Stuff Weekender 3/5/15

The films to watch, apps to download and things to do this weekend

It's the start of May and a bank holiday weekend to boot, but May Day needn't equal mayday with our guide to getting the most from your days off.

For those of you keen to get into running after last weekend's marathon, The Way Of The Runner is packed with insights into long-distance running. We've taken a look at it below.

If you're of the opinion that exercise is best experienced through a TV screen while reclined on your sofa, then watch the latest flick about sporting legend Muhammad Ali. Or, if you feel like giving your thumbs a work out, then head over to the Apple App Store or Google Play to dowload the excellent Adventures Of Poco Eco.

In short, there's something here for everyone. So on with the show...

ALBUM TO LISTEN TO: BLUR / THE MAGIC WHIP

As Blur’s first album as a proper four-piece since 1999’s 13, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is a tad two-faced. One minute Albarn’s gone Defcon Cockney on Lonesome Street, with a chunky riff reminiscent of Modern Life Is Rubbish; the next there’s the processed beats and plucked guitar of Thought I Was A Space Man, which bursts into life on drummer Dave Rowntree’s command. One sounds like Blur, the other like solo Albarn. Ice Cream Man mixes both, with a wriggly synth through the middle.

But The Magic Whip is at its best when all four members are on form, such as the bass-driven funk of Ghost Ship, dotted with brass parps and Graham Coxon’s classic-rock guitar, or the singalong festival anthem Ong Ong.

Stuff says ★★★★✩

Buy The Magic Whip on iTunes

MOBILE GAME TO DOWNLOAD #1: TOUCHTONE

A brain-teaser for the modern age, TouchTone’s mirror-based routing puzzles are framed as decryption and snooping on phone calls and emails, ostensibly aiming to ‘prevent the next tragedy’.

The political undertones are atmospheric and complement the game’s slick, sharp graphic design and moody soundtrack. The mechanics of the puzzles are perhaps nothing you haven’t seen before but you’ll be glued to it, trying to find the next threat.

Stuff says ★★★

Download Touchtone for iOS (190)

MOBILE GAME TO DOWNLOAD #2: ADVENTURES OF POCO ECO - LOST SOUNDS

A dreamy explorathon based around Iamyank’s album Lost Sounds. Headphones are essential but with its surreal, Monument Valley-style gameplay, you’ll want to be fully immersed anyway.

Download Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds for iOS (190)

Download Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds for Android (119)

BOOK TO READ: THE WAY OF THE RUNNER / ADHARANAND FINN

Finn’s Running With The Kenyans saw him learn the secrets of the world’s best distance runners. This book looks inside Japan’s elite leagues. Though focused on the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon, its revelations about why Japan’s runners struggle to beat African rivals make it a fine bit of cultural anthropology.

Stuff says ★★★★✩

Buy The Way of the Runner

5-MINUTE HACK: PAPER BOTTLE OPENER

Your punchbowl, baby back ribs and strained neighbourly relations are all in place for the summer barbecue, but you could really do with a beer and you’ve lost your trusty bottle opener. Time for an emergency party trick:

1. Find a piece of paper. Fold it in half vertically as many times as possible, until you only have a very thin rod of paper.

2. Fold this remaining paper in half lengthways to create a V-shape, making sure the edge is as sharp as possible.

3. Push this V edge into the underside of the bottle cap and apply a little pressure. Cue a round of applause for the magic of tensile strength.

Have we confused you? Here’s YouTube to the rescue: bit.ly/paperbottle

STUFF TO WATCH

I Am Ali

Audio journals recorded during the the peak of the boxing legend's incredible career provide personal insights into the thoughts of 'The Greatest' in this brilliant biopic. 

Silicon Valley

One of the best TV comedies in recent years, with most of the laughs coming at the expense of the young, intelligent, socially awkward start-up owners around which the program revolves. Yes, alright, we're laughing at people a bit like ourselves. We're alright with that.

The Town

Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner feature as a bank robbing duo in this highly recommended crime thriller, filled with guns, an all-star cast and some very disconcerting costumes.