Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Semantics #2

Idiosyncronicity - when being wrong is too much of a coincidence.


"The great thing about family life is that it introduces you to people you'd otherwise never meet."
Christopher Hitchens

Sunday, May 29, 2005

18 Stones of Idiot, Channel 4

aka 60 Minutes of Shite.

Johnny Vegas' new show, a Chris Evans-produced rehash of "Don't Forget Your Toothbrush" (other possible names may have included "Don't Forget Why You Left TV") is hopeful but suffers on too many levels. Although sporadically funny, Johnny's new found TV confidence finds him in hectoring, arrogant mood - but if I wanted to see 18 Stones of Yelling Alcoholic I could pop down to any number of pubs. It strikes me that a morbidly obese Northerner, no matter how quick-witted, is always going to have a problem cast as an obnoxious cunt, but Johnny perseveres, casting off his previous sympathetic, somewhat downtrodden persona for a character modelled roughly on a cross between Julie Burchill and Vyvian out the Young Ones' with a massive pile of cocaine. At this point I'd tend to seek solace in the Bible, where I'm sure it says "let he who is without man-tits cast the first stone", but the trendy young do-as-they're-told audience lap it up. In fact, considering the diabolical stste of TV nowadays, the show was more than passable. Ray Winstone made a fairly uninspiring guest and getting some doofus off the shopping channel to act as foil for JV's rapier spittle was also uninspiring - so much so that I couldnt think of another word. "Celebrity Lock-in", where 80's b-list slebs - Rusty Lee (!), Roland out of Grange Hill - sat in 90s-uber-pub the Good Mixer showed that TV is the best at parodying itself, but also failed to live up even to its own half-arsed joke. And letting Neil Hamilton on was just cruel.

Overall, 50/50. Meaning I wouldn't turn it on, but I wouldn't turn it off.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

First Wanking, Now This

Viagra makes you blind

Whats next? Doggy Style? Blow jobs? Blindfolds?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Theatre of Blood, National Theatre

Lavish romp, based on seventies cult film, in which a deranged old ham murders a gaggle of critics after they murder his season of Shakespeare. Each murder is a twist on a famous Shakespearean death scene - Shylock gets his pound of flesh, Joan of Arc gets frizzled alive in a hairdressing salon, to mention just two. The subject matter obviously makes it hard for an uninhibited judgement, but luckily the play, and especially the performances, are spot on. Jim Broadbent, as the murderer is fantastic, spouting amateur-dramatic Shakespeare endlessly but still garnering sympathy. The critics are nicely judged in their seventies get up, each one's character faintly representing the paper they work for. The set, the proscenium arch of a delapidated theatre, sited in the austere Lyttleton, is a nice touch. Overall, its great fun and the added self-referential element - how the about-to-open National Theatre will ruin/save theatre - made it more involving than a straight black farce. That the point they may have been making was lost to those of us lacking theatrical pedigree, didnt matter.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Cannabis March

Surprised myself by stumbling upon this demo, gearing up in leafy Russell Square for a short trod to that concrete sun box, Trafalgar Square. The turnout wasn’t great and no-one I knew had heard about it either. The poor advertising was explained to me to be due to problems getting a licence to march from the authorities. Apparently the organisers had to stump up £1800 for the ‘security’ (presumably plod) and the licence wasn’t awarded until three weeks ago. The march was ostensibly about medical cannabis, presumably being the best route for the grievances to get a hearing and there were a few wheel-chaired bods about the place but it was mostly that studenty crowd that you’d expect. The march itself was OK, quite a bit of media around and samba drummers and pretty girls. Then everybody congregated in sunstroke hell under Nelson to listen to a variety of speakers including Caroline Coon, the lady who started Release. She started badly - "The campaign for the end of prohibition is often pejoratively stigmatised as silly, hippie, white and 'middle-class'" - and then got worse - choice out of context quotes include "Most dealers of cannabis are black" and "Black youth is drawn into the criminal gang culture because cannabis is a sellers market". You can read her somewhat controversial speech here. It is of course actually well-meaning and, listening closely, she may even have a point. But it somehow didnt seem right. Luckily the wind blew the sound all over the place.

I was thinking about how the government keeps drugs illegal because they can make more money out of them that way. The criminalisation of weed is such bad grace that only conspiracy theories really do it justice.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ong Bak

Much hyped Thai contribution to the martial arts revival of late, involving extraordinary stunt-work from the lead Tony Jaa reminiscent of Jackie Chan in his heyday. He leaps over, under, around, between moving cars, vats of boiling oil, panes of glass and countless other people - in one shot he escapes a legion of baddies by jumping up and running from shoulder to shoulder over them. Tbe opening scene, featuring 20 Thai schoolkids fighting to be first to the top of a tree - up and down the tree - was fantastic and original. The fight scenes, where he employs Muay Thai against a variety of western and oriental opponents, were dramatic and believable. Unfortunately the film commits the common error of using up all its big fights too early, so that the finale is just more of the same. Also the realism of the Muay Thai is at the expense of the delight and variation seen in the Hong Kong flicks. By the final fights it had almost lost my unforgivably jaded attention.

The just

He said to me, “you’ll sleep like a baby”
I said, “yeah I will. Wake up every two hours and cry.”

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Henry IV Part 2

Shakespeare, according to popular wisdom, invented countless words we still use today. One word he should have invented is "superfluous", because it comes in handy summing up the dialogue in this drawn-out parade of insignifica. This play could well have been Kafka's inspiration for a labourious bureaucratic nightmare. It seems to me that if you are going to have to listen to three hours of esoteric verbal gerrymandering, you should at least get a few murders and a ghost, like in Scooby Doo. Watching this, in some vain attempt to up my cultural capacity, meant I turned down a ticket to see Arsenal. Luckily, they only won 7-0. Culture has not come out showered in glory.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Too Good To Be True

If something's too good to be true, they often say, it is. Alternatively, I have come to realise, it may just not be that good.