Monday, 30 December 2013

Orange County Fair

Because we were on holiday visiting friends we ended up doing a lot of things that we wouldn't have even known about otherwise.  The Orange County Fair was a good example of this.  It was vast, and seemed to centre on eating and fairground rides - not necessarily the greatest combination but it seemed popular.  It was here I tried a corn dog; okay but not great.  Won't be rushing to repeat that one.  

Elsewhere there was the agricultural fair, which it was presumably what it started as, bands (had we stayed we could have seen the 'English' Beat play) and plenty of exhibitions and competitions.  I spent time in the photography section and absolutely loved the pictures in the competition there.  Most of what I saw was in the youngsters and youth categories and it was miles better than the photography that I saw later at the Getty Centre.  

An interesting slice of Americana, great fun, and a baking hot day.  Terrific fun and we'd have missed it if it were not for our chums.    


Sunday, 29 December 2013

Baseball at the Angel Stadium

Time for finally getting some summer holiday pictures together.  One of the highlights of my holiday was watching my first game of baseball.  Not entirely sure of everything that was going on but absolutely loved it.  Thought I might be going to see LA Dodgers but the local knowledge was for LA Angels and so we rocked up there instead.  The whole family enjoyed it and with some of the games we saw on TV as well, we were hooked.  Was pleased to see '42', a film about racism and baseball, on the plane home and with the headlines that a British politician made about 'Bongo Bongo Land', it should be a must see film for one and all.  

Further joy was had on returning to find Major League Baseball on BT Sport.  Despite (or because of) the Ashes series, and seeing a lot of Exeter City this year, this was my favourite sports event of the year.  

Further thoughts here: Like the Ashes with hot dogs.  This is, after all, supposed to be about the pictures.  

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Alex James on Celebrity

Christmas is a great time to sit and read and let the world go by a bit.  We had a great Christmas, services were well attended and (I'm told) well received as well.   Now a bit of time to eat, drink, sleep, and read.  

Interesting read, "Bit of a Blur", the Alex James autobiography. (He was the bass player in Blur) He estimates that he spent a million pounds on champagne and cocaine, slept with dozens of fans and models, and stayed in decadent luxury around the world. Yet, at the 'height' of it all, he says, 

"This was the top of the hill. What else could life hold? It's funny, but when I look back I think that period of my life was the bottom of a pit, rather than Mount Fantasticus. I was a morally bankrupt, drunk fatso with a stupid grin and a girlfriend with a murdered heart." (Quote sanitized a bit).    

It's on page 225, if you want to verify it.  

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A Car That Sped

This was my entry for this month's camera club competition, on the theme, 'Night'.  I really like it but it seems I am one of a small minority, coming 19th out of 21.  Never mind, next time!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

They Might Be Giants, Shepherds Bush, November 19th 2013

Off to the big city to see Brooklyn's finest this week.  A long way to go to see them but, to be fair, they came a lot further, following an extensive US tour.

Shepherds Bush was, disappointingly, not sold out - though this might in part be due to them playing places other than London in the UK this time round.  Their alleged obscurity meant that I couldn't even give my ticket away and so, ever intrepid, I ventured on alone.  It was a really fun night, as you'd expect from TMBG.

On the day before I tried to borrow my daughter's slim line camera (knowing I wouldn't be welcome with a DSLR, only to find that it was playing up.  On the train up I discovered that my camera phone had packed in as well.  My attempts to remain upbeat were squashed a bit by being able to stand four people back from the front barriers - a blessing to have such a good spot but frustrating that I could have got some great shots from there.

When, after the opener You're On Fire, the band invited the photographers in the pit up on stage for some crowd shots, I was - I confess - a little envious.  Big kudos to Helen Parish, one of the lucky four, for uploading her's onto the interweb.  All the pictures you see here are her's.

There is a real party atmosphere at TMBG gigs.  The sock puppets (yes, really) and daft songs are part of it, as is the feeling (knowledge) that you are in on a good secret as to how darned good this band is.  Quirky and clever yes, but also the pruveyors of extremely fine songs in a variety of styles.  There's something for everyone and if you don't like this one, there will be another along in two to three minutes.    

Plenty of banter with the audience including the self-deprecating line, "We ruin you for other bands".  

I think that this is the setlist, though I am slightly hazy on the order of a couple of them.  How many bands play their biggest hit third song in?

1    You're On Fire
2    Damn Good Times
3    Birdhouse In Your Soul
4    The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
5    Don't Let's Start
6    Tesla
7    Icky
8    Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
9    Black Ops
10  Nanobots
11  Fingertips
12  Can't Keep Johnny Down
13  Boss Of Me / Circular Karate Chop
14  32 Footsteps
15  Memo To Human Resources
16  Dead
17  Call You Mom
18  Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
19  Ana Ng
20  New York City
21  Rhythm Section Want Ad

22  He's Loco
23  When Will You Die?
24  The Mesopotamians

Encore 2
25  Number Three
26  Doctor Worm

As always with your favourite band there were some things in there you'd like to have seen more than others but a fine set all the same.  One of my personal highlights was "When Will You Die?" (which is very funny as well as being a great song) followed by The Mesopotamians in the first encore.

Here is the first of those, accompanied by an interesting film....

Friday, 8 November 2013

Burnham Carnival

Every year I am in the happy position of the one of the countries biggest and best illuminated carnivals parading down the end of my road.  If like me, carnival growing up was a few lorries in the daylight banish all thoughts.  This is loud and flashy - pretty much how we do things a round here.  

It's difficult to photograph, all the carts are lit differently, but great fun to try.  These are some of my better efforts from this week.