Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Breast Of Both Worlds

In a weird, synchronous echo left over from last night’s concert-listening, my friend Biddy called me earlier today from the Glastonbury Festival and held her phone out to the stage while Crowded House played ‘Fingers Of Love’. I stood in the street outside Richmond Police Station grinning like a fool as Neil Finn warbled and Nick Seymour strummed in my ear and it was just wonderful.

Life is good.

Recovering from the joy, I then went to see a nice chap in the Orange shop about getting my dodgy mobile phone fixed. I walked out half an hour later with a brand new, totally free KICK-ASS phone which I cannot stop caressing because it’s so pretty, and a while after that I noticed that the top two buttons on my blouse had come undone without me noticing. I can’t help but wonder if the fact I was unintentionally flashing cleavage and the fact that I got such a good deal from the nice chap might have been related.

Like I said, life is good.

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Earwigging The Jovi

I seem to have a knack for living by really cool concert venues. A few years ago I got to sit on my sofa and listen to The Three Tenors (Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti) singing live just a few hundred metres away from my house in Bath. Then The Rolling Stones played Twickenham Stadium and I watched from my window as a huge burst of fire shot up from the venue and I heard the “Woo-woos” from ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ echoing around my street.

Tonight I was lucky enough to listen in on Jon Bon Jovi singing ‘Blaze Of Glory’ and ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ while I stood at my window, staring at their lightshow bouncing around on the bottom of the clouds hanging over the stadium.

My face hurts from all the grinning, and I’m happy to report that I sang along to ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ with even worse harmonies than Sam Winchester. Luckily, nobody heard me.

Bliss. I’m tellin’ ya. Bliss.

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Wanted: Dead Or Alive

Many thanks to those of you who got in touch to tell me that the Buffy episode I was trying to recall was “The Wish”. I know this week’s Doctor Who shared a lot of similarities with that episode (not to mention other obvious ‘parallel world’ staples such as It’s A Wonderful Life), but it wasn’t just the plot that reminded me of something Whedon-esque. Everything about “Turn Left” smacked of Buffy, although possibly it was a little more like Angel, seeing as it was so dark.

How utterly wonderful to find a British TV show with a Joss Whedon sensibility! But it’s such a shame it took nine years to happen. At least we got there in the end, eh?

I’ve had another busy week, mostly spent writing advertorials for Warner Bros and catching up on classic black and white movies I’ve managed to miss over the years. I’m ashamed to say that I’d never seen Greta Garbo act in anything until I watched 1932’s Grand Hotel a few nights ago (now I know what all the fuss is about – she was absolutely extraordinary). Nor had I ever watched Humphrey Bogart in anything except Casablanca, but now I’ve seen The Maltese Falcon I’m completely hooked on his quirky grin. Next up is Seven Samurai. It’s like I’m catching up on film homework…

I also saw Wanted on Monday night at a press screening in Leicester Square that was so chaotic I’ve since heard several people, independently of each other, refer to the night’s scramble to get inside the cinema as “total carnage”. Luckily I managed to find a seat and spent the entire movie perched on the edge of it, for Wanted is a brilliant, adrenaline-fuelled action onslaught that contains just as much carnage as the screening did (only a little bloodier).

However, I do wish that Morgan Freeman would stop playing the same role over and over and do something different for a change. And I think I might have been the only girl in the entire audience not impressed by James McAvoy’s naked chest – one lady behind me even gasped aloud when she saw it. No offence to James, but I was far more turned on by Timur Bekmambetov’s stunning action sequences.

Which is kind of worrying, now I come to think about it.

And finally… Bon Jovi are playing two huge gigs at Twickenham Stadium over the next couple of nights, gigs I should be able to hear from my house if I keep my windows open. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the band but since watching the season three finale of Supernatural and a certain scene involving the song “Wanted Dead Or Alive” (I won’t say any more because I’m not sure if it’s aired on ITV2 yet), I’m getting quite excited about hearing Bon Jovi sing it live in my living room.

Hopefully my harmonies will be better than Sam Winchester’s.

But probably not.

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Holy Who!

Halfway through tonight’s episode of Doctor Who I sent a text message to my mate Biddy which read:

“This is fucking awesome.”

“Fucking right it is,” came the reply.

And it was! It also really reminded me of an episode of Buffy, more than any other Who episode I’ve ever seen, but I’ll be buggered if I can put my finger on why right now because I’m still freaking out about that ending.

I never, ever watch trailers or read spoilers for future episodes, so I have no idea what’s going to happen next week, but lord knows how they’ll beat “Turn Left”. Marvellous. Simply marvellous.

See that awe over there? I’m in it.

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Badly Titled Movies

I just watched the Peter Cook/Dudley Moore version of Bedazzled, kindly provided for my viewing pleasure by the woman decorating my flat (she got West Side Story and Riding Giants in return). It was fun, although the best thing about it was discovering that apparently Heaven is located in Syon House, a mere 20 minute walk from where I live. So that’s good to know.

I also watched Grosse Pointe Blank, which was good fun (though I don’t get why so many people absolutely rave about it). I loathe the name, however, and think they really missed a trick in not calling it The Hitman And Her. But I guess that was taken.

Also? Season one of Californication is brilliant. But don’t watch it on a train, m’kay? It’s a bit rude…

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Paint Jobs, Mail Thieves And The Return Of A Whip-Cracker

And… I’m back! Apologies for the long delay – the longest I’ve ever left this blog, I believe, to my eternal shame. I’d love to update this thing every day and use it as a diary to keep track of my life (which was what I intended to do when I first started blogging three years ago), but the problem is that to be able to write about your life, you need to find time to live it, and I’ve been doing that instead.

The weekend before last was spent running around Hampton Court, the Tower of London and Richmond Park with my friends Matt and Pet Shop Anny, also finding time to see the Sex And The City movie (which I loved!) and to eat lots of cheesecake (seriously, the peach cheesecake at the Tower of London is worth losing your head over). We also saw the Lord of the Rings musical at long last, which was absolutely staggering – my jaw dropped several times, and I’m not just using that as a well-worn cliche because it actually did. I may even have drooled a little at the Balrog. Sadly, though, while the show was visually incredible with set design that may never be equalled, the story was abysmally put together and the acting terrible. For everything that was wonderful there was something terrible; a real mish-mash of genius and amateurism. What a pity…

My flat is currently being decorated, too, which hasn’t helped. I’ve spent the last week marooned on my bed, surrounded by piles of furniture, as my lounge was stripped, plastered and wallpapered and my leaking roof fixed by teams of builders. It’s been chaos, but fun chaos, helped along by the fact that my decorating is being carried out by a woman who leaves the place spotless each night and even does all the washing up for me if she’s so much as used one mug. No builders’ bums and clocking out at 4.30pm here – she’s working from 8am till 8pm and doing a grand job! My flat will look amazing once she’s finished and it won’t have cost me a penny (barring the provision of cups of tea), thanks to my lovely landlord. Boy, I picked a good one there!

I’ve also been very busy with work; in addition to my usual shifts on DVD & Blu-ray Review I’ve had lots of features to write and reviews to do, although it’s been problematic getting to film screenings of late because some thieving sonofabitch is stealing my post – usually DVDs and press tickets sent by film companies. Thus I couldn’t get into the press screening of Indy and had to wait to see it at the cinema, and my tickets for Prince Caspian (which I reviewed for SFX) failed to turn up, either – thankfully I found a spare.

The final straw came when my tickets for the new Will Smith movie, Hancock, disappeared a few days ago. Furious, I marched down to the sorting office in Twickenham and demanded to speak to a manager. I informed the slightly bewildered gentleman who appeared before me that I’d lost two packages and four letters in the last month, that my neighbour had lost three letters on top, and that we’d both complained to no avail. I then told him that I was a journalist who worked for the BBC and I was going to write a feature on how the Royal Mail routinely misplaced and stole post and couldn’t seem to do anything about it.

You know, it’s amazing how apologetic people can be when you threaten to put them on the news. I don’t think anything will go missing again… But I’ll keep you posted. Pun intended.

In other news: Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. After years of waiting, after decades of Indy love and the knowledge that the new movie couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, it turned out that we were right. It had its moments, true: a few decent chase scenes, the line “They weren’t you, honey,” and that eerie opening sequence set among the soon-to-be-bombed dummies. But as soon as I saw the CGI groundhog I suspected things were going to go awry, and after it popped up two more times (overkill, anyone?) I was convinced. The monkey sequence, the dumb inter-dimensional ending, the way that Indy didn’t really do anything, well, Indy-ish for the entire film – all of it added up to a rather sad movie experience.

Ford was still good despite his age and Shia LaBeouf wasn’t as dreadful as I’d feared (Transformers was enough to put me off him for life, and I only managed 20 minutes of Disturbia before having to turn the film off through sheer hatred for his twitchy, arrogant character). However, when you have to list the few things that were right about the film to offset the phone-book-sized list of things that were wrong, you know you’re in trouble. What a shame.

It’s been a month of disappointments, actually. I’ve just spent three days in Torquay, my home for over 20 years, and I’m heartbroken at the state of the place. My beautiful town has been turned into a mishmash of pubs, clubs and bars pumping out music so loud the ground shakes as you walk by them. Gangs of hen and stag-night drunks roam the streets; teenagers in shockingly revealing outfits stagger about on preposterously high heels. Groups of liquored-up men prowl after the women and argue among themselves like hyenas after a kill.

It’s not just the nightlife that’s an issue, either: the town needs a serious facelift. The seafront and promenade, the jewel in the crown of the English Riveria and the attraction that brings in the holidaymakers (the town’s lifeblood), is falling apart with huge areas fenced off because they’re in danger of dropping into the sea.

The illuminations are grotty and everything metal (railings, seats, lamp posts) seems to be rusting away in the sea air. Over the last few years bars have opened and then gone out of business, leaving ugly empty buildings dotted over the town. Nobody in Torquay has any money so no new businesses are moving into them. Every year the number of tourists having a happy, family holiday in Torquay must dwindle. There’s nothing ‘happy’ or ‘family’ about Torquay any more.

Nothing hit me harder than the sight of the housing estate which has sprung up on the beautiful, tree-filled open space sitting next to my childhood home. I once threw myself in front of a moving bulldozer to save those trees – I made the local paper under the headline ‘Tearful Teenager Stops Bulldozer’ – and managed to get the police to throw the diggers off the field because the trees they were knocking down were protected. My little victory all those years ago has come to naught, as have those poor, doomed trees. It’s like my childhood loves have been raped.

The only good thing about Torquay is Oddicombe Beach. Still untouched (rockfalls cordoning off one section of the beach aside), this beautiful place has actually improved: the cliff railway has been revamped and the beach cafe – where I once held a summer job, watching the sun rise and set on the waves in front of me as I served holidaymakers cups of coffee – seems to be thriving. Thank goodness for that! But I only hope it lasts.

I guess the old saying is true: “You can’t go home again.” And I certainly won’t, for a good long while, at least. I accept that things change, but why must they change for the worse?

On the plus side, I live in London now. And London is truly lovely…

But I guess I’m slightly biased.

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This is all getting rather annoying now.

I really want to update this blog with my thoughts on Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, what I’ve been up to recently, what I made of the Lost/House/Supernatural finales (and more, because it’s been a wonderful year for finales), but instead I’m bonkers busy and barely finding the time to brush my teeth at night, let alone write anything.

I’ll keep trying though. Watch this space.

(One thing I will find time to say is that I had a very disturbing dream last week in which I was stuck on a spaceship being hunted by HR Giger’s Alien. I managed to kill the beast after what seemed like bloody weeks being hunted through corridors filled with flashing red lights and klaxons – and then an entire shipload of gung-ho marines turned up with an Alien in chains and I just knew it was going to escape and eat them all and then come after me… which it did. Interestingly, though, at the end of the dream I walked into a room filled with crystal skulls, a la the ones in Indy, and I’ve come to the conclusion the two franchises are now related in strange and disturbing ways.

Or maybe it’s just my subconscious playing silly buggers and deciding it’s about time I stopped having nightmares about zombies because acid-blooded Xenomorphs are more fun. Great. Thanks, brain.)

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