Thursday, July 28, 2005

Learn to love your ears...

You may not know it yet, but you need The Beastles.

Arguable the best mashes and cut-ups in the whole darn world ever. Gob smackin' stuff from the hard drive of DJ BC.

Hatched from a mind of pure genius comes the improbable pairing of the music of The Fab Four and the lyrics of The Beastie Boys. Sheer headphone paradise for the journey home :-)

Sometimes, due to BC's bandwidth gettin' trashed by happy surfers, this page is off-line. If so, check out the mirror at tian's blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Houlgate Revisited

It’s that time again. Time to dig out that Dark Age kit and head on up to Yorkshire with a large knitting needle, a secret stash of CafĂ© Direct, a ball of hairy string, a pouch of salt, my cooking belt and some stoic Northern determinism.

Murton Park Yorkshire Museum of Farming & Houlgate Village are hosts to 40 or 50 role-players once or twice a year. We descend and (Mr. Kershaw and I, sometimes Ellen too) cook a pig, make some bread (Kirsten), hang around whittling sticks, dye and weave (that’s the good lady wife and Claire), play some Cubb (so long as Adam remebers the Cubb set), someone (probably Adam) might pick up some kind of musical instrument and people will try and harmonise through a haze of cider and mead (not I, I hasten to bed at that point cringing inwardly).

For me, it’s up at 6 to get the pig ready for the evening. The day consists of a good degree of sitting around in the sun “lookin’ after the pig” including the supervising of others as they chop wood, the occasional rearranging the fire, hand rotation (not for the faint hearted), the semi-deliberate terrifying of children, the intricate and imaginative use of string, avoiding the public (by pulling my hat down over my eyes and grunting), the heavy consummation of fermented apple juice, plus other essential and highly important stuff to make sure 'Babe' makes it to the table by dinner time.

All that basting can be surprisingly tricky, and it invariably requires my undivided attention, which after all these years I can now do with my eyes closed and, in this state of Taoist porcine and culinary oneness, some have even mistaken my zen-like trance as the mere act of sleeping.

Oh foolish mortals, how little they know of the mystic ways of spit management and the manufacture of perfect crackling, the arrangement and intensity of the burn to compliment the intricacies of the placement of flesh cooling fluids. Kershaw and I have this to a fine art.

‘Families’ cook all day for a big nosh up in the evening. We’re The Weavers. This year we had some plot (which was a bit weird and I hope we don’t get any again) and some seriously sub standard bacon 'pieces' and (something they refared to as) 'cheese', but it’s a grin and mainly an excuse to see mates and to eat cheesy leaks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

DVD Review - Bewitched: The complete 1st season...

Okay, the unedited version of the review they asked me to write for the This is network. Brace for lame tag line and self opinionated waffle...

"You’d be mad to turn your nose up…"

On August 1st 2005, courtesy of Sony Entertainment, this Emmy Award-winning series' comes to DVD. It’s about time. Pity it’s taken the marketing for the up-coming movie (starring the perfectly cast Nicole Kidman) to shake Sony into action and this hasn’t happened before.

If you don't know ‘Bewitched’ yet, you should. Elizabeth Montgomery stars as the enchanting Samantha Stephens, a pretty, typical 60’s American housewife who just happens to be a witch (the theme being hijacked from the 1942 movie classic ‘I Married a Witch’, with Fredric March and Veronica Lake). Basically, our Samantha falls in love with a mortal, a young advertising agency copywriter Darren. She reveals all on their wedding-night, and Darren (understandably having kittens and no doubt resisting the temptation to duck her in a mill pond and crisp his new spouse at the stake) makes it pretty clear this is going to be a hokus-pokus-free marriage.

Because she's head over heels for hubby (love concurs all in this kitsch and twee half Wiccan suburbia) Samantha is willing to forsake her ancient craft. But can she? Will her wicked mother or fearsome father let her? And what will happen if she just happens, almost by accident, to twitch that delightful nose? Will hubby actually notice if his dinner appears on the table via magical means or if his wife does the full ‘Sorcerers Apprentice’ with the dishes afterwards? And trendy ex-girlfriends of Darrins look a lot less smug what green and covered in warts...

This show was magic, spellbinding, and a hundred other positive witchey puns that leaves you wrapped in the warm blanket of nostalgia and safe that “all will be back to normal at the end of the show”. Although there is a lot here to place it firmly in the 1960s (atrocious antwacky decor, mild political incorrectness, lots of smoking and drinking and inviting the boss over for dinner unannounced), it was actually revolutionary in its time and there are still plenty of reasons to catch up with the world's most enduring prime-time witch. This is an American TV classic, proving that (before the days of ‘Worlds Greatest Police Trousers’) they could sure make TV across the pond.

In the first season there are a respectable 36 episodes that introduce one of the funniest ensemble casts in American TV history. The rubber faced and rubber kneed (you’ll see what I mean) Dick York as Samantha's mortal husband Darrin, the irrepressible Agnes Moorehead as his witch of a mother-in-law Endora, Alice Pearce as nosey neighbour Gladys Kravitz, George Tobias as her oblivious husband Abner and Marion Lorne as dotty Aunt Clara. Oh, and look out for some of the great 60’s supporting actors, ranging from Raquel Welch as an airline hostess to the unmistakable Adam Ward (holy character called Kermit, Batman).

The DVD’s are packed with extra content including featurettes (The Magic Unveiled), a full length theatrical trailer, the usual subtitles, languages, and full screen presentation, plus a bloopers reel (Magic and Mishaps).

Movie: 4 out of 5
Extras: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Oldie, but Goodie

It's an oldie, but painfully true...

...Summers is here, and I'm at work.