Saturday, 20 February 2010

On thin ice

I heard a fantastically fatuous piece of commentary on the BBC red button this morning while watching (what turned out to be) the women's skeleton gold medallist, Great Britain's Amy Williams, hurtling down the course on a glorified tea tray at about ten thousand miles an hour.

Now, I don't know what the commentator's name was, but - perhaps understandably over-excited at the prospect of GB winning their first Winter Olympic solo gold medal since Robert Falcon Scott walked off with the cross country skiing gong in 1912 - he blurted the following, Alan Partridge-esque sentences out:

"She can afford a couple of bumps now. What she can't afford is to come off her sled."

Oh, really? I'd assumed that, had she come a cropper while effectively sliding along a frozen rollercoaster at a recklessly high velocity, she'd have immediately sprung back up, dusted herself off and leapt back on the sled, from where she'd have surely sped to the fastest time and the accompanying gold medal despite the minor inconvenience of having just been rushed to the nearest emergency ward.

Then I turned over and found Steve Cram commentating on the women's curling.

Which does all rather leave one with the nagging suspicion that we possibly don't have a plethora of expert commentators on winter sports here in the UK. Who'd've thunk it?

Anyway, this is all forcing me to reassess my views on commentators of other televised sports, who I've often been critical of in the past (albeit possibly not on this blog - or have I? It's so hard to remember). I can't imagine ITV's Peter Drury or the BBC's Tony Gubba, for example, coming out with a statement as crushingly pointless and banal as this:

"Arsenal are leading by two goals here in the Champions' League final and are cruising to victory over Real Madrid. But the last thing they need now is to concede eleven or twelve goals themselves."

Or for an athletics commentator (tries desperately to think of an athletics commentator that's not Ron Pickering or David Coleman... Steve Cram!) to spout forth the following:

"What a run from Paula Radcliffe in the marathon - she's leading by a country mile! But with just eight hundred metres left to go in the race, the last thing she needs is to stop running, squat down next to the pavement and have a dump."


I, Ludicrous - Quite Extraordinary mp3

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Court out, there

Help! An old duffer in a comedy wig and oversized robe has been talking at us for three days straight and shows no sign of putting a sock in it. Is it actually possible to die of boredom? If so, I'm in trouble. "Summing up", my arse.

Time for some of the good shit I think, to relieve the tedium.*

Cornershop - Good Shit mp3

*Shut Up by Madness would have been a far more appropriate choice for today's post, really, but never mind. This blog is nothing if not completely illogical.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

We Got The Clunk

You really do never quite know what unexpected delights you might stumble across while rummaging through the racks in your local charity shop. Take yesterday, for example. Ambling through Tunbridge Wells I stopped off in the Hospice in the Weald shop, where I was amazed to find an Australian CD of an early Frente release, the five-track Clunk EP. And oh look! here's a picture of it (or one like it) now.

Now, I'm not exactly sure how rare Clunk is, if at all, but I do know that when I originally got my first copy of it back in the late nineties (I was something of a Frente completist at the time) I had to badger my sister - who was living in Sydney at the time - to traipse around various second-hand record shops in her locale and track down a copy for me. Yet yesterday here was this rare CD of music right on my doorstep. Well maybe not right on my doorstep but the music's certainly right up my street. (Arf.)

I think I may well have ended up selling that first copy on eBay in a mad moment, actually. I'll not be selling this latest one, though, oh no. Like Pat Jennings or Bev Evans from Animal Park, this one's a keeper.

(In an uncharacteristic act of generosity, here are all five tracks for your listening pleasure. Paper, Bullets and Walls is my favourite. What's yours?)

Frente - Ordinary Angels mp3

Frente - The Book Song mp3

Frente - Seamless mp3

Frente - Paper, Bullets and Walls mp3

Frente - Nadi mp3

Friday, 12 February 2010

With Friends like these...

So, after fifteen years of what seems to have been pretty much non-stop coverage, Channel 4 are to finally stop repeating Friends. Hallelujah. Never thought I'd see the day, etc.

But fear not, fans of Joey, Phoebe, Glynis, Chip, Bob and Pat (note to self: check those names before publishing), as the broadcaster aren't planning to stop the daily repeats just yet. No, they're going to plough on with them until autumn 2011! So that gives you what, another twenty months or so to prepare yourself for the sad day and to bask in the 85th showing of The One Where Joey Gets Busted For Kerb-Crawling or The One Where Glynis Has An Enema, or whatever.

It'll be tough to say goodbye to this staple of the Channel 4/E4 schedules, I know, but we all have to learn to cope with loss sooner or later in our lives. I know I have. (I've never been the same since BBC One pulled the plug on Terry & June.)

And I know what you're thinking: if only someone, somewhere, had thought of releasing Friends on VHS or DVD at some stage, it would have saved us all this angst and preserved the show for future generations. But these things are so easy to say with the benefit of hindsight, and I'm sure if it would have been at all financially viable then some plucky distributor or other would have tried just such an audacious gamble.

What with Friends and Big Brother both being on their way out, this does all rather beg the question as to what exactly Channel 4 are planning to fill their schedules with for the next however many years. I can't say for sure, but I reckon an average of, ooh, approximately twenty one and a half hours per day of the station's programming output over the past decade will have been dedicated to these two programmes, so their twin absence is going to leave a hell of a hole to fill. I do, however, have a few suggestions which might help.

Perhaps they could extend Hollyoaks to seven nights a week, or drag Deal Or No Deal out to two hours per show by making the contestants open the boxes while wearing boxing gloves or something; or how about shoving a couple more ad breaks in during each episode of The Simpsons or How Clean Is Your Banjo? I'm sure no one could possibly object to that.

Alternatively, they could always ask that nice Gordon Ramsay to swear a bit more during his cookery shows; or give the Countdown contestants flick knives and a crate of Special Brew and make that programme a battle to the death. It might not sound like much, but the cumulative effect of all these suggestions would indubitably use up some invaluable airtime for the corporation.

Then again I suppose they could just stick on yet more repeats of Come Dine With Me and Everybody Loves Raymond. Ho hum.

In other news, I'm still not finished in court. Nearly there, though, honest!

Aaaaaand finally, the winner of today's award for Most Tenuously Linked to Song on a Blog Post goes to the following, for being almost the same as the title of a Channel 4 comedy series (albeit not Friends. There are millions of songs with "friends" in the title though, right?).

Sleeper - Inbetweener mp3

Friday, 5 February 2010

Three of a Kind #101

Fuck it, I'd better post something here before I forget how to do it, or Blogger delete the blog due to inactivity or something...

Yes, like a screaming girlie on a railway line in a silent movie, I've been a bit tied up of late; give it another week or two, though, and I should be able to get things back on track, blogwise.

In the meantime, ta for your patience - and get yer listening gear round these gems from Popsicle legend Andreas Mattsson's 2006 album The Lawlessness of the Ruling Classes. Makes Richard Hawley sound like Richard Stilgoe!

Andreas Mattsson - It's Easier To Handle All Your Friends Than To Keep Just One Love Alive mp3

Andreas Mattsson - You're Never Lonely When The Band Plays mp3

Andreas Mattsson - Summer of Speed mp3