Thursday, April 16, 2015

All roads lead to Heathrow

Taken at 6.15 in the morning, one to keep the chemtrail conspiracy theorists busy.

Actually, it's the friendly bombs falling on Slough, at last.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

All hail our giant duck overlords!

Sunday afternoon to Hartley Wintney, where we tramped around the common, and found this giant carved duck which we immediately worshipped.

I, for one, welcome our giant duck overlords.

Then, with a tilt of the head, we realise that it's not a duck at all, but a rabbit, planted in the North Hampshire countryside specifically to shit us up and knock duck worshipers about a bit for their errant duck-worshpping ways.

I, for one, welcome our giant rabbit overlords.

We're definitely on the side of the giant rabbits. Or the ducks. Not sure. But this can only end one way...

Monday, April 13, 2015

The James Bond Paradox

Goldfinger: Good, solid socialist Bond
It is a widely-held belief that popular music is only ever any good under a Conservative government. The thinking is that music is only ever any good when it's angry and has something to lash out at, and the People's Poets of this world are best motivated by a bourgoisie-worker power struggle as set out in the works of Marx and Engels.

This is what I said on the subject last week and I stand by those words:

"As soon as Tony Blair showed up in 1997, Britpop went down the shitter to be replaced by Steps and the Spice Girls, all the proof you need."

That's as maybe, but I have another proposition for you, and it is this:

You only get decent James Bond films under a Labour government.

Let's get this flimsy argument off the ground by looking at the evidence:

  • Goldfinger (Labour) - GOOD
  • You Only Live Twice (Labour) - A CLASSIC
  • Diamonds Are Forever (Conservative) - TURKEY
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (Labour) - BACK ON FORM
  • For Your Eyes Only (Conservative) - AAARGH
  • Octopussy (Conservative) - AAARGH
  • A View To A Kill (Conservative) - MAKE IT STOP
  • Die Another Day (Labour) - CRAP
  • Casino Royal (Labour) - BACK ON FORM
  • Skyfall (Conservative/Lib Dem coalition) - UTTER DOG'S DINNER
Octopussy: Crowds were drawn in by the promise of Roger Moore's freakishly long legs
You will note that Die Another Day, while made under a Labour government, is listed as "CRAP". That may be true, but it was made under post-9/11 Tony Blair, when he was more Tory than the Tory party, which bent the universe out of shape and gave us a shit Labour Bond movie. This was rectified with the release of Casino Royale, which while still under Blair was made good by the expectation of incoming Gordon Brown.

Secondly, you will note that the only Bond film made under the present Conservative - Lib Dem coalition is a complete dog's dinner of a film. This is what you can come to expect from coalition politics. Shit Bond.

Skyfall: The paradox of a great Bond in a duff movie. That's coalition politics for you
This brings us to the spectre of SPECTRE. While being filmed under the Tory-LD coalition, its release will come under whoever next makes it into Number Ten. If rumours surrounding the script are anything to go by, then David Cameron has no worries about the result for May's General Election.

But this poses one question for every single registered voter in this country. Do you want decent music, or do you want decent Bond films? This is clearly going to be the most important General Election of our generation.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Kim Kardashian comes out as "I am a kind shark" which is nowhere near as good.

No other celebrities have anagrams of their names. Don't bother trying to prove me wrong.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Farnborough Airship Hangar

I've decided that there aren't nearly enough photographs of the Farnborough Portable Airship Hangar on the internet, so last night I went out and took some.

[Click on any picture to embiggen]
The portable hangar (as its name implies, it was designed to take anywhere to house airships and was covered in a mass of tarpaulin when in use) was built in 1912, just four years after the American Samuel Cody made the first British powered flight at Farnborough. The airships are gone now, and the airfield is generally used as a stopping-off point for business flights and the insanely rich. Oh, and every two years it becomes that well-known arms fair, Farnborough Airshow.

The hangar has been in on a number of sites on the historic airfield, and at present rests just outside the perimeter fence in the middle of an upmarket technology park. It's lit up at night, so may be worth risking the security guards and taking a visit once the sun's gone down.

More pictures HERE

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The search for all killer, no filler

 It has suddenly struck me that all the albums that I class "All killer, no filler" (ie contain not a single duff track in their entire running order) are all male-fronted indie guitar bands from the early 1990s. See for yourself:

  • Radiohead - The Bends
  • Suede - Dog Man Star
  • Blur - Parklife
  • Ride - Going Blank Again
  • Boo Radleys - Giant Steps

I've been told off about the lack of female-front bands in my collection, and this will be rectified in a small way when Belly 'Star' thuds onto my doormat later this week, a female-fronted indie guitar band from the early 1990s. But the truth remains, there was a blessed window in my late 20s when I Quite Liked Music With Guitars In.

All this musical perfection bursting forth from this period of time tells us one thing - you only get decent music under a Tory government. As soon as Tony Blair showed up in 1997, Britpop went down the shitter to be replaced by Steps and the Spice Girls, all the proof you need. My current favourites - Public Service Broadcasting - could only have emerged under Conservative rule, and they are a male-fronted indie banjo band from the early 2010s.

So, I'm going to wax lyrical about the best of these albums:

Teenage Fanclub - Grand Prix

I listened to it all the way through in the car the other day, waiting for the dip somewhere on side two when the duff tracks start. All albums have this - the moment where the band realise they've got an album to finish and they've already laid down their best material, but they've still got about fifteen minutes to fill. This doesn't happen in Grand Prix, because (as the crueller critics say) they used up all the duffers on their previous album Thirteen.

Instead, a tad over 42 minutes of superbly-constructed pop music from the very pinnacle of male-fronted indie guitar bands from the early 1990s, and the impossible task of nailing down a favourite.

So many great tracks to choose from. By the power of ip-dip-dog-shit, I choose Sparky's Dream, which *just* dented the top 40 in 1995, because the British public are a bunch of cloth-eared idiots.

Any more suggestions for all-killer albums I should know about? They don't have to be male-fronted indie guitar bands from the early 1990s, but it helps.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Help me choose a new Silver Hornet

I've had the current Silver Hornet (otherwise known as the Fail Whale) for five years, and now it's time to get a new set of wheels.

It was only meant to be a stop-gap purchase after the previous Silver Hornet (a Renault Scenic that was one of the two Silver Hornets to be actually silver) decided to kill itself at the Winchester Services on the M3. The Micra, despite its appalling styling, has been reliable; frighteningly fast up to 50mph, then like a turd on wheels; and I've put over 60,000 miles on the clock. But it lacks basic comforts, like power steering, an electrical socket, and air conditioning. Time to come into the 21st Century.

Our budget doesn't stretch as far as a new car, so we're looking at something decent and second hand. Four/five doors and not a fucking Vauxhall for a Ford Focus.

To give you some idea of what happens when I'm left to choose my own cars, here is my car history which would have got me laughed off Top Gear:

The Coleman List of Silver Hornets (Mostly RIP)

  • Renault 4
  • Austin Allegro Equipe
  • Fiat Strada
  • Peugeot 205
  • Renault 21
  • Ford Escort
  • Renault Scenic
  • Nissan Micra

Yes, our family likes Renaults, and I can't stop myself buying shit cars because they're cheap.

However, I'm also more than aware that I have no clue what kind of car I actually want. Help me out here.

Monday, April 06, 2015

All the Problems I Have With Fast And Furious 7

It's got The Rock in it, playing The Rock
Saturday night to the flicks to see Fast and Furious 7: A tale of revenge versus familial bonding through the medium of very fast cars. Not expecting a Dostoyevskian exploration of crime and punishment (Who are the criminals here? Does the punishment fit the crime? What are split differentials?), I left my brain at the door, and despite drooling into my ice cream, I still had enough IQ to challenge some of the key plot points.

Now, the plot is as transparent as a politician's election promise, but the key point is that Jason Statham (henceforward 'The Stathe') plays a rock-hard Cockney bastard ex-special forces killing machine, who would rip you testicles out through your throat while calling you "Geezer". He employs a force of Nigerian terrorists (yes, very topical), whose sole mission is to look angry while providing the usual highly inaccurate shooting only practised by the very best henchmen trained at The Imperial Empire School of Marksmanship. His motivation is to get revenge on Mr Vin Diesel and the crew for putting his brother in hospital at the end of FF6, illustrated by The Stathe shooting up the hospital and killing everybody inside to make sure that they look after his brother. No, I don't get it, either.

While the film essentially involves the usual car-based heist on a very, very long road; followed by the usual Oceans Eleven-type con and unlikely escape; followed by a climactic car-chase/shoot-out that has served well for seven films now, one cannot help thinking that - while you are supposed to detach yourself from reality - the writers were making it up as they go along.

And that's why I've got a few problems with even this most ridiculous of motion pictures. May contain SPOILERS, but only if you're an idiot.

1. On two occasions, Mr Vincent Diesel has The Stathe unarmed and at his mercy with gun(s) pointing at his head. Instead of shooting this unstoppable rock-hard Cockney bastard killing machine in the face and bringing an end to this nonsense, they decide to stop and talk, predicatably allowing The Stathe to escape thanks to the sudden appearance of his heavily-armed goons. On the second occasion Diesel throws away his gun and his tactical advantage and decides to have a fist-fight with this unstoppable rock-hard Cockney bastard killing machine instead, which nearly kills him. You're an idiot, Vin Diesel.

2. The fighting method of choice of both Mr Vincent Diesel and The Stathe is to drive their enormously souped-up cars at each other at breakneck speed and crash into each other head-on. Sod it, I did A-Level physics AND Applied Mathematics, and know full well that - air-bag or no - two tons of metal and no-necked bufoon colliding at around 150mph will kill you stone dead on the spot, the engine block not stopped by something as puny as human legs as it comes roaring through the front bulkhead. You're an idiot Vin Diesel.

3. I've no problem at all with jumping-a-supercar-between-three-skyscrapers sequence while escaping both The Stathe and a completely different set of armed goons. Could happen anywhere. It's the only way you can get a parking space in Basingstoke on some days.

Walker: Gets a happy, hokey ending. People cried.
And there's the lesson we take away from all this: The only way to solve the world's problems is through breaking every traffic and criminal law in the book and drive very very very fast while shooting at each other. This includes curing your grilfriend's amnesia.

A thoroughly idiotic way to spend a Saturday evening. Highly recommended.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Public Service Broadcasting - Valentina (Featuring Smoke Fairies)

Those very fine Public Service Broadcasting chaps go somewhat off-piste and give us an actual song. A song about the first woman in space, and it is quite wonderful.

Friday, April 03, 2015


"You wouldn't do something like this mocking Islam, would you?"

Damn right I wouldn't. But Jesus is a Prophet of Allah, so your argument is invalid. As is mine.