Sunday 30 November 2008

Of Time Lords, Transvestites and Tinseltown...

We watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time in ages last night. Sophie had been on about seeing it for a while, so we said she could, what with her being 13 and all growed up like. She only watched half of it and I don't think she really got it. What gets me is how cheap the whole thing looks, although I suppose that does add to the trashy aesthetic. Still worth watching for the songs, all the genre references, a very hot young Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry's career-defining performance. There is talk of a remake to add to the list of other pointless rehashes lately. What are the odds on Johnny Depp as Frank N. Furter? Brad Pitt as Rocky? The horror!
I bought a good movie book yesterday ( £2 secondhand ) : Hollywood - 50 Great Years (ISBN 0 86283 924 6). Five critics tackle a decade each, 1930s to 1970s. Tons of great photos and some useful reviews of old films. The section on the '30s is especially good, with a chapter on the great Universal monster movies, emphasis on James Whale and Tod Browning, as well as the films of Val Lewton, Michael Curtiz, Karl Freund et al. A pretty good section on film noir too. Bargain!
We went to Slimbridge WWT for a walk this afternoon: pretty bloody cold but better than lounging around at home. They had a glorified jumble sale in the reception area, where the kids bought a few cheap old videos: Clueless and Groundhog Day for Sophie, Doctor Who: The Androids Of Tara for James. 25p each! James and I watched the Whovid when we got back. Good fun, a Prisoner Of Zenda pastiche with plenty of witty lines and swordplay, a glacial Mary Tamm and an energetic Tom Baker. Oh, and the Taran Wood Beast, probably the worst Who monster ever. Unless, of course, you know differently. Answers on a postcard...
Endblog 11.
Soundtrack: Magic, Bruce Springsteen
Greatest Hits, The Four Tops
"Do you mind not standing on my chest? My hat's on fire."

You mean I can put titles on these things?

It's Sunday morning and I haven't posted since last Monday. I'm definitely laggin' with me bloggin'. We don't want a blogbacklog. Not that I've really got much to say. How about some (cough!) poetry?

When the tea is brought at five o'clock

And all the neat curtains are drawn with care

The little black cat with bright green eyes

Is suddenly purring there

( Milk For The Cat by Harold Monro )

For my main moggie, Hero.

That wasn't too painful was it? Next, Shakespearean sonnets...
Endblog 10.

Soundtrack: New Day Rising, Husker Du. ( Can't do the umlauts. And that's something I've never said before. )

Monday 24 November 2008

Firstly a warm ( ha ha ) welcome to The Igloo Keeper, follower number 1. You're mine, all mine! Ahahahahahah!! Bow down to me! Drink the Kool-aid, drink I say! .........oh, not that kind of follower? My mistake. Move along, nothing to see here...
So, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of Doctor Who. Being the saddo that I am I had to celebrate by watching my all-time favourite story, City Of Death. What's it got? It's got the lot. Paris, Tom at his wittiest/maddest, Lalla dressed as a schoolgirl, Douglas Adams' and Graham Williams' fantastic script, Paris, Julian Glover and Catherine Schell, Ian Scoones' Jagaroth spaceship and did I mention Paris? And K9 was left in his kennel. Perfection.
I also watched the Beeb's new version of Survivors, written by one of the Primeval team and starring a few Whoniverse actors, notably Freema and Shaun Dingwall, who both snuffed it in the first episode! It was pretty good actually, setting up the epidemic and the establishment's failure to contain it in a slow-burning, believable way. Characters seem stereotyped so far, but there's plenty of scope yet. I have fond memories of the original series, which I remember as being grittier than the "cosy catastrophe" of legend, and which had one of the all-time great title-sequences. Hopefully this series can measure up.
Back in the real world, we dragged the kids up Robinswood Hill (Gloucester) yesterday afternoon, 'cos for once the weather wasn't too bad. We climbed up to the old quarry to take in the views of the Severn Vale and of the local goats, watching us watching them. We had a good laugh, some good exercise and, as usual, ended up talking about ghosts and horror films the kids aren't old enough to watch. Just got back to the car and it bucketed down with rain; for once we timed it just right. That'll have to do for now...
Endblog 9.
Soundtrack: The 3 E.P.s, The Beta Band.
"Never mind about the time-slip, we're on holiday."

Sunday 23 November 2008

Just been watching old Bruce videos on Youtube: Cadillac Ranch, Fire, Blood Brothers, This Hard Land, Brothers Under The Bridges, not the most obvious songs but all damn good. The new album, Working On A Dream, will be out in January. Brooooce and the E Street boys recorded it during breaks in their 3 million-date ( approx.) 2007/8 tour. How the hell do they do it? Not bad going for (ahem!) mature artists. Steve Van Zandt was 58 yesterday, 22/11, happy birthday! I'll have to post a lot more about Springsteen and what his records/gigs/band mean to me, but not now: it's 2 o'clock in the morning and I should be in bed!
Endblog 8.
Soundtrack: Springsteen of course.
Oh, and Psychocandy by The Jesus And Mary Chain. Even after 23(!) years still astonishing.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

I'm not interested in knitting, crosstitch, or yarn in general. I'm not living my life for God or Christ ( but if they exist I don't want to replace them with Satan or Charles Manson ). I'm not interested in Libertarian politics, although I have read quite a few Steve Ditko comics. I don't follow baseball, football, American football or anything-ball. I've never read any books by Laurel K. Hamilton ( what does the "K" stand for? Ketchup? Ketamine?) or Garrison Keillor. What is it with all these "K"s anyway? I've never surfed but I have fallen off a skateboard a few times.

So what am I doing on here?
Endblog 7.

Soundtrack: Duchess, The Stranglers. Babylon's Burning, The Ruts.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Sarah and I finally went to see Quantum Of Solace today ( aka That New Bond Film With The Stupid Title) and it was great. Perhaps not quite as exciting as Casino Royale, it was still pacy, action-packed, globe-trotting and intelligent. A lot of people criticise the new-style Bonds for lacking the humour and glamour of previous years, but I'm not too bothered. Although Bond's brutal trail of revenge and mayhem can seem pretty grim there is some humour, but it's bone-dry and subtle, something you wouldn't have seen in the days of quip-a-minute Roger Moore. Olga Kurylenko provides enough glamour for me, and Bond does look cool as ever when he gets the old tuxedo out, but Gemma Arterton is under-used. Apart from the action, locations, stunts etc. the best thing in the film is Bond himself, just as it should be. Daniel Craig is, for me, the best JB since Connery, no contest. Moore was always too lightweight and stayed in the role too long, Dalton was one of the best actors in the series but not really Bond-esque, Brosnan was better than I'd expected and certainly had the suavity angle covered, and Lazenby... well, he tried. Craig's Bond, however, is the closest to Ian Fleming's character yet: he's brutal, he gets scared, hurt, disillusioned, drinks hard, plays hard. Daniel Craig gives the role a level of realism and commitment; you believe every line of dialogue and feel every punch. And who cares if he's a blond Bond?

Endblog 6.

Soundtrack: American Idiot, Green Day. ( I know, not really Bond is it?)

"I don't give a s***t about the CIA." Judi Dench as M.

Friday 14 November 2008

Children In Need 2008. Inbetween the dancing newsreaders, atrocious soap "actors" and Terry "I'll never retire" Wogan, we were treated to two minutes of the Doctor Who Christmas special for this year. Picture-postcard Victorian England, street urchins and carol singers, the Doctor, the "Next" Doctor, Rosita, a cybershade, allons-y that's yer lot. It all looks interesting alright: who is this 2nd Doctor? A fake, a future self? Bit of a pantomime vibe going on, but that's Christmas viewing for you. Hopefully the Cybermen will bring the chills to go with the fake snow.
Endblog 5.
Soundtrack: The Real Roxanne, Public Enemy, Run DMC. Old skool!
"Hoo-way, the wabbit kicked the bucket!"

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Today's recipe: a Starfleet cupcake.
Loads of new Star Trek images and spoilers on the net today, following JJ Abrams' presentation in Leicester Square. ( I presume this was in a cinema, not chalk drawings on the pavement. ) I was never a real fan of ST, only really the Original Series, although Deep Space Nine had its moments. The forthcoming movie does look interesting but has incensed some hardcore fans who are furiously blogging about continuity blasphemies. Bless 'em. It looks like Abrams and co. are going the Doctor Who reboot route: keep the essentials of the legend, chuck out unnecessary baggage, aim for a wider audience. I haven't seen a ST movie at t' cinema since The One With The Whales in 1980-something, but I might make an exception for this one. Which must be the desired effect of all the hype.
Endblog 4.
Soundtrack: Metal Firecracker, Lucinda Williams.
I Was In The House When The House Burned Down, Warren Zevon.
Live long and prosper.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Today is Remembrance Sunday and, in fact, it's the 90th anniversary of the 1918 armistice. Amazingly, there are still 3 living British veterans of WWI, all well over 100 years of age, Harry Patch, William Stone and Henry Allingham, each representing one of the 3 armed services. Seeing these old servicemen today it makes you wonder if they could ever have imagined all those years ago that they would live on into the 21st century, having lived through the supposed War To End All Wars, and having witnessed British lives being lost in WWII, Korea, the Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. The world has moved on and changed in thousands of ways, but bloodshed and war still remain. Regardless of our political views or whether we think wars are fought for the right reasons or not, I believe we should support and remember our living and fallen servicemen and women, especially in the cases of the two World Wars. We owe them a debt that can never be repaid.

Endblog 3.

Soundtrack: silence.

"War always finishes with both sides sitting down and talking; why the devil don't they do that beforehand?" Harry Patch, aged 110, ex- 7th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.
Just a normal Saturday. Took James swimming this morning, first lesson after half-term. Sarah and I were having a good moan about his teacher until the lady sitting next to us said the teacher is her best friend, isn't miserable, does like kids against all the evidence. Oops. We went into town (Gloucester), were enticed into Starbucks by a dark cherry mocha, met one of James's real teachers who was lovely and gave him a hug or two. While the womenfolk went clothes shopping James and I hit Waterstones and WH Smith, where I read loads of Grant Morrison's The Filth, trippy maaaan. Rest of the day was even less eventful. It chucked it down with rain in the evening but some local diehard lunatics were still out, letting off the last of their fireworks. We're British, it doesn't matter if we all get hypothermia and frostbite, we will have fun, godammit!

Endblog 2. ( A surprisingly high use of italics this time. )

Soundtrack: Purple Rain, Prince & The Revolution
Sam's Town, The Killers

'There was, of course, a catch. "Catch-22?" inquired Yossarian.'

Friday 7 November 2008

OK, first ever blog. Breathe deeply, focus etc. So, why The Glass Walking-Stick? ( Why the long face? ) I got the title from a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton, that sadly-neglected ex-titan of English literature. A crusty old bugger who could, and did, write wittily and deeply on any subject under the sun, G.K. is responsible for one of my favourite novels, The Man Who Was Thursday. He rocks! Well, he did: he died in 1936.

In one of these essays, Chesterton bashes the rich for their snobbish attitudes and defends the poor: "The cultivated people go in for what is beautiful; but the un-cultivated for what is interesting.....One man had a walking-stick made of glass and filled with sweets. If there were children in the house, the preservation of that glass stick has something of the insane sublimity of a religion." It wouldn't last long in our house anyway.

Glass walking-stick equals something interesting but bonkers? pointless? fun? It could be a metaphor for blogging or I could be talking out of my a***e. ( That's a** if you're American. )

Anyway, the plan is to witter on about any old random rubbish, whenever I can get my act together. As you can see above. Endblog 1.

Soundtrack: Born In The USA, Bruce Springsteen. Go Obama!


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