Posts from 5th September 2003

Sep 03

Calendar Girls

Do You SeePost a comment • 488 views

I’ve no idea whether Calendar Girls is a good film or not, though I’m always content to watch Julie Walters in anything. I’m reacting here without seeing the film. For those who don’t know, it’s about a true story, a clever gimmick where a bunch of middle-aged and older women made a nude calendar.

Anyway, I was just watching Newsnight Review, which is just like the Brown Wedge with Extra Bonus Added Cockfarmers, and they were talking about this film. They all felt that the nude older women looked wonderful, and while I’m perfectly happy to believe that, I want to make two points. Firstly, they are TV and film actresses who have been put into a film which features nudity. Did we think the makers weren’t going to choose actresses who looked good? Are we to be surprised that actresses are good looking, even if they are a bit older than starlets. But it’s not really the dumbness of these comments that bothers me, it’s the astoundingly self-congratulatory tone of them. These cockfarmers were so proud of finding these non-young women attractive. This seems to me the worst kind of smug liberal idiocy, a patronising and insulting display of faux-open-mindedness.

Actually I probably only watch this show for these moments of indignation, to be honest…

The area around Green Park tube has always struck me as a bad one for pubs

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 174 views

The area around Green Park tube has always struck me as a bad one for pubs, and last night showed that little has changed in the years since I was a regular drinker there. When I worked in Belgravia, there were three distinct types of local boozers – locals (drunk in by, well, locals); workers’ pubs; and management pubs. The ‘workers’ in question were nearly all white-collar types like me, there being few horny-handed sons of toil in the vicinity of Knightsbridge. Moving up to Green Park, though, the locals and workers’ pubs fade from view and every single pub is packed with high-powered suits, all pitching their conversation in that apalling middle ground between Davids Mamet and Brent. There’s no fucking excuse for not delivering; no room for spare wheels on this car; he’s going to get such a fucking rocket; eye pop finger jab cheeks bulge fuck fuck fuck.

After listening to twenty minutes of this standing outside The Clarence on Dover Street (used to be a stripped-pine horror – still is actually, but they’ve nailed a pub front to the outside to fool the unwary), my friends arrived to rescue me and we set off in search of a better pub. We ended up at the Samuel Pepys on Clarges Street, a boozer remarkable only for its absolute averageness, though I was extremely grateful to it and enjoyed the rest of the evening thoroughly. If you had an anthropologist friend, though, or a Martian friend come to think of it, and you wanted to show them a ‘typical pub’, 90s/00s edition, the Pepys would do nicely – utterly standard drinks range, the barest hint of atmosphere, no juker but a lonely fruit machine, Southern Hemisphere bar staff, job-lot bought framed prints and ‘antique’ photos on walls, etc. Really it ought to be listed.


FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 424 views


so this all happens because i happen to be listening to erasure; because i heard this clay aiken song on the radio; and because, hey, doesn’t the nylpm redesign look nice? why not bring the site even more hits? claynation will soon be on its way and i’m content to be its chew toy.

for those outside of the u.s., clay was the runner-up in the most recent american idol and is now probably the biggest geek icon since rivers cuomo. since then, the actual competition was the only thing he’s come second in, in terms of single sales, airplay, magazine covers, etc. think thom yorke after a ‘queer eye’ makeover. but it was before that makeover, as a gawky, God-fearing, fatherless, special education major that he won the hearts of a guilty nation. would we have responded differently if we knew that he ran over a kitten? that he harbors an intense hatred of cats? (i can’t believed he fooled so many young girls; me, i knew from the start. oh pussy, oh pussy cat!)

the talk surrounding this last ‘american idol’ was that it signified ‘talent over image.’ honestly, nothing could be farther removed from the truth. the reason why i believe europeans will remain untroubled by clay is that they know nothing about him, while we american viewers watched him grow up before our very eyes. who watched for the music? admit it, we all just hoped that this would be the night that clay winked at us, or that ruben pointed at us, or that julia’s top would bust open. everyone in this year’s top 12 had their little thing that they did, their own quirk: if they didn’t steal your heart, they probably stole your car. (ruben, the actual victor, is another story: he’s performed a cover of westlife’s “flying without wings” that will perhaps take off if europe isn’t yet tired of america selling its product back to them, even if it is in augmented form.)

(and, yeah, c’mon clay conspiracy theorists: your boy gets his own special “moment like this”-type song written especially for him, and ruben gets warmed-over westlife? please. no one’s gotten this jobbed since chantel failed to make it into s club 12 & under or whatever they’re calling that ‘american juniors’ group. )

what i’m saying, then, is that i’m worried about clay. i was doing my damndest to conceive a plan that will break him in the rest of the world. while listening to “this is the night” for the umpteenth time, i realize that the chorus bears a striking resemblance to erasure’s “oh l’amour.” (try it yourself at home!) i then turn to “oh l’amour” and i recognize the line: “broke my heart and now i’m achin’ for you.” “achin’ for you?” “AIKEN for you?”all of a sudden, i hear clay’s broadway melody over synths and tinny drums — it’s crazy enough to work, if andy’s content to play andrew to clay’s george.

let’s face it: erasure aren’t the world-beaters they used to be either; it seems mutually beneficial, to say the least. during the season, comparisons between clay and barry manilow were tossed about left and right. maybe it was the sportscoats; maybe it was the large gay fanbase. why not capitalize on it? a la the ‘abba-esque’ cd, this newly-minted supergroup could perform an ep of barry manilow covers. called ‘un-BARRY-ble.’ maybe something else. i just come up with the ideas, i’m not an ad firm. (answers to the usual address: best entry wins a handful of clay’s chest hair, as pictured on the ‘rolling stone’ cover.)

and if that doesn’t work… paging pete waterman…

What could be better than Van Halen’s Jump?

Do You SeePost a comment • 443 views

What could be better than Van Halen’s Jump? Only 8-bit arcade-game characters in MameJump that’s what. It’s a smashing little flash anim with the Van Halen song as backing, and Donkey Kong on lead vocals. There are plenty of geeky jokes in there, I particularly like the set up and delayed punch-line to the PacMan gag, and it’s teeming with shots from any MAME/old-arcade game you care to remember. Which is a good thing, right?

Thanks to Katie Grocott for the link.

I’ve been reading KING MOB

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 213 views

I’ve been reading KING MOB: The Story of Lord George Gordon and the Riots of 1780, by Christopher Hibbert. I’ve no idea whether it’s a well-regarded pop-history piece or not, but I’m enjoying it despite its rather uneven pacing. The legal drama in the penultimate chapter could do with a bit of jollying up, too, perhaps in the manner of Murder One, or at least Rumpole of the Bailey. Presumably this book was at least part of the inpiration behind the name of the late ’60s British pro-Situ bunch King Mob, but that is the very definition of another story.

Anyhow, I’ve become so accustomed to the phrase “NO POPERY!” from the book that I thought I’d look in on our friends in Westminster Cathedral, London’s pre-eminent Catholic church. I sometimes pop in there to have a look at the terrific Eric Gill Stations of the Cross (and his amazing Christ Triumphant in St George’s Chapel), but what struck me today more than ever was the unfinished nature of the decoration.

As you walk in there’s a drawing of how it will look when it’s finished: a blinding basilica of marble and mosaic. As it stands, though, it’s dark and brooding above the confectionary-ness of the two-tone marble of the first storey. Past that it’s largely brown-grey brickwork and gloomy unlit domes, which will one day be absurdly bright. I don’t suppose it will be finished in my lifetime.

Always nice to have a swift one round the back in the Cardinal, too.