Friday, June 27, 2008

Every little thing she does...

One of my regular Friday morning reads is the "Readers Recommend" music blog at the Guardian. A simple idea: a theme is proposed each week and people write in their suggestions for appropriate songs. Usually I find my utter musical ignorance exposed at every turn.

This week's topic is magic, which brings us stuff like Black Magic Woman, Magic Man, That Old Black Magic, Abracadabra, anything by Wizzard and of course, Paul Daniels' classic, Me and Debbie McGee ("Busted flat in Baton Rouge, I'd cut my girl in two...").

However, the undoubted highlight is this version of When You Wish Upon a Star. I wouldn't normally post clips from the My Little Pony Movie, until you realise the singer is none other than Gene Simmons, from Kiss.

If you look up mind-boggling in the dictionary, you'll find this video.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seven words I muttered this morning...

...when I read George Carlin had died.

"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker" and "tits".

Ever the cunning linguist, Carlin was one of the great angry comedians. His most famous routine is, of course, his "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV". Here's a nice long follow-up to that where he explores the ramifications of his list.

BTW, if this is NSFW, you should probably get a different job:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"...asskickers, shitkickers and... methodists!"

Sad news from America. Comedy actor Harvey Korman has died, aged 81. Still, that does give me a good reason to post some clips from his finest film performance, as Hedy Hedley Lamarr in Mel Brooks' classic, Blazing Saddles.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brazilian Tribe Latest

You have no doubt by now seen the pictures of the "lost tribe" in the Amazon, apparently uncontacted by humans.

The natural reaction of many of us has been to wonder how these people would respond to this external contact, and indeed if they would cope with the the technologies available to developed society. Despite the apparent hostility towards the camera in the photograph above, which was taken several months ago, breakthroughs have been made by the research group in charge of the region and after some negotiation, friendly relations have been established.

I can now exclusively reveal the latest video from the scientists at the heart of the investigations. Here, three of the tribespeople have agreed to closer observation by American experts in what to them is clearly an unfamiliar environment. You may observe their natural curiosity as well as their extraordinary capacity for mimicry and language acquisition:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How do you eat yours?

Too much time on someone's hands here, methinks...

H/T: Boing Boing

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

G-g-g-g-goodness me!

Well, well, well, wonders never cease. Not only has an Australian man shown all those old XXXX adverts to be based in sunny reality, rather than hoary folklore, but I've discovered a fascinating Portuguese television show (if you've ever watched the box here, you'll know how rare such programmes are).

Tuning in atypically to channel three this evening, I came across something that looked vaguely familiar.

Watching the titles a little longer, I realised that not only was it familiar, but it was in fact a Portuguese version of an old English favourite. You can picture the scene already, I'm sure: A grocer's shop stacked high with tins and pickle jars, the tight-fisted grocer himself sporting a fine brown jacket, a youngish tank-topped sidekick, the buxom target of the grocer's affection leaning ever-so-suggestively out of her window opposite.

Yes, that's right folks, there is a Portuguese "Open All Hours". Almost every detail is the same as the Ronnie Barker/David Jason original, from the layout of the shop, with the flat behind, to the savage cash register that bites Arkwright's hand at every opportunity. Of course, there is the unrequited pursuit of Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, known here as Julieta. In fact the only thing that's missing is the stutter, w-w-w-w-which I think is a bit of a shame.

So, for your delectation, I am only too happy to present: "A Loja do Camilo" (Camilo's Shop)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Mrs Trellis...

...of North Wales has written to me asking that I post this clip:

Mrs T also asks about my friend Samantha, and I'm pleased to update her. Samantha tells me she has to nip out now as she's been invited to an exclusive club to meet a group of aristocrats. She's very excited to see where all the big knobs hang out. She says at such a posh function she and the other girls will probably end up trying to speak with plums in their mouths.

RIP Humph.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Songs of the day

1. In Portugal, "Grândola Vila Morena"

Wikipedia says:

"Grândola Vila Morena" is a Portuguese song by Zeca Afonso, that tells of the fraternity among the people of Grândola, a town in the Alentejo. Salazar's Estado Novo regime considered the song to be associated with Communism, and as a result it was banned from being played or broadcast. On April 25, 1974, at 12:15AM the song was broadcast on Portuguese radio as a signal to start the revolution that overthrew the regime; it thus became commonly associated with the Carnation Revolution and the beginning of democratic rule in Portugal.

Here's a vid:

2. For ANZAC Day, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda"

Here's wiki again:
In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, under a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stale-mate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

The song was written by Eric Bogle in 1972 to remember the suffering of those involved, and to comment on the futility of war, "..we were led like lambs to the slaughter..". I believe my own great-grandfather was at Gallipoli, so it has a special resonance for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Decline of the X-men Quiz

Wrexham have been relegated from the football league.

I have no special reason to talk about this, but for the fact that it means yet another team with an X in its name has fallen out of the top 4 ranks of English professional football.

Years ago (let's say about 15 years ago) a good sporting quiz question was "What are the five English league clubs with an X in their name?" Now, only one is guaranteed to be playing in the league next season.

So my question is this, can you name that one team with an X in its name? And can you name the other 3 teams with an X that were in the league for that quiz 15 years ago?

Hardened trivia nuts will be interested to note that the number of teams in the English and Scottish leagues with an X in their name (one) will now be the same as the number of teams with a J in their name. For a bonus point: What's the team with a J?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bad songs (say so much)

Here's one for you.

I have discovered the world's worst song. Or more specifically, the world's least wanted piece of music.

Composed in the 1990s by Komar and Melamid, a couple of Russian conceptual artists who polled listeners about their likes and dislikes in musical style, this track embodies all that people loathe in pop songs:

The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance--someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example--fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.

I suspect my friend MC would be among those 200.

The full story is here, and the song itself (a truly nasty confection) can be accessed here. Although I found parts of it quite catchy, the intrusive bagpipes soon became unbearable and there's really only so much rapping soprano anyone can take.

That said, it's better than this:

Via Boing Boing

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adverts home and away

An old favourite, which may be the best-known "human sculpture" ad of the past 20 years:

Oft-imitated, never bettered?

Well, contrast it with a new one doing the rounds in Spain/Portugal. Not sure what to say really. Would you rather be one of the girls in red or white?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

One Deadly Sin

I've done another one of those online quiz things, exploring which way Kevin Spacey is likely to kill me. No-one who knows me will be surprised at the result:

Wrath:Very Low
Sloth:Very High

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

h/t: James

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking - Mad

I wonder if our politicians have ever been to the Royal Albert Hall of a summer evening. You'd think people in certain positions should have:

The culture minister, Margaret Hodge, will today criticise the Prom concerts as one of many British cultural events that fail to engender new common values or attract more than a narrow unrepresentative audience.

I doubt she'd know culture if it bit her on the bottom. And what on earth are "new common values"? She hasn't made the speech yet, but here is the money quote:

"The audiences for many of our greatest cultural events - I'm thinking in particular of the Proms - is (sic) still a long way from demonstrating that people from different backgrounds feel at ease in being part of this.

"I know this is not about making every audience completely representative, but if we claim great things for our sectors in terms of their power to bring people together, then we have a right to expect they will do that wherever they can."

Aside from the hideous jargon of "sectors", you have to wonder what she's on.

I'll accept that the Proms are probably still dominated by a white middle-class audience, and the Last Night is a jingoistic horror show with Union Jack-toting public school arses at their worst, but over the past decade or so there has been a real effort by the organisers of the concerts to make them more diverse and inclusive. Most observers would actually say the Proms are trying to bring people together wherever they can.

Although traditional classical music still dominates the Proms' programme each summer - quite rightly I might add, it is the world's premier classical music festival - there are also several late night proms which feature all types of world music. These regularly attract a more representative (read: less white) audience, as well as introducing the white middle-classes to a broader range of music. In addition to this, there are concerts for young people, such as the Blue Peter Prom, which help spread interest in classical music to a new generation of fans.

Furthermore, the Proms are very accessible in terms of price. Whereas many will associate classical concerts with the ballet or opera and tickets of £40-50 and up, you can get into the Proms and enjoy the concert for about a fiver, much less than some traditionally proletarian pastimes such as watching football. Finally, the Proms are now shared around the country, through the Proms in the Park initiative. There are simultaneous outdoor concerts for the Last Night in places as far-flung from London as Glasgow, Belfast and Swansea.

So, if Margaret Hodge had half a brain, she would see the Proms are not just accessible to an elitist, white, middle-class, elderly, south-east-based audience. If people from any background want to see they Proms, they can, without prejudice. Her ignorance really winds me up, as it aims at a (wrong) target merely to play to stereotypes some of those on the left have about classical music. From the so-called culture minister, that's pretty unforgivable.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Pilgrim's Non-Progress

Happy Leap Day!

I know it's wrong to have an Eric Cartman-esque reaction to hippies, but even I couldn't help finding this story hilarious:

A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after getting as far as Calais, France.

Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

It doesn't say if Mr Boyle is an educated man, but even I would have been able to tell him his project was unlikely to succeed. I like the way it says "thought he was free-loading". What else would you call it?

Mr Boyle, a former organic food company boss, belongs to the Freeconomy movement which wants to get rid of money altogether.

In his online diary at the start of his journey to Porbander, Gandhi's birthplace, he said he was given two free dinners on his first evening away in Glastonbury.

Later, he was joined in Dover by two companions, and the three managed to get to Calais.

But in one of his last entries, he wrote: "...not only did no one not speak the language, they had also seen us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about.

"That really scared us and given that we now were pretty much out of food, hadn't slept in days and were really cold, we had to reassess the whole situation."

Mr Boyle said he could not explain in words the disappointment he felt at abandoning the journey and he apologised to his supporters.

I certainly can't explain in words the size of the grin I had on my face when reading this. You can imagine the conversation with his mates:

-What are you doing next week, Mark?
-I'm off to India.
-Wow, great, but how can you afford it?
-I'm walking.
-Er, isn't it rather a long way. And how will you carry your luggage?
-Oh, I'm sure people will help me out as I go.
-Ok, well, good luck with that, then.

However, he is undeterred by this setback:
He now plans to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year.

"Whilst walking in the UK, I intend to learn French and to hit the continent again as soon as we feel we are ready."

I'm not sure of his intended route, but let's hope he has time to pick up some Italian, Serbo-Croat, Greek, Turkish, Persian, Farsi and Punjabi before he sets off.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

E17? SL6 actually...

News from the home front:

Religiously (well, semi-religiously) I check the Maidenhead Advertiser - "Berkshire's Best-Selling Paid-For Weekly" - on a Thursday to get the latest updates from my home town. Usually a post office is under threat of closure, despite the fact no-one realised it was still open anyway, or a car has been driven into a bollard, causing a traffic jam, or Maidenhead United have lost at home again.

Today, however, the paper carries a revealing report of that rare musical event: an East 17 concert. In a rather sad imitation of their erstwhile boyband rivals Take That's recent comeback tour (which sold out massive venues nationwide), the boys from Walthamstow gave a performance the town centre:

Chicago Rock Cafe heaved with a throng of hundreds who turned up to witness the comeback of East 17. Crooner Brian Harvey, roofer John Hendy and Terry Coldwell appeared, minus original songwriter Tony Mortimer, last Thursday to a crowd of fans and the just plain curious.

Although the talented one was absent, the others apparently tried their best. Fair enough, they've hit a few lows since the records stopped selling. I guess there's not much roofing work in February.
Walthamstow’s finest were set to perform at 10pm but did not take to the stage until after 11.30pm, and played a set of seven songs. Brian Harvey said: “I was late ‘cos I been having trouble at home. This scar on my face is from my girlfriend throwing the telly remote at me in a row.”

I thought rock stars were supposed to throw tellies at things, or at least out of hotel windows, not be on the receiving end. Bonus points to anyone who can name seven East 17 songs, though.
After the gig Brian said: “We couldn’t hear ourselves singing because the sound wasn’t proper so it wasn’t the best gig we’ve ever done.”

What is he, Frank Spencer? So much bad fortune. By some accounts though, not being able to hear themselves sing made the band the lucky ones:
One anonymous audience member said: “Brian sounded like a hyena – it was atrocious.”

I'm not sure, but that might be unfair to hyenas. However, it seems Harvey's night wasn't all bad:
"...whatever anyone says about Tony, that Stay Another Day is a great song and it was enjoyable that someone threw their knickers at me.”

The best bit of the whole concert report came at the end though - a scoop the Advertiser reporter might not have realised she had:
Brian Harvey cryptically revealed that his talents are soon to be spread further afield before heading back home to London. “I’m doing a six-part television documentary about how the world is going to end in four years when a planet called Nebula hits us,” he claimed.

If this is true, we surely have a right to know, don't we? All this kerfuffle over global warming and sharia law pales into insignificance against this. Of course it's nonsense, but can you give us a tip from the inside, Brian?
“If you’re going to get married and have kids you’d better do it now,” Walthamstow’s warbler advised.

Erm, if the world's going to end in four years, you don't want to be bringing children into it only to condemn them to a fiery grave, do you? Slightly flawed thinking, I feel. Still, maybe that's what the record company told them all those years ago - "No point signing a new contract boys, Nebula's gonna wipe us out before you even get into the studio. Go off and start a family or something..."

Local papers. Don't you just love 'em?

Dia dos namorados

Happy Valentine's Day all!

(I hope I'm not the only person giving you that greeting this morning)

If you had forgotten that today was the, ahem, most romantic day of the year, I offer a couple of cards that you might want to send to that special someone.

Keen fans of the Simpsons will recognse them straight away, from the episode where Ralph Wiggum falls hopelessly in love with Lisa, before she breaks his heart and then they both make up at the end.

The card which stirred little Ralph's ardour was this one, which Lisa sent to him out of pity because he didn't get any from anyone else:

If there's a person in your life who loves trains, they'll surely want this card.

However, sometimes the path of true love doesn't run smoothly, and as I said above, Lisa didn't really feel the same way about Ralph as he did about her (are there any guys out there who can't relate to that situation?). She dumped him live on TV, which broke his little heart.

Feeling an immense amount of guilt, Lisa made things up to Ralph with a second card, and it seems an amicable way of letting someone down gently:

If you don't requite the affection, send this one instead.

N.B. I got both the pics from this website, where you can download images to print and make your own cards.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bloody. Marvellous.

When I woke up this morning I had a short mental list of things to do on my day off:

Number one was to get my hair cut.
Number two was to find a nice meat pie for dinner.
Number three was to take advantage of cut-price Mondays and go to the cinema.

Being a naturally perverse individual I started at the multiplex. Unfortunately for the other things on my to do list, the film I chose to see was Tim Burton's new adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the musical story of the barber who turns his customers into piping hot snacks.

I've decided I'll leave the trim till next week, and, well, you can't get proper pies in Portugal anyway.

Fortunately for me, the film was excellent. I've never seen the original stage production so I can't make a direct comparison with that, but the movie is fantastically darkly comic and gruesome (think Theatre of Blood) and the songs bind the whole thing together very well, moving the plot along, rather than interrupting it with contrived set-pieces (the problem with so many musicals). Johnny Depp sings Sweeney in the style of Spitting Image doing David Bowie (if you can imagine such a thing) and Helena Bonham Carter has a surprisingly good voice as Mrs Lovett, the pie-shop proprietress. The supporting cast is great too: Alan Rickman (who else?) as the villainous Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall as the seedy Beadle, a cameo from Sacha Baron Cohen as a technicolor rival barber and an even briefer appearance by Anthony "Gold Blend-Buffy-Little Britain" Head which you'll miss if you blink.

As you would expect with a Burton effort, the film has terrific visuals, reminding me if not of my own misspent youth in the grimy backstreets of London (I'm not from London), at least of Oliver!, from which several cues (market stalls, street urchins...) have obviously been taken. The majority of the film is coloured in greys, with the exceptions of flashbacks and forwards to happier times, which are in full rainbow-vision, and of course the blood, which is ruddily and liberally splattered throughout.

I'd recommend this film to anyone who likes a bit of claret, a bit of Johnny Depp or a bit of pie. Or indeed a bit of good cinema. For that is what it is. Just be careful if your barber starts referring to the cutthroat razor as "his friend".

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Carnie departs

Hi All,

Back from Carnaval. This picture sums it up. I'm the Lady in Red. Now, off to work.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The King of Schadenfreude

People say there are only two types of joke.

The first involves someone coming home and finding workmen from the council digging up their garden.

The second features someone on their first day at work in an utterly improbable situation.

Both types feature a rotund man with a beard, cleverly disguised with a bigger beard.

RIP Mr Beadle

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carnie approaches

It's that time of year again, when the men dress as women, water bombs are filled and chucked and no-one sleeps for six days. Yes, Carnaval in Torres Vedras begins on Friday, and already the town is girding its loins for the big celebration.

As with the Father Christmas marionette, Carnaval gives a chance for the local plastic moulding company to show off its considerable skills and so far this year's efforts are amazing. I'm not sure what the floats for the parades will look like, but the main square has been turned into a comic book heaven in celebration of this year's theme, and I personally can't wait for next week.

Here's some pictures:

You dance like Zizi Jeanmaire

Gratuitous videoage aujourd'hui I'm afraid. I went to see Wes Anderson's Indian train film, The Darjeeling Limited, yesterday, and although it hadn't had great reviews compared to some of his previous work (specifically Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums), I thought it was pretty good. Dunno if it's still on anywhere outside Portugal, but it only opened here this week. Go and have a look if you get the chance.

One highlight is the short, Hotel Chevalier, which accompanies the main picture. Set in a Paris hotel room, it uses this song and Natalie Portman's arse superbly, to the extent I've now got both stuck in my head...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Now Smelling a Darker Glove

A breakthrough:

The "darkest ever" substance known to science has been made in a US laboratory.

The material was created from carbon nanotubes - sheets of carbon just one atom thick rolled up into cylinders.

Researchers say it is the closest thing yet to the ideal black material, which absorbs light perfectly at all angles and over all wavelengths.

Applications of the technology are expected in electronics, solar energy and, as this video shows, music:

Charlie Wilson's War

So I went to see the new Tom Hanks film on Monday: good reviews, amusing trailer, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffmann - what more could you want?

Well, although the film is good, I'm not sure it's deserving of all the plaudits it has received and I'd be very surprised if it were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars (of course, with the strike, there's no guarantee the Oscars will run normally this year, but that's another story).

To sum up the plot, CWW tells the true (although as it was top secret, I guess we have to take his word for it) story of the eponymous Texas Congressman who organised the covert US funding of the mujahadin (sp?) against the Soviets in Afghanistan through the 1980s. As with Titanic, we all know it finishes in disaster ("We fucked up the end game" is the line that closes the film) but the actors clearly have fun telling the story on the way. Hanks plays Wilson, the whiskey-glugging good ol' boy, Roberts his evangelical muse and sponsor, while Hoffmann steals every scene (natch) as a Greek CIA fixer.

I suppose my main criticism of the movie is that it feels more like the first half of a big budget miniseries than a proper cinematic piece. Perhaps this isn't surprising, with it being written by the West Wing's Aaron Sorkin, but it left me a little disappointed. The story of how one man defeated the Red Army is fine, and we can whoop and holler a bit at the downfall of those pesky communists, but it would be nice to have a clearer exploration of how the Afghan situation moved on post-1989, via the rise of the Taliban, Al-Quaeda and 9/11 to where we are today.

I don't often say this, but I'd like a sequel please, Mr Nichols.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are you an accomplished reader?

Here's a little tool that might intrigue one or two of you. Essentially it's a test to find out how good a reader you are, based on the speed you read and how much you recall from a particular text.

Apparently my reading speed is about 350 wpm on screen, which is something over 400 wpm on paper, making me an "auditory" reader. I reckon I could have gone a bit quicker, but wanted to make sure I took in as much info as possible for the comprehension test. Fortunately I got 100%.

via Norm

Worth a read

If you're interested in what some of the blogosphere's smaller contibutor's have to say on a wide range of topics, you could do much worse than head over to Blogpower's Best of 2007 round-up.

I should warn you that many of the posts are well-written, cogently argued, and powerful enough to restore your faith in the little person being able to say something worthwhile. Topics include politics, snowboarding and the death of Harry Potter.

There's even a piece by me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lists Lists Lists Lists Lists Again

Right, becoming a bit of an annual event here this one. Let's hope we soon get the good news about Suharto, i.e. that the old bastard is the first name ticked off this year's Deathlist.

For the uninitiated, the Deathlist is an annual prediction game where the 50 celebrities most likely to die during the course of a year are named and we all have that extra incentive to look at the obit pages.

Last year was slightly disappointing by recent DL standards, with only 10 departures and proven survivors such as Fidel Castro hanging on to fight another year (if not another election). However, I can see 2008 being a different story, perhaps a record-breaker (only need 15 deaths for that), even if it does mean saying a final ta-ta to such diverse luminaries as Charlton Heston, JD Salinger and Vera Lynn.

Here's the list in full, and may they all go out with smiles on their faces:

Charlton Heston, Sydney Pollack, Albert Hofmann, Ronnie Biggs, Oscar Niemeyer, Claude Levi-Strauss, Norman Wisdom, Michael Foot, Fidel Castro, Chapman Pincher, Karl Malden, Eli Wallach, Yitzhak Shamir, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Mark Felt, Kirk Douglas, Arthur C Clarke, Fats Domino, Herbert Lom, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Vera Lynn, Betty Ford, Ariel Sharon, Billy Graham, Dino de Laurentiis, Russell Watson, Edmund Hilary, Richard Widmark, JD Salinger, Elizabeth Edwards, Jake Lamotta, Hamed Karzai, John Demjanjuk, Jesse Helms, Suharto, Blake Edwards, Francis Pym, Jack Klugman, Eric Sykes, Patrick Moore, Bo Diddley, Cyril Smith, Harold Pinter, Basil D'Oliveira, Elizabeth Taylor, Bobby Robson, Levi Stubbs, Captain Beefheart , Charles Taylor, Clive Dunn

Lists Lists Lists Lists Lists

OK, here's one to start the year. I know a thing or two about old lesbians, so I chuckled a little at this of 25 mildly famous men who look like them, from

An example:

Robert Redford

He Is:
Actor. Director.

Looks Like:
The head of Women's Studies at Community College of Denver.

#3's a doozy. See the whole list here.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Those Resolutions in Full

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know I'm a few days late, but it always seems to take a while to get the turkey and mince pie-driven lethargy out of the system at this time of the annum.

Of course, everyone else has been up and running for days,and why not, with such a lot of things to look forward to in 2008. Aside from the Olympics and the US Presidential Election, it's also 30 years since Boney M took the charts by storm with Rivers of Babylon and 60 since Prince Charles was born. Will he be the oldest person to ascend to the throne? We may never know.

Moving on, it is by now a tradition amongst the lazy and feckless to aim for self-improvement at the start of January with so-called New Year's Resolutions. It is also a sign of their lazy fecklessness that by the start of February, these promises are, if not broken, largely forgotten. Being of such a disposition, I hereby list my own resolutions:

1. Blog more frequently. Or at least better. Easy to say this, but I do enjoy this whole process of writing my own nonsense and reading and responding to other people's, so I'm going to try and make more time for it.

2. Learn more Portuguese. I spend my working life helping people get their heads round my native language, and yet I haven't really made any structured effort to get mine round theirs. This must change!

3. Read more Russian literature. Or Soviet literature - however you want to describe it. I don't think I need to explain this, for of course, dear reader, were you the sort to make resolutions (you're far too good for that, I know), you would doubtless say the same.

4. Visit some new countries. I don't mean newly designated countries like Eritrea, East Timor and Montenegro, although I'd be happy to visit them, but any that I haven't been to yet. I'll never get round the whole planet if I don't keep ticking them off steadily.

I'd say that's probably enough for now, although there is undoubtedly a large chance the same things will be trotted out next year. Have a good one!