28/09/2016

The Girl with all the Gifts



Considering just how many zombie stories have been told and the limitations of the subject you wouldn’t think there was anything new that could be done. Though not strictly speaking a zombie film, The Girl with all the Gifts uses the choreography of the genre but in an intelligent new way. In fact the z-word is not even mentioned. The result is a frequently thrilling yet thought provoking British film that is well worth seeing provided you don’t mind some gore and blood of course!

25/09/2016

The Inconvenient Truth about Jeremy Corbyn



Nobody was too surprised to see Jeremy Corbyn re-elected as Labour Party leader except perhaps those who had vehemently opposed him. Their vigour in doing so failed to achieve anything except both reinforce and strengthen Corbyn’s hold on the post which he seems likely to keep until the next election at least. His opponents’ strategy appeared to be to treat both the incumbent and the Momentum movement as some kind of invading enemy. “They” have infiltrated our party, it was declared and made it unelectable. The inconvenient truth that they failed to grasp- or perhaps did not even recognise- is that Corbyn is the most traditional Labour leader in over thirty years. His and Momentum’s ideals are much, much closer to Labour than anything Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband had to offer. If you flip it over it is Blair and co who were the invaders, changing Labour beyond recognition, and now the party has taken back its purpose and re-linked with its origins.

23/09/2016

Top of the Pops 24 Sept 1981



Top of the Pops 1981 currently on BBC4 and being watched by Chris Arnsby (and presumably others)
Noddy Holder: "LOCK UP YER DAUGHTERS!"

Simon Bates: "Just 35 minutes away from Britain's number one. Welcome to Top of the Pops with a good loud start from Slade. Right over here."

Slade: Lock Up Your Daughters [45]. I was going to speculate on how many years it has been since Slade were on Top of the Pops but its actually only been seven months. They were last on in February singing We'll Bring The House Down. Shortly before the start of the Joe Dolce Music Theatre's reign of terror. Noddy Holder is on fine Tom Baker style eye-bulging form and this is a song which deserved to do better than the number 29 it reached. Vision Mixer Carol Abbott and the camera crew (Top of the Pops has started crediting the Senior Cameraman, this week it's Geoff Feld) are on fine form, and capture some nice images; the best being a shot of the drummer through the guitarist's legs (the one that's not Noddy Holder or Dave Hill... I'm going out on a limb and guessing Dave Lea).
Slade: Lock Up Your Daughters. Clearly an instruction that was not followed by many.

16/09/2016

Things you don't see in pubs any more



Pies on plastic shelves

Pub food never used to be associated with good food and generally people did not even entertain the idea of having a meal at the pub. However there was food- of a kind- if you were peckish. Nobody expected a menu because essentially there was one option and that was a pie. These were those pies with very thick pastry which of course makes them look voluminous but doesn’t guarantee the amount of meat inside. The filling itself would be mincemeat and assorted hard to chew bits. People never really dwelt on what they were. These pies could be warmed up in a microwave oven but the real issue was- just how long had they been there? Traditionally they sat on one of three shelves in a plastic unit somewhere on the bar. This wasn’t refrigerated so depending on the temperature you might not even need to have your pie warmed up! You’d go in one week after another and this selection of pies would be sat there and you never knew whether they were the same ones from last week. Or indeed last month. You could opt for a cold pork pie of similar dimensions; you’ll notice the absence of the word `enjoy` there. Nowadays pubs offer properly cooked food of endless variety but perhaps it would be nice if they could have a pie on a shelf display. The pies would of course be plastic – come to think of it, weren’t they always? 

14/09/2016

Breadxit!



The Great British Bake Off will never be the same again. 
On the face of it a programme moving from one channel to another should not make much of a stir in this day and age. After all we are continuously told that people don’t bother with scheduled TV much now and prefer to watch on demand  However the news that The Great British Bake Off will be moving to Channel 4 next year has provoked quite a furore (plus some witty headlines). More than anything It seems to symbolise the declining power of the BBC which is snared in a trap whereby success is discouraged. Which rather seems at odds with the idea that it is a public service broadcaster therefore should offer what a lot of people (ie licence fee payers) actually want to see. People have (rightly) made a fuss about this yet just a few months ago wasn’t there a call for the Corporation to offload its greatest successes and not try to compete with commercial channels? The BBC cannot do both so which is it to be? Or is this just another cut in a death by a thousand cuts?  

09/09/2016

Top of the Pops 17 Sept 1981



Top of the Pops 1981 currently on BBC4. Watched by Chris Arnsby.

Steve Wright: "Good evening it's another Top of the Pops. Yes it is. We've got a great show for you tonight, and we're going to kick off with this lot over here. It's Gidea Park and Seasons of Gold."

Gidea Park: Seasons of Gold [35]. Who knew that Gidea Park (the biggest bunch of blow-dried nitwits you've ever seen, and this is 1981 you can't throw a stone without hitting a bunch of blow-dried idiots) would make me nostalgic for The Dooleys. Come back Jim, John, Frank, Kathy, Anne, Helen, Alan, and Bob. All is forgiven. This time Gidea Park are "performing" a terrible Four Seasons medley. Yet another one. In a year that has seen  medleys clog the charts. Why were people buying them? Did they just enjoy the tremendous sense of value they offered? Why buy ten records when you could buy one that Frankensteinised ten together? I've decided that one of my reasons for hating Gidea Park is because they feel the need to introduce each record. Beach Boys Gold started, "we'll remember always the golden Beach Boys sound." Now Seasons of Gold starts, "the memories there to unfold, so many reasons to recapture that musical gold, remember the Four Seasons." Did Gidea Park really think their audience was so stupid they needed to be reminded which group's songs they were about to hear, and of the concept of medleys?  Although to be fair, these people would have just brought a Gidea Park record so they are idiots.

02/09/2016

What on earth is the Internet of Things?



And will it be a good thing?
There’s always another IT development lurking around the corner and there’s been talk recently of “the Internet of Things” being the next step in our increasingly high tech world. It’s even been called `The Fourth Industrial Revolution`. So what on earth is it? Well it’s described as “a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.” Which means that you would potentially be able to have your kettle start boiling water while you’re still walking up the road to your home or you could press a few buttons to start your washing machine even if you were hundreds of miles away. Of course you would still have to have put the water in the kettle or the washing in the machine for this to work! IOT is much more than just that though..

29/08/2016

Top of the Pops 3 Sept 1981



Top of the Pops 1981 currently on BBC4. Watched by Chris Arnsby.

Peter Powell: "Hi folks! Welcome to the party! There is a Caribbean atmosphere and nine live acts for you to enjoy.! This is Top of the Pops and everybody salsa with Modern Romance!"
Modern Romance: Everybody Salsa [16]. The studio is insane this week. It's as if Michael Hurll looked at the Japanese/Latin themed Conga line that ended last week's show and challenged himself to go further. Legs & Co are dressed as playing cards. Two people are running around dressed as jesters -or could they be Jokers for the card set? Streamers are being waved. And there is a baffling selection of hats; fez; shiny party hats; crowns; and some bloke at the back wearing a white chef's hat.
John Foxx: Europe (After The Rain) [40]. Europe After The Rain features a piano so Designer John Coles has planned the stage with a right classy look; big white grand piano, some greenery, and classical busts. Shepherds Bush as Athens reborn. Alas, the grand piano is too massive to fit on the stage and has to be left at the awkwardly on the floor at the front where the audience keep leaning on it like philistines. Also, where's John Foxx's drummer gone? (John- Maybe he’s inside the piano?)Unless that statue is playing them?
"Help! I'm in the piano! Anybody?!"