Spaceship Earth

The first impression of Spaceship Earth’s Interdimensional Passport is the similarity to Jay Tausig’s ‘Trip around the Sun’. So it’s space-rock, but with a difference. There is a definite psybient influence with the steady heavy beats, but it’s what happens between the beat that is interesting. All sorts of instruments and genres are thrown into the gaps, from Indian ragas to flutes, samples and voices. This gives it a very slow, spacey chill-out effect.

Just the thing for late at night weirdness.

Strange & Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Book by Susanna Clarke (2004)
TV Series Written by Peter Harness & directed by Toby Haynes

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a seven-part British historical fantasy TV miniseries adapted by Peter Harness from Susanna Clarke’s best-selling novel of the same name. It premiered on BBC One on 17 May 2015 and ended on 28 June 2015. It was nominated for four BAFTA awards and recognised by the British Film Institute as one of the top ten most important television programmes of 2015.



Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is the 2004 debut novel of British writer Susanna Clarke. An alternative history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, it is based on the premise that magic once existed in England and has returned with two men: Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Centred on the relationship between these two men, the novel investigates the nature of “Englishness” and the boundaries between reason and unreason, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Dane, and Northern and Southern English cultural tropes/stereotypes. It has been described as a fantasy novel, an alternative history, and a historical novel. It inverts the Industrial Revolution conception of the North-South divide in England: in this book the North is romantic and magical, rather than rational and concrete.



The Great Wall

The Great Wall is a 2016 monster film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon, who plays a European mercenary in China during the Song dynasty. He encounters the Great Wall of China and meets Chinese elite soldiers who defend against monsters attacking the wall. The Chinese-US co-production also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.

Principal photography began on March 30, 2015, in Qingdao, China. The film was released in China on December 15, 2016, by China Film Group and was released in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada on February 17, 2017, by Universal.

Despite a big budget ($150 million) this is a very ‘B’ grade movie. Almost all the characters are stereotypes. Matt Damon is the hired gun who is noble to the end. Willem Defoe the baddy, and Pedro Pascal as the side-kick. Plus an army of thousands (most digital) fitted in immaculate and intricate armour that probably (in reality) took a village a year to make. Jing Tian (28) plays an impossibly young and beautiful commander.

The plot is basic, defend the Great Wall of China against a horde of digital creatures out to eat everything. The movie does look great, top notch GCI and not a speck of mud to be seen. It’s also amazingly silly, but fortunately these is a decent amount of spectacle,

Fun while it lasted.



(Chess Team Adventure #4)
by Jeremy Robinson & Kane Gilmour (2012)

It starts with a thunderous crack and a flash of light. Screams come next. Then the hunters. With a staccato flicker, light disappears and everything within a hundred-yard radius goes with it. All that remains is a massive crater where a chunk of the world has gone missing. As the deadly phenomenon repeats and expands amidst the world’s most densely populated cities, Jack Sigler, Callsign: King, and his black ops team take action.

But the team is broken, spread across the globe, and vulnerable. Scrambling to make sense of the violent disappearances and fighting to reunite, the team comes face to face with an otherworldly enemy. Taking the battle to the ends of the Earth—and beyond—the team combats a savage enemy whose centuries-old plan for mankind has nearly reached fruition. If they fail, the planet will become little more than a fully stocked food cache, and the human race will walk willingly to their doom with smiles on their faces.

Another non-stop action adventure from the Chess Team. Of all those I have read this is probably the weakest. While the action is still great, it does suffer from just too many plot threads and the team not working together. The plot doesn’t come together as well as previous stories and I often wanted everyone to stop and try some strategy. The evil to overcome is not as well defined and the ending rather abrupt.


The Handmaid’s Tale


The Handmaid’s Tale is a 1990 film adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff, the film stars Natasha Richardson (Kate/Offred), Faye Dunaway (Serena Joy), Robert Duvall (The Commander, Fred), Aidan Quinn (Nick), and Elizabeth McGovern (Moira).
The screenplay was written by Harold Pinter. The original music score was composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

A rather slow story, the adaption probably misses all the social commentary and backstory in Margaret Atwood books.
I did try reading ‘Oryx and Crake’, but found it too slow. The film touched briefly on a lot of interesting ideas, but because of the format fails to dig deeply and examine the issues. An interesting story, if only for a historical reasons. This is ranked along Orwell’s 1981 and Huxley’s “Brave New World” as a significant dystopian work of fiction.


24 Season 4

Another season, another set of improbabilities for Jack Bauer to fix. The central story is a terrorist controlling America’s nuclear reactors.

The intensity, mainly due to the music is cranked up to stupid and the plot holes get bigger. But somehow you can’t stop watching. They really have the genre nailed here and give it everything. Start watching if you want sleepless nights.


By Ross Gumbley & Allison Horsley
Featuring Lara Macgregor & Eilish Moran
Weddings can be murder…

Prudence has come to the Hitchcock-themed MacGuffin Hotel for her niece Eden’s wedding to Montgomery Parker (yes, the Montgomery Parker). But when Eden’s disapproving mother Constance arrives, everyone finds themselves embroiled in a case of dangerous lies, suspicion and murder!

Cut off by a landslide, run by an amorous Austrian and filled with family secrets and homicidal tendencies, the MacGuffin is about to become home for a twisted story that even the Master of Suspense couldn’t have imagined…

It’s a black comedy Agatha Christie/Hitchcock story set in modern times (despite a very old-fashioned set). Eilish Moran is always good as the mother and Kathleen Burns brings out a familiar German accent.

It’s generally a fun romp, however the ending attempts to change the tone. I would have preferred an ending where the baddie gets away with evil doings. It may be unfashionable, but more fun and dramatic.


Downlouders – Arca


Downlouders is a music laboratory based on improvisation and psychedelia.

This is a mutated form of spacerock with:
Andrea Cajelli: drums
Andrea Manenti: bass
Enrico Mangione: guitars
Marco Sessa: synths
Giandomenico Fraschini: piano
Boris Tarpini: viola

it’s the viola that gives the music a unique characteristic, it feels more like the ECM jazz style. They come from Varese, Italy.