alexsarll: (pangolin)
Very nearly went a whole calendar month without seeing any gigs there, which is most uncharacteristic. Just managed to avert that on January 31st, courtesy of Desperate Journalist at the Monarch, whose Friday nights were once Nuisance &c, and are now hip hop nights for tiny children in very few clothes. It was well Polanski. The next night, Joanne Joanne at the Dublin Castle, which has not changed, nor is it ever likely to; and since then, Gene covers at Nuisance and the newly-expanded Soft Close-Ups. Which is to say, I'm back in the swing. Earlier gigs I never got round to writing about include Dream Themes in Kiss make-up, the McDonalds (who are apparently not a novelty band), or Untitled Musical Project's drummer having some kind of meltdown at their comeback show. Alexander's Festival Hall have gone pleasingly 'el, and [ profile] exliontamer's third band, Violet Hours, make the best musical use of 'The Waste Land' I've heard since the late nineties, when it was incorporated into one of the few bits of DJ mixing I've ever appreciated.
I've also been to more Daylight Musics than usual. Somewhat to my surprise, it really suited the Penny Orchids - when they're a little quieter, in a much bigger space, the nuances of the sound get much more room to affect, especially when [ profile] hospitalsoup takes lead vocals for the first time I've seen in far too long. The festive Festivus show was also a joy but, as ever with Daylight Music, you don't half get some odd stuff turning up on the bills. When it's a man playing Philip Glass on the massive organ, that's a joy. But it might equally be someone like We Used To Make Things, a large band who are half brilliant (a suave brass section, a black Rosie the Riveter with an almost holy voice) and half terrible (four Mumfords, one played by Robert Webb, plus a singer who appears to be the horrible result of the realisation that Bobby Gillespie = Bee Gee).

Aside from gigs, there's been X-Wing and arm-wrestling, brunch and - most of all - Bruges. Which really is, as a wise man once observed, a fairytale fucking town. Some of its sillier museums (plus the one thing we wanted to see while changing trains in Brussels) were closed due to our visit being slightly too off-season, but we could still see the Belfort and the Bosch, canals and churches, the windmills and cormorants guarding the perimeter from the modern day. It's remarkable how it can be so mediaeval and yet still alive; you'll see a wall decorated with memorial medallions, assume they're all centuries-old, then look at the dates and realise that while some are, others come up to the 1990s. Yet still the continuity and style are maintained. In that sense it feels far less stuck in its own past than an ossified city-that-was such as Paris. I can also see exactly why they're filming Wolf Hall there; accordingly, it made for the perfect holiday read. But of all its strange and marvellous sights, the most remarkable must be the Michaelangelo sculpture. Not because it made its way outside Italy in his lifetime, but because it's a woman who actually looks like a woman. Madness.

Viewing: Anchorman 2 and Hobbit 2 are both much what you'd expect from their predecessors, and of course that works better for the former than the latter, which is still fundamentally a mess. There's simply too much happening, and too much of that jars with the original story even if it's ostensibly part of the same world. The abiding impression is of those stories which, in trying to make the most of a shared universe, instead simply draw attention to its cracks, and leave you wondering why Superman doesn't sort out all those non-powered crooks in Gotham. On the other hand, I also watched the first American Horror Story and while that's likewise wildly overstuffed with characters and incidents, the effect is much less queasy - simply because they were always conceived as parts of the same whole in the way the Necromancer and comedy dwarves so clearly weren't.
alexsarll: (bernard)
Snow again, and I've not posted since the last bout, in which I got to cross St James' Park by twilight. It's not my favourite London park, but that little chalet by the lake does look ludicrously idyllic when the weather's this Alpine. I was there in between my inaugural visits to the museums Petrie (dry) and Grant (terrifying), and Parliament, where I was headed mainly to see Paddy Ashdown talk. And good heavens, he's still full of fire. I miss him.

So I went to see a Tarantino film in the cinema, which I've never done before (and it was Dalston Rio, where I've never been before, but which is rather nice, isn't it?). Django Unchained is neither as thorough an explanation of the monstrousness of slavery, nor as gloriously OTT an exploitation romp, as Spartacus: Blood and Sand and its successor series. But it is pretty fine nonetheless, and oh, those landscapes looked magnificent on the big screen. Some - including Charlie Brooker, whom you would have hoped might know better - have complained that this isn't historically accurate, simply because it's not a tediously worthy slog, but the only time I found myself unconvinced by it was when they were discussing business at the table, with a lady present. Really? Beyond that, I think this is the most plausible South I've ever seen on screen. Interesting, too, to see Christoph Waltz, the link to Quentin's previous not-quite-history film, and wonder if his part as the Good German here was by way of an apology; certainly his last line was ventriloquising Tarantino.
Less seriously: Will Ferrell and the weird guy from The Hangover in The Campaign, a very silly film which, like Django, is far better on a serious issue (here the dirtiness of US politics) than an entire awards ceremony's worth of more desperately serious films on the same topic. It even has the alarming stuff liable to upset some viewers (warning: contains scenes of pug distress). Plus, it is clearly a love letter to Trading Places.

Comedy: Ben Van Der Velde was a bit too Mission for me (Dave Gorman, so much to answer for - that structure really is the bane of Edinburgh shows), but James W Smith did very well considering his planned show about whether he was ready for kids was derailed by the fact that yes, he's now expecting one ready or not! And admitting that to strangers 12 weeks into the pregnancy = very brave. Given which, you could forgive the show being rather unformed - much like the baby at this stage, I guess.

Gigs: I've seen a fair few acts I've seen before and they were still jolly good, but the news is the venues. Like: the Water Rats is returned to us! And still has one of the same bar staff. Like: there's a half-decent venue just across Finsbury Park from me, and how come nobody I know has played there before? Or clubwise, the basement of Aces and Eights, which is just like all those basement venues we used to go to which I thought had all been tidied up and sold off. Pubwise, the Catford Bridge Tavern - a proper old pub, and I am much more likely to forgive the pint of cider I ordered being off if it is one of five draught ciders rather than the only bloody one.

Also, we completely owned the Monarch's Doctor Who quiz, even in the face of a BBC Worldwide team and other pro geeks. Result.
alexsarll: (magnus)
Lots of films I put off writing up, from the tail end of my Lovefilm trial (like some sort of hippy judge, I always acquit) and elsewhere. Like Berlin Express, a flagwaver about Nazi plotting in the rubble of postwar Berlin. Our Heroes include representatives of the four Allied powers, and the Good Germans - can they all work together to deal with the threat? Of course they can, leading to an ending which I think would have been outdated by the film's 1948 release, and is bleakly hilarious now, where the American and the Russian say friendly farewells in front of their respective compatriots. So with hindsight we know that the heroic Yank nutritionist is going to be ruined by McCarthy, and the stolid but brave Russian will die in Stalin's terror. Oh, and there's a traitor, too. I wouldn't spoiler it but, well, which allied power was best at collaborating with the Nazis? Exactly. They did use the real ruins of Berlin for sets, though, which combined with the voiceover makes some sections practically bombing p0rn. A curiosity rather than a classic.

Unlike Arsenic and Old Lace, which may be the perfect screwball comedy. Well, not quite perfect - the thuggish brother who supposedly looks like Boris Karloff was in fact Raymond Massey, because Karloff was too busy playing the part on Broadway to be in the film. The fool - now most everyone who saw him will have gone to dust, while the rest of the cast are immortal, most particularly Cary Grant who was never more devil-may-care, impossibly elegant even while falling over chairs and otherwise acting the chump. Though even when he disappears for long stretches, the rest of the cast can carry things just fine.

Another brilliant comedy: I'm not sure if The Other Guys even got a cinema release in the UK, in spite of being the fourth full-length Will Ferrell/Adam McKay collaboration, which one would have thought to be Kind Of A Big Deal. If you've seen the others - Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers - then yes, this is more of the same. Which is to say, a lot smarter than it looks - an action comedy which is genuinely furious about bank bailouts turning into more bonuses for venal incompetents, which uses its end credits to explain what a Ponzi scheme is and why we've all suffered. The supporting cast is excellent - Samuel L Jackson, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, a rather underused Anne Heche - plus the Rock, who plays much the same role he did in Get Smart. Poor sod seems to be such an obvious action hero that he can only get jobs as the joke action hero in the background of films about the other guys overshadowed by the macho cliche.

'Macho cliche' brings us nicely on to Predators, which does exactly what you'd expect and no more. It must be hard being Walton Goggins, though - whoever he plays, it's a joy seeing his character suffer, and a lot of it is just his face. That can't make for easy nights out.

And finally, Pieces of April, one of those almost parodically indie US films about a quirky girl and her family who don't understand. I was only really watching because Stephin Merritt did the soundtrack, but it was pleasant to be reminded what Katie Holmes was like before the Thetans got her, and it does have a minor role for Clay Davis from The Wire - as a domesticated schmuck, which is a bit tricky to process.
alexsarll: (Default)
A great weekend for sport, with the first UK bonving of the season (or indeed, several seasons). The beauty of bonving is that it's such a ridiculous activity, and takes place so infrequently, as to render talent and skill deeply marginal; few trends develop, and former championship contestants can quite easily find themselves trousered.
Obviously I can't pretend that was the only sport this weekend - there was also some football, taking up a couple of minutes of Doctor Who which I presume Matt Smith very much enjoyed filming, having himself only narrowly been saved from a life of footballism by some injury or other (o felix culpa). 'The Lodger' was a lovely little episode, with the emphasis on 'little'; the tacked-on suggestion that the (unexplained) ship might work its way through the whole population of Earth aside, this was about some disappearances in Colchester, nothing more, and before that, about one man who needs a bit of a nudge to sort his life out. Insufficient Pond, clearly, but a lovely Matt Smith showcase. And next week - Drahvin! Chelonians! Monsieur Moffat, you are spoiling us.

Other recent activities: an Oxford Dons read-through (repurposed for radio, it's now longer and wronger); Will Ferrell as George W Bush, hilarious as you'd expect without being as obvious as it could have been; the Bowie Bar, with some frankly scandalous behaviour from one rock star in particular, though I don't think that was what caused one of the DJs to have a meltdown in the Gents; improving my recent ONLY WAR average; seeing Daniel Kitson perform what I hadn't realised was the final ever 66A Church Road show, a very moving and only incidentally comedic meditation on home, and memory, and the evils of the property market, which I had also seen at a very early work-in-progress show, making me feel I've lived with it just like he lived in the eponymous flat, getting me into a strange sort of self-reflexive nostalgia for a show about nostalgia.

Charlie Stross on the perils of near future science fiction; it's hard to outrun the advancing present.
alexsarll: (bernard)
Even though I didn't stay quite to the end, Friday's Black Plastic felt epic. I think this may have had something to do with listening to the Afghan Whigs on the way there (and then not getting horribly lost because this time, dudes, I remembered to check the full address). Possibly the drunkest I have been...since the creepers incident, in fact. Earlier that day I had climbed my first tree since then - one which had creepers, creepers I carefully avoided. Because my back is fine now, and as soon as possible you've got to get back on the horse. Or tree. But not back in the tree on a horse, that's a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

On Saturday, I felt somewhat puzzled by the Guardian having a big article about Momus and giving Gyratory System, whose free show I am attending on Wednesday, Single of the Week. I also watched the new Peep Show which, if it felt like it was moving a little fast at times both for comedy (surely there was an episode's worth of laughs in Mark as the boss?) and plausibility (could a multinational cut the British office loose with such disregard for redundancy laws?), was still Peep Show, and thus a sign of life in British comedy, which I needed. First, I'd recently attempted Home Time based on a smattering of good previews - but even being able so easily to identify with the premise (getting 'round 30 and London life hasn't entirely gone to plan), I was unable to overlook the unfortunate issue that it really wasn't very good. And prior to Entourage on Thursday I caught a little Katy Brand. Katy Brand's Big-Ass Show is very much like the smell of vomit, in that while you know and remember that it is bad, a first-hand encounter always reminds you that it is far, far worse than contentment has enabled you to remember. What Paul Kaye and her from The IT Crowd are doing in it, I don't know. Couldn't they have got more fulfilling work, like advertising formula milk to Third World mothers, or peddling their arses on street corners?
Then out again for what I had thought would be a walk through the park (albeit under apocalyptic skies) to a cheap pub where we'd settle in for a while, but was in fact a pub crawl. I'm generally sceptical of pub crawls, especially ones which take place on a Saturday night, in the West End, in the rain, without the full addresses of certain key pubs. But, once we settled in at the Bear and Staff, a good evening. Not least because quite by chance my table gave me a perfect view of all the passing hen parties. Odd observation: without exception, the most attractive members of any West End hen party are within the first third as they go along the street. Shock troops, I suppose.
More importantly, I also made a glittery conker, and called him Glittery Conker, for reasons I hope are obvious.

Yesterday I teetered over to Green Lanes, which was closed for a free festival - ostensibly a food festival but I think demand had surprised them, although I did have one rather lovely Turkish honey ball (your innuendo here). Caught a couple of Irish bands too, one of whom entertained me by covering 'Anarchy in the UK' for a family audience, at an event sponsored by local businesses and attended by councillors and MPs. The speed of assimilation accelerates such that I'm convinced Rammstein's new video (actual p0rn, if you didn't know) will be on ToTP2 within ten years. Then home where I ended up watching Beerfest, which as expected is not on a par with Seth Rogen or Will Ferrell films, but as bandwagon-jumping goes, isn't too bad either.

Finally, these bats are adorable.


Sep. 14th, 2009 11:22 am
alexsarll: (crest)
Back from a weekend in Bath amongst the young people and old buildings; we were staying in Hannah More's old digs and I can't imagine a Puritan would approve of the new tenants. I'd been to Bath before, but not for well over a decade, probably getting on for two, and the first thing that hit me now was, this is like someone took a cutting of the streets around Regent's Park, and then found a fertile spot for them to grow without competition. Quite by chance, the Simon Napier-Bell book I was reading on the bus back confirmed that yes, they were both by Beau Nash - so it turns out I can recognise an architect's work without even knowing who he is [edit: or not; see comments]. See, another talent which ought to have employers fighting for me [oh, the bitter irony]. Anyway, most cities are just aspects of London run riot; Paris, for instance, peppers a few London monuments afflicted with gigantism over the general vibe of Euston and Edgware Roads. Bath, on the other hand, chose pretty areas and grew them well. The Parade Ground takes the spirit of London's private squares and applies its definition of 'resident' a little more generously. The place does have a lot of tourists, but not so much so that it doesn't feel like it has a life of its own. And while it's tempting to mock the local accent, one could easily say the same of Landan's, innit? I like Bath. I could see myself living there, if I were older, and richer, and there are few enough places past village size where I can say that.
Of course, there is that one tediously polite fly in Bath's ointment: Jane sodding Austen*. But walking past a museum outside which a disturbingly jolly man waved his stick at us, I worked out the solution. My problem was always that Austen wrote comedies in which a likable character is compromised by dullards, rather than tragedies in which this happens, or comedies in which the protagonist triumphs. The best model for the latter being, American film comedies. You know, Knightly standing in for the Principal, Dean or other stick-in-the-mud who gets taken down. As such, I know what needs to be done: National Lampoon's Emma. Starring Will Ferrell. As Emma.

*"``You say I must familiarise my mind with the fact that "Miss Austen is not a poetess, has no ``sentiment''" (you scornfully enclose the word in inverted commas), "has no eloquence, none of the ravishing enthusiasm of poetry"; and then you add, I must "learn to acknowledge her as one of the greatest artists, of the greatest painters of human character, and one of the writers with the nicest sense of means to an end that ever lived".
The last point only will I ever acknowledge. ... Miss Austen being, as you say, without "sentiment", without poetry, maybe is sensible (more real than true), but she cannot be great.''" - Charlotte Bronte
alexsarll: (bill)
If you like Seth Rogen films, Will Ferrell films, basically any of the good comedies that have been coming out of America lately, you must see The Hangover. Went into it somewhat uncertain - against all those interlocking sets of funny guys, I didn't really recognise anyone in this except the dad from Arrested Development. But it is hilarious. There's little I can say without spoiling it, and you probably know whether you'll like it from the set-up; four guys go for a stag night in Vegas. They wake the next morning to find the room trashed, a tiger in the bathroom, and the groom missing. They have no idea what happened in between.

Raced through the last season of Battlestar Galactica this week and can't help but feel disappointed. she was a grand old lady - spoilers below and likely in comments )

Finally succeeded in seeing the Wellcome Collection yesterday. I had expected something more thoroughly medical in theme, but between the sex toys and torture implements and pictures of Wellcome himself in fancy dress with the 'tache to end all 'taches, I conclude that it's not that far from Sir John Soane's, just with a little more pretence towards being something other than one rich bloke's collection of crazy stuff.
alexsarll: (magnus)
Proxy Music are the only time I've ever seen a tribute band where I've also seen the real band. Well, I once saw a Smiths tribute and I've seen Morrissey live, which I suppose the Eno hardcore might say is the same thing - although pleasingly, and contrary to what I heard, they're not entirely an Eno-era band. The shouts for 'Dance Away' failed to provoke a Step Brothers-style riot, and acknowledging that even Eno knows Stranded is the best album, they played a stunning 'Mother of Pearl'. If they have a problem it's that their Bryan Ferry is too naturally beautiful and too good a singer, but I suppose it's easier to find that than someone overcoming his deficiencies with sheer force of character like the original, who by definition would probably be busy being famous in his own right.
The Lexington, aka relaunched Clockwork, is not bad either. They've gone for a whiskey joint feel downstairs, like the Boogaloo with a more dedicated palette, but also got in more draught at prices which are the cheaper end of London pub. Plus, if people are still dancing and drinking they seem happy for a night to carry on past the advertised end time for, ooh, about 90 minutes when I left and it was still going strong. Recommended.

When all hope seemed lost, when the forces of darkness seemed to have triumphed and even our best and brightest to be unable to salvage things this time - Grant Morrison finally managed to write an issue of Final Crisis as we knew it should have been written. Where previous issues have been incomprehensible in a DC continuity frottage sort of way, this was incomprehensible in that joyous 'Grant's brain's exploding!' way we know and love. I am hesitant to quote it because I don't want to spoil it, and because I have little comment to add beyond wanting to punch the air pretty much every page. Those of you who read the collections - it will be worth reading this one, and putting up with the mess earlier, just for this ending. Although you might be best off waiting for an omnibus which includes all the Morrison components ie 'Submit' and Superman Beyond and 'Last Rites' too, because I can understand why people who didn't read those found it baffling. But as with Secret Invasion - if spin-offs are being written by the writer of the core series, why aren't people reading those too? What kind of mentality reads a comic Because It's An Event and not because they like the creators?
In an exit interview Morrison insists there were no rewrites - which I find implausible, but whatever. He also confirms something I've long suspected, that he really has no affinity with the character of Wonder Woman.

Went to the Science Museum's late session on Wednesday - what this means is, there are no bloody children cluttering the place up, so you can play with all the toys, and there's booze. Free booze if one member of your party is star enough to find a laminated 'free drinks' card lying around, which one of ours did. Go her. We were late in on account of a science jam when we arrived (the queue was around two sides of the fairly sizeable building. I am beginning to fear queues, I have seen too many lately). I was entertained by Foucault's Pendulum (chiefly on account of reading the book recently, it bored everyone else), loved the stargate-y laser-y thing (it had no placard I could see, so not that educational, but still awesome) and accidentally set off George III's microscope. Science!
In other Science! news, saw a guy at Russell Square yesterday who had about a dozen wires in his head, Just normal wires, in various colours, coming up from the back of his collar and then connecting to his scalp at various points where they went at least under the skin, and possibly further.
alexsarll: (crest)
I find Scott Walker talking about the thinking behind his recent albums considerably more rewarding than the albums themselves. But mainly I find myself thinking, why do I still not own Nite Flights?

There is much in this world that, while undoubtedly unpleasant, is not really worthy of note or comment. For instance, one can no more be surprised that reliably loathsome Mail Grand Inquisitor Paul Dacre is ranting about the BBC "destroying media plurality in Britain and in its place imposing a liberal, leftish, mono culture that is destroying free and open debate in Britain" [free registration required] than one can be shocked to find Satanic Verses ban enthusiast and general errand-boy of the Caliphate Keith Vaz MP proposing laws against cheap booze. When Dacre says of the Max Mosley trial that "most people would consider such activities to be perverted, depraved, the very abrogation of civilised behaviour of which the law is supposed to be the safeguard. Not Justice Eady. To him such behaviour was merely "unconventional"...But what is most worrying about Justice Eady's decisions is that he is ruling that - when it comes to morality - the law in Britain is now effectively neutral, which is why I accuse him, in his judgments, of being 'amoral'" - well, one hardly expects Dacre to have the wit to recognise the distinction between crime and sin, which even a loon like Kant could spot. He's the Kommandant of the Mail, of course such niceties are beyond him.
But here's the first noteworthy bit - why is this poison being hosted on the Guardian's website? Has their moral confusion really gone that far?
And even more so, consider this passage:
"The judge found for Max Mosley because he had not engaged in a "sick Nazi orgy" as the News of the World contested, though for the life of me that seems an almost surreally pedantic logic as some of the participants were dressed in military-style uniform."
Paul Dacre appears to be saying that, as near as makes no difference, all members of any military are Nazis. I've heard that line from witless anarcho-syndicalists, but from the editor of the Mail? In the week of Remembrance Day? If ever there were something which merited national outrage, a campaign of complaints by people who've not heard the whole story and shamed resignation, I think this would be it.
On the plus side - hey, at least the old 'Hurrah For The Blackshirts' Mail finally seems to have concluded that Nazis are a bad thing.

After watching Pineapple Express, Step Brothers and Tropic Thunder on Sunday afternoon, I was musing on how glad I was of the self-indulgent state of modern American comedy, where they're increasingly happy to sideline the sappy romance elements and just make, y'know, FUNNY FILMS. My mistake was then to attempt to watch Bad Lieutenant, which was every bit as silly while being convinced that I IS SERIOUS CINEMA. Did people really get excited about this? It wasn't even gruelling, just bad pantomime.
alexsarll: (crest)
I've been, if not quite back to the old house, then just over the wall for it - back outside Southwell with the Southwell crew, and if the route there has changed a bit (with junctions fresh from Mega City One), and if Nottingham's changed a bit (they now have a pub called The Canal House which actually has the canal running into the pub), and if we've all changed a bit (sensible hair, careers or just extra lines), it still felt like we were just a whisker away from our past, almost close enough to touch our old selves. Although, we always used to say that only abstract nouns got broken at those parties, whereas this time poor [ profile] vivid_blue somehow contrived to both break *and* dislocate her ankle, something I hadn't even believed to be possible. Ouch. But aside from that, a splendid trip, a fine wedding (with me on Nick Cave duties again), and a lovely house (Bag End for the 21st century, with ducks). Plus such other incidental delights as rabbits, butterflies, being twice taken for a third Hewings brother (like the third Summers brother, but with fringes instead of energy blasts), discovering I'm actually better (rather, less awful) at Grand Theft Auto when I'm asleep, and accepting that Scott Pilgrim totally justifies the hype. Oh, and the temporary terror of the street where both sides were even numbers - and the same even numbers at that,

It seems far further from here to Thursday than it does to those old parties, but yes, I went to see Paris Motel. The Good Ship wasn't quite as suited to their ghosts-across-the-delta sound as the Borderline, and I kept headbutting the fixtures by mistake, but they're still wonderful. The band, I mean, not the fixtures - those were moderately painful.

Will Ferrell has already got the film rights to King Dork by Frank Portman, and I can totally see why; it's hilarious. Think along the lines of Napoleon Dynamite but with more rock'n'roll plus a detective story of sorts. I don't usually go much for American teen novels, but I was laughing my head off at this one - which is very handy on long train journeys vis-a-vis keeping the seat next to you empty, so it was ideal for the trip.

edit: I really want to write about the tent - specifically the bit where we thought it was inside out, disassembled it, reassembled it inside out, and realised we'd had it right the first time after all - but Jerome K Jerome handles that material so much better. Which itself reminds me, Ogden Nash edited a Wodehouse anthology - who knew?
alexsarll: (bill)
Free with today's Sunday Times - a ten track punk compilation CD. Who's spinning faster in their graves, the team from the 1976 Sunday Times or the 1976 punks?

Last night's Doctor Who managed the remarkable feat of making me nostalgic for 'Evolution of the Daleks'. What utter, utter rubbish.
- A spaceship seemingly designed by the same shipwrights as in Galaxy Quest, to maximise dramatic peril without any regard to plausibility. Oh, and it's also the universe's one piece of sonic screwdriver-resistant tech, because otherwise we'd have no plot - so instead the doors are operated by a pub quiz machine. And one requiring answers from the early 21st century, at that. And when Martha needs to check the answers to this inexplicable system, she doesn't ring a mate, or her sis - no, she rings her mum, the one person guaranteed to give her grief.
- Riffing off old episodes? Fair enough if you're talking old series, but don't rip off one from last year, especially not when that was a classic and all you're going to do is detract.
- Cyclops from the X-Men minus his personality does not make a good antagonist.
- If you're going to do real-time, do it properly, and if you're calling the episode '42' at least make some kind of effort at a 24 pastiche rather than just leaving it hanging.
- The big reveal was slightly less atrocious than what had come before, but "you should have run tests"? Seriously, Doctor, what kind of lifescan would pick up on something like a sentient star? And as regards the old sentient-star-doesn't-like-being-used-for-fuel bit - I wasn't expecting Star Maker but even Venus on the Half-Shell did it better, and that was the fairly talentless Philip Jose Farmer doing an extended and inexplicable Kurt Vonnegut in-joke.
Inexcusably bad.

[ profile] pippaalice has cats. Cats who peer. The manner of the peering suggests that they are either plotting, silently judging humanity, or attempting to physically alter the world with their mighty feline brains. They alarm me.

For the particular attention of [ profile] augstone -, a site with loads of toot but also exclusive online Will Ferrell goodness.
alexsarll: (Default)
Blades of Glory is a Will Ferrell comedy, so it should go without saying that it's vastly better than most films out there. And's not quite right. The dynamic is out somehow, though I couldn't tell you just how. At one point around the middle, I even started to think it was sagging. Perhaps I'm just in a hypercritical mood when it comes to comedy this weekend, because I also found one strand of last night's Peep Show plot unusually implausible.
Blades was, however, preceded by the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Though I enjoyed Dead Man's Chest more than a lot of people seemed to, for some reason the imminent arrival of the conclusion hadn't intruded too far on my consciousness. It would be fair to say that the trailer has changed that; it looks like they've given the story exactly the finale it needed, and now I can't wait.

Though not battling a plan to meet in a Leicester Square pub called Waxy O'Connor's on a Friday night, you can guess even from that bare description why I didn't have high hopes for the venue. But the drinks were only averagely ridiculous in price, the crowding less than one might easily expect, and the music an acceptable selection of the indie everyone likes, played at a volume sufficient to feel lively but easy to talk over. The crowd, though initially looking to be heavy on the townies, turned out to include representatives of most of London's tribes, apparently boozing in harmony, And the space itself - it feels like a sort of cavern network, and the room we were in had a tree towering over us, feeling like it might be holding up London. It reminded me of one of the better scenes in Stickleback, and that the West End is not quite a lost cause.

I've finished Burgo Partridge's endearingly batty History of Orgies. When I complain that non-fiction dates too easily, it's only really an objection to modern stuff - who wants to read a book prognosticating from the perspective of two years ago? It's pointless. But let them ferment a little longer and you get, as here, a perspective on the time of the writing as well as the times written about, fifties erudition woven in with the debaucheries of the ancients (and earlier moderns). Intriguingly, though a peripheral Bloomsburyite Burgo only appears to have a Wikipedia entry in Spanish. If you search him in English you get an article about his uncle and a list of dog breeds sandwiching the piece on group sex - which itself has "[citation needed]" after several statements of the blindingly obvious. It may be an incredibly handy resource, but it should never be forgotten that Wikipedia can also be extremely annoying.

January 2016



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