Archive for January, 2009

Jack Daniels

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 by alexlarman

Occasionally I wonder about things that really depress me.  It’s a fairly eclectic list. Football. Gordon Brown. Wells (the city, not the places where you draw water). Wet Sunday afternoons. Calais. Physics. Peanut butter. And so on. However, the thing that’s really sticking in my craw at the moment is Jack Daniels.

For a noted bibeur (and I hope that’s a word) such as myself, this might seem strange, but it’s those bloody adverts in the cinema that are starting to really upset me. The new one (‘new’ being loosely used in the sense of ‘not actually made last century’) is particularly vile. A cast of frankly frightening-looking people with names like Goose and Chicken who look as if they’ve just escaped off the set of the remake of Deliverance attempt to sell you their hillbilly lives, and presumably quaffing Herculean amounts of JD is what puts them in the mood to join the KKK or sleep with their sisters. Or both.

The really frightening thing is that these people are, by all accounts, authentic Jack Daniels employees. As I used to quite like the odd glass of JD now and again, I now have to somehow reconcile this with the fact that my drink was being prepared in some sort of mid-Western hell from which no visitor is ever likely to escape. If ever you go there and hear a faint whimpering from the visitor centre, and the words ‘Please help…for the love of God, please help’, you can be sure that Goose has been well and truly cooked.

I would link to the YouTube video but would face copyright violation; I would link to the JD logo but would probably face Um-Bongo for life. (And if you don’t know what Um-Bongo is, where have you been?)

On ‘hotties’

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2009 by alexlarman

HottiesI have a friend – shocking though it might sound – who has a near-obsession with what he calls ‘hotties’. My friend, who shall remain nameless (but let’s call him D) has been single for a fairly substantial time,  after a long-term relationship while at university and a couple of other, shorter flings since then. He works in a demanding, well-paid job, is well known as a sociable and popular fellow and is by no means an ineligible man.

However, over the last year or so, he has become harder and harder to fathom, as he seems to have decided that the answer to his drought is purely to associate with women, rather than any of his male friends. (He is quite open about the fact that he sees an evening with a chap as, fundamentally, an evening wasted.) Some would see this as playing the numbers game; others as some sort of latent homosexual paranoia. I don’t know what I see it as, other than faintly pathetic and rather disloyal.

But then again the whole notion of great masculine friendship, as espoused by the Greeks, Shakespeare and the oeuvre of Jerry Bruckheimer, is something of a difficult one for people to get their heads round these days. It appears that many people regard an evening spent with a friend of the same sex on a purely amicable basis is in some sense bizarre. Hence the desperation to erect a shield in front of one, and the desire to cover oneself, if not quite in glory, in hotties.

Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Oscar nominations 2009

Posted in Film on January 22, 2009 by alexlarman

joker2I began writing something lengthy and pompous, but I’ll just cut to the chase; what a nonsensical bunch of nominations, easily the least interesting I can think of in years. If I was American, I’d write ‘Oh MAN!!! That sux!!!’ But I’m not, so I shan’t.

 To ignore The Dark Knight for best film in favour of The Reader (or, ‘I Was A Teenage Nazi Sex Slave’, as it should be referred to) can only be put down to a moment of intellectual cowardice. ‘Oh, The Dark Knight is just a comic book film, it’s a glossy summer blockbuster’. Perhaps – but it’s also the strongest piece of filmmaking of last year. There’s an argument to be made that it’s sad when Hollywood’s most resonant and interesting films have to exist in the mainstream in order to be noticed, but a number of the other nominations smacked of the perverse as well. And that’s ‘perverse’ in a bad, rather than good, way.  

I’ve complained in the past about the way in which the likes of Streep, Blanchett, Winslet, Dench et al get nominated for Oscars year in, year out, which exhibits a shocking failure of imagination, and lo and behold, Streep and Winslet are once again in the running. (I rather liked Anthony Lane’s comment on the no doubt pompous and flatulent Doubt that ‘if only Doubt had been made in 1964, shot by Roger Corman over a long weekend, and retitled “Spawn of the Devil Witch” or “Blood Wimple,” all would have been forgiven’).

There are some very weird nominations elsewhere as well. Why has Angelina Jolie been nominated for a role in which all she does is feign hysteria and say, alternately, ‘Where is my son?” or ‘He’s not my son!’ Why has Robert Downey Jnr been nominated for his wildly overrated performance in Tropic Thunder? Why is Stephen Daldry nominated for Best Director for every film he makes, despite the fact that they remain stilted, dry and distinctly uncinematic? (And Daldry himself is quite a card – but that’s another blog.)

I was going to post a clip of Heath Ledger (a  year to the day RIP) at his satanic best as the Joker (a deserved, if unavoidably sentimental, nod), but alas YouTube is vigilant. So hence a picture.

Camille O’Sullivan

Posted in Music on January 16, 2009 by alexlarman

I’d heard good things about Camille O’Sullivan for some time, and was intrigued by someone who sounded like a feisty Irish girl/gal/lady covering a mixture of Nick Cave, Weill, Waits and Bowie, but didn’t manage to see her live until last night. She is utterly, utterly sensational – ‘cabaret’ is probably the closest genre she comes into, but I think a more accurate way of describing her would be to call her a Bowie-esque chameleon, flitting effortlessly between pathos, hilarity, high drama and seductiveness – often in the same song. Wow. Here’s Ms O’S at her finest.

Mutterings, gutterings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 13, 2009 by alexlarman

My previous attempt at writing a blog lasted 2 days. We shall see if this one lasts any longer. I first took a tentative – very tentative – step into the blogosphere in March 2007, when I was writing a book, and wanted to be able to share the intricate workings with the rest of the world. It didn’t last.

I’m not going to introduce myself because you know who I am already. We shall see how things progress.