He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

King Kong

It's probably not the best way to start a film review, but I actually watched this because there wasn't anything else of consequence to go and see. I couldn't really care less about Narnia, or any of the other bilge that's about at the moment - and that's probably where the problem begins. I expressed indifference from the start.

Think you know the story by now:

1) Girl goes to island.
2) Girl gets captured by giant monkey.
3) Girl gets resecued - giant monkey is captured.
4) Giant monkey brought to US to show off like a freak-show.
5) Giant monkey escapes.
6) Giant monkey takes girl and climbs empire state building.
7) Giant monkey shot at by aircraft on top of building. Dies.

There we go. Simple, eh?

So, why does the film take 3 hours? Is Peter Jackson incapable of doing just 2? I think all the Lord of the Rings stuff has addled his mind. I have to confess, I fell asleep during the film - at one of the points in which there's supposed to be a big action section. I just got very bored of a bunch of people being chased by CGI dinosaurs and the like, for what seemed like ages. Yes, yes, Peter, your computer technology is very nice - run along now. And in all honesty, this is the problem - you know the story, which started to make me think, "for god's sake, get on with it". Not a good thing to be thinking.

The film is ok, at best, but it's just too damn long. There's an easy half an hour they could have cut from this. Sure, the end sequence is indeed a sad one, but that last line really ruins it. It doesn't need to be said.

Anyway, I'll say no more. If you do see it, take plenty to eat/drink and a commode. You'll feel like you're there for a long time.

If you'd like a real review, click here. This is one of those occasions where I'm not in full agreement with filmfour.com.

Boards Of Canada...

Campfire Headphase - Album Cover

...The Campfire Headphase.

You're probably hoping for an objective review, but you're not going to get it - just buy it.

It's chilled, it's trippy and you can listen to it again, again and again. If you're like me at the moment and consider chill-out/sleep time to be absolutely paramount, you'd be daft not to consider this. Slightly more rhythmic than Aphex Twin, but with enough little ambient blurps and bleeps to sound a bit Orb/FSOL-esque, consider this as a big recommendation.

Overall: 4/5

Saw 2

Ok, I know, sequels are always a disappointment, or are they?

Saw was a fairly twisted film. Saw 2 = Very twisted indeed. I do wonder about the sort of mind that conjures these concepts up. Anyway, here's the basic premise of the film. There's several people locked up in a house. Each room seems to have a challenge for each member of the group. Failure = death. Success usually equals life/freedom, but usually ending up being disfigured in some way, or suffering extreme pain.

Each person has a reason for being in the house. There's a drug user, a mole, a perpetual liar, etc... The challenge in question relates to their previous sins. It is not a nice thing to watch - and the camera never shies away from the nasty bits.

If it's oscar-winning performances you're after, you'll be disappointed. However, if you just want to watch some disposable, trashy stuff that makes you jump every so often and go "eeeerrgh" every few minutes, you've probably come to the right place.

It doesn't really fall into the horror category, nor does it fall into the thriller one either - if they had sick and twisted, though, this one would be right up there. As sequels go, it's ok, but I think they've probably run out of mileage on this one now. The horse has now been well and truly flogged - making a third would be a bad thing.

Filmfour review, as usual, is here. (*clicky*)

Hokutou Ryu

Not wanting to turn into a blob of lard whilst being up in sunny Sunderland, I trained this morning with Hokutou Ryu Jiu Jitsu group in Gateshead and it was a very different affair to what I usually do.

A work colleague came along and in total, there was just seven of us, which certainly made things a lot more personal. We trained on mats in the sports centre's squash court and some of the protocol/style was slightly different to my usual club. It felt very strange to be training somewhere else - it didn't feel like my usual dojo, but everyone was very friendly and I learnt some useful defences against bottle attacks. An interesting session.

I'm Alan Partridge...

A Corby Trouser Press Yesterday

It's Saturday night and my first weekend off. I think that working 14hr night shifts has turned me into Alan Partridge:

The cinemas are closed.
The shops are closed.
There is a disco going on in the reception downstairs, full of punchy rambling gobshites, who I cannot understand.

I have three options:

  1. Get quickly drunk.
  2. Go to bed.
  3. Take my Corby trouser press apart.

I'm deliberating between options two and three at the moment.


Since I've been studying the language, I've had an interest in Japanese film - so when I paid a visit to Truro recently and they had a cool Asian film section in the local SilverScreen branch, I couldn't resist buying a film or two.

One of the films I bought was Audition, a generally well respected movie, which had the notes inside the cover saying something along the lines of, "If you've not watched the film yet, don't read the notes...best watched cold", so I did.

I'm not going to post links to other reviews here, because I would advise you not to read up on it, either, should you decide to watch it.

I've awarded this film my own personal accolade, though - the first ever film that I've watched, where I was so twisted up when watching it, that I actually had to pause it and take a breather for a few minutes. I actually went clammy watching it with my better half. The director (Miike Takashi) has certainly gone to some great lengths to make you almost feel what's going on. I'm not ready to go back to it for a second time yet.

This makes it sound like a gorefest - it's not. The basis of the story is simple - a man, whose wife died several years in the past finally decides to sort out his single life by holding an audition to find his next bride. For the first hour or so, it's a love story.... after that, it's not. I'm giving nothing away.

This film is exceedingly good, but it's not enjoyable - if that makes any sense. You'll feel uncomfortable watching it, but that seems to be Takashi's forte. Watch it. There's enough crappy American films out there to fill a truck - go watch something that makes you feel something.

This man...

Maestro Corrazza

... is Maestro Corrazza.

He's a black belt (5th Dan) and is a quite a high ranking honcho in Italian Jujitsu. He's also very tolerant too, because on Saturday at a Jujitsu workshop, I kicked him in the nuts. (Sorry 'bout that).

It is, however, consoling to know that a martial artist of such capability still has the same weak points, but it's probably not advisable to do this on a repeated basis if you ever want to see another birthday.

Broken Flowers

If you saw Lost in Translation, you'll have seen Bill Murray play the straight man whilst everything else around him seems funny. Broken Flowers is no exception and is an enjoyable film, even if the ending isn't what you're expecting. Definitely worth a watch.

As usual, a real review is here. (*clicky*)


Annoying snippy-snippy woman.

It's November, chaps - and it might have crossed your mind that Christmas is coming soon, which invariably doesn't bring us to discussions about the son of Christ, peace and goodwill to all men, but to good old consumerism and gift ideas. Huzzah!

I've been asked by a few people about what I want for Christmas, which this year, like many other years has been a quandary that has made me scratch my head. I would have been perfectly happy with a satsuma, a lump of coal and a copy of the 1976 Whizzer and Chips annual, but no, not this year - I've decided what I really want.

  • If you can gift wrap me a contract killing - superb.
  • If you can gift wrap me a contract killing of any D-list "celebrity" of my choice - splendifferous.
  • But if you can sod the gift-wrapping and bring me the severed head of Linda Barker on the end of a spear, fan-fucking-tastic!

This woman is pure evil. Her viciousness knows no bounds. In two months time, I shall have been television-less for a whole year - a marvellous thing. I have largely avoided her Changing Rooms, Changing Gardens and Changing Clothes in Bombay. However, it seems that her irritating mug has invaded cinemacommercialand, in the form of the latest DFS adverts. I feel a strongly italic letter coming on.

Dear Messrs Pearl & Dean,

I feel I must strongly complain - your lack of taste and discretion has resulted in me vomiting into my popcorn.

Yours sincerely,

Disgusted of Devon.

Sofas, by top-designers. Bolllucks. Is she a "top-designer"? Is she, my arse. Has she won awards for her work? No. Has she been given a knighthood for her home improvement endeavours? I don't bloody think so.

Take a long look at this photograph - you all have about seven weeks to make a man who historically loathes Christmas believe again....


Well, this evening I finally did my jujitsu grading. It took an hour and a quarter and was significantly more involved than previous gradings, but then again, it was bound to be.

Apart from showing a deficiency in my holding techniques, things went pretty well. I'm happy and more importantly, I didn't get hit (always a bonus, that one). The surprise of the grading was that during the Goshin (full-on self-defence), we had two uke who were two levels higher than us doing all the attacking. I've not had adrenaline flowing like that for a long time.

Slightly blurry green-belt shot.

Anyway, I got my green belt! I'm chuffed to bits and it's made the 5 months of hard training I've put in for it worthwhile. I really need to develop more stamina, so that my Goshin sessions allow me to have a clearer head (and a better set of lungs!), along with improving my groundwork techniques, but at the moment, I'm on a high and you'll have to scrape me off the ceiling.

There's a little shot to the side, but it's not the best - everything we did that evening was somewhat fast and furious and as a consequence there seems to be motion blur - but you get the idea.

The Corpse Bride

Saw this one last night and it was pretty enjoyable. If you've seen "The Nightmare Before Christmas", you sorta know what to expect.

The film has a lovely style of animation and makes you chuckle throughout, even if the storyline is a little predictable. In my opinion, not quite as good as the Nightmare Before Christmas, but still enjoyable and fun - one of those films that you could watch again and see different things in it, which is definitely a good thing. As usual, a real review is here. (*clicky*)


As usual, click *here* for a real review. Gasp)

Not bad, this one - better than I expected. In summary, could best be described as a futuristic space adventure film with slight essences of cowboy (the almost horse torso shaped spacecraft, revolver wielding captain and western-esque towns contribute to that). Occasionally dips into the cheesy, but knows it does and doesn't make you want to vomit. It can take you by surprise at times and make you jump, which is a good thing. A generally fun and light hearted film - You could watch an awful lot worse at the moment. I mean, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo sounds like something out of Viz. (And no, I haven't seen it - nor do I want to)

Curiosity makes me wonder if FireFly is worth a watch after this....


Yesterday, I spent about 16hrs of my day going to and from Newcastle. Believe it or not, I flew (and yes, it still took a long time).

As it took so long, you can understand that I got bored. So, whilst sat in the airport lounge I decided to try something out. There were so many people here, nobody would know it's me....

I started up my Powerbook and got bluetooth going.

It scanned and scanned.

And scanned and scanned.

I had an entire airport lounge of people who obviously don't switch bluetooth off on their phones when they're not using it. Within about 5 minutes of scanning, I had at least a dozen devices and addresses to have fun with, so I picked a contact and sent "U R Bluejacked" to them from my mobile (I should add that both devices were not discoverable themselves). In an area such as that, you have quite a selection of people within 10 metres-ish of you, so I kept my eyes peeled.

As I looked around, I saw a woman in her mid forties hurriedly switch her phone off - and my contact transmission failed. But it was fun nonetheless, as I worked out who I'd bluejacked.

Looks like I have a new game to play in crowds to while away the hours....

A History Of Violence.

Apologies for delay in updates - starting to get back to normality now.

Saw this one last night and I have to (again) concur with FilmFour's review - see it.

I like Cronenberg films, which is what drew me to watching it in the first place, but the key thing that he manages to do with this film is hop to lots of different moods in seconds - from violent, to funny, to emotional. It's very well directed indeed and keeps you guessing as to whether the "hero" is a hero or not.

Don't want to say much more to this one, as it'll give things away. I think this is going to be one of those gems, that slips away and nobody will have heard of it. The cinema was only half full last night. (Which could prove to your advantage). See it.


DIY Project - Before & After

My first little project with the house is done. The disgusting 1960's style integrated glass cupboard that was in my front-room has been ripped out. I've filled up all the holes, painted, got power rigged up (thanks Dad!) and a little tropical fish-tank rigged up in the space that remains.

It now looks an awful lot better than what was there before. You can just see the original nastiness in the image on the left, whereas the slight improvement is on the right...

As for the fish, I've started off with three little Tuxedo Platies. I've been informed that they're hardy little blighters, but I've decided to call them Breakfast, Dinner and Tea on the premise that I don't think they'll live that long, as it's a new tank which will take a couple months to settle down - and might take a few casualties along the way....

Where are they now...?

It's strange sometimes. You leave school, forget about all those people you were with and then you get something like this pop up. Makes you think about how people can go off into totally weird and wonderful career paths and lives. The person mentioned in the BBC News story is someone I used to be at school with.

Largely, I hated my time at school and would not have shed a tear if the majority had been burnt to death in a freak toaster accident, but it's always nice when one of the people whom you didn't wish had become a bagel or teacake ends up doing something interesting and newsworthy.

(Thanks to the sender of the link...)

Spot The Difference.

I live near a place called Plymouth. Plymouth was bombed a lot during WWII and for that reason, needed rebuilding.

The local council (in their infinite wisdom) bought shares in the "Gray and Nasty Concrete Company PLC" and decided that concrete was the new shrubbery.

Such a fine example of the Nasty Concrete Company's work is Drake's Circus - a shopping centre that never seemed to get full occupancy, adjacent to an office block that never seemed to have tenants. The shopping centre looked like the first little image on the left. Isn't it just lovely?


The council, seeing the error of their ways, allowed it's demolition. Hurrah for the council.

Unfortunately, the council didn't see the error of their ways at all. They allowed planning for something larger, more concretey (is that a word?) and had even more potential to get even grey-er in a few years time.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here's Drake's Circus, Version Two!

Drake Circus Reconstruction

Isn't progress wonderful? (Version one cost - £1m, Version two cost - £200m)

I think I'll go and take a lie down now.

Needs no explanation...

No explanation required.

OooooooOOOoooh! AAaaaAAAaaaaah!

Last night, I went to the second evening of the 2005 British Firework Championships (clicky). The displays are shown over two nights, and on each night there are 3 ten minute firework displays. Each is a pretty impressive affair, with the Hoe area providing a really good backdrop - we sat on the side of the hill at Stamford Fort, which gives an even better view looking back toward Plymouth.

Insert random squeaks of joy here.

If you'd like to have a look at one of the displays, here's a link. I took it on my phone (It's a 3GP video. Quicktime 6 or better required. Do a "Save as.." - It's 5.6MB), so yes, it's shaky. Yes, there's the noise of the crowd, but it's not bad, considering it's a mobile video. View it at double size to get a reasonable view.

Top tip: To get the full firework display feeling in your home at any time of year (without the parking problems), simply show the video fullscreen on your computer, switch the lights off and sit in the opposite corner of the room on a carrier bag. Cook yourself a couple of burgers until they're burnt and generate enough smoke. If you have any chip-pan fat that's seen better days, warm it up and let the smell waft around the house to generate that "Do-Nut" stall atmosphere.

Eat the burgers whilst watching the display and set fire to a fiver for that real firework evening feeling.

I am not responsible if you burn your house down.

Useless Television Programs

Top of the pathetic TV program stakes tonight had to be "Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes". For non-UK readers, here's a breakdown.

If you can't be arsed to click, here's a synopsis - The program is pure unadulterated bilge. A c-list star gets to dress vaguely similar to an a-list song star they're trying to impersonate. The similarity is usually only vague in appearance, singing is atrocious and not in the style of who they're trying to mimic. It also follows a format that should have been long gone before the dinosaurs were made extinct. Cat Deeley doesn't do much for it either. At least Matthew Kelly had vague comedy value. To make the torture worse, they spin it out with numerous commerical breaks. All I can say is, hurrah for the BBC.

ITV must be busy pulling all those splinters out of their fingers from their recent barrel-scraping sessions. In addition to the celebrity chefs, celebrity wrestlers and celebrity jungle survival experts they've created, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how the boffins at ITVs "ideas" department work.

Before you state the obvious, no, I wasn't held at gunpoint to watch it, but I was present in somebody else's house - so it would have been extremely rude for me to shout out, "this is shit, change channels".

I also do not have a television. This reminds me why I do not have one. My decision to get rid of it was the best New Years Resolution I ever made.

Random acts of kindness.

Had something rather nice happen to me at work yesterday.

A random woman said "Hello", asked for me by name (I'd never met her before) and presented me with a bottle of single malt, with her thanks.

I'd forgotten that about five days beforehand, I'd taken a phone call from a distressed lady who'd lost her wedding ring on the previous nights shift. She lost it when washing her hands in the loos. By quickly intervening with the cleaner, I managed to save her the previous days rubbish bags - where amazingly, she managed to find her ring again. I was just quite chuffed that I'd tracked it down and managed to get it back for her - the whisky was a definite bonus, though. It also restores some faith in human nature when such expensive things don't just grow legs and get nicked. It was a gold ring with several diamonds in it.

Those sort of things make your day and take the edge off going to work. It's nice to be appreciated. Gasp)



"The tendency of a fluid to pass through a permeable membrane such as the wall of a living cell into a less concentrated solution so as to equalize the concentrations on both sides of the membrane."

Or put more simply, a green parrot. Behold.

Small green bird.

Oz (no relation to Australia, as he's an Indian Ringneck) is larger than a Cockatiel, but smaller than an African Grey. People sometimes think that he's larger than he really is, mainly because of his tail feathers, which (like so many examples in nature) make him appear to have a huge arse.

He's a very green bird, who likes very green food. Pears and grapes go down well, especially if he can spray them up the walls. It makes eating so much more fun.

Does he talk? Well, no. However, he does mimic some strange things. He can bark well - always a good early warning sign. Plus, the flatulent raspberry sounds he makes are just a little bit too good (who knows where he got that from), which he usually does for comic timing at the quietest point in a film, or when you're bent over and not looking.

You probably want an explanation of his name. It was felt it made a change from the usual boring pet names. Perhaps you should read
this book first, to get some insight. His full name is "The Great Osmosis".

Ladies and mentalmen, meet my feathered companion.

Copy Protected CDs - Why?

Cactus Shield?

Prior to it's release, I ordered Royksopp's, "The Understanding", so you can imagine my subsequent delight when it plopped it's way through my door this morning (a review will follow soon). As I ripped off the packaging, my jaw dropped when a saw a little logo plastered all over the case. It was stuck on the front, on the spine, on the back, on the inlay card and the actual CD itself.

This logo indicates that the CD is copy protected.

Reading on the back of the case, it gets better. Apparently, one is supposed to use a piece of software included on the disk to play it on your computer. There's also an additional note...

"On some equipment, for example car CD players, playback problems may be encountered".

Bloody marvellous.

So, theoretically, you can't play it on a computer without the right software and you might not be able to play it in your car. So what exactly is this lump of plastic that I've just bought - is it a CD, or isn't it? Like myself, CD Player manufacturers should be ranting that companies such as EMI aren't even manufacturing CDs that stick to the standards.

To to it all, I've popped the CD into both my Macs, opened up ITunes and used Lame to rip the tracks as MP3s. Huzzah!

So the truth is, it's a copy protected disk that isn't, that might not play on half the equipment it's supposed to. What's the point? All it does is piss off legitimate purchasers - and you can copy the disk anyway.

As a consequence, I've decided that this will be my first and last purchase of a CD that displays this logo - let the CD manufacturers rant that sales are down. As far as I'm concerned, they've nailed their own coffins by selling me an inferior product. Copy protection is the spawn of Satan's bottom.

Coldplay - X&Y (2005/Parlophone)

X & Y Album Cover

"Their best yet", say NME. Well, at least, that's what the sticker on the cover says. Reading that, your expectations are high from the start.

I've listened to this album, many, many times. Normally, this would be because it's what I call a "grower" and the more you listen to it, the better it gets, but in this case I'm listening to it a good few times so I can get my head round why every other review I've seen seems to like it. Perhaps I don't get it?

Don't get me wrong, there's some damn good tracks on there. Square One, What If and White Shadows give you the impression that the little sticker means something, but then you get to Fix You.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Whinging vocals, almost sounding like another group doing a parody of Coldplay, I can't get through the first minute without skipping the track. Quite simply, it grates on my nerves. Forty-five seconds, tops, and I've gone on to Talk, which manages to claw back a little bit of credibility.

The title track doesn't really do much to help, either. This is blandness incarnate.

Does Speed of Sound sound just a bit like Clocks but with less soul? You be the judge....

The only remaining track that I can say has something good to it, is Low, which has a nice edgy sound, but by the time you've got this far, you'll probably not want to bother listening much further. Go to the bonus track if you want to hear something a little bit more like old style Coldplay, but there's not much here to ensure you play on repeat.

I've listened, listened and listened and tried to be fair, but this album is bland, offering little new from the previous two offerings. Some of it is quite simply overproduced and I can see this will probably replace the Lighthouse Family as the music that's universally played in elevators and department stores everywhere. This will be the anthem to all sales execs driving their Mondeos everywhere. Avoid. You won't be missing much. Mediocre at best.

Overall: 2/5

Sasha - Fundacion NYC (2005/GlobalUnderground)

Album cover.

I've developed a quiet respect for Sasha. He proved he could make music with Airdrawndagger, which in my opinion is a classic piece of moody and haunting dance. Then came Involver, which whilst being essentially a mix/remix collaboration with other artists, is still damn good. Third time lucky?

The one thing that struck me when I got this album was the packaging. Involver came in a strange plastic envelope and this appears to be no exception. I don't know if it's just Sasha's releases or generally all stuff on the GlobalUnderground label, but this one appears to open like a giant book of matches. The inlay book is glued to the top flap and goes into detail about the mix system for the album, which is a computer based system that allows for mixing of several tracks together to make entirely new sounds.

Does it work? Yeah, I guess it does.

There's only one downside about this album, though and that's the first track. After listening to a good few dance albums now, there's nothing I hate more than bleepy computer noises and a countdown to the main action starting. It's just too cheesy for it's own good. When you listen, start from track two - there's a good chap.

Listening to the rest of the album though, is a joy. As the inlay suggests, it's mainly electro/house that has been really well stitched together. I've really enjoyed listening to it - the choice of tracks is foot-tappingly good. The first eight or nine tracks have a certain amount of housy sing-along vocal content to them and turn into harder electro as the album progresses. It will stay in my car and MP3 player for a damn long while yet, believe me. My personal favourites have to be track 9 and 10 (two different versions of Holder & Thompson's "Come To Me", cunningly mixed together) along with a great remix of Goldfrapp's "Strict Machine". Funky stuff.

This is definitely a keeper. Of the 78 minutes, 76.5 of them are marvellous to listen to. This chap's got a lot to live up to next time. Overall: 4.5/5

The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse

Just been out to see this one. It's a weird 'un. What was weirder perhaps, was the fact that there were only five of us in the entire auditorium on a Sunday evening. I thought people watched films at weekends? Or is it me?

I shall resist all "local" jokes.

Anyway, the film wasn't bad. Not the best, but not the worst either, with some amusing and harmless entertainment for ninety minutes. It probably helps if you've watched the League of Gentlemen before - it's not one of those you can watch without - you'll be head scratching otherwise, as the characters will mean nothing to you. I agree with FilmFour's review on this one, which is credit to them as they made the film anyway, so they do appear to have some objectivity in their reviews.

And as I'm a lazy sod, you can read the review here .

A strange day...

Yesterday was a bit of a weird one.

1) We had a huge thunderstorm last night - and pretty close by too, with about 1 second between the flash and the rumble. The lightening lit up the house somewhat, the heavens opened and even I woke up for a while. (Well, about 5 minutes, to be honest). I get into work and people are talking about floating cars, the smell of sewage (result of the flooding, or just bad personal hygiene?) and general destruction. The papers have got pictures of where lightning punched holes in the roofs of houses and people being rescued all over the place. Only a couple of counties away, Glastonbury doesn't get started. Bit of a freaky weather day. Yet in my area, you'd never think anything had happened.

2) Then, I get a phone call. My house purchase is close to completion. Can't pull out now (well, unless I want to incur a 10% penalty). On the 15th of July, I'll be a homeower. As one of those fabled "first time buyers", I'm about to saddle myself with enough debt to keep me going for 30 years. It's enough to make you wonder why people bother doing it.

The world is a strange place.

Japanese Study / 2006 Trip

If you live where I do, trying to find places that you can study Japanese is hard work. Having done the GCSE, I'm now looking for something that takes me further, like an AS-Level. Problem is, courses are rarer than the proverbial excrement of the rocking horse - and this is looking at what's available in all of Devon and Cornwall.

So far, the options are looking pretty minimal:

1) Japanese Language Proficiency Test - This is a no-brainer and I'll be doing this, regardless. Can't decide whether to do level 1 or 2, though. One will be too easy, the other a bit too much. Hmmmmmm, decisions.
2) AS-Level Japanese in Tavistock School - As luck would have it, there's a site that runs the course, right on my doorstep! Only problem is, I'm in my 30's and the rest of the students aren't (they're 17). There's also the matter of when the course runs, the fees and whether I can squeeze it in with my current working arrangements.
3) The Foreign Language Centre - Exeter University. They're running a "post beginners" course (I'm trying to find out what whether that's a suitable progression from GCSE or not) and it'll cost about 320ukp.

I'll keep you updated if anything develops.

Meanwhile, I'm investigating my next trip to Japan. (I know, I'm going in Mar/Apr 2006, but like a kid, half the fun is in the planning). It's a bit early at the moment. I can't seem to find any flights for less than about 580ukp. I'm sure they'll get cheaper over time - I've not paid over 400ukp in the last couple years.....

About The Author

Born: 1972, in Plymouth, UK. Only child for 20 years. Lives near the Devon / Cornwall border.

Vital Info: Male. Has two arms, two legs and a head that works most of the time.

Likes: Cinema / Travel / All things Japanese / Music / Silence / Photography / Ju-jitsu / Shiny, geeky computing toys / Parrots / Writing / Snow / Trees.

Hates: Grammatically incorrect taxi companies / Concrete obscenities / NIMBYs / Insincerity / Heat-waves / Virtually all dogs / Linda Barker

Facts: Never inhaled / Married Twice / Divorced Once / Only famous person met - Charlie Dimmock / Environmental nutbar / Can't curl tongue / Left-handed.

+ves: Finally enjoying a sport (the Ju-jitsu), even though I'm only a lowly black-belt (2nd Dan).
Getting an A* at my GCSE in Japanese.
Managing to visit 31 countries of this lovely planet. (So far)
Being happy with life.

-ves: My mothers death at 50. Far too early.

Site Acknowledgements

This site was put together with:

A lot of photos, (All those top row photos were taken by me, over many years)

Thanks to all who have helped.