Monthly Archives: July 2007

Moe Better Blues

To try to get over the pain of knowing there will be no more Harry Potter (catches breath in shock, bites knuckles to keep the scream inside), I went to see one of my favourite comedians do stand-up on Thursday night at the comedy club that sits, rather handily, just over the road from my house.

I last went there two years ago to see Father Ted‘s Ardal O’Hanlon (“Why the hell are you all sitting in this boiling hot hall watching me, when you could be at home watching Big Brother in the nip?”) and it’s taken all that time for somebody else to come along I was interested in seeing. The culprit this time was Rich Hall, an American comic you’ve probably seen on Saturday Night Live (many years ago) or, more recently, Have I Got News For You and QI.

He’s a cranky, cynical genius. I fell in love with him during an episode of QI when Stephen Fry asked him, in an accusatory tone, “Why do Americans drive on the right-hand side of the road?” and Rich answered, “Because we INVENTED THE FUCKING CAR.”

Rich was also the inspiration for Moe the bartender from The Simpsons. I thought this was just rumour until I read Matt Groening confirming it in an interview – and, hell, just look at the evidence:


Moe the bartender


Rich Hall

It was great seeing Rich in the flesh at long last and the gig didn’t disappoint – I even heckled him at one point (“Don’t patronise me!” he cracked back, but he said it the Yank way – pay-tronise – and that got a laugh in itself).

So I’ve cheered up, although I still miss Harry (whimper). Hopefully my new feline companion will help me with that small problem. It looks as though I’ll be fostering cats for my local animal rescue charity, so I’m fully expecting my wonderfully clean and tidy flat to be wrecked within a week. Stay tuned…

… Oh, and speaking of cats, I assume you’ve all read the news reports about the cat who seems to know when the residents of his care home are going to die, curling up next to them four hours before their final breath? Oscar’s been nicknamed the “Kit of Death” and scientists are scrambling to explain his extra-sensory premonitory powers.

It didn’t take long for Oscar to be lolcatified:

Should’ve seen it coming, really.

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Happiness Is… Acquiring A Puss

I’ve been in the depths of despair since finishing the very last Harry Potter book.

I’ve been so depressed, in fact, that the only thing I can think of doing to cheer myself up is to get a cat.

So I will.

Ah. That’s better!

(Oh, alright, I haven’t got it yet, but watch this space.)

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It’s Over!

Finished the new Potter book in eight hours, only 40 minutes behind my best mate (we would’ve finished together if only I hadn’t made a sandwich at one point – darn my hunger pangs!).

Now I can’t say a word without spoiling it. Gah! But it’s a bit good. And I cried quiiiite a bit. I’m not ashamed.

I’m babysitting my neighbour’s cats this week. Spud’s made herself at home:

She really doesn’t care if Snape is evil or not.

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All Hallow’s Eve

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is released in less than 2 1/2 hours. I was going to nip out and buy it tomorrow but, hell, I can’t wait, so I’m heading out to Waterstone’s in Richmond at midnight to buy it. I’m not queuing for hours so that really, honestly, doesn’t make me sad. Okay? Right. As long as you know that.

It occurred to me that I should make a list of my theories as to what will happen in this final tome, just so I can say “I told you so!” if I’m right. (Or, conversely, never mention it again if I’m wrong.) I already theorised here in September 2005 that Snape isn’t really evil. Additionally, I’d like to add that I think Neville will die – after all, he’s linked to the prophecy and Voldemort just as much as Harry is. And there’s every chance Hagrid will bite the big one, too, just because it would be sad (to everyone else, maybe; I don’t like him that much).

And I’d like to state for the record that if JK harms a hair on Fred or George Weasley’s heads… well, there’ll be trouble.

Finally: I won’t really say “I told you so!” if I’m right, because some of you won’t have read it yet. I won’t spoil it. But once you have, and if I am, expect me to gloat… BIG TIME!

Two hours 25 minutes. Move faster, clock! Faster!

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Listing A Bit

I’m rather woozy on pain meds right now and felt like composing a list. Don’t expect it to make sense because, as I said, “woozy”.

Here goes…

All that is bad in my life right now (in no particular order):

1) My poorly back.
2) I have so much work to do I’m almost panicking.
3) My washing machine has broken.

All that is good in my life right now (in no particular order):

1) My poorly back is being tamed by painkillers.
2) I have so much work to do I can finally pay my bills.
3) My washing machine has broken but my wonderful landlord will replace it by the end of the week AND will take a whole heap of junk out to the tip for me when he removes my old washer – for free!
4) The noisy wasps living in my bedroom window frame have stopped being noisy and now I’m growing rather fond of them.
5) I have the first three Supernatural: Origins comics next to my bed to read in a minute.
6) The Official Supernatural Magazine has been announced and guess who’s gonna be scribbling for it? *grins*
7) I saw the sequel to Russian vampire film Night Watch last night. Day Watch was ace!
8) My flat is super-tidy after I finally got round to cleaning out under the sink and my airing cupboard (where I found a sword, oddly enough).
9) This has been the best summer ever. Heat? What heat? Bring on the rain!
10) I got home from my screening last night and my neighbour’s cat spent ten minutes yowling at me to rub her tummy before I could even get in the door. So I did.
11) The new Harry Potter book is ALMOST HERE!
12) Somehow, despite being unable to exercise for six months, I’ve managed to lose 8lbs. And it’s stayed off!
13) I dreamt about Stan Lee the other night. I don’t know why, but it put me in a good mood for two days.
14) I picked up a twig earlier today which had fallen from an oak tree complete with tiny little acorns. Then I used it ten minutes later to scoop an enormous stag beetle off the pavement and put it safely in a bush. Um, don’t ask me why I told you that, but it seemed important at the time.
15) Crowded House’s new album has finally clicked with me.
16) While we’re on the subject of music, Regina Spektor’s “Us” is pretty much the best song ever, isn’t it?
17) The new issue of Top Gear Magazine had free fridge magnets so you can make your own “Wall Of Cool” on your fridge. I happened to have a spare Ford Gran Torino fridge magnet so now Starsky’s car is in the “Sub-Zero” section. Wish I had a ’67 Chevy Impala fridge magnet to join it, though.
18) I had an invite to the press screening of The Bourne Ultimatum – I’m so excited!
19) Those lolcats are still rocking my world over at icanhascheezburger.com. Latest piece of genius is this:

20) And I really should stop now because those comics are beckoning and I should read them before my painkillers put me under for good.

Mmm. Painkillers. Me likey…

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Adventures In 3D

For anyone who’s interested, here’s an update on my poorly back (and I should mention here that I’ve been quite humbled at how many people have wished me well, both on this blog, on MySpace and on Facebook, not to mention emailing me directly, so thank you all!): the injection worked a little. Just a wee bit. Enough to take the edge off the pain, but only when it feels like it, and I still get a horribly numb leg and am pretty much crippled. Even the addition of Very Strong Painkillers(TM) haven’t helped too much – and they make me woozy and dizzy and quite tired, so bugger. I’m probably back to how I was two months ago, so I have improved, but it’s not enough.

Next step: chat with the surgeon on 13 August. I will beg for surgery. Again. Until then, the painkillers mean I can just about go shopping (woohoo!) and my leg doesn’t hurt so much when I’m in bed at night, so I’m thankful for small mercies.

End of update.

Last night I went to see Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix for the second time, only this time at the IMAX with the last 20 minutes in 3D. Incidentally, I had no idea the IMAX at Waterloo was the UK’s largest screen until the manager told us all beforehand; he also babbled on about how the sound is the best sound you can ever get and I totally agree with him, it was awesome, but I do wish the film hadn’t looked so blurry compared to how it looked on the screen at the Empire Leicester Square last time I saw it. I guess bigger isn’t always better.

Anyway, the upshot was this: I’ve never found Voldemort scary. But in 3D? I nearly wet my pants. He’s naaaaasty! The final showdown – which involves lots of flying glass – was stunning, and there’s something unimaginably cool about watching Harry Potter flying out of the screen on his broomstick. I’m still disappointed that we’re in the 21st century and nobody’s invented holographic movies (come on Lucas! Come on Cameron! You’re the most likely candidates), but until then 3D will do nicely.

The final Potter novel comes out next week. With the last book, I had to read it in one day so I could write the review for SFX. This time I’m not reviewing it for anybody so I can take my time. Although I have a sneaking suspicion I’m gonna read it in one day regardless… who’s with me?

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What Goes Around, Comes Around

Just to add to my last entry:

As I said, I now live in the same street I lived in when I was at university back at the start of the ’90s.

I seemed to spend a startling amount of time in those days writing essays about how 1956’s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was actually a metaphor for the communist threat to America in the age of McCarthyism and HUAC.

Now it’s 2007, 15 years later…

…and I’m writing a feature about how 1956’s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was actually a metaphor for the communist threat to America in the age of McCarthyism and HUAC.

Except this time I’m getting paid for it. And I’m not typing it out on a rickety old typewriter with a bottle of Tipp-Ex at my side.

I guess you could say I took exactly the right university course for my career. Funny how life works out!

Now, if only I could convince my old American Studies professor that the Klingons in Star Trek were the bloody Russians and not the Chinese, as he tried to teach us in one lecture, I’d be happy. (I mean, come on. Who were the Romulans if they weren’t Chinese? Sheesh.)

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