2014: A Cheesecake in Review

Another year nearly done and dusted. Once again 12 months have just flown by in a flurry of semi coherent moments. I am, as ever, thankful for my family and friends.

With the exception of books, which I’ll waffle a bit about soon over on The Eloquent Page, there have been bucket loads of great entertainment this year. Here are just a few of my personal highlights*

Music

I have what can best be described as eclectic tastes when it comes to tunes. I listen to a ton of soundtracks but love bands as well. My top five for 2014?

Royal Blood – What a RAWK-tastically awesome self-titled debut album. 32 minutes and not a duff second among them.

Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag by Brian Tyler – There are some fantastic game soundtracks out there. I love that the same level of detail that is spent on things like game play and graphics is being spent on the music that accompanies it.

Gloryhammer – Tales From The Kingdom of Fife – Mad as a bag of hammers and all the better for it. The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee is sublime lunacy. In order to pull off daft you have to do it well and these guys know it. I’m mightily impressed.

The Last of Us by Gustavo Santaolalla – Another game soundtrack. I hold this entirely responsible for me actually buying a PS4 and the game. Hauntingly evocative stuff. Just blissfully good.

TV

The Flash – A perfect companion show to Arrow. I love how Barry revels in his abilities. I was discussing it with MadNad and she prefers Arrow, she likes things a bit darker than me. She did agree however that Flash is entertaining. The Man in the Yellow Suit in particular was a stonking episode. The crossover episodes with Arrow were great fun as well.

The Walking Dead – The end of the world just keeps getting darker and darker. Cannibals, corrupt cops and some nice morally dubious decisions. Great stuff. I’ve noticed every week MadNad taking copious notes. I’m sure she’ll be prepared when the inevitable zom-poc arrives.

Vikings – Oh Ragnar Lodbrok you just want it all don’t you? Lets see if you cant get it. Well played History channel, well played.

The Musketeers – Cheesy I know but I adore a bit of cheese. Second season is imminent. I look forward to it buckling my swash. It is the facial hair, I am ALL of the jealous…and the hats.

I want a hat with a feather in it. Dammit!

I want a hat with a feather in it. Dammit!

Dr Who – I was never in any doubt. Capaldi is a perfect fit. The Tardis is in safe hands.

Film

We’ve managed to devour over 135 films this year. Most have been pretty damn good and there have been a couple of real standouts.

The Imitation Game – This was MadNad’s choice and I’ll admit that I had zero expectations when we went to see this at the cinema. I was more than pleasantly surprised, I loved it.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Marvel know exactly which buttons to press when it comes to summer blockbusters. Damn them and their pelvic sorcery!

GotG

Nightcrawler – Jake Gyllenhaal being all sleazy and shit. Dark as hell and all the better for it.

Interstellar – Christopher Nolan appears to be quite a divisive figure in many circles. Personally I’m a fan. I’ve liked all of his films and this was no exception. I suspect this is the sort of movie that will require multiple viewings. I’ve only seen it once so far but have no doubt I’ll watch it again. Nolan’s like a cinematic onion (honestly, that is a compliment)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – More Marvel, more explosions. Nuff’ said.

So there you have it some of my entertainment highlights for 2014, the year I turned forty (please note my mental age is still roughly fifteen. I dont expect that will ever change).

I reckon 2015 is already shaping up to be interesting. There are various plans afoot in the Cheesecake household that are bound to create a certain amount of chaos. I’m always game for a bit of mayhem. In other, entirely unrelated, news I think I have made a decision regarding my fitness challenge for 2015. More on that soon.

Hope you’re all having an utterly splendid festive season.

See you next year

* Yes, I’m well aware some of the things mentioned in this post have been around longer than the last 12 months but this is my blog and so I can do whatever I like 🙂

Of Beards, Salsa and Other Random Gibberish

Currently my other half is somewhere across the other side of the Atlantic having a right proper American adventure. Seeing as I’ve got no one to chat to I thought it was about time I posted a new personal blog. That’ll two non book related blog posts this year, that must be some sort of record.

As usual its chock full of stuff and nonsense.

A Dedicated Un-Follower of Fashion

Those of you who know me will already appreciate that I have my own unique brand of style. What you may not know is that a change has been in the air for a while now. I’ve reached the point where I’m getting bored with dyeing  my hair bright red. Don’t get me wrong, its been great fun but the winter plumage is starting to make itself known and I feel the urge to embrace it and move on. I’ve always quite fancied growing my hair out a bit and having a full beard. I’ve seen pictures of my dad from the late 1970s and he looked like Cousin It from The Addams Family. I think I might give it a shot myself.

Honestly I’m hoping for something along these lines…

Rollo

I fear however that particular ship may have sailed some time ago. I suspect I’ll get…

Hagrid

I’ll make sure and keep you all updated. I’m sure you’re all curious how my latest adventure in facial hair will pan out.

This week I have been mostly listening to…

Couldn’t get through the day with out music. (Spotify, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways). My fav tunes at the moment? The usual eclectic mixed bag. Including the following –

  • Royal Blood’s self titled debut album. It rocks my cotton socks.
  • Assassin’s Creed IV – Black Flag by Brian Tyler. This is some serious swashing and buckling right there my friend.
  • The soundtrack to Cuban Fury. Lets be honest, where would the world be without salsa music?

And inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy (and @MadNad) I’ve finally crafted my own attempt at an Awesome Mix Tape. Fuck it, why the hell not?

The Golden Age of Geekdom Continues…

At the tail end of last year I suggested that we geeks were living in a televisual golden age. It appears the bubble hasn’t burst yet and the trend seems set to continue. Put it this way, currently we’ve been watching Under the Dome, Gotham, The Walking Dead, Defiance, Wolfblood, The Strain, The Last Ship, Agents of SHIELD, The Blacklist, Doctor Who, Sleepy Hollow, Legends, Haven, Constantine and Forever*. Add to that The Flash and Dominion which are starting this week and Arrow also returns. The only casualty so far in this TV nirvana has been The Leftovers. I’m sad to say we just weren’t feeling the love. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re diggin it then good for you. Just not one for us.

Thanks for stopping by

Right I’m off. Have a good un’. Be excellent to each other and remember just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

* Chuffing Nora, thats a lot of hyperlinks innit.

Cinema, Sounds and Soup

To The Cinema..

Yesterday was a nice random collection of splendid moments. I woke early after a strange dream where I owned a notebook who insisted he be referred to as Arthur. That was the entirety  dream. Very odd indeed (and for me that’s saying something). Mrs Cheesecake and I went into town and I got my first taste of Starbucks new Salted Caramel Mocha. My goodness it was mighty fine. After a quick side trip to Forbidden Planet to pick up a plush Dalek as a late birthday gift we headed off for a double and the cinema. What did we learn?

  • Liam Neeson may have a special set of skills. Picking a holiday destination is not one of them. Do not trust his tourist advice. It’ll end badly.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum suggested it and Taken 2 confirms it. Istanbul is the go to locale for rooftop chases.
  • The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade really have hit rock bottom of late.
  • Liam Neeson’s driving lesson technique involves a metric fuck ton of shouting. It’ll work though, you’ll pass
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt’s nasal prosthetic in Looper is first class.
  • Re: Looper – I speculate there will be a lot of picking apart of the plot. Personally I just enjoyed the ride.
  • Star Trek and now Looper have both featured flying motorbikes. I expect an imminent announcement confirming their actual existence.
  • Bruce Willis looks like a bit of a twat with long hair.
  • Good, bad or indifferent you could have heard a penny drop after the end of the showing of Looper we saw yesterday.
  • This last one though not entirely related to cinema happened at lunch so I’ll add it in – I’ve discovered my favourite of the seven dwarves in Ennui. (He so is a dwarf, he just gets very little screen time)

A Magical Musical Mystery Tour

My Spotify membership is starting to pay dividends. Over the last couple of weeks, via various splendid folks, I have discovered and really enjoyed  – Infected Mushroom, Red Fang and Mustach. Plan B’s soundtrack album for Ill Manors is also exceptional. I’m always pleased when I find new musical favourites. I even got the chance to pass some of these finds on to others.

Souper Trooper…

Mrs Cheesecake has spent most of today making soup. Four different kinds. Yesterday  she made four loaves of bread and a pot of goulash. She is like a frickin machine. The best thing I get to test/eat the outcome. Its great having a spouse who rocks in the kitchen.

So there you have it. A weekend of visual, musical and gastronomic delights. I have to say I enjoyed it all thoroughly like the pop culture sponge that I am.

till next time

Adios

The Week I Nearly Lost My Trousers

Yet again time has flitted by and I haven’t written a personal blog post for ages. I must try harder to jot things down. I promise I’ll do better.

Movie Music Magnum Opus

After much indecision and pfaffing on my part I have finally completed my very own ultimate Spotify playlist. Essentially it contains every single one of my favorite movie tunes. (Ok, ok perhaps not every one. But at least the ones I remember).  Over one hundred tracks which equates to about six hours of top tunes. (You get a prize if you can name all the films that they come from*). Some are blindingly obvious while some are far more obscure. Just to make things are little bit more complicated some are original tracks from the movie soundtrack while others are just featured in key scenes. I can guarantee you this though – every single one is a musical marvel or your money back. Please enjoy!

*there isn’t actually a prize I was lying about that….sorry if I got your hopes up there….I apologise.

Exercise Update

Well it wouldn’t be blog post if I didn’t talk a bit about the 2012 challenge now would it? So I’m now 72% of the way there. I said I was going to run 500km in 2012 and so I’ve run 360km. Not bad considering last year I ran fucking nothing 🙂 What is the overall effect on my health? Lets see, well when I started this thing I was 259lbs, as of this morning I am 197lbs.

The only drawback to this new lifestyle is that the vast majority of my clothes no longer fit. They are all far to baggy. The best example of this occurred last Monday when I was at the gym. I nearly lost my jogging trousers when I was on my treadmill. It turns out trying to resolve this situation while still continuing to run not the best of ideas. This guy knows what I’m talking about.

That is a reasonably accurate representation of what nearly happened.

Down Time

We have a holiday come up. I whole week out of the office, I can’t hardly wait. You know what? I fucking need it. My brain feels all fuzzy at the moment. I think I just need some time to clear out the cobwebs.

The Con is On

Not long to this years FantasyCon. I have to admit a certain amount of excitement. Brighton was great fun last year and I enjoyed my visit immensely. Looking at the attendee list there will be plenty of folks there that we know. I think the key to a good Con is without a doubt the people. FantasyCon attendees are a top bunch of folks. This is good news as my natural shyness is always less pronounced when I’ve meet people before.

There are a good number of books I fancy trying to gets copies of as well. Myself and Mrs Cheesecake will be around for the entire weekend and though I’ll be the first to admit that I look a bit like the bastard son of an escaped gorilla and a Crimewatch photo-fit I promise I’m harmless really. I will happily engage anyone in conversation. Don’t be shy, do say hello!

Judge Cheesecake

Last night Mrs C and I finally managed to catch a showing a Dredd. I was over the moon to discover that  more than lived up to my expectations. Mega-city One was grungy and grim, Karl Urban’s chin was doing some superb work and having a plot that was simple and straightforward  was entirely the right way to go. It was just great to see Old Stony Face come to life in such a vivid fashion. HE IS THE LAW! *

*Let us never speak of Stallone – He Was NOT The Law

Till next time

Please be excellent to one another

Chief Judge Cheesecake

A Musical Interlude

Last Wednesday was a rather good day. I managed to pick up a review copy of Tom-All-Alone’s (more on that next tuesday when I post my review) and I stumbled across the soundtrack to the BBC version of Sherlock on Spotify. When I tweeted that very fact I got a thank you from David Arnold.

Told you so!

As is often the way with these things I got me to thinking. What soundtracks have totally got under my skin and always illicit a positive response from me? After a bit of thought and in no sort of order whatsoever I have come up with the following list.

  • Sherlock by David Arnold and Michael Price – Thoroughly modern but also captures the original Victorian setting and mood of classic Holmes as well. Evocative stuff.
  • Tron Legacy by Daft Punk – I have to admit I was highly dubious when I originally heard that Daft Punk were going to be on board for this but I was one million percent wrong. Many people have said that this is the best thing about the sequel and the more I think about it the more inclined I am to agree. Huge sprawling electronica with an anthemic nod.
  • The Warriors by Barry De Vorzon – There is a lot to be said for music that captures a time period accurately. The main theme is a perfect example of this. 70s through and through. Weirdly I heard this before I ever saw the film and I always thought it was bloody sinister. (No I don’t know where that came from either).
  • Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore – An entire trilogy of beautiful, moving themes. Makes me start to well-up every single time I think about (Yes I know I am a big softie, would you care to make something of it? You would! Then pistols at dawn it is. I demand satisfaction)

  • Flash Gordon by Queen – Well, if you’re gonna do cheese you best do it well. A wonderfully camp soundtrack to go along with a wonderfully camp film.
I could go on forever, I really could, but its just started to snow so I’m going to go and watch that instead.
Till next time
Keep it musical
Mr C

The name is Cheesecake….Pablo Cheesecake

Music is a huge part of my life. When I was young I had a bash and lets just say I didn’t set the world alight with my efforts. Enthusiastic yes, talented less so. That said I still have a strong appreciation for good music done well. Irrespective of the genre, type, style as long as it is performed well it has the ability grab my attention and maintain it.

Let me try to give you an example. Earlier today I was sitting down to write a book review. I tend to chuck iTunes or Spotify on in the background as a bit of  music tends to get my old brain working. Half way through I realised that I have stopped writing and instead I’m day dreaming about being a spy. Where had this thought come from? The book I was writing about had nothing to do with spies but some how Bond had managed to sneak in there.

Before I go any further I should clarify when I talk about Bond I mean this guy. 

Sir James Bond

What do you mean ‘Who is that?’ Dude it’s only David Niven as Sir James Bond from the 1967 version of Casino Royale. The closest thing you’ll get to perfection my friend.

The music though is the key. If it is done well I am so easily distracted it is frightening. The track in question was this marvel.

This is a work of Burt-Bacharachien genius. Brashy and ballsy but also delicate. Jazzy and epic at the same time. I adore the multi-layered sound. I can’t drive but this always makes me day dream about driving a sports car along a long stretch of winding road somewhere in the south of France. (I have no idea where this comes from either. It’s good though isn’t it).


The Return of The Curse of the Brown Trousers

A while back I wrote about my panic after buying a brown pair of trousers. After their arrival and I tried them all appeared to be well and I thought that chapter of my life was over. NOT SO. After a only a couple of weeks this happened.

Fucking Annoying

I bent over and bloody things only ripped on the arse. Weird thing is I dont even have that big an arse. If anything my arse is somewhat lacking. The good news is that fortunately Mrs Cheesecake is a dab hand with a needle and thread and she swooped in and fixed them. I’m pleased to report they haven’t ripped since.

Coffee

I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. If I drink to much it gives me a headache and makes me a a bit narky. So much so that I made a decision about a year ago to stop drinking it. I have over the last couple of weeks I have start to dabble again but on a much smaller scale. Why? Because it is time to get myself down to Starbucks and get myself a redcup. The Eggnog Latte will be mine. Oh yes it will.

And Finally


I got these in the mail this week and I had to share.

Awesomeness in book form

The only question.Where to begin?

Enough of this light hearted procrastination…..onwards!

Toddle Pip

The Venerable Sir Pablo Cheesecake

Behold the Cheese

My musical tastes can only be described as eclectic. When listening to tunes on my trusty iPod styles flail wildly from the folksy goodness of Jethro Tull and Mumford & Sons to the hardcore Wagnerian anthems of Rammstein. Here is my latest hero…… one Richard Cheese.
Lets check out some of the maestro’s work. First some Guns and Roses

Then some Depeche Mode

And to end some Star Wars

What great stuff. Jazzy clever covers that are incredibly well done. Richard and his band Lounge Against the Machine rock my socks. For the uninitiated I suggest you could do a lot worse than a bit of Dick at Night.

Pablo Cheesecake – Movie Music Maestro

For a while I have been collecting assorted musical flotsam and jetsam. I have managed to cobble together around 75 of my favourite movie tracks. iTunes loves me! There is absolutely no criteria to be part of this list. The tracks can be main themes or incidental music. Every single one is a winner in my opinion. You think this list is bad you should see the TV themes track listing it’s about four times as big.

Movie/Track Name Artist
Austin Powers – Soul Bossa Nova Quincy Jones
Austin Powers – What the World Needs Now Burt Bacharach
Beverly Hills Cop – Axel F Harold Faltermeyer
The Big Lebowski – Hotel California Gypsy Kings
The Big Lebowski – What Condition My Condition Was In Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
Big Trouble in Little China John Carpenter
Blade Runner Vangelis
Born Free Matt Monroe
Brazil Geoff Muldaur
The Breakfast Club Simple Minds
Buckaroo Banzai Michael Boddicker
Carlito’s Way – Oye Como Va Various
Casino Royale (1967) Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Casino Royale (2007) Chris Cornell
Daredevil – Lapdance N*E*R*D
The Deer Hunter Various
Deliverance – Duelling Banjos Various
Diamonds Are Forever Shirely Bassey
Enter the Dragon Lalo Schifrin
Enter the Dragon (Ska Cover) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
Escape From New York John Carpenter
ET the Extra-Terrestrial John Williams
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Mr Blue Sky ELO
Ferris Bueller – Museum Various
Ferris Bueller – Oh Yeah Yello
Flash Gordon Queen
Fletch Harold Faltermeyer
Get Carter Roy Budd
Get Carter (Remix) Various
Ghostbusters Ray Parker Jnr
The Golden Child Various
The Goonies John Williams
Grease Frankie Valli
The Great Escape Various
Halloween John Carpenter
Harry Potter John Williams
Highlander Queen
Indiana Jones John Williams
The Italian Job – Self Preservation Society Various
Jaws John Williams
Jurassic Park John Williams
Kill Bill – Battle Without Honour Or Humanity Tomoyasu Hotei
Kill Bill – The Lonely Shepherd Zamfir
Kill Bill – Woo Hoo The 5,6,7,8s
Krull London Symphony Orchestra
Lifeforce Prague Philharmonic
Live And Let Die Wings
The Long Good Friday Various
The Man With The Golden Gun Lulu
Mannequin Starship
Monsters Inc Randy Newman
Odeon – I Like It Like That Pete El Conde’ Rodriguez
OHMSS – We Have All the Time in the World Louis Amstrong
Pearl and Dean (1st Version) Various
Pearl and Dean (2nd Version) Various
Police Academy Various
Pulp Fiction – Misrolou Dick Dale
Rambo (First Blood) Various
Rocky Various
The Saint Orbital
Saturday Night Fever Bee Gees
Saturday Night Fever – A Fifth of Beethoven Bee Gees
Shaft Issac Hayes
Spiderman Danny Elfman
Star Wars John Williams
Star Wars -The Imperial March John Williams
Superman John Williams
Together in Electric Dreams Phil Oakey
Tristar Pictures 1980’s Ident Various
A View to a Kill Duran Duran
Who Dares Wins Roy Budd
XXX – Feuer Frei Rammstein
2001 – A Space Odyssey Various
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