Thursday, July 27, 2006

Becstar, The Fuzz and I won't enjoy this at all, oh no....

This, as in this. No, I won't enjoy it, I'm not already looking forward to it, I'm not sorting out my outfit months early, I'm not thinking about whether we'll get to meet him, and what I'd say, and what he'd say, and whether Julian'd be there....


No, I'm barely thinking about it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Story of Light Entertainment - Double Acts

Good job this was so comprehensive (that can, to some extent, be read as 'long') because for those of us interested in tv there wasn't a whole lot of new information - Eric and Ernie didn't originately want to share a bed on national tv? Well I never.... But it was a decent summing-up exercise, and Stephen Fry could read the phone book (maybe he will) and I'd listen. Good to have the story brought up to date with Ant and Dec and Vic and Bob, too, though they did miss a trick not mentioning the Boosh (oh yes, them again) who are the true successors to 'talking heads' double acts like Pete and Dud. There's a genuine connection, they love to make each other laugh and, importantly, Vince and Howard are - as Noel Fielding has pointed out - essentially Noel and Julian Barratt 'plus ten percent'. Instead, they seemed to suggest that this particular line of succession ends at Little Britain, but I'm not sure that's right. It's a sketch show which happens to have just two regulars... but I'm biased, I guess. :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

David Walliams for BBC Sports Personality of the Year?

He's in 3rd place in the betting at the moment, and goodness knows he deserves it more than most of our under-achieving, over-paid "professionals".

*Hyperventilates*

Do you think this might just suit me? Just the five and a half grand to find then....

The Sparklies

Oh bless those david-tennant.commers. Who else would set up a Doctor Who poll in which Best Tie, Best Use of Glasses and Best Ruffle (of the hair) are placed alongside the usual categories? It's actually all a great re-cap of those little moments which made the series - especially some great quotes.

Coolest Man In The World, nomination #2

Wayne Coyne was the first one, and he's still impossibly cool, obviously, but now I've finally *got* Bill Nighy -

about two years after most people, admittedly. He was on Richard and Judy yesterday and he really was the funniest, most charming interviewee I've seen in a long long time.

And he pulls off those glasses in a way I thought only Mr. Folds:

and Mr. Tennant were able....


So all hail Bill Nighy and his film saving ability (see Love Actually and Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy among others). Perhaps go see Stormbreaker, which promises to be a classy, high concept British film - and that can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mercury Music Prize Nominations

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas
Editors - The Back Room
Guillemots - Through The Windowpane
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
Hot Chip - The Warning
Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
Sway - This Is My Demo
Thom Yorke - The Eraser

I'm not even sure I can be bothered. It'll only sound exactly the same as last year.

Folk? Check. (Lou Rhodes)
Jazz? Check. (Zoe Rahman)
Old timers? Check. (Richard Hawley, Scritti Politti)
Urban artist? Check. (Sway)
Mainstream indie? Check. (Arctic Monkeys, Editors, Muse, Thom Yorke)
Left-field indie? Check. (Guillemots, Hot Chip)
Dubious semi-American album? Check. (Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan)

Oh it's all there, isn't it? I like Guillemots, but they haven't got a chance so I'm throwing my support behind Arctic Monkeys. I know I've not been their biggest supporter in the past (ahem) but it's the ridiculous hype I had a problem with, not them and I reckon they've earned it. I don't care about the lyrics - I live in Doncaster, I know what it's like - but when they put their efforts into the tune (I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor, A Certain Romance) instead of trying to be clever-clever (Scummy Man, The View From The Afternoon) they can often come up with something verging on special.

Yo, Readers!

Haha. Sorry for lack of blogging - heat, work and no Doctor Who are all conspiring against me, but the Mercury Music Prize nominations come out today so I'm sure I'll have a word or two to say about that...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive

This new show on BBC3 certainly is "Rob Brydon's" who seems to be making a living out of playing different versions of himself. But that's no bad thing - he happens to be rather good at it. For anyone who missed it, RB's Annually Retentive is a show in which we see parts of a fake, derivative tv game show called Annually Retentive, and the backstage processes (again, clearly, made up) which go into making it. Basically, it allows Rob Brydon to say very nasty things about celebrities he actually really likes and, apparently, a few he doesn't like at all, but whom he suspects will think he actually *does* like, because he's said such nasty things about them. Simple really. It was a lot of fun, and will, I think, get better as the various guests get to do more - last night it was all about Brydon despairing at the crass games nicked from other tv shows ("I'm like the game show Fagin") but now that's set up, more comedy will presumably have to come from interactions with the panelists.

What was interesting, was that the game show was played completely straight - ie, the guests, especially David "Peep Show" Mitchell, were allowed to be as funny as they genuinely would be, even on this terrible programme. Funny people are funny people. Also great, was the difference we see between the Rob Brydon in the boardroom, who has no problem saying exactly what he thinks of the format and potential guests, and the Rob Brydon in the make-up room with the pannellists. "Think more Qi, and less 8 Out Of Ten Cats" he says to Mitchell, not believing it for a second.

EDIT: By the way, there's a review over at the Off The Telly blog (scroll down just a tad), which also tells us that episodes 1 and as-yet-unaired-2 are available on the BBC3 website. So go have a look.

Which came first?

Hopefully you're all aware of the wonderful author Jasper Fforde and his equally wonderful novels based on Special (literary) Agent Thursday Next. They're great fun, and massively clever, and a bookworm's dream. Anyway, Mr. Fforde was doing the rounds of book signings and talks a couple of years ago, and I went along. When I asked him to sign the book to 'Anna', he said 'Oooh palindromic! Do you come from a family of palindromes?', to which I had to answer no, but maybe I'll start a trend.

Skip to now, and the paperback release (I'm a fan, but still a student!) of The Big Over Easy. I get to Chapter 7 and what do I find? Otto Tibbit and his family of palindromes. Of course, the idea had probably been swimming around in his head for ages and hadn't managed to squeeze it into the Thursday Next books... but I like to pretend I inspired him :)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Just like Yvonne, do your duty...

...and vote in the National TV Awards 2006! (via david-tennant.com)

Steve Coogan Chases The Yankee Dollar

Yup, Coogan and his Baby Cow production company have signed a two year deal with NBC which means the development of new shows, but it also seems that many will be re-made. An American Nighty Night? Yankee Boosh? Apparently they're both on the cards. Hmmm. It'll be fun to see 'em try, at any rate.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

P.D.T.

That's Post-Doomsday Trauma to you. I'm not the only one who suffered... Other casualties include:

Saint Maverick
Repent Sinners
Aurora
Codecattx
Nekare
Lady1raven

All donations gratefully received.

Doomsday Take II

Ok, let's do this.

Was it any good? I'm not sure I'm really the one to ask. Bridges blown up? Cybermen vs. Daleks? Jackie and Pete meeting 20 years after his death? Everything being sucked into a diabolical void? Nothing affected me. My viewing was completely subsumed by the knowledge that Rose was leaving; it coloured everything. I could see all this incredible, epic stuff, but none of it meant anything. It's only now that I can start to analyse it with any clarity, and as much as we all want to avoid the problems - because both Billie and Rose deserved a perfect departure - there were undoubtedly a few, and I'd rather get them over and done with.

First, the reliance on His Dark Materials. This was blatant, persistent and, unless I missed any direct references, unacknowledged. Having Rose and the Doctor separated into different universes with no possibility of a reunion was completely justified; the parallel world had already been introduced, and, as RTD said in Confidential, this was the only way of getting Rose to leave the Doctor without killing her. But there was so much else - the 'radiation' (Dust), everything being sucked in unless the rip is closed and never re-opened, looking through the specs (the amber spyglass) to see that radiation. It was just too much, and that was a real shame.

The Doctor watching as Rose is swept away. Now, this was a problem that really couldn't be solved. I know that the Doctor couldn't essentially commit suicide to try and save Rose, that the Doctor has been through this before, that he had to stay and close the breach to save an entire world. But that doesn't mean I wasn't absolutely desperate for him to let go and try and save the life of the woman he so evidently loves.

So that's the bad stuff out of the way. Onto the good.

This was the darkest episode yet - forget The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit - this made my stomach churn in a rather unpleasant manner. Seeing all those Cybermen in people's homes... urgggh; it made me shudder, and I always thought the Cybermen were a bit rubbish.

The comedy. Don't ask me to remember specific lines, I was in no position to take anything in properly, but I do remember the odd chuckle - which were, of course, desperately needed. Catherine Tate's little cameo was a massive relief too. Her writing may be woeful, but she's a delightful comic actress, so The Runaway Bride is something to look forward to.

And finally - what else - Billie and David, Rose and the Doctor. Our DT's not quite been the Doctor we hoped he would be, but this episode showed what we've known all along - that if would just calm down a little, he'd show the world that he's one of the finest actors we've got. The look on his face as he leant his head against the wall... well, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. He didn't need to cry to show us what this meant, just an expression that conveyed utter desolation, as though his very soul (daemon?) had been ripped out. He could have played the rest of the series with a limp and I would still forgive him. That look was incredibly special. As for Billie, well she was as brilliant as she has been all through the two series she has graced, enriched, improved. Passionate and inconsolable, she was the perfect foil to DT's quietly broken Doctor. The whole separation scene was bravely shot too, giving the viewers a good four or five minutes of nothing but reaction to the separation.

So it wasn't the perfect ending that we wanted, but we've come so far with Rose that it was probably impossible. They got their final goodbye and Rose got to say that she loved him, which probably meant more to her than hearing it being said back. Freema's got one hell of an act to follow.

Dean's 25 lines

Luckily our tastes are scarily similar, so I've actually got a few this time! Go have a look.



Still not ready for Doctor Who. Give me time, dammit! ;)


EDIT: The comments won't load for me! It just keeps loading and loading.... so I'll do it from here.
5) Ben Folds, Late
14) Divine Comedy, Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World? That could be wrong actually...
16) Ben Folds Five, Song For The Dumped
19) Divine Comedy, Sticks and Stones
23) Hallelujia - Is it Rufus? Probably not, but I'll mention him at any given opportunity

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Doomsday

Sorry guys... still feel vaguely sick. I'll do it in the morning.

*post-Rose hug*

The Divine Comedy + Bell X1, Somerset House - 6/7/06

I haven't done a proper review-type post for a while, so here goes.

There are some nights which just call out for beautiful music and the 6th July in London town was one of those nights. Clear skies, a cool breeze after days of blistering heat, and the grand but intimate surroundings of Somerset House - everything was in place for a stunning gig, the only left which could disappoint was the music. But on this night, there was no chance. The Divine Comedy put on such a good show that it'd be easy for me to skip straight onto the moment Neil Hannon came strutting onto the stage, shades on, mic in hand... but that would be to do the support act, Bell X1 a complete disservice.

Perpetually on the brink of The Big Time, Irish band Bell X1 do guitar power pop that should, if there were any justice, be being played to death on Radio 1 right about now. Perhaps luckily, though, they've yet to reach those dizzy heights, and are instead happily chugging along with a massively loyal fanbase who tonight sing every word back at lead singer Paul Noonan, who jerks around the stage in a suit sharp enough to make Mr. Hannon jealous. They are, undoubtedly, at their best when they're bashing out an up-tempo stomper, but unfortunately the shadow of former frontman Damien Rice remains, and all too often they 'take it down', and lapse into acoustic mediocrity. It's not terrible by any means, but a shame when you know they can write a song as stunning as Flame - which should have got them that top 10 hit and is an anthem of Take Me Out proportions.

And so onto the headliners. When the builders of Somerset House were putting the finishing touches to this stately building, they probably weren't entirely aware that what they had just created was the perfect venue for the Divine Comedy to play in 200 years time, but that indeed was the case. Neil Hannon, now writing alone but joined by a regular group of musicians when on tour, is the epitome of louche, dignified cool, and as he comes down the stairs onstage, the smile on his face shows us that he knows he's come home. He may be NME's undeserved whipping boy, but to the audience tonight he's clearly a hero, and the opening track, To Die A Virgin, is greeted with cheers normally reserved for an old favourite despite it only being available for a few weeks on the new album Victory For The Comic Muse. But then its hardly surprising, because this is a song that could easily become a setlist regular - funny, clever, as always, and with a horn section to die for. In fact, many of the highlights came from the new album, especially A Lady Of A Certain Age, which sympathetically describes the twilight years of a former starlet. There was plenty to please old fans too, though, with Generation Sex, National Express, Something For The Weekend, a rousing version of Charge. On the last tour, DC surprised and entertained fans with an ingenious cover of the Queens Of The Stone Age hit No One Knows, but this was at least matched by the inclusion of a bit of Nelly Furtado's Maneater into tonight's proceedings. Surely only Neil can bring class to the lines 'She's a maneater, make you buy cars, make you cut cards'.

So the setlist was great and Hannon was in fine voice (the falsetto was spot on every time), but somehow tonight was about more than just the music. What made the gig so special was how evident it was that Hannon loved every single second, and all us gig-goers know that that there's nothing more fulfilling. Every day we are affected by the music that some distant genius has created, and seeing that, just for once, we've had a positive effect on that very person - it's a beautiful thing. A little bit of that debt has been repaid. When Neil Hannon beams, and evidently humbled, says 'I'm so happy... You're my friends, aren't you?', well, it's hard not to feel a just a little proud.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Photos to whet your appetite....

...of The Divine Comedy at Somerset House yesterday. Full report to come; summarised version = stunning.
Pictures courtesy of Paul at ilikegigs.net

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shhhh.....

Someone's revealed the new Doctor Who companion; and while it wasn't the lovely MediumRob, he has given a few clues, and a link to where you can find out. As for me, I'll be avoiding the papers tomorrow, and keeping my eyes and ears firmly shut, until 7.45 this Saturday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Boosh news

And lots of it, from Susan - fans' link to Messers. Barratt and Fielding. It's all in the link at the start of this post, but here's some mouth-watering highlights...

"Despite there not being an official Boosh tour til late next year, there will almost certainly be a few fan club gigs... "

"Live DVD out around November - already edited"

"3rd series filmed next year - out next summer"

"Also saturday night live type thing going (probably after 3rd series)" -
the question I asked Susan to ask; cos I know they've mentioned wanting to do this sort of thing in interviews.

"Hoping to get a record deal to release a single and make a music video"


Well all that should keep us happy for a while.

Army of Ghosts

I didn't watch it.

You think I'm joking, but it's true. The brightest sporting talent in the UK whoopping (sp?!) Roddick's ass will not be repeated on BBC3 this evening at 7pm...

"I'm hard-working and reliable..."

According to the Guardian, more and more people are being offered jobs and promotions off the back of their blogs. So if anyone happens to be reading who needs a little writer's caddy to hold the pens, a hand with all those freelance commitments , or just can't keep up with the demands of TV Today *and* their own blog, please be aware that I'm efficient, eager to learn and... erm.... punctual.

;) Heehee.