Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wishful Thinking

On a recent visit to see my grandparents, I was asked a question that posed something of a conundrum. To put this entire story into perspective, My grandparents (like most people's I imagine) are very old school. Now, I do not mean this in the cool way the kids speak. As amusing as the notion is, I don't think my Gran is out everything weekend at a hip-hop 80's stylee rave whilst Grandad busts a move "keeping it real".

Nope, they're blessed to be from a time without modern distractions such as therapy, the internet, etc. As my Grandad once said (and was later stolen and used in the first Spider-Man film), "Computer Analysts? Do even computers need analysts these days?".

So on my recent visit, whilst enjoying a milky cuppa and a biccy, my Gran ventured the question "So when are you going to get a girlfriend then?". Like so many times before, my mind turned to the comedy response... 'give it time'... 'not for lack of trying'... etc.

But in truth I don't think this is true anymore. With further thought it dawned on me that it's COMPLETELY from a lack of trying. I have slipped into far too comfortable a routine, one that pretty much has no responsibilities or demands. Does that mean I'm going to try and change this situation? I honestly don't know, and wouldn't know where to begin. But the truth remains, I have simply stopped trying.

Despite this new found realisation, my Gran may have a fairly long wait before her endgame is achieved. Thinly veiled as grand-parental concern, her true reasoning behind this enquiry soon became apparent. Why was she taking an interest in my lack of love-life?

"It's been ages since I've been to a wedding!"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Missing Hermione

With the recent news that Emma Watson will not be returning to reprise her role as Hermione in the final two Harry Potter film installments, this leaves something of a conundrum. Having reportedly turned down £2m per film to keep on playing the whiney blonde one, and also quoted as saying she's tired of being known as "that girl from Harry Potter", she's decided to abandon the franchise in order to focus on her career... Her career?... Say it with me - Her career!

It seems puberty has fully broken and the inner diva is fully fledged now. Whilst Danny Radcliffe is off working with Ricky Gervais and getting his nads out on stage, and even Ginger Grint has been making grown-up films with his new bezzie mate Julie Walters, little Emma has been branching out from her typecast shadow by doing... absolutely nothing. Here's a tip, Em, if you want to focus on your "career" you may want to try and get one first. Is this girl so dense to not only turn down an easy £4m, but also to not realise that Harry Potter IS her career.

The rest of the cast seem happy to return year after year, and I'm not just talking about the kiddies. Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes etc all seem quite content to stay with the series. For the artistic integrity? For the chance of winning Oscars? Of course not. It's an easy job and a steady (and hefty) income that gets them seen by millions worldwide. In short, they're not stupid. And they don't seem to view themselves above the work. Not so much, it seems, can be said of Em-Wat. Indeed, Ginger Grint himself recently said that despite working together for five years, she hardly ever speaks to him or Danny-Rad anymore.

Good riddance then. She, as a limited actress, is entirely disposable. However, the same cannot be said of the character. So a replacement must be found. The small-brained studio people are no doubt right this moment drawing up a list of every semi-known teen actress on the planet that can just about handle an English accent, or holding open auditions for thousands of unknown wannabes. Silly, silly, small-brained studio people, I say. The answer is obvious. There is currently one British actress who is universally adored and would, with the audience employing a little suspension of disbelief, slip effortlessly into the role. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the solution below....

UPDATED: Emma Watson, the selfish bitch, has recently made this entire blog pointless by issuing a statement saying that, despite the rumours, she is indeed signed and staying with the franchise until the final film. Which basically means: a) she was haggling for more money, and b) I wasted an awful lot of time on this blog for no reason.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Mighty Peacock

With the recent, almost-certain demise of one of telly's best shows, I have been consoling myself by trying to find more telly. I must have telly, people!

And so I stumbled across a show that was getting rave reviews across the pond, a new sitcom from Tina Fey - the only woman to be made head writer of Saturday Night Live, and the sole reason that show became good again. This new telly is '30 Rock', and the only way to describe it is to imagine 'Scrubs' set in a TV studio (short, sharp humour with surreal and frankly ludicrous cutaways). It is, almost, the funniest thing on telly.

'Almost, you say, Ian?' I hear you not cry. Yes, it's almost the funniest thing showing right now, which doesn't sound like great praise worthy of a blog, but it segue ways nicely into the point of this blog. You see, '30 Rock' is set behind the scenes of a fictional sitcom called The Girlie Show at the NBC network, an awful, intentionally unfunny sketch show that all the writers believe is hilarious. This is meant for both sight-gag comedy and a comment on the current state of network sitcoms. Kudos to NBC for being ballsy enough to take the piss out of themselves and their output (Conan O'Brian makes cameos as a useless womanising ignoramus). Especially for a show still in its first season, this shows incredible faith in Tina Fey on the part of NBC.

This got me thinking. And about the fact that I considered it "almost" the best sitcom on telly. Remember I compared it to the style of Scrubs? Well, Scrubs also happens to be an NBC show, a program that regularly takes potshots at the medical industry (but never forgetting to include some sex and drugs references). And then I got to thinking about 'The Office' (yes the American one), which in my opinion is now flat-out the funniest thing on telly in years. The yankee Office goes even further than the Brit version in the cringe stakes (the boss getting pissed off that some one's possibly terminal diagnosis could overshadow his birthday and turning it into an excuse for his own birthday party) as well as upping the character moments.

Other networks have their great shows. But none have quite the barrage of quality being fired at the general public as NBC, and none seem so eager to drift close to the edge of taste as them. So bravo, Senor Peacock, NBC officially makes the best comedy on the telly!

Oh wait a frakking minute... they also make 'Heroes' too! Wowsers!....


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Un Cuento

After managing to delete this blog I decided to try and re-type it... then I got bored and ate a sandwich instead. So after a couple of days of blog-hatred, here goes attempt number 2 (with added zesty goodness - although as I haven't been in a fist fight in last 48 hours I fear this will pale in comparison to the recent blogs of my colleagues).
I watched the NME Awards earlier tonight (ahhh, see it's already different, that wouldn't have been there 2 days ago), and was left with a slightly empty sickly feeling in my tum-tum. It is almost the complete opposite of The BRITS, which I realise it's probably aiming for, but it does it in completely the wrong way. Whilst the Britties is a self-congratulatory affair of bored pop stars, bad jokes, half-arsed performances and wrong wrong just plain wrong decisions, it tries to be edgy and cool and of course this never works, making for hideous telly.
Now, the NME Awards was a self-congratulatory affair of bored indie stars, bad jokes, phoned-in performances and decisions no one cares about, but it tries to be important and classy which of course makes it nigh-on unwatchable. At least when people accept awards at the Brits they manage something slightly more articulate than "Yeah, cheers, whatever, fuck off!". At least the performances at the Brits, although usually dross of the highest order, can sometimes include an elaborate stage production, or at the very least promise artists the chance of shifting some bloody albums (and nearly always does).
Instead NME gave us Kaiser Chiefs performing a song that's already been number 1 to a small room full of their bored mates. Really, what IS the point? If it hadn't been for Jarvis Cocker and Beth Ditto belting out a very karaoke-esque 'Temptation' I'd have headed out into the night to find a Rat-Faced-Boy to beat my living brain out.
Which brings me to the point of this original blog; I recently got hold of Hope of the States' second album 'Left', a stunning album from a band that really had the potential to go on and be one of this country's most important musical creations, and ironically a stunning album that bombed so heavily it caused the band to split. Hope of the States fused incredible, multi-instrumentalist rock with songs that were actually about something. And more so, and I know this as I saw them live, they actually cared about what they were doing and the connection they made with people.
And yet we seem destined to exist in a world where the only rock stars with staying power just so happen to be in the dullest, most-disinterested bands out there. Cream, it appears, does not always rise. Where the arse is today's Bowie, today's Neil Young? Hell, at this point I'll settle for a Phil Collins (he's a c**t but he always reminded me of Danny DeVito which I found amusing)...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hoocha Hoocha Hoocha... Peanut

A cacophony of fun events recently greeted me like the slightly senile aunt you don't visit much, asking "where have you been then?", before ruffling the unwashed hair of my soul. Where had I been indeed? It had been too long, and now finally having the funds to do so, I embarked on nearly three social events in one week!

First up was Pure Reason Revolution with the loud funny, almost drunky Jonster, a slightly reserved Hockster, and the lovely, lovely Chloe from Pure Reason Revolution.... Oh! yes, there was a band as well. And mighty grand they were, swelling the crowd to within an inch of bursting their sweaty grooving bodies. New badges, awesome support band (the first one anyway), dancing, booze, and two hours of ogling Chloe as they finally went wrong in a song before dazzling us with techno-goodies!

Skip to 2 days later. London is the place, now is the time, baby! After annoying fellow bus travellers because we actually wanted to talk at 2pm, in the Big Smoke did we arrive (myself, Jonster and Meesh). Food ate (nearly killed by pizza), drink drunk (is it possible to find a decent pint of ale in London, or any pint for under £3?), before on to the Hope & Anchor for Celery Peanuts - I said Celery - and more beer. I almost managed to convinced Meesh I was choking after Jonster flicked a dry-roasted into my tankard of ale, but alas I wasn't wearing the Pete Doherty hat so I lost all my desire to Fuck Forever.

Kristin Hersh, you frighten me a tad, but your support band, The McScarys, will give me nightmares from here to eternity! Bendy freaks and unnerving string warbles do not a comfortable disposition make. It's lucky they were ace, helped along by the Invisible Shot Drinking Game. And Kristin... I can almost see you... apart from that couple devouring each other's faces a metre from my own... Ooh, there you are! Yes, very good you are too... and Ooh, whaddya know, there's Chloe from PRR in the audience 20 feet away (surely that's fate?). Old women on buses stories and excellent tunes ensue sung in the 'I've just eaten half a ton of gravel and I like it' stylee. Quite frankly one of the best things I've ever seen, despite pizza nausea and live soft-core porn.

One more trick left: How to get Meesh to sleep... try getting her to say the words "I feel wide-awake now".... doesn't sound likely, but trust me.

Best of all, nearly everyone I know is now addicted to Battlestar Galactica, which means a bit less piss-taking at the pub.... although Heroes is better.....