31 July 2007

Top of the pops

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that this guy stole my idea. Now he's even a suggested entry on my google search! But nice to know I'm still top of the pops :-)

29 July 2007


Last weekend Emma and I attended the wedding of Gareth and Louise in Leicester. I made an impulse buy at the airport of a new camera lens and got some shots despite being pretty inebriated for most of the night!

I love this shot of the happy couple ->

It was great to see Dan in all his comedy glory after losing touch since I moved away from the south of England ->

Stu was also present and up to his usual tricks ;-) ->

Speaking of tricks, we made sure Jenkins did not get off lightly ->

You can view all the pictures in a slideshow here

28 July 2007

I love a filthy ride

2 weekends ago I managed to get out to play on Betty's rival. She's been out of action for a couple of weeks whilst I was getting my forks serviced. I also bought a new headset which ended up being a bugger to fit. I spent all evening Friday trying to remove the old headset and finally yielded to the idea that a local bike shop would do a better job with the right tools.

But that was not all that bad cos it meant I could delay my planned ride to Sunday and head out on the lash instead! So there was me again dancing at 5am, singing along to a mash up of popular indie songs in the Melkweg. I can recommend a monthly residency called Club Rascal. The DJ's appear to be an odd couple, one short dude with some sort of irregular shaped back disorder and a larger lady but they love it up there dancing away on the stage playing their favourite songs. Rubs off well on the crowd. Much respect this time cos he played my request of Everlong by the Foo Fighters towards the wee hours.

And there began my odd sleeping pattern for the weekend. After 3 hrs, I was up and at the bike shop at 9am to ensure they could fit my part that day so I could ride on Sunday. Back to bed by 10am. Woken at 11 by the phone to find out the bike shop had already completed my bike. Back to bed by 12. Up at 3 to start rebuilding my bike. I had stripped everything due to the need to remove the handlebars for the headset fitting. With a bit of phaff with other stuff, iIt took me till 3am to get it back to tip top condition. Up at 9am to head to the trails the next day!

Having found on the interweb some new trails in the Netherlands I was a little confused when my sat nav took me down some different signed roads and discovered that I was actually in Belgium! One poor attempt at Dutch and some mime action with the car park attendant and I was off on my way trying to remember the route.

When I arrived at the trails there was a number of guys building the next section of the trails whilst two other dudes took me under their wing and showed me the lines. The top section splits to three sized drops and then you have 3 routes, a bermy fast run with a wall ride, a progressive jump section ending in a huge 5m road gap or a northshore run including a gap and seesaw.

I comfortably managed the medium drop, lost some fear of the doubles by nailing the 3m double and loved the shore even if it scared me silly!

The bigger drop was a little beyond my confidence level. I concentrated on hitting the medium one slow so I could make the tighter corner to the jumps or shore. Whereas perhaps I should've praticed hitting that faster. What put me off the bigger drop was the distance I had to clear to land safely.

I was in love with the double jumps. First 1m gap which I confidently went for, then cos that felt easy I kept going and surprised myself over the second 2m gap. It was on my second run I felt smooth enough to fly over the 3m gap and I was beaming. Never jumped doubles that big before :-) The 4th was another 3m gap but with less of a kicker and pretty close to a corner. I gave it a go eventually but hung up and popped by front brake cable around the fork to rub on my rim. Didn't do that again. But should do really as I don't push myself to failure enough on my bike - I think I have plenty more potential I'd like to explore. At the end of that run was a road gap and well....just watch the video footage I took of the day and I hope you'll understand why I did not give that a go!

The seesaw was at the end of the north shore run which had another couple of elevated sections. At the end of the second elevated section, say 2m high, there was a gap to the down ramp of about 1.5 metres. When I first saw this I was adamant I was going nowhere near it. But after nailing twice the distance over the doubles I was on a high and gave it a go. The first time I landed a little too close to the edge of the down ramp. The second time I went a little slower but had to huck a bit more resulting in my feet leaving my pedals - "Sweet, a no-footer". Err no I shat myself!

This is the original promo video that does a better job of showing the whole setup so far but they have big plans and hopefully an uplift service so I look forward to watching the acorn grow. I also read in a recent MBUK that there is now a legal formal agreement for trail building in the UK. So long as some rules are followed like no chicken wire to harm wildlife and less than 1.5m off the ground, we should start finding more places pop up in the UK to ride like this.

Find out more about the filthy trails on the website here and you'll find more videos on youtube including some headcam action. I only took a few photos of the day as left my decent camera in the car but there was a guy who also snapped me a couple of times and you can view the slideshow here. Now I've sussed it out I'll take my SLR and get some decent snaps next time.

Right I'm off to bed to dream about what I would like my perfect bike to look like and maybe I'll spot it tomorrow.

20 July 2007

All quiet here

Sorry I know it's been all quiet on the Whereismal? front but I've not made time for ramblings this week. That's not to say I've got nowt to ramble about. Quite the opposite in fact. I've made it out to see the Bright Eyes and Fischerspooner since my last blog waffle.

The Bright Eyes were a refreshing change from the beat fest that had been pounded into me the previous week. Although it may seem like a simple sound coming from a 1 man show, it was quite impressive to hear all 11 musicians put the sound together. Drums, flute, violins, chello and guitars to name a few.

They also had a simple yet very effective idea for the back drop. It was a screen projecting images from a camera mounted on an OHP. Remember those overhead projectors from school? Well they had some gut sat up at the back drawing scribbles, moving objects, flowing ink over the top off one all badly in time with the music. This was all filmed and projected onto the back screen behind the band. You even got to saw his hand wave from time to time. I liked it for it's "live" and not repeatable appeal.

Just last night I went to see Fischerspooner. I love their Emerge song and the rest of their stuff is a little more chilled so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I didn't expect was a very camp lead singer, crazy outfits and bizarre dancing routines. Nevertheless, a cracking show and I left certainly well entertained.

One point to remember was when the lead singer asked the crowd that when he raises his knee, he wanted everyone to reach out towards his knee. Then when enough people had a hold of his foot he stood aloft! He was crowd surfing but on his feet! It may have only lasted a few seconds but it was awesome. He then laid down on his back and crowd surfed around the Paradiso whilst singing the rest of the song. I hope to find a better pic of him standing up to show here.

I'd love to waffle more cos I have plenty to say about my biking trip last weekend to the Filthy Trails but that will have to wait. Watch this space for tales of me taming the doubles, pics of progression and videos of outrageous shore and road gaps.

Well I've gotta hit the sack now cos after Jenkins' last weekend of freedom the old fella is getting hitched this weekend and I'm flying home to attend with Emma. Hope the weather holds out...

12 July 2007

Happy Birthday Mum

So not only is it Emma's birthday tomorrow, but my Mum celebrates her 60th today. Celebrating in style too, on board a cruise ship somewhere near Istanbul with my Dad.

I was home last weekend to ensure she was well looked after in a spa for the day. Shock horror my brother Neil cooked (nice one!) and the next day nosh out was wolfed down at a nearby fancy restaurant. It was a top weekend of food cos I also managed to squeeze in a full Scottish breakfast too - Mmmm yum :-)

Spare a thought for Emma too as it's her birthday at the stroke of midnight tonight and she'll be at work on a night shift - bummer :-(

11 July 2007

Happy Birthday Emma

Although Emma's birthday is not till 13th July, we planned a week long celebration starting last weekend. Emma flew over on Thursday night with Kate and boyfriend Dale.

A simple Dutch meal out on Thursday inside an impressive old water pumping station kicked off the celebrations followed by a short sight seeing trip during the day on Friday. I returned from work and we headed over to the Heineken Music Hall to see The Chemical Brothers. After the initial rage of having to queue for beer tokens and then queue again for the actual beer we were double pinted and ready for the block rockin beats.

I've seen the Chemical Brothers 4 or 5 times before and love them but this time they blew me away. They had a new screen that was really fast, much faster than any projection screen I've seen before. Then thinking it could not get any better, more lights were shone and strobed though the huge screen - it was see-through! I'm stoked Emma, Kate and Dale managed to get to see this set and they were certainly impressed. I've scoured the internet for the best video footage and the BBC got some good footage of Glastonbury - I'd love to have been there. But this person has the best footage of the Amsterdam set - including the following clip that shows it really going off:

After such a incredible performace, I had to apologise that we were not going to find any night out in Amsterdam to follow! But off we hopped and skipped via the Metro to the usual Winstons to throw the remaining shapes our energy levels could provide.

A lie in was need but the celebrations continued with an earlyish rise, breakfast Mathie style and a car trip to Walibi World - a nearby Six Flags theme park. The same one I went to with Charlie when he was here. Giggles were had all day long and this photo will make us all laugh forever:

Saturday night was nosh at Bar 11 on the 11th floor of the old post office building overlooking Amsterdam. Great food, cracking venue and it was just a shame none of us had the energy to rave on all night to the DJ's and VJ'd specially on board for a "Sunrise" edition - yes open till the sun comes up.

Sunday was going to be an easy one with talk of a skate or bike around the local park. But with the weather looking sketchy we headed off to get properly wet instead. I took them to where I went wakeboarding previously. The girls donned waterskis whilst Dale and I strapped into wakeboards. After some agonising swims, everyone was making it up to the first corner and Emma even made it to the second corner before wiping out superman style!

There was not even enough time for a quick beer in the sun, before sending Kate and Dale back to Schipol for their flight home. I did not take any pictures but Kate managed a few snaps that you can see here.

In order to keep up the celebrations we could only muster enough energy to watch Hot Fuzz on Monday night and have a nice Moroccan meal out on Tuesday. Then after managing to keep it a secret all week, I surprised Emma with tickets to go see Daft Punk back at the Heineken Music Hall on Wednesday. Emma had suspicions that I had tickets for the Scissor Sisters who were also performing here in Amsterdam on the same night supported by Groove Armada - so it was a total surprise.

The last time we caught Daft Punk was the best gig I have ever been too. Not so sure about Emma though cos she can't remember much cos she was a little tipsy! Maybe it was the long day drinking in the sun, maybe it was the thrill of being in a foreign country with Emma and Jimbob - who knows? But last year at Eurockeennes in front of a home crowd they were incredible.

They had their famous tube lighting and projection pyramid last time so their setup was no surpirse. That was until the pyramid began to play moving images like a TV - awesome! Pretty sure it didn't do that last time?

However, they improved their set with an amazing encore. It includes "Together" that I've never heard before and samples from their production of the "Music Sounds Better With You" track by Stardust. Add in a dash of "One More Time" and it was blinding. Then they go and light up their Robot suits, pure brilliant. As much as I normally want to slap people that record video at live shows, credit due to the recorder of the following clip:

Emma flew back home on Thursday morning and I'm glad she only has 1 birthday each year cos I'm knackered! So if you get to see her, wish her a happy birthday from me on Friday :-)

So I would cut off my right arm to see the Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk play together on the same stage. With the Chemicals lighting setup and see-through screen at the rear, DP's pyramid and tube lighting at the front then topped off with some lasers - I'd be a dribbling wreck by the end of it. In fact I am going to check my lottery ticket now - anyone want an invite?

10 July 2007

Yellow me

Today in the ever busy office world I spend my 9-5 life in, I stumbled accross the Simpsons Movie website. I wanted to double check the release date and was pleased to find a Simpsons Avatar generator. So here's what I think I would look like if I was ever in a Simpsons episode:

Give it a go yourself here and I'd love to see the results...

09 July 2007

Dirty Perverts

Since adding my last post my blog has been bombarded with visitors searching google images for "Wimbledon Streaker". I"m glad I am providing such a service for the community - who says the internet is just for porn?!

Well back to the serious stuff. It's been a busy birthday time in Mathie land. Emma was over the weekend before last with Kate and Dale for her celebrations. Then this weekend was mums 60th so I was back to bonnie Scotland for that. I'll write more about both those when I get some time to recover but expect tales of mind blowing chemicals, thrilling theme parks, wet waterskiing chicks, mouth watering Morroco, raving robots, full Scottish breakfasts and dodgy tans.