Call me Russ L

Tzzzzzz I am a Tumble Tee

Posted in Blogstuff, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 14 December, 2013

I should probably mention that my Tumblr site has been in use again for the last little while. I’m just using it as a scrapbook-y sort of thing, with no actual system – there are no particular reasons why I’ve posted some specific thing there but not posted some other specific thing.

A fair bit of it has consisted of re-blogs from The Land Of Maps so far, but this may change I love it, but I’m getting increasingly annoyed with the lack of cited sources on there for info that really should have sources cited).

Coming to terms with the inevitable

Posted in Blogstuff, Books, Linklog, Modern Living, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 21 December, 2012

Done it again. Supersonic happened (hooray~!), and I actually managed to write most of my post about it. I genuinely did. I just didn’t finish that last little bit, and didn’t get as far as a post about anything I’ve done since either – nine gigs, four operas, a fillum showing with an organ being played behind it, a Christmas question-answerin’ trail, ice skating, a pub quiz, one world fair, a picnic and a rodeo.

We will draw a line here. A line of non-bloggery. I will finish the Supersonic one and there still are going to be digest posts for all of my operations from this year. I know my precise plans are of even less interest than the posts will be, but I do feel like I’ve removed a weight from my shoulders by making a decision to just leave the rest and so I’m going to indulge myself by writing some crap about the crap I didn’t write.

Some links:

~ It seems that there are plans for a Mo Yan theme park, now that he’s Nobel literature laureate. That’s brilliant and a thing that should be done with more of the winners. Can you imagine a Harold Pinter theme park?

“Two day tickets, please.”
*REALLY LONG PAUSE*
“That’ll be £20.”

~ Point! (It doesn’t work in IE. Via SWSL).

~ The mouse that stole a leopard’s food – apologies for the Daily Mail link, but I do love the photographs (via Cute Overload, years ago).

~ Matoi Yamamoto’s salt labyrinths (via Kottke,years ago).

~ Hard Truths From Soft Cats.

~ I know that “I am an introvert” is the currently one of the Infosuperbahn’s most fashionable things, but this thing here really, really is the most perfect guide to talking to/dealing with me that anyone could ever have written (via Skepchick).

Cows (celestial), Birds (sea), Rabbits (anthropomorphised)

Posted in Blogstuff, Films, Linklog, Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 5 September, 2012

I must face up to the fact that I pretty much never get around to writing about anything nowadays. A change of approach is needed. I think that I’m going to shift sideways slightly and try writing rambly diary style posts, rather than posts that are ‘about’ something specific. There may in practice appear to be no difference, with the only distinction drawn being in my own mind. We’ll see.

The last few weeks have been good for ‘big’ stuff, anyway. There was the Flyover Show and the Helicoptera, both of which were ace. In spite of the above paragraph I do still intend, one of these never-never days, to write a big opera digest post (or series of posts). I’ll talk about “Mittwoch” when I do that. If. When.

I spent the weekend just gone at the Moseley Folk Festival, which is always lovely fun. It wasn’t quite as good as Mostly Jazz, Funk And Soul two months ago (that was probably the best multi-day-music-festival-type-thing that I’ve ever been to, even better than that one previous Supersonic and that one previous Moseley Folk, but I’m going to be sensible and acknowledge the fact that I’m never going to manage to write a post about it), but it was still fab.

Two minor teensy complaints:

1) There were sound problems. Never mind the fact that Guillemots suffered from the feedback mooing of The Celestial Cow and the fact that both Roy Harper and Ian McCulloch ended up repeatedly complaining to the monitor man, the bigger trouble is that (both at this and at Mostly Jazz two months ago) the second stage just wasn’t projecting. If you weren’t up the front, the Lunar stage simply didn’t have the appropriate volume. Quite a few bands palpably suffered from this, at both festivals.

2) Janice Long as compere, again. Although in the name of fairness I should point out that she didn’t seem anywhere near as drunk as last year, and even managed to get the names of the acts correct.

Carping aside, there were a whole metric bucketful of enjoyable turns. Listing band names tells you as close to nothing as makes no odds, but since it’s the most that I’m realistically likely to manage I’ll proceed:

1) The Destroyers were the best. Obviously. As I’ve said before now, having them on is unfair to the other bands.

2) Other particular highlight sets came from Guillemots (plus their aforementioned Celestial Cow of feedback), Echo & The Bunnymen (altogether fiercer sounding than when I saw them a few years ago), Devon Sproule (at least partly because of how personally personable she seemed), Goodnight Lenin (albumalbumhurryupandreleasethebloodyalbum), and Julian Cope (it was a small victory for him to actually bother to turn up [cf: Supersonic a few years ago]. That he also turned out to be a huge amount of fun was a happy bonus).

3) Direct hits were also scored by Abigail Washburn & Kai Welch, KateGoes, Beth Jeans Houghton, Laura J. Martin, Dark Dark Dark, Revere, Little Sister, Treetop Flyers, The Magnetic North,Lanterns On The Lake, Roy Harper, The Long Notes (both their first set and their ceilidh/hayfight), Spiro, Rapunzel & Sedayne, Paul Murphy, The Jasmine Moon Ensemble, Hassan Salir Nour & Joelle Barker, Cara Dillon, Village Well, and Steeleye Span.

The use of a camping chair proved good for avoiding The Aches. I think I might see about getting one of those leg-less ones you place straight on the ground for the future though.

The park is still lovely, of course. I find myself worried about it, though, even more than I was last year – not only are the two annual festivals taking their toll, the silly rain over this summer has turned some of the turf more-or-less inside out. There are now stretches of mud/dirt where there should be grass. What is to be done?

Ah well. I will finish on a song some links:

~ Since we were talking about their pop namesake, guillemots lay eggs that won’t roll off cliffs. They’re a bit Weeble-ish.

~ The stories behind 20 Muppet favourites (via Skepchick).

~ Interesting thoughts about numeric ratings by Tom Ewing (I’m no fan of marks-out-of-x, meself. I far prefer words to tell me what you think of something).

~ “Airbushed For Change” – Tory/Cameron poster parodies circa the last election

On the Thursday before the week before the Wednesday From Light

Posted in Blogstuff, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 16 August, 2012

The thought occurs that the previous post is probably a bit too negative to leave at the top of my front page for two whole months, and as such I’d better post something else quickstyle.

That there thing did annoy me, but I still have much love (as I believe the young’ins say) for the Birmingham Opera Company and I’m really looking forward to the Helicoptera. To displace that post, then, I’ll link to the download of this interview with B’h-Op’s Graham Vick (it should be there for a good while but it won’t last permanently, so get it sometime soon). He is, as ever, pretty much the best of us.

I will post something else soon. Probably not, by this point, very many of the various things I’ve sincerely intended to post over the last months, but something. There should at the absolute very least be something about Mostly Jazz, Funk And Soul, because it was amazing.

Linklogification – 16/2/12

Posted in Blogstuff, Books, Linklog, Modern Living, Music, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 16 February, 2012

Log that link.

~ Gorgeous video of bookshelves organising themselves (via Fyeepa Pyeet) (see also: Bookshelf Porn, safe for work in spite of the contextless ubiquity of the word ‘porn’ nowadays, via Ben Swizzle).

~ “Chatchat”, a game about being a cat (as far as I can tell it loads in Firefox and not IE, though) (via Waxy).

~ Diamanda Galas on the subject of Whitney Houston, and whilst I’m not going to pretend that a little part of the reason that I’m linking this is because that’s not the sort of sentence that you get to type very often, it’s not the only reason (via Bookslut).

From the old linklog:

~ Detective Mittens (and there are lots of funny videos on that there Filmcow site).

~ The Social History Of The MP3 (originally via Tom Ewing).

“You’re Looking At It Wrong” – sales of different music formats over time (although why they started in 73 is anyone’s guess, as I said at the time).

~ “Hyperland” – Douglas Adams’ 1990 documentary about the future of “interactive media”. Also: Tom Baker.

Of interest to basically no-one…

Posted in Blogstuff by Russ L on 13 October, 2011

… and I think it goes without saying that there are more important things going on in the world, what with the NHS being sold and so on, but still. There are a couple of ancillary websites that I’ve used in the past, but won’t be using anymore. To wit:

~ Delicious – I did use it as a straightforward linklog, synched up into the sidebar on the right there. There was a load of fuss and hoo-har about rights and privacy and suchlike when it got bought out recently, and to be quite honest I still don’t really understand any of that, but I definitely don’t like the new interface and it seems really buggy nowadays. I’d been half-thinking about integrating my (very) occasional linklogging into this here main blog for a while now anyway, and this seems like as good a time as any. I’ll just make the occasional post on here, not only with new links but also with stuff that seems like it’s worth keeping from the old one (I’d been posting to it since 2007, so inevitably half of it will consist of dead links, out-of-date info or “well… it must have seemed funny at the time” stuff).

~ Shelfari – I used to keep a luvverly list of all my books (I like lists) at Shelfari, but Amazon have bought it now. I don’t like them and they don’t like me. Given that they closed down my last account with them for no adequately explained reasons, I’m not going to bother opening another one so that I can sign into Shelfari with it. I’ll just make my own list of books and leave the Shelfari ting to wither on the vine.

(Oh, also – I still don’t get this Tumblr lark, so I think I’m just going to use mine to save the very occasional captioned image that I make. This is at least a defined purpose for something that’s never really had one).

Tumbleweed

Posted in Blogstuff by Russ L on 29 June, 2009

Right, it’s back in action: http://russl.tumblr.com

For a bit at least, anyway. Recent things involve mention of David Mitchell, Martin Mullaney, Stuart Millard and Tim Sylvia.

Erm… it’s not easy to log out, is it?

Hey lessee what’s goin’ on on this side

Posted in Blogstuff, Combat Sports, Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 16 January, 2009

Yes yes yes, I am officially crap at blogging nowadays. Sooncome: a catch-up of Fings Wot I Dun since the end of November (there isn’t actually a massive amount), and the finishing of some half-written nonsense about the Shuffleathon CD I made for Ben Swizzle.

In the meantime, an assortment of gubbins:

~ No end-of-year posts, sorry. Unless you really really want them. I was going to do a top 40/50 fightsport matches of 2008, but couldn’t quite manage to get around the barrier of not really being arsed after the initial rush of enthusiasm about the idea (While I’m here, though: Daisuke Nakamura gets my nod for Fighter Of The Year and he should get yours too). There isn’t going to be a Best-Popular-Music-Of-2008 post, either, because practice (if not theory) seems to suggest that I’ve gone off popular music. It’s been a good while since I’ve been more than peripherally bothered with the faff that recorded music entails, obviously, but on top of that I’ve been to sod-all gigs lately (there’ll be two in the aforementioned catch-up, and I’ve only really got two planned up until the end of February. There’s loads of theatre and fightsports on my horizon, though, if that helps).

~ Honestly, You Couldn’t Make It Up when it comes to what’s been happening at work just lately. If I tried to describe it all you wouldn’t believe me.

~ It’s all a-go at Created In East Bromwich. The era of Chr-Chr-Chr-Chr-Chris Uniiiiiiiiitt has ended (or at the very least is in the process of ending), and Kate Spragg of Colour (yet more gigs I haven’t been to, as per above) has assumed the position. On top of that, I am more than delighted to announce that CIB has won ‘Best UK Blog’ at the 2008 Weblog Awards (anyone following my Twitter or Delicious will have seen my small contribution to the larger advocacy/cheerleading campaign). That might not seem particularly consequential, but in doing so it beat Melanie Phillips of The Daily Mail/The Spectator. Disdain for The Mail and love for CIB aside, this is important in two ways:

~ First of all, as P’Ashton points out more eloquently than I’m ever likely to, this is an instance of a community-based idea-sharing blog beating one of those Dittohead/“I didn’t get a hurrumph outta that guy” styled efforts that make up the majority of blogs writing purely about politics and – for many – define the tone of blogging in general. I avoided getting a blog for myself for a long time, believing (wrongly) that these were the only kind of weblogs out there. Any demonstration that we’re not all complete and total tossbags should be applauded.

~ Secondly, it’s only proper that someone who suggests that using a blog to canvas votes for an award constitutes skulduggery (“Black arts”, no less) whilst repeatedly using a blog herself to point out the fact that she’s been nominated for said same award (she’s been nominated, you know. She’s not saying you should vote for her, of course, but she has been nominated. For an award. Nominated. Did she mention that?) should lose. Lose horribly. It’s only a shame that it wasn’t more one-sided.

~ I know I’m years behind everyone else with these, but I’m only just now discovering “Cracker” and “The Wire”. Who knew that cops’n’robbers telly serieseseses could be so good?

~ I really can’t make my mind up about Henderson vs Franklin. Obviously I’d like to see the creationist lose, but I can’t pick it.

~ I finally got around to putting Firefox on this computer (I did have it on the old one, time back) and found it to be so much more of a pain in the arse compared to Internet Explorer. I don’t remember it being like that (time back, as I said) and no, I’m not just trying to sound anti-techy. Should it really be necessary for so many things to require the downloading of a plug-in? It seemed so slow, too. I know that’s contrary to the standard wisdom and so I’m assuming something else I’ve got on’t’puter conflicts with it (any obvious suggestions?), but it was taking forever to do bugger-all. I’m carrying on with IE, even if it is supposedly letting nasty things eat my computer from the inside.

~ Speaking of which (probably only too directly), we had a virus that stopped pretty much everything from working but I managed to do a system restore and get rid of it (well… I think it has). How about that? I’m quite proud of managing to sort it myself. Salutes should go to Woozle’s laptop and next door’s wireless connection for enabling me to look up just exactly what the hell was going on, of course.

~ Not for the first time, I find myself thinking that Amazon.co.uk is an edifice constructed entirely from Kafka’s nightmares. More on this when I figure out just what the hell is going on (I’m not entirely sure at present, but it doesn’t seem ideal).

~ There hasn’t been a LOTTSADITWM post for a couple of months and there won’t be for February, either. March, hopefully. Maybe.

So there we go. Be On Your Way.

The ‘One True Russ’ laws are flouted yet again/The perils of vanity-searching

Posted in Blogstuff, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 22 September, 2008

“How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”

I’d just like to clarify the fact that this ‘Russ L’ is not the real Russ L that you get here, nor is this one. I’m nothing to do with Laurie L. King, either.

There might be another proper post soon. Stranger things have been known to happen. It’ll probably be some catch-up nonsense, obviously.

Blogging as a cure for delirium

Posted in Blogstuff, Food, Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 28 July, 2008

I haven’t been posting much for ages (Have I mentioned that on here before? Because, you know, I haven’t been. Posting, that is. Much, that is. Did I mention that?), but just recently I’ve had an excuse. The Lovely Louise has entered my life and made me as happy as I’ve ever been. If not more so.

Russ L’s handy labour-saving comment-creation device

(Copy and paste into the comments box then delete as applicable)

– Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw, how sweet.

– Ye Gods, pass the bucket.

There has been other stuff, of course. Chiefmost would be Supersonic; this year the best yet, I think. I’ve had some vague notes and uncoordinated bits of waffle written about it for a couple of weeks now, which I’ll try and press together into some sort of literary masterpiece at some point in the near future (pwomise). The Lovely Louise and I went to see Tercunquinto’s “I Am What I Am” at Ikon Eastside and found it to be what might most politely be described as “half-baked”. Still, we had fun (EDIT: Also, this. We couldn’t find/see a blurb at all, but perhaps that’s for the best given what’s a-written there…). I went to see Butthole Surfers at the Civic Hall Bar and they were enjoyable in a ‘really good grooving rock band’ sort of way. Not quite the mad-arsed blowing-your-brains-out-of-your-ears you’re-a-mentalist-smell-my-cheese psycho-tomfoolery experience you want from the Butthole Surfers, but enjoyable stuff nevertheless. Thai Edge on Brindley Place was very nice if not all-out amazing in any respect.

So, there you go.

I’m such a happy bunny.