Friday, 28 September 2007

Road Rage [or BMW drivers suck]

Every once in a while our the media comes up with buzzwords to try and help define a cultural phenomena. Road Rage is one such term.

After working late last night for the climax of a software release, I got out an hour early and made the mad dash across the city. I was in a good mood, and excited about my weekend.

On reaching a completely gridlocked Lisburn Road, I even did my charitable act, of let a guy in a 206 pull in from the left lane- he was gonna be caught in behind a load of parked cars, and I wasn't really moving forward at the time.

My rule for stuff like this is you let one person in, and then you move on. I think thats fair - I mean if I were to sit and let a couple or three people in infront of me all of the people behind me are going to want to kill me..

All was fine until the guy behind Mr 206 tried to force his way into the lane infront of me (I could make some cheap comment about the fact that he was a BMW driver, but I'm really too classy for that..)

There wasnt any space for him to move into, but he spent the next 20 yards driving further into my lane, and forcing me to pull ever closer to the traffic coming the other way. (I think this was as close to collision as I've been infact). I was livid. I can't really describe my reactions as rational at all- I didn't turn and give him a dirty look or beep my horn to let him know of the impending collision.

Instead I became that guy you see on TV that you never really want to be - trying to win an unwinnable arguement with a guy by shouting out a window.

To cut a long story short the guy rolled down his window and did refer to me as "young
man", which at this point was a red rag to a bull. My window went down and I told him in no certain terms that this was my lane, and that he couldn't just drive me off the road [with more shouting and the use of the term 'Old Man' to counteract his patronising me...]

In the end I took a deep breath and a step back and let him in because he was being ridiculous, and was probably going to cause an accident, but even typing this now, I have a raw feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like I want to fight him or something.

Road rage is bad. I don't think I want to have it ever again, or I mite have to do a stretch for battering some German automobile driver with a wheel brace....

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Dramatic Chipmonk

After years of porn, free music and computer viruses, the Internet has finally stumped up with something truely worthwhile.. Hit it Chipmonk!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Alfonse - The Spider who lives in my Wingmirror

Nature is great, it really is. Inside the wingmirror of my lime-green Vauxhall Corsa, resides an ever growing eco-system.

A spider has taken root there and has proceeded to develop a complex web system, despite my initial attempts to dislodge him with my attempts to be the first 1.2L engine to break the landspeed record. I have named him Alfonse.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am not fond of spiders. Infact, I hate them. There is no 'live and let live' philosophy with me and the arachnid species - If one of their kind invades my personal space war is declared until one of us is dead. (I have an undefeated record so far..)

But the shear adversity facing Alfonse has made be look at him differently. True, he is gross, but up against strong winds and 70mph speeds, he has managed to develop an beautifully intricate web - particularly great on wet mornings.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

I don't want to be a silver fox..

The above picture may be dodgy. You may not be able to see what that is on the black background, so I'll spell it out for you.

That is a grey hair. A grey hair. I am 23. This is not acceptable.

I'm off to bed to dream of covert trips to boots to buy 'Just For Men'.

It wasn't meant to be like this...

Monday, 20 August 2007

Martha Wainwright, Island Arts Centre, Tues 14th August.

Last week I went to see Canadian-American chanteuse Martha Wainwright at Island Arts Centre. She is currently touring in lieu of her new album which is to be released in the new year. The evening was opened by The Winding Stair, an unconventional quartet who meld Celtic and conventional styles with beautiful harmonies and some really original ideas. Their new album Finistere is just out, and definitely worth a look.

Although other nights of the tour have featured a full band, tonight's show was a solo acoustic show. Martha appeared on stage looking beautiful and started on the front foot, opening strongly with some banter with the crowd. However as the night wore on, she did start to cut a lonely figure on stage, fluffing some of the lyrics from her debut, and at times crossing the line from charismatic performer into aimless rambling between songs.

The show itself was stunted by too many new songs within the set. Its obvious that she is itching to play the new material she has been working so hard on, but it didn't really appease the waiting crowd.

I like Martha Wainwright. The above paragraphs might sounds negative, so I just want to clear that up. It's just that I think that she could be so much more. Her voice is a unique gift, and when she sings a whole room listens and is abandoned to her image.

I can't help but feel that she is struggling beneath the weight of expectation from her family, inside of the shadow of her brother who has been more successful at carving out his niche in the industry. She even commented as much on making a mistake, saying something along the lines as "No wonder I'm the least successful one!". It was only fitting that on making a mistake during crowd favourite 'Ball and Chain' she restarted the songs at the bridge crying out "Why does this always happen?!' as if it were a in-joke of previous tantrums.

Her debut was good, exceptional in places, and has laid a basis for her to rise up the ranks. There is no reason why she couldn't become as iconic a figure as someone like Emmylou Harris - a singer respected and admired by all within music. (Especially as her contemporaties number Natasha Beddingfield and Lily Allen...) She could be a voice of a generation, if only she figured out what it was that she wanted to say..

3 stars ***.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Nottingham (Not seeing Bright Eyes), 17th & 18th August

Nottingham is good. Their tour book says that it is 'a compact city', which was well suited our flying visit, and although I didn't make it to Sherwood Forest, I did manage to see the sights of the town centre's shopping district. And I have to say that I liked it.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I have a CD obcession. Some might even say I'm a CD pervert. Maybe it's unhealthy, but when I go to town to buy something new, its not just about the buying.. It's the experience. It's the interesting people that you meet. The other things that you see and hear whilst browsing. The new finds and great offers that you come upon whilst fingering through the racks.

In Nottingham, I stumbled upon this great independant record store called Selectadisc which stocked everything that is great and good about music. Indie, Electronica, Classical, Motown, Jazz.. whatever any trained ear could want is all available here, at reasonable prices.

It's not just their stock though, its the ethos behind the store. They obviously love CD's. All of the dual cases are held in a polythene sheath so as not to get scratched, broken of sticky whilst in the racks. The place kind of reminded me of Rob's store in 'High Fidelity', but without the snooty staff and 'unique' employees.

The city also had some fantastic clothes shops- 'Wilder' inparticular had some great indie clothes, along with a fantastic range of Vintage items. (Some of which smelled, but which mostly were class.)

In short, a good time was had by all (despite the lack of gig). The true spirit of Robin Hood has been adjusted slightly by Nottingham airport to allow them to mearly rob the rich, in exchange for... well toasties. And bad service.

I would just like to digitally shake my fist at said banditsm and yell 'Shenanigans!'

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Deep Breath & Count To Ten..

This weekend I had plans. Bright Eyes in Nottingham. There were no Ireland dates, so whilst feeling adventurous I decided a trip that a trip to Nottingham wasn't such a bad idea at all. I might even be able to squeeze in a visit to Sherwood Forest if I'm lucky!

I went through the to do list in my head methodically until everything was sorted..

Book Friday Off Work Check
Book Gig Tickets Check
Book Flights Check
Book Somewhere to Stay Check

This morning I received a text from Ticketmaster telling me the gig was cancelled. There are a couple of things wrong with this picture. Here they are..

1. 'By Text Message'???! Who does that? What professional company used this impersonal, vowelless medium to tell anyone anything.. If its not good enough to dump someone with, then its not good enough to tell me about a pain-in-the-ass cancellation with either.
We live in the 21st century, but that is ridiculous..

2. The reason given was '..due to illness'. A sceptic mite suggest that this isn't illness at all. Its to do with another oversexed, drug addled rock star being too messed up to function as a person, let alone a musician, forcing cancellation of shows, annoyance to promoters, and inconvenience to everyone else. So it's a good things that I'm not a sceptic then..

My flights were expensive. I don't get many days off work. I am angry.

I'm off to scream into a pillow, and see about a visit to Sherwood Forest...