brixtonbrood: (snappy)
And I don't care what your values of Sleb are (I accept that Atters and The Great Gambo were pushing it a bit), but there's no way you can argue about today's sleb spot. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you -


getting out of (or possibly getting into, I only walked past) a gridlocked Merc, saying "No no, it's okay, it's fine".

He's even more gorgeous in real life than he is on screen. (And this is Him saying that.)

Would. So would.
brixtonbrood: (wrong)
Can't believe that no-one on our friends list has posted a link to "I Fought The Law" and said "This is for you, Theresa!!"

Also can't be bothered to do it myself.  What's the point?  No-one's listening.
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
Watching the Last Night of the Proms, I found myself thinking, "How many other people hear the last quatrain of Jerusalem as 'I shall not flinch from my great plan, no matter how insane it seems, 'til we have built Jerusalem, and made it look like Milton Keynes'?". Is it just me? Am I one of the few who remembers that classic Spitting Image episode?  Am I just old?

(Yes, you're just old.)

Oh, and Sleb spot (for small values of sleb); Spizz, cycling over Blackfriars Bridge, fifty years to the day after the first episode of Star Trek aired in the US.  You know, Spizz?  Out of Spizzenergi?  "Where's Captain Kirk"?  Oh, look it up.
brixtonbrood: (snappy)
And, hot on the heels of Her post about Small's indoctrination, I can report on spotting some actual famous* people! It's been so long, it's like London has gone totally civilian.

Anyway, yesterday, for the first time in months, I spotted someone who I would consider famous. I realize that many people will react with "Who?", but for people who read the esoteric gentleman's publications** that I read, Michael "Atters" Attree is proper famous. He was in (a) earnest conversation with a lady, and (b) an awfully loud striped suit, so I'm sure it was him.

Having failed to post about that, I was rewarded today with a sleb spot of someone who even you (yes, you) will have heard of (ok, maybe not you). Paul Gambaccini, walking along the South Bank by the Founders' Arms in shorts, and I can report with pleasure that he has great legs.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I'm still holding out for Moby and/or Tom Baker. I'll settle for Ed Balls (who wouldn't?).

*For certain values*** of famous

**The Chap (although that Wikipedia suggests that Atters has also written for less salubrious gazettes...)

***Certain small values (sorry Atters)
brixtonbrood: (DUPLO ROBOT)
Tiny is now 12. Go Tiny! He has celebrated this by spontaneously deciding that he is OK with long form narrative fiction (as opposed to Haynes manuals, WWII plane spotters guides and popular science books with cartoons in).

I waved the Martian under his nose again after he didn't fancy persevering with it a year ago, and he finished it in 36 hours, and he grabbed a collection of Stephen Baxter's Xeelee stories from a library display and devoured them too.

So what I want is big hard science fiction with gripping plots and big ridiculous spaceships, but without content that's unsuitable for a twelve year old who thought that the problem with Pacific Rim was that it had too much character developement. So the obvious choice of Iain M Banks is probably the wrong answer.

Any brilliant ideas?
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
And we've got a cracker of a celeb spot to end the year on, made even better because we (all four of us, and a set of parents and a brother-in-law) were all talking about our celeb-spotting exploits (in the Pilot Inn in Dungeness, they do excellent fish and chips). Apparently, Ro*y M*Grath (asterisks added to obscure his name, as I'm about to be rude about him) is a bit of an arse, in that he does the proper "Do you know who I am?" malarkey, M*randa *art (asterisks added again, for similar reasons) is a right cow, and Dickie Davies is absolutely lovely.

But anyway, as we were waiting for lunch to arrive, and dissing R*ry McGr*th and Miran*a Ha*t, who should we see but... Vic "Jim Moir" Reeves. Having lunch with the current Mrs Moir, two junior Moirs, and (I assume) his mum. (And the junior Moirs were an absolute credit to him, in that they were in the lavs with Mrs Brixtonbrood, and washed their hands without being asked.) We were all far too shy to actually go up to him and say "We love your work, Mr Mortimer", but all the same, VIC BLOODY REEVES!

And then, I had that strange feeling where, when you've seen one celeb, you then wind up seeing other celebs in the faces of civilians. I could have sworn that Val McDermid and Paolo di Canio were in the room as well. Mrs Brixtonbrood pointed out that Jim Moir actually lives near Dungeness, whereas Ms McDermid and Mr di Canio don't (and so were unlikely to be having lunch in the Pilot), which then lurched into pitching a Radio 4 sitcom where Paolo di Canio (voiced by Bruno Tonioli) and Val McDermid (voiced by Sean Connery) live in Derek Jarman's cottage on the shingle, and hilarity ensues. (Warning: hilarity may not actually ensue.)
brixtonbrood: (wrong)
For those in the UK who watched the first episode of Strange and Norrell and made the deeply wrong decision not to continue with it, you have 29 hours to repent and start catching up in time for the last episode on Sunday, before Episode 2 falls off iPlayer.

Off you go! chop chop.

For those with more discernment, isn't it brilliant? I have been on the edge of my seat for the last three episodes. I haven't reread the book since 2005 so I can't remember all the details and am screaming at the screen when characters take a terrifyingly dangerous mis-step. I lock myself in the front room on Sunday evenings while Himself supervises teeth cleaning and cooks our supper: he shimmers in quietly to hand me a plate, and may be rewarded with a nod, or even a muttered "thanks" if it's not too vital a point in the plot. He is boycotting Strange and Norrell on principle due to the presence of Mr Drawlight (see also: Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cordelia Chase). Last night's memorable interchange

Drawlight: “What have you heard? Is it true that he has turned people into glass and thrown stones at them. And m’lady, are you his special friend? What is he about in there?”

Greysteel: “Do you wish to be shot?”

Drawlight: “No.”

Greysteel: “Then behave differently.

should, in Himself's view have finished "Tough!"
brixtonbrood: (kitten)
I was at RAF Hendon on Saturday, with Tiny, and I saw, ooh, you know, her, she reads the news, ooh, what's her name...

It bugged me all day. I couldn't place her voice (which she was using quite a lot to try to get the children she was with to do as they were told, but they didn't, the little sods; not as bad as the group of Scouts though, they were awful, shouty little buggers, no wonder people hate them), and I eventually realized that it was because she (as well as doing the odd bit of TV) presents the Today Programme.

I never willingly listen to the Today Programme; to quote Gideon Defoe (second only to Flavious the Baer in quotability), "The Pirate Captain awoke to the sound of terrible screams, which instantly put him in a bad mood, because in the era before John Humphrys 'terrible screams' was the worst noise you could wake up to". So I'd heard her voice, but only in a scrabbly "Oh ah bolox today program shut up" clamour for the snooze button, and it had never really stuck in my slippery just-woken state.

Anyway. Mishal Husain. I think it still counts as a sleb spot if you spot someone who you realize is a sleb, but who you can't name. Like Boyzone. Or him, you know, out of that band; not them, the other ones.*

Not as good as Ray Fines, though. Or notMoby.

*Muse!! Yes, Muse.**

**No, I don't know their names either.
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
Bobbins to Rafe Fines; I thought I'd bagged a proper superstar today. Granted, I did think "What the blinking flip is Moby doing on the Northern Line on a Wednesday evening?", but mostly I was thinking "Bloody hell! Moby!"

And then he got off at Elephant, and I saw the back of his neck as he walked past, and I thought "Oh. Oh, it's not Moby after all. Oh well."

Now I look at it, that's quite disappointing.
brixtonbrood: (grumpy)
The past few months have seen an unusually barren patch for my sleb spotting, but today, finally, a proper one - Ralph Fiennes, walking over London Bridge.

And the other half brushed shoulders with Iain Glen pushing a multi-coloured pushchair in the opposite direction in a crowded tube station. As a committed (some bloke out of Game of Thrones, presumably, whose name I didn't catch) fan, she did a massive double take. I'm too cool for that.
brixtonbrood: (telly)
We love Vicious (don't judge, we have eccentric and wide-ranging comedy tastes) and we thought we had it tagged. But suddenly, out of nowhere it decides to a) pass the Bechdel Test and b) remember that they've cast Ramsay Snow as the nice young man next door.
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
Arsecrackers. Bottom five and then some, but at least the airliner-shooter-downers didn't win. And we did better than Germany, and crivens knows that doesn't happen very often, in anything. If anyone chose to go with my suggested spread bet of 18th, then you have only yourself to blame, you fools.
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
Bugger. Looks like Europe is busy painting its bedroom walls black, and taking time off to shoot down Malaysian airliners.
brixtonbrood: (wrong)
This morning, having watched both of the semis, I was thinking that the UK had a good chance in this year's Eurovision. This wasn't demented nationalistic pride (I knew that Bonnie and Engelbert were going to, as they say, go down like a cup of cold sick), but a carefully considered viewpoint, based on the fact that this year, Eurovision is Emovision.

So many of the songs That got through the semis are tired gloomy dirges, the sort of thing Ian Curtis would have written if he were Moldovan. Norway's is called "The Monster In Me", for heaven's sake, and it isn't even about dinosaur slash (yes, it's a thing, look it up, especially the stuff about Douglas Carswell). Electro Velvet, on the other hand, was upbeat, peppy, bouncy, yes, ok, irritating, but hummable; it stood out, it was different. If Europe has decided to paint its bedroom black, bottom five; if Europe wants a bit of fun, top five, maybe better.

I was hopeful.

And now I've seen the running order. Bollocks. Slovenia first, Israel third, UK fifth, Lithuania seventh. The only four "happy" songs in the whole contest out of the way before 8:45. I made notes; Slovenia was "Shouty drummy bonkers", Israel was "Semitic Timberlake rap" (which I wrote before the end of the song, stay tuned for that), and Lithuania was "Acoustic Ibiza stomper (banjo)". If the UK had been 20th, sitting amongst the Emo dross like an orchid on a blackboard, we would have stood out and had a real chance; as it is, we're stuck amidst all of the other bouncy songs, and have no real chance. Put the spread on 18th. And hit the booze after Lithuania.
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
Eliza Doolittle (singer) really is spectacularly awful, isn't she?
brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
The smalls are still at an age where they get a bedtime story read to them - usually a chapter of something each night. A couple of nights ago, having finished volume 3 of "All The Wrong Questions", I thought we'd give "The War Of The Worlds" a go - start them young on classic SF.

But, oh God, the racism. I mean, they know that back then, people thought differently, and you come across statements in passing from works of that vintage that would provoke a sharp intake of breath nowadays; but I thought, H.G. Wells? Decent cove, surely? Politics quite advanced for his time, yes?

And in the first chapter (and they're short chapters), we had a quite staggeringly racist statement about Tasmanian aborigines ("And before we judge of them too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants..."), which made me actually stop and flag it up, pointing out that the reason why the Tasmanians looked like humans was because they actually were human, and not an inferior race either.

After that, the "women, know your limits" sexism of the narrator explaining the signs of the Zodiac to his wife was almost pleasant. I'm quite looking forward to the Martians arriving now.
brixtonbrood: (books beauty sheep)
Our library has a special section for Hot Books - recent bestsellers which you can only take out for one week because they're so popular.

Excellent thinking. Gone Girl? Yep. The Girl On the Train? Certainly. Fifty Shades of Grey? Alright if you must.

But Wolf Hall? Maybe not so much. I'm sure there are many people who could knock it off in a week. But I suspect that the overlap between those people and the ones who have been prompted to pick it up on impulse at the library now because they've seen it on TV is fairly small.
brixtonbrood: (silly people dancing)
One of the perks of living in That London is the occasional moments when you walk past someone and think "Blimey, that was him/her off the telly!" January has provided in spades...

David Mitchell, crossing the road at Ludgate Circus, with a quite hideous scarf.
Bill Nighy, walking past Sea Containers House and chatting to a girl young enough to be his daughter (quite possible actually his daughter) while waiting for the person on the other end of his mobile to pick up, and then saying "Oh, hello, it's Bill Nighy here..."
John Parrott, getting his snooker cue from a cupboard and then going into the gents (admittedly, this was at Alexandra Palace while the Masters was on, but as we were there for something else, I think it counts). He's a lot taller than you'd expect.
Hazel Irvine, walking up the stairs to the gents, presumably looking for John Parrott (ditto). (Apart from being a lot taller then you'd expect.)
Phill Jupitus, hanging around outside the Palace Theatre looking very very cold.

I suspect that the bloke I keep seeing on the tube who looks just like former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is not actually him; I don't think Rowan Williams reads Andy McNab.

Ten books

Aug. 31st, 2014 12:07 am
brixtonbrood: (books beauty sheep)
Tagged by [ profile] andrewducker

Ten Books which have stayed with me - or rather us, so 5 each, shouldn't be too difficult to decide which is which, with some execptions.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin. The trek across the Ice is some of the most beautiful writing I know.

The Lord of the Rings. Actually, it's not so much the book itself, as the radio adaptation, which I listened to on hard repeat throughout my teens. Whenever I actually read the books I'm always taken by surprise by the bits that aren't in the radio adaptation. Favourite bit is Sam singing in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, which is a choice obviously driven by Bill Nighy's performance.

A Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer. I'm reaching the end of a systematic chronological read of all the Heyer Regencies, and hence can definitively say that A Civil Contract achieves things that the others (much though I love them) simply don't.

Cities of the Red Night, William Burroughs. The opening chapters in particular, with three or four different stories starting, and you want each one to be the rest of the book.

The Giant Under The Snow, John Gordon. The best flying scenes I've ever read, and some properly folkloric nasties.

Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild. Re-reading this to Small as a bedtime story just brought it home to me how much I have memorised every detail of this book, from the escalators at the tube stations (or lack thereof) to the design of each audition dress. Winifred's entirely understandable outburst that of course Pauline will always be right for everything is a highlight.

The History of the Runestaff, Michael Moorcock. This is 573 pages of the purest pulp, written by Moorcock over the course of four weekends (one for each volume within the series) and read by me on a day during a long summer holiday when I had literally nothing else to do. Utter bobbins, but emblematic for me of five years spent indiscriminately devouring the entire SFF content of rural libraries.

The Ice Warrior and other stories, Robin Chambers. Not the lead story (which is a bit silly), but one called The Accident (I think), which was the first time I'd read a story where the end leads straight back to the start. It blew my seven-year-old mind.

His Master's Voice, Stanislaw Lem, and similarly, Roadside Picnic, Boris & Arkady Strugatsky. Both books highlight the uncaring, casual indifference of the universe and its other inhabitants to humanity - I can't really separate them in terms of staying with me.
brixtonbrood: (books beauty sheep)
Guardian Children's Books section has a list of top ten alternate histories in children's books here

It includes such kidslit classics as Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Man in the High Castle, Watchmen and The Difference Engine. I'm suddenly feeling a lot less smug about my Smalls' reading record.