Posts from April 2008

Apr 08

Come Dine With Me – Awesome

FT/19 comments • 11,133 views

The Guardian’s “not Nancy Banks Smith” TV reviewer Sam Wallaston is a reliable sort of guy. I watched last night’s Come Dine With Me and was agog. “This is the best thing I’ve seen on Channel 4 in a long time” I exclaimed while watching between my fingers. Sure enough Wallaston’s review: “the worst programme on television”. He didn’t like it. And that’s why I read his reviews. “Never knowingly correct” goes his strapline. (Don’t get me started on his “ha ha geeks eh, this IS complicated and silly” he did the other day on Battlestar Galactica.)

Anyway… COME DINE WITH ME. Last night’s was more than awesome. This show has grown — a day-time staple, it’s gathered celebrity editions, and now it comes in a new format. No longer a short show every day of the week covering 5 people — they now compress 4 people in to a one hour show. It’s a sensation. Well for something that’s come from day-time. (It even has a rip off version on the beeb hosted by Simon Rimmer who seems to be trying to be on telly every day of the week for an entire year.)

But then having established a regular format, with often witty and interesting people who occasionally come to verbal blows, it goes HAYWIRE. Remember that first edition of Wife Swap with the foul mouthed racist woman — it was well train wreck. This was much the same but written by Mike Leigh.


HitchHikers Text Adventure Sequel – Oh Em Gee

FT4 comments • 547 views – Milliways: Infocom’s Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

From an anonymous source close to the company, I’ve found myself in possession of the “Infocom Drive” — a complete backup of Infocom’s shared network drive from 1989. This is one of the most amazing archives I’ve ever seen, a treasure chest documenting the rise and fall of the legendary interactive fiction game company. Among the assets included: design documents, email archives, employee phone numbers, sales figures, internal meeting notes, corporate newsletters, and the source code and game files for every released and unreleased game Infocom made.

If you want to play it here is the z-code file. You need an application that loads z-code files.

Apr 08

Popular ’75

FT + Popular/59 comments • 3,871 views

The first in what will be a regular run of reader participation features – one each time we reach the end of a year.

As you know, I give a mark out of 10 to each track. The rough expectation, over the course of 56+ years of #s, is that the number I give 1-5 to will roughly equal the number I give 6-10 to – but we will see. ANYWAY, at the end of every year I’m going to run a poll (below the cut) so you can have your say. All you have to do is vote for the ones you would have given 6 or more to (by whatever criteria you yourself would choose).

In other words – tick the ones you like! And, if you want, use the comments box for more general thoughts on the year and its qualities – what the list reflected, what it missed, and so on.


QUEEN – “Bohemian Rhapsody”

FT + Popular148 comments • 8,852 views

#382, 29th November 1975

There is a pub in North London called The Swimmer At The Grafton Arms. It prides itself on well-kept beer and a well-kept jukebox, the latter with an deeply tasteful selection of fine rock and soul music. I haven’t visited for a couple of years, but it used to have, on this jukebox, a Queen Greatest Hits CD. And next to Track One on this CD, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, was the handwritten instruction: “DO NOT PLAY. NOT FUNNY.”

For me, that kind of sums up “Bohemian Rhapsody”‘s very weird place in rock music. It is known by millions, loved by millions, but somehow still not quite….respectable.


Apr 08


FT + Popular114 comments • 7,244 views

#381, 22nd November 1975

The Tammy Wynette original has one of those gimmicks so deathless that every songwriter in Nashville must have wished they’d hit on it first. Connolly’s parody skewers it without sneering at it, and a lot of the spelling-out fun is just carried over from the source. It doesn’t have a great deal of replay value but it makes me smile, which is as much as you can reasonably ask of it.

In a way its gentleness surprises me – Connolly had a playground reputation for unbridled filth, the kind of comedian wicked older brothers would own albums by: I didn’t have an older brother so I never got to confirm or deny it. Surely “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” wasn’t this clean live? Of course he wouldn’t have been allowed any more than the bleeps he gets, but anyhow this works better clean – an affectionate pastiche rather than a dunk in the gutter.

(Write a) Cheque (to) Yourself Before You [REC] Yourself

Do You See + FT3 comments • 546 views

Spanish horror movie [REC] is the second horror film this year to use the video-camera conceit. YOU ARE THERE as our cameraman films all the horror that befalls him, and who thoughtfully considers more about getting a good shot than getting away from the baddies. Still [REC] probably predates Cloverfield so its real antecedent is The Blair Witch Project. I always wondered what happened to the cheapo film revolution Blair Witch was supposed to usher in. I always assumed that the movie companies were so annoyed by TBWP’s ignoring the proper finances and procedures of movie making the studio way that they killed all further stabs at this kind of guerrilla film-making. Or maybe it just took eight years for people to make one which was any good, both of which had significantly more money.

Indeed when you look at the similarities between Blair Witch, Cloverfield and [REC], the genre tricks of the camcorder film come into shaky autofocus.


Apr 08

A Bite of Stars, a Slug of Time, and Thou – Episode 3

FT + Slug of Time Podcast + The Brown WedgePost a comment • 873 views

Alan Trewartha joins Mark Sinker and Elisha Sessions to discuss “Segregationist”, one of Isaac Asimov’s famous robot stories from 1967. Music includes “Nobody Loves a Computer Because a Computer Does Not Dance”, by Computer. Elisha reads from the story in case you haven’t.

Next week – “Beyond the Reach of Storms” by Donald Malcolm

DAVID BOWIE – “Space Oddity”

FT + Popular114 comments • 7,957 views

#380, 8th November 1975

First of all, I was a daydreamy type of boy, and this song should really get a mark or so docked in petty revenge for the several teachers who used “Ground control to Major Tom!” type gags to get my classroom attention. If this seems unfair, just be glad the Dallas theme tune didn’t get to #1.

At the time, I don’t think I’d ever even heard “Space Oddity”. My first memory of it was on a school trip to Wales, where I initially thought “Oh so THIS is what all that was about”, and then I thought, “How mean that Major Tom dies!”. I became a huge Bowie fan a couple of years later but still skipped “Space Oddity” more often than not. So my appreciation of it has always been tinted a little – well, yes, obviously this is an excellent record but…. but…. and the buts never resolve into anything you could defend, but they don’t help you love the song either.


Apr 08

Europop 2008: Group A – Switzerland 1 Turkey 1

FT16 comments • 627 views

Turkey need a win against group leaders Switzerland if they’re not to face an early plane home to Istanbul. Hear the tracks, vote in the poll, and check below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, previews and match reports.

How to vote: Just tick the one you prefer! This poll is open until midday on Monday 21st April.

Switzerland v Turkey: Which do you prefer?

  • Switzerland: Borni 55%
  • Turkey: Goksel 45%

Total Voters: 20

Poll closes: 21 Apr 2008 @ 12:00

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Our Year Of Agatha Christie Covers: 6: Partners In Crime

FT + The Brown Wedge/Post a comment • 795 views

Two this week as last weeks as missed out as I wasn’t here (well I wasn’t on FT much, I was at work). And since we went from terrible late doors Tommy and Tuppence, lets try an old edition of one of their first outings – a short story collection no less called Partners In Crime. I believe there was a whole series of eighties TV T&T adaptations which used that title which you can stumble upon ITV3 every now and then.