// November 2008
I must say, I’m rather bemused by the national outcry over John Sergeant’s resignation from (the stupidly named) Strictly Come Dancing.
Now, I don’t care for either of them, but this and the continuing outry over how far some X-Factor hopefuls got just confirms my belief that there’s a problem with the way people in this country vote. Why in God’s name do people get so attached to people who are crap?
It’s a dancing competition for God’s sake. Entertainment yes, but many things are and as far as I’m concerned fun is something so fundamentally important as to be taken seriously. (In the same way as nothing is so sacred it can’t be poked fun of.)
I’m sorry, but people who are daft enough to vote for someone who can’t dance in a dancing show clearly deserve to lose their money in order to teach them a lesson. (Preferably to go to charity, natch.)
Jesus… this voting for people who amuse us is what got bloody Johnson in after all.
Well, it’s official now. Other Rob and I announced last night that as of our 100th quiz at the Griffin we would be giving it up. 4,500 questions down the line, and after over two years of continuous service (barring the pub refurbishment work) we’ve decided to call it a day.
Basically, whilst the presenting of it is fun, it does mean that not a single Tuesday can be entirely our own – and there are occasionally things I’d like to do on Tuesdays. There’s a comedy club in Soho, there’s various “gay professional” events which tend to be on Tuesdays and so on.
Plus it tends to impact on my Monday nights in order to get things ready, and a huge chunk is taken out of both of our weekends writing the thing – a task which is getting harder the longer we go on. (Seriously, writing this week’s quiz was like pulling teeth.)
So there we go, time to move aside and let someone with new ideas come in, freshen up the format and so on. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get a chance to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labours now too.
We’ll miss it of course, despite the hard work. “What will you do on your first Tuesday?” Rob asked me yesterday. I thought about it a bit and realised I would probably end up standing in the middle of my living room looking slightly lost and out of place.
So anyway… 23rd December 2008. Quiz 100. Our last stand. Do come along if you can make it!
On my return from Malta I paused for a moment in the airport bookshop where I was killing time and found myself taking down a slim volume that had caught my eye. The last time I had a yen for finding the works of this particular author it had been impossible, but there was a whole host of freshly printed, newly re-issued copies staring right at me. So I bought one.
I have now joined the illustrious ranks of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Douglas Adams and Ben Elton amongst others in being utterly addicted (well, okay, it’s probably just the live ones who still are) to the works of P.G. Wodehouse.
Admittedly I’m only ploughing my way through the Jeeves and Wooster novels at the moment (coindientally ITV3 – Independent Television’s “When We Were Good” channel – is showing the Fry and Laurie adaptations too) but they are frankly the written equivalent of spun gold. Wodehouse is one of the finest writers ever to put pen – or inked metal – to paper. A wordsmith who manages to be both staggeringly clever, uproarisouly funny and yet completely aposite with his every choice.
His genius should not be understated.
Any man who can come up with lines like the following should be universally adored.
- Many a man may look respectable, and yet be able to hide at will behind a spiral staircase.
- It isn’t often that Aunt Dahlia lets her angry passions rise, but when she does, strong men climb trees and pull them up after them.
- He caught the eye and arrested it. It was as if Nature had intended to make a gorilla and had changed its mind at the last moment.
- It was one of the dullest speeches I ever heard. The Agee woman told us for three quarters of an hour how she came to write her beastly book, when a simple apology was all that was required.
- Before my eyes he wilted like a wet sock.
- I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢d always thought her half-baked, but now I think they didn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t even put her in the oven.
And so on and so on. The pages are full of them!
I think, though, one of the things that endears me to Bertie Wooster though is his victimisation at the hands of his aunts. They always seem to be pushing or dragging him into some ill-advised venture that even his limited common sense warns him against, but finds them unstoppable.
And I kind of know how he feels.
Anyway. Buy one. Or more. You won’t regret it.
Yesterday was, apparently, the feast day of a patron saint of tailors.
But the best thing is the saint’s name: Saint Homobonus.
How cool is that, eh?
It’s amazing how often curiosity can lead you to bad decisions.
The other day I saw in Boots that all blood pressure monitors were half price. So I nabbed one for ?Ç¬£15 and just gave it a go, having been wondering for a while whether mine might be a tad high.
A tad high? Mine registers at “Stage 2 Hypertension” apparently.
A diagnosis which, ironically, has made me feel just a little bit stressed.
I mean… I hoped he’d win, but… still.
Reeling just a little bit.
Lets hope his landslide victory doesn’t lead in eight years to the same disappointment our own President Anthony Blair took us on a journey to…
I have, of late, been watching the BBC series “Beautiful People”, inspired by Simon Doonan’s book of the same name (although the original edition was apparently called “Nasty”).
And I have to say I’ve found the whole thing extremely enjoyable. I downloaded the first couple of episodes and started watching on holiday, but found myself barely ten minutes in before stopping and vowing I had to show it to Chris on our return.
He howled his way through the first couple of episodes, and so a new obsession was born. And whilst it’s fair to say that the first couple of episodes were by far the best, on the whole it’s been a silly, joyous, camp and riotously bonkers affair that has, for me, been one of the most original series on TV for a while.
The DVD came out yesterday and so we watched the final episode last night (whole days ahead of broadcast) and it surprised me by having a surprisingly poignant ending – fair brought a tear to my eye it did.
Plus there’s a Dynasty-style catfight with the ever-magnificent Frances Barber (God I love that woman), an interesting variation on Charlene’s “I’ve Never Been to Me” so what’s not to love?
It has become one of my favourite series ever. I do hope they get another series.
The book, incidentally, is a very different kettle of fish, but still a very, very funny read. It comes heartily recommended.
So, after the surprising #1 hit “The Promise” (which I must say I loved but didn’t see coming) the new Aloud album hits the stores tomorrow.
And what’s it like?
Well, it’s lovely. Which, to be honest, is something of a mild disappointment to me, but hey. It basically lacks punch – I was hoping for a couple of tracks which were bold, brassy, punding statements of sass, but instead the whole album has taken its cue from “Call the Shots” and gone down that route instead.
You will find nothing as barkingly inventive as “Biology”. Nothing as poppers-o-clock as “Something Kinda Ooooh”, and – unlike their last effort – nothing remotely slap-in-the-face-brilliant as “Girl Overboard” or “Close to Love”.
So I’m a bit grumpy.
But… what you will find are a collection of (largely) solid, sophisticated mid-tempo pop songs. Their colaboration with the Pet Shop Boys “The Loving Kind” is an absolute gem. It’s gorgeous and it’s synthy and it features the word “disinclined” which already makes it stratospherically brilliant in my opinion.
Other highlights? Well… “Rolling Back the Rivers in Time” is about as close to a Springfield-esque 60′s soul number as they’re ever likely to get, the seven minute epic “Untouchable” is a majestic beauty, “Turn to Stone” and “Love is the Key” are gorgeous, and “Love is Pain” was an instant personal favourite (possibly for the title alone).
So that’s seven gems out of twelve tracks all told (“The Promise” benefits from the slightly longer album version by ending properly). But the rest can just cock off.
All involved in the reggae-infused limpness of “Revolution in the Head” should be ashamed of themselves. And a song with as brassy a title as “We Wanna Party” turns out surprisingly lacking in tooth.
So for all it’s brilliance – all the high spots are undoubted high spots in the Girls’ catalogue – “Out of Control” seems singularly badly named. It’s a mature, restrained album all told – not bad by any means but it’s sure wrong-footed me.
So, here we are: seven episodes into the BBC’s latest family-oriented drama, Merlin. And what are we thinking so far?
Personally I’m rather enjoying it. Obviously Bradley James as Arthur isn’t getting his shirt off enough (and he looked worryingly swoon-some with red eyes in yesterday’s episode), the plots are playing wildly fast and loose with the legend, and the anachronisms are clunking around the place like mad (I mean… potatoes?) but I must say I’m rather enjoying it.
Above all I’m finding it a damned sight more watchable than Robin Hood ever was. True it’s plots are similarly repetitive (you’d have thought Uther might have learned to be more suspicious of strangers, in the same way Nottingham’s guards need a quick lesson in security) but there’s a lot more humour and charm in it, I’m finding – helped in part by a lack of over-emphasised parallels to modern day terrorism which so dogged the Hooded one’s adventures.
It’s also nicely played by all concerned. Anthony Head and Richard Wilson instil a vital sense of gravitas to the proceedings; and the stories, whilst simple, do appear to be layering things in slowly. Knowing the legend of Morgana it’s interesting to see her slowly becoming aware of her powers whilst still being the good guy (or rather… gal), and you do get a feel that a lot of stuff happened at the start of Uther’s reign that he and Gaius would rather forget.
It’s not quite the “must-see” television of Doctor Who (well, let’s face it so little is) but I’m impressed enough and enjoying it enough to keep watching.
Hmm. Thinking about it, surely the Arthur/Merlin slash fiction must be seeping through the interweb by now…