypse and features all the parties you would expect but not as you expect to see them. The Devil is pretty much true to form and both God and his only son are a bit strange to say the least but what really makes this story special is the Wormwood himself. His unwillingness to participate in the end of mankind is the special key to why this book was such a good read. Jacen Burrows has a unique clean way of drawing that I really appreciate. I am getting to be a really big fan of his work.

Music

[Greenslade] – (Greenslade) – Classic old school prog rock with multiple lead keyboards. The keyboard, Bass and guitar sounds are a real treat for fans of old school rock music. The first album is definitely the best and although I think this it is superb I have never managed to convince my other proggy friends of its merits.

First Listen* [Butterfly Pinned] -(Monster In The Machine)

 Hard to categorize this excellent album but If I was to try to pigeon hole them into some genre I would call them retro pop (70's and 80's) with a very indy music sound. In reality they don't fit into any one genre. The CD is full of flowing melodies, interesting sounds and lush vocals. There is a lot of variety and inventiveness and the standout track is the amazing "Helicopter" (check it out on their myspace page). Great CD !

First Listen* [Elijah Drop Your Gun] -(Mieka Pauley)

 Absolutely gorgeous vocals and sweet acoustic guitar playing. Songs ranging from pastoral to loud and angry, some very acoustic and some bristling with top class backing arrangements. You might  sense hints of Alanis Morrisette but she is so very individual and much less commercial sounding. "All the same mistakes" is my favorite track on the album and is a good starter introduction to Mieka.

08 Dec 2008

Week starting November 29th

This week I have been away in the far East working. I Had a very, very long flight so I listened to "Project 42" on the Ipod. I Managed to listen to 100 songs before the battery final gave out on the way out and the way back.

Music:

[Bob Dylan] (Blonde on Blonde) – One of my favorite Dylan albums although there a quite a few tracks I am not so keen on. Ranks up there with "Highway 61" revisited and "Desire" as Bob classics. My favorite tracks are 'I want you", Stuck inside of Mobile…", "Just like a woman" and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"

 [Elephant 6 Orchestra - Live on NPR] (Chicago's Bottom Lounge on Oct. 21, 2008.) - This is a great enjoyable indie romp with a varied selection of musical styles. Some of the stuff is a bit too far gone for me but there are some real gems in there too. Bizarre Instruments abound. It must be good for me to listen through it several times despite its enormous length. I was particularly impressed by [ELF Power] and need to check out their stuff.

[Roy Harper Podcast 17] – Another fine podcast from Paul at Stormcock but perhaps a little too political and off topic for my liking. Out of the 17 podcasts this is probably the only one I didn't really enjoy...:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />

DVD/Bluray/UMD:

[Family Guy, Vol. 1 - Seasons 1 & 2] – (Disk 5. Last 4 episodes of season 2) – Never scared to poke fun at anyone and everything. I really enjoy Family guys sense of humor especially little Stewie. It looks really good on the PSP so it's It's a shame UMD never took off. Great series for long plane flights if you remember not to laugh out loud.

Books

 First Read * [The Filth] (Grant Morrison) - I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the concept and very impressed by the art. This is definitely a Bizarre book, so strange that I struggled to follow it at times.  Some of the story arcs are fairly straightforward but generally speaking it is so surreal and at times confusing that it can be hard going. On the other hand the artwork is fantastic and there are glimmers of genius in some of the story. It certainly makes you think and probably needs a few reads to sink in. It contains some pretty adult themes, concepts and strong language.

Video Games:

[Call of Duty 4 – Modern warfare] (XBOX 360) – Played some multiplayer/Arcade action on this excellent shooter.

[Final Fantasy Tactics] (PSP) - Fantastic time killer for long flights and a classic tactical game.

29 Nov 2008

Week starting November 22nd

How have I been spending my free time this week in the world of multimedia?

Music:

[Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span] – Various old favorites

[Hawkwind] – Various old favorites

[Tool] (Opiate) – Tool's first EP (at least easily available). Definitely a taster for what is to come. I find the live tracks to be the most enjoyable but "Part of Me" is also pretty good.

[Tool] (Undertow) – A fantastic album with two many good tracks to single out. With this album the driving bass and guitar really start to take charge and much weirdness creeps into the mix (Track 69 for instance). My favorite track on this album is "Sober" which incidentally is the track that got me into Tool (via the fantastic video). This track has one of the best rock song introductions known to man. This album definitely put Tool into the realm of Heavy prog.

[Tool] (Aenema) – One of the best albums ever made and my favorite TOOL album. The production, creativity and inventiveness of this album are incredible. This album will give your HI FI the workout of its life if you crank the volume up. Particular standout tracks include Stinkfest, Eulogy, Fourty Six & Two and of course Aenema itself.

First Listen* [Marillion] (The Early Stages Official Bootleg Box Set : 1982 to 1987 : Disk  2) - Another Great disk. There is a bit of overdone vocal echo on Garden Party at the beginning but generally the mix is great. Fish's between song introductions are as barmy as ever and provide some good insight into the growth of the band. Next up is a cracking version of 3 boats that blows away the studio example. Track 3 is a well done live version of Grendel.  Last track of the disk is Chelsea Monday and I was sat there thinking that it wasn't really working until the guitar solo kicked in then .....wow. Perhaps not the best version of one of my favorite Marillion Tracks but still very good.

 First Listen* [Marillion] (The Early Stages Official Bootleg Box Set : 1982 to 1987 : Disk  5) -  Probably one of the strongest discs in the box set. By the time this album was recorded they were very polished on stuff from Script and Fugazi. Fugazi is not one of my favorite albums but both Assassing and Incubus on this CD are absolutely fantastic live, especially Incubus. Highlight of the album is the preview of the soon to be released "Misplaced Childhood".  Different from the final studio release in many ways but so very very good. Timeless !

 First Listen* [Elf Power] (Walking with the Beggar Boys) - A nice Indy pop album that is very easy to listen too. Not a bad track on it. Standout track for me was "the cracks" as it was a bit strange and less poppy than the rest of the album. It kind of reminds me of the love child of REM and Death Cab For Cutie. 

 First Listen* [Spocks Beard] (Live) - I own quite a few Spocks Beard albums but I don't class myself as a fan. They have some great songs but there is  something about them that rubs me the wrong way. I  think that some of the lyrics are difficult for me to relate too and the Jazz influences are a bit much at times. They are obviously very talented musicians. This Live Album has a very very good sound and some wonderful musicianship but I am not so sure about all the songs. "Walking on the wind" and "Go the way" are my favorite tracks and the second CD is definitely the stronger of the two.

[Iron Maiden] (A matter of Life and Death) - I was really surprised by this album. Its a heavy Prog album and this is a surprise for Iron Maiden although some of their earlier work had some prog tendencies too (Ancient mariner springs to mind). I think there are some Rainbow, Dio and Tool influences lurking in there. I wasn't expecting an album like this and even on the first listen I found it to be very catchy. Good stuff...:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />

Books:

First Read * [500 Essential Graphic Novels] – (Gene Kannenberg, Jr) . A fantastic achievement to take in such a broad collection of comic genre's and put them all together in an interesting way. I actually read this book from cover to cover (I did skip a few books that dont interest me at all)and really enjoyed it. If I have one criticism (and this is a very small one) it is that many of the reviews dont have example art from the inside. The art in a Graphic novel is very important to me and not seeing the art might prevent me from taking a chance on a book. Great work

First Read* [Vertigo First Cut] –(Various) – The concept here is a book containing the first issue from seven series to whet your appetite. (DMZ) : Good Art and an intriguing story line. I might give this a try in the future especially if an omnibus edition gets published. (Army@Love) : Nice art work but I couldn't get into the story. A little too farfetched even for me. (Jack of Fables) : Good artwork and the promise of an interesting story line. I might check this one out further. (The Exterminators): I really enjoyed this story and was impressed by the art and the writing. Definite buy. (Scalped): A very dark and gritty Native American based gangster tale. Not bad but pretty heavy going. (Crossing Midnight): A very intriguing story line and good art. I don't really like books with kids as the heroes so I am unlikely to buy this one. (Loveless): A western tale that strangely left me cold.

First Read* [Punisher MAX, Vol. 1 – Hardcover] (Garth Ennis)- The hardcover version of this book is printed on very high quality paper and as a result of this the exploding body parts really jump off the page. The book contains two story arcs, "In the Beginning" and "Kitchen Irish". I found both stories very engaging and would find it hard to choose a favorite. The quality of illustration is very good and the violence is off the scale. I don't think I have ever seen so many brutal killings in one book. It is all done with a subtle dark sense of humor and references to real world events. The dialogue is also very well done but definitely not for children. This book is highly recommended if you can stomach the violence.

DVD/Bluray:

First Watch* [The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford- bluray]. A very long and slow paced movie. Although the subject matter was interesting I think the movie could have been a lot shorter. It's a bit like a History Channel documentary. Not an easy watch but some good character acting.

First Watch* [Sherlock Homes – Ronald Howard 20 episodes Collection] - The acting and story lines are so bad they are funny. It has such a strange charm that makes them fun to watch.  Episodes Watched - Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the shoeless Engineer, The Case of the singing violin, The case of the Royal Murder, The case of the shy ballerina.

First Watch* [Pushing Daisies Series 1 – episode 7,8 & 9 ]. We bought this DVD after finishing [Dead Like Me] in the hope it would be similarly strange. It turned out to be a very enjoyable season but not quite as good as [Dead Like Me]. The plots, sets and stories kept up with the strange factor right up until the end. I can't wait for season 2 to be released on DVD. It's just a pity they have been cancelled before season 2 was finished. Perhaps it was just a little too odd for the masses.   

Video Games:

[Dead Rising] (XBOX 360). Great graphics and some fun Zombie killing action but ultimately I find it difficult to the point of frustration. I have never get very far into this game but play It occasionally just for the Zombie killing.

[Wii Sports] (Wii) – Good fun and quite a workout (especially the tennis)

First Play* [Wii Fit] (Wii) – This is a pretty good fitness toy with some very challenging activities. Something both my wife and I can enjoy. My Wii fit age is horrible and I am way out of balance.

[Call of Duty 4 – Modern warfare] (XBOX 360) – Played some multiplayer/Arcade action on this excellent shooter.

* Stuff thats new to me this week

 
22 Nov 2008

Week starting November 15th

How have I been spending my free time this week in the world of multimedia?

Music:

Listening to the Ipod and shuffle play a lot this week.

First Listen* [Marillion] (Happiness is the road Vol 2 : The hard Shoulder) - This is very much in the same vein as the recent albums. I think Hoggarths voice is much better suited to the crooning stuff rather than some of the brash rock stuff they have turned out in the past. This has nice easy listening tunes and beautifully layered music. Marillion are difinitely mellowing more with age and this is a very easy album to just let flow over you. No real bad tracks or anything to offend the ears. It has wonderful production and an incredible depth to the mixes especially considering the MP3 source.  Some real nice guitar solos too. Asylum Satellite 1 is my favorite track on the album (especially the last 2 minutes)

First Listen* [Marillion] (The Early Stages Official Bootleg Box Set : 1982 to 1987 : Disk 1) - Incredible to find this vintage Marillion material on CD. The CD starts of with a very ropy "Garden Party" where Fish seems to have forgotten the words and the tempo is all over the place but this is followed by an absolutely fantastic version of "The Web". The guitar solo in this version is inspired and raw. "He knows you Know" is also Quite a bit different to the studio version and has a certain raw charm to it. Track 4 "She Cameleon" was eventually released on Fugazi but it was musically nothing like this version (I never heard this version before). Track 5 is a good version of 3 boats and just like the studio version. Track 6 is a rendition of "Market Square Hero with a bit of a strange Keyboard mix. The CD finishes off with a stonking version of one of my all time favorite tracks "Forgotten Sons". Fantastic stuff.

 [IAMX] - (The Alternative) Discovered this band through an XM radio podcast. Fantastic 80's style synth sound and driving beats. Chris Corner also has a great voice and the lyrics are both catchy and thought provoking. I have been listening to this album allot this week and it really rocks. I hope my speakers can take the barrage. November has been a fantastic month for me discovering new material to listen too and this album is one of the best. A bit like a cross between Dirty Vegas and She Wants Revenge but better than both those bands. Highly recommended for fans of Electronic Synth Pop. 

First Listen*  [The Chameleons] - (Live at the Gallery Club in Manchester 1982) - Sound Quality is pretty poor on this recording (Sounds Like a bootleg with all the Bass sucked out). A good gig but it isnt as good as the excellent "Live at the Academy". Incidentally "Live at the Academy" is nearly $100 on Amazon.co.uk.

 First Listen* [Elf Power] (In A Cave) - A strange and catchy record with some really good tunes. It has a soft and relaxing Indy sound (a bit like death cab for Cutie) but with some unusual instruments thrown in to spice up the pot. I really like the vocalists style. I will probably need a few listens to get into this one. "Spiral Stairs" is the standout track of the Album.

 First Listen* [Elf Power] (Back to the Web) - A good pastoral album. Indie easy listening to relax to. "An old Familiar Scene" is the standout track. I also particularily enjoyed "Somewhere Down the River","The Spider and the Fly" and "Back to the Web" . This album doesnt seem to be quite so expiremental as (In A Cave) in the choice of instruments although it still certainly not mainstream.

 First Listen* [Puscifer] (V is for Vagina) - A very strange album from Tool front man Maynard James Keenan. I am not sure about the album but it is certainly different to (Tool) or (A Perfect Circle.). "Moma Sed" , "Rev 22:22" and "Indigo children" are growing on me. This album would be the perfect soundtrack for a Preacher Movie (Garth Ennis).

 First Listen* [Puscifer] (V is for Viagra) - An even stranger remix album than "V is for Vagina". Even harder to get into ;)

[Frost] (Milliontown EP) - A pretty good Album with the totally amazing track [Black Light Machine]. Track 4 reminds me of "Our Friends Electric" for some reason and I am not sure why. Black light is the outstanding track of this album and it is an excellent fusion of Heavy Prog and Elecro Pop. The final track has some really good moments too. It's a shame they never released any more material although I hear rumors they may be touring in 2009. 

[Nick Harper] (Miracles for Beginners) - This is actually the first studio stuff of Nicks I have listened to. I have seen him play with his dad many times and I have always been in awe of his guitar playing. The only time I have seen his solo stuff was when he was both touring and playing support for Squeeze. I remember the Squeeze gig was excellent but I can't recall what Nicks solo set was like. This album portrays nicely his guitar prowess  and I have to say I really enjoyed it on the first listen. I can't listen to Nick without thinking of Roy, he really is a chip off the old block.

[Elephant 6 Orchestra - Live on NPR] (Chicago's Bottom Lounge on Oct. 21, 2008.) - This is a great enjoyable indie romp with a varied selection of musical styles. Some of the stuff is a bit too far gone for me but there are some real gems in there too. Bizarre Instruments abound. It must be good for me to listen through it several times despite its enormous length. I was particularly impressed by [ELF Power] and need to check out their stuff.

DVD/Bluray:

First Watch* [Pushing Daisies Series 1 – episode 6 ]. We bought this DVD after finishing [Dead Like Me] in the hope it would be similarly strange. It is turning out to be a pretty good series but not as good as [Dead Like Me] .  The narration and the 50's B movie inspired sets are the best bit for me. 

First Watch* [Hellboy 2  – bluray]- A huge disappointment. They went down that dreaded comic book path and camped the whole thing up. Special effects were amazing and the monsters were very well done but the dialogue was not up to snuff :-(

First Watch* [Sherlock Homes – Ronald Howard 20 episodes Collection] - The acting and story lines are so bad they are funny. It has such a strange charm that makes them fun to watch.  Episodes Watched - Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Texas Cowgirl, Sherlock Holmes: The Case Of The laughing Mummy. Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the reluctant carpenter

Video Games:

[Unreal Tournament 3 - PS3] . Great graphics and controls. I used to play Unreal Tournament to death on the PC and this version is like meeting up with an old friend. The bot AI makes for some great single person play without having to deal with all the idiots online (I am really jaded with online games).  I am surprised how easy it is to control without Keyboard and mouse.

Books:

First Read* [The Boys Vol 3 : Good For the Soul] (Garth Ennis) – I really enjoyed the first two books in this series so I had high hopes for part 3. It is nearly a year since I read part 2 so when I started reading this book I found myself a little confused with the storyline and characters. This is a really good book and has some very funny (not politically correct) moments. It is as good as the first two books but took a while to get going. Ennis takes a very risky storyline in this issue (think 911) but manages to pull it off with some excellent political satire. This book does a good job of fleshing out Wee Hughie and explaining the superhero back story.

First Read* [Preacher Vol. 3: Proud Americans – Garth Ennis] - Yet Another fantastic addition to the preacher series that is showing absolutely no sign of losing momentum. This may very well be the best book in the series yet. The art is good and the story is very well written although there does seem to be some erosion in the level of detail in the pictures as the series goes on. I had a great deal of difficulty putting this book down once I started. It has to be noted that the quality of paper in this version isn't as good as the previous two. This is for mature readers only.

* = Stuff that is new to me this week

19 Nov 2008

Week starting November  8th

How have I been spending my free time this week in the world of multimedia?

Music :

Random Play on the ipod when travelling on the train listening to [PROJECT 42]

 [Marillion] – (Script For A Jesters tear re-master with Bonus CD) – I haven't listened to this for ages.  It was always one of my favorite albums and I was surprised how fresh it still sounds today. Not a bad track on the album and an absolute rock classic. Brilliant stuff.

[Doves ] – (Lost Cities) – Not as good as the first album but still a great listen. 

[Echo and the Bunnymen] – (The very best of) –  I only really began to explore this band after seeing them live. This album is a good introduction.

[Horslips ] (The tain) – Not as accessible as the pivotal "Book of Invasions Album" but even after all these years it still gets my feet tapping. Probably only appeal to hardcore electric folk fans but a shame for other people to miss out on this gem.

[Frost] (Milliontown EP) - A great Album with the totally amazing track [Black Light Machine]. Its a shame they never released any more material although I hear rumors they may be touring in 2009. 

 [Genesis] (Genesis Live) -  Digging back very deep into the past for this one. Its amazing how heavy tracks like the Knife and the musical box were. The guitar solo at the end of the Knife is way more aggressive than you expect from Genesis. Steve Hackett leaving the band should have been lamented just as much as Gabriel.

 [IAMX] - (The Alternative) Discovered this band through an XM radio podcast. Fantastic 80's style synth sound and driving beats. Chris Corner also has a great voice and the lyrics are both catchy and thought provoking. I have been listening to this album allot this week and it really rocks. I hope my speakers can take the barrage. November has been a fantastic month for me discovering new material to listen too and this album is one of the best. A bit like a cross between Dirty Vegas and She Wants Revenge but better than both those bands. Highly recommended for fans of Electronic Synth Pop.  

 [Hawkwind] (The Best of Hawkwind friends and relations) - An enjoyable romp through some old Hawkwind stuff. I am a huge hawkwind fan and feel they never got the respect they deserved  due to the rather poor nature of their commercial success "Silver Machine". They are a really heavy band at times. Some of the stuff on this album is a bit strange but generally its very enjoyable for a Hawkwind fan.  I have been after a copy of the track "Rajh Neesh" for about 20 years ! 

 [Galahad] (Year Zero) + (Following Ghosts) + (Nothing is Written) - I had a bit of a Galahad session on a long car journey this week . I like Galahad but I am not so sure they have stood the test of time too well. I find that there are only a few tracks on each album that still really do anything for me. Nothing is Written is still my favorite Galahad album although the transition onto record lost some of the spontaneity the original Friday rock show sessions had. I have these on tape somewhere........

 [Nick Harper] (Miracles for Beginners) - This is actually the first studio stuff of Nicks I have listened to. I have seen him play with his dad many times and I have always been in awe of his guitar playing. The only time I have seen his solo stuff was when he was both touring and playing support for Squeeze. I remember the Squeeze gig was excellent but I cant recall what Nicks solo set was like. This album portrays nicely his guitar prowess  and I have to say I really enjoyed it on the first listen. I cant listen to Nick without thinking of Roy, he really is a chip off the old block.

 [Dio] (The Very Beast of Dio) - I think RJ Dio is one of the best heavy rock vocalists of all time. I particularly enjoyed his stint in Rainbow where I reckon he did some of his best work. This album contains my favorite Dio tracks, Holy Diver, Rainbow In The Dark, Dream Evil and the last in line. I saw him live a few years back and he was still fantastic.

 [Iron Maiden] (A matter of Life and Death) - I was really surprised by this album. Its a heavy Prog album and this is a surprise for Iron Maiden although some of their earlier work had some prog tendencies too (Ancient mariner springs to mind). I think there are some Rainbow, Dio and Tool influences lurking in there. I wasn't expecting an album like this and even on the first listen I found it to be very catchy. Good stuff.

 [Ian Gillan] -(Gillan's Inn Deluxe Tour Edition) - A great fresh look at the Gillan back catalog with lots of guest artists. I think a lot of these tracks sound better than the originals.  The version of when a blind man cries with Jeff Healey is superb.

[Roy Harper Pod cast 16] – I don't know how Paul manages to keep up these excellent podcasts but this one does not disappoint. A little interview heavy and I missed hearing a few rare Roy tracks that he normally throws in.

Movies:

[The incredible Hulk – bluray]- Another fantastic comic book movie. Wow

TV:

[Pushing Daisies Series 1 - ep 4 to 5]. Still enjoying this season.

[The Mighty Boosh – The Hitcher]. Rewatched my favorite Boosh Episode for the umpteenth time. Great stuff. The hitcher is my favorite Boosh Character too.

Video Games:

[Unreal Tournament 3 - PS3] . Still playing this one a lot.

Books:

[The Complete Nemesis the Warlock Volume 1]( Pat Mills) – A very enjoyable piece of nostalgia for me. The print is little small at times but a good read none the less. Finally finished.

[Pride and Joy] (Garth Ennis, John Higgins) – A great Garth Ennis novel with a more serious tone than his usual stuff.  The art work fits the story perfectly and it is the first book I have read that has been illustrated by John Higgins. Highly recommended.

[The Preacher – Vol 1 : Gone To Texas] (Garth Ennis , Steve Dillon)– A truly epic comic book and not for the easily offended. One of Garth Ennis's finest works. Read for the second Time

[The Preacher - Vol 2 : Until the end of the World] (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon) – Fantastic story and great artwork.  Another one of Garth Ennis's finest works and IMHO better than the first. Read for the second Time

19 Nov 2008

How have I been spending my free time this week in the world of multimedia?

Music :

I have been doing a lot of long drives this week so I have been listening to lots and lots

[Of Montreal] Live in Washington (NPR Live concert Podcast from All things Considered). [Of Montreal] are a bizarre yet strangely compelling band. I have been listening to this excellent podcast a lot this week.

[Pallas]  Blinding darkness Live CD.

[Fujia and Miyagi]  (live @CMJ) Podcast.  This podcast was a nice surprise discovery from KEXP. This band warrants further listening.

[Ra Ra Riot] (NPR Live concert Podcast from All things Considered). Not bad but nothing special.

[Porcupine Tree] Fear of a blank planet and various stuff on shuffle play. Great stuff for long car journeys if you can really crank the volume up.

[Gallahad] Nothing is written. Classic prog that I haven't listened to for a while.

[Tool] 10,000 maniacs. Probably their weakest album (I am a huge TOOL fan) but late at night played really loud in the car and it comes into its own

[Greenslade] Greenslade Live.  More classic prog keyboardy  goodness.  Glad I blew the dust of this one.

Movies:

[Indian Jones and the Crystal Skull].  I actually really enjoyed the movie though it was not as good as I was hoping for. They seem to have just followed the old formula. I have to say there were three things in the movie I thought really did suck and those were the Gophers, the Monkeys and the refrigerator.  If I want to see that sort of crap I rent a Disney movie (well perhaps not for the refrigerator which was just plain ridiculous).

[Iron Man]. Wow this was actually a really good comic book movie. I enjoyed the X-Men Movies, Hellboy and the first two Spiderman movies  but generally comic book translations are poorly executed. This movie had amazing special effects, good adult story and it didn't camp things up.  

[Hellboy – Bluray]. I bought one of my favorite Movies ..ay. Wow it is stunning in full 1080p. I hope Hellboy 2 is as good.

TV:

[Pushing Daisies Series 1 - ep 1 to 3]. We bought this DVD after finishing [Dead Like Me] in the hope it would be similarly strange. It is turning out to be a pretty good series but not as good as [Dead Like Me] .  The narration and the 50's B movie inspired sets are the best bit for me. 

[Titty Bang Bang Series 1] – I am not quite sure what to make of this. There are some quite funny ideas and the makeup and costumes are amazing (think Little Britain with women pretending to be men) but it seems they have only got a couple of ideas and they play them with only slight variations each week.  It is not as funny or as inventive as Little Britain and the Fast show.  The Bare arsed quilt club was probably the only bit that had me laugh out loud when I first saw it.  It was interesting enough for me to watch all seven episodes over two evenings and I would watch it again. Duck and chips.

Video Games:

We got a Wii this week so I have been farting around with [Wii sports] and [Wii play]. Considering how simple it is and how crappy the graphics are it is very addictive.

[Spore] Still playing this one on the laptop. I love the fact that I can just dip into it for an hour, conquer a few planets and then go off and do something else. Its not perfect but  it is addictive

[Unreal Tournament 3 - PS3] . Great graphics and controls. I used to play Unreal Tournament to death on the PC and this version is like meeting up with an old friend. The bot AI makes for some great single person play without having to deal with all the idiots online (I am really jaded with online games).  I am surprised how easy it is to control without Keyboard and mouse.

Books:

[The Complete Nemesis the Warlock Volume 1]( Pat Mills) - This one really takes me back to early 2000AD. The smaller print format can make some of the complex drawings difficult to view. They certainly seem more cluttered than I remember first time round but my eyesight isn't what it used to be.

[Make Love] (Bruce Campbell) – Ok this isn't exactly highbrow stuff but it's a relaxing read when you are soaking in the bath and raises the odd chuckle. Hail to the King baby

 

31 Oct 2008

Music:

[Of Montreal] Live in Washington(NPR Live concert Podcast from All things Considered). A bizarre yet strangely compelling band. Definitely would like to see them live.

[Marillion] Marbles Live. Not a bad live album with some nicely twiddly bits


[Groundhogs]  Various stuff played very loud in the car. TS Mcphee is an amazing guitarist and the Groundhogs are amazing


[XM Weekly Podcasts] A great way of finding new bands

Books :

[Pat Mills] The Complete Nemesis the Warlock Volume 1 - This one really takes me back and is as good as I remember it to be.

Video Games :

Spore on the PC

TV and Video :

[Saxondale Season 1 - DVD] (Steve Coogan) : Not mr Coogan's best work but enjoyable none the less. Some classic one liners.

[Back to "BooksnStuff" home]

"One Mad Dog and his Master"