Monthly Archives: March 2007

Out with the old, in with the new…

Here’s a cheerful song about why new Battlestar Galactica is better than old Battlestar Galactica:

Thanks for the link, James!

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Holy. Bloomin’. Crap. (Again.)

I spent this evening watching Catherine Tate interview David Tennant live on stage at a theatre in Covent Garden for a Radio 4 show. And, while it was hilarious and wonderful and jolly good fun, I’m afraid it’s now completely boxed away in my brain and forgotten about…

… because I’ve just finished watching the season three finale of Battlestar Galactica.

[DON’T WORRY: NO SPOILERS BELOW!]

The thing about Battlestar Galactica is that you start with the miniseries, realise it’s quality stuff and then watch season one out of a sense of duty. But it’s tough going, heavy and bleak, and you don’t so much “look forward” to an episode as you “make yourself watch it”, only to realise halfway through that it’s excellent. And then a few episodes into season two you realise you’re addicted, and then the end of season two has you screaming because you can’t believe they just did that, and then you’re into season three and you’re so lost in the religious philosophy and the Iraq War parallels and the relationships and the bloody, balls-out bravado of it all that you finally realise the show is one of the top ten television series of all time.

I’m not just talking sci-fi, either: it truly is a magnificent piece of television. The mainstream critics agree (the American ones, anyway, because the British press don’t know shit from Shinola) and the only downside to the whole thing is that the show is called Battlestar Galactica, a name guaranteed to put off viewers who don’t like “that whole space thing”, like a guy I know at work who won’t watch it even though I’ve told him a million times it’s as good as his favourite show, The Sopranos, and he’s an idiot for being so blinkered by the name. I finally won him over this week by explaining that him not watching Battlestar Galactica because the name makes him think it’s a silly sci-fi show is a bit like someone not watching The Sopranos because they think it’s about opera. I’m quite proud of that analogy, because he finally folded and has agreed to watch the miniseries. He’s gonna kick himself when he finds out what he’s been missing.

Anyway, the upshot is this: I just watched the season finale; I almost passed out three times from holding my breath in shock; I can’t believe I have to wait months to find out what happens next, but I’m thrilled the fourth season has been commissioned already.

The good news is that word is spreading. Everybody’s talking about Battlestar nowadays: it’s finally made the leap into the mainstream. Last month, as I was strolling along the Thames, two middle-aged blokes walked by me and I heard one of them say to the other, “Much as I love it, I still can’t get used to the fact that Starbuck’s a woman!” When you overhear ordinary people in the street discussing a sci-fi series, you know it’s hit a nerve. And as much as I love all those other shows – Supernatural, Heroes, a million more – I really do think Battlestar Galactica is the king of them all.

Television very, very rarely gets better than Battlestar. If you don’t watch it… shame on you.

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Cultural Express

Guard standing in my carriage, using the intercom to make an announcement: “The next station will be Mortlake. This train is going to Teddington. Please mind the gap when you leave the train.”

Businessman standing nearby: “That was positively Shakespearean.”

Guard: “Well, I try my best.”

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Oh internet, how I worship thee…

Crowded House are doing a live webcast tonight at 10pm. It’s their first public appearance – well, pretty much – since they last played together as a band over a decade ago, and it’ll be beaming around the world in just 35 minutes.

At 9pm I loaded up the page to check it was working and was thrilled to spy Crowded House REHEARSING live on the internet before their big performance. I have no idea if they knew their soundcheck was spilling out of the studio (it’s just disappeared, as though someone flicked a switch when they realised), but I’ve seen Neil Finn looking ridiculously relaxed and it played perfectly and he sounded mighty fine and I’m a very, very, VERY happy bunny.

Roll on 10pm when festivities proper begin!

The internet’s so good to me. Last night I spent over an hour chatting to my friend James in Los Angeles using Skype, which enables you to make a phonecall through your computer with spectacular sound quality for absolutely no charge whatsoever.

A whole hour, talking to someone in California, for free!

Crowded House playing live in my living room!

I swear, if the internet gets any more wonderful I’m going to have to marry it already.

Oh, and it just struck me how funny this looks:

That’s Crowded House all cued up on my PC screen, an episode of Miracles all cued up on Shep’s screen, my favourite mug (because I’m never more then five minutes away from a cup of coffee) and a signed photo of Rob Lowe on the wall.

Two computers on one desk? That’s the 21st century for you, baby!

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That Bloody Jayne Nelson Gets Everywhere

I’m freelancing on Total Film for the next week or so. I walked into the office this morning and before I could even take off my coat I was greeted by one of my colleagues pointing an accusing finger at me and squawking loudly, “You woke me up last night, you hussy!”

Nonplussed, I managed a confused “Eh?” before he informed me he’d been just about to fall asleep at the end of the day when the sound of my voice woke him up with a jolt. For a shocked moment he thought I was right there in bed with him, before realising I was speaking from his TV and hadn’t somehow materialised alongside his jim-jam-clad form. “Gave me a right start,” he said. “There you were in my room, and there I was in bed!”

(Naturally we used the situation to our advantage, managing to wind up a few innocent souls who heard us saying we’d been in bed together and proceeded to get the wrong end of the TV aerial. Would’ve been rude not to, really.)

Anyway, I was surprised because I’d had no idea I was on BBC2 last night, although when I checked my emails I had a message from my friend Gold Anne informing me she’d been surprised to spy me, too, and then people kept stopping by my desk all day to tell me they also saw me, and it finally culminated with me going to the pub after work and meeting someone I haven’t seen in six months and them greeting me with an amused yell of, “I SAW YOU ON TV LAST NIGHT!”

The moral of this story is: if you appear as a talking head on a show on one of the BBC’s digital channels, chances are you’ll end up on terrestrial TV eventually. Who knew a show about parallel worlds in science fiction would prove so popular? Jeez.

In other news: Neil Finn was spotted 20ft from my office the day before yesterday. “I came to find you, but you weren’t in, were you?” the spotter informed me today. I’m touched that he knew I liked Neil, but I can’t help but wonder what on earth he thought I’d do with the news – go out with a butterfly net and snag myself a singer?

Honestly. Like I could’ve carried him home…

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But can trains climb stairs?

The guard announcing the late arrival of a train at Streatham station tonight sounded so much like a Dalek that my friend Paul and I spent ten minutes bent double on the platform laughing at him.

Then we started doing impressions. “Your-ser-vice-is-delayed-due-to-a-hu-man-under-a-train”, “Please-report-any-sus-pic-ious-act-ivities-to-the-Sup-reme-Dalek”, “Hu-mans-carrying-bikes-on-to-the-train-will-be-ex-termin-ated.”

Yeah, yeah, so we’re both 35 years old and should know better. I guess you had to be there.

Wish you had been.

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Stars In My Eyes

Okay, so fresh from spotting Claire Danes in my local Tesco the other day (see previous entry), yesterday I saw Sir Richard Attenborough driving slowly past my house in a very posh car that was far too large for him. He was, no doubt, heading off to work at Twickenham Film Studios, which are located 100 yards from my house and directly opposite St Margarets train station.

Two hours later, I was standing at the ticket booth in said train station renewing my monthly train pass when I realised that the guy waiting impatiently behind me was none other than Richard Schiff. Which meant that I was keeping TOBY ZIEGLER from THE WEST WING waiting.

You try remembering your Visa pin number when the White House’s Communications Director is suddenly standing behind you and you’re a humungous fan of his work. It’s bloody difficult.

It’s weird being a journalist because you meet famous people – including, occasionally, your heroes (stand up, Terry Gilliam) – all the time but you have to be professional about it. I’m surprisingly good at being able to interview someone I’m crazy about without them having a clue I’m a huge fangirl: otherwise, of course, I’d suck at my job. The only person I’ve ever found myself in pure, dry-mouthed awe over was Karl Urban, and that happened a full hour after I realised I wasn’t going to be interviewing him as planned, so when he sat by me and tried to make conversation I didn’t have my journo head on anymore and turned into a gibbering fool.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that even professional journalists who meet famous folk all the time get flustered when they bump into someone cool. And Richard Schiff? Cool. TOBY ZIEGLER, for heaven’s sake! In my local train station!

So now I’ve met Toby and Sam Seaborn… how many more White House staff are left? If I meet President Jed Bartlet in my local chippy I’m probably gonna faint.

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