Sunday, July 24, 2011

Off topic: Russell Brand on Amy Winehouse

I've never much enjoyed Russell Brand's work,as a comedian or as an actor.

I do not profess to know anything about him as a person, it's purely a matter of taste.

His cogent and heartfelt heartfelt blog post about the late Amy Winehouse is a beautifully-written piece of work. I told a lot of my friends about it but the traffic to his blog is so high, it seems, that the servers are creaking under the load and many can't read the article.

That's a shame, because it really is very good.

I reproduce below, as a small act of public service, the article in full.

In copyright terms that's a bit iffy, so after a day or so I'll remove all but a short quote and the link.

Try Russell's site first, and if it's still misbehaving read my copy - I'm not trying to siphon off his traffic.

Infographic: What we watched

The Daily Mail - which contrives to be both the most unpopular and the most widely-read newspaper in Britain - has made a terrific graph giving an impression of TV viewing figures over the past forty years.

The first things that struck me were the extraordinary popularity of Coronation street and the visible fragmentation of audiences over the past decade or so.

It's fine work. Here's a link to their original article.

If you're the kind of person who won't click on a Daily Mail link under any circs., and I know quite a few of you are, you may be pleased to see that I've popped over there and stolen it.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Elsewhere on the web: In which I see Captain America

It's my totally unscientific opinion that the two big comic book publishers draw their fans from slightly different demographics.

Fans of DC Comic characters tend, I think, to be conventional characters who respect authority. Your Marvel reader tends to be slightly more countercultural. A little more out there.

You know me: I'm dull. I've always been a DC man, even though these days I'd have to say my all-time favourite funnybook is the Mark Millar / Bryan Hitch run on Marvel's The Ultimates.

So what did I think when I reviewed groovy hippy publisher Marvel's squarest, most conventional character for Bleeding Cool?

Well, it's my raviest review ever. and I don't mean there are glowsticks. I liked it so much, I simply couldn't find space for any jokes. I prefer my reviews to contain at least one decent gag.

You might want to read my take on Captain America anyway.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Walking Dead: Rock, paper, scissors. But mainly rock.

I liked the last series a lot. Hard to tell from this short clip whether this will maintain the same standard, but it's enough to know that it's coming soon, isn't it?

If your appetite needs more whetting, there's an interview over on Collider with Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman. He says a lot of stuff like this;
We discussed with him all of the key zombie moments that we have thought of for the second season so far just to give him a head’s up on what kind of stuff he is going to have to do.  I do have to say that maybe because it’s just 13 episodes instead of 6, but it seems like there is twice as much zombie stuff going on in every episode even though we do have a lot more character development and stuff too.  I think the second season is going to be really cool.

Custardgate: The Daily Show version

Sometimes, there really is nothing to add.

Except to say: Where is our Jon Stewart?

And if you thought some pro-NewsInt commentators were trying to deflect attention onto the huge size and reach of the BBC. Just wait until you see what Fox News says about NPR.

But this is all anyone will remember about yesterday: THE SMACKDOWN;

Monday, July 18, 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day. Who are these people?

When your Twitter timeline accelerates to an unreadable blur, it’s generally a sign that something special’s on the telly.

When the warning before a TV show isn’t for bad language, flashing lights, or even boobs but a mysterious ‘something that some readers may find upsetting’ then it’s generally a good time to start paying attention. After all, what could it be? Peanuts? Gluten?

That happened to me the other day, when Doctor Who’s anagrammatic spinoff Torchwood returned for a new series.

A number of recent TV series, especially BBC TV series, have flirted with America. It’s a big market and if you can consistently sell your content over there, worries about licence fees would be a thing of the past.

The new series did a lot more than flirt with America though. It slipped off its slingback under the table and boldly thrust its stockinged foot into America’s groin for a full hour.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The week the news went pop

It was difficult this week to avoid news of The News Of The World’s voicemail ‘hacking’ scandal, and the ripples of shame that emanated from it across the News International group.

It went beyond difficult, and shaded into the impossible, if you share my vice of watching current affairs television programmes and using Twitter to form a national catcalling mob of wisacres.

It wasn’t difficult to find commentators ready to condemn the NotW’s methods. John Prescott and Tom Watson were at the head of a phalanx of politicians and commentators of every political hue eager to stick the boot into Rupert Murdoch and his organisation.

But politics is just show business for ugly people. Show business is show business for pretty people and the News Of The Screws made plenty of enemies in showbiz too.

And you don't need me to tell you that TV prefers pretty people, if it can get them...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Night Watch, and the semiotics of pornography.

I watched The Night Watch the other night. It was an adaptation and condensation of the meaty, thoughtful and rather entertaining novel by Sarah Waters.

Now, Sarah Waters doesn’t only write about lesbians in the olden days, any more than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle only wrote about Sherlock Holmes. Nevertheless If you asked the average chap in the street what Sarah Waters was all about he’d more than likely say ‘vintage lesbotica’.

Unless he was the easily-confused sort of chap who was always mixing Sarah Waters up with Virginia Water and ended up telling you how lovely it was when he had a fortnight in the Lake District with his ex-wife.

Even though it rained a lot.

It didn’t rain much in the wartime London of The Night Watch. That was about the only bit of good luck that the characters had though.

War is thought of, predominantly, as a manly pursuit. The Second World War however, more than any of its predecessors, was an equal opportunities upheaval.

Women died in bombing raids as readily as men. But many found new purpose and liberation in the work of keeping their country running while men sought out new places in which to kill and be killed.