Sunday, 31 March 2013

Protect and Survive

Do as Patrick Allen's sepulchrean shittifying voice says. Start on it, NOW!

Don't have nightmares

Happy Easter

Bring on the bunnies!

Have a lovely holiday, readers!

And if it's still snowing where you are...

Out On Blue Six : John and Beverley Martyn

I'd die without this man's music. Not forgetting his then wife Beverley here - for whom this album was as much hers as it was his - it is of course John Martyn.

On a night such as this, when I feel a bit mellow with a drink inside me, I like to listen to this album, recorded in Woodstock in the summer of '69 and released the following Feb. It is of course, Stormbringer

Here are just a few highlights

End Transmission

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Out On Blue Six : Skunk Anansie

End Transmission

Book Ends

The Barnstable Twins 

These dollybirds were from a US sci fi show called Quark. That's all I have. I have no idea. I don't even think it aired in the UK

One Way Or Another - Debbie Harry Picspam

Out On Blue Six : Chicory Tip

I had to laugh this week on Shaun Keaveny's 6 Music Breakfast Show. He was chatting to Danny Boyle about his latest Trance and of course the conversation turned to the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Boyle revealed that one of the things he wanted to do, which he didn't think came off as well as it ought to have, was celebrate British songwriting because as he said "When we do it well, we really do it the best" To which Shaun quipped "Course; Chicory Tip, Son Of My Father!"

I'd love to have seen Boyle's face!

End Transmission

Friday, 29 March 2013

Lockout (2012)

Lockout is a ludicrously silly no budget space runaround that riffs on Escape From New York, Die Hard (in space...Oh God don't tell Bruce, he'll make that entry 7 in the series!) and even a touch of Mission Impossible and Star Wars (the dog fighting spaceships) but essentially it boils down to resembling numerous straight to video sci fi exploitation flicks of the 80s and 90s. We've all seen 'em right? Ray Liotta vehicle No Escape anyone?

And when I say no budget I mean no budget; with one appallingly bad CGI chase scene near the start that is like watching something through muddy glass and a hangover, and space docking shots that reminded me of Gerry Anderson. Meanwhile stunts that would be big moments in any other film - such as the exploding head of one bad guy - are played off screen leaving it up to sound effects and after effects respectively. But these somewhat perversely add to the charm, reminding the viewer of those old rental movies and shows that the megabucks don't always have to be around for movies with imagination.

Guy Pearce is the token biggish name amidst a sea of British character actors (just as Liotta was in the aforementioned No Escape) He's the archetypal cocksure pec pulsating wisecracking mean machine action hero but for me, the endless snapping of one liners was very wearing. And as the film is based on an idea by Luc Besson (seriously of Luc said 'a man walks down the street' I'm sure they'd farm that out to one of his production arms to get made) the pretty but poor actress playing the kidnapped daughter in the two Taken films, Maggie Grace , plays - guess what? - the kidnapped President's daughter. Typecasting much?

A bloated and bored looking Peter Stormare sleepwalks through the film as a sneering black coated Secret Service boss, whilst the aforementioned British contingent includes Tim Plester and Lennie James (neither mastering the US accent) whilst Vincent Regan and Joseph Gilgun play the psychotic Glaswegian prisoners who lead the revolt and hold Grace to ransom. It's Gilgun who makes the movie. I've always liked him ever since This Is England and his role in TV's Emmerdale. He's twitchy, violent, menacing and hilarious here, often all at the same time.

Far more enjoyable than it ought to be. Lockout is a fairly decent if forgettable beer and pizza movie.

Sightseers (2012)

Finally! In hiring himself out and selecting material written by someone else - in this case underrated comic actors Steve Oram and Alice Lowe -  Ben Wheatley has proved that he isn't just 'The Emperor's New Clothes' and that the genuine glimpses of talent he has previously shown can deliver, and how.

Sightseers is essentially Badlands meets Nuts In May. A truly black comedy that is astonishingly laugh out loud funny and in equal measure astonishingly chilling. 

As befits the piece, Oram's performance is one of many hues as on appearance a rather dull everyman harbouring a deadly psychological imbalance ("I just wanna be feared and respected. That's not too much to ask of life is it?") But it is perhaps Alice Lowe who steals the honours and the biggest laughs, presenting something that goes from genuinely naively funny to continuously complicit and  downright uncomfortable to watch.

Wheatley's kinetic and obstuse directorial style is more reined in here than it is in his previous film Kill List (still, a frustrating experience of near brilliance and downright irritating) and is employed to brilliant effect in capturing the landscape of Britain and setting the mood of each scene, be it sitcom or slaughter. 

Wheatley's finest without a doubt, but take a bow Edgar Wright and Nira Park doing the production honours and, of course, Oram and Lowe who, in writing and starring, should now take their deserved place amongst the likes of the Ayoade's, the Pegg's and the Coogan's etc whom they have previously played stooges and second fiddles too. 

RIP Richard Griffiths

It's another sad loss to showbusiness, legendary actor Richard Griffiths has passed away aged 65 following complications from heart surgery.

Griffiths was one of my favourite characters actors; star of TV series like Bird Of Prey, the excellent computer espionage series from the early 80s, and Pie In The Sky the Sunday night 90s culinary detective drama, and the sitcom A Kind Of Living and star of films like The History Boys, Naked Gun 2, Chariots of Fire, Sleepy Hollow, A Private Function, Gorky Park and the Harry Potter films (which I've never seen and am quite proud of that fact!) On stage he famously starred in the revival of Equus alongside Daniel Radcliffe, his Harry Potter co-star. Radcliffe has paid this lovely tribute today;

"Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. I was proud to know him"

But for me, primarily, he was Uncle Monty in my favourite film ever, Withnail and I

"I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees"



Looking at this photo and how, as it is Good Friday, it is timely I am reminded of my time at a Catholic School in the 90s (not that I am Catholic, it was just a school nearby!) Naturally the school was very religious and one Easter before the end of term, we had an assembly in which we were presented a series of slides to view in silence, accompanied only by Joan Osborne's song 'What If God Was One Of Us' which came out in '95, so I'm guessing that was the year this memory stems from, or it may have been the year after, which was when I left school.

 It was an earnest endeavour I guess, to get us pupils to consider the religious aspect of the forthcoming Easter holiday. However it was immediately a failure because many of the slides featured not depictions of Christ from the Bible, but instead depictions of Christ as played by Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth. At which point my form tutor nudged me and whispered 'What's Dave Briggs doing up on that cross?'

Dave Briggs of course was the character Robert Powell was playing at the time in the Jasper Carrott comedy The Detectives

It's no wonder I'm not religious!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

My Darling Clementine

That's Clementine Desseaux, French plus size fashion model

I adore her look, and think she's another great example of challenging societies perceptions on what is beautiful. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes! Not that Clementine is 'huge', she's quite average given the stats in the UK these days really, maybe a size 16? But of course some people would classify her as 'obese', and in using that term would equate it with 'ugly' and she is clearly neither! Clementine, with her look not unlike a chubby (and I mean that nicely) Gemma Arterton, proves that beauty transcends weights, shapes and sizes.