Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paul - film review

Paul is a geek road movie starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen. Pegg and Frost are two English science-fiction nerds who make a pilgrimage to the San Diego ComiCon. After the convention they go on an alien abduction road trip.

On their road-trip they meet Paul, a CGI alien voiced by Rogen. Paul is escaping from the government who want to do bad things to him.

The film starts slowly but it is full of nerd in jokes that entertain. It might not be worth 8 quid at the cinema but it is worth picking up the DVD.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mogwai at the HMV Picture House, Edinburgh

I was on the guest list for this show so this review is very biased indeed. Despite my bias it was great. I caught the end of The Twilight Sad set. I'm not too familiar with their stuff but I liked what I heard. There was a hint of Joy Division.

Mogwai, as always, were great. The set was more of a cross-section of their career than the recent Grand Old Opry show. They played highlights of the new album with greatest hits from the past including Christmas Steps, Mogwai Fear Satan and Helicon (I always call this 'Summertime' for some reason). We were also lucky enough to have Luke Sutherland on stage playing violin and singing on some songs.

A few tracks from the new album were played including the mighty George Square Thatcher Death Party. The lights and visuals were great. I think the guys had some technical problems with an amp exploding on stage at the end of the main set but it was still sounding good.

Plus the new album went in at number 25 in the chart.

Buy the album and see them live.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The King of Limbs by Radiohead

Another stealth bomber album has been released by Radiohead and it's a good one. The King of Limbs was announced midweek and released on Friday as a digital download. They have described the album (in it's ultimate physical release) as possibly the worlds first newspaper album. i don't know if this refers to the physical form of the release or the quick and disposible nature of the digital release.

The music of The King of Limbs feels immediate. The album is 37 minutes long and features 8 songs. After a couple of minutes of listening to the first song I knew I liked it. This is not always the case with Radiohead records.

I'll be listening to this a few more times over the next month or two until my 'newspaper album' arrives.

The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

I've just finished reading this, the second volume of autobiography by Stephen Fry. It covers his time at Cambridge University and the early part of his career in showbusiness.

I've read a few of Fry's books in the past and I enjoyed most of them. I also like most of the stuff he does on TV. This autobiography is interesting in that it shows us how hard he worked to get where he is today. He also seems to suffer from a suprising lack of self confidence. I'm too young to remember his very early TV work and much of that is described here.

This book is worth a read but I would seek out his first volume (moab is my washpot I think) first. It has the juicy prison stuff.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shitty things about being a doctor

So after working in clinical research for a couple of years I'm back as a full time clinical doctor. I love my job and I love my speciality but there are bad bits in this job. This week I have told one man that he is going to die soon and I have been present as another man was told that he was dying. Both of them were nice blokes. Sadly, another one of our patients died of an aggressive illness that we were unable to control.

But that's my job and I have to be there for my patients. I have to give them bad news in a clear and understandable manner and I have to give them whatever information they need. It's important not to be openly upset when you give bad news to someone because you don't want the patient to feel sorry for you. You are there to help the patient and that's it.

Doctors are human and this stuff can get to you. There are a lot of good aspects of the job that balance this out but it still sometimes hits me like a kick in the nuts.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Green Hornet in 3D - film review

I wanted to see this film because of my interest in all thing superhero. I remember seeing the old black and white TV series but I don't think the sixties series with Bruce Lee as Kato was ever broadcast in the UK. I do remember the episode of the Adam West Batman where The Green Hornet made a guest appearance.

This film could sound like the scraping of the superhero barrel. However it is directed by Michel Gondry who has made some interesting stuff over the years. Gondry made this film in 3D and it has an interesting visual identity. There are recurrent episodes of palinopsia in the slow-motion Kato fight scenes and some interesting use of comic book style panelling.

Seth Rogan leads a cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz (from Inglorious Basterds) and Edward James Olmos. Jay Chou does a good turn as Kato. The soundtrack is very good (possibly because of the music video past of Gondry).

Rogan plays Britt Reid the feckless son of a newspaper mogul. When his father dies Reid has to take over the family business. He meets Kato, an employee of his father who turns out to be a bit of a genius as well as a martial arts expert. Reid and Kato decide to fight crime to stave off boredom.

For fans of explosions and car crashes and bad jokes. I liked it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The most played songs on my iPod

So I've had the iPod since christmas and I have about 20,000 songs on it. iTunes does some funny stuff when it plays songs at random but here are the top 5 tracks.

1 - 6'1 by Liz Phair - A track from exile in guyville about inadequate men. I like it and I listen to it through choice a bit. Good track and worth hearing.

2 - George Square Thatcher Death Party by Mogwai - the stand out track from the new (out next week) Mogwai album. I am highly biased cos a mate is in the band but this is a great track. I love the vocoded vocals and I greatly dislike Maggie Thatcher. I suspect that we will see parties in Glasgow when she dies and this could be the soundtrack. A number one in my mind.

3 - Billiard Player Song by Shellac - I bought this 7" single as it came out in 1992 (?). I was a high-school Shellac fan after being a high-school Big Black fan and their early singles are some of my favourite music. These tracks are not very easy to hear but I do think that you should track them down. Shellac are one of the best bands ever and you should see them live and listen to them if you can.

4 - letters to the metro by Mogwai - I've been hammering Hardcore will never die but you will and you should too. See above.

5 - Ramble on (2007 remaster) by Led Zeppelin - I'm not a massive Zeppelin fan but this was one of the first albums that went on the iPod because Amazon gave me a free download. Ramble on is a great track and is worth a spin. Not sure how it got into my top 5 right enough. Curse you, the non-random shuffle feature of iTunes.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Living in cupboards - medical training.

So I've been a doctor for nearly 7 years and I'm now back to living in a crappy room in a hospital miles away from home. So far I have spent two of the last seven years living in cheap, shitty rooms in hospitals in the arse end of nowhere and tonight i might be starting another two year sentence.

This is an essential element of medical training. To get a broad spectrum of experience you need to work in several units. Unfortunately the subspeciality I work in has training at national levels so if you rotate between units you will probably end up being at least 60 miles from home. I am now working on the other side of the country.

This is good in a way because I am exposed to a wide range of clinical units and I see lots of different types of clinical practice. It's bad because I can't sleep in my own bed and I'm a long way away from my family. Training as a doctor can really fuck up your life.

So I'm sitting here in a room that is probably about the same size as a prison cell. It's not warm but I'm surviving so far. I've not seen any insects yet but I am sure that they will come. The walls are tissue paper thin and I can hear every fart next door. That's life I guess.

Hopefully I'll get a decent pay check at the end of the month and that might make things a bit better.