Wednesday, 10 September 2008

My Media

A while back I was going to call it 'my fave TV'and confine myself to brief reviews and previews of TV I'd watched or was looking forward to. Things that would be too short for an entry of their own. But I don't want to limit myself to TV as I do (very occasionally) get out to the cinema and listen to the odd radio programme or read a book. I've even subscribed to my first podcast on iTunes recently - Media Talk from The Guardian, which I loved.

So it's going to be "My Media" - boring and unoriginal but flexible and future-proof I think.

LOST IN AUSTEN

First up was "Lost in Austen" on ITV last Wednesday. Unusually, this got the prize "Radio Times" cover to usher in the Autumn season - though it's not quite a period drama. It's "Pride and Prejudice" (whose characters populate it) meets "Bridget Jones Diary" meets " Life on Mars". The latter two comparisons come from the fact that the protaganist Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper) is an unsatisfied singelton and that she falls through to another time period largely of her own imagining, namely the world of P&P. There's also the merest hint of some sort of battle in Amanda's head between her reality and her fantasy which she may or may not resolve. Like Austen, much is played as a comedy of manners, but bringing in contemporary angles via Amanda's difficulties in adapting and/or believing (which are not dissimilar to Sam Tyler's). Given the tone of the first episode it would not surprise me if there will be much hilarity with a condom at some point - I know Amanda accidentally blurts out a swear word then has to pretend it's the name of a card game. Unlike "Life On Mars" and "Ashes to Ashes" the traveller here does not arrogantly assume their actions affect the known future, they merely affect the destiny of these Austen characters - mainly that Mr Darcy will fall for an even more fiesty, independent and modern woman than Lizzie Bennett. Lizzie Bennett, after all, is stuck in Hammersmith 2008.

THEY CAME FROM MANCHESTER: THE STORY OF MANCUNIAN POP

Or actually just a complilation of performances on the BBC from selected bands. And selected times too - it was very obvious where the preferences of the compliler lay. I can let it off starting in 1964, though there must have been some Mancunian element before then. No, it was the two big gaps in the timeline. First it jumped from 1967 to 1973 where 10cc and then Sweet Sensation gave two of the few actual 'pop' performances in colour here. Even more glaring was jumping from the Charlatans' "North Country Boy' in 1997 to the Ting Tings with "That's Not My Name' from this spring. Again, I'm VERY sure there were Mancunian bands and artists doing well inbetweentimes. This really wanted to focus on the punk/new wave era and then Madchester and it's spawn. Fine enough, but that wasn't on the label. Apart from that an enjoyable trip down memory lane as I happen to be OK with the selections. BBC4 last Friday.

EUROVISION DANCE CONTEST

I missed last year's debut event held in London and won by Finland. Mainly I was depressed that the punter voting went down to the same regional blocs as the song contest. Glasgow put on a good show though with a glamourous set and some sunny weather for the inserts. My fancies were toward the Swedish and Danish guys but it was a deserved win for the Polish couple.

JOANNA LUMLEY IN THE LAND OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

Sunday, BBC1. This was half good and half boring. The crew were obviously trying to fill an hour though. Unlike some of the Michael Palin escapades there seemed to be an imperative to cross Norway as slowly as possible. Not wise unless you're on a TV budget - Norway has always been notoriously expensive. Joanna kept going on about this childhood book that had first inspired her to see the Northern Lights. That was OK first time but we didn't need it with everyone she met. The interesting bits were with the reindeer herd, the ice hotel, and the bit when she finally experienced the "Northern Lights' first hand. I am truly hoping no CGI was at work there, but it looked fabulous.

Monday, 8 September 2008

John Barrowman & Daniel Boys - I Know Him So Well



Heard this first on Elaine Paige's showtunes R2 show yesterday, without catching who the duet was, and loved the gay twist on the idea. The fact that it turns out to be performed by two of the country's best loved/lusted after gay performers will probably do it no harm. I know I tuned out of "Any Dream Will Do" after Daniel was booted - luckily he landed on his feet and JB has obviously been watching out for him too.

Sadly this track will probably not be out properly until 24 November, as a track on Barrowman's new album, "Music, Music, Music".

The YouTube audio is from a performance at Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival last month. I'm embedding an audio version. There is a video version taken simultaneously, but once seen you'll see why I kept with this one.

I'll leave you to guess which one's Barbara and which one's Elaine ...

PS "Torchwood" fans who don't already know may want to be aware that Captain Jack (plus Gwen and Ianto and Martha) are briefly back in action this Wednesday as part of "Big Bang Day" on BBC Radio 4. Lucy Montgomery from "TittyBangBang" aptly co-stars in the one-off play "Lost Souls" by Joseph Lidster. "Big Bang Day" is not one of JB's filthier ideas but connected to a series of R4 programmes that day to commemorate the switching on of the CERN particle accelerator, which some doomsayers will end the world. We shall see.

Whither the noughties?

What about this decade then? I wanted to draw to your attention that there less than 16 months of it left! And what did YOU call the decade? More pressingly it's high time we got thinking about naming the next one - that's going to be even more tricky ...

Retro Failure

Having missed two weekends of scheduled retro blasts I'm now going to have to play catch up with them too - they'll still be backdated to when they should first have appeared so hopefully the fuck up won't be so noticeable in hindsight. No puns were intended there, but they crept in naturally ;-)

So stand by for 1975, 1987 then (hopefully on schedule this coming weekend) 1966.

My Odd Week

Sorry for my absence from front of stage here at TWFH for all of September so far.

Basically, I had an odd week or so in which I lumbered between being either blind drunk, in sleepless hot sweats, attached to the toilet seat, not eating for days, furiously productive and being in an uncharacteristic state of high anxiety. In fact I think the latter was what they call an anxiety attack and may be connected to all the former states. Also, a looming two weeks of leave from work put the pressure on further. That's surely a sign of the times.

The leave started today. Truly, as I went in to work to finish catching up with the workload yesterday. That was a first, as was leaving home at 5.40am on Friday and finishing there at 7.30pm (not that it was weather to be out in of course). And I'd been in on Thursday until 8.30pm. You may have guessed this was the furiously productive bit, and you'd be right. On top of this I'd used my trusty wifi to do work on the bus and even in the Seven Kings pub. Dutiful or what?

I think I've put it all right as of the weekend, though I had another nasty bout of tummy trouble on Saturday morning around 3.45am. This was a relative lie-in from the previous night when I awoke in a sweat at 1.45am and couldn't get back off to nod - the dreams I was getting were feverish gobbledigook anyway.

So I probably deserve the hols now, but I had to cancel a planned trip to London next weekend because of all the above plus cash considerations to do with fares.

But I'm back at the keys and pleased to report a smashing day of sunshine here in Dunfermline - not that I've been out in it yet. Shall be soon as I have a regular blood INR check with Steven - my stern but yummy pharmacist. Then I shall probably pop to the Seven Kings before any live footy threatens and do some non-work wifi. Either that or nip home for "Come Dine With Me" on C4+1.
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