Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Slow Burners!

This is just a brief note cos I'm shattered from the gym and slumped on the sofa.

I have been really enjoying some 'slow burner' music as of late, you know the tracks that take a few 'listens' and they slowly build up?

Kylie Minogue's 'All The Lovers'
Scissor Sisters' 'Fire With Fire'
and slowly be surely Lady Gaga's 'Alejandro'

Skunk Anansie are testing the water at the European festivals with their coming new-release 'My Ugly Boy', which takes it's opening score straight from their much-earlier 'We Love Your Apathy', also a slow burner. Their new album is out in September and I've already got the tickets for their Brixton gig come November, huzzah!

Having said that, the most self-played track this week is still Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. Waiting for Semi Precious Weapons' 'Semi Precious Weapons' to be subtitled as well, they are supporting Le Gaga on tour.

Strangely when my iPod's 'Travelling Tunes' library is on shuffle it has been largely 80's pop on my way into work, is my iPod trying to tell me something here?! No complaints though, Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, Communards, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and the like, can't beat them!

I would post up the subtitled videos to my blog if I was able to, alas the big music companies pull them from YouTube. So much for increasing the access to music for the deaf and hard of hearing! Shame on them! They should offer the option of fully in-sync subtitles from the word go anyway with their artistes music videos! Don't get me started on the lack of subtitling with music DVD's for that matter either, it just makes my blood boil! Anyway all of this if for another evening, I'm off back to slump down.



Monday, 14 June 2010

Oh yes, the gym!

Flat out busy at the end of last week, my apologies. Had my induction at the gym on Wednesday, it was delayed a tad whilst the instructor flirted with the girls on the training mats.

Anyway, prior to starting I had to have a little health check and fill in some forms regarding my medical background, it was noted that my blood pressure was rather high. Had to explain what an absolutely shit day I'd had at work and that it was no wonder, which tied it all up rather nicely!

Straight forward induction; shown how to use various machines (but not all of them). Did some cardio with two different types of cross (eliptical) trainer, which I find pointless, it's low intensity, I much prefer the treadmill. Shown how to stretch correctly before working out and then how to use a few of the weight machines. Was about 45 minutes all in and I ached afterwards so it certainly 'worked'. Looking into protein wheys again too to assist with build and recovery.

Was back this evening, 20 mins on the treadmill at various inclines and lifting 'one-up' on the weight machines with less reps than before. Slowly trying to get back into the same 'structure' I had at the Newcastle gym. Need another session or two with the same instructor as there are machines I have not used before. Sadly the free weights area was jammed solid with preening Muscle Marys so will try to get into that area on the next visit.

Swimming tomorrow, target is 800 metres :)

Spam, Football and Jake Gyllenhaal!

..."...Ni-Ni, Ni Ni Ni-Ni-Ni, Ni.."....

Quite a weekend I admit! Phil and me sped up the motorway to Nottingham with Madonna's 'Celebration' blaring out amongst other fab pop tracks meeting friends up there to see 'Spamalot' at the city's Theatre Royal.

Bloody good show considering, very funny and a good cast although I do admit that it was a bit difficult at times to follow StageText and watch the show as it's just so fast paced! There were however some niggles. Obviously this is the tour and the budget is significantly less than when it was being shown at London's Palace Theatre - smaller cast, smaller stage set. However Phil was saying there were loads of projections in the original show that could have been used quite easily on the tour, the flying cows etc and a lot of other Terry Gilliam animations. The biggest disappointment is with a song that has been changed beyond recognition from the original - 'You Won't Succeed on Broadway'. They have changed it to suit the city the show is playing in and, personally speaking, it spoiled things somewhat.

Alas, fret ye not, Phil's subtitled the original cast with the song and I thereby present it here for everyone's entertainment:

The show is typically Monty Python, slapstick and surreal, absolutely brilliant. And such genius casting Todd Carty as Patsy, a character of few words but plenty of laughs and yet, I bet, a nice pay package. Well done Todd!

The finale came with a mass sing-song and 'Always Look On The Bright Side of Life', it was over all too soon!

Back down to Leicester and then off to Richard and Hen's for a Football World Cup BBQ with the same gaggle of peeps that had been to the show. I will be the first to admit that I can't stand the game, I prefer sports with wheels, mountain biking and F1. It is however very amusing to watch guys get all pent up, jump around, swear, curse and crease over forwards, you get the drift, all over someone kicking a ball around a field! They are all great company though and Richard and Hen's son, Billy, was naturally making sure he was the centre of attention, especially with his new book 'Elephant Wellyphant' that Phil had to read to him several times. This was largely due to an Elephant with a bad case of wind, called Smellyphant and, being the pop-up book that it was, you pulled a tab and there's a nice big 'PARP!' coming out of its bottom, Billy thought it was hilarious!

Spent most of the time drinking Stella and eating fab burgers and sausages, commenting (sarcastically) on the lovely colours of the football players' shoes and the fact that Michael Jackson will probably want the goalie's gloves back as well (especially after his embarrassing miss - what a prat! Even I laughed when he did that!). The BBQ itself was a big beasty, it's on the 'to buy' list for the next place, I guarantee! Anyone for a BBQ at mine? C'mon then :)

A big "THANK YOU" to Richard and Hen for putting on such a great do. (PARP!)....

Got back quite late, I think it was midnight, grabbed a coffee and crashed into bed. Sunday was spent at the cinema with Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia. A rather good romp in the same vein as the original Indiana Jones movies. Take Indiana and mix it with the graphics teams from Lord of the Rings and you're there.

The train back down to London got my goat. I was in first class, I don't travel by first class very often. I was sat opposite a guy completely off his head on drugs who was being loud and obnoxious and really put me off the first part of the journey. The ticket inspectors weren't dealing with him despite complaints and his friend was fast asleep sprawled out over the table. I would have moved but it was a full carriage. Half way through the journey he left the carriage to vomit outside the toilet, again the staff did nothing. He came back, went to sleep and then dribbled all down his front (although I admit I found that bit funny!) His phone rang, he picked up the wrong phone and wondered why A) the person at the other end couldn't hear him shouting at them and B) it continued to ring even though he'd 'answered' it! On pulling into St Pancras it dawned on some people that the (now half cleaned up) vomit was between the toilet and the exit, so a lot of people stood in it, without realising, when getting off the train.

Remember kiddies - OD'ing on drugs is bad mmmmkay!

Got back home for about 11:30pm, a mad dash of unpacking, sticking clothes in the washer, making some food and a huge cup of (much needed) coffee before hitting the hay.

Should be a quiet weekend with the next one!!!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Psychological barriers!

I'll make no bones about it, since moving to London my lifestyle has become lax, very, very, very lax indeed, to the point where I've lost my old physique and have ballooned to 18 stones I kid ye not! Too much nice food and alcohol mixed with complete inactivity, a couch potato, it's terrible, I know. Thankfully I've inherited my father's genes so I carry the weight 'well' with being broad shouldered and all that. However Phil took a photo of me at the weekend that gave me a wake up call, just like all those years ago when an old friend, Jessica Shepherd, took a photo of me in my home town that spurred me to get the weight off. Not impressed with myself, at all!

I have been meaning to join a gym down here for absolutely ages but nearly all of them were charging the earth and then some, so sod that! Thankfully due to the 'crunch' this has changed and memberships have now dropped to a respectable level. So, the bullet has been bitten, I have joined the Crystal Palace Sports Centre, huzzah! Just been back swimming for the first time in years, it's a 50m pool and you most definitely 'feel' it! I managed 500 metres which was good for a first timer, so to speak, absolutely breathless after each length though :(

One of the biggest barriers to overcome is the psychological one. When you're fat you have a really low self-esteem (not speaking for anyone else here but myself), and you need to overcome this hurdle. I mean you're going to be walking around in a pair of swimming trunks and nothing else, it's bloody frightening you know! There's this mental picture of everyone there having perfect bodies and all that which, when you get there and get changed, you realise is complete bollocks! I'd say a tiny 10% there are the 'serious crew', whereas the rest of them are just the same as me, over weight and wanting to do something about it! So now I've been for a swim, and overcome the first, and indeed biggest hurdle, I feel MUCH better for it and will be going back to try for 600m tomorrow night. My gym induction is on Wednesday evening and I'm really looking forward to that. I loved going to the gym at Newcastle and miss it a great deal. Once I get into the right frame of mind I can become quite obsessive about it, I'm hoping to get back into that mind set again.

It's online shopping time this evening for a few more pairs of swimming trunks and hoping I can find a pair of prescription swimming goggles from somewhere too as with being short sighted it's a pain squinting when swimming. I'm a head-above-the-water-person-doing-breast-stroke at the moment and want to change that, I just don't like chlorine in my eyes all of the time for some reason.

Now, it's confession time... I felt like a right plonker when trying to get into the centre via the fast track machines that scan a bar code on the membership card. I was stood there wondering why it wouldn't work, several times I tried, both machines, each time it failed, completely flummoxed by it. Went to the main desk and explained about the card problems where it was pointed out I was trying to get into the sports centre by using my disabled person's cinema card!!! God strewth, must have been a long day at work for me today!

Next hurdle is trying to balance my food and drink intake out. I love chocolate, I love cakes and biscuits, crisps and big wholesome 'Northern' meals, and alcoholic drinks, it's all very naughty and very bad but oh so yummy at the same time! *Sighs*. So, the plan is to only drink at weekends and cut back, but not cut out, everything else. There's no point in being strict cos you get bored and fall off the wagon pretty damn quickly, been there and got the t'shirt!

Target weight is back down to 14 stones and a 32" waist. I want to be able to do a full lap of Hamsterley Forest (oop North) on the bikes without stopping and/or getting completely breathless/fatigued (a lap of Innerleithen on the Scottish Borders however is a different kettle of fish!). That's gonna take some time.

All the best to you lot out there,


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Following the Effelumps and Duckies...

Well we didn't get to the 'Exposed' exhibition at the Tate Modern, opting instead to go in search of the Elephants from The Elephants Parade, , it would have been the last weekend we could have gone to see them (going to Nottingham next Saturday to see Monty Python's 'Spamalot'). Olde London Towne has been blessed with some superb weather as of late, so got the comfy shoes on and went for a trundle around. Obviously there are hundreds and hundreds of these elephants all over the capital, no time to see them all so stayed with some of the larger 'herds'. Having seen the ones in Hyde Park the other weekend, we left those ones, concentrating more on The Scoop by City Hall and Green Park. Can I just mention the weather again? It was AMAZING!! The sparkly effelump below is by The Scoop:

All of the elephants are individually painted/designed and will be going for auction at Sotheby's very soon, most are absolutely wonderful. You can also buy minature versions of them, all limited editions, was sorely tempted to but I couldn't find the 'Mrs Stripe' one anywhere, booooo!! It's a genius idea because it gets people, whether Londoners or tourists, searching for elephants all over the city so the local economy around the installations are therefore boosted, absolutely brilliant.

Did a spot of shopping around the Seven Dials in Covent Garden, bought a pair of denim shorts from Carhartt. Grabbed some ingredients from Tesco on the way back to the train and we've made up some chocolate Rocky Road for 'munchies', very yum and so easy to make!

We didn't have long at home before showering and getting changed then heading to Duckie at the RVT (Royal Vauxhall Tavern). Duckie is an alternative club-night: it's very hard to pigeon hole the place because it's such a fabulous mish-mash. Got our hands stamped by one of the door whores, 'The Cloths', and we were in:

Amy Lame is the hostess of each evening, one of London's underground heroes she has been hosting Duckie for the last 15 years, it's one of the city's best kept secrets, tucked in out of the way. (Sorry for the crap phone-cam picture).

We were all treated to three cabaret acts, the first was Professor Vanessa with some old National Showcase Films and Revuedeville showreels showing acts from the 1800's, all being projected onto the stage's movie screen. Cycling bears, dancing dogs and a rather bizarre dancing pig! It was actually rather interesting, showing how times have so obviously changed in regards to animal welfare, it included very very rare footage from the Blackpool Tower Vaudeville portraying a cycling bear, all very cool.

Next up were Taylor Mac, very hard to describe in short sentences so I will let his website do the talking:

Final performance was by Miss Behave, the UK's only sword swallower, cue: shocked looks by most of the audience as she put a 40" blade down her throat. Gawp mouths abound!

The Readers Wifes DJ's were not in attendance this evening, they are the resident Duckie DJ's, in their place were two lasses whose names sadly escaped me but they did a superb job. Music is largely 80's electronica, mixed with alternative 60's and 70's hits, then crossed with alternative modern music.

So from memory we had Lynn Anderson's 'Rose Garden', Souxsie and the Banshees 'Hong Kong Garden', Dead or Alive 'You Spin Me Round' (2003 remix), Lady Gaga 'Telephone', Grace Jones 'Pull Up To The Bumper', Debbie Harry 'I Want That Man', Donna Summer 'Hot Stuff', Boney M 'Rasputin' ..... pure funky pop music, both me and Phil spent all evening bouncing up and down singing along. Oh yeah, the RVT now sell Sunchaser lager..... it's really nice, and really strong, as we soon found out, soon switched back to regular Kronenbourg!

It was drawing to the end of the night and one of, what we call 'Duckie Songs', hadn't been played, Depeche Mode's 'Just Can't Get Enough'. After going for a pee I had a quick chat with one of the DJ's to see if they could squeeze it in, sadly they didn't have it on their set list so I quickly, very very quickly, asked if they could play Gaga's 'Bad Romance', they agreed, with huge grins on their faces!

So as the night drew to a close, they announced the final song of the evening, 'Bad Romance' and every single person in that club went absolutely nuts!! Absolutely fantastic night out, as it always is at Duckie! Got home for about 3:30am, thankfully no delays with the night buses, phew! And as the sun was coming up we were sat there on the sofa eating cheese burger and chips!

Next club night is a double-up Friday and Saturday nighters; first up we'll be out with Jodie Harsh (London Super-DJ extraordinaire!) at 'Circus' and then to the annual Duckie Ball on the Saturday evening, this year called 'Gross Indecency', everyone is asked to wear 1960's clothing..... Jackie O glasses anyone?!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Eurovision's Over, ahhh well....

So we brought in Pete Waterman who gave us a great track to sing....... by someone like Rick Astley all those years ago! We were taken back to 80's all of a sudden, when Kylie was still being so lucky!

Why on earth didn't the UK Eurovision crew employ someone like Xenomania, Calvin Harris, Mark Ronson, Cathy Dennis or David Guetta to help out? It's just baffling!

Anyway, I promised some tunes for you and they're below, the video for Hera Bjork's track however is utterly bizarre, the song however would not be out of place being played in a club (Jodie Harsh take note! :) ).

All the videos below have been subtitled for the deaf and hard of hearing by my other half, Muzzy Fush and his 300mph finger tips!

So, here we go, prepare for a typical Eurovision camp-attack....

Hera Bjork's (rather bizarre video for...) 'Je Ne Pas Sais Quoi':

Paula Seling & Ovi - 'Playing With Fire' (quite a 'Ting Tings' kinda beat with this one):

InCulto's 'Eastern European Funk':

There you go, that should keep you chuckling, at least with Hera's video!

Ta ra for now,