Archive | September 2005

Next Monday: Partial Eclipse!

On Monday the Sun will be partially covered by the Moon. This is the largest partial eclipse that will be visible from the UK until 2011. So don’t forget to go and see it! Remember sun safety!!! For Birmingham its starts at: 08:48:55 reaches maximum at: 10:00:08 and ends at: 11:16:17.

For more information see: [SPA Website]

FAS Convention 2005

This Saturday is the 2005 Federation of Astronomical Societies Convention. This means that I have an early start as I am one of the organisers. Damn. Well I can’t moan cause like always it will be fun! It is in Cambridge, at the wonderful Insitute of Astronomy, if you are nearby go – it will be fun!

Busy, teaching, research – oh what fun.

Life is rather busy at the moment. Its kinda scary cause it feels like I’m working, which I guess I am. I have now started as a postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham (I need to update my about section). This now means that I have lots of work to do and also the dreaded teaching! Consequently this has meant I have been rather busy with my academic life and so my site has kinda taken the hit on content. I’m sure once I get back into the swing of things I will be able to keep the site nice and updated with random stuff. For now here is a fable (one of Aesop’s), titled “the astronomer”, that I should listen to when I go about my research:

An astronomer used to walk around outside every night to watch the stars. One time, as he was wandering on the outskirts of the city and gazing at the stars, he fell into a well. After hollering and crying for help, someone ran up to the well, and after listening to his story, remarked, “My good man, while you are trying to pry into the mysteries of heaven, you overlook the common objects that are under your feet.”

Edinburgh Photos

I finally got around to taking the photos from my week in Edinburgh off my phone. I had a great time up their, it probably also involved me drinking more than I did during my freshers week(!). It was good and I love the licensing laws. Edinburgh seems like a place you could go to for many different occasions. Here are a selection of some of my favourites (more can be found [here]

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A year on…

Exactly a year ago my sister got married to this guy named Gareth. You may have noticed that he gets the odd mention along with my sister. I have to say well done to them. A year on, they have a house with a mortgage and now there is a ‘bun in the oven’! Well done for them. Scary thing is they are two years younger than me…ummm…maybe I need to start thinking. Heck becoming an uncle is thinking enough! Well done Melissa and Gareth. Oh and here is then entry for the wedding. At least Gareth looks tidier in that than in most of the pictures on here!

Reading: Day 4, the last day of music.

The last day of music at the festival. I’m shattered and I’m ready for some crazy people running around later tonight! I actually slept in for a while today, though I was still awake by about 9:30! The site is getting worse, I expect to see many tents burnt out tonight! Great fun, not.

I had to do the most dreaded of things today, go the toilet! I was not going to go in the ones on the campsite so I got to the arena toilets nice and early. I have to say it was almost like being in heaven in comparison to the campsite ones!

The first band I saw today were Bullet for my Valentine who were on the main stage. I enjoyed them, however, probably not as much as I could have. I spent quite a portion of their set either in the queue for the toilet or on the toilet. In either case I don’t think I would suggest that it is the best place to be listening to music for enjoyment!

After this I made my way to the Carling tent, I fancy sitting down for a large portion of today. The first band on were Beautiful people who were interesting but I wasn’t paying too much attention to them. The next band, Forward Russia, were pretty cool and really got me going for the Crimea who were on after. The Crimea were great, just as I expected. They played lots of songs off the version of the album I have and also played a few others I wasn’t too familiar with. I swear, though, that they have changed some of their songs. At the very least they must have changed a few lyrics. I guess I have listened to them too much otherwise I would have noticed!

I then saw some of the Rakes, who’s front man couldn’t sing! He had lost his voice and so they drafted in other bands singers to fill the place. I personally didn’t hang around for too long but I am told that the front men of Bloc Party and Maximo Park were on hand to help out. The reason I didn’t hand around for too long was so I could make my first trip to the dance tent at Reading in 3 years! This was to see VHS or Beta who played a great set full of weird electronic sounds. Cause it was in the dance tent it was rather easy for me to get right to the front. I didn’t stay for too long though as I wanted to see Funeral for a Friend and they started early, for a reason I’m still not too sure about. Here is me getting close to VHS or BETA:

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Next on the list were Nofx, they were good, great even. They even wrote a song for the festival (well that’s what they said) about how the UK is better than America. It included the line “the hash is better in Birmingham”. That was enough for me to be won over! Here is Melissa waiting for, umm guess who:

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A band I have already seen twice this year were next, Maximo Park. We weren’t too far from the front for this one and they played a great set. It is odd to think that at the start of the year we (me and Kat) saw them played with an audience little over 50 now they were packing the Radio 1 tent! After this I bumped into some people who go to the same club that I do, Snobs, now that’s well odd!

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Next up, the Duke Spirit, they were good though I had to leave halfway through my favorite song by them so I could go and meet John to see Incubus. Incubus were brilliant! I then went off to see British Sea Power who were good though I was a bit disappointed by their set, not entirely sure why though. Maybe I am just starting to feel absolutely exhausted. John relaxing with my hat on:

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Sunset over the last day was beautiful:

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I had to see Marilyn Manson, just so I could say I have seen him. I stayed for a while but I wasn’t too interested, Personal Jesus was good though. After a while me and John left to go and see LCD Soundsystem who were good, I think I will have to buy their CD. During this gig John got asked if he had any drugs on him. Apparently because the pair of us were wearing dodgy hats and glow sticks the bloke thought we were dealers! Tut tut! Funny though. We stayed in the Radio 1 tent to see a bit of the Futureheads but we didn’t stay for too long as we wanted to see Iron Maiden.

I’m not a huge Maiden fan. After a while they seem a bit samey to me. We stood and watched for a good half-an-hour which included me seeing my favourite song “Run to the Hills”. The really odd, and quite funny, thing was that during this me and John were eating Ice Creams. We must have looked well dodgy with our glow sticks on eating ice cream whilst watching Maiden. Cause we knew our mate, Geordie, would love this we tried to give him a ring but alas we didn’t get through (it turns out his phone was in his car!). We did also want to see both the headliners of the other tents so we went and saw some of Echo and the Bunnymen who were great and then on to Bloc Party. By this point, though, I was completely shattered and so didn’t stay around for too long.

As for the campsite. It wasn’t too bad near us but it looked like a war zone and sounded like it at times. I didn’t sleep too well but what the heck
I was home the next day!

Reading: Day 3, the foo fighters!

As the title of this section would indicate I was very much looking forward to seeing the Foo Fighters. They are a band I have wanted to see for a long time and today I was going to! You have to be excited! Before the fun of the music began me and Gareth decided to go into Reading to get a few supplies as we need some stuff and to use the facilities at the Oracle centre. The annoying thing was, without going in to too much detail, I couldn’t use the facilities – ARGH!! At least I got a hot chocolate in Pret.

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The first band I saw today was the Editors. I really love their album and they put on a cracking set, I was very pleased. This is when I realised how tired I was already – that walk into Reading was a bad idea! Next up was the All American Rejects on the main stage. I was actually in the toilet for half of their set but I could easily hear them. They were good and played lots off their new album.

Back to the tents to see Clor. I had missed them recently when they played at Club NME in Birmingham. I really wasn’t in an energetic mood so me and John just relaxed at the back of the tent! The annoying thing was that the Carling tent was running early and so we missed a good part of the set, probably meaning I missed the songs I know well. We then managed to catch the end of the Black Alps set. I’m not at all familiar with their music but it sounded interesting. Next up was Juliette and the Licks. I have heard lots of people rave on about this band however I was kinda disappointed at their set, though their lead singer was wearing some rather odd clothes! We left early and went for a wonder around the shops. I brought a Star Wars t-shirt! It had to be done really.

“This is for the Poor and not you rich kids”. The Others were up next and played a stomping set. This is the second time I have seen them and they, like, the first time, got the crowd going. They got them going so badly that their singer had the right arm of his t-shirt ripped off when he climbed on to the barrier! After standing and jumping around for the Other I was shattered and so went and flopped down by the main stage to watch the Charlatans.

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After recovering some energy we went over to watch Hot Hot Heat. I think they were probably my highlight of the afternoon. They did a great set and bandages rocked!!! Oh and here is Gareth joining in:(!)

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My one and only visit to the Concrete Jungle (sorry I now mean Lock-up stage) came next to see a bit of Rise Against. Gareth had been going on about these all weekend so I thought I should give them a look in. They were interesting and I think they will need to have a download or two when I get back! I didn’t stay too long though as I really wanted to go and see Razorlight. I was disappointed with Razorlight though, they were good but really nothing special. I guess it could just be that I have seen basically the same set 3 times now.

It has started to get dark, which must mean we are getting close to the Foos! People are starting to get a little excited. There is this feeling in the air. Time for the Kings of Leon to warm up the main stage. That’s exactly what they did. In fact they set it alight! They were great really got everyone going. I was surprised how many songs I recognized as I am not a huge fan.

Foo Fighters! What can I say?! They were great!! They were definitely the best band of the day in my opinion. They probably will be my highlight of the festival. They will have to rival Greenday for my favourtie performance on the main stage at any festival. I had one problem with the set, they played Everlong acoustically!! Still though it rocked! Grohl even played the drums for a song which was well cool! (13 years since he has done that! Last time with a certain Grunge band) And, as expected, they finished the set on “Monkey Wrench”. What a day! I’m shattered!

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Oh, one other thing, I and John brought some odd hats to wear around the place!

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This hat had to do the rounds:

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Birmingham, its not shit

I got on to birminghamitsnotshit.co.uk as a brummie blogger. Yeah, and proud of it!

Reading 2005: Day Two, music begins!

It’s Friday and that means the first day of the music. So bearing in mind that I am already shattered (eventhough I had a great sleep!) and have to stand around all day makes me feel rather worried. Oh what the hell, you are only 22 once! Saying that at times around the festival I feel like the old dude going around with a walking stick shouting at those damn kids. Ummmm! After a beer I felt much better. What a way to start a day, a beer! I’m living the life now. Well, either that or I am becoming an alcoholic! ARGH! At about 11 we walked over to the main arena. Oh and here is a group photo:

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We were in early for once and the music hadn’t started! Great! We went to the main stage, where you have to start the festival, and we saw a band called Do Me Bad Things. The name rang a bell to me but I wasn’t sure why. In true style, they started the power died and they had to start again! They were actually quite good! Weird though. They had a sort of cool rock band feel to them with some epic guitar work but they also had a gospel feel to them. This is probably due to the gospel type singing the female vocalist was doing. They were damn good, I feel I shall be buying their album.

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Next on was, well “you knows it”, the GLC (Goldie Lookin Chain). As ever they were hilarious, putting on a right show. One of the group even came on driving a “old persons” scooter. He parked it up and off they weren’t. Probably the thing that stuck in my head from their performance was “worry about my brother, cause he is f**cking your mother!”. Coarse, yes. Funny, yes. Musical skill, doubtful. Taking the piss, hell yeah!

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I then saw the Wedding Present, they were good but they didn’t have much stage presence. They just didn’t seem to get the crowd going. Still though I very much enjoyed their set, unlike the above band these are musically very (very) talented! After the Wedding Present came my first trip to a tent of the year. Off to see The Dead 60s. This is a band I’m not too familiarly with. I have heard their latest single and although it reminds me of something very familiar (funky town…) they are quite good, they have a good ska beat to them. They were enjoyable.

Up next, on the main stage, was Graham Coxon, who played a storming set. The day was already starting to take its toll so I had to sit down for a while during this one. I love “Freakin’ Out” and he played this really well. At times you can almost imagine you are listening to Blur, which you would expect really (that’s his old band!). I think his set had to be one of the best I saw in the day. This came to me as a bit of a shock, I’m not sure why. I just wasn’t expecting such energy. It was great.

Now back to a packed tent for the Subways, I really wish I had headed over early, but like an idiot I hadn’t and I paid the price. I was barely able to get into the tent! From what I heard they were great, but I did have to leave early as they clashed with We Are Scientists. I really wanted to see We Are Scientists. I was over nice and early and behind us in the Carling tent was Jo Whiley (either that or a very good clone!). We tried not to stare, but when we said to Kat she noticed we had noticed! Argh! Anyway, back to the band. They were great! Much better than when I saw them at Club NME earlier in the week. I can actually now state I have seen a band twice in one week! Pretty cool, or odd depending on how you look at it.

Next on was the Paddingtons. I was looking forward to seeing them. They have gone a long way since we missed seeing them due to them pulling out as support for The Others and Agent Blue at the Jug of Ale. Today they were there and put on a good show. I didn’t stay for too long, however, as I was really quite eager to get over to the main stage to catch the Coral. I also had missed the Coral at a gig in Birmingham a while a go. I actually had tickets, but for some odd reason I chose not to go. I can’t remember why, probably had something to do with a woman. Argh. Anyway, today they were great! I left after “Dreaming of you” as I wanted to go see My Chemical Romance. I was pleased though, as I had said to myself, I better go after the next one and then on came my favourite! 🙂 The weather was still holding out:

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My Chemical Romance were a bit quiet! It was their second gig of the day as they played Leeds earlier in the day due to other commitments. They were good though the singer had kinda lost his voice which was a bit crap but they were still good.

By this point I was exhausted and eventhough I love the Queens of the Stoneage I found myself slumped on the floor. Good set by them and we bumped into John who had been at the front getting banged around in a mosh pit. Just what you would expect for QOTSA. Still though I wasn’t as bad as this chap:

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It had been a great day for a festival, not too hot, not wet and we were left with a glorious sunset:

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Now came the headliners. I wasn’t going to move. The first were the Killers. I have to say I’d have rather seen them about 12 months ago. I find that I am generally a little board of them now as they have been overplayed in every which way! They are still a great band and I did want to see them. I just wish this had occurred about at last years festival. Their set was good, though a little quiet. What is it with american bands and quiet vocals! The crowd helped though as everyone was singing along. It was actually quiet packed aswell.

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Last of the day was the legendary Pixies. I’m not hugely familiar with their music. I knew more than I thought though and they played a good set though I wasn’t over excited by it. At least I can say I have saw them! This is almost a once in a lifetime experience, well maybe not quiet but almost. I think half the problem by this point was how bad my feet were hurting, though I just got on with it.

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In true old man fashion, it was back to tent, have a drink and go to sleep. I was shattered! End of day 2.

Lego Computer

This is just so cool! (or is it just me being a geek?)