Weekend Gone.

Friday night, comedy at The Ship in Borough. A bit of photography on the way home, trying a few more ambitious tricks with long exposures, some of which worked, some of which didn’t. Pleasant start to the weekend

Saturday afternoon: The Tempest, Islington. Half the cast were weak, (mostly the King’s Party and Ferdinand), and I really didn’t feel there was much directorial vision there – I had no idea what I was supposed to take away from the play past Shakespeare’s original themes and intentions – it sort of felt like the number of unusual directorial choices (all of the major roles filled by women, starting with a plane crash rather than a shipwreck, despite the fact that none of the later dialogue was changed to reference this, a sudden attack of (entertaining, don’t get me wrong) belly dancing in Act 4) were done to be “modern” and “challenging” rather than because the director has a point to make. And the sound engineer should have been taken out and shot. When the sound effects make it impossible for people sat in the middle of the audience to hear most of Act 1 Scene 1 (and a few other points besides), then you know that someone doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Still, all that said: it was perfectly enjoyable. Prospero, Ariel and Caliban are my favourite characters in the play, and they were all more than up to the job, and I can listen to Shakespeare’s language and metaphor for hours.

Saturday evening: ewa‘s and nicklocking‘s respective birthday bashes. Drinking of cocktails, beer and sangria. Tapas. Mild drunkenness. Extremely good fun.

Sunday, daytime: catching up on sleep and emails. And then, in the evening, Jason’s gig.

He didn’t disappoint. I won’t go on about it, because I’m sure you’re all bored of me going on about him. I’ll just say thanks to those who came along – he’s deserved a London gig like that for years – and yah boo sucks to those that didn’t.

There was also a snake dancer, on after Jason, and I think I sort of understand how porn photographers (not that this was porn, but it’s an insight, anyway) do the job. Without the camera, I was watching a fairly attractive young woman wearing not very much cavorting on stage with a snake. With the camera between me and her, I was watching a collection of lines and curves and colours to be framed in the best manner possible. I was, I swear to god, honestly surprised at the huge difference in my responses with and without the camera.

This leads into something I was talking about the other week with alexdecampi and also with jhaelan – the idea that there’s an increasing number of people who do things in order to document, rather than to have the experience. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, you understand, but I know that I’m often torn, at good gigs, between using the camera and watching the show. The difference isn’t as marked at most gigs as it was last night, but then, I’m generally taking photos of bands whose work I know more or less by heart, and I can listen to music at the same time. When I’m dealing with something that’s more, or even purely, visual, the photographic urge might well get quite badly in the way of the experience.

It might well also play in to my other interests in things like interface design and/or human/technological interaction. warren_ellis‘ Transmetropolitan comic, for example, features a protagonist with camera built in to his ever-present sunglasses. Would that be an elegant interface to prevent that disconnect, or would it do exactly the reverse, and keep that disconnect almost permanently in place?

Tonight, a five course dinner and wine tasting, for ewa‘s birthday meal out. Good comedy, theatre, company, music, photography, food and drink all in the space of a few days, and more of the same to come this week.

I don’t generally go a bundle on the metaphysical poets, but I have to say, I think George Herbert was right. Living well is the best revenge.

Final Reminder

Tonight, Jason Webley is playing South London Pacific. If you get there before 9, it will only cost you a fiver to get in, for an evening of cocktails and cabaret. (I’m planning on getting there at about 7:30/8-ish). There’s a happy hour before ten, so you can enjoy cheap tiki drinks, too.

I’m sure you’re all sick of me reminding you about this, but really, this is important to me. I won’t do the usual spiel about Jason’s act, and how good it is – you’ve all heard it. Instead, I will just reiterate that Jason’s a really first class guy, and I would like him to have a really good gig in London at long last. So please, come along if you can. It’ll be a different sort of night out, and I will, in all seriousness, refund your cost of entry if you get there before nine, and don’t enjoy his act.

ewa’s birthday drinks

She’s still in bed complaining of a hangover, so I’m being told to tell people:

ewa, elethe and jackie_brown will be drinking cocktials and being fabulous tonight in order to celebrate their various brithday’s.

Kick off here: http://www.redfort.co.uk/akbar/ Between 5:30 and 6.

(My apologies to nicklocking – I’ll try and stick my head round the door of the Crouch for a quick one at some point tonight…)

Routine reminder:

If you surf the web using IE, you deserve everything you get.

Here’s the latest hack. I’m pretty sure that had I received the email, there’s a reasonable chance I’d have fallen for it, and I’m a well trained IT professional who is used to ignoring spam and invitations to get my computer fucked by a stranger. And, were my default browser not Firefox, I’d still have wound up with something on my machine, recording my credit card numbers and passwords.

Go now, and get Firefox – there is nothing IE does that it will not do, and probably better. And switch your email client to Thunderbird, too. If you are about to say something like “But they insist on it at work”, then a) ignore them, and install something safe, or b) print this out, and hand it to your head of IT.

This has been a public health warning. Thank you for listening. I will now be checking to see how many of you are looking at this page in IE. And then I will hurt you with hammers.

Site Meter

Alternate Homeā€¦

I’ve been aware for the last while that the number of non-web-related links on this site is creeping up, which is fine, except that I really want to keep this site for stuff I deal with in my professional capacity – web programming, and the art and science of communicating via the web, and the way that impacts our modern social culture, and design in general.

To which end, I have set up http://www.dead-air.org, which is where I’m going to start dumping the stuff about food and drink, politics, photography, on-line gaming, and any other random crap that interests me. (There’ll probably bit a little crossover in the gaming area, because I think it has something to say about the way humans use social technologies, but we’ll see how that shakes out over time.) So, if you find yourself wondering why I’m only talking about/linking to webdev/design stuff on this site from here on in, that’s why. Stop by the new place (WordPress powered, so available via RSS) is you want the other stuff as well.

And of course, both sites will be available through http://ala.sda.ir, my personal portal site.

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

Today’s New Toys

It’s strange how rewarding I find adding bells and whistles to my http://ala.sda.ir domain. I need to go back and take another look at how the automatic calendar fetching is working at some point, because it’s not really very nicely formatted, and it seems to be ignoring weekends which is a bit fucking useless really.

But before I do that, I’m quite pleased with this one that I knocked up at lunch, a tool that will automatically fetch and post my weekly last.fm track charts whenever they publish a new set for me (which should be Sunday evenings some time, I think).

I do, incidentally, realise that things like the calendar, and the music charts are of no interest to anyone but me, but part of the point of the site is to serve as an second memory for me (since my built-in one is increasingly dying on its cognitive arse), as well as being an aggregator for my web presences.

In other news, I am delighted to discover a better del.icio.us plugin for firefox than the one they released themselves. It doesn’t have the handy toolbar buttons, but it does, crucially, allow you to manage multiple accounts, meaning I can finally stop polluting my workblog with non-tech/media links, and bung them into a linklog that is expressly about “shit Alasdair finds interesting”, which would also cover y’know, shit like current events, food and drink, photography, comics, gaming, and just general stuff.

Date for your diaries

April 2nd, Jason Webley is playing South London Pacific. If you get there before 9, it will only cost you a fiver to get in, for an evening of cocktails and cabaret.

Jason, as you’ve all heard me say before, is really very very good. Sufficiently good in fact, that if you turn up before nine, and really seriously don’t enjoy your night out, I will refund your money personally, I am that sure you’ll enjoy it. No-one, no-one I know that has seen him has thought him anything less that bloody good fun, and over half the people I’ve dragged to see him have bought his albums.

London has historically not been good for Jason, gig wise – bad venues, tiny crowds, last minute cancellations, etc. I (and I’m sure, he) would really like to change that. He’s playing a reasonably central venue, and I would really like to try and fill the place.

Jason’s act is a klezma-punk cabaret. If you like Kurt Weil, The Dresden Dolls, Tom Waits, Gogol Bordello, or just bloody good, different, live acts then I’m sure he’ll blow you away.

And since I’m offering to refund your money if you don’t enjoy your night out, the very least you’ll get is a chance to drink cocktails in a tiki lounge. When was the last time you did that, eh?

So, if you’re in London, help me help a mate out and turn up on the 2nd of April. You’ll have fun. I promise.

Fisting Chickens in the House of the Lord.

Or, “they do things different in the country”. I would write my weekend up in depth, but feel that the preceeding two sentences sum it up quite well.

I am back from rural parts. It was ace. Thanks and etc. to all. Photos to come when I’m not mostly asleep, including documentary evidence of this post’s title.

Edit: Evidence.

If you’re ever in need of a weekend away, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Shaven Nun Badger Crown. Bloody good food, cracking beer, roaring fires, and lovely staff.