rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

24-9-2004 (archived)

Tom Cruise is looking a little older in Collateral, and moving still further away from the relentless clean-cut likability that characterises most of his career. While the new-to-me Jamie Foxx is very good, and the support is all strong, this is Cruise's movie; he's completely convincing in this surprisingly nuanced performance. The film's grip never loosens even when it slows to breathe, the visuals are great, and the script has some actual subtlety. A predictable genre film done unpredictably well.

27-9-2004 (archived)

So the UKMG Manchester boys and girl had another get-together yesterday, which was quiet, fun, and enjoyable. Some of our regulars had Better Things to (ahem) Do, which is certainly fair enough, but we had good times nontheless, as Ian has mentioned, but (as also mentioned) my favourite curry house had a VERY bad night. I hope it's a one-off.

On the up-side, my cold's gone in four or five days. It usually takes as many weeks. Of course, I shall now catch another.

Annoyingly we missed Mike's band again. They keep changing the stage time after we've already made incompatible plans. Grrr, not at them but their circumstances.

29-9-2004 (archived)

This week's film review is “Trauma”, in which an excellent performance by Colin Firth and an adequate one by Mena Suvari are utterly wasted. The film is rendered almost unwatchable by incoherent direction and an over-reliance on cute visual metaphors, and while there is some atmosphere it's never anchored by any real interest in any of the sketchily drawn characters. Tedious, simultaneously difficult to follow and predictable, and irritating, though it is at least quite short. If you want to be David Lynch, you need a lighter touch and significantly more talent.

2-10-2004 (archived)

In lieu of actual creativity, the Livejournal music meme (which has hit my friends list through sbisson, Mike Whitaker, and Adrian Clark, with doubtless more to come).

Of all the bands/artists in your cd/record collection, which one do you own the most albums by? Counting double albums as one release, it's a tie between Frank Zappa and Van Halen, both of whom are at 10. I have three VH videos, though, which puts them ahead. If you count Steve Morse's various projects (Dregs, SMB, solo) as a single artist he takes the lead with 16.

What was the last song you listened to (voluntarily)? The last one on the playlist I was running last night before bed, which seems to have been Winger's “Blind Revolution Mad”.

What's on your record player right now? On xmms (mp3 player), various Winger and Kip Winger tracks. In the CD player, Kip Winger's “Down Incognito”. In the VHS machine, Van Halen's “Live without a Net” (which I've rebought on DVD since last watching it). In the DVD player, a Van Halen live in Sao Paulo, '83. In the car, It Bites's “Once Around the World”.

What song would you say sums you up? I wouldn't.

What's your favourite local band? On the circuit? Us. If I'm not allowed to pick us, Naked probably have the best musicianship, and the Jalapenos are probably the most fun of those I've seen.

What was the last show you attended? Rush at the MEN arena.

What was the greatest show you've ever been to? Too many to choose from, really. The Vai/Keneally/Mangini/Bynoe shows were amazing. Dream Theater, the first time I saw them. Probably, if I had to pick one, it'd be The Gods last year, at which Soto and Vaughn changed my (musical) life.

What's the shittiest band you've ever seen in concert? Of the big names, Extreme were genuinely bad, or at least the vocals were. I've seen some astonishingly bad local bands in my time, particularly in originals clubs.

What band do you love musically but hate the members of? I don't hate anyone. I suspect EVH is probably better appreciated from a distance, though.

What is the most musically involved you have ever been? Gigging? Probably with Wide Open, around the time Justin left, learning to cover half or so of his job while still doing mine and gigging a lot. Writing? With Paul Holdsworth in the second half of the '90s. In terms of wanting to be a professional, full-time rock musician? In (gigging) bands at school, fourteen with the world at our feet.

What show are you looking forward to? Imminently, the one we're playing tonight on the Wirral. As an audience member, Whitesnake next weekend are likely to be excellent, and the Vaughn/Soto double-header in Wolverhampton on Bonfire Night is mouth-watering.

What is your favourite band shirt? I have some, but I can't remember the last time I wore one.

What musician would you like to hang out with for a day? Steve Morse. I've heard nothing but good of him, and to judge from his writings and videos he's charming, funny, thoughtful and wise.

What musician would you like to hump for a day? I will freely confess to a weakness for Britney.

Sabbath or solo Ozzy? In terms of songs and musicianship, solo. Both are ruined, for me, by the most puzzlingly successful “singer” in the history of rock.

Commodores or solo Lionel Richie? I have neither interest nor preference.

What was the greatest decade for music? I don't think there was one. My own favourites tend to have appeared in the late 80s and early 90s, but then that's an inevitable artifact of my surroundings shaping my tastes.

How many music-related videos/dvds do you own? Lots. Love them.

What is your favourite movie soundtrack? For sentimental reasons, probably The Lost Boys. I've never bought one, but I suspect I still have a cassette copy of that somewhere. There's some good material on Rock Star, too.

What's the crappiest CD/record/etc you've ever bought? There's a choice of two; Desmond Child's solo album, which demonstrated that he's a great collaborator but no solo artist, and No Sweat's album, which I bought on the back of the amazing single “Heart and Soul”, and which was otherwise poor. Though there are a number that I've bought (cheaply) to try and discover acknowledged-great artists that I've no time for whatever, of which Zeppelin stand the highest. I'm tempted not to count them since I knew I didn't like them when I bought them.

Do you prefer vinyl or CDs? CDs. Vinyl is like vintage cars; a fun hobby, but thoroughly impractical.

All totalled, how much do you spend on music in a month? Not including equipment, perhaps £100.

Last album you paid money for? I finally got around to buying the album I probably listened to most as a young child, Queen's greatest hits. I bought several music DVDs at the same time.

Band you'd most like to see / have seen? A choice of three; The David Lee Roth band on the Skyscraper tour, Vai on the Sex and Religion tour, and Zappa in '88 (though I probably wouldn't have got it in '88). In that order of importance.

4-10-2004 (archived)

This week's film review is “Hero”, starring the cream of Hong Kong cinema, featuring balletic, dreamlike wire-combat, a coherent, touching story line, and by far the most beautiful, striking cinematography I have ever seen. This is one of the best-looking pictures ever made, and still manages to be genuinely moving.

Don't do what we did and see it in a Saturday matinee; it'll be full of foully-mannered kids who don't understand why it isn't constant action and laugh at the plot (this set a new record for worst-behaved audience I've ever encountered). But do, definitely, see it, and see it in a theatre. Unmissable, genius film-making.

6-10-2004 (archived)

Various friends of mine (hi, Jem!) seem to be buying weaponry of late, and that reminded me of a tale of fun with tasers. At least Knoxville would have filmed it and made money from it... (Via Justin).

9-10-2004 (archived)

I love my new career and my new job. I like almost everything about them. The thing I like least, though, is mornings. My friends tell me that you never really get used to getting up at 6:30am, and I find it a struggle; for the last decade or so I've rarely risen before 8, and from '97 to '01 was unlikely to be out of bed before ten. Nights are the time for conversation and company, and while mornings have a seductive clarity they're no compensation. Of course, every time I start to adjust a little we have a gig, and I get to bed at 2am. I am no longer young enough to get by on four hours a night, the way I could ten years ago.

I suppose I could get up a little later, but that would leave me in the thick of the rush hour (albeit against the bulk of the traffic) at both ends of the day; at least this way I can work early and leave early. It's not natural, though, and this is at a relatively late-starting school. Those that start at 8:30 or even 8, and cram in most of the lessons before lunch through superstitions about children learning better in the mornings, are truly hideous places.

Of course in the holidays I can get up when I want. But now, with last night's sleep mostly sacrificed to a complaining smoke alarm and Whitesnake to see tomorrow, I must leave this and start to wind down towards rest.

11-10-2004 (archived)

Last night I saw Whitesnake; unsually for them, still with the same lineup they had last time. This time they were at the Apollo, and so were rewarded with much better sound and a far better atmosphere. I think Reb got a slightly better share of the soloing this time, but there's no doubt that Aldrich is the guitar star in the band; this time he played quite a bit better, and I enjoyed his playing and especially his tone rather a lot. They were flawless, tight and energetic, charismatic (especially, of course, Coverdale) and charming. Coverdale was, if anything, on better voice than last time; plenty of highs and that rich, deep chest voice. One of the best gigs of the year, and I'm seriously considering going to see them again at the end of November. He may be 53, but they're still great.

13-10-2004 (archived)

Today I was utterly enraged by something trivial. The details are unimportant; it was the sort of thing that, if you knew me terrifically well and wished to render me unable to think clearly for the rest of the day, you would have arranged (making quite sure it could not be traced to you, for I assume you are not a stupid person). As usual, I am probably angrier with myself for being so foolishly angry than about the original cause, which of course makes it all the worse.

Stephen Fry, the greatest living Englishman, wrote an article once (I forget for whom; it is collected in his book “Paperweight”, which you should buy immediately and consume precipitously, accompanied by glad cries) on the topic of emotions of this sort, claiming that nothing, no matter how heinous, could make him angrier than the fact that, that morning, he had lost the sock he was intending to put on. I myself can be rendered incandescent with rage by losing things; the real annoyance is the clear demonstration of my own stupidity. Today the first cause was entirely out of my control, but nonetheless I have still not regained anything like my usual sunny disposition. I have far less excuse for anger than many, notably Liz, who is unusually moist.

This is where the witty, wise and redeeming conclusion should go, but, infuriatingly, I have misplaced it.

17-10-2004 (archived)

Save the Green Planet!” is another example of the current trend towards importing Korean movies, and this one's the oddest I've seen yet. A disturbed young man kidnaps a businessman and tortures him, believing him to be an alien. Parts are played straight, parts sentimental, parts for laughs - a lot of the problem is that they've tried to make about five different films here, and as a result haven't really carried any of them through.

On the other hand, it's often pretty entertaining and always thoroughly bonkers. It is very bloodthirsty, enough to make me genuinely uncomfortable in some of the torture scenes. Odd enough that I'm still not sure what I thought of it.