Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding Diary

So after listening to the Breakers win the ANBL for the first time (and their coach drop the F-bomb in a live to two countries interview post match. Hilarious), out of historical curiosity I flicked on the TV watch the live broadcast of the Royal Wedding. TVNZ's feed was the first I came to, and since they looked to have ditched their own flown in at taxpayer expense hosting talent in favour of the actually-know-what-they-are-talking-about sounding people on the local feed, I stuck with them.

About 2145 (times are NZ local, this is 1045 in the UK):
Almost perfect time to start watching, just as the soon to be princess leaves Goring Hotel to go to Westminster Abbey. This signifies that shit's about to get real yo, and I have missed the "oooh, famous people" talking head blather that will have made up the coverage for the previous couple of hours.

About 2155
Timing not looking so good as the commentators start wildly squeeeing and verbally waving their elbows (actually, probably not-verbally as well) about the dress as the bride walks into Westminster Abbey. Find something else to do away from the TV while they take deep breaths and calm down. It's a dress, white with veil, not showing underwear, or too much cleavage so probably suitable for the occasion. The massive train provokes a "never mind the bride, who is the hottie walking behind her?" question. Turns out it is the bride's younger sister. The bride herself is a class act.

About 2200
The bridal party proceeds up the aisle to "Guide me thou o Great Redeemer" (I'm not even going to try and pronounce it in it's native Welsh). Since I had this at my own wedding, I conclude from the Royal use that I must have exceptional taste. Also note the trees that have been placed inside Westminster Abbey, and the general abundance of greenery amid the wood and stonework. Slightly trippy and quite cool.

The actual wedding starts. Stripping away the ritual and surroundings and the couple look seriously into each other, which is always a good thing at this kind of occasion. Also note that not only does Prince Harry look like he is having a great time, he is also seems quite a big guy in a buff sense, giant uniform epaulettes not withstanding. Figuring out exactly which uniform any given male member of the royal family is wearing is a fun exercise to pass the time.

2220 ish.
The deed is done. Now the speeches start. Boring and platitudinous. Even the Married Couple look like they have itchy feet. Leave the room.

2230 ish.
More speeches/readings. The bride's brother has a very crooked tie, which I would rue if it were me given the approximately bajillion people watching. Go back to what I was doing elsewhere.

Yup, still talking or hymning. The feed keeps cutting to shots of the congregation, prominent members of which I am probably supposed to recognise. Elton John turns up repeatedly in this segment. Also note that while "God save the Queen" is sung the Queen herself doesn't sing, which is entirely logical when you think about it, and also carries the bonus of if you happen to be Queen of the United Kingdom, you are permanently excused from ever having to sing your national anthem in public.

Finally they get to walk down the aisle and leave the Abbey. Crowd goes wild. The bride and groom set off in their carriage to Buckingham Palace while thousands line the route and squee. Prince Phillip is looking old these days, and initially looks to have trouble getting into his own carriage. The Queen as ever is totally dignified. A lot of drive-by saluting is done by Prince William, accompanied by hearing a band start playing 'God Save the Queen' on what seems like every corner. Wonder if they stop playing once the carriage has passed.

Idly wonder how many of the weapons seen on the procession route are loaded. Have doubts about the rifles held by the honour guards, no doubts about the sub-machine guns being held by prominently placed police. The deliberately obvious security causes more idle wondering about how much non obvious security is around. Like that horses are still fashionable for Royal occasions.

The procession starts disembarking at Buckingham Palace. Prince William is greeted by a RAF Air Vice Marshal, some light-years in rank above William's current day-job rank of Flight Lieutenant. Wonder in this context just who calls who 'Sir'. The Queen has a smile and a nice word for her palace greeters, while Prince Andrew ignores everyone and practically runs inside. Princess Beatrice appears to be wearing an octopus sculpture on her head.

The Royals have disappeared into the bowels of the palace, so the TV people start interviewing the crowd. Some remind me of the great British talent of being dryly hilarious without even trying, but mostly interviewing the crowd (while impressively sized at hundreds of thousands) is about as interesting as expected, somewhere above watching grass grow, but below watching paint dry.

Nothing remotely interesting is supposed to happen in the next forty minutes or so, so I find other things to do.

Return to find lots of anticipation about the upcoming balcony appearance by the Royal Family and accompanying fly-past by the Royal Air Force. The balcony windows having net curtains becomes a source of obsession for the commentators as they zoom the cameras in to try and see through them.

Party emerges onto balcony, couple snogs. Crowd goes wild. The network providing the feed has managed to shoe-horn a reporter into the cockpit of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster for a live commentary on the flypast from one of the aircraft in it. The fish-eye lens distorts the view so much at first I don't even recognise it as a Lancaster. Another camera though in one of the gun turrets provides a great shot of a Hurricane in close formation, nicely framed by a pair of .303 gun muzzles. The reporter doesn't appear to be able to hear the studio, so the producer disappointingly drops his feed.

The Hurricane-Lancaster-Spitfire formation flies down The Mall and over the Palace, the combined 72 cylinders of 5 Rolls Royce Merlin and 1 Griffon engines combining for a bit of aural goodness that is definitely a sound rather than a noise. The non historic formation of 2 Tornadoes and 2 Typhoons doesn't sound anything like as good. That's it as far as the flypast goes. A bit underwhelming until I remember that the RAF is busy elsewhere with a couple of wars at the moment. Still surprised that the Red Arrows didn't feature though.

Flypast done, the couple snog again and everyone goes back inside. TVNZ ditching the local commentators to re-introduce the Walrus and Petri-Dish is conclusive evidence there is nothing more to see here so I go to bed. Awake in the morning to find the photoshoppers have already been busy:
Addendum: This occured later on in the day. Also something I did at my wedding (the taking my new bride for a spin in a convertible bit, not the driving through the palace gates bit), albeit without the accompanying Range Rover full of bodyguards.Link

Monday, April 25, 2011


While it has often been necessary, and produced both glorious acts and individual heroes, one look at the don't-mess-with-me gameface of this particular well known in NZ soldier just after a firefight in Afghanistan should be enough to remind us that at heart, warfare has always been essentially a dirty and ugly business, not to be undertaken lightly, and almost never without consequences.

And it is for that reason we should take a day to remember those we send to do that work in our name (rightness or wrongness of any particular historical cause aside), those who fell, and those who served alongside, in either war or peacetime (and the sideshows of history where that distinction gets blurred).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No fixed topic

Word from the midwife is that we could potentially be en bebe by the weekend if the braxton hicks are anything to go by. Any time now, so excited but slightly tense. We don't know what flavour it will be, but I will be happy with healthy and happy. In the meantime here are two of my favourite singers singing appropriately.

Eddie Vedder could probably sing the phone book and make it sound good. The acoustic version he does of another Tom Petty classic during one of Pearl Jam's Gorge concerts is pretty cool too:

Interesting to note the from a couple of news items recently that the long running saga of the Skyhawk disposal is now finally coming to an end. Working on a slightly more in depth post on that.

Kind of related the big airshow of the season is on this weekend. Not going since I have slightly more important potential things to be at home for. Watching the chatter build on the forums is almost painful :)

Conversation from Saturday night as we caught an Avatar parody on Comedy Central just as we were leaving Kirsten's house:
Fi: "It's Star Wars!"
Me: "It's Avatar."
Charlotte, looking out the open door at the weather: "It's raining!"

Enjoying the increase in pub quizzing lately courtesy of Janine. I miss it as a regular gig.

Now back to the waiting...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Record Store Day

Listening to: See Below
So I was kind of planning an interesting night out tonight, starting with a bit of Roller Derby, then moving on to Cirque de Medusa (in the process finally getting to see a friend of mine sing, something I have been meaning to do for months now), but the migraine I had yesterday and still affecting me today put paid to that.

I figure migraines are like a very condensed night long party in your head. Except it is the kind of party you don't get to enjoy, like when it is at the neighbours place, there are too many bright lights shining in your window, the music is too loud (and playing only songs you hate), people are vomiting over the fence and leaving junk and debris on your lawn, you are thinking of calling the cops and you weren't invited anyway. Anyway the fuzziness and nausea that was yesterday afternoon left me with a bruised and battered brain today, remarkably similar to a hangover, but without the preceding fun. Thus low key activities were in order today, including marking Record Store Day by going to a couple of my favourite aural haunts. Including one unfortunately in the process of closing down (possibly but not definitely to re-open in a new incarnation). Despite occasional (and sometimes almost cliche typical independent record store style) flaws, Real Groovy has been one of my favourite places to kill time and add to my collection for the last decade or so. Most of my mumble600mumble odd CD's are from there, at a cost may times less than what I would have paid for them in a chain store. I am sad to see it go. There used to be four of them nationwide (ironically a chain I know), but the chain fell over a few years ago and the stores went independent. The Dunedin one closed at the time of the original collapse, the earthquake literally destroyed the Christchurch one, and with this one going it will be back where it started with a single store in Auckland Charlotte was my partner in hunting and gathering, and I took a picture so when she is older and asks "Dad what were record stores and what where they like?" I can show her in one, with a caveat that two and a half year olds were not commonly seen there, even though she has been to this one several times.

I think the facepainting at the bar across the road that was also marking the day was more of a highlight for her than the time honoured ritual of flicking through album covers and saying "hmmmm" occasionally.

Today's visit saw me picking up an album by Over the Atlantic, and an old Pearl Jam single I didn't have.

Moving down Cuba Street to Slowboat Records looking for another couple of items on the eternal and ever changing hitlist, I picked up an EP by City oh Sigh, solely because they were playing live in store for Record Store Day and I liked what I heard, having never encountered them before. It was exactly the sort of thing that I like record stores for. I am a very late adopter when it comes to online music. Physical music stores may be in a perhaps ultimately futile evolve-or-perish phase right now, but if they disappear completely (independent ones especially), the music consumer experience will be more than a little less fun.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back to the bench

I often take breaks of varying lengths between active model building periods like now, not having built anything since December. But with summer evening sports finished, winter closing in and the national competition returning to Wellington in a little over four months, it is time to tidy up the bench and get back into things. As a general rule I build for fun not to compete, but the competition and show provides a good motivational deadline to get stuff done. I am trying to start now so as to avoid the power building madness that accompanied my last encounter with the nationals two years ago. I also have a few things I want to try and get out of boxes and on display by then:
It is ambitious given how slowly I build stuff, but I am going for an 'aim for the stars' vibe. It will be interesting to see how far I get by August.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New toons

Couple of newish tracks I am digging at the moment: Shihad lead singer Jon Toogood's solo project The Adults And a newish track from one of my other favourite acts, The Twilight Singers

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Any Day Now....

Not long to go before the second bebe is due to arrive at our place. Officially it isn't due for another three weeks or so, but Charlotte was two weeks early, and I am now at the stage where every unexpected phone or text is a potential call to action. Which is good in a way. This pregnancy thing is getting old, and I am not even the one who is pregnant. Anticipation is all good, but there comes a point where you just want to get on with it.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Summer's Kiss is over baby...

Daylight savings ends tonight, and with it so does being able to still pretend it is summer and not autumn.

To mark this solemn occasion, here are a couple of my favourite songs on the theme, both from the mid 90's:

'Summer's Kiss', originally by The Afghan Whigs, but here sung by the post-Whigs pairing of Gred Dulli and Mark Lanegan as The Gutter Twins.

And 'Summer' by Buffalo Tom.

Buffalo Tom - Summer on MUZU.