Posts from 18th February 2004

Feb 04

It’s 9:16 am, and I’m writing about last night’s Brit Awards

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 256 views

It’s 9:16 am, and I’m writing about last night’s Brit Awards. Why are you telling us the time Jel? I hear you say, well it’s because I know that by the time I get to post on this NYLPM the Brits will have been discussed to death, and my points will be mute, but I have some things to say anyway:

a) I was very disappointed that every single band and singer thanked their management team. Whereas in US award shows everyone seems to thank God, over here it’s the management team, the stylist and the guy who does the bookings, sociologists would have field day. Just thank your parents, your friends and the fans, is what they should do, stop kissing backsides pop-stars!
b) There were three special collaborations during the show. The first wasn’t a collaboration at all, Andre 3000 did his song, then Beyonce did hers, there was limited interaction between the two. Then those two boring ‘jazz’ people (jazz should not involve singing, it’s be-bop or nothing in my house), well anyway they did “Love Cats”. The final special collaboration was Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Missy; my dog passed wind.
c) The naffest part of the night was the special news flash about 50 cent being arrested, and his subsequent interrogation down the local nick, luckily 50 and his buddies escape, but instead of doing a runner they go to the Brits. Seriously, the acting was sub-WWE, but 50 seems like a nice bloke, so I’m not holding it against him
d) Busted, for some bizarre reason played a turgid cover of Teenage Kicks, they should have played one of their own songs, as they are much better.
e) The best part of the night was Duran Duran, which isn’t usually the case with life time acchievement award performances. They played Hungry Like the Wolf, Ordinary Day and Wild Boys. I tried to convince my mum that the video to Wild Boys was one of the most iconic images of the ’80’s, especially the bit where Simon is on the windmill and is being dunked under water, but she didn’t remember it.
f) The Darkness played two songs.
g) The public loves Dido.
h) Some people won awards.
i) Cut to Will, cut to Gareth.

All in all, I was a little under-whelmed by this years show, no one got drunk, no one said anything silly, it was all rather sanitised.

Oh, it seems no one has mentioned the Brits here, so yeah, it really wasn’t all that great.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 281 views

SPOTTED: Feta Cheese and Black Olive Kettle Chips.

STOP IT NOW!!!!!!!

Worst book I’ve read in some time? ‘The Man Who Risked His Partner’ – by Reed Stephens.

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 187 views

Worst book I’ve read in some time? ‘The Man Who Risked His Partner’ – by Reed Stephens. Or should I say, Stephen Donaldson. Bizarrely reissued under his real name, this is a mid-eighties crime genre outing for the bloke who wrote the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. There was a time in British libraries when there were only two works of fantasy you could get. Lord Of The Rings, and Donaldson’s two Covenant trilogies. Like a bloated misanthropic version of Narnia, the only thing I remember about Covenant was leprosy and some bobbins about white gold. I have also read his Gap series of space operas which are astounding for adding a touch of good old fashioned misogyny to the previous mix, and being obsessed with sado-masochism to a remarkable degree.

I don’t remember much of either runs of books, except that they were immense tomes which were nevertheless easy to read. The Man Who Risked His Partner (written in 1984) is much shorter, and much harder going. If only because it revels in sentences like this on every other page:
‘I took it up with Ginny, who looked like a whiskey bottle with the bottom broken out of it, ready to slash in any direction.’
Yes kids, that’s right, its hopeless first person sub-Chandler dialogue. Yippee.

I won’t bother you with the plot, the book doesn’t. Instead we have alcoholic PI (original) Mick ‘Brew’ Axbrewder, junior partner of Ginny Fistoulari. They have a mutual loathing which does not quite square with the living, working, sleeping together scenario painted at the same time. Oh, Ginny got her fist blown some time in the past, making herself glad that she wasn’t named Ginny Fannyolari one might imagine. So hero is constantly tempted to the bottle, heroine broods about her stump. Mix this up with 280 wasted pages trying to find out who is trying to kill an accountant and you have a tedious, cliched read indeed. Just take my word for it, avoid this – and its equally flaccidly titled predecessor ‘The Man Who Killed His Brother’. People have pen names for a reason I guess.

The main problem with Osama

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The main problem with Osama is that the lead is just too pretty. Let me qualify this, she is supposed to be eleven after all and one has to watch oneself about statements like that. She looks too much like a girl. Problem, she is the latest in a long line of fictional heroines trying to pass herself off in a mans world as a man herself. With her girlish voice, girly face and having to regularly encounter a communal bath-house, the biggest surprise is that she lasts as long as she does. This gives the central part of the film a deathly tension, it is the Taliban who will punish her when she is found out, and we know the Taliban aren’t exactly softies. Considering the film plays on this terror, it is somewhat disappointing how she is finally found out. Put it like this, it is not a subtle tell-tale sign.

The cross dressing girl is a not unfamiliar folk story. Therefore what Osama has to offer most is novelty in its setting. Afghanistan under the Taliban is a place of hearsay, and to be fair this is a film with a film political agenda so it should not be seen to be any more reliable. What is narratively so disappointing about the film however is playing with the audience so well in the first half, robbing us of some of the pleasure of a redemptive finale. When you consider the kind of plot which could have been teased out of ‘girl goes to learn how to fight, then fights back’, it is quite clear that there is a firmly tragic agenda involved. An impressive film which seems happier to be a political document than the true thriller it starts off as.