Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stupid movie idea of the year

Yes, you've all probably heard it already, but I just want to add my voice to those saying what an utterly bonkers idea it is trying to make a new Buffy movie.

The original movie was pants. The fact that it spawned one of the best TV shows of the 90s shows that while the idea was undoubtedly good (witness the amount of sub-Buffy pretenders to have appeared since), it was the way the cast worked together, and the brilliant writing (is Buffyism in the dictionary yet?) that made it the phenomenon it was. (When was the last time you saw the name Sarah Michelle Gellar in a tabloid article without being prefaced by the words 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer star'?)

If Fran Rubel Kuzui can get a cast, and writers, that good, there should be no need to bring Buffy back from the dead (again, poor girl!). If not, well, why drag Buffy's good name back to the Hollywood mediocrity from whence it rose?

And as for doing the whole thing without a link to the show, or involving Joss Whedon... I refer to my previous comment about mediocrity.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, they want to reinvent Ghostbusters too... but at least having the Pete, Ray and Egon there to hand over to Eliza Dushku (am I right in thinking Dollhouse is just a big Dusku fetishist's paradise?)

And isn't it annoying when bloggers who pretend they can write keep starting sentences with 'and'?

Ok, rant over. Thank you for your time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Don't forget your towel!

Whatever you're doing today, make sure you know where your towel is, in celebration of perhaps the most remarkable, certainly the most successful book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor - more popular than The Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than 53 More Things to Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters: Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway?

Yoda and I will be taking our towels to a classic car show, so I should look suitably random.

Hoopy Towel Day banner by Travis Avery.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour: Friar Tuck

This week we have been looking in the general direction of Stephen Lawhead's latest novel, Tuck, albeit without looking at the book in detail, or indeed at all.

Today I'm going to look straight past Tuck, at some of his more traditional forebears - specifically, the Curtal Friar of Fountains Abbey.

And I'm doing this for no other reason than that I've been to Fountains Abbey (I've also been to Wales, but I'm not sure of the specific locations of Lawhead's books) and that seems a good excuse for a photoblog.

So here is Fountains Abbey, traditional home of Friar Tuck.

And don't forget to continue your tour at these, possibly less tangential, blogs:
Brandon Barr Jim Black Keanan Brand Rachel Briard Grace Bridges Valerie Comer Amy Cruson CSFF Blog Tour Stacey Dale D. G. D. Davidson Jeff Draper April Erwin Karina Fabian Alex Field Beth Goddard Todd Michael Greene Ryan Heart Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Joleen Howell Becky Jesse Cris Jesse Jason Joyner Kait Carol Keen Krystine Kercher Dawn King Terri Main Margaret Melissa Meeks Rebecca LuElla Miller Caleb Newell Eve Nielsen Nissa John W. Otte John Ottinger Epic Rat Steve Rice Crista Richey Hanna Sandvig Chawna Schroeder James Somers Robert Treskillard Rachel Starr Thomson Steve Trower Speculative Faith Fred Warren Phyllis Wheeler Jill Williamson

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Tunes vs CSFF Blog Tour: Robin Hood

It's that time again, pop-pickers, and since there is a shortage of Friar Tuck-themed pop in the world, today we present the Top Ten Tunes That Can Vaguely Be Considered To Have A Robin Hood Connection, as chosen by a fiendishly clever band of Merrie Men:

10. Van der Graaf Generator - Arrow
Mancunian prog-rockers named after the gismo your physics teacher used to make your hair stand on end, singing about Robin Hood's weapon of choice (I know, that was Fatboy Slim). What could be better?

9. The Corrs - Hideaway
I couldn't find a suitable Welsh folk pop tune, but this Irish one seemed like it might be appropriate.

8. Paul McCartney - Band on the Run
They were a band of merry men, see, and they were often on the run, being outlaws and all. This stuff's easy when you put your mind to it.

7. Pop Will Eat Itself - Get the Girl! Kill the Baddies!
Well, it seemed to be the plot of Prince of Thieves, so why not?

6. Stiff Little Fingers - Love of the Common People
Surely the best reason for robbing the rich to give to the poor. This punk rock cover might be a bit sweary, readers of a nervous disposition may prefer the original by Paul Young.

5. The Fatima Mansions - Everything I Do (I Do It For You)
Yes, the tune from that film, but in wacky cover version format. As featured on obscure cover version compilation Ruby Trax, and as the B-side to the Manic Street Preachers' version of the theme from MASH. Which leads us nicely to...

4. Manic Street Preachers - The Masses Against the Classes
Arguably a fairly tenuous link, but I don't think Mr Hood would have minded his Merry Men singing along.

3. Bob Marley - I Shot the Sheriff
of Nottingham, with an arrow. By a spooky coincidence, you can get this on the album, Legend.

2. Adam & the Ants - Stand and Deliver
OK, so Robin Hood wasn't really a dandy highwayman in any version of the legend, but frankly, I don't care. It's an excuse to listen to some pure 80s cheese and do one of Mr Ant's fabulously awful dances.

1. Ocean Colour Scene - Robin Hood
I could probably have produced a list of at least ten songs called Robin Hood, or at least Robin, given enough time and a sufficiently extensive record collection. However, in an attempt to stick with music I have at least heard of, we top the list with this little BritPop number from Brummie rockers Ocean Colour Scene.

So now you have your soundtrack sorted, follow the blog tour (fellow tourists listed on the previous post), visit Stephen Lawhead's webite, and check out his latest book, Tuck.

Monday, May 18, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour: Tuck

No, not sweets and sausage rolls, but the jolly fat friar after which snack food became named 'tuck'*. I speak, of course, of none other than Robin Hood's pal and spiritual advisor*, Friar Tuck. And more specifically, Stephen Lawhead's latest novel, Tuck, the concluding volume of his Robin Hood in Wales trilogy.

This particular variant on the legend has Rhi Bran y Hud hiding out on the Welsh Borders, hiding from the Normans (Wisdom and Bates). The King Raven Trilogy starts with Hood, continues with Scarlet (which was on the CSFF Blog Tour about 18 months ago) and concludes with Tuck, each volume concentrating on the title character's role in events (which sounds like a fun way to do Trilogy).

I guess Robin Hood stories are something you either enjoy or you don't, depending on various factors such as your proximity to Nottingham, and whether you watched that Costner movie. Robin Hood stories set in Wales could also go either way, depending particularly on that first variable. Personally, although I find English folklore and legend fascinating, I'm afraid I just can't get into this kind of novel. Life's too short, and there are too many books with spaceships in them... (Of course, if I'd been paying attention, I'd have prepared a review of Lawhead's Dream Thief, which I did get into, and I did enjoy. But I wasn't, sorry.)

So, as you wander through the primeval forest of the blogosphere, look out for these Merrie Men:
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Terri Main
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Epic Rat
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

*Er, possibly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to Earth

Depending on your point of view, it’s either about a month or several years past time this blog glanced in the direction of Red Dwarf. So that’s what I’m going to do now, starting with the 2009 mini-series Red Dwarf: Back to Earth.

In summary, it was a victim of it’s own hype (and, having blogged about it before the event, I guess I’m partly responsible for that). Had it met slipped quietly onto the Bank Holiday schedule of an obscure little digital channel, I have no doubt dwarfers the world over would have rejoiced. Obviously that would not have been possible, but the sheer volume of pre-event publicity it got made it a huge task for the show to live up to the expectations of fans. And, regrettably, it largely didn’t.

It was good to see the crew, and their bunk room banter, back just as we remember them. Holly was missed though, and the addition of second hologram Katerina Bartikovsky to provide scientific expertise and eye candy was a rubbish and largely pointless replacement.

It would be easy to criticise the plot – and many pundits have done so at length – but to be fair, there were some LOL moments. Not as many as I would have liked, but not every episode of Red Dwarf was a laugh riot. And I quite enjoyed the meta-fictional existentialism of the thing, although the self-references and the Blade Runner homage verged on being overdone.

What I really want to know, however – what happened after the end of series 8 – remains a mystery, explained in passing references to the successful series 9 and 10 of Red Dwarf

The plot is basically lifted from the original episode Back to Reality, and given a bit of a twist. That’s not a bad thing, as Back to Reality was one of my favourite episodes, and the new twist was an interesting and amusing one, but still, a little more originality might not have gone amiss. I mean, I wouldn’t have been surprised to have read this story as a piece of fanfic, rather than the work of one of the show’s creators.

More thoughts on Back to Earth, and Red Dwarf in general, later...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I've gone off the idea of progress.

Specifically, I've gone off the idea of MP3 players. More specifically, I've gone off my Aigo A215 MP3 player, which died yesterday. Well actually, it didn't really die. It still shows signs of life, but it's definitely flapping about like a carp out of water. Until I try to upload anything onto it, because neither my XP nor Vista PCs recognise it.

Still, life goes on; there are still podcasts to be listened to, and lengthy drives on which to listen to them, so a replacement must be drafted in, bearing in mind the lessons to be learnt from this little experience. Those lessons being:
You gets what you pays for. 'Cheap and nasty' is not a cliche without good reason.
Professor Google has much to offer when buying stuff. Googling Aigo A215 will instantly bring up a long enough discussion among people who have found this piece of kit to be a bit rubbish to put me off getting one.
So, Messrs Aigo and Sons, welcome to my blacklist.

On a tangentially related note, one of the last things the aforementioned device allowed me to listen to was one of this year's Hugo nominees on Escape Pod. Readers of this blog might well get a kick out of Article of Faith by Mike Resnick.

Short sf readers/listeners will probably have come across Mr Resnick, the most awarded short sf writer in the world, apparently. I don't believe he professes any religious faith, but he has written some great stories about religion, or featuring religious themes, and we should probably look at some of his work in more detail here in future.

Meanwhile, Article of Faith is in part about robot religion, and in part about tolerance in general. And if your MP3 player has also gone to Silicon heaven, you can also read the story on Mike Resnick's website.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesday Tunes @ Spring Harvest

I'm going to have a slightly self-indulgent YouTube moment here. And I'm not going to make a habit of posting worship songs here, because, like fantasy novels, I can see they have a place in the world, but they don't do anything for me, despite what anyone else might tell me.

Actually, that might be overstating it a little, I like music of most sorts, just don't ask me to sing. For all our sakes. I did like Vicky Beeching at Spring Harvest a couple of weeks ago. She has this whole self-deprecating humour thing that we Brits often do so well (although I'm not very good at it myself), especially when it came to her first attempt at writing a kids worship song. I would have posted a few of her other Springy songs here too, but I couldn't find The Wonder of the Cross or Yesterday, Today and Forever among the YouTube snippets. So here you go, enjoy Jesus is my Best Friend...

All I can say is that that song was all Her Babyship wanted to sing on the way home from Minehead. Job done I'd say, Vicky.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Excuses for not blogging #37: My face is the wrong shape

I’m not terrified of dentists or anything, but it must be universally recognised that there are more pleasant ways to spend an hour. It all starts off innocently enough, with the happy receptionist and the cute dental nurses showing their perfect smiles and clamouring to be your best friend, but as soon as you’re pinned in that chair and the almighty needle looms in front of your face, it’s pretty clear that anything resembling friendliness or even mere civility is left outside with the collectible issues of Take a Break.

The fact that the anaesthetic only kicked in about an hour after I needed it, and once it had worn off my mouth took a while to settle into its revised shape, left me somewhat discombobulated for a few days last week.

Thankfully I only needed the replacement of an errant filling which resigned its post just before Easter, and things have settled down now. I haven’t spat any metal filings for a few days or anything. Even so, I can’t help thinking: it’s a good job the dental nurses are cute.