Our camp site. Photo from Scott.


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Orbital - The Blue Album

Orbital's new, and last album, The Blue Album has hit the stores. It's pretty damn good!

Mixing the sounds of many of their earlier albums, particularly some of the ravier sounds of the Brown Album. Highlights for me are Acid Pants, a brilliant return to the acidy roots with a silly sample; You Lot" which seems to sample someone with the same accent as The Orb sampled on S.A.L.T., from Mike Leigh's Naked, but I think this one might be Christopher Ecclestone from last year's Second Coming telemovie and a little less deranged than the Revelations/Barcode rant; Bath Time is reminiscent of much of In Sides.

All in all, an excellent closing album, effectively closing off an era. Can't wait to see them this weekend at Glastonbury. Can't wait to hear what they do next, seperately. We'll miss you lads!


This will be my Glastonbury moblog. The weather has improved enormously, though it's still going to rain on Saturday but the forecast is down to 10mm from the 20mm they were predicting yesterday. We're off this afternoon at 1700.


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Election night television coverage

I don't normally pass these things on, but this is a classic.

Forwarded from a friend...

The Sydney Morning Herald's Monday "TV Guide" has a section devoted to home entertainment with a Q&A column where you can email any queries about sound systems, tvs etc. Below is a question I emailed in and the reply.

I wonder if they'll publish it next Monday?

Subject: Re: election night electricity blues

Q If John Howard wins on election night I intend to smash my television with an axe during his acceptance speech, ideally with the television running.

What safety precautions should I put in place?

A The trick is smashing the television without electrocuting yourself (and the risk is high) so we would suggest standing well to the side and hitting the screen at an edge, so the television will be broken without the axe penetrating far enough to contact the internal electronics. Ensure the axe has a wooden handle (preferably hickory, the preferred handle of professional wood choppers), wear rubber gloves and soles and ensure you're standing on a dry surface. Wear eye protection. Note that the television will not explode, it will implode (there's a vacuum inside the tube). This should ensure that the shower of glass will be directed more at John Howard and less at you. Disconnect the power as soon as possible after the axing.

You may want to arrange a drop sheet to collect the bits. Before we spend any more time on this, however, we need to know if you're making a mere threat or if this is a core promise.

Further to my email.

You might enjoy John Clarke's response.

Before you smash the set, it might be a good idea to just check that there is not a swimming carnival on any of the other channels. Water is a good conductor of electricity and unless your feet are well off the ground, electrocution through leaking sports coverage is a constant danger in the expression of dissent in Australia, especially with axes.

A shotgun, fired from outside the window, should blow the set up, start a small fire and offer a blistering critique of the status-quo without buggering the carpet.

Brewing again

I finally got all my brewing kit over to our new pad (thanks Jamie!) so I can start brewing again. Last night I got the first batch underway. A Cooper's Brewmaster Pilsener kit. Nothing fancy in the method, didn't even do a starter on the yeast. Looked like it was getting going this morning.

Next up is a wheat beer. I'm gonna start experimenting to get that Hoegaarden flavour. Unfortunately it may end up being ready too late for the Summer, but that's alright if I get the flavour right it'll still be good. This beer actually has curucao orange and coriander seed in it. Odd, but tastes great! My mate Graeme has been making some great cracks at this style, so I'm getting tips from him.

I've just put in an order to Hop and Grape to get the Belgian Wit yeast I need. I'm gonna make a few batches of this stuff to see how I can do.

Oh and I bought a Mexican Cerveza style beer. Gonna try making the chilli beer again.

These train prices are crazy

I just went and booked £500 worth of travel for the future. We're doing a fair bit of moving about this Summer. Heading to Utrecht to visit Mani and Joachim, Leicester to visit Sam, Stu and Alfie, Glasgow for our murder mystery night in November, and our big ten-day cycling epic in August.

The part that is ridiculous is the train prices. Our return tickets to Leicester cost £36, for a bit over an hour of travel each way. Then our singles to Newcastle is £39 for over three hours of travel. Then the return from Lancaster on Virgin comes in at a whopping £114.20! There just doesn't seem to be any relationship between distance and price. The prices are just totally arbitrary.

Of course, the journeys will be slow, beset with delays and getting our bikes on will, despite reservations, no doubt be a chore with a grumbling guard. Oh what fun!

Problem is, there's no other reasonable way to travel inside the UK with bikes. National Express leave taking the bikes at the discretion of the bus driver, and bus drivers are never the type of people who seem willing to help or satisfied with their lives. So we're stuck with these outrageous prices and unsatisfactory service. Oh well.

Silent Running

Got my bike serviced yesterday (Mend-A-Bike in Fulham, very good) and oh what a joy it is now. All I hear is the wind whistling through my ears, which makes a change from the grind-crunch it's been making the last month or so. Worn out bottom bracket, it seems.

Only complaint this morning was that every piece of sand and grit in London seemed to be making a beeline for my eyes. Very windy day, you see.

Peter Garrett sell-out watch episode 1

Peter Garrett has already sold out on one of his main principles. He now doesn't want to see Pine Gap shut down, which puts him in line with ALP policy but puts him a long way from his own Nuclear Disarment Party's policy.

Now admittedly he's been focussing on environment issues more than peace issues these days, but it is still pretty galling for him to so readily drop such an important issue. He's going to lose a lot of friends if he stays on this path. What next, helping the ALP appease the CFMEU's Forestry Division by dropping objections to woodchipping?

Peter, what are you thinking?

Peter Garrett, WTF are you thinking? I can just see the thought process here: "I'll change them from within". Poor, deluded fool!

The ALP is a single-minded organisation. They have one aim: to get into power. Anything else, morals, policies, personalities, will always be subordinate to the overwhelming will-to-power.

Surely Peter remembers 1984 when the ALP and Liberals did a preference swap to keep Garrett and his Nuclear Disarmament Party out of the Senate? (okay, okay, linking to a bunch of Trots probably isn't ideal, so for balance here's "How the Trots Destroyed the Nuclear Disarmament Party".

I confidently predict that Peter will leave Labor within a year, probably having helped Labor over the line. He may manage to shame them into implementing a few policies, but he won't be able to stand the rough and tumble of a powerful party in power, the inevitable compromises and paybacks of patronage to the rich and powerful.

Peter, I thought you were smarter than this. You could have done a lot better.