Thursday, 13 November 2008

Who was the best James Bond?

This is a question that everyone has an opinion on. The fact that I can't abide James Bond does not stop me from having an opinion.

For the sake of simplicity I'll be sticking to the main movie cannon. This sadly excludes Bob "Blockbusters" Holness from consideration. Likewise David Niven is gone.

So the candidates are:

1. Sean Connery.

For some reason considered the "definitive Bond" by many, presumably because it is apparently Gay to think of anyone else as the best Bond. Unlike Luke I am secure enough in my hetrosexuality to call bullshit on this. Connery's bond is not so much dry as arid. I cannot imagine him existing outside of the confines of the stories in which he inhabits. He is truely two dimensional and not in an "iconic way". Factor in the fact that Connery is clearly now in a competition to become the living "breaveheart" whilst simultaneously trying to out insane Mel Gibson and becoming the poster child of Domestic Violence and you can see why I would rather watch the grass grow than watch him as Bond.

2. George Lazenby.

Does he even count anymore? Even McGann has had a better run as Doctor Who than this joker had as Bond.

3. Roger Moore.

Appears to be as sound as a pound and a top bloke in real life. Brought some humour and levity to the role. I can watch his Bonds without wanting to gouge my eyes out. Now that's not to say that I enjoy them (I don't) merely that his portrayal is such to justify the films existing.

4. Timothy Dalton:

Took a "serious" approach to the role. Thereby showing that he had missed the point entirely. Bond is a tedious schoolboys fantasy. If done in the right way though (ie the Roger Moore way) there can be some fun and enjoyment to be had from this rather limited character who basically only ever experiences one sort of story. He did at least have the right colour hair and also doesn't seem to think he is the King of His people.

5. Pierce Brosnan.

I can remember me (and plenty of others) being adamant that he was perfect for the role, bron to play bond etc. Its a measure of how shite an actor he is that he is dreadful in the role he was born to play.

6. Daniel Craig. Haven't seen him. But plenty of Bond fans I know aren't impressed. Moreover he seems to be following in Dalton's footsteps.

In conclusion. Roger Moore was the best by virtue of the following:

1) Being the least worst Bond.
2) Being in the least worst films.
3) Being a decent guy in real life.

Also just to re-iterate, Sean Connery is an arse.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Karate Kid or Mortal Kombat?

I still love the cheesy original though.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Pulp - This is Hardcore

AKA: This is really underrated.

Lets go back in time to the fag end of brit pop. This was an era when all the old certainties were gone. The tories had finally been kicked out of office which in itself was pretty much the deathnell for Britpop and the dawning of the infinitely inferior "cool britania". The problem was when the Tories were in, the bright young things had something to kick against. It was in a sense a pop-cultural revolution. Blair & NuLabour weren't stupid and they went about appropriating and neutralising this. Similarly the music industry had caught up with the "indie" scene and went about commodatising it. Thus was born "cool britania".

It's interesting now (10 years on) to look back on this and see how the britpop bands dealt with this. You had the likes of the Verve, who had run their dreary course, giving up altogether. Then you had the likes of Oasis, basically becoming a tribute act to themselves. To be fair to Oasis they still chuck out some good singles and Heathen Chemistry was a blinding album. On the other hand the election of Blair basically had the same effect on them as the destruction of the second Death Star did the rebel alliance. Suddenly they were left with nothing to rebel against. Had they (or indeed anyone else) been more prescient, the britpop scene could've been re-invented as a means of mobilising support against Blair as he grew steadily more insane and murderous. Unfortunately Robbie Williams and Angels happened instead. A fine tune, but the very essence of "cool britania".

Then you had the likes of Supergrass who embrassed Cool Britania because they were finally a "cool band" as opposed to a bunch of talentless, also ran, cliched, fuckwits turning out tediously predictable sub-stones dross.

Then you had the likes of Blur/Albarn and Radiohead who decided to abandon the britpop thing altogether in favour of something dangerously close to progressive rock.

Pulp, possibly more particularly Jarvis Cocker, did something altogether different in commemorating the end of an era at the exact time the era ended. Pulp were of course uniquely placed to do this, having been mistaken as a britpop band, despite the available evidence to the contrary. Different Class is one of those classic cases of a band being known for its most atypical work. Its a good album and one of the best britpop albums. But its probably Pulp's weakest album. Its certainly their most mainstream one.

This is Hardcore was an exercise in deliberately alienating the Johnny come Lately "fans". It was a brave thing for Pulp to do, but its clearly now an album that stands the test of time. Its also the album where they were at their lyrical peak.

The recent re-master/re-issue is a necessary acquisition for the bonus disc. But for the album itself you need the original CD release. The "remaster" is compressed and brickwalled to fuck. This is a real shame because the original CD has some of the best production of the last 10 years and is comparable with anything Radiohead have done. The album has a lush, Floydian sound, but with some bite, the aural equivilent of a good dark chocolate.

The album has a clear set of themes throughout. Specifically alienation, paranoia and dissaffection with modern life together with an examination of the seedier side of modern society and in particular ideas of modern male/FHM style sexuality. This may sound like depressing stuff and in a way it is. But its depressing in the way that the Blues are depressing. An uplifting and cathartic style of depression. With some belting tunes. The best of which for those of a downloading bent are:

1) The Fear.

The track starts of with a wailing siren and proceeds to tell a tale of paranoia and isolation. This was likely autobiographical as Jarvis wasn't in the best way at the time. But he still had a way with words.

2) I'm a Man.

I'm just gonna quote the awesome lyrics here "I start to wonder, what it takes to be a man. Well i've learned to drink and i've learned to smoke and I learned to tell a dirty joke. If that's all there is then there's no point to me".

3 and 4) Glory Days and The Day After the Revolution. A classic double whammy to end the album as Jarvis rails against Blair, NuLabour, the media and so on. Lyrical gems include: "come share this golden age with me, in my single room apartment", "Oh we were brought up on the space race, now they expect us to clean toilets", "We are the children of the new world", "Although nothing looks different a revolution took place".

Again these are tracks that the likes of Oasis could never do. Firstly because they weren't that talented lyrically, but more importantly because they go against the grain of britpop. The Oasis/Blur brand of britpop was very get up and go. It was music that said you can do this and fuck the politicians and the toffs and anyone else who gets in your way. Pulp were always much more savvy. Fundamentally people are limited, for better or worse, by who they are and their life circumstances. A bit of swagger might get you in the NME if your as talented a vocalist as Liam Gallagher, but in real life it will see you on the dole or a punch on the hooter. Similarly the politicians and the toffs are practically an irrelevance because its the corporations who have things tied up. Pulp realised this and as such even Different Class has a knowing and cynical sneer to it. Almost as thought Pulp went to the Britpop scene to see what it was all about and weren't that impressed.

This is Hardcore therefore stands as a rare contemporaneous historical representation of the end of an era. A comment on a band that predated and would ultimately outlast the genre. Pulp would once again confound expectations with We Love Life. But that's for another post.

Edit: Jarvis 1 Jacko 0,

Monday, 3 November 2008

Bremner, Bird and Fortune wish they were this funny.

Absolutely classic stuff:

"beyond the environment".

"By all means the front fell off".

F1 returning to the beeb

Nearly forgot about this.

We've had years of the wossiefied hair metal crap that ITV have foisted on us.

Its time to return to the best sports introduction ever:

Nigel Mansell

Now I am well chuffed about Hamilton winning the F1 championship. We've been too long without a British winner, but Mansell will always be the spirit of motor racing (even if Shumie was technically better). This is why:

1) 4th highest number of grand prix wins. Only had the best car in one season.
2) He stayed competitive with Senna and Prost even when they were in much better cars.
3) The only man to hold the F1 and CART championships at the same time. And he absolutely WALKED the CART championship.
4) He didn't get on with Ron Dennis.
5) He was the last person tobe PERSONALLY selected to drive a Ferrari by Enzo Ferrari.
6) He didn't get on with Frank Williams.
7) He drove the "red 5"
8) He would've won 3 titles but for technical faults at the last moment.
9) He had about a bazillion injuries and came back ever time. Seriously, the guy wrecked his body even more than his cars.
10) He was know as "the Lion" by the Ferrari fans.
11) He tried to push his broken down car around the final lap of the 1984 USA grand prix to get the remaining one championship point available to him.
12) The last I checked he was still the fastest "star in a reasonably priced car".

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Alan Partidge Quote of the Day

Monkey Tennis?

Football stuff

Loads of things that caught my attentions today.

Firstly the "respect the ref" campaign.

Exhibit A:

The man to the right is David Elleray. This is a man that spent the whole of his career blatantly favouring Liverpool football club at every available opportunity. It's also worth noting that he made a living as a Geography teacher.

Exhibit B:

Graham Poll. This is a guy that managed the "3 card trick" at the world cup. He also showed an extensive bias towards the Arsenal through his career. He now makes a living as a rent a quote on various TV and radio shows. Wiki Link:

Exhibit C:

Uriah Rennie. All I would say about this guy is that I was disconcerted to discover that he is allowed to be a magistrate. On the other hand his wiki page shows his a martial arts expert. I'll say no more as it would appear he could kick my head off and then put me in nick too.

What this all boils down to is that these guys have to do very little yet still consistently fuck it up. They then wonder why people get irate with them. Respect is earned, which brings me to:

Exhibit D

Nobody messed with the oustpan man. primarily because he hardly ever got things wrong and did his fucking job!

Anyway, I do think the whole idea of only cpatains being able to speak to the ref is a good idea. But there also needs to be some obligations on the referees not to be quiet so shit as they are now.

This leads me to today's footie focus on the BBC and the bile inducing sight of Martin "caveman" Keown trying to take the moral highground on this matter.

Which in turn brings me onto Tony Adams. Now I kinda like Adams. Granted he played for the Arsenal and that is a big mark against him. But from all i've heard (not all of which is widely known) he is a top bloke. One of those guys you loved to hate back in the day. Now clearly the prospect of an Arsenal love-in reunion with Keown at Pompey is a horrifying prospect and I understand Sky TV have already developed technology for the HD signal to automatically switch off whenever one of their camera's picks up Martin Keown's face. But the bigger problem is stress.

Stress, in the past, lead Tony Adams to this:

Which in turn lead to something like this:

Football management is a nasty game. It got Cloughie and he had no previous history, I hope Adams keeps a clear head and that Pompey go on a good run with him.

Speaking of Cloughie, Derby are playing Forest. The ideal time for some classic quotes:

"If God had intended for us to play football in the clouds he wouldn't have put grass on the ground."

"I'd ask him how he thinks it should be done, have a chat about it for twenty minutes and then decide I was right"

"They thought I was going to change it lock, stock and barrel. They were shrewd because that's exactly what I would have done" - on why he was rejected by the FA for the England job.

"I certainly wouldn't say I'm the best manager in the business, but I'm in the top one."

" This is a terrible day.....for Leeds United" - exiting Elland Road after being sacked after 44 days as manager.

But best of all:

"As far as I'm concerned you can throw all those medals you've won in the bin, because you won them all by cheating" - to the Leeds United players on his first day as manager.

Seduced by packaging

Just paid £5 more for the HMV version of series 4, but seriously how cool is that cover.

The truth about James Bond

As called on this weeks Fighting Talk. He is a alcoholic drink driver.