Monday, October 31, 2011

High Flying Birds - The long awaited album from the man who made Oasis is fantastic.

I've been a fan of Noel Gallagher for more years then I care to remember. Back in the last century when Oasis first hit the scene I was hooked and even then found myself relating more to the songs Noel used to sing. Where Liam pretty much used to growl his way through a song I always felt Noel actually meant and felt what he was singing (does that make sense?).

After much delaying and messing about I finally got round to listening to his solo album High Flying Birds yesterday when I was trying to recover from a hangover. While I wouldn't insult myself by buying his brothers effort I've been really looking forward to listening to this and I'm pleased to report I really enjoyed it.
As there normally is with me I have a BUT to throw into the mix. While there is no doubt Noel is a genius when it comes to song writing I can't shake the feeling that this album comes across a bit like an Oasis B-Sides album. Don't get me wrong as I absolutely love it but at the same time I can't get rid of the feeling that these songs were in the bottom of his pants drawer and he thought he would give them an airing.

Still, I have read his second album (due in late 2012) is going to be a collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous. He has been quoted as saying "It sounds a bit like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. The sound is similar to High Flying Birds, but more psychedelic and tripped out. It's not an electronic project. People are jumping to that conclusion because Amorphous Androgynous used to be an electronic outfit."

I'm actually pretty interested by this news as Dark Side of the Moon is in my top ten albums of all time. I have high hopes for this.

For now the Noel's High Flying Birds can carry on soaring.

Sending a sarcastic letter to the local paper? I'd never do such a thing...

I just couldn't help myself.

Through your paper I'd just like to thank the Network Harlow bus service that operates in the town. It's become so terrible and unreliable I rarely get the bus and walk near enough everywhere I need to go these days. As a result of this I've lost well over 3 stone in weight and feel so much better for it.

Thank you Network Harlow. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A year later, 3 stone lighter and feeling a lot better.

It's coming up to a year now since the doctor at the hospital told me I was a bit porky and losing a bit of weight would help me with the stomach condition I was suffering from. I'd already been on tablets for about a year before and the doctor at my local surgery decided I should go to the hospital. To this day I still don't know why is took the hospital to tell me I needed to lose weight and not my GP.

When I was told this my first thought was how on earth am I going to lose weight!?! I'd never done anything like that before and to be honest my second thought was am I going to have to give up curry, beer and whiskey?

Anyway after much stressing about it, a bit of planning and a starting weigh in (16 stone 5lbs)I started to reduce my food intake dramatically. I stopped drinking alcohol for a month as a little kick start and suddenly my weight dropped within weeks.
As the weeks went on I got into a routine where I'd just have fruit and cereal for breakfast. My lunch at work which consisted of a sandwich, low fat yogurt, cereal bar and more fruit and then in the evening I'd have a proper dinner.

A long with the healthier eating I started doing a lot more exercise. Cutting out the bus and walking everywhere as well as riding my bike (although to be honest the bike riding didn't last very long). Not that it mattered though as week on week the weight continued to disappear. As the months went on I became more comfortable with my eating and was able to have a few treats without over doing it. When it came to food I was becoming a lot more aware of a balanced diet than I ever had been before.
Another good thing was having to buy smaller waist jeans and no longer having to buy XL t-shirts.

I'm really glad how much I've lost and how well I've done an of course I feel so much better now for it as well.
I'll continue to eat sensible for the foreseable future and only have a bit of a food and drink binge at the weekends. I don't want to going back to how I was and I feel like a new man. I'd like to lose another stone maybe but then there is a line to draw on if you will start to look too thin so to speak.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this last year. You are all great although not as wonderful as me... clearly.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Drive: Probably not going to get any Oscars

**This review contains spoilers**
"If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours no matter what. I don't sit in while you're running it down; I don't carry a gun... I drive."

You know how sometimes you see something and you are that miffed with it you need to get your thoughts down quickly despite it being pretty late in the evening? Well I'm having an episode like that now.
Orange Wednesday is a pretty good day to go and see a movie with a friend. Not only is it cheap it's also pretty cool to have the chance to see a film Empire magazine rated 4 out of 5 stars. Empire, I used to base my how film viewing around your reviews. I used to trust them with my movie going life. Seems that was a bad idea as tonight I went to see Drive. Empire magazine owes me nearly two hours of my life back.
Cineworlds write up of the film Drive on it's website is as follows (with me adding my two cents) -
A getaway man drives for his life in this relentless, rubber-burning action flick.
About 4 times. Only once do I remember rubber burning.
By day, the silent, nameless Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a stuntman who spins wheels and flips cars for Hollywood films. By night, he's a much in-demand getaway man who navigates the labyrinthine streets of LA with speed and ice-cool precision.

He also has the worst acting skills I've ever seen. It was probably for the best he stayed silent.
The Driver's reserve melts a little for his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), but he exposes a well-hidden vulnerability when he agrees to help her jailbird ex-husband out of a tight spot with the mob.
I spent the whole of this film trying to remember where I knew Carey Mulligan from and the I realized she played Sally Sparrow in the Doctor Who fan favourite episode "Blink". She just looks sad a lot in this. Probably annoyed she is acting and Ryan Gosling is just pretending to be a plank of wood.
A double-cross then leaves him with only one option - put the pedal to the metal and drive for his life!

See above for how many times we actually see him drive. And not very fast either I might add.
Cult Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn ('Bronson', 'Valhalla Rising') announces his Hollywood arrival in style with this tough thriller inspired by the 1968 Steve McQueen classic 'Bullitt'.
You what? Tough thriller inspired by the 1968 Steve McQueen classic 'Bullitt'!?! Is Nicolas Winding Refn taking the piss or something? Fair play to him for 'Bronson' as that is a fantastic film but to compare Drive with a classic Steve McQueen film is a bit mental. Both Hossein Amini and James Sallis (the films writers) seem to of got inspiration from the PS2 game Grand theft Auto: Vice City for this film.
It's also Brit-actress Carey Mulligan's first full-on action film

And probably her last.
while Albert Brooks and 'Hellboy' star Ron Perlman get the bad-guy roles.

And both fail to pull this film out of the dismal hole that is sinks in to. In fact this is the worse film I've ever seen Ron Pearlman in and I've seen him in Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. As for Albert Brooks I enjoyed him much more in Finding Nemo.While I thought the trailer for this film actually looked pretty cool as it suggested it to be a film comprised of many action scenes it goes to show how smart cutting and incorrect marketing can work in trailers. Having raised this subject with a friend of mine he pointed out to me that an American woman has sued FilmDistrict (the films distributor) due to suffering "damages", feeling that the previews were misleading. She stated its distributor marketed Drive as similar to the Fast and the Furious film series, and, in a bait and switch act, gave her a motion picture with little racing.
One thing that was unexpected and really enjoyed was the sudden amount of gore as Ryan Gosling goes on a revenge fuelled rampage. Broken skulls, throats cut, blood everywhere and a cracking head shot that would make Quentin Tarantino wince. Don't let on to anyone but I enjoyed the 80's style soundtrack.

Anyway as you can see I wasn't really taken with this as I just couldn't get my head round a film that was called Drive that had hardly any driving in it. The friend I was with though really enjoyed it so maybe it's just me being a boring git. The general consensus having looked online is that this is a great film.
On the plus side though it's now my turn to pick a film next Orange Wednesday I go to (in fact it's two if I remember correctly) and after seeing the reaction of my friend during some of the gory bits of this film I reckon it might have to be "The Thing".

until next time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A whining kid a hospital and a fantastic mum...

After my blog about having a cleft lip and insensitive old women yesterday it got me thinking about when I used to spend a lot of time in Great Ormond Street hospital when I was a kid. Despite the cleft lip a palate issues I also had issues with my feet and hands as well. This in itself wasn't what I was remembering to be honest. What I was remembering was what an absolute legend my mum was.

While my dad used to look after my little brother (I only had one bro back in the mid 80's) she always used to take me into london to hospital be it for a day appointment or for an actual operation.
Nothing like having your mum around but looking back now as a 5yr old kid getting poked and prodded with needles and having endless operations I was seriously scared with what was going on and I don't think I've ever told her what a true legend she was when it comes to being there.
She was always the first last person I saw before I was put under anesthetic and the first person I saw when I woke up all groggy and miserable as hell. I also remember her going home on the tube and trains back to Harlow (ON HER OWN) at times I would try and avoid doing these days at the age of 32.

My mum is a legend. Cheers mum x

Monday, October 10, 2011

Discrimination at it's strangest....

Unfortunately it is still a common misconception that if you don't look a certain way some people expect you to be somehow mentally lacking in the brain department.

As you will no doubt be aware (and to be honest if you are not then where have you been?) I was born with a cleft lip a palate.

Approximately 1 in 700 children are born with a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate.

Clefts can also affect other parts of the face, such as the eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and forehead. Lucky for me I've not had other problems apart from scaring, my nose and some speech and hearing problems when I was a kid. The only problem I have with my forehead is the lack of hair which now seems to be falling out (thank you Dad).

Anyway, it's a shame that in this day and age some people still seem to associate such problems with mental capability as well. I don't get this from people very often but when it does it still catches me off guard. Although I'm capable of ignoring such ignorance I find myself still rather pissed that some people can be so narrow minded.

I recall once I was minding my own business when an elderly lady came up to me one day and told me it was nice that people like me were able to get jobs. When I asked her what she meant she said "You know" to which I replied "No, I don't".

She then went on to tell me how she thought it was good that despite me being "slow" (her words not mine) it didn't stop me from getting a job. After I got over the sheer disbelief of what this women said I couldn't help but wonder how many other people put up with such ignorance on a daily basis and how they handle it?

These days I find it rather amusing in a sad way when I come across these people. Don't get me wrong it's young and old that can be like this (don't want some pensioners group having a go at me) but if at some point in the future you look at someone that maybe doesn't conform with your narrow view of society for goodness sake think before you open your mouth.