I have a game to suggest.

Imagine, if you will, that we’ve decided to do a weekend movie marathon

Kicking off on saturday morning through to sunday evening, we’re really going for it. Popcorn, snacks, comfy sofas, a group of like-minded film fans chilling out.

What films would be on your schedule? for example, are we going to do all six star wars films? But in which order? Or are we going to do a genre mashup of different styles? Rom-coms mixed with zombies? Sci-fi then Merchant Ivory?

Amuse me, internets.


EB had his birthday sleepover last night. All good fun, though not a lot of sleep happened.

At one point earlier in the evening, EB turned up bearing my juggling clubs, saying one of his friends wanted to see me juggle.

Ah, crap…

Could I juggle some balls for him, perhaps?

No. Clubs. Please.

Now, it’s been a *long* time since I last tried juggling clubs. No pressure then. Completely failed. Managed to recover some cool points by doing a fair 3-ball routine afterwards, but the moment had passed.

Now, of course, I need to devote serious time to re-learning the skill. You know, for the next time I get asked…

racing games

I’ve been playing a vast amount of Forza 3 on the Xbox recently. I *love* racing games. Always have, all the way back to the Atari 2600’s Night Driver, which had basic graphics, but used the paddle controller, a kind of proto-steering wheel affair. Brilliant.

Ah, Forza. Tons of brilliant (and not-so-brilliant) cars, loads of beautifully rendered tracks (including the infamous Nürburgring), customisation options up to *here*. Superb. Heck, you can spend half an hour just going through the various options for just the different wheel types on offer.

What I particularly like though is the option to automatically upgrade your car to a specific level – say you buy a ‘D’ class Golf for example. You could go and upgrade each bit individually to get it up to an ‘A’ class, or you can just tell Forza that you’d like an ‘A’ class tuning setup and it’ll go off and work out what it needs to optimise the car to get it as close as possible to the top of the ‘A’ rating.

I also love that you can design the paint jobs on the cars. You can respray your shiny new Porsche in all manner of colours, with different shades for the roof, bonnett, sides, bumpers etc, but it was a while until I realised that you could apply decals and decal groups to the cars, building up some quite complex patterns.

EB and I have had enormous fun redesigning our respective garages, resulting in such classics as my dalmatian-spotted racing Ferrari and my current favourite Paul Smith-inspired stripey Audi R8 5.2 litre V10, which I adore.

And they give you a new car every time you go up an experience level – I’m up to level 21, so have had a ton of new cars to play with.

Don’t get me started on the simulation damage settings – I managed to completely bork my supertuned Golf last night by clipping a tyre wall on the New York circuit, resulting in me rolling the car end over end, and breaking the front and rear bumper, knackering both wings, killing three out of four of my suspension springs, screwing the gearbox *and* the steering. I couldn’t get the car out of first gear from that point and had to limp around the track to the pit lane for repairs… Still ended the race in 2nd place though. Booyah.

Anyone up for a race? my Xbox Live gamertag is d4k3gr4 if you want to add me to your list…

house concerts: @solobasssteve

I had an interesting night last night. It all started with an email from my friend and ex-boss Jon, several months ago, telling me that I was going to a house concert on 6th May to see a guy called Steve Lawson, aka @solobasssteve on twitter.

“Righto,” says I. “What’s a house concert?”

Turns out the deal is this: The musician organises with someone to play a gig at their house. Guests rock up on a sort-of invite basis, make a donation towards costs, the owner of the house provides drinks & nibbles and the musician plays some music.

Sounds like a plan. I’m in. I’ve checked out Steve’s website, listened to some tunes. It’s all good stuff.

May 6th duly rolls around and 8pm finds Jon and myself at a lovely house down a tiny cobbled street in Burley. We’re greeted by the owner’s daughter who we suggest is on bouncer duty, which she finds very funny, especially as everyone else who turns up asks her exactly the same question. Jon and I plump for tea rather than booze on account of having to drive, find our seats and have a chat with various other guests – there were about 15-16 people altogether, most of whom appeared to know each other – friends, neighbours etc.

Steve Lawson was there, along with the lovely Lobelia (@lobelia) and the ultra-cute Baby Flapjack, who had been taking extra cute pills in preparation.

Lots of funky music, weird and wonderful looping (with added Flapjack vocals adding that certain je ne sais quoi to proceedings) and songs from Lobelia made for a very enjoyable couple of hours.

Our hosts were wonderful, the guests were interesting and the music superb.

If you ever get a chance to go to a house concert, especially one featuring Steve Lawson, I’d highly recommend it.

movies of 2010: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

Fun! Silly, but fun. Robert Downey Jr is fabulous as Tony Stark again. Gwynneth manages not to be too annoying, Sam Rockwell manages to be appropriately annoying for his character, Mickey Rourke mumbles and snarls along in perfectly decent Russian and Scarlett Johansson is woefully underused. Oh, and Don Cheadle tries very hard not to be Terrence Howard.

Lots of ‘splosions, cool tech and snappy one-liners. And a deus ex machina the size of a football field, plucked out of nowhere.

But hey. This is a movie about a guy in a flying metal suit. If you’re looking for Shakespeare, go and, erm, watch some.

One thing I wish they’d stop doing though is introducing lots of extra almost-main characters – We didn’t really *need* Nick Fury or Scarlett in the film – I suspect they’re in there as setup for the inevitable third movie.

That said, I really enjoyed it. I’m guessing that if you enjoyed the first movie, you’ll get a kick out of this one too.