Monday, 31 March 2008

Geek Chic: Dream Machine on its way!

Happy Days! I have ordered a seriously ridiculous music studio which is currently in the post - it's been a good few years since I've upgraded my then-state-of-the-art steam- and pedal-powered music computer, so I can't wait for my Mac Pro, stuffed with Logic 8 to play with. I'm going to be in a pleasurable compositional vortex once this baby arrives, so it's now a race to get everything else sorted in advance of my delivery! My first system was at the time, a top specced PC system, however my friend and LBC Radio host Anthony Davis would be delighted to see I've gone over to the dark side.
I must confess, it seems like I should have bitten the bullet a long time ago and bought my dream system, but I think part of it is having enough faith to put your money where your mouse is, which is what I've just done - incredibly frightening, but necessary. Thinking about it, the other part of it was not spending on anything frivolous for a year to save up enough dosh. I'll keep you posted on the spec, as the nice people at absolute music in the UK are hopefully taking pics of the machine as they are customising it, so I can post the piccies here.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Three and Out Review - Movie Screening Last Night

Last night I met up with Brian Pigeon's PR agent, Lisa, Madame Miaow and Annie Mole (of "Going Underground" fame) - the latter being responsible for us all meeting up for a popcorn-stuffing, Revel Russian Roulette*-fuelled few hours sitting in the dark, or "going to the cinema" as it's normally called.

This was a preview screening of "Three and Out", a film about a driver on the London Underground. On a slight tangent, why is it that even a "small" popcorn is absolutely gargantuan in size? Who on earth decreed that it's almost mandatory to nibble at vast quantities of packaging material whilst our brain is otherwise occupied with visual images? Perhaps there's some big recycling drive between Odeon Cinemas and Royal Mail that we're so far not aware of? I'm pretty certain it was Brian's PR who referred to popcorn as "Polystyrene" last night, and quite frankly, that's what started this whole thought process - not that I don't enjoy absently shovelling it in along with the rest of the audience, but I digress (as usual). Back to the movie - we have taken our seats to watch this British-made comedy out next month - trailer below.

Mackenzie Crook, tube driver in debt, has had 2 people fall under his train in as many weeks. He is then told about the Three and Out rule: three fatalities in a month, and you're out of a job with a huge payout. This is the story of what happens next, when he meets Colm Meaney (yes, O'Brien out of Star Trek, and yes, I know he's been in Layer Cake and is an established actor outside of the Federation, but this is "Geek Chic", after all, so I had to mention it).
Being the sort of person to avoid finding out anything about a film before going to see it, it's quite a challenge to review this film and say what I thought was good about it without giving too much away. It's a strange movie - how does one produce a screenplay dealing with death which is also a comedy? Certainly, having a dark sense of humour myself (probably due to traumatic childhood experiences) I found myself warming to a film which had a bit more substance than your average rom-com.

Although I found the love interest somewhat unbelieveable (Mackenzie Crook in an uncomfortably extended sex scene (no pun intended) with a Bond girl, anyone?), there was still a great plot to accompany the now obligatory "boy meets girl" storyline and a refreshing amount of substance to Meaney's character in particular.
Tube lovers like myself will also appreciate the train driver viewpoints afforded to the filmmakers by London Transport and I did enjoy the film despite one glaring geek error which I can't prevent myself from mentioning (watch out for what sound the Dell computer makes when it boots up, Apple Mac fans).
Considering there aren't any helicopters, explosions or Kung Fu, I still think this is worth a bucket of polystyrene or two in the dark.
Three and Out is in cinemas from 25th April 2008.

*mmm, Malteser!! Noooo, coffee!!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Alien Abduction? What happened?!

My goodness, how naughty, it's been ages since I last blogged... I can only apologise wholeheartedly and hope that the pictures below will help somewhat... these are from the long-since attended Spinvox ICA 60th Anniversary party a million years ago, i.e February.

These images are from Peter Serafinowicz's talk that evening about his most treasured posession, which is a very strange encyclopaedia called the Codex Seraphinianus filled with fictional drawings of pretend things that don't exist, along with a completely made up language as a commentary.
Actually, this was the fateful night I met up with whatleydude, annie mole, thatcanadiangirl and some other amazing Blogging types - it was lovely to meet a bunch of crazy tech-heads who are also passionate about the fabulous world of electronic paraphenalia. We discussed tech with the enthusiasm of the deeply faithful, which led to me wondering if this technophilia is an addiction...
I read somewhere that people who have a great love of rollercoaster rides (I'm definitely one of these!) could indeed have a kind of chemical imbalance in the brain, which gets "righted" when we are screeching through the air, preferably up-side down, swearing and feeling our vision darkening at the corners... ah, only a few days to go until the great British Theme Parks are open again...
Gadget-wise, I've been playing with the Creative XDock Wireless system which is a very snazzy iPod sender/receiver set which allows you to control your iPod in your bedroom, even though it's actually in the lounge - that's play/pause etc, not just listening to your music. The device itself has a sleek finish, and used with the Gigaworks T20 speakers, the sound quality is incredible.
I've also been tinkering with JVC's DVD network player, the Sophisti DD system - which has virtual back-surround speakers, meaning no need to trail wires around the lounge (unless you really want to). It is quite a feat to set this up - not difficult by a long stretch, but takes a while plugging all the wires in. The thing is, like lychees, the fuss is certainly worth it, as the speakers kick out a nice amount of sound, and happily there is a powered subwoofer in the DD3 system, along with some rather clever dialogue-friendly speaker technology.
Until then, enjoy what's left of the crazy bank holiday weather remnants - (for those of you reading this overseas, it was "The first day of Spring" this weekend, and in London we had snow, hail, rain and perhaps some sun - almost biblical) - and I promise to be back soon with some more random ramblings.