Saturday, December 23, 2006

Do you think Mary and Joseph had a stable relationship?

Yes, yes, I know. There's a reason I never used that line in my stand-up.

Anyway, just a quick post to say that I'll probably be away from the keyboard for the next few days, and to wish you, my constant reader(s), a very happy Christmas /Yule / Saturnalia / Insert own pet name for week-long present- and food-fest.

The picture above was taken yesterday in Central London, as I finished off my shopping - the star in the centre is illuminated, and shoots out spangles of light along the radiating lines every couple of seconds; and all this is on the front of a functioning office building, it seems. Once again, I smile wryly and shake my head in amusement at the casual wonders of the city where I live.

Have a good Christmas, and may you get everything you deserve, and at least one thing you don't.

She’s Leaving Home (But She Has Her Phone With Her, So That’s All Right)

To the left there, one of a series of phone ads which are currently plastering the Tubes here in London.

And one of the oddest ads I’ve seen in some time, I feel; the suggestion being that the young woman in the picture hasn’t called home for a while, and the caption suggests that it’s something she ought to do, and so I’m rather inescapably driven to conclude that she may have run away from home.

Given the fate which so many female runaways are in danger of, and the shape of her mouth in the photo they’ve chosen to use… well, it looks to me as if Nokia are trying to get a slice of the teenage runaway prostitute fellatrix market.

I don’t know much about advertising, but I can’t really imagine that it’s one of the larger demographic slices. Ah well.

The Running Man

The rumours are true, yes; I have managed to get a place in the London Marathon 2007.

I’ll be running for a charity, so will be setting up a page online where you can sponsor me, probably in the next week or two.

More news as I’m able to share it.

REVIEW: Casino Royale

It’s been a few weeks since I caught this at the cinema, but it’s worth me giving a quick review, I think – if nothing else, it gives me a chance to post the picture to the left there; Daniel Craig’s first press conference after it was announced he was playing James Bond led a lot of the papers to be rather scathing, but the majority of them did a volte-face when they saw the actual film. Apparently they’re not able to distinguish between the actor and the role, though perhaps such a tenuous grasp of the difference between reality and fiction is a job requirement for journalists.

Anyway, Casino Royale is a very decent Bond film, and a good solid thriller in its own right. It features the standard elements of the Bond films (pre-title sequence, him saying his name in – y’know – that way, specific drink orders, etc), but unlike, say, its immediate predecessor (the woefully patchy Die Another Day), it also features a strong plot with a discernible through-line (as they say), and good performances by all the cast.

One or two of the lines are a bit wonky, but the general pacing’s very good, and they do well in coming up with some stunt sequences that are actively inventive (the free running bit, for example), and the pre-title bit sets out the stall well; it’s a flashback, and then they go into a flashback within that. Fairly unusual for a Bond film, let’s face it, and streets ahead of the thinking that leads to such nonsense as invisible cars.

Anyway, heartily recommended if you want a good entertaining film with some actual character development for Bond, and some respectable twists. And worth seeing on the big screen for the ‘wow’ factor – one or two scenes had the (admittedly fairly lively Saturday night) audience I was a member of actually gasping, which must mean the film-makers were doing something right.

Invading myspace

In answer to the several queries I’ve had, no I don’t have a myspace page, nor do I intend on setting one up in the foreseeable future.

The simple reason for this is that with very few exceptions, the pages seem to be exceedingly ugly and slow to load, and invariably chock-full of postings from bands in Wisconsin saying ‘cool site!!11! Be sure to check out our page too!!!! Lol!1!’ and the like.

And for some reason, I can’t bring myself to get involved with all that. And let’s face it, I don’t post enough updates to this blog as it is, let alone update my web space on any kind of regular basis.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

That Sound You Hear Is That Of TV Execs’ Fingernails On The Bottom Of The Barrel

I've often maintained that ITV2 shows the stuff that even 'ITV1' knows is unfit for broadcast, and as if to prove me very right indeed, tonight at 9pm they are showing the following:

Ghost Hunting with Girls Aloud

Let me say that again.


… you know, I’m almost tempted to type those words over and over again, like Jack Torrance in The Shining, but let me just say that the idea that this is an actual programme, occupying two whole hours on the schedule, is far more terrifying than any supernatural element that the programme could possibly contain.

Granted, not half as scary as being a nightclub toilet attendant when the girls are out on the lash at night, but still deeply troubling.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Corduroy pillowcases could create better headlines, frankly*

Today's Evening Standard board, with a typically nonsense use of language.

Unless he shouted 'Why is a raven like a writing desk?' as he fell, I think the word 'mystery' would have been more appropriate.

*Apologies to Bill Watterson

Vive la difference!

I’m doing some market research this week, and as part of it I’ve been asked to complete some online diary-like exercises. Apparently, the same research is being done in France at the moment (albeit one hour ahead). As I’m rather inclined to be impressed by the culture-loving ways of the French, I can’t help but wonder about the possibility of a vast difference between the two sets of diaries.

It was raining. Went to work. Had a couple of drinks with the lads after work, and got a kebab on the way home. Think I sent my ex a text message or maybe even called her from the pub just before we got thrown out, but I’m not sure. Some tosser was mouthing off on the bus, so I lamped him. Was sick in a skip outside next door’s house. Fell asleep watching ITV Play.

Spent the day in a café with Luc, smoking Gauloises and drinking coffee, and arguing about literature. He insists on the importance of Perec’s influence, but I disagree, and refuse to accept that anyone other than Baudrillard has any true and lasting merit. We agree, though, that Proust was an effete dilettante, and that Sartre, whilst important at the time, is now merely a poster-boy for students and would-be intellectuals, which is only right, as existentialism remains fundamentally adolescent in both its concerns and outlook. We drank wine, talking late into the night, ignoring the rain outside, and when we were finally thrown out of the café, I walked the streets for several hours, my steps inevitably leading me to the street corner beneath Marie’s apartment. Taking a pencil stub from my pocket, I wrote a brief but heart-felt villanelle about love, loss and destiny on the wall, there beneath her window. I know she will see it, and I fancy it might bring a tear to her eye and perhaps even regret to her mind. I made my way home then, smoking the last of my cigarettes and enjoying the sound of my footsteps on the rain-slick pavement as the new day threatened to dawn.