Thursday, September 23, 2004

Happy Birthday CEEFAX

30 today...goose, feather, hen...
It's the only way to watch football on TV. Waiting for the pixels to update, anticipation builds...yes...yes....aaarrhhhh...still 0 - 0.
Just another 89 minutes to go...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sarah Beeny

Be careful when looking for more than the usual mug shots...the pink skin you seek may end up on your cheek...

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Who's your favourite Scrooge?

Cogitations on the comparative cinematic cobblers compiled by
Creamguide (Films).

This Week:

Whilst ruminating on the subject for this week's Movie! Movie!,
staring into the fireplace and trying to wash the Tio Pepe out of
Gizmo's hair, we were shaken out of our contemplative torpor by the
decidedly (we reckon) unseasonably early arrival of the Littlewood's
Christmas catalogue. We had a quick flick through of course, if only
to marvel at the crappiness of an illuminated climbing Santa and to
wonder why it's now possible to purchase the entire series of George
and the Dragon of all things on DVD, but on the whole we're not of a
mind to welcome the pre-emptive first-strike jingle of sleigh bells
and the disturbing sight of Christmas trees jostling uncomfortably
alongside Hallowe'en costumes in Woolworth's (a metaphor for the
contradistinction of religion and the pagan forces of economy in
modern society if ever we've seen one). Still and all it does bring
to mind the eternal festive question that strikes within the
collective mind (both feline and otherwise) of Creamguide (Films):
what version of A Christmas Carol is the best?

It's rather a waste of time and other things to postulate a
hypothesis that seeks to challenge the unavoidable and universal
conclusion that the Alistair Sim outing in the role of yer actual
Ebenezer Scrooge, that being, erm, SCROOGE, is the best by a long
chalk. Sim is so utterly perfect in the role in demeanour, movement,
look and performance that there's not much we can add to the general
consensus that this one is, indeed, the greatest. There's lots more
to commend it as well as Sim, though. Patrick Macnee plays the young
Marley in a brash, junior Nazi kind of way which is entirely in
keeping with the situation (and of course it's possible to discern
even at this early age the talent that would take him all the way to
ROLLING THUNDER on the telly), George Cole, Sim's junior version of
himself, gets the younger Scrooge down to a copperplate `t', Elsa
Lanchester is particularly common as the charlady, Miles Malleson is
suitably shambolic as Old Joe and even Jack Warden is great as the
Ghost of Christmas Past. All great stuff. No Christmas is complete
without it.

But of course, not every Yule is made cool by the presence of
SCROOGE and we do on occasion have to labour under the strain of
various inferior versions. Schedules used to be replete with festive
specials that harpooned the basic story and chucked them into a
suitably despicable urban setting for various gruesomely schmaltzy
tales of redemption but these were nearly always bloody awful (apart
from the regular HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN ones, natch) and other films also
hijacked the theme to get their own made-for-TV kicks, but we shan't
consider those here. Instead let's look at three other versions and
decide which amongst them is the worst.

First comes the Clive Donner helmed A CHRISTMAS CAROL which has the
added bonus of the proper title and the especial bonus of George C
Scott as Scrooge. David `suitable case for' Warner is an adequate
(but, we would contend, no more) Cratchit and Michael Gough is even
on hand as one of the William Mervyn-style Kindly Old Gentlemen. Of
course, the otherwise brilliant Edward Woodward is heartily in place
as the Ghost of Christmas Present but he's really just too darn
scary for our liking. He's supposed to be the nice one, isn't he?
Anyway, on the whole a good effort (even thought the Tiny Tim `God
Bless You' rating is a little high).

Second we have to plump for THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL for serious
consideration. Despite the obvious immediate setback of starring
that Michael Caine character it's difficult not to love this with
its giant ghosts and singing fruit and veg and Billy Bunny freezing
to death in the streets. Since it's a waste of time to get into the
plot (and we're really rather assuming that you know it anyway) we
can instead concentrate on the added bits – the trimmings, if you
will – and they all taste pretty good. No human involvement to speak
of, Statler and Waldorf as Marley and Marley (do you see?), singing
lobsters and a relatively low Tiny Tim quotient (mitigated in any
case by his being a frog) all make this a good `un we reckon. And
your hearts as cold as a wet Christmas if you think otherwise.

So two down and one to go. As things stand the processes of
elimination aren't really on the side of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring
Reginald `Admiral Boom' Owen so it only really falls to us to
confirm the sentence. The film that we have taken to referring to as
The Bloody Reginald Owen One isn't that bad in itself but there's
nothing so dispiriting as a disappointing Xmas film and on that
value scale then this just bites the big one. If this was the only
Dickensfest available on or around Christmas Day we would be very
miffed indeed: the sort of miffed that only a 5 kilo tin of
Celebrations can mollify. However, there seems to be a sort of
unspoken deal between the schedulers and the public on this one.
They seem to have to put it on regularly (to satisfy what bizarre
Masonic shenanigans we don't know) but they do so at such an either
early or late hour that it doesn't interfere with the lives of men.
So that's all right then. Verily The Bloody Reginald Owen One is the
worst version of all.

We shan't wish you a Merry Christmas at this stage, since that would
be just daft, but we will instead make an early Christmas wish for a
halfway decent version of A Christmas Carol this year (although
preferably not the Albert Finney one either, thanks).

With thanks to CreamGuide

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Is this modern art?

No Madam, it's the fire bucket.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Goodbye Sage

Strange cat you may have been but you will be missed. Between you, Parsley and Puma I thought you would win the longevity race.
Adios pussy cat.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Damian's Day

First port of call - The Navvy. A lovely pint of Holts' Bitter for £1.35. It really was on top form today. The dancing boys were pretty good too.

Followed by a walk back in time into one of the few pubs in Rochdale that has not changed one bit since I first drank there as an under age youth in 1977.Fantastic.
A proper drinkers pub with old blokes playing cards and dominoes and cheap beer. Only £1.20p a pint.

I guess this pub should be renamed the Miserable Cow & Ice Maiden rather than Cask & Feather. Apologies to Paula for messing up her usual Saturday afternoon doing next to nothing but she can always finish reading the paper whilst picking up her dole money.
Anyway enough of the bitterness, the beer was pretty good and at £1.34 a good price (although being a micro brewery I've always thought it should be as cheap as Th' Eagle). [enough bitterness...Ed]

And then back to Chez Rob for Chinese and Nearest & Dearest...Waheyyyyyy

More piccies here...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

it's a televisual bonanza...

16.05 Please Sir!
We don't really need to go into much detail here, surely? The field
trip fiasco of rainy afternoon fame returns, with cast list pretty
much as standard - Cleall, Hawkins, Denyer, Gebhart and Malcolm off
Science Workshop are all present and correct, augmented by Brinsley
Forde as the butt of some highly dubious racial gags, and Todd Carty
in need of a piss. Alderton fights off bigotry allegations and the
advances of Patsy 'I'll remember you in my will!' Rowlands, while
Jack Smethurst, aptly enough, drives the bus.

04.20 The Invaders
a quinn martin production...da da daaa

12.35 'Allo 'Allo!
Ooh, this schedule's going to be a bit thin when Breakfast With
Frost finishes, isn't it? Mind you, at least it'll mean we won't get
another political programme two hours after it finishes anymore.
Meanwhile this is the 'rhyming' Christmas special.

17.00 Blue Peter
Back! Back! Back! Maybe the return of the summer break was a good
thing, as we've been looking forward to seeing the gang in action
again, and the first show back is always quite exciting - and
especially so today as there are some big changes. We've got the new
theme tune, which the stupid kids on the website already hate but is
in fact pretty good. We've also got a new set, but the big news is
that each BBC1 episode will be repeated on the CBBC Channel an hour
later, and on the days when there isn't a BBC1 one, there'll be a
new one exclusive to the CBBC Channel! Apparently there are no plans
to get in any new presenters, which strikes us as odd when Liz goes
off to pop her sprog - she's still here at the moment - as Matt,
Konnie and Simon will be worked to the bone, and they'd better not
get knackered and think about leaving. Anyway, BP knows what it's
doing and we're sure the new run'll be as ace as ever, and it gets
off to a blockbuster start with Olympic medallists christening the
new sofas. And we get to find out if Simon still has that beard.

13.35 A Kid for Two Farthings
Odd tale of an East End boy buying a baby goat he believes to be a
unicorn, oddly shot by Carol 'Third Man' Reed. Boasts some great
colour footage of said boy endlessly chasing a pigeon round
authentic '50s East End locations. Celia Johnson, Diana Dors, David
Kossoff, Irene Handl, Sid James, Alfie Bass, Harold Goodwin and Sam
Kydd feature.

13.45 Sailor Beware!
A top turn from Peggy Mount as a domineering (well, duh!)
prospective mother-in-law of sailor Ronald Lewis, with
misunderstandings, stag night frolics, last-minute cold feet and
naturally plenty of Premiership battleaxery from Dame P. Creamguide
Films' patented "what's not to like?' roll-call - Cyril 'Hugh and I'
Smith as Peg's hen-pecked spouse! Shirley 'Goldfinger' Eaton as the
daughter! Esma Cannon as the sister-in-law! Gordon Jackson as a
rollicking Scottish sailor! George A Cooper as the petty officer!
Michael Caine and Henry McGee as yet further sailors! Thora Hird as
a nosy neighbour! Geoffrey Keen as a vicar! Alfie Bass as his
organist! And Fred Griffiths as - yes! - a cabbie!

11.00 Laurel and Hardy

00.35 That'll Be the Day
Yay! The return of the David Essex '50s rock 'n' roll odyssey, from
the stable of Goodtimes Enterprises (of Performance, Bugsy Malone
and Dougal and the Blue Cat fame) who did plenty of good work in
this field, with Ringo Starr as a dodgem car attendant and mentor to
Essex's wannabe rock star. There's also Billy Fury as Stormy
Tempest, Keith Moon as, er, Keith Moon, Robert Lindsay, Vivian
Stanshall and Karl Howman among the names to look for, all set
against a bleak Isle of Wight landscape, with crafty woodbines and
squalid caravan sex adding to the grittiness. It's odds on we'll get
Stardust about this time next week, so make sure there's enough room
left on the E180.

With thanks to CreamGuide

Sugar Coated Pills

How popular were these little buggers? All depends what they were coating I guess. So, here's the first picture of gable end art as I've decided to call it, taken on the 12th August 2004 in a sunny suburb of Bradford.
It's not in the best of condidtion, looks about 50 years old and the only words I can make out are "sugar coated pills" "Made by Parkinsons" and "better". And no, I'm not including off licence as part of the original painting.

See more pictures here...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Odes from a bumpkin...

'Tis dog's delight to bark and bite
And little birds to sing
And if you sit on a red hot brick
It's sign of an early spring.

There was an old person of Tring
Who, when somebody asked her to sing
Replied "Ain't it odd
I can never tell God
Save the Weasel from Pop Goes the King"

There was a young woman from Tottenham
Who'd no manners or else she'd forgotten 'em;
At tea at the vicar's
She tore off her knickers
Because she explained she was 'ot in 'em