Sonic reunion

Gigs are really bad places to go if you are looking to catch up with friends you haven’t seen for donkeys’. But that’s exactly what I did on Tuesday night, I crashed in on my friends band who happened to be playing at the Buffalo Bar in Islington. The evening could have spelt disaster – I could only spare just over 2 hours – but although very little catching up was done, it was obvious we all still share a passion for live music. That had been my one main worry – would I still get the same kinda buzz that I got in my twenties, now that a good decade had passed by?

It’s possible I need a few more gigs under my belt before I can assume I still have the energy for a rebirth into sonic terrorism. The signs are encouraging and my old friends will definitely be on hand to help. I have an invite to see the Blood Red Shoes in April/May and as I said before, I’d go only after I had heard their new album. Now that I’ve blazed them tracks, I’m happy to commit…

…and remember kids, it’s a gignot concert or tour – that holds the purest form of musical performance and experience.

Blood Red Shoes circa Cold

I interviewed the Blood Red Shoes back in 2008. Since then I hadn’t really kept up to date with what they’ve been up to. Thankfully a friend sent me a link to their new single this week. The band really do seem to have found ‘their’ sound and Cold is a nailed-on single from their new album/CD however you want it.

I’ve got an opportunity to go see BRS play in London in April/May but my decision will depend on what I make of the rest of the tracks on the new album.

Who’s gonna love the alien now?

Been the best week of the year. OK, that’s not hard considering we are only in March and the first two months were appalling. But the feel of this week has been far more positive in action and outlook.

Less positive was the news that the retailer I had my preorder of Mass Effect 3 with couldn’t fulfil the order. Losing credit status with EA and others may mean short or long-term harm to GAME but it has also forced me to look at other online ordering sites to fulfil my RPG needs in future. Not ideal, as I try to be as loyal as I can to retailers like GAME but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t look for what’s best for my short-term needs either. It’s a fine balancing act that we should all consider, if we want retail stores to survive the mess the economy is in.

While on the subject of Mass Effect 3, I have mulled over my initial thoughts of the storyline. Xenophobia looks to be an enemy that could shatter the Mass Effect universe. This looks to be in Shepard’s hands though and with that I have  the Prothean, Javik, aboard the Normandy already. He’s weak after being in status for over 50,000 years but you can’t blame the guy to want to rest a bit more, can you? I also have the military journalist, Diana Allers onboard which could help with the war effort but am not sure she’ll understand all the divergent alien species that will bound for the Normandy shortly.

Well yeah that’s my life in a nutshell. Working a pitiless job but escaping into a far more exciting one via my 360. I’m sure this will see-saw as it always does during the course of the year. Then again a new job/career would definitely help matters.

You lose. We all do sometime.

There are weeks in one’s life when things seem much clearer than they once did. Those moments of clarity need to be remembered, bookmarked or run over with a highlighter pen because ultimately, they’ll fade from view.

This has been one of those weeks.

So to all those control-freaks out there with your wanton disregard for how others feel and your fear of failure, I say you’d better be ready because I’m no longer taking any of your self-righteous shit lying down.

Duty of care

I kinda knew what I was doing. The entire Normandy crew survived with the exception of Miranda. After siding with Jack, Miranda was pissed and never looked like she’d shake off her Cerberus moulding to stay loyal to Shepard. Cutting her loose just made sense, it also meant Shepard’s reunion with Liara, after defeating the Shadow Broker, was far better than I had expected.

In 5 days time I’ll be enjoying the delights of the last part of the Mass Effect story. With no other games on radar, I can allow myself time to soak up the drama.

With a smaller squad and emphasis on Shepard’s interaction with them, I’m sure his duty of care will be heightened far more this time around. It is now wartime but how the events of the past will affect his mental health seem to be hinted at in the recent Mass Effect 3 demo. There are a number of scenarios from which you can select from which range from Shepard’s background and upbringing, to the number of casualties that have been inflicted on his squad.

But here’s my ‘what if?’

What if I lost those characters that are slated to return as Shepard’s crew in Mass Effect 3? Will it mean some less than desirable characters filling the slots? I can see why Bioware left Liara and Ashley Williams out of harms way in Mass Effect 2. Surely it’s the love contest of the century between these two, Alien vs Human, for Shepard’s affections? Other distractions would be counter-productive.

And having a Prothean aboard the Normandy surely trumps a sulky Miranda?

Sanctuary within the story

I know when I’m not well. I’ve learnt to take heed of the subtle symptoms that creep up and snatch away my time. When I can’t enjoy a story and be enveloped in its drama, that’s when I know things are going bad. Luckily this is not a situation I have had to deal with for at least a year. I have a muzzle on that black dog.

The kryptonite I use is a good bit of storytelling with a splash or two of interaction. If I get a good dose of those elements inside a month then I llegitimi non carborundum. If I fail to escape reality within a calendar month, either I’m dead or I know my head is in the wrong place. If I’m not careful, the heart could indeed follow.

I say playtime is not just for children. We force children into being adults BUT how dare we allow adults to still pursue childish things? Adults love pretending to be all ‘grown-up’ but hate to admit to themselves that they’d rather be anything but. We are organic, not robotic. If I need to run the gauntlet of Mass Effect 2 – which I did throughout February – then blow me, I will! Role-playing a character in a videogame is essential to me, like going to watch a band like Fugazi was to me in the ’90s or in a future-proof kinda way when I get to see a movie like Prometheus. That’s right you gotta future-proof your well-being. Stop them dogs well before the gate.

When my Dad died at the young age of 62, I promised myself I wouldn’t fall down the same traps that he did. As time has passed, that promise has been harder to keep. Other ‘adults’ like to reinforce their own fractured belief system by forcing it to fit mine. We are not a hive mind fuckers! We are not the Geth! We don’t fit, fine. Get over yourselves already!

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