Vagaries of the spoken language vol.

In no particular order, and as they come to me:

My dad does not ask if I’ve watched a particular TV show or listened to a particular album. He asks if I’ve “got involved” with them.

Despite the fact that I have called myself Rob for forever, most of my work collegues call me Roberto. This has happened at more than one place. The only difference was at the lab I left this summer, where for some unknown reason I became Robski. Go figure.

When newspaper columnists use the phrase “Here’s a tip”, you can guarantee the advice that follows will be 50% more condescending and irritating than usual.

Bragging rights

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My room, last week. Yes, it's usually this dark.

A couple of things that I have been involved in at a professional level have been promoted in the press recently. I figured I’d do my little bit to promote them too.

Firstly, there was a piece in the Observer yesterday on The Crimson Wing, Disney’s first natural history film in over 40 years. The article focuses very strongly on the environmental message of the film, which is great as the edit I’ve seen treats the issue of the pollution of Lake Natron in a way that’s almost too subtle for my mind. It’s an amazing piece of work, shot over almost two years, and deserves your patronage.

Next, an article last week on the Guardian focussed on the latest installation from The Wilson Sisters. This must have been a blast to make, as Jane and Louise were given full access to the Kubrick Archive in their search for material pertaining to Aryan Papers, the film he never made despite months of intensive research. I’ve worked with the Wilsons for years, and find everything they do to be atmospheric and deeply involving. I’m a bit of a fan, so to able to work with them, and to find that they are charming, down to earth and funny is a huge bonus. This looks like it’s going to be a good one. Get your asses to the BFI this February.

Finally, check out Science and Islam tonight on BBC Four (or later through the iPlayer) as I worked on the second episode. A smart and thought-provoking series that’s well worth checking out.

There. I’m done showing off now…

Code Grey

At last, it’s done. More to come, including the making of, but for now just enjoy this. Also on the short film page, but I figured a straight up post might get more attention.

The 2008 Straight 8. Best crew ever, best idea ever, best actors ever, best film ever. Everyone involved in this nugget of cinematic history is a genius of the highest order, as well as being wildly sexy and drop dead glamourous.

A black and white film about colour. Nuff said.

A Small Burst Of Music

I’ve just done a wee behind-the-hood upgrade on X&HT. Music and video will become more prevalent on posts as I can now do them directly from the laptop.

All this means that Rob’s Sounds of the Year will be a multimedia treat for the New Year for you, beloved Readership, but in the meantime, enjoy this little number from Henry Rollins as a belated X&HTmas present.

Ho and furthermore ho.

On getting older, and no wiser

Funny old weekend really, as birthday weekends often are. I took a couple of days off around the day itself, just to sort out the looming monolith of giftage and panic that is the buildup to Xmas. And blow me if it hasn’t worked, and we’re pretty much sorted.

Admittedly, a lot of this is down to my insisting on Clare dropping some very unsubtle hints about what she wanted, as opposed to her usual ” oh I’ll leave it up to you, you always come up with such lovely presents.” Cue three weeks of fear and existential angst as I overspend in a panic that she’ll be disappointed. If she doesn’t like what she’s getting this year it’s her own darn fault.

So, the Friday was spent shopping and spending forty minutes getting out of a car park in central Reading. The main design flaw in town parking is the central corkscrew ramp used for access. Which is normally fine, but when everyone is trying to get out at the same time, that main artery gets clogged in a hurry. It comes to something when both driver and passenger end up checking their emails while waiting for the car in front to edge forward a couple of feet.

From that little adventure, we just had enough time to get changed before heading back into town and heading up to That London for to see the Mighty Boosh.

Funny story. Clare agreed to go with one of her Internet buddies yonks ago, one of those “one too many glasses of wine, ooh that sounds like fun” deelies. She thought nothing much more of it, especially as the friend in question has vanished from the forum she frequents, and she knows nothing of the Boosh anyway.
Her friend reappeared a few weeks back, complete with tickets, but full of apologies as she now couldn’t go. Did we still want to?

Well, it’s somefing different, innit?

It was very silly, a lot less in-jokey than I thought it was going to be, and very funny. It got a bit self-indulgent at the end, but then if you’re a comedy duo playing the Wembley Arena, I’d say you’ve got a licence to wig out a bit.

Saturday was the birthday. Lots of cards with money in, and the big gift, a Wii. I need to dedicate a full post to this marvel, but let’s just say I’m already addicted. If anyone fancies a head to head on Mario Kart let me know, and I’ll squirt you a Friend Code.

That evening could not be more different to Friday, as we whizzed to Chelsea for the tradition that is the Coro Christmas Concert. I’ve raved about Coro before, and will continue to do so until people start listening. They are on top of their game, and when they cut loose they can shake a church off it’s foundations. Add in the bonus of readings by the Gay Gandalf hisself, Ian Mckellen, wine and mince pies on the interval, and you have a warm and cosy and very English start to Christmas.

The thing about birthdays is that you don’t really feel any different, even though supposedly it’s a landmark day. Aging is a lot more sneaky than that. I will happily jump around on the Wii, or hammer a couple of chords on La Roja, my red electrical guitar, and I might as well be 16 again. But at the end of my traditional birthday haircut there was a lot of white hair in my lap mixed in with the brown. So who’s to say how old I really am. According to Wii Fitness, I’m 60. But then the day before I was 80, so it’s entirely possible I’ll be back on nappies at the end of the week.

Having a birthday this close to the end of the year does have the knock-on effect of causing one to muse on recent history, and the year just leaving in particular. In a week when Forrest Ackerman, Bettie Page and Oliver Postgate all left us for pastures new, it’s difficult not to feel reflective. It’s been an interesting 2008 to put it mildly, and I can’t think of anyone close to me that’s not been affected in some way. More on this later, I think, before Mrs Maudlin puts her hand in mine and gives it a squeeze.

In summation, then, as I’m aware that I’m starting to ramble a bit. I had a great birthday, and I’m planning on having a great Christmas. That’s all that matters right now.

Coming up – more on The Year Of Change, and my Tracks Of 08.