Friday, 25 September 2009

Coldplay, Jay zzzzzz and Girls 'should not be' Aloud

After the triumph that was U2 at Wembley stadium a few weeks ago, it was the turn of Coldplay to step up to the plate. We have seen them a couple of times before, so I figured there would be no problem. Before the main event we had to endure Girls Aloud who were delightfully awful. Mrs B had read a couple of reviews of their previous shows which were glowing. I can only assume that the reviewer was trying desperately hard to get into Cheryl's tiny white panties, because in truth they were dreadful (No not the white panties, I didn't actually get to see them so don't feel qualified to say).

The ginger one makes me want to hurl every time I see her. What were they thinking when they added her to the group? If they were going for girl next door looks they fell wide of the mark, managing instead to corner the hideously disfigured scary woman from up the road market instead. On the plus side for her, it looks like she is breaking into the film industry. That was her I saw her playing the painting at the end in the recent Dorian Gray movie , wasn't it????. Now the same can't be said of Cheryl. While she may have the looks of an angel, her voice has more of the air of a Tyneside docker, and an out of tune one at that.

This left the choreographed dance routines. Surely they must have been good? You would have thought so, but the reality is that your great Aunt Ethel, the one with the double hip replacement and dodgy knees (not forgetting the flatulence when she eats sprouts) moves better than these girls. Sad but true and remember, Ethal has always been rather generous at Christmas and Birthdays, you can never have too many pairs of white flannel socks in your life plus flatulence is hardly noticeable, unless you happen to be in the first couple of rows.....
If only Aunt Ethal had not put down
Sprouts as her rider it could have
been a much better Girls Aloud lineup....

Jay Zed (It's a long story)or should that be Jay Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz was up next and as I feared he did nothing for me, other than make me hungry (and I don't mean for more). One of his songs had an Indian rift running through it, which left me wanting a curry and with a strange desire to be in a room surrounded by red flock wallpaper. None of my concert companions - Mrs B, Kirsty or Vinnie - were affected in the same way so my curry crush went unsated....

So having survived the ordeal of "The support bands" what could go wrong.....? Hmmmm, 10 minutes before Coldplay were due on stage the heavens opened (Way to go weather men, with your 20% chance of rain. That's most impressive you normally claim 80% chance of rain and get it wrong). Now most people would regard this as a bad thing but not me as it actually resolved a dilemma for our little party:-

Mrs B was not enjoying the crush at the front or not being able to see the stage.........but............

........Kirsty had lost her glasses (this is the girl who managed to mistake a field of Llamas for a field of cows. Hey, on the positive side she did recognise it was a field) so anything further than a foot back from the stage was going to mean a big blurry ordeal for her.

The rain decided for us and we scurried to the back of the stadium and undercover. That way none of us got to see anything other than some stick insects but at least we stayed dry. The rain also turned out to be a relief for Vinnie as well. It has already been established in a previous BlackLOG that he is not a big fan of being in the car with the roof down, so since one of my rules for topless driving is that it has to be dry (the other being it has to be above freezing, although this rule has often been broken on blue sky winter days. It's not that bad, after the first 10 minutes the numbing sensation takes over from the pain of early onset frost bite) he knew he was going to get a lift home with the roof up.....

As for Coldplay they put on a good show which was ruined by the acoustics echoing around the stadium. I think it might have been due to the roof - for U2 it was fully opened but I notice that for Coldplay it was partly closed and I believe it was this that caused the echo problem. I like Chris Martin and believe he is a genuinely nice guy, but how many times can you ask the audience if they are OK and having a good time? A couple of times is OK, but once you start reaching double figures it gets a little dull. Nice touch with the X-factor sing along competition, although possibly a bit cheesy with the Simon Fuller video interaction bit, but entertaining all the same. The only thing was how could they bring Jay ZZZZZZZ back on stage for a duet? After all I had only just started to get over his rather dreary support set.
It was an intimate gig just us, Coldplay
and a few of their closest friends

British politicians and you thought your parents were embarrassing

It's not good for your pride when you discover your Prime Minister turns out to be a stalker. Not content with seven rebuffs for a date with the POTUS he eventually corners the poor man in a kitchen. I can just imagine Brown pinning Obama to the floor while reaching for a kitchen knife and screaming "If I can't have you to myself then no one's having you!!!!!" . Oh dear Michelle, looks like you might have a serious rival for hubby's affections.... This is almost as bad as the time when Neville Chamberlain came home waving Adolf's phone number and look how badly that date ended....

And don't get me started on Baroness Scotland. Yes we all make mistakes in life but it's a bit rich when you are one of the people who draft a law and then claim ignorance of how to follow it. What chance does that leave for the rest of us...?

To end with

Star Wars takes on Snatch
This is hilarious - warning it takes 8 minutes and as it's based on Guy Ritchie dialogue, so involves a lot of swearing - But it is worth it.....
thanks to Ryan for sending me the link

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Triathlon traumas & Beatles

The Triathlons
After all the training, that we should have been doing. All the gadgets, that I had purchased, to distract us from the pain of doing the training, that we should have been doing. It all came down to Me, Mrs B and our friend Kirsty, versus 118 other novice triathletes. The date was the 13th September - fortunately a Sunday rather than a Friday. It's not that I'm superstitious or anything but you never know and I find it's best not to dance a tango with fate. As I type this I find myself crossing my fingers, while reciting the Tibetan book of the dead backwards with a lucky rabbit's foot tucked behind my left ear (which is probably why McG is eyeing me strangely from the other side of the room. Just as well he has the hunting instincts of a lump of mouldy old cheese). Glad I'm not superstitious....

Setting up
I got my bike to my allocated spot in the transition area. Not a huge space for each athlete, so you can imagine how impressed I was with the bloke next to me who had spread his gear out like the cat which manages to take up 3/4 of a king sized bed. I think there is a secret physics formula out there which, using equations, means the smaller the cat the more space it has to take up. With the bloke showing no inclination to move, even after I asked politely, I was forced to make my point by walking all over his stuff as I attempted to setup my bike, eventually he got the message and begrudgingly moved.

For some reason they split the men and women into two separate groups, then combined the results at the end. So Mrs B and Kirsty went off around 15 minutes before me. I think it's only fair to inform you that conditions deteriorated dramatically in those 15 minutes, with the water getting much thicker and even the air getting heavier.......
On your marks, get set, drown.....

The swim
I liked the big sign posted strategically around the lake that they herded us into for the first phase. The sign reassuringly said "Don't swim in the Lake" in large 'Don't mess with lettering'. Looking at my swim time is seems that I took the signs to heart and subconsciously appear to have floated around slowly......... Kirsty cheated and used youth and the fact that she was the swimming captain of her old school team to post the 6th fastest time of the 118 entries.
If you look carefully you might
be able to see me floating at
the back. Moving more like a
shellfish than a dolphin

Transition 1
I guess you could call it a success. I posted a transition time close to 5 minutes. Sounds OK until you realise the best times were sub 1 minute and I was one of the slowest of the day. It all looked good as I dragged myself from the cold clutches of the ice ridden waters (I'm sure it was so cold that the Icebergs were huddling together at the bottom, in an attempt to keep warm). The wetsuit came off relatively easily, I had remembered to have my shorts on underneath (so no early disqualification for being naked in transition). It was only when I attempted to put on my running top that things went wrong. I managed to get the shirt tangled up in my heart monitor belt. At the point where I was beginning to look like a trussed up turkey I had to swallow my pride, as well as risking disqualification (you are not allowed any assistance, another one of the many opportunities to earn an early exit), and ask some one to unhook me. Oh the shame....
So much space, so little time. At
least I got my moneys worth out of
transition. If I had stayed much
longer then they were going to
charge me rent

The bike ride
Still a little discombobulated I set out on the 10K bike ride, just as Mrs B zoomed passed starting her second lap. It took me half the circuit to reel her back in. One thing we noted was that the only bikes that got passed us were the racing bike variety which are a fair bit quicker than the Mountain bikes we were on (yes I know yet another excuse).

Transition 2
Went better than the first transition as it involved no scenes of actual Poultry bondage. Less entertaining for the crowd and certainly less embarrassing for me. I'm frightened to check on YouTube in case I was secretly filmed and am now a minor if very avoidable celebrity -

The most hits this week "The Bondage Poultry dancer"

- just out of interest does anyone know how much it costs for a good plastic surgeon?

The run
I managed to reel in a rather lardy gentleman but it took me ages to work my way around him, it felt like it doubled my run distance.

Final results
Kirsty managed a fantastic 40th - Not bad for the girl that said she had done no training, forgot to tell us that she was a swimming captain and abused her position of youth....

I came in 71st - pretty rubbish for someone who had purchased his own weight in gadgets in an attempt to post a decent time - Perhaps I should have used the money to bribe the stewards to let me take some short cuts.

Mrs B came in 91st. Not bad considering she thought she was going to come last - although she let it slip afterwards that she was actually disappointed not to have finished in the top half. Don't laugh, you have to admire her optimism..........

A big thank you to my sister for putting us all up overnight (3 of us that is, the other 115 Had made their own arrangements) and for coming to support us, along with my nephew Alex and Mrs B's parents. Also to the people who rather generously sponsored us for the HSBC charity to rebuild a school in India. My sister came up with a cunning plan, since she has spent the summer in flip flops, she decided as it was turning a little colder to plunge her feet into boots. She soon developed a massive blister and the resultant limp made it look like she had competed in, rather than just supported, a triathlon

It was a fun day and I might be tempted to do it next year, after all I have a crap time to beat and some bad poultry memories to exorcise....
It's over, for a happy, Kirsty

"And in the end" - while that looks
more than just relief on Mrs Bs face

The Beatles
Other news - it's been an exciting week for one part of the BlackLOG house at least, with the release of the digitally re-mastered Beatles albums. I've been a huge fan since around 1977, which was actually 7 years after their demise as a recording group. Their music helped me get through the death of my father in 1982 and has been with me ever since, sometimes lost under the deluge of other music that I have purchased over the years (I'm one of those people who, if someone lends me music and I like it, will go out and purchase it. A true collector - what's that noise? It's sort of a buzzing noise like a cross between a cat purr and a dog growl..... Oh, it's Mrs B grinding her teeth in the background).

I can honestly say that while I like a lot of music, there has never been a group, or singer, who comes close to the Beatles. Yes Elvis had a great voice and did some fantastic songs but vast swathes of his work are embarrassing and of poor standard. Despite some dodgy co-writing credits (Colonel Parker brokered agreements with song writers that Elvis would cover their song if they gave him a credit on the song) he didn't write his own stuff. Where the Beatles beat everyone hands down is the quality of the body of their entire work and the progress that they made from album to album. I guess the Beatles were lucky in that they broke up before the quality of their work started to suffer. How many groups can show the progression from the simplicity of:

"Love, Love me do,
you know I love you"

to .

"Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me"

Yes there are a handful of duffers, Revolution 9 off the white album being the most obvious (but even that seems to have had its influence on some groups, though not ones I like). Personally I can't abide Yellow Submarine but it is universally loved and adored and is certainly a good indoctrination into the Beatles for the younger listener.

Typically for me - I had ordered the new albums to be delivered at work and then ended up working out of the office so had to wait for another three agonising days. While I have listened to the albums a thousand times before, I was looking forward to listening to them with new ears. I've decided to listen to each of the albums in order comparing the old tracks and the remastered versions. OK it sounds a bit lame but thanks to the joys of Ipod very easy to do. I can report that the tracks on the first album Please Please Me sounds much fuller and wider, which is not bad for an album thrown together in 12 hours. I'll let you know how I get on with the other albums over the coming weeks.

Some of my favourite Beatles quotes
When John Lennon was asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world he jokingly replied, "He's not even the best drummer in The Beatles!" This was shortly after Ringo had walked out, during the making of the White Album and Paul had taken briefly taken over on drums.

Question: Does all the adulation from teenage girls affect you?
John: When I feel my head start to swell, I look at Ringo and know perfectly well we're not supermen.

Question:Were you worried about the over sized roughnecks who tried to infiltrate the airport crowd on your arrival?
Ringo:That was us!

Question:There's a "stamp out the Beatles movement" underway in Detroit. What are you going to do about it?
Paul:We`re going to start a campaign to stamp out Detroit.

Question:Sorry to interrupt you while you are eating, but what do you think you will be doing in five years time, when all this is over?
Ringo:Still eating.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

V2009 - Day Two

For the Sunday, at this year's V Music Festival, we decided to stand back a bit, affording Mrs B a better view, although it did not reduce the chance of being covered in beer thrown from behind (at least you hope it's beer.......eeeuuww). It would be nice if the drunken yobs who do this would get their comeuppance, but you know they won't. Anyway, having stood further back, I would then take the beast (My D700 Nikon camera, with a perv lens - BlackLOG see Day One ) on little excursions, fighting my way to as near to the front as the crowd would allow. I would then take a few shots before making a strategic withdrawal. It worked, allowing me to get some good shots and allowing Mrs B to enjoy the day with out being crushed, bumped and soaked. Well almost, a strange trend developed through the day. I would leave Mrs B in loads of space and return 20 mins later, to find still loads of space but a number of people crowded right in front of Mrs B, not only encroaching her personal space but blocking her view. I would then have to chase them away with the beast. I know Mrs B is irresistible but this was ridiculous.....

The first year we went to V, in 2007, the organisers rather helpfully provided the running times for the acts about two weeks in advance (huge big grins and three cheers for the organisers). This allowed me to create a music selection matrix (I know, I know, anal or what?) and plan the weekend with military-style precision. While it may not have resolved any musical clashes, it did allow for us to get any awkward conversations about who we would see, decided in advance. The last two year's the organisers have provided the running order only, with no times (Boo hiss).
Even worse, the times shown on the little printed booklets, sold on the day, in 2008,was wrong.  This lead us to arrive late for a number of the sets until we cottoned on and adjusted ourselves to the festivals own unique time zone. This year I took the running order and used the times from two years ago as a guide. Amazingly the times were all spot on, certainly on the Saturday and would have been on the Sunday if the headliners (no show northern gits) had not pulled out, forcing the schedule for the main stage to shuffle around like a small kid wanting to go pee pee.

Ok, ok, I've prattled on for long enough here is the bit that most of you have come for. The photo's....

Clearly some people didn't make it back to their
tent after enjoying themselves the night before.
I would love to claim that this was early in the
morning but we didn't get to Hylands park till
gone midday. That must have been some night!!!.

Lightning Seeds
First up for us was Ian Broudie and the
Lightening Seeds. Very enjoyable and a
surprise for Mrs B who knew a lot more
of the songs then she thought she would.
He could have shaved though.

Not sure which Proclaimer brother this is?
I suspect it's the other one!!!

All I know is they got a huge cheer for
"500 miles". I do fear for their act however,
as they already seem to have lost the iconic
red hair. If they lose the Scottish accent
while they are singing then it's back to oblivion
for them.

Good News Bad News

You can just imagine how well this news
went down with the crowd. From our point
of view we got as close to seeing them
live as when we attended their Knebworth
gig. We were so far back that, thanks to
the dip at Knebworth we could not see the
stage so ended up watching them on the
video screens. Deep Joy!!!Not....

Considering Aimless Winebucket and Pete
Snorterty, the traditional king and queen
of no show, actually both made it, Aimless
was not even scheduled to appear. Truly
putting the Gallagher's to shame.

At least this news got the day back on track


Joel Pott, lead singer of Athlete. Risked
the wrath of the crowd by attempting to
dedicate one of their songs to "Oasis". He
saved himself by switching the dedication
to his Grandfather, before the booing
could drive them off the stage......

Alesha Dixon

We only watched Alesha as there was nothing
else on at the time and we were too lazy to
move from our very good view of the Channel
4 stage. She did a very professional job but
that does not take away the fact that she 
still has an annoyingly squeaky voice (think
Mickey Mouse on Helium)and vacuous songs.

Katy Parry

Katy Perry was surprisingly good live. Just not
sure about those shorts? She also managed to get
one of the best reactions from the crowd when she
covered the Queen classic "Don't stop me now". You
could just imagine Freddie cavorting about in the
shorts and probably the bra as well. Did Katy steal
them from the "I Want To Break Free" video?

Hands up anyone who would like to see
Katy kiss a girl?

No Katy you don't get a vote...

I'm not convinced by Elbow. It's frightening to
think that they were just a Snow Patrol - "no
show" away from being the headline on the main
stage. Perish the thought. I can't think of many
groups who have named themselves after body parts
and been successful. Feel free to correct me, if
you can think of any....

Clearly the person who tried to label 
Mark Potter's anatomy, does not know 
their arse from their elbow.

It's hardly Rock 'n' Roll when Guy Garvey, the
Elbow Lead singer, tells his mosh pit (probably
just one guy bobbing gently up and down) to calm
down as there are children in the audience!!!
Begging the question was this a rock concert or
listen with Mother?

It would have been better if Guy had said "F***ing
children" at least we could have enjoyed the irony
of the statement.....

It's not good when you have a lead singer who
looks like he got rejected from the Wombles..
.....Shame he didn't try and clear some of the
litter while he was there.

Not sure if this is revellers basking in
the glow of the Elbow stage show or
onlookers caught in the glare of a Bikini
island style Nuclear test. Not as far
fetched as it sounds: the UK's "Top Secret
(apart from the signs pointing it out)
Nuclear bunker" is only a couple of miles
away from Hyland park.

Snow Patrol
Snow Patrol get to headline at last. I'm sure
there is no truth in the rumour that Gary
Lightbody told Noel Gallagher that his brother
Liam had hidden Noel's favourite teddy bear....

With the smoke and lights it looks more like
Jason Connolly of Snow Patrol is playing an
intimate jazz venue rather than a huge open
air gig....

Gary Lightbody the lead singer of Snow Patrol
- I did say in the last BlackLOG that the later
it gets the harder it is to get good pictures
as the lightbody fades

Although there was no fighting or storming off stage
style tantrums, Snow Patrol still managed to put on
a good show.

Fans just chilling
Why Captain America made an appearance I don't
know. I'm just glad he had industrial strength
boxer shorts on.....

Is that a chicken on his head? or is a
human on Foghorn Loghorns' bottom?

Hippy chicks - looks like the one on the right
washed her hair in beer, in order to avoid the
huge queues for drinks...

Looks like this couple are having difficulties
deciding what they want to see next. If only
they had a BlackLOG style matrix;this all could
have been resolved in advance.

Looks like this young lady has got
a bit of a cider head on.....

I just wish that I had asked what it was
all about. I do love the fact that she
had cut ear holes out though....

Mrs B in Rock Chick mode. She was a bit put out
that there were no pictures of her in last week's
BlackLOG. How times have changed. I remember the
early days when Mrs B would get upset if she got
a mention ......

The look of love, or is she just trying to get
him to spend the next 2 hours queuing to get
her a drink.... ?

You talking to us Punk?

"Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)" -
if only Dylan had been at V 2009 that title would 
have worked so much better

I would love to claim that this is an arty
picture - involving shape, light and colour
brought cunningly together to create a
pleasing abstract.

Sadly it's just another example of drunken,
out-of-focus people, demanding that I take
their picture from close up. They did however
take a picture of me holding the beast, which
made for a nice change............


I hear there are plans to ban the huge flags from future festivals. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand they block the view of everyone behind them, which is very annoying. On the other, though, they are very useful for helping get back to your party in the crowd - as long as the flag holder does not move, of course.

Update - I have recently seen a little GPS key ring advertised which can be used to get back to a set spot. This leaves me with no alternative but to jump on the "ban the flags" bandwagon. If only they would come with a device to electrocute drink throwers and litter droppers as well..............

Currently my street cred has been shot to bits - I was asked who was supporting Coldplay, as we are going to see them in a couple of weeks time.  I said "Jay Z" but pronounced it Zed rather than Zee. In my defence I can't stand Hip Hop and I'm not sure if I can bother to get to Wembley early enough to see him.

Noel & Liam are still not talking to each other. The rest of the toys have come out of the pram and there is still no sign of the missing bear.

For those of you who missed it, the story of BlackLOG V2009 - Day One