Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bringing Home The Bacon

Francis Bacon on the Tube

Straw Dogs : Boardgame

Always makes me chuckle

"The whole town stares at your wife's tits. Miss a turn"


My dog Boozy gets a lot of attention when we're out walking. It's often just little smiles, points in his direction and murmurs of 'aww'. Sometimes people will come over and tell me how beautiful they think he is or ask about his breeding and express surprise he's a dog and not a bitch; "He's too pretty to be a dog" often gets said. They'll try and stroke him but inevitably he backs away, because he's a shy dog, 'cursed by his good looks' I say!

My mum has been saying for some time that he looks like Pudsey, the winner of last year's Cash Cow-ell guff Britain's Got Talent and that comparison is being increasingly made by passers by too.

In fact when I showed this photograph to my mum yesterday, she presumed it was yet another piccie I took of Boozy lying on the leather coach

It's not. It's Pudsey; Boozy's famous doppelganger, or doggelganger

What do you think?

Boozy's off to school again tomorrow. His second visit. Decided it was time he got a little more obedient and also, a little more confident. The teacher sussed him from the off when she said he was a very nervous dog and, as I say, he shies sway from people trying to touch him. He had been coming on quite well under his own steam, getting more used to attention and other dogs, but last month, when my dad had taken him out for a morning stroll, he got attacked by a big Staff bull terrier - that wasn't on a lead! - and he bit deep into Boozy's leg, giving him four deep puncture wounds, a regressive step backwards into great anxiety and giving us all a major headache and a huge vet bill. I'm pleased to report his leg is now as good as new, but he's still very hesitant out and about.


The lovely Claire Goose during her Casualty/lads mag shoot heyday

The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury

I need to type this now while I'm on a high from watching - no I wasn't fortunate enough to see them finally grace Worthy Farm with their presence - But even now after 51 years and with Mick just one month away from his 70th, the band can still rock me from the comfort of my living room (and with ticket prices so astronomical that's likely the only place I'll ever get to see 'em) which is where I have just witnessed a little over an hour of their set care of BBC2

The BBC coverage was naturally somewhat abridged - I believe Mick was on record as saying they signed to play Glastonbury and not a TV show - but there was still fun to be had. Joining them at 10:45 this evening with Miss You the boys were perhaps what could be more kindly described as  a little ramshackably glorious, a rusty style that continued through the exploration of lesser performed hits from their back catalogue including 2000 Light Years From Home and a fabulously shambolic Midnight Rambler which saw them joined by former member Mick Taylor (Fan squeal!) Naturally as fans for life are often prone to secretly voice within themselves, I must admit I wondered if perhaps they weren't at their best. Had time - on their side for so long - finally caught up with them? Was it simply that they weren't cut out for Glastonbury? But such fears were soon quashed and I realised the folly in writing them off too soon because less than half hour in they really came alive, firing on all cylinders with Sympathy For The Devil and Start Me Up and from there to end and the welcome encore they were on fire. Hits came thick and fast; Brown Sugar, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Tumbling Dice, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction...I was in heaven, and I wasn't alone because the band looked like they were having an absolute ball too with Mick, the perennial ringmaster of 'The Rock and Roll Circus' clearly loving being the centre of attention and whipping up the crowd like only he can.

I'm deeply envious of anyone who managed to bag a ticket to Glasto this year and who got to see them. Mark Radcliffe introduced the coverage claiming the immediate area around the Pyramid Stage was chock-a-block, with a massive overspill falling out into the 'streets' to the shop stalls and up into the encampments on the surrounding hills. I'm also told celebrity attendees included Wayne and Coleen Rooney. The cunts. If ever there were people who didn't deserve to see The Stones its that kind of 'fame'. Ah well, money and prestige talks. And yes I am deeply jealous.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Out On Blue Six : Elvis Costello

He played a blinding afternoon set at Glastonbury today

So here's a trio of hits - though frankly I could be here all day picking faves from his back catalogue

Roll on The Stones next! (see what I did there?) Jealous of everyone at Glastonbury lucky enough to be seeing them live tonight

End Transmission

Jacobs Cracker

The gorgeous Gillian Jacobs, star of the hilarious and inventive Community

Out On Blue Six : The Lumineers

End Transmission

Redhead Day

Today in Manchester is Redhead Day! So it's only fair that I celebrate red heads in today's blog post - after all, my sister is one of them!

Audrey Fleurot

Jane Asher

Karen Gillan

Rosie Marcel

Phoebe Thomas

Ginger Rogers

Christina Hendricks

Alyson Hannigan

Lydia Rose Bewley

Molly Ringwald

And after all those beauties, the beast Mick Hucknall with a suitably titled song from his suitably named band Simply Red...

Black Books showed us how to woo redheads, via poetry...

Happy Redhead day!

Riff-Raff (1991)

Film 4 have this week been having a mini Ken Loach season to celebrate the premiere of his documentary Spirit of '45. Now I've seen quite a lot of Loach's work, but on sitting down to Riff-Raff, I have to admit that I was not actually sure if I'd seen it. If I have I presume it must have been around the time it was released/when I was very young, as it's the kind of film my dad would have probably watched. So, with this uncertainty in mind, I'm going to have to class it as a first watch. I'm very grateful to Film 4 for 'introducing' me to it.

Riff-Raff is essentially Loach's attempt at updating/making Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, a landmark and polemic piece of classic literature depicting the building trade of the early 1900s. It is Loach exploration of the same manual work and working class conditions in the death throes of Thatcherism that proves that the novel's resonance and reaction to the unjust society of it's day hadn't gone away some 70+years later and, sadly, it still remain with us now.

Loach's ability to nurture some genuinely realistic and understated performances is just as striking here as it is in any of his films. The breakout ones are of course Robert Carlyle, then largely unknown, and Emer McCourt  as the two leads. Ricky Tomlinson (a former builder himself who was sent to prison for strike action for better working conditions in the 1970s) shines in a strong supporting role as the Scouse politically aware builder. 

Tomlinson has since become an actor I baulk at whenever he appears in film and TV as he's become something of a stereotype and insulting cliche. Tomlinson of the last 15 years is a short hand for the worst kind of excesses of sentimental Liverpudlian and/or working class male that probably doesn't really exist beyond the media's depiction, but he's absolutely genuine here perhaps because he's largely playing a version of himself.  Not for one moment do I cringe at his appearance in this film, as I'd normally do, because I actually know the kind of rough, honest, gentlemanly keen for fair play scousers (or working class blokes in general) that he represents here. Not even the big comic scene he gets here -  that one could argue created the mould for him, pictured above -  detracts from this, in fact it serves to enhance it. This is no heightened imitation and as such it's rewarding to see. It's also interesting to spot an incredibly young looking Peter Mullan.

Ultimately like much of Loach's work the film treads a familiar path, indeed for anyone who has seen his later film The Navigators (which looked at the conditions of railways workers during the last days of nationalisation and subsequent privatisation) this may feel rather like Déjà vu, especially as both feature an avoidable, unfair tragedy as a key dramatic plot point towards their respective climaxes. But the message is still a clear and sympathetic one, and a thought provoking and entertaining 90 minutes will be had. Certainly it puts one in mind of just how healthy British independent film was in the early 90s with Loach and Mike Leigh at the helm and with Carlyle serving as a kind of buffer here with Danny Boyle just around the corner.

Just one thing, as much as I admire Stewart Copeland (as previous Theme Time blog posts will testify) I'm not sure his score works here. I keep expecting Edward Woodward's Equalizer to wander onto the building site!