Jan 05

“You’re as mad as your mother. And your mother was a lunatic”

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“You’re as mad as your mother. And your mother was a lunatic”

Sure, the staging, direction and cast are all fine. It’s just that By The Bargh of Cahrts is not a well-written play.

I was far from interested in seeing this relocation of the Medea myth to an Irish peat bog. Reviewers have stressed the dodgy Irish accents, although these seemed fine to me, yet failed to mention that it is such a dull, prolix, shouty affair.

Oh, and it’s got Holly Hunter in. And she doesn’t wear a bra for the second act. You’d be well advised to watch The Incredibles, Raising Arizona or Copycat (or any of the many movies where Hunter is great) instead of this sodding mess.

Oct 04

Altered beasts

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Altered beasts

1979 Alien movie: frightening.
1987 Predator movie: engaging.
1989 Aliens vs Predator comic book: exciting.
1994 Aliens vs Predator console game: gripping.
2004 Alien vs Predator movie: APPALLING.

Oct 04

The Great British Spelling Test ITV 9.00pm

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The Great British Spelling Test ITV 9.00pm

Innoculate! Noticable! Cemetary! Foriegn! Ecstacy!

This was a surprisingly enjoyable ninety minutes, spoiled only by the rather annoying talking heads: a selection of ITV newsreaders and representatives of the Apostrophe Protection Society and Simplified Spelling Society. Most amazingly of all, they even managed to generate some sexual tension between the presenters, Gabby Logan and Dr Fox!

Anyone beat 86%?

Oct 04

Sick man of Europe

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Sick man of Europe So a record 1.8 digiviewers tuned into Little Britain last night? A show incorporating:

I’m Alan Partridge-style excessive taped laughter,
– Tired-sounding old catchphrases and unmemorable new ones,
– Vomiting, breastfeeding, spitting, fat suits, more vomiting, filling the gaps where the jokes should have been,
– And Ruth Madoc and Vanessa Feltz!

After weeks BBC cross-media plugging – Jo Whiley a major culprit here – how could this be anything but a disappointment? The only successful outcome of last night’s show was making the subsequent My Life In Film and its feeble Top Gun homage seem half tolerable.

Oct 04

World Match Play goes to Els for record sixth win

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World Match Play goes to Els for record sixth win

Congrats to Ernie Els on his record-breaking win in the World Match Play this afternoon. Els is a great golfer who is as affable as he is talented. I’m with Seve when he reckons “there’s no better player or better guy” to beat his and Gary Player’s previous Match Play record.

For those who aren’t into golf, watching matchplay golf can be more exciting than medal play. The Ryder cup this year was electrifying and there has been some terrific golf at Wentworth this year. First Bernhard Langer bumps the world number one, Vijay Singh, out on Friday only for him to be pipped by John Wark-lookalike Jimenez in the quarter-finals.

Matchplay demands guts and improvisation, which is one of the reasons why Ballesteros excelled, but I wonder whether Padraig Harrington should have thought twice before trying the shot which resulted in him smashing his hand against a tree on the follow-through. Ouch! As a result, “it felt I was hitting with a shovel rather than a golf club.” No surprise then that Els put Harrington out in the semis. Golf is a difficult enough game without having to play with your hand covered in Elastoplasts.

Oct 04

Capital offence

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Capital offence I like Johnny Vaughan. There, I said it. His 2001 sitcom ‘Orrible was hilarious and his BBC3 chat show, Johnny Vaughan Tonight, was excellent. No, really.

But, even amongst the diminishing numbers of Vaughan apologists out there, there can’t be many who find his 95.8 Capital FM breakfast show all that appealling. With Scott Mills – without doubt, the worst DJ who has ever, ever lived – filling in for Moyles on Radio 1 between seven and ten in the morning, I’m led to try Capital’s morning offering. It’s not good. In this week’s Marketing magazine, it’s suggested that the structure of music, news, travel, weather and adverts is too constricting on an expressive, creative comic like Vaughan. This doesn’t seem too wide of the mark.

But surely the main problem is that Capital FM itself is, and always has been, rubbish. Is this really the best independent radio that London can come up with? I mean, have you heard Jezza’s Capital Confessions? He’s no Jack Killian – but he is ‘orrible.

Dec 03


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BLAM! Back home from the pub last night to catch the last fifteen minutes of Sniper (11.25pm, BBC1), a semi-reprehensible Billy Zane vehicle. Olympic marksman BZ, plus Tom ‘Sliver’ Berenger’s Andy McNabb-style marine, travel to Panama to snipe. There’s some stunning slow motion acting but it’s still woeful. And I consider myself a Billy Zane fan!

SWOOSH! Drunkenly stabbing at the remote control’ and then it’s Ed (12.30am, ITV – all regions). Matt LeBlanc, a.k.a. the funny Friend, tries to squeeze out some humour but is hamstrung by the presence of a midget in a chimpanzee costume. Warning: this is a baseball movie. Best to avoid, although it was great to see Crazy Like A Fox’s Jack Warden raising the tone. And I consider myself a Matt LeBlanc fan!

SPLAT! Time to pass out to The Great Chase (1.30am, five). To quote from the local paper; ‘Compilation of the most hair-raising chases in silent films, featuring Douglas Fairbanks Sr and Buston Keaton’. Ten minutes of the elder Fairbanks was more than enough for me. ‘Fairbanks’ outlaw challenges the posse to catch him as he goes to the town for lunch’. Wot a show-off. And I consider myself a fan of compilation movies!

Nov 03

Bring on the Branston, bring on the Branston, bring on the Branston tang!

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Bring on the Branston, bring on the Branston, bring on the Branston tang! Featuring excited pickles on forks and sandwiches singing along with Harry Hill, this must be the best TV advert of the year.

And is it just me or is Harry Hill’s TV Burp his funniest work to date?

And, on the subject of adverts, was that “Mouldy Old Dough” I heard on a recent Playstation “Fun anyone” advert?

Nov 03

Tidying Up Art by Ursus Wehrli

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Tidying Up Art by Ursus Wehrli will be found in the “Humour” section of your local Waterstones, next to horrors such as The Little Book Of Management Bollocks and Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody. Don’t be misled – Tidying Up Art is a masterpiece.

Ursus has invented a way of interpreting art that I’d like to describe as retentive deconstruction. Put simply, he takes famous works of art, and tidies them up. Magritte’s Golconde is tidied into neat rows, becoming a disturbing dole queue. Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles is given a spring cleaning. Bruegel’s tumultuous village square becomes a ghost town. It’s rare to find such a different perspective on art. Now where’s my dustpan and brush?

Nov 03

Adam Faith’s Dream Debased

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Adam Faith’s Dream Debased Two TV treats last night but which to watch? On BBC1: Brian Harvey’s reflections on being given the boot from East 17 in My Worst Week. five topped this with Shaving Ryan’s Privates. FINALLY, an investigation into the spoof pron movie industry. Yes, the most important element of making a movie in this subgenre is a really weak pun: Penetrator 2 (where “come with me if you want to live” becomes “come with me if you like sex”), Whore of the Rings, Trixx, Private Gladiator (not even a pun) etc. Don’t mention the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon spoof.

SRP refrained from descending into the kind of knowing end-of-the-pierism that is, post-Eurotrash, the norm for late night sex progs (cf European Blue Review – very tired). So, good stuff – but an hour long? No need for the on-site report from the plucky Brit making his debut in a mucky version of Cleopatra. He was an idiot. I don’t think it was Brian Harvey though.