// May 2009
A team of dedicated professionals over at PWL (or, PWE as it is now known) have been working through an horde of DAT tapes in the archive and have started to release waves of old PWL and Stock/Aitken/Waterman stuff to iTunes.
So far they’ve just done the Kylie and Jason albums, all the Jason singles and the one attempt at a pop career by a scary Australian bodybuilder by the name of Carol Hitchcock (it’s a great track, mind) but I have a nasty feeling that in the long run this whole thing is going to bankrupt me.
Aside from the pleasure of listening to crisp, freshly remastered versions of tracks I’ve previously had from various hooky sources, they’re also including previously unreleased instrumentals and mixes as well. Which naturally I have to own too.
And, more amazingly, the Jason singles also contain the backing tracks used for PAs as well. And let me tell you, some of those backing vocals are just some of the most gorgeously melodic and harmonic things I’ve ever heard.
Kylie’s singles are likely to hit in a week or so and so I may be on the streets before you know it. (But with a very full iPhone.)
Now, see, I don’t really do gay movies. I’ve even committed the cardinal sin of never seeing either the Wizard of Oz or Beautiful Thing, but the flatmate’s always had a bit of a thing for them. Latter Days, Shelter, Angels in America and so on he’s purchased and devoured.
In keeping with my general outlook on life, though, I stick with the TV. The redeemably awful Dante’s Cove, the irredeemably awful The Lair (I mean dear Christ that’s a bad show, but that’s another post), and the beautiful Christian and Olli storyline in Germany’s Verbotene Liebe are much more my thing – because they’re TV not film (it’s an odd metal block I’ll admit).
I’ve tried, though. I bought 200 American which was a reasonably enjoyable film, hampered by stilted dialog delivered with porn-star like subtlety and – something common to a lot of gay-to-DVD releases – lousy sound recording. And, given that nothing was on TV last night, when Amazon suggested Were the World Mine I took one look at the trailer and decided it looked barking enough to get on special delivery.
And, much to my annoyance, some of the dialogue was unintelligable (I gather it’s some sort of indie-film thing – an attempt at realism I guess) but my God, I think I love this film way too much to be true.
It’s got some thumpingly good tunes (of its own, I mean – although Patrick Wolf’s Magic Position is in there a lot too), the lovestruck Timothy and object of his desire Jonathon are just gorgeous, and if the story were to be summed up in three letters you’d be hard pressed to decide between “WTF” and “LSD”. It is, frankly, insanely good fun. And all loaded with so much from A Midsummer Night’s Dream you feel quite educated watching it.
So I’d recommend it heartily. Go get. Go watch. Go see. And go enjoy.
(And if someone could arrange for Tanner Cohen or Nathaniel David Becker to be delivered to my bedroom soon I’d be very grateful. Ta ever so.)
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m inconsolable.
Oh… hang on…
Thing is I’ve always seen Katie Price as this rather ignorant, domineering, sharp-tongued, bullying harpy and Peter Andre as a bit of a well-meaning lunkhead. So I always felt rather sorry for him whenever I saw the two of them together, but ultimately thought: well, if you’re happy, you’re happy, but I don’t see how.
So if it’s all true and he has finally got fed up with her it does seem that something has pushed his IQ up several points and for that I feel a sort of paternal glow towards him.
I just want to ruffle his hair and go “good on you improving yourself”.
Aww. They grow up so fast don’t they?
In what has turned out to be an oddly busy week for me culturally, Daniel and I last night popped along to the West End Theatre to see “Stop Messing About“, the sequel show to the popular “Round the Horne… Revisited” I saw a couple of years back.
And much fun it was too. More or less in the same vein as its predecessor, you were effectively transported back to the BBC Radio theatre for two acts, each of which gave you the feel of being at a recording of the actual Stop Messing About radio show. I gather there was a little new material, but most of it was authentic sketches taken from the first series and despite a relatively small audience, it seemed to be appreciated by all concerned.
The only problem is that, much like the radio show itself, the stage presentation suffered on two counts. First it wasn’t by Barry Cryer and Marty Feldman who wrote the first three series of Round the Horne, it was by Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer who wrote the fourth. Received wisdom suggests that somehow they weren’t quite as good at Horne as the first team and for a change it’s recieved wisdom I do agree with. Not bad, certainly, but not as good.
Secondly was that Kenneth Horne wasn’t it it – but again this was what prevented Stop Messing About from working so well as its parent show. Indeed much of SMA was apparently supposed to have been the fifth series of Horne, but Kenneth’s death rather prevented that happening and his duties were therefore – rather obviously – split between the announcer Douglas Smith and Kenneth Williams. And neither of them quite managed to be the avuncular solid authority figure around whom the other cast could spin wildly out of control. Both were excellent performers for their parts, of course, but their parts by necessity couldn’t anchor the show in the same way and SMA was therefore ultimately cancelled.
So in some respects the stage show’s strength and weakness was in its accuracy. But nonetheless the second half seemed more confident and acerbic and the audience and cast had warmed up nicely and I would heartily recommend seeing it if you can. Robin Sebastian puts in another scarily accurate turn as Kenneth Williams, and Nigel Harrison and Charles Armstrong similarly put in highly commendable comic turns as Hugh Paddick and Douglas Smith.
My surprise of the night though was Emma Atkins as Joan Sims. Personally I’m not convinced she was as much of a fit for the part of Sims as the others were for their roles (visually or vocally) but by God she showed an amazing range and extremely deft comic timing which showcased her perfectly. I was, therefore, incredibly surprised in my (admittedly) snobbish anti-soap way to find that she’s best known as Charity Dingle from Emmerdale.
All in all, it’s about time that more of these types of shows were put on. There’s something charming and immediate about them unlike radio recordings of today and, at its best, the material just shines.
Last time I went into the Globe Theatre it was still being built. All very fascinating and there was a certain amount of “I’ve been there” when Doctor Who visited for the Shakespeare Code the other year, but I always vaguely regretted not having seen a production there.
But last night I accompanied the flatmate and a few of his Credit Suisse colleagues to a production of The Frontline in order, more than anything else, to put this right.
It was a shame, in many respects, that the weather took the decision to plunge itself rapidly towards zero over the course of the evening, but I have to say it was a rather enjoyable event. The Globe is beautiful, and a quite mesmerising performance space – albeit considerably smaller than it looked on telly and certainly smaller than I remember (although it was, naturally, when I was a mere child last time).
That said, I would advise anyone going to shell out a quid for cushion hire. I wasn’t, it must be said at all comfy without a seatback (my poor back!) but without a cushion I really wouldn’t have made it to the second act.
Which would have been a shame. I wasn’t entirely sold on the production from the website, and had misgivings having heard some reviews, but found myself leaving with a satisfied appetite for theatre, and a reasonable sense of bewilderment.
It’s a shocking and violent piece at times, full of profanity, and drugs, and sexuality, but it’s also very funny and as philosophical and heart-warming as it is harrowing. The parallel-running of various sub-plots on the stage was cannily managed so that you were able to follow two or three things happening at once with little difficulty.
There were a few niggles in that the songs I didn’t feel were universally strong, and a couple of the plot threads seemed to be left dangling somewhat, but given the overall standard of acting (and a wonderful monologue on the wonders of Marmite) it seems churlish to complain. I was left reeling and can heartily recommend it.
(And amazingly, I had no idea that the God-botherer with the beard and the guitar was the staggeringly beautiful Jonathan Kerrigan who I’ve had a crush on for years. But then that’s probably just as well. I’d probably have yanked him off the stage if I’d known.)
Based on the experiences I’ve had over the last week during my daily commute, I have come to the conclusion that I would make a lousy mayor of London. Basically because it would be so tempting for me to start enforcing draconian rules and regulations regarding allowable behaviour on public transport.
For one thing I’d ban pushchairs on commuter buses (or certainly ones over a certain size). Watching people trying to squeeze onto an already packed bus with one and the resultant upheaval it causes all existing passengers makes you wonder why people think it’s a good idea.
I would almost certainly make a maximum limit of two pushchairs at all other times too.
But then there’s other little niggles. People whose overall width is over that of a standard seat would start having to pay an additional obesity charge for their tickets since they cause so much discomfort to those people nearly crammed in by their backsides.
I would make it acceptable for passengers to begin kicking in the shin anyone whose mobile phone conversation goes over two minutes, said kicking to continue until termination of the call.
And people who put their bags on free seats would be allowed to be slapped by anyone wishing to take the spot, and then – if said bag-owner grumbles about having to move it – the prospective sitee would be perfectly within their rights to stab the antisocial bastard in the eye with a biro.
Sensible and fair policies I think you’ll agree.
Regading the latest statements in the Labour crisis of the confidence, could I just take the opportunity to add some supportive words to Harriet Harman?
Harriet, it really is fine, love. We don’t want you to be Prime Minister either. Because, frankly – and I mean this in a loving way – you’re really awful.
Maybe not quite as awful as Wacky Jacqui Smith or Hazel Bleary Blears, but you are still, somehow, redolent of a dominatrix let loose in Whitehall who is then determined not to let anyone get up to what she used to.
Something about the cabinet at the moment rather puts me in mind of a flock of vultures just waiting patiently for the roadkill to stop twitching.