Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Found while searching for why they call it the Grauniad...*

This raised a chuckle-

Bruce Arthurs:

Not from the press, but I must admit a fondness for an online comment I came across that said:

"I defiantly need a new thesaurus!"


* Alan at the same site says -

The name "Grauniad" was invented by the satirical weekly Private Eye in an era when the Guardian had a deserved reputation for lax typo control. Like The Daily Telegraph became the Daily Torygraph.

Evening Standard: The Votes Are In...

And the winner is... commercial theatre, according to the Guardian.

A Midsummer Night's Dream on the BBC

Aside from a wonderful speech from Imelda Staunton and Lennie James doing a good job of Oberon despite woeful dialogue, this really was poor. Boring, bland and completely unmagical. And I thought Much Ado had problems.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Theatre Awards

Lisa has brought to our attention the shortlist of the 51st Evening Standard Theatre Awards which includes rightful nominations for what is very possibly the best production I have ever seen: Michael Grandage's Don Carlos.

Seeing the shortlist reminded me I didn't tell you about the TMA Awards I had the honour of attending as I'm a regional panellist (get me and all that!). Sheffield Theatres, with wins for Ian McDiarmud in Lear, Grandage for Don Carlos and Jimmy Akingbola for Blue/Orange, were successful to the point of embarrassment. Which was wonderful.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Reason to be cheerful

David Tennant tops Broadcast Top 100 TV Talent. That's a lot of t's.

The magazine that made the band that changed the way indie kids dressed. Oh and rejuvinated alternative pop music.

Reading the article on the all-new Strokes today made me want to remind everyone just how important they are for alternative pop music today.

Remember 1998-2000? Remember the crap that passed for popular indie music back then? Remember what we wore??!! Jeans you could house a three-generation family under and a hoodie. Stylish. Oasis, Blur and Pulp were dropping off the scene, and in the musical wasteland that ensued (and I'm talking chart indie here, there's always good stuff operating below the radar) emerged nu-metal. How did we let this happen? Linkin Park's 'In The End' was a number 1 hit for goodness sake!

The came The Strokes, and skinny ties were (re)born. Just look how smart indie kids are today - always wearing a suit jacket and white shirt! And a word to Converse - have you ever thanked The Strokes? The huge rise in sales of your All-Stars is ENTIRELY down to them. Musically, they led the 'resurrocktion', as I believe Zane Lowe dubbed it (who, by the way, also owes his job to the Strokes). They paved the way for all the huge indie bands of today and for the fact that rock outsold pop last year. Without the Strokes being big, the White Stripes would never have been big, the Kings of Leons' stupidly young bearded faces would never have graced MTV2 and the Libertines would never have reacted against the American invasion with an album stuffed with glimpses of King Arthur's albion, the Kinks' sunny afternoons and Chas and Dave's... rabbits.

But they couldn't have done it on their own. Even more important than The Strokes is the magazine that made them - NME. Putting some underground, Velvet's-obsessed group from New York on the cover of their magazine after just one single shows how desperate they were to release the world from the grip of nu-metal, and, seeing as though the second single got to No. 16 over here, it's obvious the buying public were getting pretty bored of the Chester Bennington wail too. But it's not just that - the fact is, NME has a monopoly over the taste of the indie-pop youth which verges on brainwash. It wasn't long before the resurrocktion that the Jack White was NME's whipping boy for saying something along the lines of wishing he could have been a black man in the 1930s so he could play the blues properly. How easily we forget. Even writing a song for Coca-Cola can't take away the cool NME has decided he now has.

But maybe the mighty NME's influence is waining - and it's all down to the dear old t'internet. Arctic Monkeys are, apparently, this year's saviour of rock. I think they're pretty boring myself ('you're from Sheffield? Great, me too....'), but try telling that to their 4718 friends on myspace and all those who went out and bought I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor, getting it to number 1. Despite what they might lead you to believe, this had nothing to do with NME, and everything to do with word-of-mouth and internet savviness. The times they are a-changing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The NME Cool List

Wot, no Wainwrights?! There really is no excuse for leaving out 2005's coolest siblings!

Talking of lists, several 'best of the year' lists are forming in my head as we speak... it's far too much fun!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Harry Potty-mouth

**SPOILERS - but you know what happens anyway, don't you?!**

Honestly! You go to see HP4 for a bit of good clean fun, and what do you get? About six 'bloody's and Ron telling Harry to 'piss off'. It really isn't what one expects.

But besides that, I enjoyed it - though I was definitely a minority among my Potter-loving friends. I'm told they left a lot out, which isn't surprising really, seeing as though it's a stupidly long book, and apparently Hermione's transformation wasn't nearly dramatic enough. But, having never read the books, none of that bothered me. All I saw was a thoroughly entertaining, genuinely scary children's film - and believe me, my expectations weren't high after seeing the first movie and being so bored it put me off seeing the following two. And it takes a lot to unimpress me.
I don't think I'm saying anything novel in proclaiming Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, the star, but he really is; great comic timing and incredibly easy to watch, unlike Emma Watson (Hermione) who really is pretty awful. The moment when it becomes clear she wanted Ron to take her to the ball was unexpectedly moving, but for rest of the film I just wanted to throw things at her. Sorry. As for Daniel Radcliffe, he's obviously getting better, bless him, but he suffers from having such an entertaining 'side-kick'.
Ok, so the acting still isn't up to scratch, but I was entertained for the whole 2 1/2 hours, which is an achievement in itself, the effects were truly stunning (a major gripe with the first film) and there was space for David Tennant and Jarvis Cocker. Really, what else does a children's film need?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Welcome To My World

For being utterly wonderful, David (Duff & Nonsense) and Marie (Struggling Author) are now over there <-------------- ie in my 'Favourite Places' list.

A ramshackle collection of blogging related comments

1)I'm not the most efficient blogger, I realise. I post in fits and starts. Most things I talk about are unashamedly pilfered from Lisa. They're generally a good few days old. And the topics are of little interest to few people other than myself.

So when I say that Ms Rullsenberg is my blogging mentor, I don't want her to take offence... but she may have to do some apologising for the fact that she's the main reason I'm still posting. What I'm getting round to saying, is how happy I was that rullsenbergules.blogspot.com got a mention in the Guardian yesterday. Probably more happy than Lisa herself, but if I don't have my enthusiasm what do I have :)

2)The Guardian's obsession with blogging reached a high point this week (that was a very Have I Got News For You opening wasn't it?!) with its 'The New Commentariat' feature. Having read Normblog a number of times, it was interesting to find out a bit more about Norm (or as I, as a Cheers fan, like to call him, NORM!!) himself. It also tempted me back to the site itself, and I have got to say, I was instantly rewarded with a defence of the semi-colon and a Tom Lehrer mention. Fantastic! I was surprised to see, however that comments aren't allowed. Interested to know whether this is common practice, I looked at all the other blogs mentioned in the feature and found that it's the same over at Oliver Kamm's place. Maybe this is because they get so many visitors, though so do, say, Zach Braff and Morgan Spurlock. But, little as I know about the wider blogging world, the comment part of the blog is, to me, the most important, indeed, it is its very point. It's the 'put your money where your mouth is' part, the part which says 'I may be wrong'. Perhaps I'm getting too wound up about this, and someone will perhaps tell me that there's a really simple explanation. But then, that's what the comment function's there for.

That was a bit serious for me now wasn't it?! I need a lie down... :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oh this is just getting freaky...

You're an Indie Pop Kid. You like songs about
relationships and the prettiness of nature.
You're sentimental, but not certainly not emo.
Oh, and if you aren't an English Major, you
should be.

You Know Yer Indie. Let's Sub-Categorize.
brought to you by Quizilla

Backs...slowly...away... :) I'll stop now...

Isn't it despressing how accurate these can be...?!

... not to say I'm not happy with Schroeder, he's been my favourite for years!

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Regretted Unkindness

Shakespeare's Sister asks whether we have an unkindness we reget. (Thanks to Lisa for blogging this)

Just a quick point, my 'confession' is quite silly, but I think it's worth sharing nonetheless.

When I was maybe 7 or so, and my brother about 12, we did something pretty harsh, but, I still think, damn funny. You know how big kids always trash sandcastles they see left on the beach? Well now I realise that the child who built it actually never expected to see it again, but that didn't enter our heads at the time. All we saw was big kid destruction, and we wanted to do something about it. Dish out some instant karma. So, we found one of those incredibly prickly bushes that grow on the beach- a sea holly, say - and built a sandcastle around it.

I'm sorry, but that still makes me laugh.... and I can't say I entirely reget it...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Grandoliquent Dictionary

This may not be required for everyday conversation, but it does rock rather.

abacinate -
To blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone's eyes
dolichocephalic -
Having a head that is longer than it is wide
doytin -
To walk about stupidly
undecillion -
A large number - a one followed by either 36 or 66 zeroes [EITHER?!!]
uxorodespotic -
Tyrranical rulership by one's wife

and so on :)

You know you're a Shakey nut when....

... you bubble with pride every time that French gal scrunches up her face in an 'I can't beat Shakespeare' kinda way in the Renault Clio advert.

Oh dear, I just said that out loud.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A few things

1) Please say someone saw the last episode of Love Soup! What happened?! I saw them all except the last one, which was silly. But why did I even like it? I've no idea. It wasn't praticularly funny... and I know that it's cool to love Tamsin Greig but I'm not even a big fan of her. It was just... really pleasant to watch. And for some reason that was enough.

2) Rory McGrath on Qi. Yes, dear, you're very clever. You're not at all like your They Think It's All Over persona. We get it. But please, for the love of all that is good, understand the premise of the show! Just answering straight away does not make for good tv, and I think Mr. Fry is starting to get annoyed. I won't have that.

3) Last night's Shakespeare Re-Told version of Much Ado About Nothing. Overall, I thought it was a wonderfully enjoyable hour and a half's worth of tv, and if we weren't comparing it to anything (like, one of the best love plays in the English language), then there'd be few complaints. In fact, even though we are, I think you'd have to be looking with an overly-critical eye to give it a complete mauling.
Damian Lewis was, I thought, without a doubt the best thing about the show - he managed to capture the essence of Benedick even though neither he nor Sarah Parish were given a very 'sparky' script. They both did their best with what they were given, but the fact is they should have been given better. Lewis, though, made what he said sound ten times better than it actually was - that's a mark of great acting. How brilliant would he be with Shakespeare's words?! I'd love to find out.
Giving 'Don' a weightier reason for wanting to hurt 'Claude' was an obvious change to make, seeing as though his apparent lack of motivation in the actualy play is often cited as one of it's weaknesses. Sometimes changes like this can seem totally unnecessary - making Chris Ecclestone's Iago a neo-Nazi in the TV version of Othello, for example - but it appeared pretty logical here.
From the words 'kill Claude' onwards, it seemed like a race to get to the end within fifteen minutes, but I don't want to be down on something that, in the end, made me very happy for 90 minutes. But maybe Lewis didn't just make the script seem better, but the whole thing...