Monday, 21 July 2014

Top of the Pops 79: 19/7/79

Shown on BBC4
Reviewed by Chris Arnsby
Kid Jensen. "Good evening, and a good welcome to all that's best in the chart in this week's Top of the Pops."
Chart music: The Sex Pistols, C’mon Everybody [3].

The Real Thing: Boogie Down (Get Funky Now) [50]. Lined up prominently behind The Real Thing is a gaggle of uncool musicians. Could this be the brass section of the Top of the Pops orchestra? It's a month since the orchestra was last shown accompanying McFadden & Whitehead on the 14/7/79 edition. Once again they get some good close-ups, hopefully proving to any watching Musician's Union representatives that Top of the Pops remains committed to its union agreements.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Starring Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell,Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary
Screenplay  by Mark Momback, Rick Jaffa
Directed by Matt Reeves

The second in the new sequence of Planet of the Apes films is even better than the first.

The decision to re-tell the Planet of the Apes saga has proved to be a strong one. 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was impressive enough both in its depiction of the apes (not that the 60s/70s originals were too shoddy) and the way the narrative unfolded.  This sophomore tale is different in tone and intent but more satisfying as a complete film. Set a decade or so after its predecessor it tells the story of how Caesar, the intelligent chimp raised by a human, fares as leader of the apes now living in the forest. Those humans who survived the virus have been reduced to squirrelling a living in wrecked cities and inevitably the two groups will come into conflict.

Spoiler warning- if you haven’t seen the film yet this review reveals major plot points

Friday, 18 July 2014

The start of blog censorship?

After a restaurant successfully sued a blogger over a critical review, is this a sign that influential blogs could soon be forced to censor their opnions?

Blogs- like social media- are a platform for anyone to express their views. Obviously there must be some limitations to this but if you feel strongly enough to criticise something then chances are it reflects a genuinely bad experience at the hands of a business of some sort. This week a blogger was successfully sued by a French restaurant who claimed their business had been adversely affected by a critical post whose title described the eaterie as ` the place to avoid ` after a poor experience there. A French judge ordered the blogger to alter the title of the post and pay damages to the restaurant. Could this spur other enterprises angered by influential blog criticisms to take similar action?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Hooligan Factory

Starring Jason Maza, Nick Nevern, Tom Burke
Written by Michael Lindley and Nick Nevern
Directed by Nick Nevern

Cheeky London hooligan spoof that works. Sweet!

This is, as they would say in the capital, a nifty little film.  Spoofs are notoriously difficult to pitch at the right level. Go too deeply into the minutiae of the thing you’re spoofing and most people won’t get the references, fail to identify what’s funny about it and it could just look like a poor relative. Rely on basic slapstick and it will look no different to dozens of others. The Hooligan Factory manages to pitch it exactly right. Nick Nevern’s film picks at the clich├ęs of the genre, draws out the inherent silliness of a sub culture that is both childish and dangerous while the film has a polish that lifts it above what you might expect.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Do you remember cassette tapes?

Between vinyl and CDs there was something else people listened to music on.

Of all the formats on which music has been delivered there has surely been none as impractical as the cassette tape.  Flourishing comparatively briefly in the crossover period when people stopped buying vinyl but couldn’t afford CDs, tapes were the cheap and cheerful answer. For a while they were displayed as prominently in shops as the other formats. Once people heard a CD though, they would never go back and now tapes do not even enjoy the revival which vinyl periodically continues to have.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Top of the Pops 79: 12/07/79

Shown on BBC4.  Watched by Chris Arnsby

Mike Read. "If you've been following this serial for the last 15 years you'll be keen to know what happens in the next episode of Top of the Pops."

Chart music: Slick, Space Bass [16].

Siouxsie & The Banshees: Playground Twist [33]. It turns out I've been confusing Siouxsie Sioux and Lene Lovich for years. Playground Twist is an odd choice for opening song and starts Top of the Pops with a sound which is more haunting and gloomy than normal. Adding to the eerie vibe is producer David G. Hiller's decision to intercut the performance with the cover artwork for the single; crudely drawn felt tip figures.  

The Police: "It's Sting not Spring!"