December 19, 2013
I’m reviewing the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s (taken from a search on Amazon), but with a trick. I’m not watching them. I’m not even reading about them. I merely looking at the covers (pictures of the covers) and coming to undoubtedly unfair conclusions. It’s a service I’m offering to help you with those last minute Christmas presents.
Yesterday I looked at numbers 3 and 4. In fourth place was grumpy Jack Dee. In third place was becalmed Bill Bailey.
Who’ll be in second place? And will they be a smiler or a scowler? Here goes…
It’s Greg Davies! And he’s… scowling? Or squinting? Possibly pondering.
As far as covers go this one is a winner, only bettered so far by Bill Bailey’s barmy army cover. It looks good, there’s outsider art involved, and it presents us with a mystery: why has Greg decided to turn his back on the view? Is he doing it to spite his Mum? And what is he looking at with his one eye? And why’s he called it The back of my Mum’s head? And is that his Mum? And if it is his Mum, is it his real Mum or a ‘stage Mum’? And why is he wearing a huge blue badge telling us he is “one of this country’s best comedians?”
That’s the one part of the cover I hate. I can’t tell for sure but it looks printed on rather than being a sticker you can peel off, and that makes it just a little bit worse. Someone (maybe Greg, maybe not) designed this cover and made it as good as they could and then someone else (a marketing idiot) came along and said:
(The kind of person who says ‘guys’ to everyone regardless of gender)
“Hey guys, I’m not really sure this cover sells Greg as well as it could. After all, he is one of this country’s best comedians, can’t we find a quote from somewhere that helps get that point across?”
The quote is found and the marketing idiot tells someone else to make it look like a big sticker stuck on the front of the DVD. And this someone else, who has no power, tries to suggest it will look shit and it will ruin the cover. And the marketing idiot, thinking they are being creative, adopts a pose not unlike Greg’s, pretends to think, and then declares “make it blue, so it matches the blue of the sky!” And the marketing idiot barks a laugh and shouts out “”That’s blue sky thinking for you” and everyone pretends to laugh and a cover is destroyed.
Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.
Tomorrow, number 1.
December 17, 2012
Way back in 2010, Christmas time, I mocked the comedians and their ill-conceived covers (DVD covers, not covers in the pop sense, or like when Stewart Lee took Pasquale to task for ‘covering’ a Michael Redmond joke).
No! I mean the often poor artwork used to sell us their funny antics. There were so many I had to do a part one and a part two. Part one is here. Part two is here.And the poll to decide the best and the worst is here.
Let’s see if things have improved over the past two years. Here’s part three.
Oh, and please do remember, I am only judging/mocking/ridiculing the artwork. Not the comedian. Not the jokes. Most of the time.
I’m off to the Zavvi website for my material as it seems to be the only place where I can (easily) find a Top Ten of comedy titles. So… let’s start with Zavvi’s no. 10.
it’s a clean-cut look for Dara. Both for himself and his cover. Hands in pockets, shifty look upwards to something out of our sight; a winning gambit that goes some way to proving comedians are at their funniest when they stop smiling.
It’s the first (but it won’t be the last) of our comedy DVD’s to go for a pun-based title. Dara is our ‘craic dealer’; it’s a fun pun, it makes sense and it works.
Its subtitle, ‘Live 2012’, explains itself.
Then a quote from a newspaper; “One of the most dependably entertaining stand-up comics in the land”. That doesn’t tell us too much. One of? How many dependably entertaining stand-up comics are there? And dependably entertaining makes Dara sound as exciting as a sipping bird (not necessarily a bad thing). If quotes could shrug at the end, I think this one would.
Dara’s shadow is slight for such a hefty man. Perhaps his presence on this cover has been faked. Like the moon landings.
The DVD is certificate 15. But, as with other DVD’s coming up, the 15 has been printed twice; suggesting this DVD would be perfect for a 30 year old.
Interestingly, the cover makes no mention of the Mocking show Dara is closely associated with.
All in all, a good start.
Here’s a busy cover. It’s old school, with smoking and a pearl necklace. Death is here, and, again, no smiling. It’s Mrs. Brown’s Boys Live Tour. Too rude for TV. Suitable for 36 year olds.
And here’s another pun; morning/mourning.
Last Christmas, at the in-laws (though back then they lacked that title) we watched Frost in that thing where he plays the Queen’s bodyguard. It was a little like dying.
Straight after it came Mrs. Brown’s Boys. The relief was so strong we literally rolled on the floor laughing. Literally.
Roy Brown, aka Chubby, is not one of Mrs. Brown’s Boys. It is rumoured that Mrs Brown (from Mrs. Brown’s Boys) is a man. Going off Roy brown’s DVD cover, he may possibly be a woman.
This much we do know: he has tits (known, I am told, as moobs), and he wears a bikini.
He may also be a pilot.
Whereas Dara O Briain took his newspaper quote from a broadsheet in existence for over 200 years, Roy Brown has chosen to reference a defunct and disgraced tabloid. The, presumably, fake front page headline, “Chubby probed my inbox”, references both the lewd nature of his act and his, presumably, satirical take on the tabloid hackers of phones and emails.
The DVD is called Roy Chubby Brown’s Front Page Boobs. It’s difficult to know what this means. It’s possibly a pun; boobs for ‘news’?
it has a subheading: Read All About Tit. This is, more clearly, without meaning. It isn’t a pun. And, to make sense, it would need to be either ‘read all about tits’ or ‘read all about a tit’. The chances are it’s just a spelling mistake.
Or perhaps a bit of fun. Why not take other examples of common phrases or titles with the word ‘it’, and turn that into ‘tit’? See if you can make yourself laugh. Here’s some to get you started: Five Children and Tit; Stephen King’s Tit; Tit Happened One Night; Tit’s a Wonderful Life.
To be continued tomorrow…
October 25, 2012
I wrote this post way back just before Easter. For some reason, it’s been lying around as a draft. And so now I’m publishing it. I hope you like it. But if not, hey, what gives?
Or so you’d think, listening to the folks wandering the Royal Academy’s galleries. We went along to see Hockney’s latest exhibition, A Bigger Picture, on Good Friday. The exhibition closes this Easter weekend, and, just like us, it seemed many people had left it to the last minute to go. And so the queues were huge; at least an hour and a half until you could buy a ticket, and then another wait depending upon which time slot you got.
A nice lady stalked the queue, pointing out that, if you became a friend of the Royal Academy, there and then, you could get into the exhibition, there and then. And for free too! Once you’d become a friend. A friend who gives money that is. And so let me introduce you to my little friend; the Royal Academy.
Why do people queue up to see something they’re only going to moan about? What is it about art that gets people so angry? Heck, if you don’t like something, just move along there. It’s not as if Hockney’s only done two or three paintings. just relax please; all you people who have left it til the last weekend, to come with your words and your talking.
In a packed gallery it’s easy to loiter by those who have something to say. Occasionally you learn something; I never knew Hockney once gave Damien Hirst a dead leg in Tesco’s (I may have misheard this one); but more often than not you learn more about the talker… and hell, I know that in writing this I’m sort of showing off my big art mouth, so feel free to heckle…
Here’s my favourites:
Elderly fop to squirelled madame and (possible) first date: “And look, here, there’s no definition, as if he couldn’t be bothered, or got bored.” Move along please.
Grey fellow to owled and tired wife: “He says he painted them all at different times of the day, but look! Look at the sky! There, and there, and there in that one too! It’s the same blue! He’s used the same blue paint!” Owl wife; “What’s your point?” Grey mullet; “It’s just the same blue, he’s used the same paint!” Next please.
Tim Dowling lookalike pushing a baby in a pram to his word-beaten wife; “It’s a shame you don’t like blah blah blah.”
By the way, it wasn’t Tim Dowling, just to make that much clear. The little I know of Tim Dowling, from his columns, I doubt he’d choose to be so provocative to his wife. Surely he’d keep mum.
It’s not a shame that his wife didn’t like blah blah blah. I’m glad she didn’t like blah blah blah (blah blah blah because I can’t remember what it was… a Hockney thing). Maybe she liked the next one. Or none. That’s ok. No shame.
Was he threatened by his wife not liking what he liked? I do wish, in the gallery, she’d gone all Peanuts Pesci on him and started a “Shame, how?” row.
I don’t like some things. And I’ve had friends not get that, or not like it. l like shrugging and going “what gives?” I like Sparks. If I took it upon myself to tell all my friends that it was a shame that they didn’t like them, well, I’d have no friends. I just have to accept that not everyone likes Sparks. And the “don’t like” is the crucial thing. I can’t choose to interpret “don’t like” as “don’t get”. It’s not for me to think they’re missing out. It’s their choice. Idiots. Shame.
February 23, 2012
Passing though town I happened upon the newly erected fourth plinth statue in Trafalgar Square. No doubt some dignitaries had been there earlier in the morning, but by 1pm there was just a podium, some bouncers and a golden boy on a golden rocking horse high up on the plinth. Here it is.
It’s called Powerless Structures, Fig.101, but I’m going to call it the Golden Rocking Horse and Boy. That’s the best way to approach public art. For me.
I’ve seen the Ship in a Bottle, the People, the Little Jesus, the Airman, the Pregnant Armless Lady, the Upside-Down Plinth, and the Bird Hotel.
Here’s another picture. This time more of a Shadow Rocking Horse and Boy.
Here’s the blurb:
Let the mayor know what you think. If you want.
Here’s what I think; it’s ok.
Here’s what it’s up against:
The Golden Rocking Horse Boy thing is ok. It’s not bad. But I’ll be happier when the Big Blue Cock’s up there.
What’s your favourite? Please vote.
September 3, 2010
I guess I’m willfully awkward at times. No one likes to be told what to do. Do they?
I’m such a softy I usually do do what I’m told (Yes, I know! I just typed do do, trying to slip an element of subversion into an arty post, trying to be anti-authoritarian, but hey, la-di-da). I do. It’s true. I’ll always obey Prince Charles. I’ll listen sincerely to a priest. I respect all police officers older than me.
But when it comes to art galleries telling me this and that I get furious. I can’t help it. Fucking art galleries. Yes! Swearing! That’s just how mad I get.
For my Birthday I was bought membership to the South Bank Centre. Thank you my darling.
Now I’ve got the thanks out of the way on to the business. Fucking art galleries. Fucking Hayward Art Gallery.
My year long membership entitles me to free entrance to all exhibitions at the Hayward. What’s the chances I see the year through without being arrested?
Fucking Hayward Art Gallery.
Sorry about the swearing, but really. At every fucking point! Every corner! Don’t touch this! Don’t touch that! Take a picture here! Don’t take a picture there! Touch this! But not that! Take a picture of this but don’t touch it! Touch this but no photos!
The crazy thing is, everything at the Hayward, at the mo, begs for interaction. Ok, we don’t have to go mad, like the ‘Jaravistes’ racing through the Exhibition Dada in Paris in 1957 and smashing up Man Ray’s ‘Object to be Destroyed‘, but please, stop putting up signs of do’s and dont’s. Let us use our little judgement, and, if the worst comes to the worst, you have enough ‘Hayward police’ to come along and gently persuade us to discontinue our artful explorations.
Art galleries; particularly modern ones full of modern art and installations and suchlike; they should make us interact. Invite us to peer, poke, prod, touch, feel, try not to break.
Upstairs at the Hayward is Ernesto Neto’s The Edges of the World. This is quite good fun. It’s a kind of wooden skeleton thing covered in stockings. You walk around, push your way through it, poke your head out of the top of it. It’s like being trapped in a 1970’s tights shop. It’s kind of more fun for kids, possibly, than adults. It’s lovely and stockingy, and you can take pictures. But I’m not going to show you pictures when I’ve been allowed to take them!
Downstairs was far more interesting. Yes! It’s The New Decor- Artists and interiors. I liked this a lot. Here’s what it is, described by someone else who can talk about art:
The New Decor is an international survey with over 30 contemporary artists whose work elaborates on the common vocabulary of interior design. By reconfiguring and reinventing the familiar objects of domestic life such as chairs, tables, beds, lighting, wallpaper and flooring, these artists look beyond design and function to create provocative sculptures and installations. By drawing out the social, historical and personal stories which are embedded in the everyday objects that surround us, the artists aim to open up the discussion about interior space in different parts of the world, and in different social contexts, with interpretations ranging from the absurd and the horrifying to the lyrical.
Southbank Centre leaflet.
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? And it is. I loved this exhibition. But I was threatened and overwhelmed by the amount of ‘Do not touch’ notices. How can you not touch a chair, or a carpet, or a bed, or a table, or a door? A door handle? A door covered in about 50 handles? How can this be? Some things cried out to be touched.
This jokey couple had made some doors, at right angles to each other and then connected by a chain; the thing being you couldn’t open them and get them to do their proper job because… oh, I don’t know… I don’t even know which way they opened. Did one pull the other? Does one door open when another closes? Are they opposing each other, causing both to remain constantly shut? What was/ is going on? When is a door not a door?**
But we weren’t allowed to touch these doors. If the gallery stops us from touching a door, then is it still a door? It’s been deprived of its job, its purpose… but shouldn’t it be the artists who are encouraging us to find out these things? If the gallery takes over, why even bother with the chain? Am I making sense? It drove me mad!
And no photography allowed on this floor.
In my desire to break the rules in an easy-going way I was thrilled to see this sign mid-way between the first (no photographs) floor and the second (photographs allowed) floor:
I was dumbstruck! (Not that I’d have spoken out loud; let’s not forget I’m in an art gallery). Art for males only! Is that acceptable? Is it allowed? Aren’t there rules, signs? Protocol? Surely a ten minute toilet swap every hour on the hour, monitored by wardens?
So, no photography allowed and art for men only. This is where I can truly be my subversive self. I can defy all, I can be banned from the Hayward. Get ready ladies! I’m going to show you, not just art designed exclusively for men, but a rare glimpse inside the men’s bog at the Hayward Gallery.
* Ok, I don’t know. it’s not fact. But the Danes are cool- Brentian fact.
** When it’s ajar.
August 19, 2010
People are nice. On Twitter. Maybe just in general. ‘Course, there are exceptions. Take that guy who gives Naomi Campbell diamonds. He’s not nice.
I met Naomi Campbell once. She was on Live and Kicking. We did a section towards the end of the show called the Video Goldmine. It was a daft way to review the latest releases with the show’s guests. We’d start off by asking them what they liked to listen to around the campfire. Off camera, minutes before doing the section live, we told Naomi we would ask her this. She seemed puzzled. We explained it was just a silly way of asking what your favourite music is. Naomi turned to her assistant and asked “What’s my favourite music?”
Maybe she did think they were just dirty old stones after all.
But back to the point. How did I start? Oh yes, people are nice. On Twitter.
I put up a few moany tweets. Just fretting. They were meant to be light-hearted but I guess I didn’t think it all through. And a few people came back with ‘are you ok?’ tweets, which was sweet. And yes, I am ok. And I will be better than ok soon. I’m on a coach, off to Sheffield, with The Smiths’ Shakespeare’s Sister lyrics running through my head.
The Man Who Fell Asleep drew me a picture to cheer me up. Look! This is me:
It’s based on a photo by Bill Wadman. Here’s the original.
And now I am minutes from Sheffield. A little happier, though feeling guilty for dishing the dirt on Naomi. After all, she’s not the War Criminal.
August 2, 2010
The Utzon Centre, built on the waterfront of the Lim Fjord in Aalborg, Denmark, was the last work of the architect Jorn Utzon, a local boy, who died in 2008 aged 90. If you think you don’t know who he is, well, you do. He created the “most famous building of the (20th) Century”. This one:
Just when he’d finished work on the interior things changed and when the “new ruling party” wanted it finished quickly and cheaply, well, he said no, and left the project. You can read the full saga here.
The Utzon Centre is a little like a Mini Me Sydney Opera House. And as such it’s not the most striking of buildings from the outside. I wanted to take some pictures but I just couldn’t find a way to do them. It does photograph well, particularly when lit up at night and photographed by others (take a look at the site). I couldn’t manage it. I was, sadly, a little underwhelmed.
But inside is a different story. Then it all makes sense. Everything about this building is aimed at making it a place to be in, not to be out of. Go in. Use your Aalborg card, then it’s free. Enjoy the light, the space, the floor, the textures, the wood. I’m guessing the interior of this building was not finished quickly and cheaply.
July 19, 2010
Just under a month ago me and Zoe enjoyed a weekend in Aalborg, Denmark, courtesy of http://www.visitaalborg.com. I’d entered a competition to be a guinea pig. And I won! All I had to do in return was record our trip. I said I’d blog, and I did. If you want to read my Aalborg stuff and see the pics, just click on the Aalborg category down in the category cloud at the bottom of this page. (I know, category cloud, don’t blame me, that’s the future for you.) If you can’t be bothered scrolling down, just click here. And if that’s beyond you, just enjoy the films with their pleasing music.
Yes! I told them I’d make a film. At that point I didn’t even have a camera. I had my camera camera, a lovely gift from a very kind reader of my blog, and I know I could have filmed with that, but I’m old fashioned and don’t get these multi-purpose things. I’ve still not got used to music centres. And so Zoe very kindly bought me a Flip camera. What would I do without free holidays and kind friends?
Now the Flip thing is easy. Shoot, upload, click something and then it’s on YouTube. It’s easy. If you have a new(ish) computer. My computer is over 10 years old now. It has a 55GB memory. It is so slow it has taken me a month to upload a 30 second film.
They’re here now. They’re not much to look at. I’m maybe better at still stuff. I didn’t think it all through. I’ll never be given a free holiday again.
But at least they are accompanied by cheesy music. The music comes free with Flip. I used it because I was scared I’d get into trouble with the law if I used proper music. I was desperate to use Strange Animal by Sparks to accompany the zoo film, but I just didn’t dare. What if Ron Mael came after me, with his long arms and his ambiguous stare?
Here’s the films. First up, the Zoo film with a Woody Allen-esque jazzy vibe. Oh, and despite what you may have heard Whatever Works is funny.
Next, off to the art gallery with some low-rent Snow Patrol/Take That crap.
And Karolinelund, with a Flip piece called, oh I can’t remember, a Steel Band Calypso thing that just about drowns out the music of the arm wrestling machine man, but not, unfortuantely for you, my inane ramblings.
That’s it. Apart from the other films you’ll find under the cloud thing.
Oh, and I thought up a slogan: Aalborg- go there, it’s nice.
I hope I get sent somewhere else soon (other than prison or a loony bin… although either of those would be ok-ish, as long as I didn’t have to do any rude stuff or any fighting- it’d put a roof over my head).
Time to stop. I have to head to choir. I’m supposed to have learnt the words to The Time Warp by tonight. I haven’t. Bring on prison. Choir prison.
It’s astounding, time is fleeting, madness takes its toll…
July 14, 2010
I’m off tonight to be a judge at Literary Death Match. How did this happen? Well, I was asked by Suzanne on Twitter. But I don’t mean that. I mean how did this happen!? Or maybe I don’t even mean that. Maybe I mean why did this happen?
I scrape by doing bits of writing, here and there. But judging others? That’s not for me. I was always taught, by someone or other, judge not others lest ye be not judged by thee thyself but by those. Something like that. Just don’t judge, ok? Leave that to judges. In wigs.
Now I see what’s happened. I’ve been mistaken for a judge because I’ve been known to have a thing for wigs. Ok, I’ve worn a few in my time. But still. How? Why? When? Tonight. Where? Concrete, below Pizza East, Shoreditch.
I hope I get a pizza.
What do I know about writing?
I’m nervous now. But I might enjoy it. I may enjoy it. I don’t even know the difference between the two. I can’t judge!
And I’ve got to dress in an 80’s style. That’s because we’re celebrating the launch of Bret Easton Ellis’s new book and even though it’s new it’s 80’s set because that’s what he does best.
Books of his I’ve read: Less Than Zero, American Pyscho, Lunar Park. Oh, and I’ve seen the film versions of The Rules of Attraction and The Informers. I wrote about that here.
I hope they don’t quiz me. All I can remember is the rat in the tube and Phil Collins.
I’m naked at the moment becuase I have no 80’s clothes. I have to leave soon. I once had a “Frankie Says… Nay, nay and thrice nay” T-shirt. This was Frankie Howerd’s jokey version of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirts. I wish I had it. I’d wear it. I do have it. It’s in storage. I don’t have the time, or the stomach, to face my belongings.
I’ll have to go in a suit. That’ll do. I don’t have an 80’s suit for fancy dress times, I just haven’t bought a suit in a while. If I turn up the sleeves I’ll look like Crocket and Tubbs (is that right? I’m getting confused. I’m panicking. I’m messing up Miami Vice with The League of Gentlemen.)
I’ve got to get dressed. I’ve got to go. Hell, I am a judge but I’m starting to feel like the accused.
It’ll be fine. I’ve just been picked as a judge for my novelty value. All I have to do is say “swing your pants” every now and then.
Swing your pants. I wrote that (along with Trev). Two people writing three words.
At least back then I knew how to edit something. Can’t say the same of this post.