O2 losing iPhone exclusivity

Hoorah. When my iPhone contract runs out in six months it looks as if I’ll be able to move from O2 to Orange whilst still being able to have an iPhone.

Not that I’m suggesting Orange are great, by any means; their customer service is appalling and I don’t believe their 3G coverage is particularly wonderful, but at least they might be able to provide any network coverage in Islington. I am so sick and tired of barely being able to use my phone when I’m in Islington – it makes it a total nightmare to organise things all the time.

Edit: There’s a girl in the office today whose phone is on Orange and she doesn’t get any signal here either, so I think my hopes have just been dashed. sigh Maybe there’s a giant magnet underneath Islington or something.

Another edit: It turns out that Vodafone are getting the iPhone too, so maybe I’d have more luck with their network!

Orbital at Brixton Academy (Thursday 24th September)

I got a great view of Orbital from the circle in the Academy, and the gig wasn’t completely sold out so there was plenty of space to spread out and stretch my legs (which was probably a benefit of going on the Thursday instead of on the Friday). It was a very civilised way to sit and relax and enjoy some quality electronic music.

I’d never seen Orbital before, even though I’ve been a fan since buying Satan/Belfast on 7 inch single way back in 1990, and I was extremely impressed. They are brilliant artist-technicians who demonstrate how electronic music should be performed. They also clarify perfectly why electronic music, when produced properly, gets to the heart of what music should be about – earthy rhythms and superb harmonies and melodies combined with the determination to find new and wonderful sounds to bring out the music as much as possible.

There were lots of projections and other visuals to enhance the experience even more, but to be honest I was so fascinated by just watching them masterfully operate their machines I didn’t pay an awful lot of attention to anything else that was going on. This was a superb gig. It all seemed so brilliant yet effortless that it was one of those experiences that makes you wonder why the vast majority of humanity’s creative output is so utterly worthless.

Open Garden Squares Weekend 2009

Open Garden Squares Weekend 2009 was actually ages ago now, but I’ve only just got round to editing the photos. For those who don’t know, this is the weekend each year when they allow the public into lots of gardens, squares and green spaces around London which are normally private. I might have forgotten some of the places I saw now, but highlights were:

  • Fitzroy Square and Bedford Square – really nice to see inside these, having walked past them many times and been curious about them.
  • Park Square and Park Crescent, the bits at the bottom end of Regent’s Park which you can’t normally get into and which are linked by a tunnel which goes underneath Marylebone Road.
  • The Royal College of Physicians’ Medicinal Garden, which was nice and full of interesting plants.
  • The Academy Gardens, at the back of a hotel which provides fine coffee.
  • The House of St Barnabas in Soho, a house built in the 18th century and which has many of its original features still preserved (which I was able to enjoy during a guided tour), with an accompanying chapel which I’ve wanted to see the inside of for ages, and with a nice garden joining the two together.

My photos of this fine day out can be found here.

District 9

Having only seen the strange adverts on phone boxes prior to seeing this film, I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect one of the most enjoyable and original sci-fi films that I’ve seen for a long time, which is what District 9 is.

The plot is highly original with quite a few enjoyable twists and turns, and it’s incredibly engaging at the time and leaves you with lots to think about afterwards. It doesn’t hold back with it’s cynical yet horribly convincing insights into human nature, and the protagonist’s journey through the film is wonderfully varied and compelling. The acting and direction are superb, the effects are pretty impressive, and the locations are refreshingly rough and ready. It’s very exciting, very dark, and very funny. I loved it.

Between this and Moon (and, to some extent I suppose, Star Trek), we seem to be getting some truly superb sci-fi at the moment. It’s great to see films like this showing Hollywood that the way forward is with well-thought-out and well-produced sci-fi (and not with junk like Terminator Salvation). Fingers crossed we see more sci-fi of this calibre in the future.