Monday, 22 November 2010

Legend of the Guardians: 300 with Owls it isn't

I am quite squishy at heart.

I get sickened by cheese at the same time as liking positive messages and films like Happy Feet.

So all the advertising and reviews of Legend of the Guardians sucked me in.

Christmas was approaching, the guy on Newsnight Review said: "It's like 300 with Owls", The Guardian said: "a cross between The Lion King and Star Wars - but with owls."

So, there was definitely going to be owls in it and it looked like it might be, slightly too innocent for my age, fun.

I'm sorry but it wasn't 300 with Owls by any stretch of the imagination and could only be compared to the newer, shitter, Star Wars episodes.

Legend of the Guardians was also made by the same people as Happy Feet, another draw.

This wasn't a patch on Happy Feet.

There were touches of good story telling, but overall it was disappointing and it lacked a real crescendo.

The end sort of caught me by surprise with a distinct: "Is that it?" feeling.

At best this film was cosy.

Also, I can't see 3D - it's getting old, I just want a good film.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Democracy vs the monarchy

Breaking news: pro-democracy figure released after years of house arrest; couple in the UK announce their engagement.

Last saturday I wandered downstairs to receive the news that Aung San Suu Kyi had been released from house arrest after ten years of house arrest.

It raised a tired smile from my lips, which did no justice to the weight and beauty of this news; so I can perhaps forgive David Cameroon for his painfully understated "well overdue" comment.

Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the future modern day political figures that truly makes my heart swell.

She is a hero almost beyond measure in my eyes.

And this is only heightened by the fact she is a woman.

So imagine my dismay that in the following days instead of being inundated with news about the hopes and developments in Burma's new 'democracy', I hear on the hour every hour about the engagement of a little known UK couple: their called William and Kate, oh, did I mention that he is the third in line to the throne of our, er, 'democracy'.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Rocking Montague

Out for another deliciously fun gig night this weekend.

Looks like I'm making a habit of this.

Turned up chiefly to listen to Chekhov's Rifle play, for the...

No wait, I can't actually remember how many times I've seen them.

Let's just say it was the latest of many.

Chekhov's line-up is now all male, after the female bass player was baby-capacitated.

They deliver a tight and rousing set, with a 'new song', oo er.

The set is not even spoilt by a dropped and swiftly recovered drumstick, not a beat missed.

Great jiggly fun, with lyrics to leave you baffled.

They are followed by Tim Ten Yen.

I'm always a bit suspicious of a man with a tiny Casio keyboard.

In this case it can be easily forgiven.

This was a shits and giggles set with all the gusto I have come to expect from performance poet Richard Tyrone Jones.

Prancing about the stage he sang beautifully over an iPod and had most of the audience in stitches.

“I have an enemy a sea anemone.”

And a song about a cat looking out across the dance floor.

After all this I was well revved up for the last act, who during the sound check had moved through three instruments.

What a disappointment!

Mainly covers and not inspirational ones, I'd like to say more about the set but in truth I walked to the back of the bar after a couple of songs to chat in peace.

He was musically proficient, but, well, dull.

At least The Montague Arms is a lovely place to have and a drink if the bands don't pass muster.

An eccentric pub, meets ship, meets taxidermist, with bar staff who probably need hearing aids.

It's great.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why I wear a Poppy

I have listened to and had a fair few conversations about whether you should wear a poppy.

I think it's important.

This is why:

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Or pretty much any Wilfred Owen poem.

For me the poppy is part remembrance, part fury that we still haven't learned.

If we had, this wouldn't have been created:

Thank you to Huey Morgan for playing it this morning on 6 music.

I can think of few more appropriate songs today.

Wear a Poppy, remember, never again.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Savage Nomads - the alternative bonfire

I ventured out last night to see The Savage Nomads, with absolutely no expectations (despite being told "I think you'll like them.")

I was suitably impressed.

They even made me forget that I probably won't be seeing any fireworks displays this year.

In amongst all the third rate indie/rock bands that seem to be acosting my ears at the moment this bunch of spritely lads are a breath of fresh air.

It's not often that I see a band and spend the following day searching youtube clips to share with my friends, and then feel that those clips don't do the band justice.

These guys are a live band through and through with an easy confidence that makes their stage performance all the more compelling.

The singers style is reminiscent of Incubus, with a more British twang.

(Though I wonder whether he might be a little too young for Brandon Boyd to have been much of an influence, and possibly a mite too cool).

They're definitely not carbon copies of anyone, but not quite mind blowing perfection either.

But there's an infectious promise there - I might just place a bet that in a couple of years time they'll be playing far bigger venues than The Hope and Anchor.