The web pages of Stephen Penney

Thursday, 3rd January, 2019
My Cultural Year 2018
Another Stewart Leeesque list of all the culture I consumed in 2018.

I saw 36 films in 2018 - falling way short of the usual target of 50. I also only managed to see one "Best Picture Film" (The Shape of Water) - hoping to resume the project to work my way through them in 2019.

Dogma (Kevin Smith, 1999)
The Cloverfield Paradox (Julius Onah, 2018)
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)
The Wizard of lies (Barry Levinson, 2017)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017)
Ant-Man (Peyton Reed, 2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon, 2015)
The Incredible Hulk (Louis Leterrier, 2008)
Captain America (Joe Johnston, 2011)
Deadpool 2 (David Leitch, 2018)
The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002)
Jigsaw (The Spierig Brothers, 2017)
Where the wild things are (Spike Jonze, 2009)
The death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci, 2017)
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)
Iron Man 3 (Shane Black, 2013)
Twisted Nerve (Roy Boulting, 1968)
The Guard (John Michael McDonagh, 2011)
Thor: The Dark World (Alan Taylor, 2013)
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (Anthony Hickox, 1992)
Captain America - The Winter Soldier (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2014)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (J. A. Bayona, 2018)
Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)
Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (Kevin Yagher, 1996)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (Ron Howard, 2018)
Delicatessan (Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Car, 1991)
Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
Avatar (James Cameron, 2009)
American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson, 2016)
Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn, 2004)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Gerald's Game (Mike Flanagan, 2017)
The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017)
Bird Box (Susanne Bier, 2018)

I only read 12 books in 2018 - mostly because Infinite Jest took up so much of my reading time (And The Emperor's New Mind was no walk in the park).

The Shining (Stephen King)
Seven Years in Tibet (Heinrich Harrer)
Different Seasons (Stephen King)
Between a rock and a hard place (Aron Ralston)
Secret Windows (Stephen King)
The tipping point (Malcolm Gladwell)
Hearts in Atlantis (Stephen King)
Artemis (Andy Weir)
Everything's eventual (Stephen King)
The bazaar of bad dreams (Stephen King)
The Emperor's New Mind (Roger Penrose)
Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)

TV Series
Series S4 (BBC1)
The Crown S2 (Netflix)
The Grand Tour S2 (Amazon)
This is England '86, '88 & '90 (Film4)
Cunk on Britain (BBC2)
Ricky Gervais - Humanity (Netflix)
Derek S1-3 (Channel4)
Extras S1-3 (BBC2)
Madmen S5-7 (AMC)
My Name is Earl S4 (NBC)
The Wire S3 (HBO)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
Bodyguard (BBC1)
The Cry (BBC1)
Dr Who S11 (BBC1)
James Acaster - Repertoire (Netflix)

Live shows
Really no better than last year for seeing anything live.

Radio 2 Biggest Weekend (Coventry, War Memorial Park)
Prom 36: Mahler, Wagner and Webern (Royal Albert Hall)
Prom 47: Elgar, Prokofiev & Venables (Royal Albert Hall)
An Evening With Brian Blessed (Alban Arena)


Monday, 22nd January, 2018
My Cultural Year 2017
Shamelessly ripping this idea off Stewart Lee, here is an unedited list of all the culture I consumed in 2017.

I challenged myself to see 50 films in 2017 (last time I tried this I only managed 30 - and the last two years I only saw 17). This meant seeing ten films in December, and was completed by seeing The Last Jedi in the cinema in the afternoon on New Year's Eve.

Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012)
T2 Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 2017)
A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard, 2001)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Coppola, 1979)
10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg, 2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014)
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
Rogue One (Gareth Edwards, 2016)
Twin Town (Kevin Allen, 1997)
The City of Lost Children (Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1995)
Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
Hardcore Henry (Ilya Naishuller, 2015)
127 hours (Danny Boyle, 2010)
Crash (Paul Haggis, 2004)
The Interview (Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, 2014)
The Lego Batman Movie (Chris McKay, 2017)
Dead Man's shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004)
Source Code (Duncan Jones, 2011)
Circle (Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione, 2015)
The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)
Ted 2 (Seth MacFarlane, 2015)
Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2014)
RocknRolla (Guy Ritchie, 2008)
Taken 2 (Olivier Megaton, 2012)
Taken 3 (Olivier Megaton, 2014)
The Hitman's bodyguard (Patrick Hughes, 2017)
Rise of the footsoldier part 2 (Ricci Harnett, 2007)
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright, 2017)
Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004)
A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)
The Voices (Marjane Satrapi, 2014)
It (Andy Muschietti, 2017)
Chicago (Rob Marshall, 2002)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
Guardian of the Galaxy vol. 2 (James Gunn, 2017)
Churchill (Jonathan Teplitzky, 2017)
Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008)
Men in Black (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997)
Men in Black 2 (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2002)
Rise of the footsoldier 3 (Zackary Adler, 2017)
Hannibal (Ridley Scott, 2001)
La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)
Hancock (Peter Berg, 2008)
Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle, 2015)
Lion (Garth Davis, 2016)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)

I read 18 books in 2017 - 5 more than last year, although fell short of my target to read 20.

The best:
Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks)

The worst:
The girl on the train (Paula Hawkins)

The rest:
The Wasp Factory (Iain Banks)
Thinking about it only makes it worse (David Mitchell)
Gerald's Game (Stephen King)
Just after sunset (Stephen King)
On Writing (Stephen King)
God is not great (Christopher Hitchens)
The eyes of the dragon (Stephen King)
Cycle of the Werewolf (Stephen King)
Under the Dome (Stephen King)
Nightmares in the sky (Stephen King)
A Manual of Bell Control (Norman Chaddock)
The Dark Half (Stephen King)
Desperation (Stephen King)
The Regulators (Stephen King (as Richard Bachman))
Don't make me think (Steve Krug)
Raw Spirit (Iain Banks)


The best:
Peaky Blinders S4 (BBC2)

The worst:
The Replacement (BBC1)

The rest:
Sherlock S4 (BBC1)
Taboo S1 (BBC 1)
Mr Nietzsche in the convenience store (Crunchyroll)
The Crown S1 (Netflix)
Stranger Things S1 (Netflix)
Dr Who S10 (BBC 1)
Game of Thrones S1-S7 (HBO)
Stranger Things S2 (Netflix)
Blue Planet 2 (BBC1)

Albums I listened to in their entirety. After a conscious effort to buy some albums I never got round to buy in the '90s, and listen to them in the car, the idea soon wore off and I ended up listening to the radio again. Nevertheless:

Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Paul Weller - Stanley Road (1995)
Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
Beady Eye - BE (2013)
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (1989)
The Smiths - The Quuen is Dead (1986)
Primal Scream - Screamadelica (1991)
Slaves - Are you Satisfied? (2015)
Royal Blood - Royal Blood (2014)
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (2011)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - B.R.M.C (2001)
Liam Galagher - As You Were (2017)
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Build the Moon? (2017)

Live shows
I only saw two live shows in 2017, which is so piss-poor I'm not even going to bother categorising them separately. They were both brilliant though:

Stewart Lee - Content Provider (Alban Arena)
The Royal Ballet - The Nutcracker (Royal Opera House)


Tuesday, 28th August, 2012
I thought I'd have a go at making a couple of Bacon Explosions for a bbq yesterday. Naturally, I photographed each step:

1. Bacon weaves made. Any trimmed bacon is thrown in a frying pan.

2. Weaves are covered in BBQ rub (Tesco's own).

3. About 20 sausages have their meat removed and spread over the weaves (I couldn't find any appropriate sausage meat).

4. The fried bacon is chopped into bits and spread over the top with BBQ sauce (Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce) and more of the rub.

5. The sausage meat is rolled up and the ends pinched down.

6. The weaves are rolled up and sealed at the ends.

Before cooking I added more of the BBQ sauce and rub. Unfortunately they were so delicious that they were eaten before I could take any photos of the finished product!


Friday, 3rd February, 2012
I've updated my quarters so that they link to BellBoard rather than Campanophile for those that know the record in BellBoard to link to.

Oh yes, and my new blogger-less blog seems to be working.


Saturday, 3rd April, 2010
First post in ages

Aaagh, it's all gone a bit weird. Christ's biscuits. Where do I begin?

Ok, how do you feel about the forthcoming election? Ok, a change is good - but will it be the right change? A Tory government? A hung parliament? Both sound awful. Or it could be the turning point this country so desparately needs. A handy and contrived metaphor for the rest of my life.

First of all, this is probably (statistically likely that is, seing as my last post was almost 18 months ago) my last post via In their infinite wisdom, they've decided to disable posting via ftp, which is pretty much how the blog part of this site works. So it's up to me to devise some clever strategy of keeping this site alive. Probably involving some sort of twitter feed, or something. We'll see.

In other news, my time is being taken up by work (honestly), Welsh Colleges (exciting new developments to the website coming soon), and the St Albans District newsletter (the last year I'm doing this). But more and more so by being Deputy Master of the St Albans Cathedral Society of Change Ringers. This is due to a) The Master of the St Albans Cathedral Society of Change Ringers (my father) having undergone coronary artery bypass surgery this year, exposing pre-exisitng Parkisons in the process, pretty much meaning I've taken on that role myself, b) An already minimal band being exacerbated by the sad and sudden death of one of our ringers and c) The existing bells being removed just after Easter, and a new ring of bells being installed in time for Christmas.

Oh yeah, and despite my brain's limitations, I'm going to move on from Smith's to Chandler's (bellringy stuff to those that are wondering).

So the year so far has been painful yet exciting, and looks to be hard work yet rewarding. Dr Who is looking to be excellent. This post brought to you with the aid of a bottle of Trapache Sauvignon Blanc. I love you all.