A volcano and Twitter brought me to you. Do you realise how beautiful that is?
-Melissa Auf der Maur
Evelyn Evelyn on Thursday night at KOKO may be have been the best ever gig that wasn’t. The quirky music of Evelyn Evelyn is performed by the fictional titular conjoined twins (or a musical and artistic collaboration between Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, depending on your level of suspension of disbelief). Unfortunately one of the Evelyns (Jason Webley) couldn’t make it because she (he) was stuck in the US due to the volcanic ash cloud disruption. The result was a mess. And excellent.
I have previously described Amanda Palmer gigs as being “Amanda and friends” or, in this case, Amanda and whoever she dragged through the ash cloud. Luckily for us this included the sublime Bitter Ruin. A small band from Brighton, this twosome features the incredible voice of Georgia Train, by turns equally powerful and delicate, coupled with the Spanish twang of Ben Richards’ guitar. Be sure to listen to Trust and Soldier (and if you only click one link, make it that one). I find myself already eagerly anticipating the May release of their full album. Also supporting were the disarmingly enthusiastic Robots in Disguise (who may actually be robots in disguise) and the assured Melissa Auf der Maur (who may grow on me).
In a creative solution to the missing Evelyn, the gig was punctuated by a scripted fake webcast with Jason on plane to the UK, projected on a giant screen at the back of the stage, through which he could chat to Amanda and play a couple of songs with her. To explain the extent of the range of music experience that evening I could mention the country song about Icelandic volcanic ash clouds, but it really requires just three words: ukulele Radiohead cover.
Amanda seemed to flag a little (likely through exhaustion) by the end, but returned for a superb second encore with an energetic Girl Anachronism followed by a sort of Sex Pistols karaoke, with the lyrics to Anarchy in the UK projected as the crowd sang along, the front row (and Neil Gaiman) danced up on stage and Amanda Palmer crowd surfed. A fantastic closing given that it was conceived that very day when Amanda and Neil sat in a café as Malcolm McLaren’s funeral procession passed. Touring issues be damned, (record label) freedom clearly suits her well.
Kegg:(n) Easter egg (or other related chocolate product) purchased cheaply in the clearance sales after Easter.
Keggfest:(n) Traditional celebration of chocolate occurring shortly after Easter. Centres around the consuming (and sometimes stacking) of Keggs. Considered to oppose the commercialisation of Easter.
Last week marked the return of Keggfest to the Eastertide calendar. A tradition I started back at uni, it faltered someone once we left Cambridge. A successful, small-scale return hopefully means it will once more become an annual event. Tom G was the first “outsider” to partake (providing not just chocolate but also home brew with a hint of chili). Sadly Icelandic volcanoes conspired to keep Anna away, so the indoctrination of someone from the Other Place still awaits.
There is little else to say so, instead, here is a mini-gallery with 6000 words worth of pictures:
Phil decided that the best way to celebrate his birthday last weekend was attempting to consume 64oz of steak in under an hour. Naturally I couldn’t turn down entertainment like that, so headed over to Spur Steak & Grill at The O2. The photos tell the story (apparently they don’t have a problem with dSLRs in the restaurants) better than I can, but suffice to say it was a valiant attempt. Despite a strong opening 20 minutes, the pace gradually slowed and by the final third it was a real uphill struggle. Although dejected, it was nothing ice cream couldn’t cheer. And while he suggests his mass eating form may be on the decline, Phil still seems keen to have another go. His girlfriend Helena is not. To be honest I can’t really recommend Spur (I assume it’s short for spurious quality steak), but it was a fun night.
Nuit Blanche is a classy little black & white short flick with heavily layered digital effects. It earned Arev Manoukian Hollywood attention, and he recently discussed its creation (including a video showcasing the digital effects) with Wired. While it may be the slow motion shattering glass that draws the eye, Nuit Blanche perfectly captures the power of a fleeting connection with a stranger, when in that single gaze the rest of the world becomes momentarily irrelevant.
Will the Secretary of State look back in history and see what happens to legislation that gets pushed through the House quickly, without consultation? It looks as though we could push some measure through – perhaps there will be a little stitch-up between the three Front-Bench teams – but out there, ordinary people, many of whom have only begun to realise the repercussions of the Bill, will feel totally let down by Parliament, just before a general election.
-Kate Hoey MP, House of Commons debate on the Digital Economy Bill
She is, of course, absolutely right. But she also puts me in a difficult position in that I have no desire to see the current Labour Government re-elected but, locally, she is exactly the sort of rebel MP — willing routinely to vote against her party when appropriate — that I wholeheartedly support. The party political system irritates me more each year.
You already know I support good 3D cinema and deplore poor, “cash in” 3D. The latest culprit is Clash of the Titans in which the post-production 3D was shoehorned in even less time than Alice in Wonderland. Critics have universally slated the 3D elements as greatly detracting from an otherwise — well — average film. What effect this will have on consumer tastes is uncertain since Titans certainly made a lot of money.
This all made me rather curious about the discovery that the fourth Resident Evil film (it’s become quite the franchise), Afterlife, is in 3D. Which sounds awful. Except that it’s been done properly from scratch, utilising the Fusion camera system pioneered by James Cameron. The quality of the film itself is still up in the air: I consider the first one fun videogame fluff, the second awful, and the third a surprisingly impressive atmospheric post-apocalyptic ride. I’m happy to let curiosity get the better of me when this one breaks out.
I don’t often embed videos here, but this is a rather pretty “trailer” for the forthcoming Charles Vess illustrated book of Neil Gaiman’s poem Instructions from his Fragile Things collection. It’s actually Neil reading the entire poem with an animated version of Vess’ artwork.