20/12/2020

His Dark Materials Season 2 Episode 7 review

A stronger finale can’t disguise the feeling that all of this second season has been something of a transit with characters wandering or being chased all over the place only for the crucial scenes to all turn up at once in part seven. There’s also a whiff of convenience in the storytelling with characters being dispatched exactly when they would seem to have no further part in the story. Nothing especially wrong in that, writers do it all the time, but it happens twice here in the space of a few minutes and try as it might the script can’t quite inspire the emotions we should feel. Compared with traumatic events of the last episode of the first season this feels slightly flat even if there are moments of brilliance marbled through. Considering the slow pace of some of the episodes that came before the production struggles to do justice to key events which are raced through with undue haste. A shame because there are scenes when you can almost see the actors willing there to be more to say but there’s not.


 

17/12/2020

Wonder Woman 1984 review

At the end of this year it is more important than ever to be reminded of the power of the big screen. The largest tv in the world cannot compete with the average cinema screen for depth of picture, crispness of sound or the ability to transport you somewhere else and make you forget for a couple of hours what a crazy place the world is right now. If you can go to a cinema and see this film (or any film) to have that reminder do so. Eventually, hopefully, cinemas will be back, fully open and ready and it would be a shame if when that happened people no longer wanted to go. Wonder Woman 1984 is a perfect reminder of the power of cinema as it includes at least two sequences that the big screen is there for. You may carp and groan about CGI or superhero clich├ęs or simply morality- and yes its all here- but there is something great about reconnecting with all that. Perhaps when cinemas were places we took for granted we became too cynical about the mechanics of production or too demanding for something new. Right now this movie tells a story that is straightforward, sometimes fun and always on the move. I’m glad that unlike so many other films lately it has been released to watch on the big screen.

 


16/12/2020

The QR Code

The QR code has become one of the iconic images of 2020. The adoption of this system for the NHS Track and Trace service revived a format that looked as if it was on the way out. Now those strangely filled squares have become commonplace adornments to almost all public places as symbolic a representation of the pandemic as face masks or those social distancing signs. How many people though know what QR stands for? And where did this system originate? Can a QR code even be considered Art? 

13/12/2020

His Dark Materials Season 2 Episode 6 review

A slow episode that ends in a stormy manner `Malice` sees the story visibly marking time. While there isn’t a bad episode to be seen in this series this is a slightly less interesting one. That’s odd considering many of the principal characters are now closer together than ever yet frustratingly they just keep missing each other! So while Mrs Coulter and Boreal wander around Citagazze, Scoresby and Parry’s balloon flies overhead. Lyra, Will and Serafina are in the nearby jungle wandering around going somewhere while Will’s wound worsens. Mary Malone is also wandering around like a tourist. Her beatific reaction to the place is a nice contrast to Mrs Coulter’s aggressive response in one of the more gripping scenes as she faces down the fearsome Spectres with sheer force of will. Does she meet Mary? Course not!


 

11/12/2020

Ten songs with odd lyrics

Song lyrics. We sing along with them, we puzzle about them, we laugh at them. Here’s a selection of ten song lyrics that are intriguing, odd or just plain weird…

Rocket Man- Elton John
“All the science I don’t understand, it’s just my job five days a week”. So despite not understanding the `science`, our Elt has somehow bagged a job as a Rocket Man. He is clearly one of these people who are so good at interviews they can blag their way into employment. I wonder what he actually said when the interview panel asked him about “all the science”? It must have been a genius answer.

 

Just don't ask him about all the science.

09/12/2020

Space 1999- New Adam, New Eve

In a well presented and paced episode a cut above what the second season has so far delivered the Alphans are visited by a being who claims to be their creator. Sporting a long blue robe and a slightly dodgy moustache, this being selects four people to settle on a nearby planet he has dubbed New Earth. It may seem idyllic when they first arrive but it soon becomes clear that their colonisation comes with caveats. He cuts off communication with the Moon, creates a forcefield to contain them in an area and creates pair bondings that couple Helena with Tony and Maya with Koenig! If the natural pairings touch each gets a nasty static shock although this doesn’t happen when Tony handles Maya as an eagle. So far so Love Island yet thankfully the urge to play this for laughs is subjugated as the foursome start to discover chinks in the hitherto all powerful one’s armour not least of which the fact that they are not alone on this planet.

Maya is the only one who notices the Costa.
 

06/12/2020

His Dark Materials Season 2 Episode 5 review

The subtle knife is great idea because though it can suggest Lyra and Will can easily recover the alethiometer things don’t turn out quite as they expect. There’s the matter of Mrs Coulter being at Boreal’s mansion. This is another top notch Ruth Wilson dominated episode as Mrs C becomes uncomfortably accustomed to life in our Oxford discovering unpleasant truths and clothes as well! Her expression when looking at a pair of jeans or a coffee for the first time is mild disgust though her reaction to her host’s museum / lair is to not be as impressed as he expects. 


 

04/12/2020

Top of the Pops 21 Nov 1985

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Janice Long: “Nick Cotton and the mob are after you. Hello, welcome to Top of the Pops.” Paul Jordan: “Yes, we've got a great show. Before that we've got Doug E. Fresh, we've also have Dee C. Lee, we have Wham! and also a record that I've had on my brain all day today. Janice Long: “In fact this lot have been going up the chart faster than they've been coming down the shaft, because they've just been released from the lift. It's Madness and Uncle Sam.” (John- So what’s the Nick Cotton reference for then? Is he on later?)
[24] Madness: Uncle Sam. Qui est paul jordan? He's one of the new faces of 1985, like Dixie Peach, and he won't last long as a Top of the Pops host, like Dixie Peach again. Paul Jordan disappears from hosting duties in April 1986, and from Radio 1 by May which is less than a year since he was first introduced on The Saturday Picture Show, 06/07/1985 as a “brand new Radio 1 DJ,” between TV funnyman Les Dennis and Battle of the Planets. Dixie Peach's stint on Top of the Pops runs slightly longer, June 1985 to May 1986, and he gets bonus points for staying with Radio 1 until 1987. Plus, he gets additional Light Entertainment bonus points for an October 1986 appearance on Blankety Blank with Les Dawson and guests Bella Emberg, R*lf H*rr*s, Lesley Judd, Karen Kay, and TV funnyman Lennie Bennett.
Madness have apparently been stuck in the lift at Television Centre. It doesn't affect them and they turn in a likeable performance. Did they really get stuck in a lift? Who knows? Attempting an internet search using variations on the words Madness and BBC just brings up assorted BBC-political-correctness-gone-mad stories from the tabloids.


 

02/12/2020

Ad Break#22 Milk, Moon and the pocket tap!

Arla Cravendale - “It’s not milk”

First shown last year this amusing ad is back on screens albeit accompanied by some controversy over its slogan. “It’s not milk” declare a variety of different characters yet in fact the product is actually milk. So just what is going on?  The ad itself is great. We see a Steve Jobs like character addressing a conference hall declaring “It’s not milk!” and giving a high kick as the audience cheers. A burglar is surrounded and told to put down the milk but  calls out “It's not milk!”. There’s a snippet of a pop video with a synthesized voice singing `Its not milk” and the `pop star` (called Lil Milky) dressed as a milkman! A butler brings a glass to the lady of the manor but corrects her when she calls it milk. “No madam, it’s not milk,” he advises.  There’s even a cat and some tennis players.