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Mocktails and Metallica

Hiya!

How's things with you?


What are you doing on Monday night?” James K asked me

“No plans, why?”

“I have a spare ticket for Metallica at the NEC if you fancy it”

“Can I wear my corduroy jacket without being stabbed?” I asked

“Of course”

“Then I’m in” 


And that’s how I found myself swigging energy drinks, surrounded by pasty bald metal fans. I’m no fan of Metallica, and neither is James (I think he just wanted to see an impressive live show). But I am a fan of doing unusual things and after a light Mexican meal, featuring a BOGOF on gingery mocktails (Mocktails and Metallica, does life get any better, I ask myself?), I felt I was really living!

I enjoy a bit of metal from time to time, but it has to be campy. Remove the humour from metal and you end up with the kind of po faced sludge that Metallica peddle. Four late middle aged guys in the identical uniform of tight black t-shirt and black jeans (which seems to be the wrap dress of metal - flattering, understated, favoured by the middle aged) playing what seemed to be the same song again and again, only at a slightly different speed. But that said, what really shined was the handsomely mounted stage show - playing in the round, pyrotechnics, drones, and these amazing video cubes that zipped up and down wires. One second acting as a stage light, the next showing footage of WW1 soldiers, or something.

All in all, a fun time was had. James got to see flames and some fast drumming and it was nice to do something a bit different, and like the truly middle aged, WE LEFT EARLY TO BEAT THE TRAFFIC!
The mighty glowing boxes of metal.
ROCK!
Hitting the energy drinks hard.
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Meet me in the Bathroom - Lizzy Goodman’s oral history of the NY music scene 2001 - 2011 mightn’t be everyone’s cup o tea, but it acted as a welcome diversion for a week on the building site. Surprisingly, some of the best bits were the observations on Brooklyn as a lifestyle brand that has been sold through the world.

Growing a Bear by Hannah Gamble - LOVE this poem.

Lots of love,



Merrick
December 03, 2017 by merrick angle

Tom Hanks Bought Me a Bathtub

Hiya!

How's things with you?

I suspect everyone has a Thursday like mine. It might not be your actual Thursday, it might be your Saturday or your Monday, but either way it is probably the spiritual twin of my Thursday- A day that predictably spirals out of control, a list of errands that becomes an outright rat run that leaves you hassled and spent. It’s always a case of one job leading to another, and then the inevitable ‘Well, if I’m that side of town I should probably do X’. I was sitting there last Thursday, having a late lunch after surviving three DIY sheds and the tax office. My kebab was well earned. I checked my emails. What’s this? A mysterious enquiry from an Italian publishing house asking if they could license one of my images. Regular readers will know how much I love a random enquiry, and this one was no exception. ’Sure’ I say ’Send over a PDF mock up’, wondering what the book could be. My money was on a sub standard euro thriller, the type where a depressed cop will solve murders armed with only his dicky liver and his Scandi angst. 
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I saw my typewriter image from a few years ago and the name ‘Tom Hanks’. TOM HANKS!!! THE Tom Hanks???? Yup, turns out it’s the Italian edition of his debut collection of short stories all featuring typewriters. A quick trawl through Wikipedia does indeed reveal Tom’s affinity for typewriters

Fee agreed, deal done (Pro tip, kids: - Designers always do their best negotiations in seedy kebab shops). Later that day, I find an amazing bathtub in a junkyard cum brocante. It will go brilliantly in the new house and I shell out knowing full well that this one is on Mr Hanks.
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood - Very idiosyncratic this one. A poet's memoir of moving back home as an adult. One small thing though, her father is an ordained Catholic priest and compulsive gun toting rock guitarist. Track this down as an audiobook as it is read brilliantly by the author.

Liquid MIDI looks amazing!


This poem.
 

Lots of love,



Merrick


 
December 03, 2017 by merrick angle

Goodbye House

That's it. Done and dusted. I bounced in here a Tiggerish young fool, fourteen years and a lot of renovation work later I am a greying, gnarled, rickety figure. It was the house we didn't intend to buy, but we fell in love with it and steamed ahead regardless. At times this house felt like the greatest adventure, at others like some sort of gothic curse, sometimes you could even have both feelings in the same day. 

A procession of life events has happened to us here, enough to fill a montage in a Richard Curtis movie. But now I can only look back on the house in the cliched manner of rescue dog owners who claim "but really, didn't they rescue me??".

I was the fixer upper, not the house.

Lots of love,



Merrick


 
December 03, 2017 by merrick angle

Gosh Tarn it

Hiya!

How's things with you?


Yup, we're still moving - endless trips to the local dump and reinforcing cardboard boxes were punctuated with a kind offer from our friends, Kathrin & Gonzalo. Would we like to spend the weekend in a nice house in the Tarn? Did we ever!

We spent a lovely couple of days doing very little. We made new friends and drank fizzy lemon drinks in sun loungers. The kids played in the pool. All was going well until my car key broke and I spent the next ten hours on a sub Homeric quest to get our car fixed and at the very least, a hire car. A classical scholar might regard this as nemesis inevitably following hubris, but in the Angle household we call a spade a shovel, and call this situation 'a massive pain in the arse'. But some sort of major nervous calamity was averted by a number of things:

- The good fortune of having David Sedaris' diaries, 'Theft by Finding' on audiobook.

- Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY I met on my odyssey was friendly, obliging, and very helpful. When people (myself included) go on about French people being mardy, they should have been with me as I travelled from garage to breakdown truck, to taxi, to car hire. Everyone I met was a total star.
 
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Britain's first motorhome - Look at this beauty!

Raw - Bit of an odd one this. It's a tale of cannibalism in a French veterinary college. Whilst not completely horrifying as such, it dwells more in the realm of the unpredictable and the arresting visual (horse intubation anyone?). Puzzling, but well worth it.

Car Share - On the polar opposite end of the scale to Raw is the second series of Car Share. The first series was genius - The absorbing comedy of lifts between two northern supermarket employees. I was impressed by how emotionally involving it was. Pathos, romance, subtle sight gags, and some pleasing cameos.




 

Lots of love,



Merrick
September 20, 2017 by merrick angle

Roll up, roll up....

Hiya!

How's things with you?


Before the hell of moving begins and robs us of any will to live we went on holiday, spending a few days in St Sebastian in Spain. The Basque capital was exactly as I remember it - sophisticated without being wanky, full of stylish old people and good shoe shops. One of the highlights of the holiday for me was the funicular railway up Monte Igueldo. On top of this fin de siecle tourist trap is a hotel and a decrepit  amusement park. Literally, this place must have been the inspiration for every haunted Scooby Doo funfair ever.

Now I LOVE an off brand, down at heel 'Adventureland', but this place takes the biscuit. The staff looked sedated, everything looked confused or dangerous, and the music was tinny Dire Straits and George Michael's 'Careless Whisper'.

I was in heaven.


 
The kids looking niiiiiice and relaxed on the ancient funicular railway.
Proper 60's acid freakout art work at Cosmicar.
Nice views mind you.
Sadly the 'Pirata Park' was closed.
The haunted house - Featuring a stuffed boar on a broomstick.
Since we got back four little kittens have taken up residence in a tree belonging to my in-laws. Clem has been obsessed, and kitten based hysteria has reached a pitch where we have caved in and adopted one.
The Lion Queen
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Mr & Mrs Nabokov - All marriages are unknowable, and none more so than the creative/personal partnership of Vladamir Nabokov and his wife Vera. This fine New Yorker piece does shed some light on The V's and their oeuvre.

Pink Trombone - Strange speech synthesis that displays how our mouths make the sounds we need to speak. Fun!


 

Lots of love,



Merrick


 
September 20, 2017 by merrick angle

Horror House of Hell

Hiya!

How's things with you?

Well, it's official - we are on the move! The Swiss family Angle are going be residing in the pretty town of Treignac. It's about half an hour away, closer to work and secondary schools. But wait until you see the place we are buying, honestly 'shitpile' doesn't do it justice. That said, it is a step up from the last place I renovated - That one had half a dozen dead birds and a carnival next door blasting 'Blurred Lines' at Guantanamo volumes.
See what I mean??
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

You're The Worst - I have been really enjoying this sitcom about a tentative love affair between two reprehensible LA types (Him - A self involved English writer. Her - Mentally unstable publicist). Often too much of American entertainment requires protagonists to be likeable. This has completely unlikeable characters at it heart and still manages  to have real emotional weight to it.

Chromatic Typewriter - A typewriter that types with colours instead of letters. Absolutely stunning.

Lots of love,



Merrick


 
September 20, 2017 by merrick angle

Look at the Stars

Hiya!

How's things with you?


Regular readers of this newsletter will know one of it's continuing themes is 'strange shit you end up volunteering for because of your kids'. I've made medieval cakes, driven covered wagons, even gotten a certificate for being a mermaid. All because I don't have a 9 to 5 job and lack the necessary French to talk my way out of things. Last Friday night was no exception - A parents group we belong to were organising an astronomy evening. So we said 'Why not?' and the next thing you know you are eating cold spaghetti bolognese from Tupperware and waiting for the sun to go down. 

The local astronomy society met us there and brought their various telescopes to set up. 
Big boy telescope.
The moon.
Snacks in a field.
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Young man loses it to Bon Jovi at a sporting event

By The Book - The New York Times' regular 'What's on your bookshelf'? column. Some interesting recommendations if you dig a little.


Leonard Vierling's war diary - Cannot remember for the life of me how I came across this fascinating document. A young radio operator details his unit's advance through Germany in a stolen diary.
 

Lots of love,



Merrick
September 20, 2017 by merrick angle

Dog Days

Hiya!

How's things with you?


We're going through something of a heat wave here, or the 'Canicule' as they are called in French (originally from the Latin 'dog days'). Everything has a strange holidayesque sheen to it, made odder by the fact that everyone still has to go to work and schools won't break up for another three weeks. 
 
Fishing for crayfish.
Chillaxin'
Baby Hugo getting buried in the gravel.
The old lavarie (place for washing clothes) in Uzerche.
So hot even the horses have to sit down.
Angry looking taxidermy fox.
Things Flora does when there is no telly.
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Barbie collector I was struck by the random memory of an article I read twenty years ago, in the library at school. It was about a an Israeli gentleman who was one of the world's leading Barbie collectors. He had one eye, an eye patch and claimed that he would 'kill a man' to get his hands on the first black Barbie. Anyway, I happened upon this article as I searched for news of this loveable, yet elusive scamp.

How the Babadook became a gay icon - This made me laugh mainly for the reasons given ('he likes closets' 'he enjoys wearing hats')!

 

Lots of love,



Merrick
September 20, 2017 by merrick angle

The Show Must Go On...

Hiya!

How's things with you?


Things here are a magical cocktail of REALLY busy and REALLY tedious. We are currently trying to sell our house which means constantly cleaning in a manner that suggests a demanding but poorly paid part time job. Tempers are frayed and even the once chipper Framboise is starting to rebel (see below)
"Framboise is not happy about having another viewing"

Also, this month sees my stint as a quasi drama teacher come to an end. I'd been helping out with a local kids drama club that Flora and Clem go to. The whole thing reminded me of a very low stakes episode of Ray Donovan, with me as the burly, unwilling Ray sorting out the problems of teary, midget starlets. Never. Again.

One highlight though was Flora's turn as The Boat:
Flora as The Boat
Last year Charlie Gladstone of Pedlars got in touch, he asked me if I had anything to put on Pedlars Marketplace. I did, and I have been selling stuff through them ever since. As it is the start of the Vide Grenier ('carboot sale' in foreign) season here, my shop is full of treasures, so feel free to have a little look and see if there are any bargains....
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

The Globe Radio I'm not really a fan of the Kickstarterization/TEDtalkifying of everything on the internet. You have seen one inspirational webinar/revolutionary expresso maker/ergonomic keyboard you have seen them all. Occasionally though something sticks out - this time The Zooom Globe radio. I knew the site and the concept (click on the map, set the decade and listen to the sort thing that was on the radio then), and this is just the concept made 3D. Ace!

Download 200+ Artbooks for free from the Guggenheim This comes straight from mon petit frere, Ewan. Absolutely stunning.

Gerhard Steidl Carrying on with the theme of Art books and monographs, my friend Clive sent me this fascinating article about Gerhard Steidl. I like a driven, obsessive character, I didn't quite buy his 'Living close to my work stops me being a concentration camp guard' schtick, but hey ho...
 

Lots of love,



Merrick


 
May 18, 2017 by merrick angle

The north remembers...

Hiya!

How's things?


We are just back from a trip back to the motherland, we met up with my family, ate an enormous amount of fish and chips, explained to the kids what a Geordie was, argued with Alice about the correct use of the term 'scally', bought some books and made a film:
Northumberland 2017
Interesting? - Links and recommendations 

Interview with Warren Ellis - I LOVE Warren Ellis. He's the frontman of one of my favourite bands (Dirty Three), chief collaborator with one of my favourite lyricists (Nick Cave) and he also has another career as a composer of stellar film soundtracks, which is what he talks about here.

Trading cards of revolutionary thinkers - This made me laugh!

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann - My brother Ewan bought me this for my birthday. I'm only a quarter of the way through but I am GRIPPED. It's an account of a series of murders that involved oil, native Americans and the nascent FBI.
May 04, 2017 by merrick angle