Do you find it difficult putting together a political rally? Do you find that your poorly performing football club is losing fans by the thousands and it is hard for you to maintain a general sense of hub-bub in the stands? Do you really like the Spanish word “Olé” poorly enunciated but loudly projected over and over again to what, everyone in my office agreed, was the Olé Olé Olé tune? Well salvation is at hand for you:
I must admit I have always wondered who was singing the Olé Olé Olé tune at many football grounds. more »
Welcome to the second series of The Lost Property Office, in which a guest comes into my office, full of lost items and uses it as a Proustian springboard for the losses and discoveries of their own life. We have waited eight months for the office to restock itself, and there is no end of tat waiting to be discovered.
In today’s episode we start with a bang, a losing story of an international, some may diplomatic scale, and perhaps one which may equally affect you from a political and philosophical point of view. We also briefly talk about hats, and we snub Mel Gibson. My guest is Mark Morris, journalist, film critic and writer of the Disappointing…Yet Brilliant blog which rightly picks Damsels In Distress as one of the films of last year. As ever you can listen to the podcast here or download it from iTunes when it is up, so turn your podcatcher back on.
So the first picture of Michael Fassbender as Frank Sidebottom have appeared on the internet, and the internet is all a kerfuffle. It doesn’t look – right – they say. The eyes aren’t round, the eyebrows have been shifted from Sievey’s perma-surprise to a more reflective, even pair of brows. And real-Frank was more dapper than this movie-Frank. The body language is all off too (but this may not be a film take). Just wait til we hear his voice, possible drifting from the Irish-German lilts that are the Scylla and Charybdis of all of Fassbender’s vocal performances.
But hold on a minute. Do we want this Frank to look just like the real Frank? This is not a case of impersonation, Fassbender is playing a role. more »
(Apologies to Alan from whom some of the ideas here were appropriated.)
Everyone hates Mrs Brown’s Boys – right? Everyone finds it bizarre that this sitcom with a dragged up old Irish Mammy is such a big hit, and such a big hit in a post-watershed BBC1 fashion, with a spin-off celebrity gameshow in the works.
But why does “everyone”, for which read quite clearly not everyone, hate it? When discussing it people often bring up Miranda as well, another seemingly old fashioned sitcom – down to its “You Have Been Watching” tag. Other instant reasons to hate both are their laugh track (or actually live studio audience) and a breaking of the fourth wall where in both sitcoms the lead often telegraphs the laughs straight to the (present) audience.
I have seen some pretty strong invective against both, which reminds me of much of the lower level of critical discussion around pop and rock music, where the opening gambit is to use the word HATE. When people drill down on their kneejerk hate, the reason is not always easy to pinpoint. We may fall back on phrases like something being derivative, lazy or unexciting. If we are really lucky we can try to construct a straw man of offensiveness: potentially it is implicitly racist, anti-working class and there must be something that covers our overall discomfort with drag. Of course we are allowed to say “it isn’t funny” but clearly plenty of people think it is. What should say is “I didn’t find it very funny”, but that isn’t very useful critically. more »
Online Dating is a minefield. Once you have identified a potential date, or received a message from an interested suitor, how do you contact them? What do you say, how formal should you be? Picking the tone is very difficult, let alone knowing what kind of conversational gambit to employ. Well luckily help is at hand from the forties, and in particular a correspondence relationship between Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton in They Knew What They Wanted. Here is the response from Lombard’s character Amy to the initial message from Laughton’s astonishing Italian caricature*
There has been an increase in debate about the brightness of cinema screens recently, raised by Peter Jackson filming The Hobbit in 48 frames per second. Its an attempt to counter the dramatic light loss you get when for some reason you have to wear dark glasses in the cinema. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to wear plastic glasses in the cinema, but as mentioned elsewhere the 3D world doesn’t work for me so there is no point getting 3D in the cinema. Anyway the reactions to 48 fps have not been altogether favourable, though Peter Jackson suggesting its like when CD’s took over from vinyl certainly isn’t helping (its not). I have an interest in a bright, well projected image, all cinema-goers do. But I bring it up because it obscures the true bright screen menace in the modern cinemas.
Yesterday I went to the BFI to see a couple of films in their January Screwball series. (With two balls in my pocket for every screening obviously). The first was Twentieth Century*, a Hawks comedy where John Barrymore hams it up to an extraordinary level, but the plot never quite matches the tempo of its leads (I also thought Carole Lombard was underused). It was the first time I had seen it, and like many a screwball comedy it requires a degree of concentration to follow the rat-a-tat dialogue. Concentration which was broken by the woman in the seat next to me whipping out her iPhone and taking a photo of the screen. And then doing it again. She then observed my micro-tuts and disapproving posture and put it away. Later in the film, someone in the seat infront of me did the same. ANd then my neighbour did it one more time. more »
Its that time of year again where Christ has been massed, and New Years Eve has yet to dawn (before it eves). Which means it is the 29th December and the FT between Christmas & New Year Pub Crawl again. And this year its in Clerkenwell. Which was up and coming years ago, but has now up and come and then settled down into being a little bit pretentious, but on the whole rather nice. We will be skirting Clerkenwell Green, nipping past Mount Pleasant and going to a number of lovely pubs, many of which will be closed.
They are all architecturally interesting and serve a decent pint (or whatever you are drinking). Its between Christmas and New Year, it’ll be quiet and you’ll have escaped your families so come out for some fun.
The order is
3pm: Craft Beer Co.
4pm Betsy Trotwood
4.45pm The Horseshoe
5:30pm: The Three Crowns – I mean Kings
6.15pm: The Sekforde Arms
7:15pm: Exmouth Arms
8pm The Wilmington Arms
9pm The Pakenham Arms
All timings are approximate and of course, at least one of the pubs will be shut anyway…
So farewell then The Dandy (Sort of). Publisher of generally not as good strips as the Beano. Home for many a waif and/or stray from Beezer, Topper, Whizzer and/or Chips. A rag which saw limitless comic potential in a man who eats cow pies and has difficulty shaving. It seems that there is no longer the desire for Korky The Cat’s sub-Krazy Kat antics, and one fears for character whose names are often coincidental with their sole character trait. My initial thought was that someone had caught up with the non-PC border conflict of The Jocks And The Geordies, or that someone had finally worked out the not well hidden gag in Winker Watson’s name. But both of these strips ended some time ago to be replaced by things which sound at least as good if not better. Who isn’t vaguely interested by Tiny’s Temper (about a boy and his anthropomorphised temper) or want to live in a world with a Pre-Skool Prime Minister*.
Selling 8000 copies a week at £1.99 probably isn’t enough to bankroll the publication. There is another way to get some money though. Back in the 80′s, there was a strip in The Dandy called Peter’s Pocket Grandpa. Perhaps I remember it well because I’m called Peter and kids remember that sort of thing (ask any kid called Dennis). It wasn’t a particularly good strip, as was the way with the Dandy. It involved a kid, Peter, whose grandfather had shrunk** and thereafter got into scrapes, usually involving the neighbour’s cat trying to eat him. Never a highlight of the Dandy, it did run for a long time. So much so that what I saw Grandpa In My Pocket I was surprised that nowhere in the credits was it mentioned that it was based on Peter’s Pocket Grandpa.
Grandpa In My Pocket is a CBeebies kids TV show, staring Likely Lad/Grandad James Bolam. It involves a kid, Jason Mason, whose grandfather had shrunk** and thereafter got into scrapes, usually involving the neighbour’s cat trying to eat him (possibly not the case). So its more Jason’s Pocket Grandpa, and the adventures seem more whimsical. But it is basically the same idea. So why haven’t DC Thompson, publishers of the Dandy, gone after the BBC? Well I don’t know how easy it is to copyright a premise for a show, and there are a couple of core differences. But another reason was pointed out by Tom when discussing this earlier.
Perhaps DC Thompson were less keen on going to court with regards to comics rights, when their own character, Peter, which with the Pocket Grandpa’s full name just happened to be Peter Parker.
Freaky Trigger has been going since 1999, almost the exact amount of time the Sugababes have existed. Like the Sugababes it has had many incarnations, from breathless multi-column blog, to the more sedate affair you see right now. But through all of its hiatuses, breakdowns and breakups, both Freaky Trigger and the Sugababes have survived. Of course we would see them as a kindred spirit. Of course they are elemental to us.
Almost certainly a victim of the great Haloscan comment purge of 2005, a request has come to nudge the Popular Comments Crew to chat about some tracks which have already appeared in Popular, but no longer have any conversation. And Wichita Lineman suggested this Sandie Shaw favouriteof which Tom said, back in January 2005, “it’s hard to get a great Bacharach song wrong. But it’s hard to get one exactly right, too.”
Pete Baran: Half formed opinions on everything, three quarter formed opinions on film so that's my main topic of discussion. Started Pumpkin State and Pumpkin Pubs in 2000 which got incorporated in a Great News For All Our Readers style in 2004 into Freaky Trigger.