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April 14, 2007

Saturday Cooks

Antony Worrall Thompson just used the phrase “See you in a bizzle.” The world’s going mad.

July 25, 2006

"If it's worth the wait…

Writing about web page http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000H30A1Y/202-5359222-8325448?v=glance&n=229816

Woo hoo! After an entire year (well more like 16 months) of waiting the debut album of The Five O'clock Heroes, Bend to the Breaks, finally has a release date of 11th September.

Well I'm excited.

July 22, 2006

Who needs Glastonbury?

Spotted this unfortunate headline in the newsagent's this morning. Seems inquests are where it's at these days. Sadly the article does not go on to say exactly how much the inquest 'rocked', but the fact it got the front page suggest that it must have been a lot.

April 03, 2006

Now you can't find nothing at all, If there was nothing there all along

So I watched the 20th anniversary edition of E.T. the other day. For anybody who doesn't know, this classic film was re-released four years ago (I think) with a couple of new scenes and some re-done special effects. The problem was, at the time I didn't know that I was watching the new edition, until I realised that I was watching a sequence that I had never seen before. Not a problem I thought, it's been a good ten years since I've seen this film all the way through, maybe I just forgot that this bit even happened.

However pretty soon I realised that this was the new version. And the reason I knew this was because the CGI that had been added to the film didn't look right. For the briefest of moments E.T., staring into a bathroom mirror, looked like he had just fallen out of The Incedibles.

Spielberg himself has stated that his intention with the new version of E.T. is not to change the story of the film in any way, but just to produce the film that he would have liked to have produced in 1982. Now I have no problem with this. If he was forced to cut a sequence because the technology of the time would not let him realise it realistically and he wants to re-instate this sequence then that is fine, providing that it is done properly.

Several changes have been made to this film, many of which are completely unnoticeable. These invisible changes should be applauded. They are unobtrusive, however when brought to the attention they do add a dimension to the film that might be seen to have been previously lacking. However there are other moments in the film when the changes that have been made are glaringly obvious.

Everybody knows that this film was made in the 1980s. Therefore any effects that obviously date from a later period are jarring. This can be seen in the sequence when E.T. creates a 3D model of the solar system in the bedroom and also in the newly re-instated sequences. Spielberg wanted to add subtelties to the creature's face in order to display more emotion than was possible in 1982. The intertion was to not produce any effects that made the audience realise that they were not watching the original film. The problem is that it frequently does.

The story is the same. As far as I can see there are only two new scenes (others exist but Spielberg was going to remove these at the time of the original), and these do not effect the plot in any way. However some of the CGI changes did draw attention to themselves. E.T. was never supposed to look like a man in a suit, but now he looks like a computer generated image. At least before this version you knew something was there.

This brings up the debate of remastering and re-issuing. I agree with Spielberg. If the director wanted something that may have been impossible at the time then a new version is acceptable, as long as it complies with the original viewing experience. If at any point the viewer notices that something has changed then the update has failed. Using Star Wars as an example, correcting the light sabres is appropriate, replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christensen is not as it instantly becomes a different film.

Clearly the three Star Wars films released on DVD and video recently are not the same films that were released from 1977 onwards. There is no problem with this as long as the originals are still available, which they are not. Similarly with E.T., Spielberg has attempted to update the film to do things that he could not do in 1982. The film, in his mind, is the same. However the moment that I realised that I was watching a different film to that which I was used to seeing demonstrated that this update had failed.

Anybody new to the film will obviously not see any problems and will, hopefully enjoy it as much as I, and many other people, did during the 80s, however, everytime I come to watch the DVD from now on I can't help but be made aware of the fact that although it looks almost exactly the same, this is not the same film that I am used to. Rather than ehancing the magic Spielberg has, unfortunately, managed to reduce the magic because everytime I see something that is different it pulls me out of the film and as a result continually makes the film appear to be a fiction and therefore unbelievable. As a result the film falls flat, which is a shame because it is one of the greatest childrens' films ever.

Na, na na naa, na na naa naa naa!

Knight on the town
Big Bad wolf
Revenge of the king
Die for love
Diktator of the free world
Grateful when you're dead/Last farewell
Shower your love
6ft. down

Hey dude
Super CB operato

108 Battles (of the mind)
Hollow man Part 2

Oh yeah!!!

November 23, 2005

'We always came back to the song we were singing'

Ok. Everybody. Now. Go to www.radio.warwick.ac.uk/singleoftheyear and vote for your five favourite singles from the last twelve months. We'll be playing the top 30 songs next Wednesday from 1p.m. on RaW and also live in the Market Place.

October 14, 2005

"I know squirrelys didn't chew the wires

We have internet. Finally. Buckaroo!

September 19, 2005

Wolves at the door

I always forget how much work is involved in moving into new places. Last week I spent pretty much the entire time sorting out all kinds of new house things; previous tenants' unpaid bills, setting up new accounts with gas, electric and water companies, cleaning out the washing machine and finding out that the output pipe was blocked, unblocking the output pipe, mopping up a mini flood after a heavy rainstorm and getting the landlord out to fix the kitchen roof, the list goes on and I haven't even started to clean the place up yet or take an inventory of basic things that are needed.

Took a short break to come home for a friend's 21st this weekend so am taking advantage of the internet as much as I can (our house as yet doesn't have a phone line and bt are being very annoying and costing me a fortune in phone calls trying to set one up) but it's back down to it tomorrow. Just finished making a CD of my most listened to songs at the moment for my drive down. For anybody interested here's the track list:

  1. Sofa Song – The Kooks
  2. Head Games – Five O'Clock Heroes
  3. All Mapped Out – The Departure
  4. Just Another Love Song – Dead 60's
  5. Fire in Cairo – The Cure
  6. Naive – The Kooks
  7. Picky Bugger – Elbow
  8. Biggest Fan – Brandon Benson
  9. What If – Coldplay
  10. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
  11. Pin Me Down – Luxembourg
  12. Matchbox – The Kooks
  13. Life and How To Live it – R.E.M.
  14. Mirror in the Bathroom – The (English) Beat
  15. Spit it Out – Brandon Benson
  16. Flavour of the Month – The Posies
  17. The Coast is Always Changing – Maximo Park
  18. White Girls – Five O'Clock Heroes
  19. We Get Low – Dead 60's
  20. Eddie's Gun – The Kooks
  21. Leaders of the Free World – Elbow
  22. Blood – The Editors
  23. Swallowed in the Sea – Coldplay

August 30, 2005

It could make a million for you overnight

Follow-up to Did we miss anything? from Erm... oh ok

Having written my review of Murmur (below) I was taken to thinking of other influential musical artefacts and came to the conclusion that the Beatles' single Paperback Writer / Rain is quite possibly the most important single ever released. Let me explain why:

Released between Rubber Soul and Revolver this single marked the start of the Beatles ascent into psychedelia. All of their most progressive and inventive music would be created after this point.

This single, particularly the flip side Rain, marked the real beginning of musical experimentation. Although hinted at earlier, the feedback at the start of I Feel Fine is the first know occasion of recorded feedback on a record and the Sitar on Norwegian Wood being another first that would later influence The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones greatly, it is this record that has two major 'firsts'. Rain is the first ever record to feature a tape-loop and is also the first use of having tape played backwards on a record, two techniques which have become common in music today (try and imagine Missy Elliot's Work It without the backwards bits).

The second major 'first' is the two music videos that were made to accompany the two songs. Although the Beatles had made promo clips earlier these were mainly performative or weren't made specially to promote the single (the films A Hard Days Night and Help could be seen to be a series of music videos strung together by a thread of a narrative). The clips for Rain and Paperback Writer are in colour and are not just performance pieces.

Aside from this is the obvious influence of the sound of the record. Listen to Rain and you can immediately see where the Oasis 'sound' came from; Lennon sneering and snarling the lyrics decades before Liam made this type of delivery his trade-mark. The drumming in this song is perhaps, along with Strawberry Fields, Ringo's finest and most complicated drum pattern. McCartney's bass floats throughout the piece and is one of his most distinctive and interesting bass parts. The two guitars chime throughout.

It is not the greatest single the Beatles ever released but it does show the band at their tightest (all their instruments play distinctive, different and yet complimentary parts that constantly sound like the songs could tear themselves apart at any time but are never allowed to. In the instrumentation of Rain you can hear the Beatles starting to go their separate ways and break out of the cosy 'Fab Four' image that they had stuck to for half a decade). Whether it is the most influential single is a matter for conjecture but I can't think of anything that fits the spot better. What does everybody else think?

August 27, 2005

Did we miss anything?