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"It turned cold today; the winter that had been hanging around the edges of things happened simply and easily and much, much too early, and it started to snow. Well, not to snow, exactly, but occasional snowflakes would tumble and glitter, with a sort of 'we may not look like much now, but wait until we come back with our friends' kind of quality to them."

Neil Gaiman 
 .:[ The Magnificent Seven ]:.Posted: 23:29 on Sunday, 11 September 2005 
State: thrashed!  Music: Tiger Mission 

Well, i'm back in one piece after BIT Lite or Retrovision Mini or whichever name y'fancy using! After a Saturday afternoon of drinking with the rest of the Magnificent Seven before we eventually found a taxi (going via Canal Street and i swear that was nothng to do with me!) and headed off to the hotel to drop stuff off, then onwards to the gig. The entire event was held in a small venue in a quiet part of Manchester, quite a difference to BIT Live '04 at Saint Lukes last year but i felt that it fitted the event very nicely; it was more like a pub talent show and with the stage being about four feet from the front row everything seemed more... well, intimate this time.

The sets themselves were great, M.J. Hibbert and the Validators opened and did Hey, Hey 16K twice (i assume because it was the most relevant to the audience) and most people joined in, even finishing the "For N = 0 to 2" bit at the end for 'em the second time! After that there was Press Play On Tape or, more accurately, half of PPOT but they launched into what was almost an unplugged set including what i thought was a very brave choice, playing Thrust without any percussion! It was bloody good stuff too, had to be my personal favourite from their set. Next up was Rob Hubbard and Mark Knight and good grief can Hubbard handle a keyboard! i mean, i know how good Knight is from 2004 but that was the first time i'd seen Hubbard play live and... well, i've read a few posts over the last month or two doubting the guy's abilities and i can say that he really is that excellent since they played one of his new compositions too! Top notch stuff with Train Game from Rob's Final Synth Sample 2 demo being my personal favourite. And as a finale, an extended Stuck In D'eighties lineup sounding the tightest they've ever been and rattling all the pints! i've enthused about them in the past, lots of people have, but they're still class and Deflektor is still my all time favourite of their set and my high point for the entire evening, although the version of Think Twice 3 was superb too...

Then we staggered back to the hotel (well, after stopping off for kebabs and/or burgers and then getting royally lost and stumbling drunkenly away from the hotel for a couple of miles...! And the scene shifts back to Retrovision, where we spent a bit of the morning and a wodge of the afternoon in such wonderful company as Bog (lots of hugs!!), Kenz and Natasha, Lee Bolton, Retrovision Markie, Qed, Chris Abbott and lots of other lovely, fluffy people i was probably either too hung over or drunk to remember... sorry! And finally, off to Yates's at Manchester Picadilly for a few more drinkies and some food before i stumbled onto the train home!

But for me, the gig was made by the rest of the Magnificent Seven, for making the last two days something to remember and thoroughly wearing out both me and the batteries on the digital camera i'd like to thank (in alpha order to avoid fights!) Glynn R. Brown, Neil "Tas" Carr, Paul "Chappers" Chapman, Dan "Danny G." Gillgrass, Paul "Trooper" Green and Barry "Tomsk" Thompson. Gentlemen, scholars, good laugh and piss heads all and the photos are on the live server so get in touch lads!!

 .:[ Piccies! ]:.Posted: 16:47 on Monday, 12 September 2005 
State: happy  Music: none 

An extension to the above; the pictures are now available to view in the gallery if anyone wants a gander... although what y'want with a male goose i'm almost scared to ask!

 .:[ Oh good grief... ]:.Posted: 12:20 on Saturday, 17 September 2005 
State: stunned  Music: none 

i've just seen something slightly worrying on telly... i was watching Robot Wars on Sci Fi and, since they'd taken a 30 minute programme and had to wedge commercial breaks in and around it, they'd chosen to insert a small "quick hit" gaming show called Sci Gamer that i'd not come across before. Presented by Liv Brent, it's a likkle five minute programme that, for example, ducks into the Games Market Europe show and prods around a little and i have no issues with the presenter, the format or indeed what they're doing because it works rather well.

What did surprise me was that, when representatives of Eidos, Codemasters and other gaming stalwarts at GME were asked the question "how many bits in a byte", only two out of the five surveyed knew, two gave a "don't know" and one guessed at over a thousand! That's slightly depressing it has to be said, i mean i know they're probably marketing drones but it was hardly a complex question and they're working for a games company for crying out loud! Surely they have at least some interaction with the people actually writing the games or is that just wishful thinking on my part, expecting someone in marketing to try understanding what they're trying to sell...?

On a more positive note though, a quick Google for info on Liv Brent found Thumb Bandits, a site run by girl gamers whose forumites were ripping poor Liv to shreds. Maybe it's deserved, i'm not sure, but the Thumb Bandits site is well written, extensive and worth a look and it's not often i point out current gaming sites!

 .:[ Film 2005 ]:.Posted: 23:57 on Saturday, 24 September 2005 
State: eating  Music: none 

A couple of films i've seen recently that didn't get written up...

First off, Dukes of Hazzard and yet another attempt to re-tread a classic television series as a film and this didn't bode well to me up until the point i heard Johnny Knoxville was to star. There are some people who are just so damned right for a role it's a surprise when they get it because Hollywood doesn't usually work like that, but Knoxville (ably assisted by Seann William Scott) really is Luke Duke! Granted, the characters aren't quite "right" in some respects, most notably Boss Hogg and Roscoe are both far more insidious than their television counterparts (Hogg and Jesse Duke were friendly enemies, Roscoe a good lawman who got lazy in the series) but it hangs together well and there's some nice little touches such as the less than favourable reactions to the General Lee's paintwork when Bo and Luke travel to the big city. It's a bit of a brain off movie, but a fun one and with a decent cast all the same.

Next up is the Samuel L. Jackson-fest The Man. i don't really need to talk about L. himself, he's playing a gritty, hard-edged cop and, lets face it, he knows exactly how to do that - what makes the film is the characters around him, Eugene Levy as the dodgily named Andy Fiddler, a salesman from Wisconsin who ends up smack in the middle of an investigation and Luke Goss as a deal making hard man (yes, that Luke Goss!) are both good and give L. lots to play against and there's a lot of laugh out loud moments as well as a few little tear jerkers.

Finally (for the cinema trips) we all pootled off to see The Longest Yard earlier; i very vaguely remember watching the Burt Reynolds original, but it was so long ago... Adam Sandler has always been more miss than hit for me, but he's excellent as disgraced former football player Paul Crewe. Similarly, Chris Rock as Caretaker, James Cromwell as the warden and Burt Reynolds, who starred as Crewe in the original but this time plays the old pro Nate Scarborough, give brilliant performances along with the other cast. There's good drama, lots of laughs and, without wanting to spoil it, one shock moment that really got to me and the Boss too - well worth a watch.

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