Tuesday, 29 June 2010

In his life

I watched that Lennon Naked this morning, you know, that BBC4 play that was on last week about John Lennon.

I'm not the world's biggest Beatles fan, they're great, obviously. I think they've gone above having fans, everyone's a fan. What I'm struggling to understand is the choice of lead actor for this role. Christopher Eccleston is 46 years-old. The person he was playing in the film aged from 27 to 31. It doesn't take a genius to work out the he was much to old to play Lennon. Do you think this was some sort of vanity role for him? You know, "This'll look great on my CV, Wikipedia and IMDB if people see I've played this great man?" As has been pointed out this morning, with that hooter he looks more like Ringo. Something exacerbated by the fact that he sounded like Ringo too. Every time I spoke all I could hear in my head was "'Come along!' shouted Thomas the Tank Engine" or "Peace and love...don't send me owt else to sign, you bastards!" or "They're gonna put me in the movies". And whoever that tit was who was Paul McCartney, well, his voice sounded like the sort of effort Bobby Davro would put into a Macca impression. Still, it was good to see Epstein played by someone who got Buckaroo! for Christmas twenty odd years ago (sorry).

I've never understand this mythologising of Lennon. I went to the house he lived in about three years ago. What struck me was that it was just like the house I was born and bought up in, albeit one with a poncey garden room and a bigger kitchen with a servants' bell display board (God knows why, they could have shouted, had they had servants). What did send a shiver down my spine though was that there was a photo on the wall of his entire grammar school on the wall. I only just glanced at it and my eyes immediately fell on Lennon's face out of hundreds of others. To be honest, you got more of a sense of 'magic happening' at Macca's parents old council house. Probably because you knew it was a happier house and there's photos on the wall, taken by his brother, of Paul playing the guitar and writing things down at the spot where they were taken.

Everyone knows Lennon wasn't a very nice man, you didn't really need this film to tell you. Do yout think it's because he's dead that he gets this treatment? Or the fact that he disappeared from view for about five years while his former bandmates were selling millions of records and appearing in dodgy films? That's the thing with him disappearing to New York: he blamed everything on his father abandoning him, then he did the very same thing to his own son. How do you think Julian feels about his dad giving it all up when his step brother came along? And what about that awful 'mong' face he'd pull at any given opportunity?

He did write some cracking tunes though:

Monday, 28 June 2010

A load of rubbish to kill time

Let's get the football out the way: I'm not surprised, England will NEVER win the World Cup again in your lifetime. And as for people predicting the results, how can you? As Danny Baker says "Football is chaos and you can't predict the outcome of chaos." I saw one bloke give his prediction that England would win 2-1 yesterday after extra time. How can you be that certain of a scoreline? Tosser. I predicted England would bottle it, Germany ain't that good.
Anyway, I was in Nottingham on Saturday night, walked passed a Nando's with a sign outside that said "Piri piri - so good they named it twice." I know Nando's is now seen a s a bit of a joke but I've never been in one. Until Saturday night I thought it was a Mexican restaurant until it occurred to me that chicken piri piri is a Portuguese dish. I didn't go to Nando's, my pre-theatre restaurant of choice is Pizza Express. You can have junk food like pizza but because it's at cosy middle class haven that is Pizza Express, it's okay. And why do those sort of upmarket chain restaurants insist on playing jazz? It has to be the most un-relaxing music to listen to, after industrial metal and grindcore, I suppose. I once remember Talk Talk's Mark Hollis saying that music should never be used as background. In Pizza Express's case it's not background music because you've got Charlie Parker parping away in your earhole.
I fully intend to be the last person in the UK never to have eaten at a Nando's. Or Aberdeen Steakhouse. Or Spaghetti House. Or Garfunkel's. Or Bella Pasta. Am I missing out?
I saw about twenty minutes of Glastonbury on Friday night. That really is turning into some corporate rock cash cow now, isn't it? Take that John Peel Stage; it featured bands who I don't think Peel would have liked very much. From what I saw it put on bands who record labels pushed on there to up their profile. I came to Peel only when I started working shifts, his shows mainly consisted of unlistenable garbage but every twenty minutes or so a diamond would get pulled out. I recall one night we were given death metal followed by Sandy Denny followed by George Formby. What I don't recall is the singer off of Bloc Party showcasing tracks from his new solo album.
The drums then. I think I'm getting to the stage where I need to play with other people. So if anyone knows a guitarist and bass player in the Newark area who are looking for a distinctly average-to-poor-but-will-get-better drummer, then drop me a line. No timewasters or raggae musicians please.
Here's my drum tutor showing off. He's the one on the drums, by the way:

Saturday, 19 June 2010

We're from totally different backgrounds

Five Centres made a point yesterday about the new background to the blog. One of the main criticisms of Blogger is the lack of variety of templates; they seem to have addressed this problem just recently.
I picked this book theme because I suppose I thought it'd make me look more intelligent. Don't be fooled. I've just finished One Day by David Nicholls (which I enjoyed immensely, even though I originally though it was chick-lit. And I ended up falling in love with the main female character, which I also did with Nick Hornby's last), and I'm currently on the Chris Evans book.
I know I should be reading Proust, EM Forster, Steinbeck, Graham Greene and all that, but I enjoy a bit of crap. Who doesn't secretly enjoy a Big Mac every once in a while?
I'd go as far as to say that the publisher with the most books on my shelves isn't Penguin but Ebury Press, publisher of memoirs and travel guides by 'my sort of people'. Hey-ho, Dostoyevsky's going to have to wait. Why read about some bloke being locked up for murder when you can read about Richard Herring facing up to his fortieth birthday? I'm planning on reaching forty, not murdering someone.

Friday, 18 June 2010

21st Century Fox

Has anyone ever see anything by Megan Fox? I've only heard of her because every time I switch on my computer, there she is in the entertainment section of the home page staring out at me with her latest bit of news.
Looking at her in that photo - apparently taken at a recent premiere where she wore next to nowt - she looks like a slightly unattractive Anjelina Jolie with skinny legs and is brassierephobic.
Are men supposed to fancy her? Because I always remember Billy Connolly saying about supermodels "They're not the sort of women that men fancy, it'd be like shagging a bike." I just bet she has no sense of humour or personality, let alone a filthy laugh.
No doubt she has a fantastic agent whose making the most of her, I suspect, meagre talents.
I take it she's some sort of actress, but I really can't be bothered to find out because that's exactly what she wants me to do...as well as write a blog post about her. Oops!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Curled Wup

Well, the World Cup then. It leaves me cold. It does nothing for me. I think I can trace this to a number of factors:

  • I support Nottingham Forest and Nottingham Forest only. I hate most of the players in the England team (apart from Dawson, James and Milner), and I despise most of their 'fans'.

  • People who normally hate football who are suddenly 'experts'; like those witches in the canteen at work whose only previous knowledge of Ashley Cole is through his estranged missus. I'm nowhere near a football expert, and I regularly go and watch my team. You know, pay money to go in and everything.

  • Flags on cars, hanging out of windows, bunting, face paints etc. Normally sported by those in the point above.

  • Sponsorship. If you buy a Hyundai off the back of ITV's World Cup break-bumpers then you should be shot.

  • In particular to this world cup: those bloody horns. Make it stop. The sound of the crowd is a much more rewarding experience. One good point about the horns - they'll probably drown out that stupid Pukka Pies England band featuring Bernie Clifton. The band who only know two tunes: The Theme from The Great Escape and This is the Self-Preservation Society. Those horns have resulted in me seeing a grand total of about fifteen minutes worth of football. Apparently FIFA have endorsed their use because it's part of South African football culture. By that token, should England host the 2018/2022 World Cups then I fully expect to see the reintroduction of rattles and mindless violence.

  • The pubs become unbearable. I'm not a massive drinker these days but I hate TVs in pubs. Pubs are supposed to be all about socialising, not getting a cricked neck watching Slovenia v Algeria. And why go to a pub when it's free to watch at home? Why not leave the pubs free for people who want to escape football.

  • Football isn't a summer game. By the time May comes around I've had enough of football, and even I'm not an obsessive. I refuse to watch Soccer Saturday because I not only detest Jeff Stelling but I'm not really bothered about Chris Kamara reporting from a ground while the match goes on, unseen, over his shoulder. I do have a weakness for the BBC's Final Score though, but that's because I find Garth Crooks fascinating.

  • People who, normally those mentioned in the second point, who call it 'footy'. I hate that word. I hate it even more than 'soccer', at least 'soccer' does historically have a point (it was used as a corruption of the word 'association', as in 'association football' to differentiate it from rugby football in the 19th Century).

Anyway, never mind all that, I went to my first folk festival yesterday. That was an experience, people just take musical instruments and start jamming, man. There was also the best food stall ever there, he gloried in the name of The Pie Minister. I spurned his charms to have a curry - it was the worst curry I've ever tasted, I've tasted better Tyne Brand curry out of a tin, and I dribbled a load down my new Gap jeans, that yellow will never come out. Next year it's the Pie Minister all the way for me, especially as he was offering minted mushy peas.
I only really went because The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain were on. I love them. I don't know why they're always associated with folk music. Indeed one of them made a joke of this in the between-song patter, he say "I don't know if you know much about folk music, but..."
The thing is with The UOOGB is that it's just a good fun thing. I think it was a stroke of genius using them as the last act on the last day considering that folk music, and folk music fans are usually pretty serious. They're also a little bit posh - one's called Hester - but that kind of eccentric poshness which is always delightful.

I don't know a lot about folk, but like art, I do know what I like. What I don't like is these bearded types with fingers in their ears singing sea shanties. What I do like is a bit of folk rock (they had a folk rock band yesterday, with, horror of horrors for serious folkies, a drummer) and just the lovely stuff, like what we had yesterday with the excellent gaelic singing of Julie Fowlis. Even I know that she's pretty big news in folk music circles. What I like about music sung in any other language than English is that you can make up your own words (like I do when listening to my beloved Super Furry Animals when they sing in Welsh). I also admit I fell in love a little with Ms Fowlis. Ooops.

Anyway, here's my favourite Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain interpretation, pity they never played it yesterday.