Welcome to Shiveria

The clocks have gone back, evenings are getting darker, the winter coat has made an appearance and I’ve started wearing thermals. Winter, we’re almost ready for you. To keep ourselves occupied during these cold, winter months, we invested in a Nintendo Switch. Super Mario Odyssey was released a few weeks back and I’d been itching to play it. I’m a sucker for Mario games and this latest edition is brilliant.

I wouldn’t really call myself a gamer. I’ve never owned an Xbox, I had a PS2 back in the day but with only had a handful of games, I last bought a FIFA game back in 2003, plus I don’t really enjoy the online element of gaming either. Aside from Mario based games, the only other title I play a lot of is Football Manager. I am very tempted by FM18, but I know all other aspects of my life will be put on the hold whilst I try to take the likes of Oldham Athletic back to the Premier League.

Anyway, back to the Mushroom Kingdom. If you enjoyed Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, then you’ll love this. The aim is to collect power moons which power the Odyssey in order to travel to different kingdoms before trying to prevent Bowser from marrying Princess Peach. Each Kingdom has a different set of challenges, with power moons won by solving tasks, mini-games and riddles.

Aesthetically beautiful, playful, challenging, fun, addictive and occasionally infuriating. It’s a Mario classic. Once you’ve unlocked all the kingdoms and completed the initial story, there’s so much more to do. With over 900 power moons to collect in total, you’ll be playing this game for months.

Another fun element of this new title is capture mode. You can throw Cappy, your new sidekick through the game, to capture certain objects and enemies to take control of them. You’ll need to do this in every kingdom. Personal favourites so far have been Pokio, a hummingbird like character who can poke enemies with his beak. Also a fun way to climb walls. Another is the Tropical Wiggler, a worm-like enemy whose body extends in an accordion like way to help you reach places that are difficult to jump to. Rather than reading my words, EDGE gave it a perfect 10 in their review. Read that, then go and buy it. You won’t regret it.

When I haven’t been running around various kingdoms, throwing a cap at enemies, I have had a productive month. I started a new job 10 days ago, I’m now a senior UI/UX Designer at Project A. I might go into detail about this in a different post. It’s about time I wrote something work related, as I’ve learnt a lot already.
Now then, music. Yes. New albums? Here’s a few that I’ve been enjoying over the last month:

  • Beck – Colors
  • Baxter Dury – Prince of Tears
  • Howie Payne – Mountain
  • Four Tet – New Energy
  • Pauline Anna Strom – Trans-Millenia Music

We’ve still been playing the ‘Record Roulette’ to generate albums to listen to, here’s what’s been on using this method over the last month:

  • The Divine Comedy – Regeneration [2001]
  • Why? – Alopecia [2008]
  • The Kills – Sleep On Your Mean Side [2003]
  • The Coral – Magic and Medicine [2003]
  • C Duncan – The Midnight Sun [2016]

Clearly not as much as previous months, probably down to the fact we’ve been playing Super Mario Odyssey for a week solid.

Shout Out Louds – Saturday 14th October @ Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin
This was the 10th time I’ve seen them. I’ve already written a post on how much this band means to me, so I don’t really need to go into detail here as to how excited I was about this gig.

I’d never been to Astra for a gig before, so I had no idea of size. It was sold out, which was a good sign. Google tells me it’s a 1500 capacity venue, which would mean this was the largest audience I’d seen them perform to. Tailed to the end of new song Throw Some Light, was a short snippet of Out On The Weekend, by Neil Young. Nice.

The set included all the classics; Very Loud, Fall Hard, Tonight I Have To Leave It, and personal favourite of mine, Walls. The crowd were great. Shout Out Louds were great. Just wish I’d gone to the Hamburg gig the night before.

The National – Monday 23rd October @ Tempodrom, Berlin
Another band I’ve seen quite a lot over the years, from the Electric Ballroom in Camden, to the Royal Albert Hall, I’ve seen them on a variety of scales.

My good mate Ross was over for this gig, and building up to this he’d been checking the setlist of previous dates on the tour. We’d spent the night before discussing what we’d hope to hear and Lucky You was the frontrunner. It was played during a number of shows during the tour, but unfortunately tonight wasn’t the night. We weren’t the only ones, a number of people were calling for it in between songs.

The gig itself was great. The last time I’d seem them was Latitude Festival in 2016, and I was largely disappointed. But that could have been down to the amount of 17 year olds down the front spending most of the gig on Snapchat. Anyway, their set tonight was made up of a lot of new material. Turtleneck sounded great live, as did Day I Die. I was very happy to hear Start A War and Fake Empire. Two brilliant songs. Anyhow, great performance as usual. I doubt it will be long before I see them again.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what on earth the title of this post is referring to, Shiveria is an area of the Snow Kingdom on Super Mario Odyssey. The music is very catchy. Talking of which… I have some more power moons to find.