Tres Hombres – ZZ Top

I have played this album precisely three times in its entity. I was given this by Shredder as a recommended thing to listen to. He was not wrong. I have played this album when I drove some pupils to Canterbury for a school visit – you want something you think most people will appreciate when driving others around. I have so much obnoxious music that it’s hard sometimes to find something suitable. I played this album over my Sonos system when building a climbing frame for the kids and then finally I played it the other day in preparation for this communication.

This is a brilliant album full of dirty, gritty, blues inspired songs that all sound great. It has a real down low feel to it whilst not being obnoxious. I do like it. I think it’s an album I will go for more often when I need something decent in the background.

This album is not anything like you would expect if all you know about ZZ Top is their songs from the eighties. It’s actually way better and I even like their rock stuff.

This is communication number 1957 so here are some things that happened then in the year of our lord:

  • The first frisbee
  • A hydrogen bomb accidentally falls from a bomber near Albuquerque.
  • A hurricane killed 400 people in Louisiana.
  • The Wolfenden Report was published in the UK recommending the legalisation of gay sex between consenting adults.
  • Gordon Gould invents the LASER.

Trebuchet – George Hrab

I like this album. I don’t really like the production of the album and I know that’s a personal thing and Hrab is the person who is in charge of the whole thing. George Hrab has a podcast, or used to, called Geologic which I have spent some time listening to. He’s a science communicator and skeptic along with being a talented musician and song writer.

All the songs on this album are extremely well written. They cover lots of ideas from the skeptical community and make me smile whenever I listen to this album. Some ideas of the titles on this record:

  • God Is Not Great
  • Everything Alive Will Die Someday
  • When I Was Your Age
  • Death From The Skies – highly recommended
  • Small Comfort

This album has a lovely style and a great message to push to the listeners. I enjoy it. It’s not metal and that’s fine.

This is communication number 1954 and so here are some things that happened that year:

  • Eisenhower warns against his country’s intervention in Vietnam.
  • The first subway line in Toronto.
  • The Boeing 707 is released.
  • Food rationing ends in the UK.
  • Lord Of The Flies is published by a writer who worked previously as a teacher at MGS.

Trainspotting – Various Artists

There must be something about movie soundtracks when they are done well because I have a few. I’ve even got the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs soundtracks somewhere but I’m not sure they are on my Sonos system, I’ll have to look into that. The slightly bigger issue is that my PC does not have an optical drive. I’d have to break out my laptop from 2008 to rip the files onto the system, that’s easy enough even though I’ll have to chuck some coal in the fire.

This album is a great collection of songs used in the film Trainspotting. I think I would say they are all rather middle of the road, gentle paced songs. I don’t think there’s a bad song on there.

I do have some words to say about Born Slippy. This isn’t really anything about the song but more an anecdote about terrible behaviour by me. I was at a wedding reception/evening do, you know, the kind of thing where you aren’t good enough to be at the ceremony but you are allowed the food. I think it was at the Weald Of Kent golf club building thing. It was somewhere there, I don’t entirely remember for alcohol reasons. I might have had some drink because it’s a wedding. The DJ person put Born Slippy on and I danced a stupid dance but they cut the song halfway through before all the drumming bits. I recall having a bit of a go and made them play the whole song. I think it was just me on the dance floor but when the music moves you . . . .

This is communication number 1952 and so here are some things that happened that year of the common era:

  • Rioters target British and upper-class Egyptian businesses, it’s almost as if the class struggle and recognition for fair wages and rights has been eternal.
  • The B-52 flies for the first time.
  • The Roman Catholic church bans the books of Andre Gide.
  • The Great Smog of London.

Free Guy

I took a trip to the cinema to celebrate the final day of freedom from work and I watched Free Guy. Before I let you know about this film there are certain aspects of the format that are required.

The tide as I drove into the cinema estate/area thing was very low. I could see the final edge of the mud banks and the boats moored close by were definitely below road level. I rated this film on IMDB and there’s a communication dealing with the rating system here. Now, I wasn’t sure how to rate this. I was border line between a 6 and an 8. This is the difference between me probably watching the film again and me not bothered about watching it again. I settled on a 6/10 for reasons given below but mostly because I’m in the middle on seeing this film again.

So, I really enjoyed this film. I laughed out loud and I loved all the contemporary references even though I didn’t recognise any of the YouTubers at least I was aware that popular Tubers exist. I will say that I think the trailer did a slight misjustice to the film and it didn’t pan out the way that I expected at all. I was expecting to be kind of bored but the film kept my attention and it worked. If you like computer games then I think you’ll love this film. I like computer games and I thought the film was really good.

Now for the – why is this a 6/10 and not 8 bit. As I left the cinema I wondered whether I would go and see this film again or download it to see if I can spot all the clever references that I know they put into it. My kids were trying to persuade me that it was worth an 8 and I would agree with them. I think the film is an 8/10 but the system I developed can’t be messed with and as I’m not that fussed about seeing the film again, it gets 6 stars from me.

This is communication number 1948 and so here are some things that happened in that year. I guess I should be planning what to do with communication number 2000 and also what do I do when I get past the current year IRL?

  • Railways are nationalized in the UK
  • The US Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools violates the constitution. I want to point out that “In God We Trust” is nowhere to be seen yet.
  • The first motor race at Goodwood Circuit.
  • The Casimir effect is predicted.

Top Gun [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] – Various Artists

I genuinely am unsure where to start with this one. I first saw Top Gun in Eastbourne [I think] on a cadet camp in 1986. We were meant to be going rock climbing and abseiling but the weather was poor so we went to the cinema instead. We were based at Crowborough training camp for this camp. We were a good bunch of cadets and for me there are a few things that are foremost when I try to remember the camp. I remember seeing Top Gun. I remember watching Alien in the girls’ block, it was the only place with a TV, and then after the film I shit bricks running down to where we were billeted because I was scared and it was foggy. We played this album over and over in our billet along with the Status Quo song “You’re In The Army Now”, oh and The Final Countdown, which I was convinced was part of this album for a long time. On a navigation exercise our little troop was going through quite tough gorse stuff and Chaz Randall tried running. I think he made it a few steps and then just crashed into the ground, it was hilarious. Our troop or flight was Nick, Lisa, Charles, Gummy and me. There’s a photograph somewhere, I might try and find it.

So, this isn’t about the film, which [upon adult reflection] is a heap of shit apart from the first 4’06”. This communication should be about the music and so here we go:

  • Danger Zone – a brilliant song made even better with all the references in Archer.
  • Mighty Wings – cuts after the snaps of the snare!!!

Now here’s a problem. I was going to write these reviews of the songs as they played on my system but Sonos has just informed me that the files are corrupted and can’t be played. So, I just checked my phone. Same thing there. Fuck! It could be that only some songs from this album are corrupted and I reckon I could fix them easy enough. But, how do you check all six thousand or so songs on the NAS Drive just in case you want to listen to that particular song? Double Fuck. This has probably opened a can of worms and hours at the computer as I try to check all the music I have. I’m not even sure I have a CD of this, so maybe I bought it from iTunes? If that’s the case it’s easy. If not then the quickest and simplest thing to do is to download the songs from iTunes. I’ll be back shortly.

Haha, shortly! I had though I’d be able to find where I’d purchased this in iTunes and just press the download button. You would think that is how this works, but oh no. It turns out that in the past I’ve “hidden” the downloads for this album and so I had to go through menu options that aren’t obvious to then show which ARTISTS I had hidden before. Now, as you are aware this is a compilation album and so I had to download the songs one-by-one under the headings of the artist. There wasn’t a compilation album download option. Jesus H, this is a pain. How very frustrating almost everything iTunes is. Well, the album is sorted and on the NAS drive so it’s playing right now.

  • Mighty Wings – It’s a great 80s tune, a mixture of pop and a hint of rock there. It’s great.
  • Playing With The Boys – As long as we recognise the masses of macho-homo-erotica included in the film and when this song is playing – so this is a pretty good song for singing along with. Wholly 80s. Much like the entire album.
  • Lead Me On – Gosh, is there a bad song on this album?? This is fantastic 80s pop stuff. Maybe the entire album should represent the 80s at a Decade Of Music competition.
  • Take My Breath Away – The worst song on the album?? Smushy trash, but the hopes and dreams of so many teenage boys during the 80s.
  • Hot Summer Nights – a solid 80s track. Rolls along a little more than the others, a slightly more level headed verse with a great chorus. Oh, and guitars!
  • Heaven In Your Eyes – This beats Take My Breath Away in poorness. I’m just not a ballad fan. Still, it’s a good song to belt out now and then.
  • Through The Fire – A menacing start leading to a mostly normal rock verse and then . . . . a chorus with 80s themes that will take you back to the disaster years [Piper Alpha, Chernobyl and Herald Of Free Enterprise].
  • Destination Unknown – Look I don’t know how the song selectors did it but this album is full of cracking songs to sing along with. This song falls a little flat for me but it’s part of this album and so has a place in my heart.
  • Top Gun Anthem – I dare you to try and play this song and NOT get goosebumps [no pun intended]. The opening of the film [remember the first 4’06” has this song ticking along in the background and it’s fucking great. However, if you fancy getting too much riffage then the main theme of this song can get to you when they perform the key change.

This album is a must for everyone who remembers the 80s. Don’t be giving me that shit about not remembering the 80s because you were out of it on drugs. We all love this album.

This is communication number 1947 and so here are some things that happened in that year of the common era:

  • -67C is recorded in Snag, Yukon.
  • A large loss of civilian lives in Taiwan as there is civil disorder.
  • The Texas City Disaster kills at least 581.
  • The Doomsday Clock is introduced.
  • A bug was found in the Harvard Mark II, a literal moth and the first computer bug.

Tooth And Nail – Dokken

My relationship with Dokken has mostly been down to an album I bought when I was about seventeen, it’s called Beast From The East. I also had the album Back For The Attack in my collection for ages. This particular album is a much later addition to the collection and bought because I really liked the dynamic shift from the live album to the studio version when I got Back For The Attack. I am not sure I’ve played this one in its entirety. It’s on now and the opening song is a short sketch to get us to the title song. After that it’s a mixture of songs that appear on the live album and songs that don’t. It’s classic cock-rock. I do like it. I don’t think there are any particular surprises here, you know, songs that make you go WTF? It’s a solid album.

This is communication 1946 and I’m hoping I might be able to find more “interesting” stuff in the Wikipedia entries than just death and destruction. Mind you, I get to chose what I write within and I think I’ve been focussing on human rights and natural disasters!

  • Project Diana is successful.
  • The republicans filibuster a bill for equal rights for workers.
  • Women vote for the first time in Japan and Italy.
  • The Philippines is granted independence from the USA.
  • A fire at a hotel in Atlanta kills 199.

To The Capsules – Senser

I like all music by Senser but most of it just happens to play in a shuffle when driving. The first album by them Stacked Up is very hard to beat and because I’ve listened to that one for around thirty years the newer stuff just gets lost in brain-fog. That’s not to say it’s not worth listening to, I think I’m just saying that I’m an old dog and most new music is like new tricks [are?].

This is communication number 1945, here are some things that happened that year:

  • The US executes a US soldier for desertion.
  • Hildesheim is pretty much destroyed in an air raid.
  • Arthur C Clarke puts forward idea of geosynchronous satellite orbits.

Reading through the Wikipedia pages over the last few communications has been pretty fucking depressing. I know I’ve been trying to put things in these lists that are a little different. I don’t want to focus on the things that people probably know, I want to put things that you might read and go “huh?”. I’d like to think that the years following 1945 will be less depressing but I suspect that I’ll still be reading about plenty of murder and killing of people by governments around the world. Jesus, humans are fucking terrible and horrible most of the time.

Too Fast For Love – Mötley Crüe

This album is pure cock-rock and I love it. It’s got a very raw early 80s metal sound and isn’t too polished like their later albums. Way back when, there was a controversy about Nikki Sixx appearing in Kerrang! magazine where they thought they had proof that he had been replaced by someone else. I think what makes this album good is that it was self-recorded.

  • Live Wire – great opening fast song.
  • Come On And Dance – the opening riff is heavy as fuck. I love it. The cow bell makes me laugh every time.
  • Public Enemy #1 – has some great heavy riffs but overall is a good rock song. Excellent for singing along.
  • Merry-Go-Round – every Crue album has one shit song, almost by definition. This is the one for this album.
  • Take Me To The Top – a good jogging song. Decent plonky bass and excellent sliding harmonics work from Mick Mars. Good chugging guitars too.
  • Piece of Your Action – Slower paced but not terrible. I do have a thing for lead guitars and just bass with no rhythm guitars added. Speeds up halfway through, goes mental.
  • Starry Eyes – A good start but then goes all soppy and I’m not sure I like it!
  • Too Fast For Love – quality song. Excellent riffage and good start-stop stuff. A classic of its time.
  • On With The Show – A good sing along as well. You can imagine this going down well live. Doesn’t quite hit the spot for me but I can see how it is a good song.

This is communication number 1943 so here are some things that happened that year, avoiding all the obvious shit:

  • Shoe rationing goes into effect in the USA.
  • The Paricutin volcano starts to appear in a field in Mexico.
  • A race riot in Detroit kills 34.
  • 2-3 million die in the Bengal Famine.

This Is What We Are – Fuckshovel

I bought this album because Smith and I were due to see this band at some festival somewhere at some time. I haven’t seen this band. I seem to remember the album being OK. Nothing special but also not terrible.

This is communication number 1938, here are some things that happened in that year:

  • Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Yellow River flood kills at least 400,000.
  • “I have in my hand a piece of paper”.
  • LSD is first synthesised.
  • Nuclear fission of uranium discovered.

Reminiscence

Another day to fill and so I booked another trip to the cinema. What’s quite nice is that I book films without knowing a single thing about them. The previous film, The Night House, has been playing on my mind and I’m concerned for the main character. At the end of the film it was clearly implied that she was safe from the demon just because she didn’t kill herself, but if, as the film wants us to believe, a demon is after her then how can it be defeated? Oh, maybe it can’t affect her directly which was why it was using her husband to attempt to kill her? Nope, the film clearly shows the demon affecting her directly so it can’t be that. Maybe it’s because she didn’t kill herself and so the demon is giving up? Nope, can’t be that because that fucker had chased her from the shadows since her NDE following a car crash. This is the problem with supernatural horror films with demons and shit. You can’t make them internally consistent because it’s all bollocks. I’d still go for the mental breakdown version of this film, but then it has the neighbour seeing the “shadow” at the end of the film, so who knows what the intention was. Maybe a I care too much about this film? Maybe it deserves a higher rating? Nope, I’m not going to watch it again.

So, I drove to the cinema on this Sunday and actually got there before the showtime. This allowed me to take a photograph of the river. As you can see from the green plant layers on the nearest pillar that the tide is reasonably low [it was even lower when I Ieft the cinema]. Don’t look too closely at the nearest bridge otherwise you’ll see all the strengthening bolts and rods and start to get concerned about the integrity of the structure. A lot of bridges have this down this way and I think it’s because of the gradual increase in maximum limits of truck mass. I’ve written about the bridges before.

Three Bridges - River Medway
Three Bridges – River Medway

Sometimes after watching a film I have to think about the rating and what I consider to be “fair”, although this is cancelled out by the rating system that I created and you can read about here. This particular film soon dove down to a lowly rating while watching it. I’ll explain shortly. Here’s my rating, but Twitter based.

Oh, my god. This film was utter shit. I even think I might have been generous with a 4/10 rating. I hated it after about ten minutes and that hate did not dissipate as time went on. Even now, the day after, I feel angry at how bad this film was and I don’t have any connections to it.

Let me start off with a good thing. I quite liked the world that was drowned and how they played with Miami being under the sea. This was quite good. I don’t like the dams they created because they looked at though they were designed by a five year old and they wouldn’t work. I’m not sure the production designers had any concept of the depth pressure relationship and how much water actually weighs. I did wonder if I was meant to recognise the city from the skyline and before I knew it was Miami I had settled on Chicago but I was wrong in a big way. Oh, Miami and most of Florida is absolutely fucked when it comes to sea rises. As is New Orleans, another city featured in the film.

Another thing I quite liked about this film was that during a fight scene the camera stayed at a distance and actually followed the fight rather than get all “in the action” and blurry. The underwater scenes actually looked pretty too, but they suffered like all underwater scenes in movies that people can’t hold their breath for that long and the “action” is super slow.

Now it’s time for all the bad in this shit movie which I’m going to write as a stream of consciousness so watch out. None of the voice over was necessary. Why is he set up in a bank? How does the electricity still work? How did he get into the mansion at the end? Why is this such a tart with a heart film – it could have been better? How many times do I need to see the same scene? What the fuck was this film actually about? Who the fuck wrote this utter shit? How did it get 68 million dollars to be made? Why is more than 30 volts terrible? Why was the bad man facially scarred? Scarring is one of those things that is only on bad people in films, it’s terrible. Why is this film?

I absolutely hated this film, it was shit and I only stayed to see how they decided to resolve the film, which, much like the rest of it, was poor. Fuck this film, it’s a heap of shit.

This is communication number 1937 and so here, in keeping with recent tradition, is a list of some things that happened that year.

  • GM recognises a workers’ union.
  • Over 295 students and teachers are killed in an explosion in New London, Texas.
  • Police kill ten unarmed demonstrators in Chicago.
  • 724,000 people are killed in a Soviet “purge”.
  • The last Bali tiger dies.