Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’s first series is something I reckon Douglas Adams would approve of. Though not a direct adaptation of the books the show successfully employs the sort of high vaulting concepts Adams relished. Souls being transferred between animals and humans, a time travelling device being built by a Victorian inventor, a mystery inhabited by a mixture of eccentric characters. Plus, even though the show was shot in the US, Dirk Gently is played by an English actor which of course he should be. There are times- especially later on- when Samuel Barnett’s fast talking as he races around a control room could be an alternative Doctor Who but the TV series was always an influence on Adams and appears to be on Max Landis’s script too.
My latest YA novel Blue Sky Black is now available in either print or kindle ebook formats from Amazon. For a reasonable price! The book is the fourth in the Heart of the World series telling the story of Tom Allenby, a boy who can manipulate the elements and lives in a village above where the planet’s elemental energy is stored. He is the caretaker- tasked with saving the Earth from those who would try to use the energy for dark purposes. This novel features strange magnetic disturbances, birds that can fire light, a dangerous environmental group and an antagonist with an incredible plan for the world.
People could never influence or ostracise someone as much as they can nowadays and it is the Internet’s unexpected by- product. Online people become super famous but also lose that success instantly because there is no hiding place from viral trends that condemn them. Alex Day was one of the first big UK vloggers whose rise and fall has been told on this blog two and a half years ago. Now he’s penned a book about his experiences- good and bad- on YouTube and beyond. Some people don’t want him to tell his story but it is not just a story about Alex Day. It’s an insider’s view of the explosion of online life and how it has evolved. It’s also the story of a public figure being vilified over behaviour that, while bad, never saw him charged or convicted of anything yet in the eyes of thousands he is someone who did things that he didn’t do or was never even accused of. In the days when even the US President boils complicated political issues to a Tweet it is a timely if harrowing account of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Internet `deciding` something.
Anyone who liked the previous Mission Impossible movies will find tons to enjoy in this latest – and possibly best yet- entry in cinema’s most gymnastic franchise. There may be no superheroes in these films but plenty of superheroic feats. As ever Tom Cruise has several signature stunts where you can tell it’s him leaping, dangling, balancing, falling or otherwise risking life and limb in the case of art. Bone cracking fight scenes are edited with whip sharp speed and there are the expected plot twists and of course masks!
|"You're not going up there are you? "He is" "Yes I am" "Wonder when the bus back is?"|
Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Richard Skinner: "Welcome to another exciting Top of the Pops. What a show we've got for you tonight." Tommy Vance: "We certainly have. Now in America David Grant's Stop and Go is zooming up the charts. Over here he's just outside the top thirty with this record Watching You Watching Me, and watch him dance!"
 David Grant: Watching You Watching Me. I feel I'm missing some important historical context with regard to David Grant's dancing ability. He's good but Top of the Pops seems to believe he's Michael Jackson and Fred Astaire rolled into one. Look at the way he's choreographed to beckon the camera to follow him while he dances towards the audience and jumps on a podium. Still fair play to David Grant, that podium is about 2-3 feet high and he makes it with a single leap. I just tried jumping onto a sideboard and hurt my hip. Conclusion: David Grant is a better dancer than me. Unusually for Top of the Pops there's a poorly timed cut from veteran of Top of the Pops Vision Mixer Heather Gilder. David Grant jumps into the air and does the splits, and the camera cuts away to assorted Zoo dancers, then the audience cheers and gives a round of applause. Were the cheers for the jump, or did David Grant do something even more impressive? We'll never know.
When I was a child I have to admit the Peter Rabbit books were not really to my taste despite their classic status. The idea of reimagining them for a modern sensibility however has truly brought them alive in more ways than one. This sassy, funny, fast movie is perfect for kids of all ages though I’m not sure it will help sell the books to a new generation. It’s now available to watch at home on your chosen format but watch it you should if you have any sense of fun or silliness!
Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Janice Long: "Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops. It's a good one tonight because we've got people like Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Lotus Eaters, and Bananarama." Mike Read: "And KC, of KC and the Sunshine Band having his twelfth British hit."
 KC & The Sunshine Band: Give It Up. Try not to think about Mike Read's vile snot-green short-shorts and I'll try not to keep harping on about them. Hopefully any camera shots of Mike Read will be above the plimsoll line and I can pretend he's wearing trousers. I'd also like to dispute Mike Read's use of statistics. Twelfth British hit? I've got nothing against KC & The Sunshine Band, but that's a charitable description of their chart history. Hot foot from Wikipedia I can tell you that Give It Up is KC & The Sunshine band's thirteenth UK single and if we are playing by Top of the Pops rules (top thirty) then only six of their singles count as hits. I've kind of lost the thread of what I was going on about there, but the important thing is I've proved Mike Read wrong on a 35 year old minor point. Meanwhile, studio lighting grid fans will be delighted by several low-angled shots which show the studio clock and illuminated TRANSMISSION sign. Sadly, the clock is slightly too out of focus to see the time. It's almost as if the people making Top of the Pops don't care about this sort of stuff.
|KC- That jacket mate- give it up!|
What did you do on 15 March this year? Did you perhaps attempt to communicate telepathically with aliens inviting them to come to our planet? If you did then you’d be celebrating World Contact Day an annual event in which people are invited to try and persuade `occupants of Interplanetary craft` or indeed those gas based lifeforms that don’t need spaceships at all to come to Earth. “We are your friends” goes the slightly unconvincing mantra. Established in 1953 by an organisation called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB) it is based on the theory that if there is alien life out there in the Universe and if telepathy is real (admittedly a couple of especially giant leaps) then if a lot of people focus on a single message it will send a powerful signal through the ether.
|Albert Bender, founder of World Contact Day. World Giant Cigar Day however did not catch on.|