Monthly Archives: August 2005

Catherine Tate

I am so sad right now. The Catherine Tate show (which follows Extras on BBC2 on Thursday nights) has just come to the end of it’s pitifully short run. It’s by far the best comedy sketch show there has been for a long, long time. I love all the characters but the ‘I d’know’ couple make me laugh before they open their mouths. Foul-mouth Gran, Lauren (Am I bothered? Am I bothered though?) and Derek (How Very Dare You) just make me smile the whole time. What a shame this is ending. Please, BBC bring it back soon.

UPDATE 30 August: Amazon have the Catherine Tate Show Series One DVD on sale now.

On this day…

2003: Naked Valley Money
2002: Not Hilarious or Surprising

Let’s Google Talk

Google Talk Download PageWell, they’ve finally done it and Google Talk is a nice, clean interface. I downloaded it this morning and was impressed by file size, speed of installation and general Google-cleanness of the the interface. This is what we have come to expect. However, apart from a couple of people who I know will try this – who am I going to talk to? I have a sinking feeling that they are too late to this party which is not a great thing to think about Google at all.

The world was waiting for a Google IM client but the world hoped it would speak to other clients and not just be a nice standards complaint tool. I already have friends on all of the major IM clients and I simply don’t talk to them all because I don’t install all the right clients. I do, occasionally, use Trillian to speak to everybody but that’s not very often. I sit with my Yahoo Messenger because that’s the client most of my colleagues are on and they are the people I need to talk to most. I’d love to migrate them to this nice Google interface but I don’t think they will.

So, come on Yahoo support the standards that Google is running with then we can all choose the client we prefer not limit who we talk to. I wonder how long it will be before that happens?

UPDATE 28 Aug: I should turn comments on for this one, shouldn’t I?

UPDATE 30 Aug: Still only three people I know are on Google Talk. C’mon guys – it’s a lovely clean interface and a breeze to download.

On this day…

2004: The Hottest State
2004: Get Yer Kit Off …
2003: Summer Music
2002: Around The World

Gay Music Stars Still Stir Headline Writers

We all know there are plenty of gay folks in the music business but few of the stars feel able to come out. Stephen Gately did it a few years ago, Andrew Kinlochan did and so did Will Young. Yesterday, Mark Feehily (the quiet one in Westlife) told The Sun newspaper he was gay and that got reported all over the place. It stuns me that anybody bothers to write about this anymore (or uses the word ‘admit‘ in the headline) but I, along with plenty of other gay men in the UK, wish him well.

On this day…

2004: Technology Gets The Better Of Me
2004: Another Chart
2004: Celebrity Justice?
2002: A Haddock is A Wet Fish

Boston Legal

head shot picture of william shatner in boston legalOn Monday I mentioned that I’m already hooked on Channel Four’s Lost (via the E4 showings a week ahead). While Sunday night’s Lost marathon was gripping it has to be said that Monday night’s can also be enjoyable. I have been finding Living TV’s Boston Legal superb. William Shatner is a revelation to me in that show. I find the quirky humour very appealing indeed. If you haven’t seen it catch it Monday’s at 10pm (repeated Friday’s at the same time). [Living TV site]

On this day…

2004: Flash Floods
2004: Should I Mention The Olympics?
2003: Great Yarmouth
2003: Stag
2002: In Short, Things Are Grim

Hits Out Of Hell

I managed to charge the mp3 player I spoke about at the weekend. Yes, I know that it’s not that hard. Anyway, I was standing on the treadmill last night searching for something motivating music. I usually catch up on the news while running but I really couldn’t face it last night. I was looking for some way of escaping the world for 45 minutes. And lo, I came across Meatloaf’s Hits Out Of Hell on my player and discovered that power rock, big choruses and loud guitars really make the whole exercise of exercise so much easier. Strangely motivating really. Read more about Meatloaf at the BBC.

On this day…

2004: Email At Work
2002: Yesterday was Ben Affleck’s Birthday


still from the first episode of lostSo last night we settled down for a Lost marathon. It started earlier in the week on Channel Four but we missed the opening episodes. Digital channel E4‘s Second Chance Sunday was not only showing the first two episodes again but also the third and so three hours of television drama ended our weekend. I am already hooked – it’s going to twenty weeks of really high quality drama ahead. There’s been lots of talk about the most expensive television pilot in history and the such. Each episode has been compared to a movie. I don’t know about that but I know that’s it appears very well written, well acted and has very high production values. I also know there is much content on the web about the show and I am not going to read it. I am going to let the story unfold naturally (so don’t tell me) but the first question has to be: how did any of them survive and how have they got three episodes in without worrying about food?

On this day…

2004: Kill Bill (Volume 1)
2003: Disappointing Frustrating
2002: On The Town

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

picture of the promotional film poster for charlie and the choclate factory

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Last night PY & I went to see Tim Burton’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Amazingly, even at the 9.30pm showing, it was surrounded by promotions for kids movies so I ended up believing that I was about to watch a children’s movie; a remake of the classic Gene Wilder movie. Fortunately, it’s not too long before you realise the 2005 version is nothing like it’s 1971 sibling. Tim Burton’s world is stylish and strange at the same time. It’s dark and yet full of life. Charlie – and all the Bucket’s (including an appearance by Liz Smith) are superb but it is Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka who is the undoubted star. Sure, all the golden ticket holders are as expected – exaggerated caricatures – but you know their stories. It’s the interpretation of Wonka in that Jacksonesque mode that steals every scene and Burton’s interpretation of the story gives him a back story that was lacking from the earlier version. Frankly, I (unexpectedly) loved the whole film (and the quirky little songs that I’d forgotten about).

On this day…

2007: The Slag Of All Updates
2006: Hello From Here
2002: The Art of the Blog

Memories Of The Walkman

When I was younger my Sony Walkman was one of my favourite things. Today, you would probably think of it as a first generation device but I think this was 1982 and it was a WM-4 (or the like). There’s a picture of it here. My brother and I were at an age where we wanted to listen to our own music all the time so I suspect my parents thought it would be a good idea to get us one each so we could listen to our music in the car while they had Radio 2 on. And it stopped the arguments.

I was an avid singles collector at the time and the little Walkman unit wasn’t ever going to play vinyl 45s. So, at this point in my life I became a compilation tape wizard. I would spend hours putting tapes of my records together to listen to in the car. There would be the odd album track from one of my parent’s records but most of the tracks were from those singles of mine.

I would spend hours listening, rewinding, forwarding and listening again to my soundtrack to the 80s. If it had been number one in the charts during that period then it would have been on those tapes.

And so to – what I thought was going to be – the point of this little wander down memory lane. During that time in the early 80s I used to carry a small stock of batteries around. If the Walkman stopped working I just replaced the battery (although I did learn over the years not to use the rewind functions a great deal as they drastically reduced battery life). My cheesy 80s pop was always with me.

Fast forward to 2005. This afternoon I was heading to the gym and thought I’d take my new century Walkman-equivalent with me only to find the battery was drained. Except this time I can’t just swap out the batteries – I have to charge it. So I wasn’t able to walk with my music.

And they call it progress.

On a side note, my parent’s loft probably still houses the Walkman – the cassette part gave up years ago but the radio still works and the stereo sound from it is still one of the best I’ve ever heard. Those 80s hits singles are all stored in boxes in the same loft space but the compilation tapes have long since gone. It would be amusing to try and recreate one of them through the wonders of digital music but I shan’t be setting myself that kind of goal.

Spooky side note. When I wrote the words above I had no idea that the entries on this day in 2004 and 2003 were both – in some way – music related. I wonder was it is about today?

On this day…

2007: Presentation Porn
2004: Digital Download Chart
2003: Silly Pop Stars
2003: Beep Beep To Profit
2002: When Love Comes To Town