Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretty Darn Unbelievable

Just in case there are some of you out there that read this blog (all four of you - yes, you! I can see you! Don't pretend to be asleep because I know you read this - or at least you pretend to. Pretty good at pretending there aren't you, actor boy!! They should call you "The Great Pretender"!! Oh, they do?? Really? Well, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'll just pick up where I left off, shall I? And once again, sorry about, well, you know. Because that mask sure is convincing. I mean, I didn't know there was a medical reason for it. I just thought it was... sorry. Forget I even mentioned it. It really is quite lifelike. You sure had me fooled. Very good. ... ... aaanyway..)

Where was I?? Ah yes. Just in case there are some of you out there that read this blog but don't read The Unbelievables, here on HIS blog my good friend and writing amigo Clark Brooks (who wanted me to call him The Great Clarkito - he's got some sort of unfulfilled magician fantasy, but I'm not going to pander to it - I mean, he's good but he's no Doug Henning. But then again, who is?) describes succinctly the many and varied reasons why The Unbelievables ought to be your comedic-blog-of-choice. If you don't believe him, then neener-neener-boo-boo.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Now folks, I'm going to have a little rant here, and it's about fashion. Those of you that know me personally may think that perhaps I have no room to talk, since there have been times when I have willingly and on purpose dressed like this...

That is me on the left in the pink denim jacket.
...but all I can say is 'bite me'.

The other day there was a teachers' strike. In fact, there was a day when kids did not go to school because the principal knew about the proposed strike and told all the parents, who then told their kids there was no school and had to make alternate arrangements no doubt, but the teachers (for the most part) turned up because they weren't all that fussed about joining the strike. Anyway, as is usually the case when there is no school, the town was awash with teenagers.

We went to Tesco, and there is an area outside Tesco with benches and bike racks and is essentially a good area for skateboarders, and we all know how annoying they are. There were a bunch of young males drinking energy drinks and scarfing choccy bars down, and one skateboard and one BMX bike. While we were sitting outside Tesco eating our recently purchased snackage (shopping is a chore that makes one somewhat esurient) watching the teens trying to pull off their fakie ollies and whatever other words there are for jumping about on a plank on wheels, certain questions came to mind.

1.Why do young people find that BMX bikes are always better when there are no gears or brakes? Essentially, to me, those are absolute requirements on a bike.

Fig. 1 -  Deathtrap.

 At least, if you are going to ride one on a road. Which I guess they would have to have done to get it to Tesco. But then they wouldn't look cool by standing up on the pedals and putting their foot on top of the front tyre in order to stop it. You don't know how much I was willing them to either get their feet stuck in the front forks or go arse over tit over the handlebars when they did this.

2. Why is it that the fashion that seems to signify rebellion these days is to look like a member of One Direction? The hair gelled and sprayed into highly unnatural bouffant styles,

Hairy Styles. Geddit? By the way, if no hair salon owner has called his place Hairy Styles yet, do. You're welcome.

 a pair of glasses of which any 1950's B-movie scientist would be proud,

or a kitchen nerd, of course.

 a Kurt Cobain-style flannel shirt,

the stupid baggy woolly hat (worn year-round for extra street cred)

 and those infuriating skinny jeans with the saggy butt.What is that about?

Seriously, you look like you've pooped yourself.
3. Then there was the dude with the long-sleeved T-shirt under the sleeveless hoodie with the screenprinted logo of some punk band on it even though these kids' parents were probably not even born when the Ramones or The Pistols had their heyday. It'd be like me wearing a Paul Robeson T-shirt.

All I can say is...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #12

This Charming Man

The Smiths

Jangly guitars, references to Keats and Yeats, mutant choirboy vocals... doesn't sound like much of  a recommendation for a band, does it? Yet when The Smiths second single This Charming Man was released on Rough Trade Records at the end of October 1983, it ushered in a new age.

The song is defined by Marr's jangle pop guitar riff and Morrissey's characteristically morose lyrics, which revolve around the recurrent Smiths themes of sexual ambiguity and lust.

Morrissey deliberately used archaic language when composing the voice-over style lyrics for "This Charming Man". His use of phrases and words such as 'hillside desolate', 'stitch to wear', 'handsome' and 'charming' are used to convey a more courtly world than the mid-Eighties north of England, and evoke a style that has, in the words of the music critic Mat Snow "nothing to do with fashion".

Allmusic's Ned Raggett noted that "Early Elvis would have approved of the music, Wilde of the words", and described the track as "an audacious end result by any standard".

The song's lyrics features dialogue borrowed from a cult film. The line "A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place" is borrowed from the 1972 film adaptation of Anthony Shaffer's 1970 homoerotic play Sleuth, in which Laurence Olivier plays a cuckolded author to Michael Caine's 'bit of rough'.


Monday, October 14, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #13


Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Originally, it sounded like this....

But after a certain producer and ex-Buggle got hold of it....

it sounded like this.....

...and after the intervention of a certain outraged BBC Radio 1 DJ...

the rest, as they say, is history.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #14

Blue Monday

New Order

The record. The one that said "We are no longer Joy Division". The one that showed that 12" singles actually had a purpose beyond pointless extended versions of three-minute songs. The one that plundered from Moroder, Klein+MBO and Kraftwerk and influenced the geniuses of Detroit Techno. The one that still sounds like the future even though it's thirty years old. That record. This record. Crank up the speakers on your machine and enjoy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Love Whitechapel

So what's the deal with Whitechapel?

I don't normally review TV shows (or anything really) but this show Whitechapel on ITV has gotten under my skin more than other shows do.

It's kinda hard for me to do a concise review as the show now appears to be in its fourth series, which begs the question: how did I miss the other three? Dunno, can't say for sure, but it's probably something to do with the fact that most dramas on ITV I tend to disregard. Downton Abbey? Never seen it, don't want to, don't care.

So anyway all I can tell you is that despite its flaws, Whitechapel is a cracking police drama. I love the storylines and the characters, but I must admit the first episode I watched kind of annoyed me. Here's why.

Remember that piece of crap movie Stigmata with Gabriel Byrne and that Arquette woman that wasn't the one in Desperately Seeking Susan? Remember how much that film relied on spooky atmospheric shots and extended sequences of slo-mo drops of water backwards? How much you thought if they'd left all that stuff out the film would only be half an hour long? Yeah, Whitechapel can appear to be like that, on the surface. There's lots of that sort of thing, but this is because the characters are all a bit odd. They all have so much personal baggage they could fill a couple carousels at Heathrow. For example:

DI Chandler suffers from OCD, which means he's a total germophobe, is frequently nauseous at crime scenes, and tends to use the cleanest loos available in the police station to change his shirt in (which he does at least once an episode). During these bathroom scenes he obsesses about the taps dripping and has weird little inexplicable flashbacks (about what, I do not know).

Miles, Chandler, Buchan - three weirdos who solve grisly murders.

DS Miles is an older, seasoned veteran with little tolerance for timewasters. He also keeps hearing footsteps coming down corridors when he's on the way to his office and is convinced he's being stalked by some sort of phantom.

DC Megan Riley has for some weird reason been nursing a boil on her hand and making it worse. Other than that she's pretty normal.

Ed Buchan  is a nerdy, bookish (i.e. smart) Ripperologist who fancies DC Riley and has been a bit jittery since being kidnapped in a recent episode by a man who flays people and cuts their faces off to use as masks. Understandable.

DC Mansell is a bit of a laddish joker type who keeps getting phone calls from persons unknown and just got dumped by his girlfriend and tried to kill himself.

Dr Caroline Llewellyn is the police pathologist, who appears to be fairly normal apart from the fact that she is apparently 400 months pregnant and the size of a houseboat. Oh, and she just lanced Riley's boil. Nice.

DC Kent is the youngest member of the team and is a bit of a suck-up to Miles and a total dick to Mansell. Mansell is a dick to Kent in return.

The police station itself is poorly lit. Even with all the lights on it seems eerie, dark and the sort of place you would be more likely to see in a horror movie as the abandoned house by the side of the road where the killer is hiding in the basement with nipple clamps, an assortment of medieval weaponry and farm machinery, and plenty of duct tape. They really need to get a good electrician in.

In fact, everything in the series seems to be filmed in the half-light, which is supposedly atmospheric, but tends to be annoying, if not for the superb plots, writing and acting.

You might be forgiven for thinking that I hate this show, but I love it. If you haven't seen it, I strongly suggest you do so. Now.
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