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.

movies of 2010: Adventureland


rolled up on the LoveFilm rental list, this gentle comedy/romance/coming-of-age movie was a pleasant, if untaxing way of passing a couple of hours. And it’s got her from those Twilight movies in it.

Trouble is, John Hughes would have done it better, and Ally Sheedy would have been outstanding in it. Though Kristen Stewart does angsty/cute quite well, I must admit.

As it is, it’s incredibly formulaic and predictable, but has some nice moments, and you do actually end up caring what happens to these people. Great soundtrack too. I give it seven Molly Ringwalds out of ten.