The web pages of Stephen Penney

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.


Tuesday, 14th October, 2008
More boring peal stats....

I've reduced the lists of statistics to just show the top few, but added a link to view the full details (in case anyone's really interested). I've also added in a list of my top tenor ringers, and am rather surprised to find myself at the top.