Archive for April 17th, 2008

Apr 17 2008

Planet Of The Apes

Published by under Blog

Okay, it’s less a planet, more a peninsula, but Gibraltar is a strange place. At the southern tip of Spain, this British colony is more quintessentially English than England itself. There’s Fox and Hound pubs, mushy peas and toffy accents. It’s almost possible not to notice the gorgeous weather and the heavily guarded entrance-by-airstrip. Oh, and did I mention the monkeys?

The Rock of Gibraltar is home to hundreds of Barbary Apes, and while the humans and the animals can generally live in harmony with each other, a revolution is stirring. According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, a pack of 25 macaques have staged an uprising and are terrorising tourists and townies alike. They have been breaking into hotel rooms, vandalising property and stealing from passersby. Apparently they are running riot on the beach.

Barbary Apes from Spanish holiday 2007

The response from Ernesto Britto, Gib’s tourism minister: “Kill, kill, kill”! Okay, I admit he didn’t quite put it like that, but there are plans afoot to cull the rioting faction and Ernesto defends the decision saying, “children are frightened. People cannot leave their windows open for fear of the monkeys stealing. Apes can bite and contact with them runs the risk of salmonella or hepatitis”. I don’t recall that being in the tour brochure when I visited last year.

I do understand the fear though:

Yes, that is me in the video, cowering away from the tiny baby monkey. But what you don’t see is his fat furious father off camera, heading my direction.

I’m sure there is a better way to deal with this problem that culling, but I’m no animal rights activist and if it has to be, then it has to be. It just seems somewhat excessive. Anyone else any opinions on that?

6 responses so far

Apr 17 2008

Sentimental Heart

Published by under Blog,Music,Music Review

Do you know who this is?

Zooey Deschanel

She was the love interest, Trillian, from Garth Jenning’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; she acted opposite Will Ferrell in the hillarious Elf; she played William’s sister in Almost Famous; her sister, Emily, is the star of the TV show Bones.

So, I was surprised to hear Zooey Deshanel deliver an album with the quality of Volume One with the band She & Him, a two piece with M. Ward. It’s soft pop set, with some nice easy listening tunes such as Sentimental Heart and Swing Low Sweet Chariot.Volume One

While one or two tracks sound like they may have been add-on’s to Ringo Star’s 90’s album, Vertical Man (which is not entirely a bad thing), much of the album, particularly I Thought I Saw Your Face Today, sounds as though Deschanel has communicated with the dead to channel Karen Carpenter, mixing the cheerful melody with heartbreaking vocals. Her voice is gripping.

At other times, She & Him fits nicely into the recent trend in favour of jazzier, 50’s and 60’s RnB grooves, รก la the edgy Amy Winehouse or the softer Duffy. The duo are not going to ask us ‘what kind of fuckery is this‘ – they are ‘nicer’ than Winehouse and this in itself is quite refreshing. Their soulful cover of the old Smoky Robinson hit (there was a great cover by The Beatles), You Really Gotta Hold On Me, is beautiful and was the first track that I immediately went back to play again.

She and HimThere is a strong Country and Western influence in Deschanel’s voice at times, which goes against her somewhat. It feels forced on tracks like Black Hole and Got Me, which makes me think she isn’t entirely behind every track on the album. The opposite can be said of Take It Back which is a haunting tune which could fit just as neatly on an Ute Lemper album, recalling the smoky cabaret scenes of wartime Europe.

This album is not going to tear up the charts, there’s too much variety in the tracks (is this a bad thing?), but with songs like Sentimental Heart and Take It Back, it may do very well on the download market.

Please check out the duo’s MySpace page, where you can hear a number of tracks from the album, Volume One.

5 responses so far

Apr 17 2008

That’s All Folks

Published by under Blog

I really look forward to each weeks’ Postsecrets. Some of them are hillarious, some are shockingly heartbreaking, some thoughtprovoking, some are just plain strange. It’s fun to read about the quirks and foibles of all these different people (I guess it’s reassuring to know that we all have our own odd sides).

Sometimes you look at one of the postcards, maybe give it a smirk and then move on to the next, only to come back to it and see something more in it.

This week there was one like that for me:

That's All Folks

I smiled when reading it and clicked on to the next site. I came back to it a little while later and thought about who may have sent this card in. Are they depressed over lost youth? Are they so down that even Looney Tunes can’t perk them up? Do they spend their days faking a big Bugs Bunny smile, while aching on the inside? Or maybe they just made the whole thing up so they could appear on the Postsecret site(cynic alert)?

Whatever the reason, it gave me pause and made me think.

That’s all folks!

6 responses so far