Thursday, September 30, 2004

Quote of the day: 30 September 04 from Sandman

"-What power would hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of heaven?"
Dream to Lucifer and the citizens of Hell, in Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman.

The series of books by Neil Gaiman entitled Sandman are amongst the most intelligent and literary in the genre of "graphic novels". The book, The Quotable Sandman, ably demonstrates this and I have no problem in recommending these texts to anyone seriously interested in philosophical contemplations of life, the universe and mythology.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Today's Quote: Buffy stuff

After having spend several anxious minutes this morning with a nasty tom-cat from across the road terrorising my little Widge (female cat, 10 years old), I got to thinking about Miss Kitty Fantastico. And then from that about how my dad kept tropical fish when I was a child - my first pets were called Pinky and Perky and were pinky neon-tetras. Somehow from all that I got to The Cat in the Hat, and then inevitably to this...
WILLOW: It's so cute. He balances a bunch of stuff, including that fish in the bowl! A-and, but don't try it for real when you're six, because then you're not allowed to have fish for five years.

How would I cope without Vyra and her amazing Buffy Dialogue Database to track down all those half recalled quotes!?

Today's quote: X-files related

This in from my trawling of the TWoP forum for The X-files You Know You're an X-Phile when…
From Starbucket:
"when watching CSI you see Nick Lea playing Catherine’s boyfriend and immediately think, “He’s up to something… I don’t trust that one,” because, well, he’s Krycek."

I remember watching that episode of CSI - Early Rollout (4:15) and both myself and my partner shaking our heads muttering "he will not be good news for Catherine". 'Fraid Alex Krycek was one of those who met my 'baby-faced=evil' psychological reading...

A new blog resolution - quotes for the day

I hereby resolve to provide on a daily basis at least one amusing / interesting quote from either a favourite TV programme/movie/song/book.

Here beginneth my promise

Monday, September 27, 2004

New-ish music: The Shins, Sondre Lerche, Sons and Daughters

It's the S section folks...

Over the weekend I have been mostly listening to... these acts. I enjoyed The Shins track I caught on Saturday. Especially when I was reminded why I had heard of them (they are on the soundtrack for Garden State, see my previous blog entry). Then I invested in the new album by Norwegian songster Sondre Lerche, and the debut mini-album by Sons and Daughters. Scottish - I luv them already - I narrowly missed seeing Sons and Daughters earlier this summer at the glorious Rescue Rooms venue. However, I am compensated by them supporting The Delgados next weekend.

All in all some good stuff.

Friday, September 24, 2004

IPods, CD burning and musical geekiness

Last night I was with my friend Lisette creating some musical delights for my good pal George. Just getting to grips with her XP computer and the thrills of Windows Media Player (hey, not all of us have the money or time to truly geek to our heart's content), the issue of iPods came up in conversation.

Given that my Mr Cloud has a vehement dislike of the anti-social boxes, I felt obliged to chip in with my own thoughts on the subject. (He may claim subtelty in his argument but believe me, I live with his rants on the subject).

Anyway, check out his blog entry and my reply here.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Forums to save your life:TWoP on Buffy

I must add this to my links list but in the meanwhile I had to include a mention of the wonderful forums at Television Without Pity (some of you may have known it in its previous incarnation as Mighty Big TV - which goes to show how long I have been accessing their stuff!)

Over the last few days, in amidst more work chaos than I want to bore anyone with, the forums have been provided particular pleasure. The You Know You're Addicted To Buffy When... forum has made me laugh, wince (in recognition) and gawp in admiration at the extent to which some people love the show... memory testing yourself on all the episodes in order, in alphabetical order, in best/worst order sure got me thinking!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Schedulers on C4

You have to laugh - on the same day that the Media Guardian has an article on TV channel schedulers ("Calling the slots") - C4 manages to screen a corking example of scheduling gone wrong in a most delightful way.

For those who did not catch it, Mesh is superb, a vibrant and violently bonkers example of contemporary animation. Well, at least LAST night's example was all that and more.

Mari Umemura's Limbo-X-treme really probably should not have been on at 7.55pm. Decapitation, blood, bodily excess (was that someone taking a leak in the background?!)... it was fantastically OTT. I sat with my jaw-dropping. We loved it. I suspect some post-news parents were not so keen...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Finally, Channel 4 we get to see The West Wing Series 4

Some of us were beginning to lose hope. As the November elections approach in the real USA (though "real" is a highly debatable term in that context), could we keep managing without the heroic flaws and intellect of (sadly, fictional) President Jed Bartlett? When would we next see the delectable, and I note, yet again, Emmy-award-winning Alison Janney as CJ Cregg? Most importantly, when could we get our fix of Josh Lyman whose humour and manner never fails to make me smile inside?

Well, finally C4 got around to pulling The West Wing off its "to-show" shelf and started screening season 4. At 7.35pm non a Friday... yeah, that works as an audience-drawing time slot..., no matter that in the USA Season 6 is about to start (E4 has not long started screening 5), we WestWingers have to be grateful for anything... even this belated screening of Season 4 at a ridiculous time of the week.

(Damn it, they are so late on screening this season that the DVD boxset is due out before the end of the month!)

The hopeless treatment of this amazing show by the UK television companies is a well-established bone of contention for fans of the show. Heaven knows how we even got to BE fans given the scheduling this poor beast has suffered. Mucked about by Sky 1 (pah, spit, the only thing you were good for was seeing the last two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during the dark days of my PhD), the West Wing belated got terrestrial broadcast on C4 early in 2001. After an initial run at a good time - 10pm Thursdays - it changed days, changed time-slots (often without notice), got dropped for a couple of weeks, and finally ended up in the death-hours slots (post 10.45 start) in double episode batches.

And I remember sitting up to watch the finale of season 1... This included a guffaw of laughter at a very predictable but glorious visual/aural gag ("I work with some of the smartest people in the world..." cue in the background Josh Lyman falling to the floor as his chair was absent/under repair). It also included me climbing the sofa during the shooting sequences --- especially as I soon realised it was gonna end that way.

What makes me so mad is that this series deserves so much better. It's flawed but its flaws create debate and discussion. Its about politics. Don't get me wrong, I liked Spooks, but it was a dim bulb by comparison to the likes of The West Wing and 24.

I know that Sorkin left after Season 4 and that nothing will reach the heights of consistant brilliance that season 1 and 2 presented. But I'm sticking with The West Wing, glad to see it again and remind myself of what it could do. And the possibilities we wish were a little more rooted in reality.

Dougal McGuire for Pope

Seems that according to The Guardian the bookies William Hill are offering odds of 5,000 to 1 on Father Dougal McGuire being the next Pope. Sadly, there is nothing on their website, so for those of you who missed this snippet on Saturday 18 September 2004, you'll just have to trust me on this.

For those not aware of the excellent Father Ted, the ineffably dim Dougal is, of course, fictional... Wonder how many have laid bets on those odds though?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Drawin in Malibu at the Hampstead Theatre, London

Darwin in Malibu by Crispin Whittell opens tonight for previews at the newly reopened Hampstead Theatre, London. The cast features Oliver Ford Davies as Charles Darwin; Nigel Planer as Samuel Wilverforce, The Bishop of Oxford; Cressida Whyte as Sarah; and Douglas Henshall as Thomas Huxley.

Of course, that last name is the reason for the promotional weblog entry here.

Though there are a select band of us who wish otherwise, and he has certainly not been an inactive performer, Henshall is largely unknown and underrated in the popular consciousness. He's the reason I am busting my guts to try and get myself to London to see the play (I only wish I could get more than once but its looking unlikely).

Comments on the reviews - and a personal review - will of course appear here in due course.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Scrubs star Zach Braff's movie Garden State

My very own "cloud-in-trousers" was responsible for getting me into Scrubs. For a (brief) moment we had cable TV and during that moment we stumbled across the first UK screenings of Scrubs on Sky1. He had watched it and raved about it (I suspect I was busy with such small matters as working on my PhD - now completed) and so I sat with him one Thursday night not quite prepared for how good it would be.

The teaser set me up well - a sequence where time got stopped and STILL the same mistake was made. This episode My Old Lady had just the right combination of humour and sadness. It truly touched a nerve - and was hilarious into the bargain.

Anyway, all this is by way of introduction to my inclusion on my links list of Zach Braff's blog for his movie Garden State. It's not due for release in the UK until 26 November but I have enjoyed reading about the film and its reception at film festivals across the US. Check out his blog.

CSI and their curious selections of music

I should have realised my gut instinct was right... Earlier this year my "cloud-in-trousers" and myself were watching CSI when suddenly the hardly mainstream sounds of an Einsturzende Neubauten track cropped up in the musical background. So, last night, when watching a re-run of the episode "Slaves of Las Vegas" from Season 2, I should have been less astonished to hear Sigur Ros. The track was "Sven g englar". For those interested, the CSI website guide has a good list of music used in the show(s).

I am always intrigued by the selection of music tracks to be played in the background of TV and movies. I know Tarantino is often credited with upping the ante on the quality of movie soundtracks and their accompanying albums but I wonder how much thought is given to the use of music in TV? Its seems an underrated area.

Shatner gets an Emmy and promotes All-Bran: is there a connection?

Okay, I need to get out more, but since Shatner's version of Common People is currently haunting me it seemed apt he should now crop up again on my cultural radar. Seems the guy has won an Emmy (!?) for his guest appearance in The Practice as Denny Crane. [This shows means little to me as, despite its long-running success in the USA, The Practice is yet another of those shows unshown by terrestrial TV here in the UK - I'm not even sure it gets much air on cable/satellite]. Then my jaw nearly hits the floor to find that he's on All-Bran adverts. Please say he is sending himself up... it's too painful to contemplate that he thinks that is a good career move. After all, All-Bran helps with keeping you moving, and let's face it, the quality of his acting and singing certainly has a similar affect on many of us...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Introducing people to the Buffyverse

"It's all about the Power..."

Back last year (autumn 2003) I found an ideal opportunity to introduce somebody to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Little did I know what I would unleash. Although my victim (sorry, pupil), George, had seen some episodes, he was unaware of what a full-blown addiction to this series would feel like. Between October 2003 and June 2004 he watched every single episode from the 144 produced for TV, pretty much in order (video rental stores get your act together - it really helps to have full series). Given that I knew and loved each and every one in far too much detail to be healthy, this provided me with an ideal situation wherein I could nurture another person's passion.

Of course, we had a reciprocal arrangement. Tracing the mythology arc of The X-files alien episodes and then (by Xmas 2003/4) going back to the start to fill in with the Monster-of-the-Week material, I got hooked myself on a series I had previously only dipped in and out of. Indeed for both of us the real thrill was often suddenly making sense of weird shifts in the plots or character development that had fuddled us when seeing an episode out of sync.

Anyway, I am now in the process of generating a new addict. My friend Christine became receipient of the handover tradition of video/DVD exchanges. I got S1 on DVD; she got my old video box set. It seemed like a fair trade-up!

Anyone else had experience of "inducting" someone into their obsessions (especially the Buffyverse)?

Captain Kirk covers Pulp classic

I had a lot of time for Ben Folds Five, and have no objection in principle to the hilarity-inducing project Ben Folds has just completed with William Shatner ("Has Been"). As Jonathan Ross said on his Saturday morning Radio 2 show, when asked if he thought Shatner's forthcoming album would be like the previous musical massacre, "We can only hope." Anyone who has listened to Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" knows just how beyond bad Kirk's 'musical' interpretations were capable of being. So I was a tad disappointed to discover that Joe Jackson - a bona fide rock singer, "Don't You Know That It's Different for Girls" - had added his voice to Shatner's hysterical rendition of the Pulp hit "Common People."

Whilst the main vocal line features some appropriately jaw-dropping inability to handle phrasing - he seems almost astonished at the story of the song - the overall effect is diminished by Jackson's harmoniously 'straight' contributions as the song progresses. Its a pity, but actually the cover is not quite BAD enough to actually be as funny as it could of been. Shame on you Joe Jackson!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Permission to enter is now granted

Welcome to the first of what will be some postings and discussion on all manner of things (as shown on my header!)

I am of course meant to be working - well it is lunchtime so that gets me off that hook - but I hereby declare that RullsenbergRules is open for business.

Want to rant about Strawberry Willow and Marti Noxon's "bang on the head" approach to metaphor? - here's a venue for you! Irked how Chris Carter found God in the magnetite pueblos? - give it to me! Need to share some well located webpages on your favourite movies, books and music (they might not be mine, but we'll give it a whirl!) --- get to it dude. Distressed at the absence of quality music from your radio set? - share the goodies to be found in the more off-beat corners of our music collections and radio listening habitats!

You are welcome - join us