Tim Minchin


As the weather has been somewhat depressing. In April (thanks world) I thought I’d write about something that cheers me up. Something that has been a bit of an obsession since my fascination started aged 7 with Cilla Black. From Cilla to Kirsty MacColl to Karen Gillan. The obsession. The Redhead.

This has been exasperated by the fiction of Ed McBain who featured pert breasted redheaded maidens in almost every novel. The Flintstones with Wilma, Family Guy with Lois, Daphne on Scooby Doo, hell even Princess Fiona in Shrek. Animators would appear to have a bigger obsession than me.

I don’t really know what it is, is sensitivity to UV a turn on. I hope not. Maybe I like the challenge, less than 2% of the worlds population is currently crimson topped. So I have the odds stacked against me if this was my only criteria for finding a mate. That and my good looks, general good health, wit and mastery of speeling and grammar”

Maybe I like the fact that the redhead stands out, without trying, in most cases. As do I. OK now I do due to my “Jesus/Hobo tribute combo” but before I was beardy I was a pretty un-remarkable looking guy. The sticks make you stand out. People stand back, the old ones I had made a clicking noise on the floor which made it impossible to stalk anyone (Redhead or otherwise) I am always even for only fleeting seconds, centre of attention.

I do also have a love of “different” redhead dye jobs are in fashion now. But as a child of 80’s I come from a time where being red was covered up. So it took a brave girl or boy to buck the trend and go au natural. A quality which I admire, a big middle finger up to convention, what is expected. I will do what I want. In the 80’s/90’s a natural redhead was (even if not by nature) feisty. I have always liked feisty.

There are a good few redheaded bloggers out there. A few which I have found and followed due to me searching “Redhead” in the wordpress reader, such is my obsession. Somebody help me….

Karen Gillan (7606547704)


(28DW) Pope on a Rope

OK the title of this doesn’t really have much to do with the content, but what the hell it’s got a nice ring to it. Pope Benedict XVI has today announced his intention to resign as Pope at the end of the month. He is the first Pope to do this in over 600 years. He says he is too frail to do the job. Whilst he is probably right, it does raise several religious questions for me the atheist.

Forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t the Pope supposed to be the direct line into the thoughts and wishes of God. Defender of the catholic faith. I dunno about you religious types but doesn’t that bring into question the healing power of God, I mean the Pope was chosen by men acting in the best interests of God. So for him to give up saying “I’m a bit knackered” is to me a bit worrying, after all if there was anyone sure to be looked out for by God, then it’s his right hand man The Pope.

Also now Pope Ben has resigned, does that mean that he can no longer use the God hotline. What if God actually prefers talking to him over the new guy. He tells him different things and makes the new guy look silly. Additionally as Pope Ben was appointed to do God’s work wouldn’t he be slightly concerned at this point as he hasn’t actually done what God asked. “Do the job until you die, theres a good chap”. I dunno whats worse in God’s eyes a man being in a committed and loving relationship with lets say…. another man or asking one man to do a job…. and then him giving up half way through. I know which I’d be more pissed off at.

As I say I do think Pope Benedict has made the right choice, because Pope John Paul (George and Ringo) carried on ’til the bitter end and to listen to him talk was rather like listening to Rowley Birkin QC. Cardinals had to poke him to keep him awake. They need to appoint a new younger Pope, someone to take Catholicism forwards, someone to have the bollocks to rid the church of all the Nonces and outdated prejudices people hold in the name of organised religion.

Religion can be a good thing, it can bring out the best features of human nature, however it can also protect those who project humanity in it’s worst possible light. I hope the new Pope is able to do something about this. Until then..

Please check out the work of my 28DW reprobates  at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium  or gnomes will be touched inappropriately.

Trains, Delays and Ben Folds Plays: Bristol Academy 23/11/2012

Strange day. Strange decisions. If you have read my pieces about music before you will know I like to know details of the bands I like. I research musical influences, old stuff, new stuff, producers. I like Ben Folds. This like is strange for me because the interest was started by a Tim Minchin song lyric:

“He likes Ben Folds and the Jackson 5…” From Rock n Roll Nerd.

I got several albums. Liked those so when I heard he was touring small(ish) venues in England I thought it would be nice to see him. I knew of the Ben Folds Five, but had not researched in the slightest. In hindsight this was probably a bad idea, the first of many.

Mr Folds had decided to play in two viable venues for me. The Bristol O2 Academy or the Brixton Academy London. I’ve been to the latter before and hated it, so Bristol it was. Second bad idea. Around the time I booked the tickets I had been to the Bristol Hi-Fi show and travelled by train. So I thought it would be good to go by train for the gig. Third bad idea.

Due to a worrying waste of time meeting at work earlier in the week, the gig crept up on me. Train tickets not brought in advance, money! Floods in-between Reading and Bristol a concern. Also upon checking the timetables last train to Reading was due at 10:35pm meaning we would have to leave the gig early! Yet gig tickets were brought so we went for it. Half of our touring party wanted to visit Bristol Zoo so they left earlier than I.

Train from home to Bristol went fine. Was busy for a Friday afternoon but even managed to find a seat. The plan was to get the bus to the venue from the station. However I decided to use my Bus App which unhelpfully highlighted every Park and Ride only bus. So we walked, bewildered and slightly unsure of where we were headed, round in circles for the best part of 45 mins. My ankle shouting so many expletives at me even the local drunks off of Church Lane were embarrassed.

Halfway through our trek, losing hope of finding the venue. In the distance appeared a wondrous sight. My traveling companion and I thought it may have been a mirage. The glass fronted Brew Dog bar. My heart be still, my tired legs rejoice flavourful beer was in reach. We stepped inside the warm welcoming place, my glasses steaming up. We were guided through the choices of draft beers by knowledgeable and friendly staff. A good pint was had, I had very little time to realise that the place was filling up. This seemed like a good meeting point for our zoo visitor friends, so contact was made.

Upon our successful rendezvous we embarked on the second leg of the journey, to find the venue and collect tickets. Due to my sociable smoker friend, we had inside knowledge and found the venue in relative ease, tucked behind the Bristol Hippodrome. It looked like an industrial factory. Tickets collected we headed in with a few minutes to spare. The venue is standing only, so I had arranged seats (sounds silly that doesn’t it) up on a platform for our party. We we led through the bowels of the Academy to the platform. The security staff were again friendly. However this was my view of the stage.

Not good. The people in front of me were in wheelchairs, they had to kneel up in those chairs to see over the pictured metal bar. This had the offshoot of me only being able to see the bassist for 90% of the gig. As I am admirer of Ben Folds musical ability on the piano not being able to see this was a huge disappointment. The gig started slowly, with technical issues effecting the performance. My audiophile friend seemed to pick up that one of the speakers on the PA was blown, thus effecting the quality of the sound. That coupled with my lack of view and unfamiliarity with the work of the Ben Folds Five meant that this was not the best gig experience.

I have never been to a gig where I could hear so many people talking, for the first 5 or 6 songs there was a constant hum of conversation. Mid set the Five (surprised me that they are a 3 piece band) hit the speed and showed that they could indeed play, with loose form jams about toilets. However by this point my focus was on the clock.

I had it in my mind that I must leave at 9:50pm at the latest. To make sure we didn’t miss the poorly thought out last train home. Much to annoyance of my friends, we missed the encore. We found a taxi, and headed back to Bristol Temple Meads. Only to find out the train had been delayed. 22:35 became 22:50, 23:12, 23:20. We could have seen the 1st encore and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Damn it!

We sat in the cold. Discussing the merits of a Cheese and Chicken Tikka crepe. The train got later and later. My home town had never felt so welcoming. My bed seemed like the greatest place ever. As the expected arrival time of our train came closer we moved to the platform. Only for them to move it. At this point I was ready to kill anyone with even the vagest connection to the railway. Yes in my head I plotted to kill Thomas the Tank Engine. 23:40 train arrived. We boarded it and 10 mins later we were on the way home.

At some point in the journey, we were treated to a drunken American explaining the virtues of Mitt Romney to a follow passenger, at great volume and at great repetitive length. Also the train driver sounded on his announcements that he was either drunk or high!

Moral of the story. Never travel by train to see a band that you have very little clue about. Even if there is nice beer involved.

Ba de ya: Blogging in September (BDYBIS)

Ok I know there are several blog-a-day things out there lots of those go for a whole year. 365 blog pieces a year. Well good luck with that. I want my bits to be interesting, informative and entertaining. As a general rule of thumb one outta three ain’t bad (one less than Meat Loaf but hey he’s a big guy) A month therefore is a better period of time to try.

So I’ve decided to try and write something for everyday of September. I figure it will be a good month, what with the Paralympics and Apple launching the iPhone 5 (Which won’t be called the iPhone 5… if it is I’ll eat my MacBook)

So this is a gentle introduction piece. Ba de ya?

Earth Wind and Fire. I was never a disco guy. But I do listen to podcasts, and have stolen the Ba de ya from Mac OS Ken. Who opened his daily Apple News podcast with that song throughout the whole of September last year. So I thought I’d write a little piece on essential podcasts for a guy like me.

Mac OS Ken:
15 or so minutes of Apple News, presented by Ken Ray, useful for anyone who wants to keep abreast (ha!) of all the new ways Apple made money the previous day. This guy does it with a fair bit of sarcasm and humour too, no mean feat when lots of corporate news involves coverage of earnings calls.

Another Mac One now..

Mac Geek Gab:
Embrace your inner geek for an hour and a half every week. Presented by Dave Hamilton and John F Braun of the Mac Observer. Everything I know about the Mac, that I haven’t learnt from Apple employees, I’ve learnt from these guys. Got a mac issue, contact them at feedback@macgeekgab.com thats feedback@macgeekgab.com (You’ll get that reference if you listen.)

Comedy next.. oh yes where I get my wit from.

The Danny Baker Show:
One of the most talented broadcasters of a generation. Millwall fan and writer of countless things you have laughed at. This is the podcast of his Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5 Live. Even if you hate sport there is something of wonder to be found. Baker is willing to take risks with radio.

Richard Herrings Leicester Square Theatre Podcast:
Richard Herring one half of 90’s comedy duo Lee and Herring. Whilst the former has gone on to great critical acclaim Richard Herring has largely sat under the comedy radar this series features interviews (in the loosest possible terms) with Tim Minchin, Stewart Lee and Jonathan Ross amongst others.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe:
I’ve written several pieces on my love of the work of James Randi Educational Foundation. The Skeptics Guide to the universe podcast is produced in association with JREF and is a dose of reality in a world made of bullshit.

This is a cross section of my podcast taste. There are podcasts available for all tastes. If you have an iPod and have only used it for music, you are missing out. Give podcasts a go. They are mostly free and thanks to iTunes you don’t have to miss a single one.

Careful though they are addictive. Ba de ya.