Thursday, 30 April 2009
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Quick start. Shit. Get up. Now. Shower. Teeth brushed. Clothes on. Grab bag. Stumble out. The standard pocket check at the door:- large right hand pocket = wallet, travelcard, work passes; small right hand pocket = keys; left hand pocket = phones plus loose change. All present and correct, sir. (P.S. Don't forget to deadlock door.)
It's bright. But it's quite cold. Is the light jacket a mistake? Should I have gone for the heavy coat? No, it's not that cold really. Good gravy, look at that fella! Thick coat, scarf, woolly hat. It's nippy, squire, not arctic. Maybe he's from one of those tropical countries where anything less than thirty degrees is deepest winter.
Headphones in, iPod on. What mood? Easy listening? Nope. Soul? Not today. Bit of rock? Oh, yeah, got the new Eagles Of Death Metal album that I haven't listened to yet, bung it on.
Station corner. Bloody hell, that guy's eyebrows are amazing. He could shelter short people from the rain under those bushy protuberances. I wonder if that's natural or if he cultivates them especially? Maybe there's some of eyebrow-related contest like the World Beard And Moustache Championships? If he doesn't win something for those hairy caterpillars, there's no justice in the world.
Late start trains = seats! This all very much more civilised than the usual scrum. I could get used to this kind of commuting life. I can even write something in the old notebook for a bit. Until more people get on (don't look over my shoulder, mate, that's rude). Bastard bloody people. Don't get me wrong, I'm a people person, just individually, not all at once.
Waterloo East. Escalator down, escalator up and out through Southwark station. The light has changed. A curious mixture of heavily overcast yet brightly sunny. Walking over Blackfriars Bridge and there's sunshine to the left and sunshine to the right (beaming down on St Paul's Cathedral) and yet dark clouds loom up ahead. That's probably a metaphor for something but it's much too early in the morning for that. Life's like that sometimes. (Apparently meaningless similes are fine at this of day, though.)
Oh no, some vagrant is coming towards me, about to accost me. He's coming right up to me, good grief, can't he see that - oh, it's a mate of mine that I haven't seen for a little while. So I was partly right. Coming for a drink with us on Thurs? No, he can't make it. Next time? Yep, next time.
Onwards and outwards. The route so familiar, the treads made on autopilot. Weave through traffic, judge dash across road (little man says red but the traffic is stopped), avoid random ditherer.
Quick stop for the regular breakfast. Yogurt and an apple. Well, the new regular breakfast as of the last couple of weeks replacing the previous default setting of a ham and cheese croissant (mmm, ham and cheese croissant). Trying to be a bit healthier, not getting any younger, definitely getting somewhat wider.
And then I'm in and I'm slightly late. Conference call started so jacket off, breakfast down, handset up, dial in and work head on. And so the day begins...
Monday, 27 April 2009
"I'm Just One Person, Mr Dick, it's too much for me to deal with on my own," smouldered the blonde, making a show of emotional difficulty. Her husband had died three days ago. Suicide, said the police. Murder, insisted the broad. The flatfoots were no help so she came to see me, P.I. Dick. With a name like that, what other career could I take? Don't answer that one.
"Who do you suspect?" I interrogated in my subtle fashion.
"Richard and his mother had a terrible falling out. Over me. She threatened him, threatened him terribly," she wailed, putting on a near perfect display of grief.
"Aha, Enter The Dragon," thought I.
"What? What's that? Did you call?" asked Rufus.
"Pipe down, I was being metaphorical," I thought back. I'd learned long ago not to answer him back out loud.
"OK, sister, Let's Face The Music And Dance. Who had the most to gain from Richard's death? In my experience, that's usually the wife."
The broad began to well up. I could see that well-rehearsed waterworks were on the way.
"I just want to know the truth, Mr Dick. There's A Ghost In My House and I want it exorcised," she wailed. I have to give it to her, this dame was good.
I decided to take the case, against my better judgement. I mean, what else was I gonna do today? Sit around the office having conversations with the imaginary dragon in my head? Believe me, brother, that gets pretty old pretty quick.
The elevator boy was being lazy again and I had to Shout To The Top to get him to bring the damn thing down. I swear, if this building wasn't so cheap and the only one in town that hadn't already evicted me, I'd move.
We took her car out to her place and I started nosing around the joint. Investigating's the technical term we use in my line of work. The newly-bereaved widow showed me the so-called suicide note which, for no readily apparent reason, took the form of an Eight Line Poem about Marijuana. It takes all sorts, I guess.
To be honest, my preliminary report was finding nothing of interest. I got the dame to give a rundown on how they met. She was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when he threw up on her shoes. Love springs in some very strange places in this town. It's was a whirlwind romance but his mother was never a fan.
"So let me get this straight. He took the Expressway To Your Heart and you found yourself married. However, you claim that the Mean Green Mother From Outer Space wanted you to Breakaway and so laid Secret Plans to split the two of you. Plans that were so drastic that she'd kill her own son? Lady, if you expect me to buy that, you must think I'm a sandwich short of a picnic."
The broad crumbled. Here comes the confession, I thought.
"OK," she wailed, "you got me. I did it. He was planning to run away with Mimi, the other waitress at the cocktail bar, and I wouldn't have got a cent. So he came into the study here at the weekend for his regular afternoon tipple of scotch. Only this time, it was laced with arsenic..."
"So he came in expecting a Lazy Sunday and got the last rites instead? Nice work, sister." I covered her with my revolver. "Time to take this show downtown."
"I just wanted him to Show Me Love," she opined.
"Well, there's Nowhere To Run now, sister. Love don't live here anymore," chimed in Rufus in the recesses of my brain.
I had to hand it to the little guy; when you're right, you're right.
So, What Was All That About?:- Well, I'll tell you. In an effort to provoke some inspiration, I took the iPod, stuck it on shuffle and picked out the first 15 songs it gave me (no cheating). My challenge? To weave those fifteen song titles into a coherent story - the titles are the ones in bold italics peppered throughout the above tale (the other couple of song references I threw in for the hell of it). Did it work? Well, I guess you'll be the judge of that, won't you? And, in case you're wondering, here's your list of those songs:-
Dragons And Demons - Godiego
Just One Person - Bernadette Peters & The Muppets
Enter The Dragon - Lalo Schifrin
Let's Face The Music And Dance - Frank Sinatra
There's A Ghost In My House - R. Dean Taylor
Shout To The Top - Style Council
Eight Line Poem - David Bowie
Marijuana - Hayseed Dixie
Expressway To Your Heart - The Blues Brothers
Mean Green Mother From Outer Space - Levi Stubbs
Breakaway - Basement Jaxx
Secret Plans - Eagles Of Death Metal
Lazy Sunday - Small Faces
Show Me Love - Curtis Mayfield
Nowhere To Run - Martha Reeves And The Vandellas
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Yes, it's the Garbage Pail Kids. We collected these bad boys for years. Being used to the old Panini sticker albums and not having one for these, we made our own out of folded over A3 paper and stuck them all inside (which is a shame because I think they ended getting thrown away for being in a tatty state -if only we'd kept them with the backs on, we could have sold them for a fair amount). We even watched and enjoyed the Garbage Pail Kids movie although I couldn't tell you a thing about it now; that one's lost in the mists of time.
I have to admit they had a genius way to make you collect more - each card had an A and a B version with a different name on it so you effectively had to collect each card twice. Great. Takes twice as long to get the lot.
I had a sneaking suspicion that it might be the sort of thing that just wouldn't happen these days* but a swift Google search has proved that they still make these too! Viewmaster, Top Trumps, Garbage Pail Kids, Star Wars, Transformers, 2000AD, they're all still around and going strong today - it's like my childhood never ended. And some would say that I behave as if it never did as well. They would be right. Now pass me the Top Trumps and let's go down the park...
* Particularly one's like Nervous Rex who's smothered in cigarettes
Saturday, 25 April 2009
The Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton - Very much the definition of the word epic as each book weighs in at around 1200 pages each, it's also an unusual combination of horror and sci-fi as the central conceit revolves around a one-off event causing a rip that allows the souls of the dead to possess the bodies of the living. It makes for a curious mix and allows for historical figures to be thrown into the future world, most notably Al Capone. While the overall ending may be slightly on the anti-climactic side, it's still an impressive trilogy, managing to juggle multiple plotlines and characters that you care about before bringing them all to a resolution.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons - Following a group of pilgrims on a journey to meet the near mythical killing machine the Shrike in the Time Tombs of Hyperion, this is very much a sci-fi Canterbury Tales, having characters such as the priest, the poet, the detective, the general and so on. Each pilgrim tells their own tale relating to why they have been chosen to visit the Shrike in the hopes of illuminating the reason behind their selection. It allows Simmons to tell different individual stories that all begin to weave together as they reach their destination and highly enjoyable it is, too.
Pretty much any Culture novel by Iain M Banks - Banks' science fiction novels still contain the humour combined with bleakness that you get in his "regular" novels, only this time transplanted to a detailed and fully realised future universe. There is no real first novel in the Culture series - you can read any one and it will tell you all you need to know about the universe for that particular story. It's only as you reads more of them that you begin to see the wider universe he's created. I like all the ones I've read but particular favourites are Against A Dark Background and Use Of Weapons.
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds - Reynolds is very keen on extrapolating current scientific theory to create a technically believable future (except when he needs the story to move on, of course). Much like the others, there's a real sense of detail gone into crafting this universe and a definite epic feel to the storylines, in terms of time as well as space.
So, if you're not overly into space opera, maybe give one of those a try. My advice would be to start out with Iain M Banks as he's probably the most easily accessible of them all and then, once you're hooked, the universe is the limit...
* I mean, seriously, if you haven't picked up on that by now, this is either your first visit (hello!) or you're just not really paying attention. Try and keep up.
** Who later dropped the Marshall and went into crime fiction.
Friday, 24 April 2009
Today's offering? It's a little short called Sleepless which was the first to be made following my uni days and is based on true events (myself and another friend going to visit my film-making partner in crime Rich in Hamburg only to discover he was homeless for one of the nights we were there*). Obviously, we've changed the true events somewhat to a) make it into a better film and b) protect the innocent.**
So today's feature presentation is the world premiere of Sleepless. Enjoy...
* And that he'd basically drafted us to help him move house. Although, being a student in a foreign country, all of his worldly goods managed to fit into a small red Fiesta. So we didn't have to do much. Still, that's not the point.
** And by "innocent", I mean "guilty". And by "guilty", I mean my other friend.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Instead, today you can have a little behind the scenes sneaky peek at the seriously-it-really-is-upcoming-as-soon-as-my-PC-plays-ball film which was shot by two of our actors while we were on location in Bulgaria. It's called Bulgarian Postcard and it goes a little something like this (hit it!):-
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
* OK, if I'm being accurate, we made it before that, it was 4.5 minutes long and rubbish. One re-edit later...and viola (as the French musicians say)!
Monday, 20 April 2009
Sunday, 19 April 2009
"What have you got for me today, Baldy?"
"Well, how about 'kersploing'?"
"Nice work, shiny one, have another biscuit."
Sometimes, however, a sound effect can come along that may seem innocent enough to one audience and yet, when transported across the ocean to a different culture which shares the same language but does have slightly different slang, well, unintentional hilarity can ensue. Case in point:-
It really isn't very often that you see Captain America wanking in someone's face...
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Friday, 17 April 2009
Ah, cheese. Cheese. Cheeeeeeeese. Feels good just to say it, doesn't it? Go on, say it. You won't get a funny look from the person at the next desk or the passing loved one. They'll understand. Go on, I'll wait...
See? Told you.
This is not a specific love. This is not a snobby or elitist love. It is all encompassing. Cheese is cheese is cheese and its infinite diversity in infinite combinations is part of its very beauty. While I must confess that the milder cheeses do not rank amongst my favourites, there is still a time and a place for them. That's not say that I don't play the favourites game, though. Oh no.
If we are talking favourites, give me something mature, something runny, something blue, something strong enough to wake the neighbours and revive the dead. I'm always willing to try something new, as well. You've got one with chilli's and pickled onions in it? Cut me off a slice.** something containing exotic fruits and then perched on a rock for three months before being hand-rolled on the thigh of a Cuban virgin? I'll give it a go. I may know what I like but I'm always willing to have that knowledge expanded.
There is, however, a tragic downside to this passion of mine (and isn't there always?). I have noticed in recent months that if I consume a little too much cheese, particularly of the melted variety, it can have a rather catastrophic effect on my digestive system. Yes, dear friends, it looks as if I'm becoming slightly lactose intolerant. This is the sort of news that can really shake a fella. Life without cheese? What kind of pale, bland and listless world would that be? Well, here's hoping that, with careful moderation of my cheesy comestibles, I may never know.
So here's to cheese. Long it may it continue to be mature and mild and hard and soft and yellow and blue and runny and spreadable and, above all, tasty. Mmmm, cheese.
*Yes, I realise there are very many of those and it's crowded in there but I'm a big lad and there's plenty of space. It's beginning to look a little bit like a commuter train in there with my love for comics trying not to have it's face pressed into the sweaty armpit of my love for film but they're making the best of it and not complaining like all good commuters do.
** Insert generic "cutting the cheese" joke here.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
"Ah, but Nick, I hear you ask through the magic of me making up imaginary questions for which I shall provide the answers, "which cartoon theme tunes are the ones that bring you most enjoyment?" Well, I'm glad you asked me that (and by that, I mean "I'm glad I fabricated a question to use as a handy segueway into the main meat of what today's wittering is all about") because I have a handy list of some of the top theme tunes right here, all backed up with handy video evidence, naturally. Now, I've left off a couple of blatantly obvious ones like The Simpsons and South Park - The Simpsons because it goes without saying and South Park because there about five different versions. Also, I've left out Transformers because i bang on about them often enough. Let's just take it as read that I like that one. Anyway, on with the listing.
This was enough to spark a lifelong obsession with the big green lizard normally portrayed by the man in the rubber suit. That said, I'm pretty sure that i found Godzooki to be an annoying little tit even when i was a kid. My strongest memory (other than the brilliant theme song) is of getting impatient of all the stuff with the humans and just wanting to see Godzilla start smacking monsters around. I still have that reaction now...
Batman: The Animated Series
Quite possibly the greatest animated titles ever. Like a little mini-movie all in it's own right that perfectly sets the style and tone for the series, it's also amazingly arrogant as it doesn't even bother with an onscreen title. "Yeah, you know who this is. We're not gonna spell it out for you. Deal with it."
OK, it's a bit cheeky to include two Batman cartoons but I love the titles for this one. Heavily influenced by Japanese anime and with a thumping soundtrack, it's dark and dystopian. OK, so the cartoon didn't quite always live up to this, it's still a worthwhile watch for the animated feature Return Of The Joker which is possibly the grimmest Batman film ever. Especially as it's a kids one.
And having mentioned anime, let's go with this one. It's a great jazzy, funky opening sequence with a real 60s feel - the titles give off a real feel of shows like The Avengers and The Prisoner. It's a great series, too - in a similar vein to Joss Whedon's Firefly, it's a Western in space style series, following a group of bounty hunters as they struggle to eke out a living while the sins of the past start to catch them up...
A traditional cheesy 80s singalonga, this one. I defy you to not be going "Ulysseee-eee-eee-eee-eeees" by the end of it...
Mysterious Cities Of Gold
And sticking with the 80s theme, another singalonga toon theme.
Around the time of Tiny Toon Adventures and then Animaniacs, Spielberg Animations put out this unnoticed little gem which is utterly bizarre and almost wilfully nonsensical. It only lasted two seasons (which is probably for the best) but they're great fun (and full of geeky references, too). It helps that it has a ridiculously catchy theme tune as well.
He's the fastest, he's the greatest, he's the best. 'Nuff said, really.
Another short-lived oddity with a toe-tapping theme tune. This was based on a series of video games and turned out to be a surprisingly funny superhero spoof. How can you not love a cartoon with characters like Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Bob The Killer Goldfish?
Pinky And The Brain
Rightly spun off into their own series after a supporting stint on Animaniacs, the two laboratory mice spent a few years trying to take over the world until the network paired them up with Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures and everyone stopped watching. Shame. Still, Altogether now:-
"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?"
"Same thing we do every night, Pinky...."
I reckon if I've done my job properly, you'll have at least a few of those stuck in your head for the next day or so. No, no, no need to thank me. All in a day's work.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
So, no blog today, folks. Come back tomorrow.
Hmmm, you know, thinking about it, I could have just not posted a blog today as I didn't feel like writing one. But something made me post. As discussed yesterday, there's obviously a little element of the obsessive compulsive in me. I mean, barring a few days in February where I let it slip (about 5 in total), I've posted a blog every day since the 1st December (and on a couple of days in March, I posted two to make up for the lack in February). That's 134 blog posts since the beginning of December, Fact Fans.
And I guess I'm now locked into a pattern. I can't quite decide if that's a good or a bad thing. Am I prompting myself to write in order to be a better writer, in the hope that writing more frequently will improve me, will keep the grey matter ticking over and the neurons firing? Am I writing because I have something to say? Or am I writing for the sake of writing, to say that I kept to a schedule, a routine, a system? So that I can say, "Hey, I've posted a blog (pretty much) every day for four and a half months"? I suspect the latter as, more often than not, I post blogs about having nothing to say or simply stick up a video in order to say that I've posted a blog that day (I mean, that's not really writing, is it? That's hyperlinking).
I don't know, maybe it does work and does help. After all, I've just managed to wring yet another post out of not having a post to write. So there you go. That was your rambling, borderline incoherent, lack of blog post for today. I wonder what I won't write about tomorrow....
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
A, B, C...
I have a tendency to alphabetise. This is by no means uncommon but I do know some people look at me as if I'm a bit odd when I mention it. Upon fidning this out, someone actaully said to me the other day, "Oh, I didn't realise you were one of those". Yep, I certainly am. This is mainly DVDs and CDs, to be fair, though. It doesn't extend to books (books aren't a uniform shape and size and it looks more untidy when they're alphabetised - instead, they're grouped by size and theme). It's partly an organisational thing - I have a ridiculous amount of stuff and I wouldn't be able to find it if there wasn't some sort of system. There is, however, something inside that gets a little twitchy when the order is violated. I mean, it doesn't go there, does it - it starts with a D. Think, man, think. It's very straightforward.
So when I'm reading a book, the first thing is see how many pages it has and then work out where the halfway point so I can tell at all times exactly how far through the book I am. I have no idea when I started doing this - I just do it. I also don't generally use a bookmark - I just remember the page number. That's normally where the comparison point comes in. "Ah, only 47 more pages and I'm halfway through." Maybe that helps to cement the number in my mind. Maybe I should just use a bookmark. I do still work out the halfway point, though, on the occasions that I do use a bookmark so maybe not.
This was the thing that set me off thinking about odd habits. In general, whenever I see a long number (and it's usually a phone number), I have this odd urge to mentally add up all the digits to see what the sum is. I have absolutely no idea at all where this one comes from. It has no practical use (other than keeping the old mental arithmetic ticking over slightly) and I then have nothing whatsoever I can do with that information when I have it. It's not as if I'm going to turn to the person next to me and say, "Hey, did you realise that the sum of that phone number is 34?" They would look at me, smile politely and then back away slowly whilst keeping me in their field of vision at all times. And who can blame them?
So, there you go, a couple of odd habits which all just go to prove that I'm Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (and, much like him, I'm not wearing any underwear).
Monday, 13 April 2009
The general Henson theme always seems to go down well so here's a particularly silly song sung in a particularly silly way. Enjoy.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Yes, the more perceptive amongst you (or at least those who were reading yesterday) may have worked out that this was the reason for my being monstrously hungover as there was much of the celebrating of things to be done on Friday night. I held off from saying this yesterday as there were still parents to be informed and news has a way of spreading fast in this new age of high-falutin', high-tech, spangly, interwebby communications. Also because I was monstrously hungover and a little broken from helping a friend move house (word to the wise - hangover + house move = terrifying booze sweats).
All of which means that this year is going to be a massively celebratory one and that I now have a stag do to plan and a best man's speech to write. Aheh. Aheh heh. Aheh heh heh. Mwuhahahahahahahahahaha!
I've got nigh on thirty years of ammunition built up for this one. He may want to start trembling now....
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
The Place:- Trickshot Towers
Me:- I've got that redundancy coming up at some point soon. Nice chunk of cash there.
My mate Rich:- Yeah, we're selling the flat, should make a massive profit on it so we'll have some cash left over.*
Me & My Mate Rich:- Let's go and make a feature film called Incidental Weekend!**
And off to Bulgaria we went...
It is three and half or so years later. Three years almost to the day since filming commenced. Two and three quarter years since filming finished. Collectively, three house moves, two new jobs and two births*** later.
And it's finished. Finally. Actually done.
Oh sure, there's still a little bit of tweaking to be done. A couple of voiceovers to replace, levels to double check and end credits to build but that's minor work. It's there. Start to finish there. And a marvellous sight to behold it is, too. Admittedly, yes, I would say that as I want everyone to buy it once the DVDs are ready but still...
So what next?
Well, a screening at a Central London cinema (date still to be confirmed), copies available on DVD through Trickshot Films and then who knows? The sky's the limit.
But for now, well, time for a celebratory pint, I reckon.
* Obviously quite some time ago...
** OK, I've paraphrased that slightly and it took us bloody ages to name the thing but you get the idea.
*** Don't panic, Claudia and Rebecca are both Rich's, I haven't been keeping dark and mysterious secrets from you.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
I've tried looking through the notebook for inspiration. Nah, don't feel like writing about any of those. Just not in the mood. They can stay on the list for a little while longer.
So is there anything around me to inspire blogginess? Hmmm, let's have a squint. Lots of clean clothes and a surprising lack of dirty ones. Time off, you see. No excuse for not blitzing the washing. Still, this does not make for the stuff of which mighty blogs are wrought. Try again, keep looking.
Pile of comics on the bedside table. That's pretty standard and I'm reasonably sure that everyone is sick to the back teeth of me twatting on about comics (with the possible exception of The Russell). Besides, there's not much more to say about that other than "I have a stack of comics next to my bed which needs reading." * Keep going.
Well, there are books. Many, many books. Shelves and shelves and shelves of books. Looking at it now, I begin to realise that it's a ridiculous amount of books. I mean, each of the shelves is double-stacked and it's also at the point where more books are now squeezed into that gap between the top of the books and the shelf above. Good grief, that's a lot of books. And it's not even all of them - Ma and Pa have still got a few shelves worth that I haven't squeezed in yet.
Have I read them all? No, not even close. Probably just over half to two thirds but there are still so many left to be read. Why keep buying them then? I can't help it. I see a book that looks interesting, I'll buy it. In fairness, I am always reading. My daily commute is spent immersed in a book (well, I'm not gonna talk to any of those other bastards, am I? We already established this one). But I won't wait until I've finished the books I've got before getting new ones, oh no. Must have more.
I should stop buying them until I've read what I've got, I know that. But it's not a habit I'm likely to break now. It may even be genetic. Ma's a book fiend and lives with Pa in World Of Books (And Other Assorted Miscellany).
I guess ultimately I don't want to fight it. I love books, I love having books and long may that continue.
Hmmm, I guess I did have something to write about today after all. Who'd've thunk?
* In case anyone was wondering, it's Gotham Central, a Batman comic without Batman in it and very fine it is too.
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
"BALDY AND THE SCUMDOG"
And now, it’s time for the first installment of joy featuring that self-styled chap-about-town Baldy and his rough and ready brother The Scumdog. Today’s edition:- the lads discuss a great British tradition.
How fares it, brother o’ mine?
Yeah, you know, not bad, bruv, not bad.
You seem a little out of sorts.
Nah, I’m alright.
Share with your frere.
Well, it’s nothing, really… we were just… I met up with a few of the boys for a few swift ones. Bit of banter, couple of pints, nothing much. Then Big Dave mentions mums. So Little Steve mentions mums. Words were said, got a bit out of hand and I had to give ‘em both a dry slap. Spoiled things a bit, really.
See, I envy you.
What, for fighting with me mates?
No, no, not for that. It’s the witty banter, the heady back and forth. I’ve never been able to “mum-cuss”, you see. Is that the right term?
Well, however the common hoi-polloi chose to term it, I’ve never been able to do it.
I reckon I could teach you a bit.
Wouldn’t that be rather self-defeating?
What do you mean?
We do have the same mother after all.
You could pretend to be someone else.
Capital suggestion! A spot of the old roleplay, eh? Who should I be?
What? I don’t know.
Oh, the possibilities are endless! Maybe a deep-sea fisherman with a shady secret in his tempestuous past. Or a cheeky cab driver who always longed to be a stand-up comedian. Or…
It doesn’t matter, that’s not the point. Just be someone that’s not you. Preferably someone less annoying.
I don’t really see how you expect me to build the proper characterization necessary to the role without providing me with some proper improvisational tools.
D’you wanna do this or not?
Fine. I am now Raul Domingez, retired bullfighter and secret lover to the wife of the mayor of Seville. I have a crippling allergy to Marmite and, in the summer I whittle small wooden dogs for the crippled children at the local orphanage.
I do not understand how you don’t get beaten up every second of every day of your life.
Come on, mon frere, I’m keen to learn.
Fine. Well, you can start with the “false security cuss”.
The “false security cuss”?
Yep, that’s the one. You want something along the lines of “Give my best to your mum. I only gave her second best last night ‘cos I was too tired after your dad.”
Aha, I see! Not only suggesting that you’ve had deeply intimate relations with the mother but also to imply a level of homosexuality on the part of the father.
If you analyse everything, I’m gonna punch you in the neck.
Fair point. Conceded. Move on.
Your other option is the “standard cuss”.
Standard cuss, with you so far.
Something pretty basic that makes her out to be either stupid or a slag.
The direct approach, I see. OK, mind if I try my hand at that one?
Go for it. It’s the only you’re gonna learn.
Alright, then, here goes… (clears throat) right, here we go then. Right. Here goes… oh, I know! Your mum’s so dense, she couldn’t tell a left ventricle from a dorsal aorta. (bursts out laughing)
What was that?
No! That was… you just… that was the lamest cuss ever. I mean, ever.
Oh, come on, that was pretty cutting stuff.
That was rubbish. You know why?
Because nobody cares about stuff like that. It’s crap.
I think you’ll find it’s pretty important if you’re having open heart surgery. You really should know the difference between all those fiddly little bits.
Right. And how many people do you know whose mum’s perform open heart surgery?
Who’s Billy Peterson?
Just a friend. You probably haven’t met him.
I see. And his mum’s a surgeon.
Mrs Peterson? Yes.
No, I made him up.
Exactly. Nobody does it so it doesn’t work. Let’s try something else. You might be alright with this one. It’s the “Word Replacement System”.
“Word Replacement System”, is it?
“Word Replacement System” it is.
Do tell more.
It’s a piece of piss. Take the sentence someone has just said, replace some of the words with “yer mum” and say it back to them. Simple.
I don’t know if that makes sense.
Yer mum doesn’t make sense.
I don’t get it.
Yer mum doesn’t get it, either.
OK, I think I’m beginning to get it now.
Yeah, yer mum’s beginning to get it too.
Alright, stop now.
That’s what she said after the first couple of hours.
Fair enough. But that’s how easy it is, really. So many different options for you there. Go on, just give it a go. Let rip with a good old cuss.
I don’t know if I can.
Go on, knock yourself out.
Seems a bit off, knocking a chap’s mother.
Give it a bash.
Not really cricket, is it?
Yer mum was a (DELETED) reacharound (DELETED) hairy sailor (DELETED) donkey punch (DELETED) like a rusty trombone (DELETED) each day of the week (DELETED) guava.
Got potential, though, I’ll give you that. Only thing for it, mind. Got to put it to the test in a live environment.
To the test, say you?
Fancy a pint?
To the public house, say I!
Good job too, it’s your round.
So ends this enlightening installment of Baldy and the Scumdog. Tune in last week and miss next week's episode.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Still slightly sceptical? Well, let me illustrate it with a couple of personal examples for you. Because I'm good like that.
Statement:- "I'll never live in South East London again."
Date of statement:- 1995 - 2006
Date of revocation:- 2006 to date
Details:- Yep, this is probably the biggest one for me. I spent years vowing that I would never move back South of the river. "South of the river? Nah, mate, I live in West London now. West is best. It's where it's at." And so on and so forth. But then came the end of 2006 and, with the passing of dear old Nana, Ma and Pa had a flat which needed tenants. Now, I loved living in West London but, the flat I was living in Acton, fun though it was, was a borderline death-trap. In fact, not long after I moved out, the living room ceiling fell in (and the floor did wobble alarmingly when you walked across it). And so, I packed up my comics and trekked my back across the river. And I don't regret it one bit because Blackheath and Greenwich are lovely. Still, I do occasionally get reminded that I said I'd never go back (for about a decade).
Statement:- "I'll never have anything to do with reality TV"
Date of statement:- Beginning of reality TV - 2006
Date of revocation:- 2006 - date
Details:- Hmmm, it's beginning to look like I completely switched my life over in 2006. Just coincidence, I assure you. I'm not overly a fan of reality TV and yet have been working on reality-type shows for two and a half years now. I do take pride in what I do, though, and in being the best there is at what I do - kind of like Wolverine if he was more office-based with rather good Excel skills. And without the claws for slicing people up and shit.
Statement:- "I'll never read Superman comics again"
Date of statement:- Every couple of years from 1994 to date
Date of revocation:- Every other couple of years from 1994 to date
Details:- Well, I'm just a fickle reader, really. Every couple of years I get annoyed/bored with the storylines to point of cancelling them all and saying that's it and then I look around a bit later to discover that I've been buying them again and filling in back issues. There's no pleasing some people...
So there you go a couple of "I'll never" examples. As the opposite always seem to come true, here's a couple more just on the off chance:-
- I'll never win £92 million on Euro Millions
- I'll never grow a full head of luxurious hair
- I'll never have absolutely filthy sex with Kelly Brook
You never know. Fingers crossed, eh?
Monday, 6 April 2009
Nick Nack Productions TV - hmmm, maybe I should set this up. Blog: The TV Show. It's so crazy it just might work.
Easy to make nick nack - well, I'm afraid it's not easy to make Nick Nack. A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into bringing you this slice of freshly steaming crap every day, not to mention up to seven minutes worth of actual thought (on average across the year).
Steve Guttenburg Dinosaurs - good Lord, it's genetic engineering gone mad! Who in their right mind would want to splice extinct film star (and star of panto in Bromley*) Steve Guttenberg with the extinct yet awesome form of life known as the dinosaur? Only an evil supergenius, that's who. Must find out who this searcher is...
Excessive foreskin - OK, this makes perfect sense if you read this blog post here. If not. never mind.
But, by far, my favourite has to be:-
Pearly king jellied eels cockney
Gertcha! The Chas and Dave fan within rejoices! Finally, my blog has been recognised for being a bit Cockney. But wait, what's this? The post they found wasn't actually written by me but was, in fact, written by a Scottish person instead? Tsk. Bloody typical.
* I shit you not, people. Steve Guttenberg appeared in Bromley's Christmas panto last year. For all those of you on the other side of the pond who don't know what panto is, all I can say is that you're very lucky. It's mainly a way to keep F-list celebrities off the streets at Christmas time.
Sunday, 5 April 2009
This award is for the blogs that we like to stop and gawk at every day, time permitting. We just can't get enough of these bloggers' wit, honesty, good humor, and obvious love for spinning a great yarn around the events of their lives, even if they were weeping while it happened a week ago. Life is too short to not laugh at the trials and curiosities that are put before you and these writers get that. In spades. And they aren't afraid to share.
So, as I'm all about the sharing, let's pass this on to some deserving folks out there in Bloggyland (come on, that's better than blogosphere, surely?*). So here's some spiffing types what you should go and read:-
Kurt at The Monster Apathy because he's got an imaginary man called Hattori Hanzo living in his head who will kick your arse if you don't read.
Anna Russell at Incoherent Ramblings (and also at Room 102) because I'm starting to suspect that she may be a multiple personality of an imaginary Scottish woman living in my head.
Belle at Fawty because she's been described as "functionally insane" and that seems quite apt.
TishTash at My Telephone Booth as she's not afraid to tackle such subjects as wanting to pop pregnant people like a balloon and having fun with stalkers.
Vic at What Were You Thinking? because, if you do, you'll become one of Vic's Chicks And Dicks.
So there you go, it's Sunday, I'm hungover, I'm not going to live up to Pearl's promise of me being entertaining so go and read all those blogs above and they'll entertain you instead. Job done. Back to bed...
* "It is, Nick, and don't call us Shirley"
Saturday, 4 April 2009
I'm sat in field along with many, many, many other people. Not too far away, a massive stage has a suddenly very small looking band giving it their all. The ground was a muddy lake not too long ago but, thanks to the addition of many tons of straw and a couple of days of sunshine, it has dried enough to be able to sit on. I'm wearing a T-shirt and shorts. Perched atop my baldy bonce is a traditional festival-style straw hat. My feet are clad in a pair of Caterpillar boots wrapped round with black bin bags as I wasn't prepared enough to bring wellies to cope with the many muddy quagmire that still litter the site. My right foot hurts a little as i stepped on a thorn two days ago and have been unable to remove it (it's protected by a plaster for now - the thorn will be successfully removed in another day and, by some miracle, there is absolutely no infection despite the fact that it's been kept in conditions ripe for trenchfoot). My clothes are gently encrusted in drying mud as there's no avoiding it so it's not worth getting precious about.
I can feel the sun on my face, gently warming it as I tilt my head towards it and push my hat back on my head. I can smell the mixture of hay and mud baking gently in the sun combined with various foods and drinks.
Five years in the future, I smile at this sudden vivid attack of the past on my present. The woman next to me at the bus stop gives me a funny look. But it doesn't matter because I'm long ago and far away...
* Not an unusual occurrence in itself, I tend to walk along streets to get me from one destination to another - I'm a bluff old traditionalist like that.
Friday, 3 April 2009
OK, so some of the blending of live-action and animation is starting to look a little crude but it's still a great fun film with a great concept. Just ignore Bob Hoskins' slightly wonky accent.
82. The Tune
I love Bill Plympton's stuff - weird yet silly with a really distinctive animation style. This film also has the distinction of being the first feature film fully animated by a single person.
83. Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes
Yes, it's a cheesy B-movie spoof of cheesy B-movies and it's low-budget nature just adds to the charm. Weirdly, Tim Burton used almost the same ending for Mars Attacks.
84. The Ladykillers
Another Ealing comedy. I'm talking about the Alec Guinness version here, naturally. I can't bring myself to watch the Coen Brothers version. This version's great - why bother to remake it?
85. Jackass: The Movie
OK, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for people getting hit in the face. It doesn't always work but, when it hits the spot, it makes me laugh pretty damn hard.
86. The King Of Kong
An epic battle as the underdog contender goes up against the champ to wrest control of the world title. That title? The world record score in Donkey Kong. It's a great documentary - an odd little view into a subculture that really takes it itself very, very seriously.
87. Alferd Packer: The Musical
(Or Cannibal! The Musical as it's now known.) Trey Parker and Matt Stone again. This was their student film and the first thing of theirs I saw. We watched this obsessively at uni until it turned out they were making a new cartoon show called South Park. Wonder how that went?
88. Destroy All Monsters
Godzilla films are brilliant. Man in giant monster suit smacks around other man in giant monster suit while trampling on tiny cardboard city. Repeat as necessary. I've picked this one because it has lots of monsters in it therefore it's better.
89. Police Story
I like a good martial arts film. The bonus with Jackie Chan's early films? It's all combined with a slapstick-y sense of humour which is perfectly suited to this type of film.
90. Lost In La Mancha
Equals parts hilarious and heart-breaking. Terry Gilliam tried to make a film about Don Quixote. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong. Fortunately, a documentary crew were on hand every step of the way and this is the result.
91. The Italian Job
A Bank Holiday favourite and rightly so. The sort of old-fashioned caper flick that is emulated but not really successfully reproduced anymore. And I'm not going to use the line "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off." Ah, bugger.
Bowie meets Henson with a fair helping of Monty Python thanks to Terry Jones' script. Just don't look directly at Bowie's trouser bulge - it can lead to incredulity and mockery. "You remind me of the babe..."
93. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
If I could find a good way to write the noises that the aliens make as part of their communication with us, I would. How about "doo dee doo dum der"? Hmmm, needs work.
94. Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
Mike Myers is immensely likeable as a performer and this is his best effort. I also submit the Scottish dad from So I Married An Axe Murderer as a fine movie moment ("Heid! Paper! Now!")
95. American Splendor
Part biopic, part documentary, this follows independent comic book creator Harvey Pekar through his curmudgeonly life. A fine performance from Paul Giamatti.
96. Schindler's List
A powerful film, no doubt. I've actually only seen it once as I couldn't bring myself to go through it again.
Gotta have some Hitchcock on here and I'm going to go with the cliched one. It's a simple story of a nice clean-cut young motel owner who just loves his mum. Aaaaah.
98. The Terminator
I wavered back and forth between putting this and Terminator 2 on here but decided to go for the original. So there.
99. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
It features a song called "Shut Your Fucking Face, Uncle Fucker" which made me laugh until I cried the first time I heard it. How can you not love a song that has a fart duet in it?
100. Plan 9 From Outer Space
And so, we come to the end with the finest film ever made. It has action, it has drama, it has effects and it has emotion. Well, it's got some people talking on a soundstage and knocking over the scenery a lot. It's an impressive achievement - a film that is just the right amount of awesomely bad so that it's massively entertaining. And it brings this list to a close...
So there you have it. 100 films what I am extremely fond of. That is the definitive lost. Well, until I remember loads of films that I've completely forgotten to add and end up posting An Additional 25 Films What Is Rather Good That I Did Forget About Last Time Round in about a months time.
Oh, I forgot Bedazzled. And The Bed-Sitting Room. And The Usual Suspects. And Harvey. And Se7en. And.....
Thursday, 2 April 2009
It's lively and energetic and grim and scummy and funny and disgusting. It's also one of those films that I forget that I really like until I see it again and am reminded. Shame Danny Boyle's become quite uneven as a director - 28 Days Later and Sunshine are each two separate films bolted together in the middle.
62. Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure
The only role that Keanu Reeves has been perfectly suited to. Plus it has Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Genghis Khan and George Carlin as Rufus. What's not to love?
63. Jurassic Park
It's a dinosaur, it's a dinosaur (you'll be singing that the next time you hear the Jurassic Park theme). I love dinosaurs. therefore I love films with dinosaurs in them. This film has dinosaurs. Cool.
Brilliant yet utterly nasty. One of those films that you can't really say too much about because it would spoil it. If you haven't seen it, seriously go watch it.
65. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Wes Anderson can be hit and miss for me. I wasn't overly bowled away by Rushmore because I hated the main character (same problem with Juno - sorry but obnoxious isn't funny) and The Darjeeling Limited was disappointing but I loved this (and The Royal Tennenbaums). Just the right level of stylised quirkiness for me.
66. Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels
OK, so he's done nothing but make this same fucking film over and over again but I like this first effort. It's great fun and it's very stylish. Shame this is his only trick, really.
67. The Man With Two Brains
Steve Martin's finest from back in the day when he was funny (yep, OK, I'm not going into that one again). It features my favourite poem:-
The pointy birds
Oh, pointy, pointy
Anoint my head
The benefit of this film was that I knew absolutely nothing about it when I went to see it so had no expectations and was pleasantly surprised to have to really pay attention to work out what was going on. I wish that happened with more films.
69. The Straight Story
I like David Lynch when he's being all weird and stuff (big fan of Twin Peaks) but I think this is my favourite film of his - a family friendly film in which an old man rides across the country on his lawn mower to visit his ill brother. I was captivated.
Luc Besson's blockbuster sensibility with a distinctly French slant has always appealed and this is a favourite. Although I got caught in a downpour on the way to cinema to see this and spent the whole film drying out. Nice.
71. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
My favourite film with Jack Nicholson in it and some fine supporting performances too - Danny deVito, Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif all put in fine work. It's Louise Fletcher who steals the show, though, as the ice-cold Nurse Ratched.
72. Pirates Of The Caribbean
Yes, so, much like The Matrix, this was slightly let-down by inferior sequels (nowhere near as bad as The Matrix ones, mind) but you still can't deny the appeal and watchability of this first one. It's very much the nearest modern equivalent to Raiders Of The Lost Ark (and to think that I didn't really have much hope for a film based on a theme park ride).
73. Kind Hearts And Coronets
Dennis Price puts in a solid performance but it's Alec Guinness as the entire D'Ascoyne family that this film belongs to. Good work, Sir Alec, well played.
Arnie doing what he does best - kill things. A classic sci-fi actioner and much watched film of my youth.
75. Flash Gordon
Gordon's alive?!?!? 'Nuff said.
76. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Well, with a fondness for sci-fi, B movies and musicals, it's no real surprise that this was on here. Plus Richard O'Brien and I share a hairstyle (not literally, we don;t have one bald cap that we pass back and forth - you get the idea). Us slapheads have to stick together.
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me". Ultra-violent but a dead on satire of 80s media culture. I remember pushing really hard to watch this one when i was about 12 ("But, Mum, I've already watched Alien!")
78. Team America: World Police
Fuck, yeah. Trey Parker and Matt Stone doing what they do best - being as offensive as possible to as many people as possible in one go. With songs. Oh, and the unrated version with the extended puppet sex scene really is rather unnecessary.
79. The Thing
John Carpenter used to make great films. This is his finest. Another of those 80s films which has some excellent practical effects work which still stands up today and is a genuinely tense sci-fi thriller.
I like films which have good back and forth banter between the characters and this is one of them. It also has the distinction of being the only film I know that Steve Guttenberg isn't worthless in (OK, Short Circuit's still great but he is out-acted by the robot...)
Only 20 left. What can they be? Join me next time for the final countdown (do do do dooo, do do do do dooo)