Band names derived from other bands’ songs

26 06 2006

Have always speculated about this ever since hearing about how Flock of Seagulls got their name. Limited list to date is:

  • Flock of Seagulls (line in ‘Toiler on the Sea’ by The Stranglers)
  • Ordinary Boys (Morrissey song of same name)
  • Pretty Girls Make Graves (Smiths song)
  • Deacon Blue (from Deacon Blues by Steely Dan)
  • Radiohead (from Radio Head by Talking Heads)
  • Sisters of Mercy (song by Leonard Cohen)
  • Death Cab for Cutie (song by Bonzo dog doo–dah band – or whatever they were called)
  • Simple minds (kind of from Jean Genie)




Darwin was right (not exactly news)

26 06 2006

Book front cover

Title:
River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
Author:
Richard Dawkins
ISBN:
0752812971
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

(Still catching up on some recent reading…)
I’m not a great fan of the popular science section in the bookshop but thought that I should give Dawkins a go given how impressive he sounds on the radio.

This one does not disappoint as a straightforward yet extremely cogent – indeed masterful – presentation of the Darwinian view. Lots of wonderful vignettes which explain evolution articulately to the lay reader (ie me). The best bit though is a very direct challenge to the ‘science is just another viewpoint’ gang:

Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I’ll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principles and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees–waxed wings of Icarus don’t.

Lovely!





Less espresso, more skinny latte

26 06 2006

Book front cover

Title:
Espresso Tales: The Latest from 44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street)
Author:
Alexander McCall Smith
ISBN:
0349119708
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

A neat and quite entertaining follow up to 44 Scotland Street, again produced originally as a daily serial for the Scotsman. It follows the lives of a small and diverse group of inhabitants of this address in their somewhat, but not excessively, taxing existences. Some nice little tales of a nudist picnic, an insufferably vain ex–surveyor turned wine merchant and pushy parents and their pushed prodigy, little Bertie.

The episodic approach works extremely well for holiday reading and the characters are sufficiently engaging to keep you involved. Light but not completely slight.





Bizarre wine bottles

25 06 2006

On a recent holiday to Italy, stopped in a motorway service station which sold a lovely range of local wines. Bizarrely, the labels on the bottles featured famous individuals, mainly from the world of politics (in its broadest sense). Amongst those pictured:

  • Bob Marley
  • The Pope
  • Antonio Gramsci

Bizarre wine bottles

But the oddest thing was that the most popular depiction was of Il Duce himself. There were at least four different representations of Mussolini, mainly in military garb, including one particularly attractive shot of him sharing a platform with Hitler.

On wine bottles!!





Norwegian Woodiness

22 06 2006

Book front cover

Title:
Norwegian Wood
Author:
Haruki Murakami
ISBN:
0099448823
Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

Having read a couple of other Murakamis I felt I knew what to expect here – morose quasi–philosophical musings on love, loss, death and loneliness – and it doesn’t fail to deliver. The setting is different – Watanabe is a student in late 60s Tokyo and there are student riots and dorm–based craziness in the background – but the feel of the novel is pretty similar to the Murakami norm.

Having said that it is a not uninteresting and reasonably entertaining read but, as one critic has put it (OK, my hyper–critical friend, Steve) absolutely nothing of any consequence happens. To some (including Steve) this is something of a minus but I can’t say I was that disappointed by the lack of real action.

However, I do have to say it is not a patch on ‘Kafka on the Shore’.





Team challenge successfully completed

9 06 2006

Follow-up to team challenge from Prole Art Threat

And every one is pooped.

See photos from the morning via this link





team challenge

9 06 2006

Well. Senior officers are all rather hot and sweaty but doing very well. We are pretty much ahead of schedule and looking forward to lunch. Photos will be on insite soon I fear!








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