SPQR


Having moved house recently, I have had to find a new gym to frequent. It has been something of a shock to go from the spacious environs of Virgin Active to the slightly less salubrious quarters of the Fitness First situated under the gap between platforms 17 and 18 of Liverpool Street station. One receives similar looks from overburdened commuters of a morning disappearing down into this subterranean netherworld as those seeking out the intra-mural platform for the Hogwarts express.

One of the compensatory features of my new venue is that lots of the exercise machines have their own TV screens. I was very impressed with this at first, as it allows you to control what you watch (since Midsomer Murders is never the most inspirational programming to be cycling along to), and allows people with rubbish eye sight like me to watch the TV without straining and looking like a puffed-out mole on a hamster wheel.

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The other day I was, nostalgically, if a little ill-advisedly, perusing the NME website, when a couple of reviews caught my eye.

Firstly the 1/10 review for Frankmusik’s album, with which I, as an early (only in very relative terms) champion of Mr Frank, took particular umbrage. I suppose he is something of an acquired taste, and did himself few favours with the choice of his 3rd single and what even I will admit is an annoying video starring Holly Valance, but I really don’t think he deserves 1 out of 10; the first 2 singles at least are ace. And frankly, (pun slightly intended), NME criticising anyone for being attention seeking can jog on. (more…)

So after a fortnight’s break, Radio Free Puma is broadcasting again. Over the past couple of weeks, the new television season has been kicking off in the States with stuff like Bones (awesome), Gossip Girl (jury’s still out), and Supernatural (gets better with each passing day). And now the 7th and probably final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm has begun, my Monday night comedy downloading fests have too.

I’m about to watch two shows: one is the first episode of the new Curb season, and the second is the new HBO show Bored To Death. I’m telling you this because I’m going to lay it on the line. I’m staking my reputation on this show being a laugh riot. (more…)

Three wrinkly gig suggestions for the autumn:

Magazinehttp://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/music/productions/magazine-46563

Probably of those ‘more important than they were good’ bands, join former Buzzcocks front man Howard Devoto for a night of post-punk. Everyone from Morrissey to Radiohead has covered them – check out their flagship tune Shot by Both Sides.

Dinosaur Jrhttp://www.koko.uk.com/gigs.php?event=848

Back with the original line-up and a new record, Dinosaur Jr can’t really be classified as anything. Noisy yet melodic songs that don’t really go anywhere; heavy guitar solos, lots of feedback. And really really loud. Check out what they did to The Cure.

UK Subshttp://www.meanfiddler.com/?content=2

What’s not to love? An old school punk band fronted by a former R and B singer, and with tracks such as ‘Drunken Sailor’ and ‘666 Yeah’, the Subs have been going for 33 years and have gone through no less than 28 drummers. Also each of their albums starts with a different letter of the alphabet; they’ve got to V already so time is running out…

A colleague told me a while ago that he doesn’t listen to new music because to do so would be pointless when “it’s all been done before”.

This struck me as attention-seeking.

But Radio 1 was playing in the room at the time, as it does most of the time at my place of work, and over the next few hours my ear drums were treated to the following pieces of music (some of them twice):

 Pussycat Dolls – ‘Hush Hush; Hush Hush’

The Dolls’ execrable new record began life as a ballad on their slightly scarily-named album Doll Domination. But in order to prepare it for release as a single, it was decided that the track should contain a baffling interlude during which it turns into Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’. Nicole Scherzinger, taking time out from the Grand Prix circuit, sings a verse from the 1978 disco tune for no apparent reason, before returning to the original melody for one last excruciating hurrah. In the video she even dons a comedy afro last seen on one (or indeed other) of Harry Enfield’s Scousers.  (more…)

SirGaga

It’s just a little bit of a penis and really doesn’t interfere much with my life

Apparently Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite! If you want in no way conclusive proof then check out this article and video, brought to us by that most trustworthy of news sources, the Evergreen State College Examiner.

BandWagonesque

Why is it that, like the proverbial London buses, films seem to come in twos?

There are a whole series of films that came out within a matter of months or even weeks of each other which share oddly similar themes, for example: Dante’s Peak and Volcano [which, incidentally, is graced with the brilliant tag line “The Coast is Toast”]; Deep Impact and Armageddon; Antz and A Bug’s Life; Mission to Mars and Red Planet; The Illusionist and The Prestige; Tombstone and Wyatt Earp; and, one from the old school, Turner & Hooch and K9.

This has to be more than a co-incidence. Whether it is because there is a hot script going round all the studios which gets made by one studio and the others make a similar (but invariably worse) movie, not wanting to miss out, or because they get wind of a rival’s big project, I can’t believe that all these films with similar plots and/or premises just happen to come out in the same year.

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