Thursday, 1 October 2009

Good food, roll reversals and even more live music

Around 8 years ago when we got our 36” TV, we were ahead of the game. Combined with 7.1 Kef Coda surround sound speakers and the ridiculously expensive (but worth every penny) Denon digital theatre amp, it was impressive enough to warrant a launch evening. A friend of ours, Paul, still mentions the impact it had on him when he first saw this behemoth in the corner of the living room. While you certainly could not hang it on a wall the weight gave it the advantage that nobody was going to break in and run off down the road with it - not unless they had at least 3 very large and strong friends with them.

This is the TV that Mrs B broke down in tears about when I showed it to her in the shop. (Well actually not quite, as I only showed her the 32" version as a warm up. We only had a 21" TV at the time and that was going to be "one huge step for
mankind...") This set the plan to get a big TV back by 6 months. That was along time ago now and the thing still works perfectly well, other than not being HD compatible and twice the size I would like it to be (Mrs B keeps telling me size is not everything and assures me it's what you do with it. I'm not sure what she means....) I have been toying around with the idea of a replacement but nothing has made me ready to jump ship. In fact, in a rather bizarre twist, it is now Mrs B who wants a large and expensive flat screen TV, while it is me now dragging my feet. What has brought about this roll reversal? That would be 'The Deal .....'

The Deal
Mrs B - "You can have as big and as expensive a flat screen TV as you want as long as you buy me a Diamond ring for the equivalent amount of money. "

Me - "OK.................."

Thought process
Mrs B - 'Whoopee, I'm getting a big diamond ring........'

Me - 'OK, the prices of electrical consumer good are still coming down, new improved TV's are being released all the time, the behemoth is working need to rush into this........'

That all changed last Saturday night.....

We had been invited to dinner by a Thai friend of ours who had been threatening to cook us an authentic meal for quite sometime. Very nice, Mam had even toned down the spices for Mrs B, not that it helped much as it still took the roof of her mouth off.

Yellow curry, similar to Green curry and Red
curry only it's well, Yellow......Oh, and has
the ability to bring tears to Mrs B's Eyes.
Impressive, I had to use a whole 32" TV....

I had started to get a bit of gadget envy when I entered the house, I have never seen so many amps, pre-amps post-amps, I think there were five in all. There were also huge B&W speakers decorating the living room. To be honest 'menacing the living room' would be a better description. This was at odds, however, with the fairly small (albeit flat screen (note to editor you are obsessed with flat screen)) TV that they dwarfed. I assumed that the speakers were for music and thought little more about it while I concentrated on scoffing the fantastic banquet that Mam put before us.
- the dishes just kept coming.

After the meal, Ray - Mam's husband, asked if we would like to see a film. Never one to turn down such an offer we settled in front of the TV. Suddenly there was a huge rumbling noise and a projector screen slowly dropped down from the ceiling, covering the entire wall of the living room and hiding the TV, like a David Blaine magic trick. (Shut your eyes for two minutes and you would never have known where the TV had gone). The next thing the screen was filled with a gorgeous, large than life HD picture. We never did get to see a film as Ray proceeded to attempt to show us the best bits from various Blue ray discs. All very impressive but very frustrating as, despite have a top end Blue ray player, it still takes about 2 minutes to load each disc. Not a problem if you are watching a full film but a pain when seeing snippets. One of the snippets was the animated "Cars" - not a film that left a great impression on me when I first saw it but had a wow factor when the picture seems to totally surround you. Ray had warned me that when the cars raced passed it would feel like you were really there. Sure enough the power of the speakers gave the impression that the cars were actually passing inches from me. Poor Mrs B, who had taken up her normal snooze position, almost bounced out of her seat.

When we got home the Behemoth now looked like a small portable. I have seen the future, only it is unlikely to make it into Mrs. B's living room. The phrase "Over my dead body" springs to mind. My thoughts are now turning to getting a spade and digging... No,No,No don't be daft, I'm not talking about burying Mrs B, I'm thinking basement, with fully integrated cinema room. I suspect Mrs B's diamond is now getting to the size where it would be too heavy to put on her finger and for the record Mrs B has hidden all the spades......

Florence and the Machine
I had managed to talk Mrs B and our friends Joe and Kirsty to get to Shepherds Bush early, so that we could get a bite to eat and see the support band - The XX. Some support bands are incredible, even better than the main act -

Terrence Trent Derby making Simply Red look ordinary

Bare-naked Ladies making the Beautiful South look second rate

The XX did not turn out to be one of those groups. All their songs seem to start off promisingly but quickly stalled, like an old Ford Fiesta. Just at the point they should be pulling away from the lights they coast to a halt. The effect on my three companions was to almost put them to sleep. In fact I was having to support Mrs B to stop her slumping over. Not what was needed on Sunday night in West London.
Joe spotted that the group probably only
called themselves XX so they use the cool
but cheap lighting affect.

Fortunately, when Florence took to the stage that all changed and the venue came to life. She has a wonderfully distinct voice and immense stage presence that makes it difficult to keep your eyes off her. I do worry about her mental state though. When she fluffed the cue for the second song, she kept going on about it all evening, even at the end during the encore. I fear, like many stars, that she is quite a fragile individual and lives off a nervous energy, like a modern day Kate Bush.
I just hope that she manages to keep it together and does not burn out À la miss Bush. Despite Kate having a fantastic reputation for singing live, I believe she only managed to performed about 28 gigs....

Kiss with a fist - Thanks Florence but
I'd rather have none....Besides I've
heard about your boy building coffins

I have a feeling that Florence may have read my Bloomsbury Ballroom review for she was determined to get some mosh pit action. Not good news for the poor sod who was half way through the crowd, attempting to deliver four beers to his three friends, just at the point when Florence made the announcement that she wanted the entire audience to jump up and down. It was only going to end one way. The only other person who failed to join in was the large pratt behind me. As the entire place erupted I found myself being pushed forward. I turned to see this huge guy sulking, while his girlfriend tried to explain he didn't like being crowded. I felt fully justified telling him that if he had an issue with crowds a gig was not the best place for him to be. I should have told the girlfriend that she might be better off finding someone with a bit more life in them but figured she could work that out for herself. Besides he was clearly a w*nker and so she might be able to put that to good use at least.....

I love that my friend Kirsty thought the song was "Dark days are over" and would not believe me for ages that is is Dog days. And no I have no idea what dog days are?

Hospital Beds, I hope Florence has learnt to
do the corners properly otherwise matron will
have her Lungs for Garters....

Despite the temperature being 17C I was voted down 3 to 1 and so had to drive home with the roof up. Within 5 minutes I found myself on my own in the car as my three companions drifted off into the land of nod. I would have put the roof down but was worried their harmonious snoring might wake up the neighbours.....


  1. That Thai food is making me hungry. I have a thing for yellow curry.

    I should've made the same deal as Mrs. B. Instead I let my husband go to the hardware store on the biggest sale day of the year (I didn't go because I had the flu). He came home and said "I got you something". That something was a 42? 46?" plasma tv. "Hey I thought you were going to the hardware store?".

    Then he made me help him install the heaviest tv in the world...I was shakey, feverish and nearly dropped it. Then he scolded me. I may have been more supportive if there were diamonds involved.

  2. Nikki I can assure you the Yellow Curry was ver good.

    I can't believe that you don't know the size of your screen. I would also like to challenge you on the "worlds Heaviest TV claim". I believe that while the Behemoth is smaller in screen size, the depth more than makes up for it.

  3. 10/10 for making me laugh out loud at my computer reading the bit about the screen coming down. I'm with Mrs B when it comes to 'it's too spicey'. My friend who's Malaysian, will say don't worry it's a mild one, and then the thing takes the roof off my mouth. Does your friend Mam live in Stortford, I know a Mam in Stortford - Are there two? Are they breeding?

    A bit of a slur on Ford Fiestas there! Although my fiesta does have a tendancy to turn off its engine at junctions, I'm sure they're not all like that. btw... you can say what you like about the Fiesta in two weeks time, I will then be a proud owner of a brand new shiney Micra (much to eldest boys shock - he is going to refuse to get in it ever, apparently).

  4. ImoAlways good to know that I made someone LOL

    The Mam we know is our cleaner about 4ft tall (not very good at cleaning the high parts of the room but ideal for doing the skirting boards), married to Ray who works out of the country a lot. They have just moved to Stansted.

    Will try and hold back the slur against Fiesta's but I'm probably with your eldest boy with the Micra. So that's no lifts for me then.....Still, I'm sure you will love it.

  5. hehehehe I just know that as soon as Mrs B's back is turned (trapped at work/just snoozing) a giant screen is going to be installed in your sitting room. Don't do it. No diamond is big enough. Your gadget envy needs to find another outlet - (or you need a bigger shed/cinema)

  6. Niel - just go for it, you deserve the giant screen if only because of your massive contribution to the Film Industry, and Nicky definitely deserves a huge rock on her finger......look forward to seeing your photos of both!

  7. Sounds to me like you've got a serious case of flat-screen-envy, my friend.
    I wonder if there's a support group for this??
    At the rate the electronics industry is bringing down the prices on those massive tv's, Mrs. B may not get as big a rock as she'd hoped.
    What is it with guys and electronics, anyway??
    Thanks for the comment at my place-

  8. This reminds me that I have not really watched a television in 7 months. There is a small tv here, with 2 channels. One channel seems to play continuous Lithuanian opera. I'm not sure about the other one.

    Flat screens are great. When I finally get home, I'm going to be totally overwhelmed by the shows and the lack of opera music. I think that's a good thing.

    It's midnight, and that food is making me hungry! Actually, anything that is not a potato makes me hungry at this point...

  9. Skipper The only way is down - dig under the house - one massive cinema room, games room, and utility room. Mrs B's Living room safe and me a happy bunny. Win win all around....Other than finding the 100k to fund the project....

  10. Anonymous or should I say Anna, I assume that you will be happy to provide a room when Mrs B so kicks out my ass.... I can bring with me my own over sized TV. The Diamond might be wedged somewhere that the sun don't shine though....

  11. Kathryn Welcome aboard the good ship BlackLOG yes it is a case of Flat screen envy, with a huge dose of realisation that it ain’t gonna happen any time soon (Oh, curse the wisdom of age)

    The support group is called ‘The Campaign to prove the screen is round not flat society’

    In truth the “Deal” has been going for a number of years and yes Mrs Bs diamond has reduced over the years,. Does that make me a bad husband

    What can I say, woman like small expensive shiny things while men like huge flashing bells whistling electronic bleepy things….

    It is always a pleasure to comment when you come across a great site.

  12. Brook You have 2 channels and still manage to get out of the house, I'm impressed. Sounds like I will have to send you a VCR so that you can record that other channel. |I must however bring up the thorny subject of how cruel you are, leaving me to speculate the delights of that second channel. Perhaps it's a 24 hour test card, with adverts every hour urging viewers not to miss out on tomorrows test card. Or and I'm trying not to get over excited here....
    "Deep breaths"....

    "deep breaths"...

    "breathing is my friend".....

    A channel devoted to Lithuanian Tractor rusting competitions, with 24 hour coverage as two tractors go head to head. The first tractor to dissolve to nothing wins. Not sure how this will work out as a knock out competition?

    A 90% based Potatoes diet and 24/7 Lithuanian Opera and you are talking about coming home, are you mad..... Give it a couple of months and I'm sure they will launch Lithuania 3 a channel devoted to showing the highlights of Tractor rusting (In case you missed anything interesting while you were sleeping). Followed by Lithuania 4 the Tractor Rusting Opera channel.

    One question do I need a Visa to visit.... ?


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