Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Dear reader, as you know how much I love Madonna, you may have been puzzled, maybe even distressed, at the fact that I haven't blogged about Madonna and Guy's recent divorce.
Please rest assured that Madonna has not been far from my thoughts at this difficult time.
Difficult time for Guy, I mean. He's had to put up with his wife denouncing him to several million people as an "emotional retard", the kids moving to a different country, his ex-wife's new lover being pararded in front of thousands of people at her concerts, and his son being pictured by the world's press wearing the outfit of this new lover's baseball team.
Presumably the Elders of Kabbalah can find a way to excuse such provocative and cruel behaviour, perhaps by way of hefty bungs from Madge and her new mega-rich boyfriend..
Can't help thinking that Madonna tried on Being British, like it was an outfit to pop on or off as she pleased. It must have looked like so much fun to a rich America. A massive fairground full of grown-up games like grouse hunting, riding, and poncing around big old creaky country houses.
And Guy - what a change it must have been for her to meet someone who treated her like an actual human being rather than a novelty fuck.
I always hoped it would last between them. Listen to her Music album and you could deduce that she felt Guy was somehow her deserving reward. This guy was meant for me. I deserve it. Reading what is regarded to be the definitive account of her life, Madonna, by Randy Taraborrelli, it was like he brought an end to a long phase of her personal life that had been sullied and devoid of meaning. Now she had a family to come home to.
But, no. She had her fill. Wanted to move on. You can say what you like about Guy but from where I'm sitting he never changed. Madonna just changed her mind about wanting what he had to offer. I wonder if she'll ever regret that decision.
Last weekend we had the parents-in-law around for lunch. Mother-in-law told us how they had finally planned their India trip. She's wanted to go since she was a girl, but despite being well travelled, she's always put it off for one reason or another. But now they were finally going, spending a couple of months travelling all around the country to places I had never heard of, other than Mumbai.
During the week, I had a phone conversation with my brother-in-law. He was off to Indian in a couple of weeks time. I said to him, that if I didn't speak to him again before he went, to have a good time.
Now, of course, none of them are going anymore. Like thousands of others, I would guess. But then, that would be part of the point wouldn't it? Make it too dangerous for people to visit. Kill off the beating heart of an emerging economy. Destroy, annihilate, massacre, ruin. It's sickening. It always is.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I never did comment on the most excellent drama Dead Set. It's creator, Charlie Brooker, can do no wrong anyway in my eyes. I only survive Monday mornings because of his scribblings in the Guardian.
Anyway, Dead Set was dead good. It was an original concept. True, I have had a couple of conversations over the years about the contestants in the Big Brother house surviving an apocalypse they were oblivious to, but never had I added zombies to the scenario and then made a TV drama out of it.
My relationship with the living dead began with Playstation game Resident Evil in 1996. The joy, oh the joy, of having that thing shuffle slowly towards you as you stood patiently with your shotgun aimed right between its eyes. So to have zombies placed in the context of something as familiar as the Big Brother TV series, in a thing written by Brooker, was always going to be entertainment enough for me. A funny, comical and very very gory way to kill off humanity.
Now we have the BBC's new drama series, Survivors, where 90% of the world's population is killed off by a virus. Apart from the fact that of course, it isn't new. It's based on the classic 1970s TV series of the same name.
Survivors, unfortunately, doesn't have zombies in it. In this new series, people just seem to go to sleep with a bit of a cold and then not wake up. A few of them do it in hospital corridors, but most seem to die very neatly in their beds at home. This is probably how it would happen because when people have flu, they go to bed, but as End Of The World scenarios go, it's a bit boring. I would have preferred to see people running around screaming with their skin turning green whilst they vomited endless steams of black bile.
I would also have preferred not to have seen a bright, gleaming, empty city, devoid of dead bodies and traffic chaos. In the original series, it is clear that the survivors of the virus have had to leave the cities because they are awash with fatal diseases feeding off the juices of the dead. In Sunday night's episodes it was obvious that you could quite happily live in a city. Choice of penthouse, looting from Selfridges, easy commute to work what with everyone else being too dead to use public transport.
But the one thing an apocalyptic drama must have their characters do is traipse around the country. In real life, if there were mad zombies out there, or a killer cold bug, you'd bloody well stay at home wouldn't you? But that wouldn't make for great TV - woman wanders about her house looking a bit apprehensive as she peeps through windows. So the creators of the drama have to come up with reasons as to why their characters have to leave their home.
In both versions of Survivors, the main character Abbey has to leave her home to go to her son. Other characters that Abbey later meets have had to leave the cities because of the piles of rotting dead bodies covering the streets.
But the characters in the new series seem to have woken up one morning, realised that everyone is dead, and decided that the best thing to do would be to pack a bag and wander off.
Luckily, all of them bump into each other by the end of the first episode. At least, I would have thought myself lucky. I mean, imagine it, over a period of three days, everyone you know and love has died. Your neighbours are dead. The Government. The World. All dead. That would probably take some getting used to. You'd also probably fall to your knees and cling to the legs of the next living human being you set your eyes upon in desperate relief.
But these characters seem to have absorbed the reality of the situation and decided what to do with relative ease. Then, when they meet other people who have also survived, some of them just want to get off and do their own thing. This takes the tension away somewhat. If they can't be bothered to worry about the End Of The World as we know it, then I'm not going to worry about it for them.
But of course, Episode One is just scene setting and character introducing. Hopefully they will be reprising the spirit of the original series and really picking our minds about just what it would mean to suddenly lose all the advances in technology, science, medicine, trade, and consumer goods, and have modern man/woman return to the stone age. My main worry would be what to do when all the supplies of soap and toothpaste ran out, but hopefully that's just me.
One thing that has been lost in translation from original series to the new, is the demographics of the original survivors. In the 1970s, your only chance of surviving a killer virus was to be terribly middle-class and white, now at least black people and people with accents are allowed to survive too. And, much as I love and adore Paterson Joseph, by Jove am I going to miss the Greg from the original series; humourless alpha-male and wearer of tight clothes, I honour you.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Issue. If we're going to expect Barack Obama to solve every problem on earth*, then I think we should at least have the decency to be consistent with how we pronounce his name.
The man himself, I have noted, pronounces his name in a sensual drawl:
Barr ark Obarmar
This sounds lovely in his creamy voice and American accent, but when you hear a posh Radio 4 voice say it that way it sounds silly. It sounds like they are avoiding calling him Barack because it sounds too working class. Like how posh people say gararge rather garage or grarse rather than grass.
I think it should be as seen:
I think he would want it that way.
* Mr Obama is a bit of a smoothy, I do hope he is going to apply himself and not spend too much time in piano bars drinking daiquiris.
In Mr Obama's victory speech, I was astounded to hear him say this to his daughters:
"Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."
It's really not a good idea to buy a puppy just before a house move. Better to buy one after Christmas, when the animal can be introduced into a more settled environment.
Rest of the speech was OK though.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I am currently pissed off with THE UNDESERVING RICH and would like to start a revolution. In the first instance, I thought to draw up a list of people I consider to be the enemy. Feel free to make suggestions.
THE UNDESERVING RICH HIT LIST
Tory pensioners who spend their Winter Fuel Allowance on things other than their gas bill, because they don't need the money.
Anyone who owns a three or more berth boat, or a yacht of any berth, for the purposes of pleasure.
Londoners who own a second "home" (farmhouse with ten acres) in any place where house prices have been pushed up by Londoners buying second homes.
Women who have earned their money by getting their tits out for the lads.
Anyone who is a tax exile.
The sons and daughters of the rich/famous who have made their living by being the son or daughter of the rich/famous.
Anyone who got their career break because they are the son or daughter of someone famous.
Gas/electric company executives.
Anyone selling oil.
Anyone paid lots for doing "work" that adds nothing of benefit to the UK.
The script writer of Eastenders
Peaches and Pixie Geldoff
The Royal Family
Craig Revel Horwood
What a funny thing this week's event has been. Look at it from different angles and it takes on a different shape.
The conclusion is:
Brand and Ross are a pair of over-paid tossers, who have been pissing all over the spirit of the BBC for years, who have finally been caught out, and for who hanging would be too good.
The BBC has grown into such an arrogant institution that it thinks it can pay two juvenile delinquents millions of tax payers money for their puerile outpourings, not think to edit their shit, and then fail to realise that it needs to apologise until 30,000 people have complained.
This is a clash of generations, with most people over 35 thinking that there are lines to be drawn, even in comedy, and most of the younger generation finding comedians who step over that line hilarious.
Media types are jealous of Brand and Ross's commercial and financial success and have kept the story going because they are enjoying giving their colleagues a good kicking; ala Gambaccini.
This is a witch-hunt orchestrated by the right-wing press, who, eager for the day when Terry and June return to our screens, have been waiting for their to have a go at the BBC and string up their nemesis, the new comedian, for years.
The 30,000 people who complained about the radio program, who did not listen to the original recording when it went out, who went out of their way to listen and read about material that could cause offence, are a sad bunch of arseholes who really need to get a life.
The 30,000 people who complained about the radio program, who did not listen to the original recording when it went out, who went out of their way to listen and read about material that could cause offence, are fucked off, in these recession riddled times, with people who get paid excessive amounts of money without doing anything seemingly significant to earn it.
It's a sad day when a blogger writes a post about an overblown story about two silly comedians, when a massive humanitarian disaster is building up once more in the Congo.