First time, last time, no time

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with streaming music. At first I hated it because I wanted to be more in control of… well, everything. And then I loved it because I wouldn’t have been able to afford to listen to 100 albums in a year if I had to purchase every single one. Plus, I would have had to buy Drake’s album and that would not have made me very happy.

Now I’m in a neutral place because for the most part I’ve let go of controlling my music, and I’m happy to just stream as and when I want. But I am a bit confused. I wanted to listen to Kelsea Ballerini’s effort again after she was nominated for a Grammy, but found this:


The album that kicked off my Album Adventure more than a year ago, and remained in my top five right through to the end of 2016, is now not available to listen to. It’s on pre-release despite actually being out since 2015 but now only the singles are available.

This is the stuff that makes no sense to me.

Who next for Doctor Who?

doctor-who-logoIt was announced a couple of weeks ago that Peter Capaldi will be stepping down from the BBC role everyone’s talking about – no, not the lead of whatever baking show will replace GBBO, but in fact, the titular role of Doctor Who. It’s no secret that Capaldi hasn’t been my favourite Doctor, and I’ll admit that I have watched only two episodes of his since his tenure began. So unlike many, I’m glad that the show is adapting and changing once again, and I can only hope the replacement is more to my tastes.

The trouble is, I don’t know if those tastes align with the show anymore at all. The latest batch of Doctor Who has turned me off the show as a whole – I haven’t felt a need to revisit some of the greater times of Tennant and Smith. I rewatch TV shows quite often, using them as a good background distraction when working on a variety of projects. Have I  grown out of the show? For a while, I did think perhaps I was too old for it now, until I realised that one of my favourite movies of last year was Zootropolis, I laugh endlessly at Minions no matter what they’re doing, and I have a subscription to the Disney Channel app. Probably not that then.

It can only be that the current lineup hasn’t fostered my interest – and that’s not just actors. People tell me that the showrunner takes a lot of the blame, that Capaldi is wonderful but he has dire scripts to work with. I couldn’t argue either way, but if that’s true, it’s a shame and thus a good job that dear Moffat is standing down too.

I worry that I will be captivated by whoever takes over and then have to sit through all the previous episodes to catch up with the show. It’s a monster of the week structure at heart, DW, but there are often things you need to have seen in previous episodes to fully appreciate in current storylines.

So who is it going to be? I’m not foolish enough to guess. There’s a wishlist, of course. Ben Whishaw, Richard Ayoade, Adrian Lestor, anyone with the ability to find the quirky nature that really brings out the best in the role. There’s talk that Tilda Swinton is the current favourite but I’m not sure I want a female Doctor. I’d rather the females had their own awesome storylines, with Sarah Jane’s spin-off adventures a fine example.

For now, we’re just left waiting to see who will take over the much-coveted role, and I’m left wondering whether it will be someone so brilliant I’ll have to sit through Capaldi’s back catalogue, or simply let the show stay with its younger audiences.

The doing is the thing

I’ve just started reading Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes Please, and I only got as far as the introduction before I wanted to share some of the incredible wisdom. That’s the sign of a good book, I think.

So what do I do? What do we do? How do we move forward when we are tired and afraid?

What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling that WE ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT?

How do we drag ourselves through the muck when our brain is telling us youaredumbandyouwillneverfinishandnoonecaresanditistimeyoustop?

Well, the first thing we do is take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. You may still hear the brain and all the shitty things it is saying to you, but it will be muffled, and just the fact that it is not in your head anymore will make things seem clearer.

And then you just do it.

You just dig in and write it. You use your body. You lean over the computer and stretch and pace. You write and then cook something and write some more. You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true.

You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. That is what I know.

Writing the book is about writing the book.

I do so miss long-form stressful but oh-so-rewarding book writing.

A Google gas station journey

It all started with this note from my Zombieland Film Watch post:

5:06 – Recognise that petrol station from that music video.

Because there was a shot of a petrol station right at the beginning, when he was laying out some of his ground rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse.


Now, I know what you’re thinking – it looks like any petrol station ever, and… well, we’ll get to that. For now, stick with me. It rang a bell in my head as the same fuel depot as spotted in a country music video that I’d seen a year or two ago.

And that’s where the problems began, because when I started to google it, I realised I couldn’t remember the artist. Or the year. Or the name of the song. Or any of the lyrics. Just that I had seen the video on Vevo TV’s Nashville channel before they ruined their app by taking all the good content off it.

All I could remember of it was the artist was a female country singer with dark hair, and that at one point she had a man tied up in the boot of her car as she parked outside the gas station. So I started searching:

  • “country video woman kidnaps man petrol station”
  • “country music video woman kidnaps man petrol station”
  • “country music video gas station”
  • “female country music singles 2015”
  • “vevo tv nashville”
  • “female country singers”

A lot more similar searches followed. Then other bits and pieces of the video started coming back to me.

  • “music video gas station swimming pool”
  • “country music video woman smashes wine bottles man in trunk of car”
  • “music video climbing out of swimming pool with high heels on”

Then desperation.

  • “how to find a song through the music video description”

Then maybe work backwards and come at the problem from a different angle.

  • “where was the opening gas station of zombieland filmed”
  • “gas station filming locations atlanta”

GAH. One more try and then I’ve really got to get on with my life.

  • “country music video gas station wine bottles swimming pool man tied up”


After a quite literal stress-enducing ninety minutes of googling and racking my brains to remember, I found the answer!!!

Unfortunately, it turns out that a) it wasn’t a particularly good song, b) it wasn’t the same gas station after all and c) most gas stations do actually look the same, don’t they.

I did find out that Rainey Qualley is the daughter of Andie Macdowell which is quite a good fun fact to have, so that means it was all worth while.

Wasn’t it?

Living the front man dream

James Corden continues to do fab and fun things for his late night US talk show, but his latest exploits with Queen grabbed my attention like no other. A faux battle between him and current front man Adam Lambert saw the pair having something of a riff off with Brian and Roger backing them on guitar and drums.

I’m so jealous of the things James gets to do and this tops the lot. Singing with actual Queen must be the biggest dream of all.

What if everybody was doing what I was doing?

A recent episode of Back to Work featured a brilliant quote from Merlin Mann. The conversation was actually about sending spam-like emails to people hoping they will promote your business in some way. But I actually think it’s an interesting idea to consider in all aspects of your life.

I want everybody out there who is a listener to think about this.

What if everybody was doing what I was doing? Or, put slightly differently, what if ten times more people did this than currently do this.

Would that improve the situation for people?

Merlin Mann

If you’re the person taking up two parking spaces in your car, what if everybody did that? If you’re the one blasting loud music from your house in the middle of the night, what if more people did that? If you’re the one posting hate to people on Twitter, what if… oh no wait, a lot of people do that already.

It’s just another interesting idea on how to keep on being nice to each other.

2017 Watch achievement unlocked!

Apple’s limited edition January-only new year’s activity badge worked it’s magic in our household. The first available week, Mr C and I were both working on maxing out our activity rings each and every day, and it got a bit competitive.

Turns out when a badge is limited edition, it really does have a motivating effect. We managed this January one in the first week… come on Apple, what’s next? More badges required!