Posts from 2nd July 2004

Jul 04


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 238 views

BROWN WEDGE COMPETITION: Design a Bauhaus Dalek!!

(backstory of idea to be found in comments box HERE, viz stevem’s rather brilliant observation that – contra bauhaus precepts – form did NOT follow function when that davros was a-designin!!)

(this is by neal corbett, but i still think who-villain-soundy gropius wd have been unimpressed)

FT Top 100 Films 71: DUMB AND DUMBER

Do You SeePost a comment • 948 views

FT Top 100 Films

Plenty of issues are thrown up by this film. Not least how influential it has been for the last ten years of screen comedy. It is clear that the Farrelly Brothers have softened since this their first hit – which is ceaseless mean about its lead characters. It is also interesting to compare a young Jim Carrey with Jeff Daniels and try and see who is actually doing the best comic acting here (Daniels hands down). But the big question who is dumb, and who is dumber.

The evidence. Well Harry (Daniels) seems to have a faster reading speed than Lloyd (Carrey), but this is no direct correlation with intelligence. But then Harry got his tongue frozen to the chair lift which is pretty dumb. Lloyd tends to think up the schemes, which suggests more brains until you consider that none of their schemes work out. A question which when you consider it is perhaps a modern dress version of the central conceit in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.

The Farrelly Brothers have made pains (too much pain some say) of being equal opportunity employers in their films, though they had a lot less power over this one. But for all their boosting of genuine equality for the disabled, Dumb And Dumber stands out as the lynchpin of their work. You can and you should laugh at stupidity. The stupid are not disabled. The stupid are willfully unintelligent, and in this lies their downfall. And since there was no great outcry when this film came out, it is clear that this view is shared by society. And from the films that followed (mainly not by the Farrelly’s) it is a view that on paper makes a lot of people laugh. Most of those films are not as funny as Dumb And Dumber though.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 396 views


No, not a local scheme which unfairly says Banned In one, Banned In All. Rather an occasional series keeping our eyes on pubs which are being refurbed and what they turn into. Or in this case, a pub which the entire building which houses it is being refurb/kncoked down by determinedly remains open. I am talking about The Windmill.

The Windmill is a fascinating little pub. It occupied the far right corner of a truly nasty piece of late fifties officedom on Tottenham Court Road. Near the architecturally grander Rising Sun and Fitzroy Tavern it always seemed like a poor relation. Yet I have a very soft spot for its large round sofas, its twenty odd televisions and stinky urinal. And as that nasty building is being taken apart to be replaced by something more modern looking (though equally inept from first sighting) it is great to see that under the scaffolding the Windmill is still there, and still open.

You would think it might be dispensable. However think about long term leases, think about tenacious freeholders but mostly think about the name of the street. As mentioned the seemingly more established Fitzroy Tavern and Rising Sun book-end this street, and they both date back to late Victoriana. Yet the street is called Windmill Street. It strikes me that the street is named after the pub, but not this version. Instead perhaps there was a Windmill pub on this site which was demolished to make way for the big building. The caveat being that a Windmill pub would always remain. It is a comforting thought. It might even be true.

No Daleks

Do You SeePost a comment • 476 views

No Daleks: marketing nightmare for the BBC, aesthetic boost – though I have plenty of faith in the new Dr.Who team, it’s rare to find writers who know how to tell a good Dalek story. The original 1964 Dalek yarn is painfully slow to watch now, and the best of the later ones – Genesis, the origin story with the introduction of Davros – was a story that could only be told once. The stories before that had settled into a dalek-army-thwarted-by-Doctor pattern, on a succession of drab alien planets or future Earths. The stories afterwards shoe-horned Davros in* and were driven by fans-only Dalek politics. The problem, as Genesis demonstrated, is that as the scripts got more sophisticated human fascists become more interesting than pepperpot fascist allegories: the frightening thing in that story is how tiny (if crucial) the difference between human and dalek is. The new series is better off without them.

*(Revelation Of The Daleks, with Colin Baker, is really good, yes. But its goodness has almost nothing to do with its having Davros or the Daleks in. Or the Doctor in, for that matter.)

Culinary Blindspots

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,053 views

Culinary Blindspots

I like to think that I can cook a bit, you know, I read lots of cookbooks, watcgh plenty of the food channel, can turn my hand to most things and do a decent job. However…. there is one thing that I just, no matter how hard I try/much I prepare, that I can *never* get right. And that’s the bloody stir fry, yes, student staple and every housewives fall back dish. And what’s more I don’t know why. Take last night, all my veggies were the same size and prepared before. The tofu was marinated nicely. Everything seemed spot on….. Until it came to cooking it, started it too early compared to the rice, had it too cold, added too much water and then didn’t have it hot enough to steam the greens. Cue chefly paddy being thrown and a tasteless dish served up.

I’m leaving it to Vicky from now on, and sticking to slow foods


I Hate Music4 comments • 837 views

Sorry, but I have noticed Jazzie B seems to be doing the rounds again. Did we not pack him off in a lead lined box surround by concrete and drop him to the bottom of the ocean for inflicting Get A Life on us? Or has he, using powers previously only known to Jesus Christ and Shaggy’s career manager to come Back II Life?

In the early nineties, when I was new to the music hating game, I set Mr B’s bizarre pineapple shaped haircut firmly in my sights of my sniper rifle. I soon learnt my lesson, this was certainly the motivation for writing Keep On Movin’. But every fat bloke has to stop moving, and in the process make an album that flops. Or ten.

Do you know how many Soul II Soul albums there have been?

Vol 1: Club Classics (same usage of the word as Classics Nouveau)
Vol 2: A New Decade (aren’t you rid of us yet?)
Vol 3: Just Right (just rubbish)
Vol 4: The Classics Album (ie a knock off greatest hits which should have been the end)
Vol 5: Believe (I never would have believed it if it wasn’t on their website)
Vol 6: A Time To Change (This one isn’t even on their own website)
Vol 7: Mission To Moscow

You would think the guru of slow rapping would have given it up, but he appears to be gracing festivals. He really ought to get a life. As their slogan goes: “A happy face a thumping bass for a better race“. Hmm, I think the best way to achieve a better race Jazzie is thumping your face.

How much information would you require before spilling your innermost details to a psychiatrist?

Do You SeePost a comment • 197 views

How much information would you require before spilling your innermost details to a psychiatrist? Let’s say said psychiatrist seemed surprised you were coming, and did not seem to have your appointment. Still he has a sofa in his office and a magazine that has the word Analysis in the title. He looks a bit like a psychiatrist and seems to be a good listener. But I would get the bona-fides first.

There is a sense of dreamy disengagement with reality about the new Patrice Leconte film, Confidences Trop Intimes partially put in place by the implausibility of the set-up. Coupled with the fact that the film rarely leaves the office of the tax advisor who is mistaken for a shrink and we get a nice little tale which barely connects with the real world. Again where else would someone pay for sessions which never seem to take longer than two minutes?

Particular care is taken on the geography of the office itself. The leather padded door, the collection of toys, the sad looking paintings all seem to reinforce the character of the reticent tax advisor who has lived there all his life. That the story makes no sense in the end is of little consequence. This is a character study of a man who falls in love. Ignore its thriller trappings (luckily the film does too in the last ten minutes) and just savour how a man and his office can often be at one.

It did not need that dance sequence in the middle though. Bad form Patrice.

Of course this whole article is moot

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 165 views

Of course this whole article is moot. I would not use a non-stick oil free grill to cook anything. Stuff either goes under the grill and drips its fat out naturally or (preferably) it goes in a pan and is fried to high heaven. The George Foreman grill is a mixture of a non-stick frying pan with a mangel, squeezing out ever last bit of fat into a convenient drip tray leaving you with dry, stringy steaks which have no flavour.

Somehow I assume the Carl Lewis grill to be even worse.

Piled high against the Archway Co-op’s window are boxes

TMFDPost a comment • 198 views

Piled high against the Archway Co-op’s window are boxes which bring back the worst of eighties sport to me. It would appear that George Foreman no longer has a monopoly in the sports star turned cookery device inventor. For now you can get the Carl Lewis Grill. And if you don’t throw away the box as soon as humanly possible, you get that picture of him gurning with the three medals around his neck that makes me gag whenever I think of the 1984 Olympics.

Carl Lewis was always a funny looking chap. I guess being funny looking helps you to run fast. Its either a streamlining thing or a natural defence so you can run away from the natural predator of the funny looking chap (the school bully). But for all his prowess in running short distances quickly, I never saw him taking his hand to inventing an oilless grill. Which of course he hasn’t, a company has nicked George Foreman’s one and think by slapping on the most decorated US sprinter of all time will make it sell. As if George Foreman’s boxing prowess sold HIS grill.

Foreman was always a lovable loser (even when he won). Always secondary to the main attraction, his main selling point was that he was not as arrogant, mouthy or unpleasant as those around him. His benevolent smile on his grill not only suggests that he really did have a hand in inventing it, but hey – you can trust me – I have never attached my name to a shonky product. As a second stringer of boxing he never got offered the shonky products, he never got to fight Superman in a comic for example. Carl Lewis on the other hand was happy to be paraded endlessly in 1984 as the epitomy of America’s world beating (Russian bloc excluded) power. With his cheesy grin and excess of medals, I do not want him anywhere near my steaks thank you very much. Pile those boxes high, they will not be running out the shops at 100m in under 9.89 seconds.