new post on Christian Visualist blog

June 28, 2010

case study: Michael Trotter gig 26 June 2010

food: Hillhead Bookclub

June 28, 2010

{hb} hillhead bookclub

“One of the best bars and restaurants in Glasgows stylish west end. Whether it’s quality pub grub, cheap cocktails or a pub quiz night, this is the place to be.” as it modestly claims on its own web site.

Popped in hear on Saturday afternoon for some lunch when we noticed that it had changed-hands or re-branded (again).  This is the old Savoy … a restaurant for some years but I do remember going here to the cinema when I was a student.

The place is much nicer than I remember for whenever I’ve been in before.  It still has tables on various levels inside and there are still some nice original features from the cinema especially in the roof.  There are a couple of caged in play rooms in the balcony which I’m sure are used not just for kids during the day but I would have a go at the playstations and table tennis on a night out.  But, what about the food?

There are a few different menus on the board outside, I think, called ‘brunch‘, ‘lunch‘ and ‘dinner‘ and we weren’t sure which we would be getting (especially since a burger is £5 on the lunch menu and £7 for brunch!)  It turned out we were there for brunch menu from which we ordered two £7 burgers.  To be honest there wasn’t a massive variety of choices, pancakes, ‘something with eggs’ (which is a section of the menu with of things involving eggs), full breakfast, burgers or fish and cocktails(!)

Not a great photo, but a fantastic burger – possibly the best burger I’ve eaten in the west end – The salad accompanying it wasn’t great being one lettuce leaf and a slice of tomato.  The coleslaw was nice, but nothing to write home about, however the burger itself was sheer perfection and I had it with both red onion relish and bacon.  It was well cooked and utterly delicious.  The chips were closer to potato wedges and again lovely!

I would highly recommend giving this place a try!

book: Stieg Larsson “The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”

June 25, 2010

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the final book in Stieg Larsson‘s “Millennium Trilogy” following up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and  The Girl who Played with Fire.  This book opens minutes after the incredible climax of the second book and starts with the same breakneck pace the second one reaches (eventually).

The only problem (and it is true to some extent in all three books) is that there is just too much detail.  In this final part I would say that this becomes a major problem and it is only because the reader has invested so much in the characters and story that the author can get away with this.  In particular I found it difficult to follow all the new characters and places that were introduced early in the third book only to find out that soon you didn’t need to keep track of them all.  People came and went, there were chapters which didn’t really move the plot along any and basically a lot that could easily have been cut.  I think book 2 and 3 in this series should be one story and I’ve no idea no idea how they will make these into a movie since most of the ‘action’ involves hacking through computer files which tends not to be too visually interesting.

Other than that criticism the actual story that is told is excellent.  This book ties together all the loose ends from the second book taking Salander through a trial that reaches the highest political levels of the country.  It is also very interesting how as story can be so gripping while the two main protagonists very rarely meet.

book: Stieg Larsson “The Girl who Played with Fire”

June 25, 2010

The last book I blogged about was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo I liked it but gave a warning about the type of content – The Girl who Played with Fire is the second in Stieg Larsson‘s “Millennium Trilogy” and just as enjoyable and captivating as the first.

Everything revolves around two characters, Lisebeth Salander (the girl with the tattoo) and Mikael Blomkvist, the publisher and journalist of Millennium Magazine.  Lisebeth is such an involving character with a complex mysterious past that is hinted at in the first book.  Here we finally find out what made her what she is.

The plot is complex, well constructed and cleverly punctuated some fascinating and unexpected twists.  However, the does book take a long time to get going and there are some totally unnecessary sections of tedious detail, but soon enough it gets up some speed and has such a stunning climax that you really should have the third book on standby to start straight away!

If you haven’t read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo then don’t read this.  This trilogy has to be read in order or not at all.

Back in the USSR!)

June 24, 2010

On twitter the other day was this tweet from Barack Obama…

… so the Russian president is on twitter and his first message was a very friendly “Hello everyone! I’m on Twitter, and this is my first tweet.”  (actually I think this is the default message when you set up an account but that’s not important.)

I mostly follow some church-tech and worship visual stuff also some comedians and for news @Number10gov and @BarackObama, so I clicked through to follow @KremlinRussia_E just to see what they would be saying

However, it looks like the Kremlin have decided to follow anyone who follows them so I got an email from the Kremlin saying “RussiaKremlin_E is now following you on Twitter!”

Just as well I don’t tweet much :-/

Montage of Paul McCartney gig

June 23, 2010

gig: Paul McCartney Hampden Park 20 June 2010

June 23, 2010

What can you say about a legend like Paul McCartney.  Well for a start you could continue to spread the rumour that he died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike (here, here, here),  but lookalike or original you can’t argue that he is an extremely talented man!

First, however, I feel the need of a short rant about why I do not like stadium gigs!  They are just too big – you can’t see the band – there are too many drunk people around (well in a standing gigs at least), the sound isn’t great, they charge laughable prices for poor quality food and drink… etc.  I promised to myself after a disappointing Red Hot Chillies gig in Hampden Park last year to avoid these at all costs.  Since then I saw U2 last yearSnow Patrol last week, and when you score free tickets for a Beetle you just can’t say no!

Mentioning that we got these tickets for free does let me continue to moan a little bit more about stadium gigs – firstly the view from this distance and angle is ‘limited’ and we weren’t in the worst seats and the sound was fairly disappointing from where we were with audio dropping occasionally, lack of any distinction and a tinny quality… hard to describe exactly but overall disappointing.  So I can honestly say that the tickets were worth every penny we paid :-/ but I wonder what the face price was.

I also don’t understand how places like Hampden can get away with enforcing a policy of not allowing and food or drink to be brought in and then charge £4 for a very low quality burger and £4 for a small glass of wine or pint of beer.

Right, now that is out of the way – Paul McCartney.  He is incredibly good at his job!  Switching between many different guitars, mandolin, ukulele, pianos and playing songs from the Beetles, Wings, some songs from John and George – it would be very easy for someone with a career like Paul McCartney to have turned into a parody of himself playing all the same old songs but he has managed to avoid that.  When playing early Beetles songs with the gathered voices of the Hampden choir somehow it didn’t feel like a nostalgic moment but more of a party.  You have to pinch yourself occasionally to think that this isn’t just anyone singing these standards but one of the guys who actually lived through it all.

Of course there were also many non-Beetles songs and I have to say the way the set was put together was a great mix (see the setlist from Glasgow below).  The only Wings songs I really know are Jet and Band on the Run and they were good of course, but Live and Let Die was incredible with a full on rock-show firework finale – speaking of ‘finale’ there were at least two Encores according to the setlist below but an Encore to me means one more song… Paul just kept playing!

One of the many highlights of the evening (IMHO) was Mull of Kintyre when the band were joined by a school pipe band – and the massed voices of Hampden Park, really a great and moving moment which I have struggled to upload to youtube (is it just me or is youtube getting harder to upload to):

All in this was a fantastic way to spend a lovely summer evening in Glasgow, and it was the sun gradually setting over the stadium which made this photo look like everyone was standing to salute Sir Paul McCartney, after all he did deserve it!

Glasgow Setlist – Sunday 20th June 2010.
1. Venus and Mars / Rockshow
2. Jet
3. All My Loving
4. Letting Go
5. Drive My Car
6. Highway
7. Let Me Roll It
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
10. Let ‘Em In
11. My Love
12. I’ve Just Seen A Face
13. And I Love Her
14. Blackbird
15. Here Today
16. Dance Tonight
17. Mrs Vandebilt
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Something
20. Sing The Changes
21. Band On The Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
23. Back In The USSR
24. I’ve Got A Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
27. Let It Be
28. Live And Let Die
29. Hey Jude

30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back

Second Encore
33. Yesterday
34. Mull Of Kintyre
35. Helter Skelter
36. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End