Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pan's Labyrinth

A rare case of where the UK gets a film release before Canada!

But when it comes out, you must see this movie. Stunning.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Feeling w/ Captain @ Glasgow Academy

I know it's Scotland and I should expect rain, but it feels like it hasn't stopped raining in weeks. And of course, of the cold November variety. So with puddle dodging and hydroplaning in the dark a normal part of my daily commute, a little sunshine was in order.

Which was to come in the form of The Feeling and Captain, two bands leading the revival of unashamedly radio-friendly hook-laden guitar pop. Up first Captain, bringing to mind the Stars girl-guy call/response and harmony sound, with lovely shimmery guitars. Going to see them for their own headline gig (last of 2006!!!) next weekend. Then The Feeling who is making 70's Supertramp style rock cool again. They were solid last time I saw them, but since then they've morphed into proper rock stars, complete with windmill guitar playing, tight trousers and suit jackets and high kicks. Ridiculous but awesome.

Though I couldn't help but think that the two bands were swapping notes when making videos...

Sewn by The Feeling

Frontline by Captain

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mitchell and Webb @ King's Theatre

I first came across David Mitchell and Robert Webb in Peep Show, which is probably the funniest show on British TV at the moment.

The BBC has also recently been airing the sketch comedy show The Mitchell and Webb Look. While a bit hit and miss, the hits are hilarious. We saw they were doing their sketch show live in Glasgow and had to check it out. I've never seen sketch comedy live before, but I loved it. These boys are pure class.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Glasgow Holiday

So Fi went off to Portugal for a week. Now don't get me wrong, I love her company and all that. But I was well up for a week with the flat to myself, though in the end I was hardly there. A few of the boys were given leave from the missuses, so some proper pub time in town was on order. And of course, a couple of ace gigs:

Phoenix @ The Arches: These guys have already clinched the top spot on most of my 2006 Best Of lists already (Album of the Year, Best Jacket by a Bass Player, Best Band Whose Lead Singer is Hooked up with a Famous Film Director, and it goes on...) but damn didn't they also just go ahead and get gig of the year too. This was magic -awesome crowd, amazing sound, and the band was just so much more tight and comfortable with the audience than the last time I saw them in Glasgow. Mix with a few pints and voila - fantastique! Even this video is brilliant.

Right, enough of the Phoenix love.

Rifles @ King Tuts: Didn't know too much about these guys going in as I went on a tip from a mate. Good tip though - indie rock that sounds a bit like The Jam. It was the day after Phoenix, so I was feeling a bit rough, but a few Magners at Firewater got me well in the mood again.

Of course it was nice to see Fi when she returned. And our first gig together for a while was soon upon us...

Flaming Lips @ SECC: This could never be as good as the legendary show they put on almost three years ago since that was a much smaller venue compared to the cavernous SECC. Plus, I sort of knew what to expect this time. By now you've probably heard about what a Flaming Lips gig is like - confetti and balloons and lasers and costumed dancers and Wayne Coyne rants, and sure enough there were no surprises. But hell, it is still proper feel good stuff - you'd have to be dead or a right asshole not to enjoy this. Good old Google Tube - some excellent clips from the show:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

An Apple A Day

My visa and Leave to Remain applications were both recently renewed, though due to the joys of British bureaucracy the latter was not approved until a few days before my old one expired, making for a few tense days. Then again, maybe some paid leave to Ireland wouldn't have been so bad after all?

So now that I'm all legal for another few years, I thought I'd get a few other things sorted. With my OHIP coverage well and truly a distant memory, I finally got around to registering for the NHS (the British publicly funded health care system). Turns out I was eligible way back when I received my first visa. How about that, eh? Since I don't have a file, I get to look forward to a physical next week. There is something distinctly uncomfortable though with the idea of walking into an office to give a vial of my urine to a nurse the same age as me, and then making small chat while sitting on a table in my boxers getting prodded at 8 in the morning.

Turns out I'm eligible to vote too! Unfortunately, the political options are equally as unappealing as they are back home. Yes, Labour is as stale as the Liberals ever were, but do you really vote for the Tories instead? No thanks. Maybe I'll just support the Scottish Independence movement instead. Vive l'Ecosse libre!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Val De Loire

Needing a bit of a getaway, we decided to rent a gite in France for a week. We found a great old converted farmhouse in the Loire Valley and decided to invite both sets of parents along, all of whom took us up on the offer. A bit of a scary plan in theory, but it worked out fine in execution! The holiday in a nutshell: eat, drink, and visit old stuff.

La Vieille Ferme in Cléré du Bois, south of Tours. Proper rustic in the middle of nowhere - cheese, red wine and boules svp.

The River Indre flowing through the medieval town of Loche. Right out of fairy tale.

Chenonceau, probably the most famous of the Loire Châteaux.

The town of Azay-le-Rideau. A wee wander between châteaux and cafés.

The château of Villandry complete with stunning gardens.

The village of Montrésor, one of "Les plus beaux villages de France".