So it’s Glastonbury weekend – a weekend where I traditionally muse on the fact that I’m starting to get too old to go to such a weekend as a first-timer, and that I really need to get off my backside, and make arrangements to go.
Except this weekend, if I really wanted to go by myself, I could – tickets are still available for a festival that usually sells out within the first day of tickets being made available. Scalpers are probably walking the hills of Pitdown bereft and blaming the credit crunch.
Some commentators blame the lack of sales on poor weather, although most of them are blaming it on the fact that rapper Jay-Z is headlining what used to be a rock music festival. Although since the Pet Shop Boys have also headlined it in the past, I’m not sure that excuse stands up.
An element of the truth may be heard in a work conversation I overheard, where someone expressed a genuine fear that because a rapper was headlining, the crowd would essentially be full of chavs and violent gangsta dudes. Which therefore meant this person wasn’t going, because he/she was afraid of all the violence that would ensue.
and there was me thinking Glastonbury was meant to be a haven of openness, love to your fellow man, and meeting cool new people and all that.
Then again, one of my friends is working it this year, and she’s taken a 12-pack of condoms…
Thinking about my previous post on how terrible an American version of Spaced would be, it occured to me that I have seen a film which features two twenty-something pop and sci-fi culture obsessives living life in the late 1990s, with pop culture references shoved in left, right and centre with a few film homages and girls who dig comic books (pah! fantasy I tell you!).
Granted, it being American, everyone is impossibly handsome – it starred the future Will of Will & Grace, had the gorgeous never-to-be-seen-again Lori Lively, the two people live in Los Angeles and have jobs most people would kill for (scriptwriter and editor). And of course, everyone is impossibly attractive looking. Oh, and it features William Shatner rapping.
The film whereof I speak? Free Enterprise. Have you heard of it? Even seen it? Am I the only one who’d draw a reasonable comparison? Obviously it’s not as good as Spaced – what could be? – but take a look, see what you think…
As you may know, I’m a bit of a fan of Spaced, a British sitcom that could only have been made in the cusp of the Millennium with its two key protagonists utterly consumed by geek culture and pop culture references, so much so that the two main characters never even kissed one another.
Skip to today, and Variety announce vague plans by Fox to make a US version of it. Brought to you by McG – the man who directed Charlie’s Angels and didn’t make Superman Returns because he was too scared to fly on a plane to Australia – and some guy called Adam Barr. So far, the original creators of Spaced haven’t been consulted. But even if they were involved, I can’t see how a US version of it would work.
Half the fun was watching British people essentially re-enacting a wide variety of Hollywood pop culture moments. Having Americans re-enacting Hollywood moments with a twist wouldn’t be funny – it’d just be Scary Movie 15. With extra mugging.
You would have thought that after 30 years, finding people who had never seen Star Wars would be nigh on impossible. Especially people who ostensibly worked in the media.
But no, it’s not impossible. The BBC’s entertainment reporter Kevin Young claims to have never seen Star Wars – or any science-fiction save The X-Files, for that matter. This I find a tad impossible!
Surely if you have even an inkling of an interest in entertainment or pop culture, then you must at least have an inkling of science-fiction and what it is. And surely in thirty years Star Wars cannot have completely passed you by. That would be impossible. I submit, sirrah, that the BBC has lied to us!
But more importantly, the BBC sits him down to watch Star Wars for the very first time (awooo… awooo….). And some of the quotes he comes out with while watching Star Wars must mean that he’s completely being ironic and taking the piss. Such as:
“Luke seems quite taken by this holographic vision in blue and wants to know more about her. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might end up as this film’s golden couple, but there’s still an hour and 38 minutes to go yet.”
“It’s a light-saber. It looks cool. I wonder how it works, though – does its laser burn enemy combatants or does it shoot some kind of fatal beam?”
“Important plot twist here, I predict – Darth killed Luke’s dad.”
There is just no way one can be an entertainment reporter and not have picked up on what a light sabre does, and who Luke’s father is. It’s just impossible, surely?
I’ve been watching a lot of Comic Relief programming this week. Forgive me if this sounds as if I’m sat on my sofa with a blanket wrapped around my lap smoking a pipe and shaking my cane at the teen tearaways across the road – but it all seems a bit too slick these days. And (whisper) not actually that funny.
When the only comedy moment out of the incredibly unfunny and dull Comic Relief single, Comic Relief does the Apprentice and Comic Relief does Fame Academy is musing on what Tara Palmer-Tomkinson was on when she was sweating profusely, one has to realise someone’s taken the comedy out of Comic Relief. Which rather defeats the “unique” spin on what is essentially a telethon. Shame, really.
Still, I’ll be tuning in tonight, making the odd donation, looking at pictures of a man who painted himself red and buying Shaggy Blog Stories, essentially a book collection of 100 funny stories from around the UK blogosphere with proceeds going to Comic Relief. I really should have offered one of my oh-so-hilarious anecdotes but I’ve only just noticed.
Shame the-powers-that-be behind Comic Relief haven’t tried to capture the UK blogosphere in the same way – there’s not even a banner you can splash on your webpage.
Why do I have a particular interest in this? It was central to one of my favourite nights at work some eight years ago, when I was behind the scenes on the web coverage for Comic Relief:
– “blogging” from behind the scenes via live web updates, in the days when blogging and broadband barely crossed the lips of even a savvy web developer (whither blog this year, web chaps?)
– encoding and uploading Doctor Who videos in full Quicktime quality live as soon as they’d been transmitted
– hanging out in the infamous BBC canteen and marvelling at how big Dawn French actually is (the camera took away pounds with her then!)
– helping out on the Comic Relief webchats
– watching the frantic goings-on behind the scenes, and realising they weren’t that frantic
– marvelling at my boss’s then new-fangled hands-free thing for his mobile phone, thinking what a prat he looked in them, and how they’d never ever catch on
– being so tired and irritated (at what, I have no idea now!) at the end I didn’t go to the wrap-up party. One of those decisions I shall regret forever.
I really wish I’d done some screencaps.
Well, well, well, what a rum lot this year’s Celebrity Big Brother contestants have turned out to be. We’ve had seven series of ethnically diverse non-celebrity contestants on Big Brother without nary a shout of “racism”. Or even much sexism or homophobia, come to that matter.
And all it takes are a trio of D-list celebrities ganging up on someone who’s different to them all – and yes, it is racism. They wouldn’t be making jibes about her cooking or the colour of her skin, never mind referring to her as Shilpa Poppadom if she was from Denmark. I just love this quote of justification from Jade Goody:
“She is Indian, thinking of an Indian name and only thing I could think of was Indian food. Wasn’t racial at all.”
But it has all gone just a little too far, what with burning effigies and the British government being forced to comment as one. Probably when they haven’t even seen it!
If this was just one isolated incident of celebrity racism, then you could dismiss it. But hot on the heels on the revelation of an English National Ballet dancer being a member of the British National Party (despite the fact her partner is a Chinese-Cuban with whom she has kids, kids presumably that her fellow BNP members would have beaten up in the playground in the past), you do have to ask yourself what is going on with our celebrities.
Time was they could be depended on to go on any knee-jerk march to support popular causes such as anti-racism and anti-facism. Now it seems the new cause du jour is either racism or at least, being proud of your ignorance:
“I’m not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head but some of the things they mentioned were the things I think about all the time, mainly mass immigration, crime and increased taxes,” – Simone Clarke, Mail on Sunday
What surprises me is the unstated thought that most people thought racism had been somehow largely eradicated. Obviously not.
and this is what Miss R and I have ended up doing. Honest. 😉
I have been caught massively enthusing about the genius that is Spaced – the finest sitcom a pop-culture/nerdy obsessed person could ever possibly hope to have. Complete with strong characters all round. It’s so hip it hurts…
Anyway, skip to the end – and some kind soul has put up the first episode of Spaced online on Google Video. So here it is: watch it!
Then buy Spaced: The Collectors Edition from your friendly Amazon UK dealer.