Thursday, May 31, 2007

They Didn't Die Before They Got Old (Well, Two of Them, Anyway...)

Every time they've toured since 1979 I've taken the opportunity to go along and watch The Who (always on the assumption that, you know, this time genuinely could be the last time). Last Friday at the Arena was no different. Well, where else am I going to spend the night hanging out with 10,000 fortysomething Mods?!

The Set list:-
I Can't Explain, The Seeker, Relay, Fragments, Who Are You? (or "Who Are You?: Theme from C.S.I." as MTV seem determined to rename it these days), Behind Blue Eyes, Real Good Looking Boy, Sound Round, Pick Up The Peace, Endless Wire, We Got A Hit, They Made My Dream Come True, Mirror Door, Baba O'Riley, Eminence Front, A Man In A Purple Dress, The Real Me, You Better You Bet, My Generation, Cry If You Want, Won't Get Fooled Again, Pinball Wizard, Amazing Journey, Sparks, It's a Boy, See Me Feel Me, Tea And Theatre.

The main difference between last time - 2000 - and this time; these days, Kid Ringo seemingly *can* play the drum-break out of the synth solo in 'Won't Get Fooled Again' without sounding like a man putting up shelves.

Most of the usual clichés continue to hold, however. Particularly, whatever the Hell Daltrey's taking that makes him look closer to 34 than 64, he should market it and sell it, he'd be a billionaire let alone a millionaire.

In the spirit of the late John Entwhistle, I ended the night in bed with a bottle of brandy and a couple of hookers. That's Rock 'n' Roll.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Recent Reviews

For those who're keeping note of these kinds of things (and if you are, Jeez, get a life baby) here's what I've been covering on the divine Julia's show since the last update in March:

5th April 2007:
My Family
George Gently
New Tricks
Diamond Geezer
Life on Mars (finale)
Natural World

12th April 2007: Jamie Wilkinson was standing in for Jules on this one)
Hotel Babylon
Have I Got News for You?
Ruddy Hell! It’s Harry & Paul
AutumnWatch Special
Foyle’s War
Sea of Souls

19th April 2007:
Secret Life
Doctor Who
Panorama: TV’s Dirty Secret
Life Line
Coronation Street
The Tudors

26th April 2007:
Waterloo Road
Death of the British Seaside?
The Return of ‘Allo ‘Allo
New Tricks
Horizon: The Six Billion Dollar Experiment
Time Team Special: Jamestown

3rd May 2007:
The Last Detective
Dalziel and Pascoe
The History of Mr Polly

10th May 2007:
The Last Detective
Balderdash & Piffle
The Eurovision Song Contest
The Good Samaritan

17th May 2007:
Holby City
My Family
Have I Got News for You?
The Seven Ages of Rock
The British Academy Television Awards

And, as a sneak preview for next weeks - daily remember - picks:

w/c 21st May 2007:
Coronation Street
New Tricks

Holby Blue
Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain

Champions League Final
The Horse Whisperer

Diary of an Island

Ronni Ancona & Co.

Doctor Who

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Public Service Announcement ... Or, Two, Actually

I just thought it was important to stress that fact!

Meanwhile, in other important news...

... which, frankly, just never gets old.

May Update

I like trees, they're really rather nice.

Anyway, kids and all other assorted readers, this is the first update in positively ages (hey, what can I say, I've been busy?!) so lots of odds and ends to cover.

Monday 14th saw the first new Book Club episode in six weeks thanks to the pesky Bank Holiday. If you want to listen to it, go here:

The books covered were:
Sally Dugan - Men of Iron: Brunel, Stephenson and the inventions that shaped our modern world (MacMillan)
Doran Swade - The Cogwheel Brain: Charles Babbage and the quest to build the first computer (Abacus)
Mick Brown - Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector (Bloomsbury)
Ian Abrahams - Strange Boat: Mike Scott & the Waterboys (SAF)
Alexander McCall Smith - 44 Scotland Street (Abacus)
Stephen Oppenheimer - The Origins of the British (Constable & Robinson)
David Winner - Around the World in 90 Minutes (Bloomsbury)

Meanwhile, in other radio news...

Important self-aggrandising announcment:
There was a significant moment in my radio career today as I recorded what is to be my final preview slot for The Julia Hankin Show in its current format.

Panic ye not, however, my lovely disciples because from next Monday ... I'm going to be a daily feature! (Had you worried there...!)

Basically, what we're going to do is pre-record a whole weeks worth of TV previews each Thursday or Friday and then they'll be dropped, Key to Time-like throughout the week as "Keith 'Telly' Topping's Top Telly Tips for Today" (devised by the very excellent Scuthorpe Steve Drayton).

I've just pre-rec'd the five shows for next week (including managing to get a reasonably lengthy, and I think, rather enthusiastic plug in for the first episode of Cornell's two-part Doctor Who on next Friday's show).

The daily clips - they'll be three to five minutes in length - will be broadcast around 3:40pm each day Monday to Friday (they might be five minutes either way but it'll be in that sort of time-frame area). So - if you're as incredibly sad as me - you can make it a daily date in your diaries! (As ever, they'll also be available on Listen Again for 24 hours after each show is completed.)

Current Listening:
Robert Johnson
Prefab Sprout
Darts (!)
The Who - whom I'm going to see live at the Arena a week tonight.
The Woodentops

Current Watching:
Top Gear
The Riches
Doctor Who
Not the 9 o'Clock News
Veronica Mars(criminally cancelled just this very week)
The Last Detective

Current Reading:
Don Jordan & Michael Walsh - White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in American (Mainstream)
Patrick Bishop - Bomber Boys (HarperCollins)
Hugh McManners - Forgotten Voices of the Falklands (Ebury)
Dixe Wills - New World Order (Icon Books)
Sinclair McKay - A Thing of Unspeakable Horror (Aurum)
David Tossell - Grovel! (Know the Score Publishing)
Paul Smith - Wasted? (Know the Score Publishing)

Several of these may feature on the June Book Club which, all things being equal, should broadcast on Monday 4th June.

Currently Watching (Big Screen Edition):
The Last King of Scotland

Both hugely recommended. And it's not often you can say THAT about two British films.

Speaking of movies, over the last couple of weeks - between bouts of writing yet more Charmed and Buffy articles - I've been doing a wad of short movie reviews for my friend Diana Dougherty's US multi-media fanzine Raspberry World. For the next issue, Di has decided, perhaps insanely, but we'll leave that matter for another time, to devote the entire mag to 1,001 Movies You Must Watch Before You Die. A fabulous conceit and I was happy to contribute around 220 reviews for between 100 and 200 words each (or, in the case of Batman & Robin, 10 words!) to the cause. It's quite addictive, actually (if a bit Aspergers-esque). Below are three samples of what you can expect from the finished magazine:

Almost Famous (Untitled): Cameron Crowe's touching, awkward, stimulating recreation of his teenage years as a journalist for Rolling Stone has just the right degree of wit and insightfulness to ward off potential charges of mawkishness. A rite-of-passage text, a road movie, a social document and sex and drugs and rock and roll. The director's cut - Untitled - is better, if only because you need 49 minutes more of this film in your life. 'How old are you?' Oh, and the DVD commentary with Cameron and his mum is hilarious. (KT)

The Italian Job (1969): Forget The Sting, this is the greatest heist movie ever made. A cultural icon in Britain where men of a certain age can chant along with the entire film and its numerous lines of legendary dialogue ('You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!') Michael Caine is at his Carnaby Street coolest, Noel Coward's last great movie role, tons of cameos by reliable comedy actors and rising stars (look out for Robert Powell as one of the gang), Tony Beckley totally stealing the show as Camp Freddy, the Mini Cooper chase through the streets of Turin and the greatest (literal) cliffhanging end to a movie ever. Magnificent Qunicy Jones soundtrack (thankfully now available on CD). Clever, funny and dramatic script by Troy Kennedy Martin. Forget, too the awful 2005 remake, THIS is the daddy. (KT)

Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie) (1980): A cooly detached - and often quite morbid - look at modern French attitudes to morality from Jean-Luc Goddard. Worthy, if for no other reason than where else are you gonna see Isabelle Huppert getting spanked in the back of Citröen?! English title: Slow Motion. (KT)

For those whose curiosity has been piqued, I'll post full details on how to order a copy of Raspberry World once I know myself but the magazine's website, featuring details of previous issues, is here:

And finally, as I'm away this weekend (short, well-deserved break at my brother's gaff) I may not get another chance before next Saturday to tell you that, if you only watch 90 minutes of television this year, make sure it's my old guv'nor Paul Cornell's forthcoming two-part Doctor Who story, Human Nature - BBC, 7:00, 26th May/2nd June.

Must-see telly at its finest.