Saturday, May 29, 2010

Well, um, I wouldn't say no...

Listening to: 'No One' by Alicia Keys [As I Am]

OK yes I know you're expecting an Alicia Keys/birthday post, and it'll come soon, I promise. But in the meantime, let the floozy in me entertain you.

So you know how you have celebrity crushes, yeah? Most of them are considered 'normal' for someone in your know, Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp/Scarlett Johansson/Jessica Alba kinda normal. And then there are some, that make you think "err, really?". But you can't help it. There's something about them that makes you go weak in spite of yourself. And so, ladies and gentleboys, in the spirit of baring my soul (and ridiculing myself) in cyberspace, I present to you my weird and so-wrong-but-oh-so-right celebrity crushes! Drum roll please...

No, I will not call you "Daddy"!

I used to fancy him when he was younger, so this is kinda OK, right? OK maybe not really. But...aney, look at him. Just Look. At. Him. Isn't he adorable? I ♥'d you then at 30, Gary Lineker...and I ♥ you now at (almost) 50. Sigh.

The grey hair ain't so bad!
But I'm straight (I think)!

If any woman can turn me, Sienna Miller can. I dunno, she's just (for lack of a better word). I love her style, her hair, her eyes, her accent, and she's gorgeous, and charming, and sexy, and...OK I'll stop.
I want your dimples! (and your boyfriend)
Please sing, but don't talk.

Listening to Plan B's interviews makes me feel like I'm on a council estate. But I love his music (as I've said before), and there's something about him that oozes 'sexy'.
You're a chav, but I don't mind.
One must accept that Prince Charming is a figment of one's imagination...

...but Prince Harry isn't! Yes yes I know he's ginger, and I know everyone seems to fancy William, but Will's so boring! Not to mention he's going bald. Harry's got a full head of hair, and he's got the 'preppy bad boy' rep down to a fine art. Such a turn on. And who can say no to an army man? *swoon*
Can I get you a towel, your Highness?
If only you were human!

Eww no it's not what you think, pervert. Well, not technically, anyway. This is a really old crush...possibly my first. I remember being jealous of Miss Piggy, especially when watching the movie of them in Manhattan (can't remember anything about the movie except that I was jealous). And why wouldn't I be, eh? Kermit is perfect (if just a little bit too green).
If I kiss you, will you turn into a prince?
I'm not a paedo, ok?

Now I was worried about this one, but I checked Wikipedia and he's 16 (only just, but is legal, right?) so I'm safe. Still, I'm not gonna include a pic here 'cos they would've all been taken when he was underage and I'm starting to feel quite dirty while typing this bit so I'll stop now. But, um, yeah. Tom Daley *cough*. Read this if you don't know who he is.
I should add some kind of pic for this bit though, so I'll just add one of the other toy boy I had in mind...Zac Efron.
Need some help with that t-shirt?
*Sigh*, I'm so going to hell.

UPDATE: When I first typed this up, I thought of making it one of those tag thingamajigs (we haven't had one in a while) but I didn't think anyone would relish the opportunity to embarrass themselves in this manner, so I left it. But looking at the 2nd comment below, I was wrong. And since I'm physically incapable of refusing Sabby, I hereby christen this post a tag thingamajig. Tag, Sabby, you're it! Of course it's also open to anyone else who wishes to partake.

Friday, May 21, 2010

PseudoRandom is a gigwhore

Listening to: Radio 1

October - Plan B at the Cambridge Corn Exchange
September - Gorillaz at the O2 Arena
August - BBC Proms at the Royal College of Music
And in case you'd forgotten, I'm going to see Alicia Keys at the O2 Arena on Tuesday. Oh yeah baby.

P.S.- I should probably hurry up and finish this PhD and get a else am I gonna pay for this shit?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Listening to: nothing

It's been one year since this post. I'm not gonna use this post to analyse the events that led to, or followed the end of the war. I'm not gonna use this post to blow victory trumpets or give my two cents about what should happen now. Instead, I'm just gonna use this post to remember all the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we could enjoy ours. They might have been on different sides, with different ideologies, but they had one thing in common: the belief that what they were doing would make life better for their people. May we never forget their selflessness.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Surreal Cambridge

Listening to: 'Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)' by Alicia Keys [The Element of Freedom]

Last evening was, in a word, bizarre. First, I went for a lecture on the role of science in policy-making. The actual lecture was ok (the bits I was awake for anyway), but for me the most interesting part came afterwards. It had been mentioned earlier how civil servants have to consider natural science, social science and economics when forming policies. What came out during the post-lecture Q&A session was that when implementing these policies, politicians also have to take moral implications into account. This made a lot of sense to me, especially with regards to controversial policies such as the (re-)classification of cannabis.

I blogged about the Nutt fiasco last year, and in that post, I questioned the role of science in politics. Armed with the knowledge I acquired yesterday, I think public perception and societal morality play a much bigger role than facts and figures. For instance, I could not be a proponent of capital punishment, even if all the facts and figures in the world told me I should be. It just doesn't sit well with my conscience.

Which brings about an interesting situation. We trust doctors with our lives, because they will prescribe treatment for our ailments based on diagnostic evidence. We trust engineers and social scientists with our infrastructure, because they will design these things based on established principles. On the flip side, we trust politicians with the laws of our land, because they will define these based on what they think we consider to be just?!?! Hmm. I guess it does reinforce one thing I've touched on before though: progress in society is affected not so much by legislature, but by the mindset of the people.

So now I bet you're wondering how this constitutes a 'bizarre' evening, right? Well after that lecture, I met up with some friends for dinner, and then we went to Cindies. For the uninitiated amongst you, Cindies is one of the few clubs here...
Ze shoe. Didn't hurt as much as I expected!
known for its cheap drinks, sticky floors and cheesy music (you know it's a good night when they play the Baywatch theme). It's a lot less cheesy on Fridays than it is on Tuesdays (the student night), but also infinitely more chavvy. Some of the guys were fairly easy on the eye, but seriously...Homer Simpson has more brain cells. The girls weren't much better. I did my best to compete, with my new pair of 3.5" heels, but I think I would've had to get shit-faced and start yelling in a slurred Fenland accent to really fit in. Thanks, but I think I'll pass.

So anyway, while we were dancing we noticed a crowd was forming near the DJ booth. I initially thought it might be a fight, or the guys dressed as Captain America and Batman showing off their moves...but I was wrong. Turns out we were about to witness a live set by a certain Mr Hudson. Now I know who Mr Hudson is. Supposedly he's so tight with Kanye West that the dude named a pair of shoes after him. And we've all heard the duet with Jay-Z. To see such a high-profile up and coming artist singing in a dingy club surrounded by chavs was a little weird, to put it mildly. I always thought people who did the club appearance thing were has-beens from marginally successful 90s boy bands? I guess not.

So yeah. Bit of a random post, I'll admit. But I found it quite surreal that in the space of about 5 hours, I went from listening to the nuances of public policy making, to watching a somewhat famous popstar standing on the DJ's workstation and singing to a bunch of chavs at Cindies. At least I got to try out my fancy shoes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pilot episode of the Dave & Nick Show

Listening to: 'El MaƱana' by Gorillaz [Demon Days]

It has long been my belief that no single political ideology is well-suited to deal with the problems we face. The extremes put either the infrastructure or the people first, but none give them the equal importance I think they deserve. As I see it, a hybrid of these extremes provides an opportunity to achieve some form of 'balance'. I acknowledge that there's a great risk that nothing might be achieved at all...but I think that's a risk under any regime.

And this is where Britain stands today. You can say that the Tories have given in. You can say that the Lib Dems have sold out. You can even call Britain a ConDem-nation. But in reality, this coalition is a wonderful opportunity for policy makers to put petty party politics aside, and put Britain and her people first.

I'm looking forward to reading the final Coalition Agreement when it is published. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a snippet from this afternoon's press conference.

Lame jokes FTW! lol

Monday, May 10, 2010

If liking these videos makes me a geek, then so be it.

Listening to: nothing

I should be preparing a presentation I have to deliver tomorrow morning as part of a public speaking workshop I've signed up for. But what have I spent the past hour doing? Watching these.

3.5* 'til Infinity (based on 93 'til Infinity by Souls of Mischief)

Evolution, anyone?

Oxidate It Or Love It / Electron to the Next One (based on Hate It or Love It by The Game, 50 Cent and On to the Next One by Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz)

Metabolise this!

Put Some ACh Into It (based on You Can Do It by Ice Cube)

Physiology (yeah I couldn't think of anything catchy for this one)

There are more, some brilliant, some not so much (but still good!). I think in addition to the ones I've mentioned, Regulatin' Genes and Get Taq are excellent. Hopefully this will remind some of you of the excellent Large Hadron Rap.

Obviously this isn't my subject area so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the lyrics, but the concept itself is great. If only I had a smidgen of the talent these guys have, I could rap about the design of chemical reactors tomorrow morning! OK maybe not rap...

Oh well, better get back to that powerpoint. *sigh*

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Folking it up

Listening to: Radio 1

Music post time, yay! In my last music post, I said I might explore folk music next...and then I forgot :S. I remembered again while watching Later...with Jools Holland a couple of days back. I wanted to watch it 'cos of the Gorillaz performance (which was amazing), but another performance on there just blew me away. More on that later. But can I just say, Damon Albarn is looking rather delicious. When did he morph from the wannabe-chavvy Blur frontman into a Jude Law look-alike? Sneaky bugger. The years sure have been good to him.

But..erm...yes, back to the music. When you think 'folk music', you probably think 'hippy', and all the negative connotations that come with it. And what with me being all pro-mainstream and all, you won't find me camping out in a muddy field waiting to see some avant-garde band that plays their guitars like violins and vice versa (I dunno if such a band actually exists, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does). I suppose fans would be unimpressed with my attitude, considering Cambridge is home to a rather popular folk festival, but hey ho.

That said, certain folk artists (using the term loosely, perhaps) have managed to break the mainstream scene. I'm not sure what it is - it could be good management, good contacts with BBC DJs, or plain and simple luck - but it's worked. So here's my pick. I've mentioned a few indie folk rock groups before (Noah and the Whale and Fleet Foxes), so I won't include them here.

Frank Turner - The Road

I haven't listened to much Frank Turner (his solo stuff or his stuff with the Million Dead) but I ♥ this song. As he says at the beginning of the video, he did 24 shows in 24 hours, and the video chronicles the various gigs.

I really like the bit from about 2:36 to 3:15, where it appears he's returning to his punk roots.

Mumford & Sons - The Cave

This is a new-ish band from London. Their album Sigh No More has done very well here, and they get a lot of airplay. I like all their singles so far, but my favourite has to be this one.

There's something about the chorus that just makes me want to sing along at the top of my lungs.

Laura Marling - Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)

Ah, my favourite. I first heard Laura Marling's 'New Romantic' and I was hooked. There's something very...I dunno, it's like she's baring her soul for everyone to see. That vulnerability, with that voice and those I love what I've heard from the new album so far - 'Devil's Spoke' makes me want to turn up the volume and start stomping around the room, and 'Rambling Man' makes me want to sit very, very still. But the single that trumps them all is this one. It is, in a word...sublime. As far as I'm aware, there's no official video for it...but as I alluded to earlier, the live version she did on Jools Holland blew me away, so I shall post it here for you. Sit down, calm down, and enjoy.

So yeah. There we have it. I think I might look at quirky indie boy groups next...I know, what a genre! lol

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hangin' Tough

Listening to: Nothing.

Firstly, please excuse the tragic pun! Although to be fair, you'll probably only get it if you're familiar with late 80s pop culture, and I'll be surprised if anyone actually owns up to that cardinal sin. But yeah, the reason for the pun: the breaking but-really-we-knew-it-all-along-so-it-wasn't-really-a-surprise news of the day is that the British people have voted for a hung parliament. In the 'first past the post' system prevelant here, no single party can win all 326 out of 650 seats required, so we have a stalemate. As it stands, even if Gordon Brown convinces the LibDems to form a coalition, it won't be enough to get a majority; indeed, the only way a Tory Britain can be avoided (assuming that is desired) is if the leading coalition is a patchwork of Labour, LibDem and a number of smaller parties with possibly opposing ideals and policies. That, to me, spells 'too many cooks...', but it's not for me to decide.

And therein lies a problem, as I see it. Let's assume I didn't vote Tory (that's not to say I did...). My vote is now effectively null and void, and the party I supported has the difficult task of deciding whom to form a coalition with...a task that I have absolutely no say in. I've heard a lot of people saying "I don't want to vote LibDem in case they form a coalition with the Tories". Well shouldn't those people be able to make that opinion known to the LibDems? The party has a responsiblity to its supporters; how can it gauge whether those supporters would rather be in the government with someone they dislike, or in the opposition? There have been lots of calls for porportional representation, but I don't think that alone can solve the problem.

But getting back to the overall result. I mentioned earlier that I didn't wholly agree nor disagree with any of the three main parties. What this hung parliament tells me is that I'm not the only one. The British people are as undecided about the next steps for the country as are the politicians representing them.

We live in exciting times, people. Uncertain, yes...but exciting, nonetheless.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Listening to: 'Gorillaz Special' on Zane Lowe [Radio 1]

My poll card

So I voted. For the first time. Ever. And can I just say, what an exhilarating feeling! There's something empowering about knowing that you just played a part in the future of the country.

It's also kinda scary. I mean, what if I've made the wrong choice? What if the party I voted for does a Hitler? What if they do nothing? What if they're crap? In that respect, I'm glad that I'm just one of many that cast their vote today.

I watched the three leaders' debates, weighed up the pros and cons of each party, and made my choice. It was difficult to find a party I wholly agreed with, or a party I wholly disagreed with. So I adopted what I learned from elections in Uni - single transferable voting. I think I chose the party that best represents my views, and is most likely to carry out my mandate. We shall see.

Going back to the issue of being one voter of millions. If the party I voted for gets elected, great! If they don't get elected, also great! It won't be a time to throw my toys out of the pram, or to cry 'foul', or to blame the system. It will, however, be a time to celebrate the fact that the people have spoken. We have to live with other people's decisions every day - government is no different. At least here we have a say. And if my preferred party ends up in the opposition, at least they can work to ensure that the ruling party doesn't mess up too bad!

I am thankful that government in this country works. It's not perfect, but it's not broken either. And the people care. I might disagree with some of them, but that's ok. We all want what's best for the country. And that is something worth celebrating. Something to be proud of. And I am.