The Dark Knight Rises [Spoilers for your health]

•July 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Am I going to try and make light of the Dark Knight Rises shooting?
Nah, just a quick statement of facts…
According to news reports, among the hospitalised there was a four month old baby.

All I’m going to say that if a gunman hadn’t run amok, I can guarantee the movie would still have been ruined at some point, by the selfish actions of Colorado’s parents of the year.

Who in their right mind brings a fucking baby to a loud action movie? It’s not as if the sound of cinematic gunfire is known to soothe an infant to sleep is it?

The Dark Knight Rises weighs in at almost 3 hours with a fair few action packed set pieces, I’m guessing the doting parents were just hoping their offspring wasn’t going to wake up and scream the place down and disturb everyone in the near vicinity.

Seriously folks, get a bloody babysitter or don’t go to the cinema. It’s as simple as that.

No sitter? Tough shit – wait for the bluray or grab a sleazy torrent.

Oh and if you hadn’t been selfish fucks, guess what? Your baby wouldn’t be in hospital.

Lesson over.

If you want an utterly inappropriate t-shirt with the above image, I suggest you get your arse over to T-Shirt Hell before they get removed due to some handwringing public outcry!

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Nom!

•December 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Now here’s a somewhat unusual departure from the normal topics that have graced Spleen! and Judascow, an occasional trip into the kitchen to create!

Before anyone starts panicking, there’s absolutely no chance I’ll be going down the MasterChef route, no jous, no poncy stuff, just easy stuff that appeals to a sweet tooth that has been honed to a point just below that of type 2 diabetes.

The bulk of the recipes are variations on a tried and tested theme, internet sourced, but tweaked slightly in my own kitchen.

Disclaimer.
Eating sweet stuff on this site isn’t necessarily good for you and should be done in moderation, like most things which can steer you towards an early grave!
Have a regular exercise program to fall back on to offset the damage!

•December 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A change of graphics for the header can mean only one thing.

It’s time to change the couch I’m usually locked to!

We’re off to pastures new, so until the shipping arrives at our new home, I’m reduced to three suitcases,  MacBook & 2TB drive full of media and a miniprojector.

Currently between jobs and countries, I’m hoping for a bit of time to throw in a few more updates to the site – free wifi permitting…

 

It must be The Rapture, News of The World up to no good!

•July 5, 2011 • 1 Comment

Who’d have thought a Murdoch tabloid would have done something underhand and exhibited morally bankrupt tendencies?

 It’s a crazy old world we live in!

 I’m not saying for a minute that this phone hacking scandal is nothing short of an abomination, in light of the recent allegations regarding murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, but the public outcry to boycott the News of The Screws is a predictable and tired response. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest the attention span of your average NOTS reader:

 Ughh. Paedos. Ughh. Think of the children. Ughh. Diana.
Ughh. Boycott. Ughh. X Factor. Ughhhhhh. Cheryl Cole.

 Sure I’m guilty of stereotyping here, but I don’t really give a fuck – the redtops didn’t get to the disgusting position they’re in today by being a reliable sources of information, instead they promote ignorance and fear.

 I’d love to be proven wrong, and I’ve got a portion of Humble Pie in the fridge ready for 4:20am consumption, but my gut feeling is that in six months there won’t be a visible dent in the 2.8million readership. There may be an initial  drop in large corporate advertising clients, but that’s really damage limitation on the advertiser’s part and again in six months or so normal service will have resumed for everyone.

These companies will still need to advertise and 2.8 million fuckwits sadly have a lot of purchasing power.

Finally, the brilliant Steve Coogan on Newsnight, indulging in some amateur rectal surgery:

Tell ’em Steve Dave:Overkill – OSX joins the party!

•June 29, 2011 • 4 Comments

My favourite podcast, Tell ‘em Steve Dave, recently announced a 16 week run of exclusive content on the Zune Marketplace, which initially looked like it effectively excluded Mac owners.

Although it’s possible to run Windows on any intel based Mac (OSX 10.5 or later) using BootCamp, the real issue is the way Microsoft has built regionalisation into Windows Live, which makes it a little harder than just installing the Zune software on a Bootcamp partition.

Podcasts are only available on the US Zune Marketplace, so the content is unavailable to anyone with a non USA Windows live account.

Similar issues exist with W7 phones and Xbox Live accounts, which doesn’t bode well for keeping my GamerTag and score when I move to Australia, but I digress.

Here’s a work around to get access to TESD:Overkill – it’s not a particularly elegant solution, but it does the trick:

1- Beg, borrow or steal a copy of Windows XP.

If you can get a copy with Service pack 3 slipstreamed into it you will save a bit of time running updates during the install.

2 – Run the Boot Camp Assistant (located in Applications/Utilities) and install XP onto your Mac.

During the install, when Windows prompts you for your location/region select USA.

If you’ve already got a working installation of XP/Bootcamp set to another region which you don’t want to mess around with, then go to the control panel and create another user account just for accessing US Zune content.

Once the account has been created, go back to control panel, region/location and set the location to USA.

3 – Go to Windows Live http://www.hotmail.com/ and start a new account.

Important:

Remember to select USA as location; if you’re struggling a valid State/Zip combo, use New Jersey and 07701.

4 – Go to Zune.net, download and install the Zune software.

5 – Login to Zune using your USA Windows live account.

6 – Subscribe to TESD:O and download podcast

7 – Enjoy new TESD antics through Zune

8- Optionally reboot back into OSX and copy files from BootCamp partition into your usual iTunes library and listen from there.

Hopefully step 8 isn’t going to get me blocked by Bry but as Zune is being used for the download agent, everyone should be happy…

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The Hold Steady – Three Days In February

•May 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A little later than I’d originally intended, probably should have been posted in, well, February to coincide with the tour, but instead we’re at the start of May with a longer piece than expected and my head hanging in shame over late publication…

My interest in The Hold Steady goes back to 2007 when I first heard ‘Stuck Between Stations’ on Colin Murray’s late show on Radio 1 on a particularly dull late shift in the lab. It had ben a long time since a US alt rock band had made such a huge impression on me with one song alone, needless to say, once I was back at JudasCow Towers I was promptly logged into Usenet and had a copy of ‘Boys and Girls In America’ nestling illegally on my iPod.

Unlike many albums I’d been listening to at that time, BAGIA actually had  an entire CD of good tunes (well, maybe not ‘Chill Out Tent’… 🙂 ) and was lyrically clever with a nice take on spoken/sung delivery, add to that songs which were upbeat and just begged to be sung along with; I was hooked. Three days later the back catalogue arrived in legitimately from Amazon and the rest was history.

Although I’d been loving the three previous albums, I’d yet to see them live, and my first exposure to this was the 2007 Glastonbury Festival, sadly on TV, as I’d given up chasing non-existent tickets for Glastonbury a few years previously; but what really struck me about the band was that they looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves, actually smiling(!), which made such a pleasant change from the glut of moody, introspective shoe-gazing crap that had been recently masquerading as ‘cool’.

Live outings followed pretty soon for me for including two gigs at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, a cancelled Amsterdam gig  due to Tad’s illness, a support slot with Counting Crows (cancelled due to Durtitz of Counting Crows having the shits), and finally a proper Amsterdam gig, with a  lack lustre, partisan Dutch crowd, although this didn’t stop myself, Mrs. JudasCow and fellow Unified Scene member muzzleofbees from Norway have a great night, despite muzzle ‘misplacing’ his camera in the pub afterwards, however I digress, onto the recent UK tour.

 Certainly the main point of interest for most folks from the Unified Scene was how their sound and stage dynamic was going to change with the absence of keyboard/accordion/you name he plays it person Franz Nicolay.

I saw THS at the Melkweg in June last year and keys were still present, albeit hidden towards the back of the stage, so still a keys sound,  but without the showmanship and charisma that Franz brought to the party.

4/2/2011 – Southampton

 The last time I went to a gig at the Student’s Union was back inthe early 90s to see The Wonderstuff, damn, just typing that makes me feel old… On the night of the gig, the Union was also hosting some Seven Nations rugby, so there was an interesting clash of cultures to be had; music fans and binge drinking rugger-bugger retards standing five deep in desparate bid to get served before our respective events commenced.

The second bar set up inside the venue was an absolute fucking shambles, basically a couple of tables where you could get a can of lager or cider, staffed by two thumb-less individuals struggling to keep up with the most basic of demands, leading to the obvious conclusion of three deep thirsty punters. Never mind, it was wine money saved for the Bristol gig on the following day.

It’s a smallish venue with a bit of a school disco feel, stage lighting was pretty minimal, with white spotlighting onto the band causing wild overexposure when trying to film using the trusty iphone, hence no photos or video footage.

 Support came from Canadians Wintersleep, who I found to be very lacklustre, but in all fairness, the volume level didn’t do them any favours, give a somewhat mushy feel to their set.

THS took to the stage, and once again the volume was loud to say the very least, not  to the point of distortion or muddiness, but certainly enough to leave my ears ringing for a couple of days. It was reasonable set, well balanced across the available studio material with the usual crowd pleasing older tunes. The crowd was a little staid, and that’s being polite to some of the boring fuckers that decided to stand close to the stage with crossed arms. Needless to say the crowd energy which the band thrive on was pretty muted, and was evident in only a two song encore.

Crowd bitching aside, it was a pretty good gig, and the addition of Steve Selvidge (ex Lucero) on guitar leant a far more full on rock sound in lieu of absent keyboards. The big question was of course ‘was it as good as when Franz was in the band?’ and the answer to that was mighty yes. Sure there was a slight lack of subtlety without the keys, but in no way detracted from the overall feel of the show.

Setlist:
Positive Jam
Stuck Between Stations
Hurricane J
The Cattle and The Creeping Things
The Swish
Rock Problems
You Can Make Him Like You
Sweet Part Of The City
Magazines
Constructive Summer
Hot Soft Light
You Gotta Dance
Multitude Of Casualties
Chips Ahoy!
Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night
First Night
The Weekenders
Southtown Girls
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Slapped Actress

Hornets! Hornets!
Sequestered In Memphis

5/2/2011 – Bristol O2 Academy

I’d been to the O2 once before to see NOFX and at the time hated the venue with a passion, it was a sold out show, unable to get even into the pit for NOFX, let alone have a clear view from the balcony and a few random fights breaking out; so it was with a sense of foreboding when I booked the tickets.

It was originally mooted to meet up with other Unified Scene members at the Hatchet Inn pre-gig, however a busy pub put paid to this, but all was not lost running into Galen, still sporting the same clothing he was wearing onstage  in Southampton, who was quite happy to chat and assured us with a broad smile that tonight’s show would suck!

One of the nice surprises of the night was Wintersleep’s set, after a rather meh outing at Southampton, they turned in a great performance, helped by the much better acoustics and mix at the O2.

A much, much lively crowd than the previous night, with encores to match. Great to see a few breathers thrown into the main set courtesy of ‘Sweet Part Of The City’ and  ‘Slight Discomfort’, but for me the highlight was getting to see ‘How A Resurrection Really Feels’ live for the first time and it was a great way to close a fine show.

I took a few shots with my Lumix compact, though to be honest the quality was a little hit and miss; better results could have been had if I was standing center rail, but you get the gist:


Setlist:
Sequestered In Memphis
Hurricane J
Guys Go For Looks, Girls Go For Status
Bar Fruit Blues
Magazines
Ascension Blues
Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night
Sweet Part Of The City
You Can Make Him Like You
Rock Problems
Stevie Nix
Constructive Summer
Banging Camp
Chips Ahoy
Stuck Between Stations
The Swish
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Massive Nights
A Slight Discomfort

Positive Jam
The Weekenders
Stay Positive
How A Resurrection Really Feels

18/2/2011 – London Shepards Bush Empire

Last date of the UK tour and a soldout venue that was new to me. The Shepards Bush Empire is a music hall dating back to 1903, due to it’s construction there were a variety of nose-bleed inducing balcony seats  and a small but perfectly formed standing area, though to be honest, in future I wouldn’t bother going to a gig there if only balcony seats were available.

Wintersleep were on fine form and provided another sterling opening slot. The difference in two weeks (and decent mixes) was astounding, with them sounding  incredibily tight and a pleasure to watch for a third show. Needless to say Usenet hasn’t failed me on this one! 🙂

Two gigs at the start of the tour certainly gave a fairly clear indication what to expect as a setlist, so no great surprises to be had there, just a solid selection that pleased both new and old fans alike.
Craig Finn was on top form, arms flapping and clapping with the energy of an amphetamine soaked shrew

The big question of course, was whether or not the shows had suffered from no keys and/or Franz; the answer to which is an emphatic ‘no!’, the additional guitar gives more depth to a somewhat traditional rock sound, and lets be honest it works very well when you’re deep in the pit, sweating like a paedo at playtime!

Looking back at some post gig forum activity, the general consensus was that it was the best THS gig many folks had been to; all very subjective, but let’s just say it was a massive night!

Setlist:
Constructive Summer
Hot soft Light
Multitude of Casulties
Hurricane J
Swish
Barfruit Blues
You Can Make Him Like You
Sweet Part of the City
Rock Problems
Magazines
Sequestered in Mephis
Sweet Payne
Girls Like Status
Chips Ahoy
We Can Get Together
Stuck Between Stations
Southtown Girls
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Weekenders
Massive Nights
Slapped Actress

Stay Positive
Chicago Seemed Tired
Killer Parties

Here’s Sequestered, courtesy of my Jobsian Communicator, which catches the vibe of the show pretty well:

Over the course of the three dates we met up with a load of folks from the Scene message board, so greets to:

theriver, woody, kickingitwithkevin, delboydrums, stringer, ami, the blondette, toastie,  messedupmagician, caz, wealdstoned, howard, tiger and around five other peeps in the pub at Shepards Bush who I struggle to name as my wine soaked brain betrayed me 🙂

Other stuff I’ve learnt:

My lumix compact can take reasonable photos at gigs, but I’d love to know how to take good ones of the very animated Craig Finn!

I’ve yet to find an iPhone app that manages to take decent fast moving stills.

iPhone video on the other hand can be pretty good, especially shot close to the rail, although you pay the price for HD footage as the ‘Sequestered’ clip weighed in at 250mb when uploaded to YouTube!

Drinks prices at the Shepards Bush O’Neills vary – a bottle of wine pre-gig was £8, however after the show two large glasses of the same varieatal was a tenner! I guess I should be thankful of the initial pricing fuck up!

So a little late, but finally published and as a closing note I’d recommend anyone with a passing interest in this excellent band to swing by The Unifed Scene and join a friendly online community. It’s a rarity these days when you can meet up with strangers from the internet and not wake up missing a kidney!

Let us Nom! Chocolate Coma Brownies

•April 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Now here’s a somewhat unusual departure from the normal topics that have graced Spleen! and Judascow, an occasional trip into the kitchen to create!

Before anyone starts worrying, there’s absolutely no chance I’ll be going down the MasterChef route, no jous, no poncy stuff, just easy stuff that appeals to the 4:20am sweet tooth that has been honed to a point just below that of type 2 diabetes.

The bulk of the recipes are variations on a tried and tested theme, internet sourced, but tweaked slightly in my own kitchen.

Disclaimer.
Eating sweet stuff on this site isn’t necessarily good for you and should be done in moderation, like most things which can steer you towards an early grave!
Have a regular exercise program to fall back on to offset the damage!

The classic chocolate brownie is a simple recipe, but one which can often give a dried out final product – here’s a variation from the Judascow kitchen that yields shockingly moist, rich brownie squares that will push most diabetics into a coma!

Ingredients:
· 220 g unsalted butter
· 300 g dark chocolate, chopped
· 4 free-range eggs
· 205 g caster sugar
· 30 g pure cocoa powder
· 60g self-raising flour
· 5 g baking powder
· 1 tsp vanilla essence

Process:
1. Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6 and line a 30cm brownie tin with baking parchment.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
3. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a separate bowl and whisk together gently.
4. In another bowl, sieve the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.
5. Combine the melted chocolate with the egg mix. Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
6. Pour into baking trays and bake for 22 minutes until set on the top but gooey in the middle. Cut into squares, serve and revel in the guilt that will soon be sweeping your brain!

Important Stuff
I recommend using no greater than 55% cocoa solids chocolate, although the choco-snobs will say ‘at least 70%’, this tends to be too bitter, I’ve found that using a really good quality cocoa powder (such as Green & Blacks) balances things out nicely.

Know your oven!
It’s not the most exciting things to be intimate with, but can save you a lot of wasted noms. I was using a fan-assisted deathtrap from the late 80s until last year, piece of shit that it was however, it made awesome chocolate fondants.
Most of the life shortening recipes that will air here can usually err on the side of undercooking, after all if it’s not cooked it can always go back in the oven, you can’t say the same for overcooked…

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