Monday, 29 December 2008

Christmas TV Viewing

So it's the post-Christmas, pre-new year gap, and I'm just glad to be finally tasting food again. After a Christmas Day that involved waking up and bursting into tears because I felt so ill, and then went on to involve NO turkey, NO chocolate orange, NO booze, and NO presents on Christmas day as I was too weak, I'm just glad to be able to sit up straight now. I must be the only fucking person in England who LOST weight over Christmas. BOO!
But anyway, who cares about my ailments? Only me and all those within germ-spitting distance. I still managed to squeeze in a healthy amount of Christmas TV in between crying, chain-sucking strepsils, and avoiding particularly offensive family members.
Just before the worst of the fever struck, my mum said 'Do you want to watch a film?' and I archly said 'I only like kitchen sink dramas.' in my best Morrissey voice. Sadly, she took me quite seriously and put on 60s black and white drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Actually, it was quite good, if you don't mind very little happening in a film, which I didn't. I like seeing how things used to look as well, and everyone looked very cool and smoked a lot. It had a bit of a weird ending though; like it ended in the middle.
On Christmas day itself, I opened my eyes for the Top of The Pops Christmas special; which was oddly enjoyable. The soaps were good but not great; I think Eastenders hit the mark the best with the Sean-baby saga. Tony sticking Jed in the box on Corrie was good fun; but not quite as dramatic, somehow.
I hated Deal or No Deal at Christmas, it's rubbish without the usual contensants when it's for some person who's 'deserving'. Zzzz. I slept through most of those.
I think it was Boxing Day when I watched ET on ITV2, which was dreamy; still just brilliant. Thank God CGI hadn't been invented to mess it up then. Pure perfection. Elliot is like a proto-type Conor Oberst. Drew Barrymore is fab. Harry Hill was good that day, too.
The rest of the schedule was pretty awful; we had to resort to playing games (not that much fun when you can't drink). We watched Cloverfield again (very good) and a zillion countdown shows; annoying people, best films, best songs, and so on. Lists and lists and lists.
Worst programme of the festive seasion was the utterly dire 8 out of 10 Cats- Best Bits. If those were the best bits, I shudder to think how chronically unfunny the rest of the fucking thing was. I thought comedians were meant to make you laugh? I pity the likes of the dazzling Charlie Brooker and always-great David Mitchell having to pretend to laugh at that one that looks like Billy Mitchell, and tha fat cunt off of Gavin and Stacey. I can't even bear to look at that pig-faced charisma-void, he makes my skin crawl. Utterly awful in every way, I strongly advise you to walk slowly away from that burning car crash, Jimmy Carr. Another serious of Your Face or Mine? would be seven billion times it's superior (seriously; that show rocked). Halfway through we switched over to a repeat of Ponderland and the relief of unbridled laughing at someone genuinely talented was a stark contrast to the back-slapping bullshit we had been suffering through. Oh yeah; and Christmas Ponderland was brilliant too; although Russell's new beard makes him look sinister. Still, thank God we still have him; because lord knows, we need him.
The only other thing of note we watched was the E4 special Why I Love Celebrity Big Brother. It was really fun to see all the previous years; the best of which had to be the heady mixture of Chantelle, Preston, Jodie Marsh, Pete Burns, Barrymore and George Galloway. Just magical. Jodie Marsh was robbed; she definitely had more to offer. How I loved the innocence of Chantelle's green eyeshadow! Sigh. So yes, I am VERY much looking forward to the new series on Friday. And still hating Jade for getting it cancelled this year. It gives me something to mouth off about anyway and I can't wait!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Film: The Wackness

'I just see the dopeness, you just see the wackness.' I don't remember ever talking like this in the 90s but hey, it's still a good line.
Someone either recommended this film to me, or I read somewhere that it was good, and I can't remember which. Either way, it's about a weed dealer and set in the 90s. I do associate weed dealing quite heavily with the 90s, but then I had a peculiar upbringing.
It's quite slow-paced; kind of like 8 Mile meets The Garden State; of which I liked both. The Eminem-style character who likes his hippity-hop is very easy on the eye. Ben Kingsley plays his psychiatrist, and he pays him in bags of weed. Even though I don't really like hip hop, the soundtrack was good, and used quite effectively I thought. I liked the mentions of Kurt Cobain and mixtapes and the lack of mobiles; that's how it was in the 90s, kids.
Is it an urban myth that a lot of dealers pose as ice-cream sellers? I'm sure I've heard that on many occasions but I've never offered anything more potent than a Nobbly-Bobbly from Mario's Ices.
I had this feeling that something bad was going to happen all the way through as it all seemed too floaty and easy. Plus those black guys with the guns looked a bit menacing at the beginning, and you know, drug dealers should get their comeuppance and all that rubbish.
Actually, it turned out to be about friendship/ coming of age and all that caboodle. Quite nice really.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Coldplay at the O2 Arena (also known as the Millennium Dome)

Have you ever been to a gig in an airport? Well roll right up to the O2 arena, almost as cold inside as it was outside!
Yes, last night I went to see Coldplay at the O2, or the Dome, as it actually is. I last went to the Dome for a rave up in about 2001 and I just remember trudging around in a tatty pink dress, wide-eyed and freezing my arse off, and dreading the tube journey home (actually, it was good fun). But this was something completely different. The Dome has turned into a shopping centre, a trendy wine bar, and a big fuck off arena, all mangled together.
I think we must have bought these Coldplay tickets sometime back in 1998, because since then, I split up with my ex, moved house, changed jobs, lost my cat to a killer parasite and er... stopped liking Coldplay.
But actually, I was wrong to be too negative. You may mock, but those middle-class marker-pen loving boys put on a pretty good show. The O2 arena itself is vile; a huge expanse, with virtually no good seats, and believe me, it's ALL seats. No standing! I'd have sobbed if I'd seen Morrissey there, but he'd probably chew his own arm off to sell out three nights there, veggie or not.
We had reasonably good spots in theory, but unless you are sitting in the front row, pretty much all the seats were shit. Nice and comfy though; mmm! You appreciate this sort of thing as you age. I'd recommend binoculars if you're going to see The Killers there.
Sitting at a gig is morally wrong anyway, and the crowd were as you'd expect; bland scunt-wearing boyfriends, drab girls and older couples out past their bedtimes. The girl sitting next to me was eating a salad. The man in front of my seat, in a jaunty polo-neck, behaved the entire show as if he was getting sent to prison tomorrow and was determined to have the night of his life, no matter what. His dancing would have made a gay man weep.
But at least people did stand and dance I suppose, even if we were all forced into our designated space. Oh, a word on the support bands; the first seemed absolutely drowned by the venue, but the singer had a nice enough voice (do you expect me to look this shit up?). More peculiarly were the second support band, an ambient/techno outfit with acid-trip animations. They seemed entirely out of place; I almost felt like it was 2001 again; except they weren't very good. Hopefully they upset some of the old folk though.
And then. Everyone's favourite gawky, fuzzy-haired, movie-star fucker. I can't remember what they opened with but the whole show was like one big greatest hits set, which was good, really. Personally I don't want to sit through Spies, or any of that dreary shit. The hits just kept coming; there was only one song I didn't particularly like, and before the gig I could only name about three songs I DID like, so that says something, surely. The lights were spectacular; loads of lasers, freakish bally things with Chris Martin's distorted mug on, and during Lovers in Japan, so many paper butterflies fell from the sky, hat I suspect Coldplay single-handedly destroyed a decent-sized rainforest. Save the trees! My dear friend JOTV would have liked the balloons, but I suspect he's too cool for Coldplay.
I'd never seen Coldplay live before; and I have to say, they are definitely worth a look. Chris Martin threw himself around the stage like a slimy toy you'd chuck at a wall; like a mad-man being electrocuted by his pajamas. He can't dance, but he puts the effort in, and that's the main thing. I liked the little electro-medley they did when they all stood together and did God Put a Smile on my Face and something else (?!). I was happy to hear The Scientist played live, but the bestest thing was The Hardest Part, which is my top ten songs of all time. It's just heartbreakingly good (I got dumped to it once and it left it's grubby mark on me). They did a nice pianoey version. The new album was hammered, but not battered, and it was very singalongy.
Coldplay also came into the crowd at one point and sang Jingle Bells with (fucking) Simon Pegg on harmonica. It was good cos they were pretty near us. Simon Pegg is pretty insufferable, but hey, at least it wasn't Jay-Z.
And yeah, that was about it. All the hits, no sweat, and we even got a seat on the tube. Gigs shouldn't be this easy. Roll on the Morrissey scrum.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Eastenders: The Paedophile Edition

Eastenders was excellent tonight. I cried the whole way through it so it must have done the trick. Wow they really piled on the rain machine, didn't they? And Tony actually did some acting rather than just looking like some shifty motherfucker. I thought the whole thing was brilliantly acted; Bianca and Whitney in particular were really good. And I normally can't stand Bianca.
The whole episode was really well written (I notice from the credits they got an old school writer in; I did my dissertation on Eastenders at university so that tells you what type of course I did) They always get an old school writer in when it's a biggie episode.
The whole episode was full of horror and it was very dramatic, in the right way. I'm glad they didn't shirk from it; and I thought Bianca's reaction was interesting; I was SHOCKED when Whitney said she was 12 when it started and Bianca still carried on having a go at her. But the penny dropped more gradually; and it was actually more effective as she put the pieces together. It was good when she took Tiffany off Tony's lap, and him saying she was too young, because that's how it must be to be a child abuser; you must have to have some supremely twisted sense of morality to say 'no, that child is too young, but 12 is ok.' We lump them together, but child abusers ARE humans; and that's what's frightening.
I'm so glad they didn't drag it out more; I couldn't have standed (!) it any longer. NB. That creative writing degree was wasted on me *pays back the loan forever*.
I was wondering the whole way through when someone was going to say the P word, and I'm glad they did, although it was clearly a heavy handed 'message for the kids'. Yet it was good that it was acknowledged; this was not an affair, it was rape. Whitney was not to blame.
I was very happy when it transpired Bianca had called the old bill at the end. The whole thing was like the worst drama in my house ever growing up times twelve. And you gotta love Eastenders for that shit.
PS: I double dare you to spell paedophilia right first time.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Entertainments: Louis, Louis and Choke

I'm gonna do a mash up because I've got a little to say on a few things, and you know, I've missed you a bit.
I have to say I've not been enjoying the Law and Disorder series of Louis Theroux as much as I thought I would. Am I shallow to want him to go interview Heather Mills or Posh instead? I do like it when he covers serious subjects, but I prefer it when he's in silly mode. It seems like it could be any film maker doing these documentaries; Louis' personality is getting diluted. Maybe I just want a bit of light relief.
Talking of which, my enjoyment of the X Factor semi-final was marred somewhat by an accidental text telling me who had gone out before I got the chance to see it. The X Factor without suspense is justt a bunch of dickheads singing rubbish cover versions. Having said that, it wasn't a bad night. Alexandra has come on miles, and should probably win it. JLS have also improved. But the real talking point was the 'friendship' between Eeeeeeoooghhhhannn and Diana. How many times did they repeat the word 'friendship' on the Xtra Factor? It was blatantly obvious they are in love. It was like watching Hollyoaks on anti-depressants when Diana got the boot. It was half traumatic/ half hilarious watching him sobbing and mewling and running on stage, ruining her final song. Ah, it was kind of sweet though. Or would be if she didn't look ten years older than him, yet still looked her age, which is 17. I personally thought OWEN's rendition of that Busted song off Singstar was absolutely dreadful, and when he declared that it was the sort of rocky (?!) style he felt comfortable with, I really did have to resist the urge to open a vein. As for Diana doing Dido, bad move. She should have done Kate Nash or something, the tweenies voting would have lapped that up. It made me laugh when Cheryl Cole said Diana's fans were 'probably too cool to vote' therefore declaring the entire X Factor audience 'uncool'. Nice.
I'm sure you're keen to know, the reason I missed the X Factor was because I was at the cinema watching Choke. Now, I listened to the audio book of this Chuck Palahniuk book earlier this year. I enjoyed it, but by Chuck's standards, I thought the plot was holey; I never understood why the people who saved Victor's life sent him money in the first place. I also accidentally put my IPod on shuffle at one point and heard the twist at the end... a twist that was inexplicably, completely left out in the film. Yet they kept in the utterly ridiculous son of god schtick which made very little sense. Chuck gets away with some ridiculous plot devices/ twists, because of his convincing writing style. When his style is removed from the equation, and his ideas put into the wrong hands, it's just left looking a bit silly.
So I KNEW the plot and I still found the film inexplicable in parts. The main character, played by Sam Rockwell, was irritating and reminded me of Tom Cruise (urgh). There wasn't enough of the whole choking thing (it is the title after all). It was meant to be a comedy, which threw me, as the book wasn't, and I don't remember laughing. There probably wasn't enough sex in it, for a film about a sex addict. Why would Cherry Daiquiri go out with Denny when he was so bloody ugly? And as for the whole rock storyline; if you're going to take out the end scene of the book (i.e. probably one of the most interesting and dramatic parts, and one which was infinitely better than what the scriptwriter did here, which was go for the easy option), why even keep the stupid rocks in? I thought the rocks were dumb anyway, but at least they had a dramtic purpose in the novel.
There was also excessive use of flashbacks; always bad in films, as 12 million bad Stephen King adaptations can testify to. Anjelica Houston was OK, but that's about as much as I could say.
If you liked Fight Club, run a mile from this. Chuck is one of my favourite writers, but I'd love to know what he makes of this. If someone murdered my novel in this way, I'd go boot them in the face.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Film: A Complete History of My Sexual Failures

I watched this film today, which was a documentary following a slacker-type guy called Chris (who had an echo of Kurt Cobain about him), who had been dumped by every girlfriend he'd had and could no longer get it up.
The film came to rather a big snag early on when none of his ex girlfriends wanted to be on film. He eventually persuaded a couple of them who he went out with quite young. Both of them were quite smug and looked years older than him, even if they did have big, bland houses. I think he had a lucky escape with those ones. Unfortunately later on he met up with some of his exes who he had clearly done serious wrong by, and they were interesting, attractive and independent.
I thought the film was slow and relentlessly depressing for some time. Chris was a pretty unlikeable character, in my opinion, I didn't feel he had much charm, he just stumbled from one crisis to the next. I don't mind a scruffy bloke, but having to get his mum in to clean pubes from round his toilet was a step too far. Not appealing.
He didn't seem to have a lot of answers as to WHY he was such a dick. Why didn't he reply to Olivia's love letters? Why did he propose to one girlfriend and then never set a date for the wedding? That particular girlfriend still lived in the flat they'd shared and it was probably the most interesting part of the film as they cried together. How silly of him to declare himself still in love with her, when she was pregnant. It was textbook teenager behaviour, and just emphasised how emotionally immature he was.
The film lost it in the middle; first with his trip to the dungeon (how would getting his arse smacked and his dick twisted help him get a hard on?) and then when he decided to deal with his erectile dysfunction by doing a whole packet of Viagra. I thought it was pretty insane. Can't you have a heart attack like that? When he ran out of the streets begging people to fuck him I thought that was tantamount to sexual assault; I would have punched him in the face had he approached me like that. He lost all of my sympathy at that point.
Yet incredibly, he met his next girlfriend this way! And she was really good-looking and had a good job as a journalist. I was glad the film cheered up a bit, but it seemed a little too neat.
All in all Chris reminded me of the kind of person you know who just won't grow up, and who blames other people for all their problems. I think the film was meant to be funny, but I didn't laugh very much. It just made me realise how stupid men can be in relationships. And how much women have to put up with. (insert sexism complaint here!)