Thursday, 27 September 2012


To quote from the website:

“Every night one out of seven people go to bed hungry.” is an excellent website run by the UN World Food Programme where you can put your general knowledge to good use.  It’s basically an online quiz but with the added bonus that for every question you get right the website’s sponsors pledge to donate funds to buy ten grains of rice for needy communities around the world.  Some of the places where rice has already been donated include Haiti, Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh and as the website is non-profit and run by the UN you can be sure that your efforts will make a difference.

At first glance ten grains of rice doesn’t sound like much, but it doesn’t take very long to answer a question, so it all adds up pretty quickly.  The questions take the form of multiple choice and start off fairly easy, so if you go for a straight-forward category then it’s possible to earn five hundred grains of rice in less than five minutes.  For the website to make an even bigger difference though, it needs as many people as possible to get involved, so this is one website definitely worth spreading the word about and encouraging your friends to give it a go.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Music: Pomme Fritz by The Orb

An interesting diversion from the predictable treadmill of mainstream music.

Pomme Fritz by The Orb.
An album to wash away the tensions and stresses of the day.
I should probably say straight away that some people – in fact most people – will probably listen to this album and think, ‘What the **** is this!?’  It’s not an album that was ever going to plant itself at the top end of the album charts for months on end.  But having said that it is an album that more people should check out and an album that deserves praise for trying something a bit different.  Actually, something a lot different.

A friend of mine listened to Pomme Fritz a few years ago and just didn’t get it at all.  To his unappreciative non-comprehending ears, some parts of it, in particular the third track ‘We’re Pastie To Be Grill You,’ were just crazy random nonsense.  I would argue that the problem was that he wasn’t listening to it properly.  If you go into this expecting a typical MTV friendly chart album of regular music you’re going to more than a little shocked, not to mention disappointed.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Travel: Koh Phi Phi, Andaman Coast, Southern Thailand

Koh Phi Phi: One of my favourite places in the world.

Maya Bay, the real life location of The Beach.
If I had to write a one sentence review of Koh Phi Phi it would simply be this, ‘Koh Phi Phi is one of my favourite places in the world.’  Given how big the world is and all the amazing places to be found, that’s quite a big compliment, but it’s totally deserved.  With Koh Phi Phi, it’s as if someone has read my mind and discovered all the ingredients necessary to create my perfect travel destination, and then used those ingredients to create Koh Phi Phi.

To go into more detail, Koh Phi Phi is a tropical island off the coast of Southern Thailand, and when travellers refer to Koh Phi Phi they’re generally meaning Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two main islands that make up Koh Phi Phi and also where all the accommodation is located, but technically speaking Koh Phi Phi also includes several other smaller islands.  Phi Phi Leh is the smaller of the two main islands and is where the movie The Beach was filmed (with Maya Bay providing the famous beach setting) and although there is no permanent accommodation on Phi Phi Leh (to help protect its natural beauty), it is easily accessible on a half day or full day boat trip from the main island of Phi Phi Don which you can book from any of the numerous tour agents situated around town.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Movie: Cube

Cube is a movie full of originality, suspense and twists.

Cube, an original sci-fi mystery.
The premise behind Cube is an original one - a group of strangers wake up inside a series of interconnected cubes, some of which are booby trapped, and they must work together to find a way out.  Each of the group has their own unique skills which are useful to their escape attempt, with the group initially comprising a doctor, a policeman, an escaped prisoner, a school girl, and a mysterious no-hoper.  As well as all coming from different professions or backgrounds, there are also a few varied attitudes and outlooks on life found within the group.

After a fairly gruesome start Cube quickly has you asking a lot of questions and within only a few minutes you’re already well and truly sucked into this movie.  It can be quite grisly at times, but that only adds to the suspense as you nervously wonder on the fate of the characters.  For the majority of the movie you’re on edge and unable to relax, and like all good suspense movies it is the anticipation of a potential shocking event which has you gripped, rather than such events frequently occurring.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

TV: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is intense viewing and a show which quickly draws you in.

Breaking Bad, a show with a dark sense of humour.
Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), a regular chemistry teacher who seems well and truly stuck on the everyday treadmill of working life.  Then one day his life starts heading down a dramatically different road when first his DEA agent brother-in-law makes a big methamphetamine bust, confiscating drugs with a street value of over seven hundred thousands dollars, and this implants the seed of an idea in Walter’s head.  When Walter then discovers that he has inoperable lung cancer this seed of an idea progresses into something more and Walter makes the decision to put his expert knowledge of chemistry to illegal use.

As you can imagine a life of crime is not without its complications, and Walter’s attempts at pursuing a shortcut to making cash take him on quite a complicated and stressful adventure with things quickly spiralling out of control.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Music: Six Remixes Worth Checking Out

My first memory of ever coming across a remix was many years ago on the 12” single of We Take Mystery (To Bed) by Gary Numan.  The B side featured an extended remix and it was basically just the original version of the song with an extra two choruses stuck onto the end, but nevertheless the idea of having two different versions of a song was a concept which seemed quite radical at the time and greatly appealed to me.

Thankfully, remixes have come a long way since those days so nowadays I love remixes even more and love searching out reworkings of songs which have been given a fresh perspective.  So on that theme here are six remixes I recommend checking out.

1) Austere (The Naked And Famous Remix) by The Joy Formidable
Any track combining the talents of the brilliant The Joy Formidable and the excellent The Naked And Famous is a pretty safe guarantee for success and as you’d expect this track produces the goods.  There’s something about this remix which just makes me feel happy every time I listen to it.  To be fair, that’s also true of the original but with the original there was more of a motivating vibe to the song, whereas this remix leaves you simply wanting to lay back and enjoy the moment.

Find it on The Joy Formidable’s cleverly titled Roarities EP.