Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Sunroof

So, it's been a while!

I'm posting now as we wanted to share a photo of our 2nd son, Kasper, being born.

He was delivered by c-section, so if you're squeamish, you might not want to scroll down to see the picture.

But we think it's rather beautiful.

Typing a bit more here, so there's some space used up...

And more here...

Right.  That's enough.

Here it is - the moment of birth


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Miley Cyrus Twerking

Not 100% sure what all the fuss is about.  Having watched the video of Miley Cyrus's performance at the VMAs and the "twerking" which caused so much outrage, I found that I was just bored.

Ms Cyrus wasn't doing anything that Madonna hadn't done before.  Christina Aquilera and Britney Spears.  Lady Gaga.  All of them have pushed the boundaries of what's acceptable to see on stage during a pop performance.

There are arguments to be had over whether raunchy and 'outrageous' performances are empowering to women or are just another sign that they (the female performers) are in thrall to some sort of patriarchal influence.  When all is said and done, the only person who knows whether they are being empowered or exploited is the performer herself.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Next Day - David Bowie

Watching the superb "Five Years" documentary on BBC2 the other night, I realised that I hadn't yet listened to David Bowie's new album, The Next Day. So, here's a quick first listen review!

The cover itself is a re-working of the classic "Heroes" cover.  But can the contents get close to that great album?

Title track The Next Day is a straight-forward rocker, which hooks you in with repeated listens.

Dirty Boys has a squawking guitar and sax backing which sounds like it could be inspired by Kurt Weill or Tom Waits.  The former is a long-time Bowie favourite, of course.

On track three, the single The Stars (Are Out Tonight), Bowie's multi-tracked vocal stands out for me; along with a beautiful string section and a synth sound reminiscent of Warszawa, from "Heroes".  This track took a while to get going, and then finished, just as I was starting to appreciate it.

Love Is Lost feels dark, both musically and lyrically.  The whole album has a dark theme to it, so far.  Of course, Bowie's work has always been best when it pokes around in the dusty corners of life, fame, love, drugs and music.

Where Are We Now?, the album's first single, is the first slower number.  A melancholy ballad which seems to look back on Bowie's time in Berlin.  Beautiful. Deservedly his first top ten hit for twenty years.

Valentine's Day didn't have much impact on me.  Likewise Boss Of Me, from later in the album.  There are fourteen tracks on the album, with three more 'bonus' tracks (is there any such thing as 'bonus' tracks in these download days?) so it's not surprising that there is some thriller.

If You Can See Me is the most up-tempo tune so far and approaches the fringes of the dance music he explored on Earthling, without being too drum'n'bass.  I could see myself bopping around the kitchen to it while I cook the dinner.

I'd Rather Be High washes over me, like Valentine's Day, at first.  But it has a feel of psychedelia, like something Inspiral Carpets might have released in the 90s, so it could grow on me.

Dancing Out In Space starts off sounding like something James might have recorded in their pomp. That's a compliment.  It's a definite toe-tapper. Sonically, it starts moving in unexpected directions which keep the interest up as the tune progresses. Is it a reference to Major Tom?  Still floating out in space, looking for a girl to dance with?

How Does The Grass Grow? sounds like a return to the classic Bowie of Scary Monsters era, with an unexpected ya-ya chorus reminiscent of Apache by The Shadows.  Odd, but effective.

The past few tracks have lifted the melancholy mood of the album somewhat.

(You Will) Set The World On Fire is a heavier track with a Jack White-style riff.

You Feel So Lonely You Could Die brings us back down to ballad territory.  It might be a song about the loneliness of the long-distance spy.  But we get an echo of Ziggy's Five Years in the outro of the song.

Heat rounds off the album proper.  An atmospheric bass and synth opening, at a very slow pace, very much in the vein of the Berlin trilogy, along with gnomic lyrics.  Again, a beautiful track, but what does it mean.

Bonus tracks:

So She - a sweet love song.

Plan - an instrumental.  Not one of his best.

I'll Take You There - rounding things off with a celebration of Bowie's life in the USA.

The whole album at this point seems to be Bowie's reflections on his career, and you wonder if he's happy with what he has done over the past 40 years.  Well, his fans are happy, so he should be!  But maybe the meaning's are more obscure than that.

Overall, it's a brilliant return to form.  I can't believe it's been out for 3 or 4 months and I hadn't got around to downloading it yet.  Tony Visconti said that Bowie recorded 29 tracks for The Next Day and that more would be included in the next album, due to get underway sometime this year.  I can't wait!


Monday, 27 May 2013

Cloud Atlas

I recently read Cloud Atlas, the novel by David Mitchell.  I found it an incredible read.  The story starts off in the 19th century, with a trader travelling in the pacific.  He sails for home and is befriended by a doctor on board ship.  Our hero falls sick and gets more ill as time goes along, when suddenly... It's the early 20th century and we're with a con-man/musician, on the run from dodgy characters and trying to make some money from an ailing composer.

And thus the story continues, every time we reach a crisis point in the story, it jumps forward in time to a new, seemingly unrelated story, until we're in the far, distant future, in a world unrecognisable from our own.  And when that story completes, Mitchell brings us back through each world, completing each story in turn until we are back where we started.

It' a brilliant device, and you will have great fun spotting the connections between each story.  And wondering which of the chapters is "real" or "fiction" in the context of the stories which come after.

Probably one of the best novels I've ever read.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New Olympic Events

Less than 10 days to go and I'm really looking forward to the following events which are debuting at this year's Olympics:

  • British Bulldog - Team GB's big medal hope.
  • Kiss Chase.
  • Off-Ground It.
  • Block 1-2-3.
  • Conkers - may be stymied by the lack of conkers in August.
  • Dodge Ball.
  • Red Rover.
  • French Skipping - ironically the French aren't fancied this time.
  • Please Mr Crocodile.
Do please let me know what other events should be considered for 2016.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Heavy Medal

My workplace is holding a competition to predict the final medal tally for Team GB in the Olympics.  I've recorded my prediction (well, guess) below so I can keep track...

Gold = 21
Silver =  16
Bronze =  18
 
Total = 55

Unfortunately, the cycling, which got us 12 medals in 2008, has been butchered and there are now far fewer medal opportunities in that sport.  But home advantage should give GB a chance to increase the overall medal tally since the last Games.  I reckon they should surpass the total of 47 medals, but I'm being conservative and predicting an increase of only 2 golds.

It's sobering to realise that UK Sport's official target is only 1 higher than the Beijing games.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Show Me The Body

Only 3 weeks to go now until Habeas Corpus at the Plaza Theatre in Romsey.

I'm playing Canon Throbbing, the thrusting 'young' vicar, who is engaged (for the past 10 years) to Connie Wicksteed, the doctor's dowdy sister.

Obviously, mine is the main role, even though other people have more lines and more time on stage...!

Read more about the play here.

If you want to come and see it, you'd better get a move on, as tickets are selling fast.  No, really, they are.

Buy tickets here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A Little Socialist

In this country we drive on the left.  Trains go on the left too.  When you're walking through the London Underground there are signs everywhere telling you to 'Keep Left'.

I am a good Pavlov's dog and this conditioning has been burned into my brain.  Keep left in crowded places to make it easier for yourself and everyone around you.

So why is it that wherever I go - along pavements; through doorways; in shopping centres - I have to continually fight against the stream of dolts all making their way, for no apparent reason, on the RIGHT?!

I seem to be the only person who makes any effort to stay on the right side of the gangway.  What is it about the rest of the population which makes them ignore the rules which have been subliminally planted into our brains?

Other people are such idiots!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Markhov

As the rain has been coming down harder than Lord Leveson on a journalist, I've noticed that people "out there" are bloody idiots with their umbrellas.  I've lost count of the number of times I've nearly been speared in the leg, knee, belly or nuts by a carelessly carried brolly.  These sub-human morons seem to like carrying brollies spear-like, pointed-end forwards, as if they are cavemen from 1 Million Years BC, rather than supposedly intelligent and civilized homo sapiens.  Add to this their inability to walk around without taking their eyes away from the madly flashing screens of their bloody iPhones!  You're taking your life into your hands out there, I'm telling you!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Popping Up

Well, here's the thing.  When I said "see you in 6 months" in my last post, I didn't actually mean it.  So here we are five months later!


Zachary is now almost 10 months old (in two days time) which really accounts for my lack of activity here.


When I sum up what's happened since I last posted, it's very simple:

  • Zachary.
  • Work.
  • Acting.
  • Watching telly.
I'm currently rehearsing for RAODS' production of Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus, a play I directed a few years ago for Ottershaw Players.  If I hadn't been an idiot, I could have linked to my Habeas Corpus blog, but I stupidly deleted it a couple of years ago.

I'm playing Canon Throbbing, the randy, but ineffectual vicar, a part which Tim Matthews made his own and into whose Jesus sandals I am now stepping.

Do come along to see it.  It'll be great fun and our shows are usually sell-outs so you need to get your tickets soon.

That seems to be all there has been time for (although I'm conveniently forgetting a couple of lovely evenings out with friends Kirsten & Craig to see Jon Richardson and Dave Gorman at The Lights in Andover.  Not all at the same time.)


Monday, 9 January 2012

New Year, New Template

I've just been reminded that I haven't posted here since the end of August.  Somehow, with a new baby, and a job that's been taking up loads of time, I haven't got around to it.  But it's a new year, so here's an attempt at a fresh start.

Zachary is now 5 months old.  So, to celebrate, here's a picture.

Work has been insanely busy.  I've been technical lead on a project to move our company's middleware infrastructure from OC4J to Weblogic.  If you know what that means, well done!  If you know how to tune Weblogic for scalability, give me a ring!

I've also been doing stuff with RAODS (www.plazatheatre.com).  I've got a small part in their upcoming production of Ladies Day and I'm doing sound design for Frozen (which is coming up much sooner than I'd anticipated. Yikes).

And, of course, I've been blogging far too little.  Hopefully that will change this year.

See you in 6 months!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Opportunity

Our lovely new boy Zachary's full name is Zachary William Canaveral Gresham Moore.

People have asked why we called him Canaveral.  Well, he was due on 21st July, when space shuttle Atlantis touched-down after its last mission.  MLYW and I are huge fans of space flight, exploration and astronomy.  Watching a space shuttle launch was an ambition for both of us.  One which will now never happen, and we wanted to mark the event in our own quirky (and possibly slightly mad) way.

I've also just been reading about the Mars Rover, Opportunity (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_rover) which is still exploring the surface of Mars.  It originally landed there in Jan 2004 on a mission that was due to last 92 days.  2,682 days later, it's still functioning.

Five days after Zachary was born, Opportunity arrived at Endeavour Crater.  At 14 miles across, it's the largest crater yet to be visited by the rover and it arrived after a 3 year drive from its previous destination (Victoria Crater).

It amazes me that this little robot, designed and built 9 years ago, which was meant to cover a distance of around 600 metres, is continuing to do groundbreaking scientific work after more than 20 miles of dusty, stormy trekking on an alien planet.

When I think of its lonely 3 year journey, I feel proud of mankind's achievments and it gives me hope that we can all do something positive in the future.

The Mars Exploration Rovers launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Going Backwards?

We watched a documentary about the last Space Shuttle flight today and it got me thinking that, in some ways, technological improvements have stalled at the start of the 21st century.

We are so used to things becoming 'better' or 'faster' or 'bigger' (or indeed, 'smaller') as time passes and knowledge increases.  I'm sure we've all had the experience of telling a disbelieving child/student that when we were their age there were no computer games; that you had to find  phone-box and have a 2p piece to call someone if you weren't at home; that if you missed a film at the cinema you had to wait 7 years until it turned up on TV and if you missed it then, well, tough.  Buying music was a totally different experience; it wasn't the mass media, instantly available commodity it has now become.

Yes, we currently amaze our children with stories of how things were different, and to their minds, slightly backward, in the past.  But watching the film of Atlantis's last landing, it struck me that in my lifetime I've seen the development, testing, commercial success and death of both the space shuttle and Concorde.

When my soon-to-be-born son is old enough, I will tell him that before he was born, there was no such thing as holographic TV, and you weren't able to teleport a cornish pastie straight to your oven from Greggs' pastie factory in Uttoxeter, and that we had to walk everywhere because hoverboots hadn't been perfected.

But I will also be telling him that we had a passenger plane that travelled at twice the speed of sound and flew to New York and back in 6 hours.  And that we had a spaceship which could fly into orbit, help to build a space-station and then return, over and over again.  And that, before the shuttle, we sent 12 men to walk on the moon; not because it was easy, but because it was hard.

These things that happened in my lifetime sound futuristic.  And it makes me sad because he may not believe me.

Friday, 24 June 2011

11 Numbers

4 - days til payday.
6 - years today since MLYW and I got married.
4 - weeks until our baby is due.
10 - days of paternity leave due.
9 - months left until the landlord puts the house back on the market.
6 - performances of Damages, my debut with RAODS.
6 - days since our last performance of Damages.
6 - weeks that we rehearsed Damages.
1 - year until I can realistically plan to direct something again.
51 - days until my 45th birthday.
20 - years until I reach retirement age.