What would you do with £148 million?

It’s not a problem which many of us will ever have to deal with, I grant you, but it’s good to see lottery winners finding creative (if jocular) ways to go large with their new windfall.

If I were a rich man…

This is the dilemma affecting newly-minted millionaires Adrian and Gillian Bayford, who this week claimed a winning EuroMillions lottery jackpot of £148 million, leading music store owner Adrian to joke that he’d like to use some of his cash to persuade the classic Guns ‘N’ Roses line-up to reform.

Putting aside the sad truth that even if you paid him handsomely  to play a private gig for you the odds are that  Axl would still show up two hours late, I got to thinking about what manner of frippery I would spend my hypothetical jackpot on.

“Uncharted” on a multiplex screen? Yes please!

I’d hire out my local multiplex’s bigger screens, hook-up a games console and blast through some action games for an evening of delirious nerdery.   Or, you know, build my own cinema addition to whichever house I bought (which would, of course, be Hagrid-friendly).  Who hasn’t gone to their local cinema and thought – “You know what ‘The Expendables 2’ needs?  To be Uncharted 3 or Dragon’s Dogma instead and have me playing it”

I’ve never been a car guy, so expensive luxury prestige marques are not for me.  What’s the point in buying something that jettisons a metric ton of value once you get the keys and sit behind the wheel for the first time?  Likewise, I don’t aspire to own a helicopter or personal jet – this kind of personal transportation is more my speed….

Should be able to get the shopping in the back of that no problem…

And if money was truly no barrier to creating things that I know would please those I love…

Now to summon the pots of cash necessary to hire Southend Interactive to make my wife a bespoke sequel…

I’d hire the developers of lovely, eccentric and desperately underrated XBox 360 platformer “Ilomilo“, Southend Interactive, to code and create a sequel to their glorious XBLA title.  Because Mrs Rolling Eyeballs would quite like that, don’t you know?

Pussy Riot members sentenced to 2 years in prison

 

Free Pussy Riot – lock up a real menace like Jessie J before she ruins any more Queen songs…

I wrote about the appalling treatment that feminist art-punk collective Pussy Riot were receiving at the hands of what passes for a judicial system in Russia a few weeks back, and on Friday the inevitable happened – arrested band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were handed two-year sentences for the in-no-way imaginary offence of hooliganism committed by a group of persons motivated by religious hatred.

Or, as appears to be the case, the rather more accurate crime of criticising Vladimir Putin‘s Russia and the Draconian B.S. carried out on his say-so to silence dissent in whatever form it takes.

Photograph by Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

I try to wear my atheism lightly – nobody wants a strident anti-theist blogging in their face with their best sub-Dawkins one liners annoying the crap out of all and sundry – but cases and religiously motivated legal decisions make it very difficult for me not to have absolute and complete contempt for believers who allow their personal convictions to intrude on their professional lives and directly impact those who don’t share their faith.

By all means, take the Pussy Riot collective to court and charge them with presenting a political protest – but don’t bring imaginary deities into it.  That’s just cretinous.

If your God’s so offended by protests against he/she/it, have the omnipotent icon show up in court themselves to explain just why they require such absurd overreaction to be carried out in their name.  What’s that?  You can’t get your God to actually show up?  Oh, how very convenient.

This verdict is about silencing unpopular thought, women and ideas – and non-existent, invisible, oddly diffident deities don’t really come into matters, but can be invoked by the terminally cynical to silence criticism of their fascistic approach to social control.  Let’s just get things straight, shall we?

You can follow the fight to free the band members via Amnesty USA’s site – and hope that Putin soon realises that this idiotic debacle is doing more to dent Russia’s reputation than a decade of locking up oligarchs and riding rough-shod over democracy has done to date.

Guns N’ Roses – so it’s come to this…

As inevitably as summer’s swift exit and post-Olympic comedown in the UK comes the news that perennial rock punchline, Guns N’ Roses, are bowing to their destiny and playing a residency in Las Vegas.

What passes for G’N’R these days. Nice hat, guy who isn’t Slash.

Oh, the bitter, bitter irony of it all.  It’s as though they’ve given up on any pretence at relevance and are content to throw out softball pitches for snarky bloggers and hipster music scenesters.   Cheers, Axl – well-played.

They are, of course, in good company – Motley Crue, former architects of public outrage and groupie-despoiling rock pigs of no small reputation have recently done a lucrative residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and it hardly seems like a huge stretch for Axl’s elite unit of anonymous studio musos to ply their hit-stuffed back catalogue in such a theatrical, glitzy and surface-level locale as Vegas.

And it’s not as if I begrudge musicians from finding creative ways to leverage their reputation to bring in revenue – with the music business being the walking corpse that it is, who can blame any established band for finding a way to pad their pension funds a little? – but surely there’s a better way to do that than plying one’s trade in a haven of douchery, captive tourists and investigative forensic medicine?

Is Axl really smart or just trolling us all at this point?

 

Rachel Weisz is Metal.

Readers of this blog with sufficiently intact and functioning memories (or the inclination to search a while) will be doubtless familiar with my unabashed admiration and slight crush on British actress (and new American citizen) Rachel Weisz.

Man, that new Dimmu Borgir is the Shizz!

An admiration now bolstered quite a bit by the astonishing revelation that she’s a metal fan.

Yes, quite.  Describing herself as ‘an old mosher’, this news makes me wonder precisely who her favourite bands would be – given that she’s roughly two years older than me, I have to imagine that she’s a fan of the Big Four era of thrash, perhaps?  Maybe down for some “Appetite”-era G’N’R?  Or is she, Saint Diamond Dave preserve us, partial to a bit of Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Poison-vintage 80’s hard rock?

The mind boggles and the head?  It bangs.  M/

New Avantasia? Don’t mind if I do…

 

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In news calculated to bring joy to the hearts of all Power Metal fans on this Tuesday afternoon, Edguy and Avantasia frontman Tobias Sammet has announced that his side project will be releasing a new record in 2013.

Yes, yes and – if you will – YES!

Whilst you wait for a chance to hear Tobias’ new stuff, why not check out a video of the band’s performance at the 2011 Wacken festival, with bonus Amanda Somerville on backing vocals for the proverbial win?