Tag Archives: Sheffield

Fall Out Boy – Back! Back! Back!

It’s cold work burning Taylor Swift records, but somebody’s got to do it.

Happy February, every one – Fall Out Boy are back!

The band who provided my daily soundtrack when walking to meet my wife at her office – “Thriller” from “Infinity On High”, a Fall Out Boy jam played so many times on the week day perambulation across Sheffield that I could have worn out the MP3 if such a thing were possible – are back with a new single, album, live shows and a plan to save rock and roll.  Which is no small feat – but the unfailingly melodic tunesmiths who brought you “Sugar We’re Going Down” and “Dance Dance” are probably the chaps to accomplish such a Herculean labour.

(Full disclosure – I’ve just gone to look at the UK top 40 to see what The Kids are currently listening to, just out of interest.  And, reader, it is mostly as dreadful as you might fear.  I suspect that the likes of Bingo Players, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and that piss-poor Will.I.Am record represent some gigantic performance student prank?)

Their new tune, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” retains their wilful disregard for rock correctness, borrowing R&B beats and marrying them to the muscular  riffs and rhythms which marked the band apart from the pop-punk rabble they were frequently, incorrectly allied with.

Instantly memorable chorus?  Oblique yet delightful video?  Insanely long titles?  All present and correct.

Welcome back, boys.  You’ve been missed.

 

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Hagrid’s Feeling For Snow…

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We took Hagrid for a walk in the overnight snow which blanketed the UK on Monday morning – he wasn’t that keen, you’ll be surprised to learn.

Sure, he pads about in the curious white carpet which has unceremoniously deposed his normal pavements and parkland, and he has a sniff about, but he’s just not that into it.

Where are the smells?  And why do his paws not have as much traction as normal?  What’s this cold stuff on the end of his nose?  And why is it drastically reducing my daily walks from two to one longish one?  So many canine questions, so very few answers…

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Snowpocalypse? Nopocalypse.

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At the end of what is best described as a changeable week for plucky Brits, it’s good to know that some things are always the same.

The threat of a couple of inches of snowfall is sufficient to plunge the UK into a frenzy of addled speculation about the dire consequences of of a wholly predictable spate of wintry weather, with even the likes of your self-flagellating blogger having to confess to frequent F5’ing of his weather site of choice despite common sense indicating that nothing much is going to happen.

At present, Sheffield is witness to a couple of inches – tops – of snow, with more light flurries predicted during the weekend – not exactly the new ice age which most UK tabloids would have us believe is inbound with extreme frosty prejudice.  I imagine Canadian readers of this post must be chuckling into their Tim Hortons cup at the very idea of our January snow panic and wondering just how we would react to an actual outbreak of real weather.

As always, when it comes to scenarios like this, I have to think that Charlie Brooker said it best…

 

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Fantasy Fiction Feast

What, me – indulge in basic photo editing to preserve some semblance of anonymity? The very idea!

The Central Library in Sheffield held an afternoon event this weekend celebrating fantasy fiction in all its diversity by hosting writers and publishing folk from Angry Robot books and I went along to indulge in all the nerdy goodness on offer.

The writers who spoke and read were Mike Shevdon, Anne Lyle, David Tallerman and Gav Thorpe, who the “Warhammer 40K” devotees amongst you will know for his work in that uber-dark sci-fi universe.   Each writer gave a brief introduction to themselves and their work and would probably have swelled my reading list ten-fold had I not exercised unusual restraint in my book purchases on the day.

Restraint? Me? With books? Surely some terrible mistake has occurred…

Behold – The book that I paid hard-earned cashews for…

As pictured above, I went away with a copy of David Tallerman’s “Giant Thief”, as I had previously raced through the first fifty pages of the novel on a library loan and put it aside in order to pick up a signed copy at the Fantasy Readers day.  It’s definitely worth a look if you like the flawed rogues and anti-heroes that Joss Whedon is so good at creating – Tallerman’s protagonist, Easie Damasco is an unshaven, fairly unscrupulous ne’er-do-well trapped in the middle of a land war and trying not to be a hero.  Angry Robot’s own jacket copy suggests that if you enjoyed Scott Lynch‘s genius “The Lies of Locke Lamora” you might well dig this fantastical adventure, and that’s fairly on the money -though there’s infinitely less swearing in “Giant Thief” from what I recall of my brief time with Mr Tallerman’s novel.

‘Tis a righteously enjoyable romp and I look forward to devouring it in short order as I attempt to race through more fantasy fiction before some small-time Peter Jackson film opens in the middle of December.  I’ve heard it’s going to be quite the thing…

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Sabaton? Eluveitie? Wisdom? Oh My…

Yes, I’m off to see a gig – entry-level image manipulation courtesy of Paint.Net

Hark at me with my beginner’s level image manipulation skills!  I’m off to see Sweden’s finest lovable Power Metal loons Sabaton at Sheffield’s Corporation tonight – I’ll probably be the guy in the Delain shirt.  Be sure and say “Hi!” – and their ready, willing and able tour mates Swiss Pagan Metal folks Eluveitie and Polish Trad Metal dudes Wisdom.

Expect a noisy time to be had by all and ear-plugs to be firmly stuffed in-ear by anybody over the age of 35 once things get going.  A report will be with soon, I imagine.

Two gigs in a week- surely some mistake?

 

 

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Few Against Many

 

Gus G, casually rocking atop a picturesque Greek cliffside, in the video for Firewind‘s “Edge of a Dream”

It’s that time of year again – and I’m dragging my ageing carcass to see a band or two at Corporation in Sheffield.  Tonight, Greek Power Metal virtuosi Firewind and Norwegian/German symphonic metallists Leaves’ Eyes have my attention and I’m prepared for the evening ahead.

My ticket is on my person, my earplugs (and spare earplugs) are in my pocket and my new, iPod-replacing Sansa Clip MP3 player is ready to do podcast duty between bands (“Hollywood Babble-On”, in case you’re wondering).  Rock and/or Roll?  Oh yes, I know how to get down (carefully and with due recourse to health & safety regulations/my ever-encroaching infirmity).

Expect a report, replete with the quality music criticism you’ve come to expect (“And then they rocked a bit more – and it was ace!”) from the blog that nobody at all is describing as the spiritual heir to Lester Bangs‘ seminal body of rock writing.

 

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Jess done good!

Jessica Ennis, winning Heptathlon Gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, picture via Independent.co.uk

This is I why I don’t follow sports – the anxiety that I feel when I watch them.

Picture the scene, if you will – my city (normally a buzzing hive of incident and Saturday night shenanigans) is silent as the proverbial grave as local Heptathlete Jessica Ennis continues her two day campaign to win an Olympic Gold medal.  You can’t turn a corner in Sheffield without seeing an image of our favourite daughter, particularly in the run-up to London 2012.  Witness the front of our local branch of department store John Lewis:

Image of John Lewis Sheffield via Telegraph.co.uk

So, no pressure then?

Her first day of competition on Friday had gone really well – two personal bests in the 100m hurdles and 200m race later in the day – but Saturday saw the Javelin throw,  the heptathlon event which has traditionally stymied her in past competitions.  Add into the mix strong competition from Nataliya Dobrynska and Tatyana Chernova and nobody was going to call this event over and done.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I found her final event, the 800m race, impossible to watch – barring a disaster, she would comfortably win the race but I’ve long held the belief that by merely watching a UK athlete compete on the world stage, I somehow act as a jinx and cause all manner of problems.

Andy Murray won his Wimbledon semi-final because of talent, grit and being the best guy on the day?  No, friend – he won because I couldn’t bear the watch the final couple of sets and took Hagrid for his evening walk, leaving behind Mrs Rolling Eyeballs to sit on the edge of the sofa and watch the drama unfold.  By comparison, I was there for every set of the Wimbledon final and we know how that turned out.

Another pic of Jess? Oh, go on, then…

This time, though, I had to stick around and see Jess Ennis win this thing – and win she did.  I normally remain studiously indifferent to sport as I have a typically male response to the drama on display in games and matches – it’s one of the few stereotypically male characteristics that I do possess – and the elation that we felt in our house as Jess fell behind the main runners in the 800m before pushing herself forwards to win the event and win her gold medal was possibly only slightly less than I imagine she felt.

True, we weren’t utterly exhausted and hadn’t spent all of our lives working towards this glorious, shining moment as Jess had, but you get the point – we were with her all the way and overjoyed when she crossed the line.

She was brilliant and, for a quiet second that I probably won’t tell anybody about again, I was actually proud to be British on what has become known in the UK as ‘Super Saturday’ (Six Gold medals for Brit athletes! In a day? Inconceivable!).  I distrust patriotism quite a bit – it usually acts a smoke-screen for much less desirable qualities – but watching the Steel City Siren smash personal bests and grab Gold in such splendid fashion made me delighted to be from this comparatively small island.   Good on you, Jess – you did brilliantly and made everybody in Sheffield proud.  And given what a bunch of grumpy Yorkshire gits we normally are, that’s almost as amazing as Olympic Gold.

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