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Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Welcome Return

I think that Richard Ashcroft is a god who walks amongst us. Plain and simple.
But it has to be said that as a band, The Verve have been a bit hit or miss. Sure, 'Urban Hymns' is an absolute classic, but 'A Storm In Heaven' from '93 and 'A Northern Soul' from '95 both fell a bit wide of the the mark for me, but I CANNOT stop listening to their new single 'Love Is Noise'. It's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, and just my kind of thing. A confident slice of plain old rock if ever I heard it, and I really hope that their new album 'Forth' is a return to something special.

Turn it up.

Really loud.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peter Stringfellow

I'm on a continuing quest to recapture my youth, therefore, I've been busy again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Fucking F Word

I love and hate 'The F Word' in equal measure. Sure it's interesting seeing how people in far flung places like Iceland catch and cook Puffin, but Gordon Ramsey is just a complete arsehole. He's one of the few people that I genuinely think I'd like to uppercut, you know, a real hay-maker, right from the ankles. When I saw him stroll onto the pitch of Ibrox Park in tonight's show and mutter "It's good to be home" I had to burst out laughing. He goes on and on about his 'career' with Glasgow Rangers Football Club at almost any opportunity, but just to be clear, Gordy:

You played 1 game for the reserve team. Get over it.

As for the "paying" clientèle, well one posh bint actually described her dessert as:

"It's like a little explosion of happiness in your mouth"
I mean really, where the fuck do they get these people from?

"Yeah, I found it to be just a little bit tart"
Can someone please explain what the hell that means?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dark Knight

I really enjoyed Chris Nolan's 'Batman Begins' so it was with some excitement that The Demon and I headed off to the IMAX cinema at the Glasgow Science Centre last night to catch his sequel 'The Dark Knight', which, just so we're clear, will definitely be getting a 10/10 at the end of this post.
Trust me, you can believe the hype.

The Appetisers

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as 'Alfred' the butler and 'Lucius Fox', but in reality they just walk around being Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. This is no bad thing as I'm sure Michael Caine would struggle with anything other than a chirpy cockney accent, and if Morgan Freeman told me the Earth was flat, I'd believe him.

The Side Salad

Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the role of 'Rachael Dawes' from Katie Cruise, nee Holmes, who I presume is off being one half of 'KC and the Sunshine Man'. She (Gyllenhaal) plays the part convincingly enough, but the problem I had with her is that, in all honesty, she's a bit of a minger. Every time she's on screen with Christian Bale I kept thinking "There's no way he's shagging you, luv. Not unless you get him drunk".
Aaron Eckhart's 'Harvey Dent', on the other hand, is integral to the plot of the film, and it's a damn fine job he does too. This is surely going to land him many more roles.

The Main Course

Anyway, enough of all this preamble, it's time to ask:

The Heath Ledger Question?

Is his portrayal of The Joker worthy of an Oscar?

No. Niet. Nein. Non.

Of course it isn't. It was never going to be. He comes across as a menacing, deranged, crazy psychopath alright, but after all the hype he's a bit of a one trick pony, a bit one dimensional.
Having said that, he is impressive, but to be honest all four main actors do a tremendous job here. It's a real team effort. Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, and of course Christian Bale.

He's now the definitive Batman, and has surely done enough to make the character his own. He's also now definitely Hollywood A-list, and deservedly so. Some of his previous films have been excellent, some not so, but his performance in them has never been in question.
You only have to look at 'American Psycho' (2000), the excellent 'The Machinist' (2004), and 'Harsh Times' (2005) to see three films that are entirely carried on his shoulders alone.
Trust me, hunt these films out.

As for 'The Dark Knight' itself, well without giving the story away, it is absolutely outstanding, and ticks all my boxes. It has all the adrenaline junkie action you could want, but don't think you can simply take your brain out of gear and let it carry you along on a raft of CGI nonsense, oh no, there's far more to it than that. There's some serious gravitas here. This is a rare summer blockbuster that's as heavy on quality of writing as it is quantity of action. It's an extremely well thought out thriller, and delivers on so many levels. I'm struggling to think of the last time I enjoyed a film as much as this one.

Comparing 'Batman Begins' to 'The Dark Knight' is like comparing 'The Hobbit' to 'The Lord Of The Rings'. Chris Nolan surpasses his original by two or three light years, and it's he who should be getting the Oscar nomination. He's proved that with the right team and effort, you can actually take an action film seriously.

One more for the trilogy box set please!


PS - I want a Batmobile so much it hurts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There But For The Grace Of God Go I

I read today that former tv presenter John Leslie won't be charged with rape following an allegation made by a woman a couple of months ago. Now I'm no John Leslie fan, in fact I have no feelings towards Mr Leslie one way or another, but a tiny wee part of me couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for him.

An allegation of rape is every guys nightmare.

I had a lot of fun in my twenties with the opposite sex, and on more than one occasion woke up not only in a room I didn't recognise, but clearly having had unprotected sex with a woman I didn't recognize and completely unable to remember the bedroom gymnastics at all!

Given that I'm a man, and game for anything, all I felt was disappointed at my drink-fueled amnesia, but who's to say anyone else of either gender waking up in a similar situation would feel like I did? An allegation of rape, after admitting having no recollection of the act itself, would be virtually impossible to refute. 'My word against theirs' is hardly a viable defence if you're unsure of yourself.

John Leslie clearly likes sex. Some would say he's a sex addict, much like Michael Douglas claimed to be, but what goes on behind closed consenting doors is fine by me, I'm no judge.

He may well be a rapist, how the fuck would I know? That's what courts are for, but I think that it's about time that the law in this country was changed to protect the anonymity of both parties, not just the complainant. The waters seem a bit muddy to me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top Tottie Tuesday: July '08

Welcome to the inaugural Top Tottie Tuesday. This may, or most probably may not, become a regular feature in my cyber life, who knows.
Today's TT is Melissa Auf Der Maur. Canadian by birth, Melissa played bass in the band 'Hole' and also in 'The Smashing Pumpkins' and is now a successful artist in her own right, and, as you can clearly see, is what young people would call 'a hottie'. For some reason chicks who play bass do it for me.

Welcome onboard the Falcon, Melissa.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Life In Movies

Ok, bear with me here.
Rol has asked me to lay down my life in movies. The concept is straight forward enough, take what you consider to be your favourite film from each year of your life and compile the list. The only problem with this particular meme is that it requires a fair bit of research on your part. Wikipedia, you are my God.

In the interests of saving time (both yours and mine), I'll just list the films themselves without an explanation as to why I picked it.

Here goes:

1970 - Kelly's Heroes
What's not to like?

1971 - THX 1138

1972 - Silent Running
As relevant now as it was then.

1973 - Dark Star
Doesn't get much stranger than this.

1974 - The Towering Inferno
Paul Newman AND Steve McQueen!

1975 - Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze
The template for Indiana Jones.

1976 - Logan's Run
"Carousel! Carousel!"

1977 - Star Wars
"Punch It Chewie!"

1978 - The Wild Geese
Burton, Moore, Harris, Granger.

1979 - Alien
The best sci-fi movie ever made.

1980 - The Blues Brothers
This film is a member of the comedy elite.

1981 - An American Werewolf In London
"Don't stray off the path, lads!"

1982 - Tron
"Put him on the game grid"

1983 - Risky Business
Rebecca De Mornay and a Porsche 928. All is good in the world.

1984 - The Killing Fields
As moving as war movies get.

1985 - The Breakfast Club
Great cast, great writing, great music. The best teen flick.

1986 - Aliens
Vietnam in space. "I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

1987 - Full Metal Jacket
Arguably the best war movie ever made.

1988 - Stormy Monday
Sting, Tommy lee Jones, and James Cosmo . . . in Newcastle.

1989 - Dead Poets Society
'Coming of age' films rarely interest me, but this one does.

1990 - Goodfellas
No question, the ultimate gangster flick.

1991 - New Jack City
Black is back.

1992 - Unforgiven
Clint's finest hour.

1993 - Dazed And Confused
An amazing ensemble cast, outstanding music, and lots of drugs. Perfection.

1994 - Shallow Grave
THE BEST surprise ending.

1995 - Powder
Really hard to describe this film, just watch it.

1996 - From Dusk Till Dawn
Put your brain in neutral, have a beer & a pizza, and enjoy.

1997 - Donnie Brasco
Pacino & Depp raise the bar.

1998 - The Acid House
Read the book first, it's amazing (it helps to be Scottish though).

1999 - 200 Cigarettes
A little known diamond.

2000 - Love, Honour and Obey
"Fix bayonets!"

2001 - Shrek
As good as animation gets.

2002 - Narc
Ray Liotta as you've never seen him before.

2003 - 21 Grams
It's got Sean Penn in it!

2004 - The Butterfly Effect
Not exactly Oscar material, but fresh and original.

2005 - The Constant Gardener
Ralph Fiennes acts his tits off.

2006 - The Good Shepherd
More Timothy Hutton please.

2007 - No Country For Old Men
Deserved the Oscar.

Some of these films were selected because they were very good, others because they were very bad, and some because they just make me feel good. Some are predictable pulp fiction, and others may just be off the beaten track for some people, but if I had to pick one film from all of those above to have with me on my desert island it'd be 1993's 'Dazed And Confused', I never tire of it.

I won't tag anyone else to do this meme as it's taken me two and a half hours! I suffer for my art.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I'm kinda bored today and there's not a lot happening, so I thought I'd enrich everyone's lives by adding a playlist of some of my favourite songs to my blog.

I have my pc hooked up through a hifi system, so it all sounds pretty damn good to my ears, but please be sure to to tell me if it annoys the tits off you and I'll remove it.

In the meantime, here's a photo of a cat in a hat.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bad MoFo

The bad guy.
The most coveted role in any movie.
Everyone wants to play him. He gets all the best action, the hottest chicks, and he definitely gets the coolest lines.
As a follow on from my last post regarding Heath Ledger's impending Joker, I thought I'd list some of my favourite bad guys from over the years.

Here we go (in no particular order):

Dr Christian Szell (Lawrence Olivier) - 'Marathon Man' (1976)
I remember the first time I watched this film. I was a kid who already had a healthy phobia about the dentist. This really didn't help matters. It's still a real surprise to see old Larry as a bad guy.

John Doe (Kevin Spacey) - 'Se7en' (1995)
The lack of any anger or aggression that Kevin Spacey puts into the character of 'John Doe' just makes him all the more chilling. Still a fantastic end to a film.

Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) - 'Streets Of Fire' (1984)
I love this film. It was pulp fiction before anybody thought about making 'Pulp Fiction', and has an awesome soundtrack.

Norman Stanfield (Gary Oldman) - 'Leon' (1994)
Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors. He can play good guys, but his bad guys, of which there have been many, are superb. This is his best though, as the dirty cop in the film that introduced the world to Natalie Portman, who would one day go on to help bring balance to The Force.

Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) - 'Goodfellas' (1990)
Without question the finest gangster movie of all time. Joe Pesci is truly scary in this film, and it's still Ray Liotta's finest hour, with the possible exception of 'Narc'.

Come on, who have I missed?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"...and the Oscar goes to..."

As I'm sure most of you will be aware, the next instalment of the Batman franchise is released soon. I really enjoyed director Chris Nolan's previous effort 'Batman Begins', so it's with some expectation that I'm looking forward to 'The Dark Knight'.
The only problem I have is with the actor who plays the Joker, Heath Ledger.
Now I'm sure that he was a very nice man, and I'm sure that he'll probably have done a decent job of playing the twisted and evil Joker, but it's time for a wee reality check:

"It's the best performance of a villain I have seen. My feeling is that he will get a nomination, I would be very surprised if he didn't get the Oscar - he has my vote anyway," - Sir Michael Caine

"I haven't seen a villain like this, or a bad guy like this, since Dennis Hopper played Frank Booth in Blue Velvet - this out-scares Hannibal Lecter." - Gary Oldman

"I needed a phenomenal actor, but he also had to be someone unafraid of taking on such an iconic role. Heath created something entirely original. It's stunning, it's captivating. It's going to blow people away." - Chris Nolan (Director)

Now I'm not for a second suggesting that Heath Ledger's performance ISN'T everything above, but now that everyone has come out and built it up, it bloody better be!
The best I can say is that he's been pretty good, if not outstanding, in everything I've seen him in, which isn't much to be honest. In fact, I think I've only seen him in '10 Things I Hate About You' and 'A Knights Tale'. Cynically, I'm sure he wouldn't be receiving such universal acclaim if he were still with us.

As anyone who has read this blog in the past will know, I'm a HUGE fan of the cinema and tend to see films as soon as they are released, so with that in mind, should I be wrong and find that his performance does indeed 'blow me away', I'll happily watch and review 'Brokeback Mountain' and pose in a homo-erotic photograph which I'll post on here, but I'm sure my ass is safe.

PS - Just for the record, the best joker, by a huge margin, was Cesar Romero in the original Batman TV series.

This week I'm listening to 'Geraldine' by Glasvegas, and liking it because I can sing along correctly.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mock The Week

Thank fuck.

Thank fuck that one of the few truly great tv shows made by ANY British television network is back for another series on our screens. It's been a long 6 months or so without my regular Thursday night fix of Dara and the boys, and last nights show hit the ground running with Russell Howard and the invincible Frankie Boyle being stand outs for me.

The sooner that tv executives realise that THIS is entertainment, not shite like Big Brother or Lily Allen And Friends, the better our world will become.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cassandra's Dream

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Woody Allen:

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg) is an American film director, actor, writer, jazz musician, comedian and playwright. Allen's distinctive films, which run the gamut from intense dramas to screwball sex comedies, have made him one of the most respected living American directors.

Not in my house he ain't.
Whilst the above may all be true, after viewing his latest offering, Cassandra's Dream, perhaps he should now focus on playing the clarinet, and leave the film writing and directing to those who are actually any good at it.
The plot concerns two brothers, Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell) both of whom have their own dire money worries. They decide to seek help from rich Uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson) who agrees to bail them out, but in return they have to kill someone. The rest of the film then tracks the two brothers differing reactions to what they have become. Ian is content with his crime, but Terry is plagued by inner demons. The film also follows Ian's relationship with his new and exotic girlfriend, a relationship that contributes not one iota to the story or plot!

It's shite. No point beating around the bush, it's just shite. This film sucks more than a $10 hooker. It's slower than a week in jail and seems to take forever to get moving, but by far and away the worst perpetrator in this cinematic crime is Ewan McGregor. I've now come to the conclusion that he's just not a very good actor.
I like the guy, but he was acted off the screen by Colin Farrell, and that's saying something! Perhaps he might want to stick to riding his motorbike around the planet..
The film eventually lurches from one tried & trusted cinema cliche to the next and ends up at it's entirely predictable ending. Thank God/Allah/Buddah/The Force.

I should have stayed at home and watched a CSI.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

"You can't park that there!"

As one does during days off, I often stumble upon the most bizarre of online flotsam & jetsam.
And I quote:

Chieftain Mk10 Main Battle Tank

Mark 10. Good working order. Recent renovations include new (reconditioned) engine and gearbox, replacement of final drive gearboxes and sprockets; new (new) GUI (donkey engine and generator) with fully functional hydraulic start; replacement of near-side wheel station including hubs, swing arms etc. Tracks in good condition. Turret electrics not used so working order not known but advised should be OK. Recently repainted so looking good and ready to go. Reason for sale: Moving to Russian military vehicles.

£14,000 + VAT ono.

If my disposable income allowed it, my house would possibly be the safest in Britain!

Teach Me The Ways Of The Force

Learner drivers.
We've probably all been one at some point in our lives. I've been one three times, once in a car, once in a truck, and once on a motorbike. I still sympathise with these poor people as I clearly remember the stress that I went through whilst I was learning, but here's a small tip for any driving instructors out there. If you take your pupil down a carriageway at 30mph that is clearly signposted as a 50mph zone, then you're just teaching them how to fail a driving test. Also, as a matter of professional courtesy, I'd really try and resist the temptation to roll the window down and have a cigarette whilst trying to teach someone how to drive, it's probably breaking some kind of law, but if you really have to, please don't flick your cigarette butt in the face of the motorcyclist alongside you. Yes, I have a helmet on, but no, I can't hear you apologise, I'm too busy imagining disembowelling you with a broken beer bottle dipped in salt. Cunt.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Mist

Stephen King.
Love him or loathe him, you can't argue that he's one of the greatest authors of modern times.
The latest King novella to hit the big screen is 'The Mist', which featured in the 1980 short story collection 'Dark Forces', and it's an absolute cracker.
Here's the basic outline. A strange mist descends on a small lakeside town. Within the mist all manner of bizarre and lethal creatures live and they all would like a piece of the survivors who are holed up in the town's supermarket.
It's got everything you could ask for, a great cast of relatively unknown actors, excellent plot development, and a cracking good ending. Sure it has tons of CGI creatures, but they are almost incidental to the main story, the gradual psychological breakdown of the survivors in the store.

But . . .

It's bloody bleak.
Oh, it's dark alright. It exposes the horror that is humanity for all to see.
If you are suffering from post natal depression, if you have recently started self-harming, or if you are Chris Martin from Coldplay, DO NOT see this movie, it might just send you over the edge.

Me? I bloody loved it!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Totally . . .

. . . deserved.

Charidee: Part 3

As a follow on to a post I made a few weeks ago regarding Adrian Sudbury and his fight to educate the world about bone marrow donation, here's another link to the petition to the UK government to make bone marrow donation education compulsory for schools, colleges, and places of higher learning.

Come on people, all you have to do is give a shit*.

*Not literally.


The Demon hated it, but I enjoyed the new Will Smith flick 'Hancock' last night.

The trailer had all the action, slap-stick, and comedy that I've come to expect from Hollywood's summer blockbuster movies, but it's not as simple as that. The trouble is that 'Hancock' doesn't really know what it's trying to be. It's not entirely an action film, it's not entirely a drama, and it's not entirely a comedy, it's a strange combination of all three. I have to admit that I'm still unsure whether that aspect of the movie really worked, but although it's unlikely to trouble anyone come the Oscars I enjoyed it nevertheless.

It's a good cast mix. I'll happily watch anything with uber babe Charlize Theron in it, and it's good to see more of Jason Bateman, but Will Smith just can't do any wrong as far as I'm concerned. He's great as the surly drunk super hero. In fact I can't really think of a movie in which Big Willie has disappointed. Sure, 'I, Robot' and 'Independence Day' were pretty ropey at best, and 'I Am Legend' was just rubbish, but it's never been Mr Smith's performance that let them down, just a lack of a decent adaptation of the original ideas. He's one of my favourite actors and I look forward to him getting some more parts that stretch his acting abilities as films like 'The Pursuit Of Happyness' and 'Ali' show that he's more than capable.

Overall I thought that the concept of a grumpy superhero that no one likes was original and well thought out, and it's refreshing to see a superhero movie that doesn't rely solely on the disease that is CGI to carry it, but I'd like to see the 30 minutes that were reputedly edited out of the second half of the film. They may tie up some of the loose ends that were left dangling, but no doubt the inevitable sequel will clear those up.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Anarchy In The UK: 2

I really don't know what Britain is coming to.
I've just been browsing the BBC news 24 website and I'm genuinely shocked and angered at the level of violent crime in this country. It's staggering.

Shakilus Townsend, 16, stabbed and murdered in broad daylight.
Ben Kinsella, 16, stabbed and murdered in the street.
Hamouda Bessaad, 34, stabbed and murdered in Old Kent Road, London.
Dee Willis, 28, stabbed and murdered in Peckham, London.
And the most horrific:
Laurent Bonomo & Gabriel Ferez, both 23, stabbed, in their own home, over 240 times then set on fire.

Those are all just from London and from the last week.

Where do I begin?

I suppose I should feel lucky. I live in a nice town, with a good record against violent crime. The local beat constable is The Demon's brother, so is often to be seen at my home, thereby (possibly) deterring a criminal or two. If only those same criminal masterminds knew that he usually drops in to take a shit in my toilet because the one in his station has "the wrong kind of paper"!

But I don't feel lucky. I feel fucking blind rage that the government in this country has allowed our society to degenerate to the stage where jail is no longer a deterrent, where offenders carrying out community service cannot be singled out by bright orange jumpsuits for fear of psychologically damaging them, and where a prison inmate can successfully take the Government to court because he has to slop out his own shit from his cell.


No one should be afraid to walk down their own street, and I apologise for sounding like my dad, but things were different when I were a lad. The thought of punishment for doing something wrong, be it by the police or my dad, scared the shit out of me, still does, but today couldn't be further from that 1970's truth.

Jail is no longer a deterrent, it's an inconvenience.
Community service has never been a deterrent, it's just a chore.
Fines aren't a deterrent if you don't have the money to pay in the first place.

I don't know the answer, but maybe Jaggy wasn't far off the mark with Jaggy Island.
It's not a deterrent if it's easy.

"But what can I do, I'm just an ordinary member of the community?" I hear you say dear reader.

Well, here's what I'm going to do. Come the general election in 18 months or so, my vote will be based solely on antisocial behaviour and what the main parties propose to do about it.
Forget the economy, that's the Bank of England's job.
Forget Afghanistan, we're already there, have to make the best of a bad job.
Forget the environment, that's a job for business, industry, and God.
Forget the NHS, it's terminally ill itself.
Make your voice heard. Make this the number 1 priority. Let these lying fuckers that play Monopoly with us know that an ASBO or an electronic tag doesn't constitute punishment.

Here endeth the sermon.

P.S. - I'm now on holiday for a week. Sweet.
P.P.S. - This week I'm liking 'Time To Pretend' by MGMT.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Garden

Next week looms large in front of me.

Myself and The Demon are both off work for a week, where we shall be 'doing the garden'.
I'm not entirely sure what this entails, I haven't asked, but it seems to be something that older people, like Jaggy, do.

"I've got a few days off work and I'm planning on doing the garden"

I know there are some bushes that she doesn't like, and that a man with a hammer is coming to make a fence, but that's the sum total of the information that has been passed on to me.
I keep seeing her sniffing around The Shed Of Dreams, but there's no God-damn way she's getting anywhere near it, I have jurisdiction there.

I must say, I've had other holidays that I've looked forward to a bit more than this.
I will endeavour to keep you, my adoring public, abreast of my garden-related shenanigans, but I'm pretty sure you'll nod off.

Toodle pip.