Apr 09

Rob Emo Watch (Return!)

FT///2 comments • 295 views
cropped hunter

i wasn’t really watching closely enough to make this an actual real REW, but tonight’s ep of robin h. featured LOLLARDRY! (or at least wycliffism)

UPDATE: didn’t think properly about this last night — robin is set in the reign of king richard (and john?), c.200 years before wycliffe’s translation of the bible into english: the plot point was that such translation was HERESY, which it was in john’s reign: in 1199 pope innocent iiI forbade unauthorised versions in the wake of the cathar and waldensian movements (which lollardry is loosely linked with); prior to this translation hadn’t been considered problematic — the venerable bede made a partial translation, and there’s also the wessex gospels, from c.990

Mar 09

Complex Semiotics of Music Videos, Pt. Zzzzzz

FT/17 comments • 1,136 views

Music videos: what a pile of shit, eh? Well, not always, obviously but more often than not they’re a cheap set of cliches thrown together for a song that’s not that far off that description and generally rubbish and boring, the only distractions being that someone might be writhing around sexily somewhere in the background.

There’s not a lot I could say about them that hasn’t been said before, particularly in terms of gender politics and yet sometimes, whilst I’m lying prone on my parents’ settee wondering why this time of the morning has to exist and watching 4Music, I’m gripped by an urge to rage and by about 11pm this rage occasionally takes on textual shape and form.


Mar 09

Format swap: Heston’s Feasts versus Big Cook Little Cook

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I’ve noticed many people saying the only thing wrong about the crazy world of the Heston’s Feasts series has been the celeb diners making their inane comments. So yes, the format is great — a talented man’s fabulous cooking inspired by myth, fable and history — but the guests he’s cooking for are (mostly) rubbish.

I’ve not, so far, seen people making the complementary complaint about cBeebies ‘Big Cook, Little Cook’. A long description of the show can be found on an old post on Richard Herring’s blog, but in short the eponymous cooks have to cook for a character from nursery rhymes or fairy tales (Snow White, Old Macdonald). The problem is that as a show meant to inspire children to cook, the options are limited to recipes involving mashing together cottage cheese, crushed up crackers, toast and food colouring, with specially shaped-cutters (stars, fish, etc) to theme it up a bit.


Mar 09

Quite a Lot of Static…

Do You See + FT5 comments • 218 views

FM (Wednesdays, ITV2, yes ITV2) is a very odd little concept, but kind of works, I think?

So you get 20 minutes of him off the IT crowd and her off of teachers doing pretty standard “embarrassment and swearing” comedy set in a thinly-veiled Xfm clone and it kind of works cos chris o’dowd is good at that sort of thing, and the script is a bit obvious but has some decent set-ups and one-liners and visually it’s pretty decent, not unlike Nathan Barley but without the vicious, crippling evil that made NB so wonderful.

But then, because he’s an indie DJ at an indie radio station you get five minutes of the guillemots or the wombats playing a song “in session” in the studio whilst the characters occasionally talk over the top of it. It’s really weird. Really really weird. It’s not like in, eg The Young Ones where a band would suddenly appear for no reason, clearly the production company has thought about this and sold these slots (and it appears future bands include Ladyhawke and The Subways) as a way of increasing their income stream. And, they’ve even monetarised the playlists of the music in the show, with handy click-throughs to 7digital so you can buy what you’ve heard…

Feb 09

Law & Order: OK

FT5 comments • 369 views

Last night saw the first episode of Law & Order:UK, a British version of a US television programme! I couldn’t remember this sort of cross-ocean event ever having happened before in the history of entertainment so your intrepid telly reporter here thought she’d give it a whirl. Plus it had Martha from Doctor Who in it.


Jan 09

I didn’t even know her!

Do You See + FT//1 comment • 939 views

Krister HenrikssonHaving read the late Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (a ponderous Swedish whodunit filled with frozen countrysides, casual sex and endless cups of coffee) I found that as usual I had my finger on the caffeinated, Scandinavian pulse of the zeitgeist. For what did I find on BBC Four the very night I finished it but wall-to-wall Wallander – a whole slew of shows dedicated to Henning Mankell’s enormously popular police procedural novels.

To my great enjoyment, these included a couple of Swedish TV movies – with subtitles and everything! There was an ulterior motive, however. It was all a lead-in, a softening-up, to get me hooked on BBC One’s English adaptation of the books – starring Kenneth Branagh as the titular Swede.


Dec 08

How to shoot down someone who outdrew ya

Do You See + FT/10 comments • 1,121 views

(This entry crossposted with Blackbeardblog.)

It’s certain that Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” will be the Christmas #1. But which version? PR Media Blog reports on a Facebook campaign to put Jeff Buckley’s version at #1 instead of the version by X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

The blog post sets up the battle as old v new media, but also as the manipulative hand of S.Cowell vs “the people”. A quick Twitter search for “Hallelujah” seems to back this up. “Stop X-Factor getting to number 1, buy Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah”. “Buckley’s is still my favourite version of Hallelujah and this fact will not do me any favours.” “attention pundits: Stop mis-interpreting “Hallelujah”. It is not about redemption. Nor is it a song of Hope.”

Though other notes are being struck: “Oh I loved the hallelujah song”. “did not follow X-Factor but has just listened to Hallelujah and choked up a bit.” The reactions – whichever version they favour – suggest that the pop critic Mike Barthel was right when, in his excellent 2007 paper on the song, he described its appeal as lying in its intimacy – it’s a song that, however mainstream it becomes, always feels like a personal discovery to its fans.


Nov 08

Bottleneck at Capel Curig…

Do You See + FT + Pumpkin Publog////6 comments • 673 views

tom cruise looks a bit like neil morrissey here...

Neil Morrissey’s Risky Business, the everyday tale of celeb beer brewing (and how peed off must Richard Fox be that he’s not in the title?) might be exactly the sort of programme you’d expect us here at FT to be interested in, and we are, but mainly due to our EXCITING CAMEO in said programme! In programme two about 35 minutes in, a focus group is used and there, holding forth on the palatability of their brew is Pete, with me sitting silently (in the clip anyway) behind him.

The important thing to note about the Morrissey-Fox Blonde is that it may be the most tasteless ale I’ve ever had. It makes Discovery taste like Westmalle Triple, it’s about half a step above tap water in the complexity stakes. Before arriving at the focus group (which we knew was being filmed but not why) I had two theories, either it was going to be some sort of celeb beer or that it was ALCOHOL-FREE ALE and for about the first five minutes I honestly thought it was the latter, it has that slight bready taste you get from kaliber.


Sep 08

“Stephen, what do you think of the whole man love thing?”

FTPost a comment • 214 views

Amanda Hamilton just asked of Stephen Gately on live sunday morning telly. Excellent stuff there.

(The context of the question, best forgotten, sadly is from plugging an unusually shit and unncecessary book by a DJ of similar qualities.)

Sep 08

Let’s make our way to the Garden of the Night

Do You See + FT8 comments • 2,321 views

I’ve talked about In The Night Garden – one of the BBC’s current flagship childrens’ programmes – enough in the pub to justify a post focusing on it and its strange cosmology. The show is produced by Ragdoll, who are staggeringly wealthy thanks to the international success of Teletubbies. As FT coding guru Alan has pointed out, ITNG combines the ‘tubbies ethos – lots of nonsense talk, buckets of repetition, basic characters in a cosily unreal environment – with a heavy dose of old school, Oliver Postgate style Kids’ TV. The show’s “Pontipines”, for instance, are tiny clothes peg people who emerge from their tiny house to scuttle and squeak in a way that’s directly reminiscent of Bagpuss‘ mechanical mice.