" Madam Miaow Says: January 2008

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

James Marsters of the Universe: Torchwood returns


This is what telly would look like if you gave an infinite number of internet sex-pests an infinite number of keyboards.

Thank Who that someone at the BBC remembered to administer a big dose of Ritalin to Russell T Grant's team for the new Torchwood, turning the hysteria down to "screeching" from 11, which is where the dial was stuck throughout season one.

I still had to check the script wasn't by Julian Clary, though, what with the rogue Time Agent, played to great media fanfare by the lovely James Marsters of Buffy fame, embodying sex 'n' death and having to utter lines like, "Mine's smaller but it lasts longer", speculating on Captain Jack's "tourist entrance", and in the strangest mano-a-mano fuck-fight since a naked Alan Bates and Ollie Reed pummelled themselves silly in "Women In Love", arguing over who had been the "wife" in a two-week romance that felt life five years due to a space-time-continuum rift wormhole thingy. (Heh, heh, she said, "wormhole".)

Make no mistake: this was bitchslapping on a Grande Dame scale.

I was glad to see they've given up trying to turn Owen into a sex-stud. Among all these pretty people, Owen's sole function seems to be that of the plainer variety of male porno-flick stars (the tubby hirsute Ron Jeremy being a case in point, so I am told); to show their punters that ugly guys can get laid, too.

It may have had all the sexual tension of a Donald McGill seaside postcard (we British do saucy so much better than sex) but with at least the makings of a coherent plotline, it was followable. One of the climaxes (oh gawd!), when they were about to be blown up was marred by James asking, "Anyone fancy an orgy?". Subsequently moved to take a vow of celibacy by the relentless shoving down my throat (stoppit!) of the writer's single-entendres, I managed to tune out the smut flying thick and fast (oh, Jeez!) and enjoy pretty James in his pirate get-up.

Naming and shaming, the script was by Chris Chibnall; direction by Ashley Way.

See why I need Celine and Julie Go Boating?


More on James Marsters and Torchwood here.

Bloggers do Torchwood: Splintered Sunrise, Louise and A Very Public Sociologist.

James Marsters of the Universe: Torchwood returns


This is what telly would look like if you gave an infinite number of internet sex-pests an infinite number of keyboards.

Thank Who that someone at the BBC remembered to administer a big dose of Ritalin to Russell T Grant's team for the new Torchwood, turning the hysteria down to "screeching" from 11, which is where the dial was stuck throughout season one.

I still had to check the script wasn't by Julian Clary, though, what with the rogue Time Agent, played to great media fanfare by the lovely James Marsters of Buffy fame, embodying sex 'n' death and having to utter lines like, "Mine's smaller but it lasts longer", speculating on Captain Jack's "tourist entrance", and in the strangest mano-a-mano fuck-fight since a naked Alan Bates and Ollie Reed pummelled themselves silly in "Women In Love", arguing over who had been the "wife" in a two-week romance that felt life five years due to a space-time-continuum rift wormhole thingy. (Heh, heh, she said, "wormhole".)

Make no mistake: this was bitchslapping on a Grande Dame scale.

I was glad to see they've given up trying to turn Owen into a sex-stud. Among all these pretty people, Owen's sole function seems to be that of the plainer variety of male porno-flick stars (the tubby hirsute Ron Jeremy being a case in point, so I am told); to show their punters that ugly guys can get laid, too.

It may have had all the sexual tension of a Donald McGill seaside postcard (we British do saucy so much better than sex) but with at least the makings of a coherent plotline, it was followable. One of the climaxes (oh gawd!), when they were about to be blown up was marred by James asking, "Anyone fancy an orgy?". Subsequently moved to take a vow of celibacy by the relentless shoving down my throat (stoppit!) of the writer's single-entendres, I managed to tune out the smut flying thick and fast (oh, Jeez!) and enjoy pretty James in his pirate get-up.

Naming and shaming, the script was by Chris Chibnall; direction by Ashley Way.

See why I need Celine and Julie Go Boating?


More on James Marsters and Torchwood here.

Bloggers do Torchwood: Splintered Sunrise, Louise and A Very Public Sociologist.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Me and subtitled movies


Passive? Dumbed-down? Moi? I was pulled up short yesterday, when I realised my viewing life is jam-packed with Big Brother, its offshoots, and high-end/high-concept DVD drama sets (American). The last movie I saw at a cinema was a CGI cartoon - Beowulf. Ooh, dragons. The last subtitled film I saw and enjoyed immensely, without major martial arts stuff happening, was the the amazing Pan's Labyrinth directed by Guillermo Del Toro. And before that, a massive span of ten years since I saw the wonderful Ridicule which has a high old time dissing English "humour" and showing us how period drama should be made.

A new friend, let's call him "Babe", attempting to save my immortal soul from my cultural nose-dive along with the rest of the nation, presented me with a DVD of Celine and Julie Go Boating, a French film made in 1974 and directed by Jaques Rivette - in French! I mean, it's not in English or even American. I bet no-one gets shot or says "fuck" and "shit" every thirty seconds. Just the occasional "merde" which sounds so much classier - I suppose that's why our ancestors chose Anglo-Saxon, 'cause we rough types at the edge of the continent needed the catharsis and Romance is too romantic.

At three and a half hours, it's a terrifying ordeal for a girl like I to contemplate. The last marathon viewing I did was the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. And my mind even wandered with that. (Although I challenge anyone to follow the convolutions of the third movie. And if they did, kindly post bullet points here.)

But I've looked it up (on the net, natch!) and I see it's influenced Desperately Seeking Susan, and I reckon I can spot a bit of Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures in there, possibly the best female folie a deux movie evah!

So fellow culture-vulture Louise and I are planning an afternoon and evening (three and a half hours - remember?) of Celine and Julie.

As it's a lo-o-o-ong movie, I reckon it'll require an early start, and plenty provisions - it's gonna be a lengthy ride. It'll probably go like this:

Convene 1pm - have something to eat. Then movie.

1.45pm - something to eat to accompany the movie.

2.30pm - something to eat. Possibly Sara Lee cheesecake eaten straight from the freezer to allay subtitle anxiety. More movie.

3.15pm - we'll be feeling a bit peckish so something to eat plus film. Break open the crisps for a snack - must keep blood sugar up. Need fat to stay warm.

3.50pm - my eyes will be getting tired from reading the subtitles so some chocolate to freshen them up.

4.30pm - well, that's coming up for teatime, innit? Something to munch and watch the movie. Maybe cakes. People before profiteroles!

With breaks and reveries and checking up on the blogs we'll be hitting the halfway mark about now, so a little more refreshment and more movie.

By the end we'll be wanting dinner so we'll need a meal of some description. Perhaps a light roast. (Not in the Scottish politician/English footballer sense, I hasten to add.) And a bit later something hot to keep Louise warm for the journey home. My mother used to heat a brick in the oven and shove it in a sack when I had to go out into the cold and horrid. So we can do that.

All in all, I'm expecting a fab day's entertainment.

Me and subtitled movies


Passive? Dumbed-down? Moi? I was pulled up short yesterday, when I realised my viewing life is jam-packed with Big Brother, its offshoots, and high-end/high-concept DVD drama sets (American). The last movie I saw at a cinema was a CGI cartoon - Beowulf. Ooh, dragons. The last subtitled film I saw and enjoyed immensely, without major martial arts stuff happening, was the the amazing Pan's Labyrinth directed by Guillermo Del Toro. And before that, a massive span of ten years since I saw the wonderful Ridicule which has a high old time dissing English "humour" and showing us how period drama should be made.

A new friend, let's call him "Babe", attempting to save my immortal soul from my cultural nose-dive along with the rest of the nation, presented me with a DVD of Celine and Julie Go Boating, a French film made in 1974 and directed by Jaques Rivette - in French! I mean, it's not in English or even American. I bet no-one gets shot or says "fuck" and "shit" every thirty seconds. Just the occasional "merde" which sounds so much classier - I suppose that's why our ancestors chose Anglo-Saxon, 'cause we rough types at the edge of the continent needed the catharsis and Romance is too romantic.

At three and a half hours, it's a terrifying ordeal for a girl like I to contemplate. The last marathon viewing I did was the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. And my mind even wandered with that. (Although I challenge anyone to follow the convolutions of the third movie. And if they did, kindly post bullet points here.)

But I've looked it up (on the net, natch!) and I see it's influenced Desperately Seeking Susan, and I reckon I can spot a bit of Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures in there, possibly the best female folie a deux movie evah!

So fellow culture-vulture Louise and I are planning an afternoon and evening (three and a half hours - remember?) of Celine and Julie.

As it's a lo-o-o-ong movie, I reckon it'll require an early start, and plenty provisions - it's gonna be a lengthy ride. It'll probably go like this:

Convene 1pm - have something to eat. Then movie.

1.45pm - something to eat to accompany the movie.

2.30pm - something to eat. Possibly Sara Lee cheesecake eaten straight from the freezer to allay subtitle anxiety. More movie.

3.15pm - we'll be feeling a bit peckish so something to eat plus film. Break open the crisps for a snack - must keep blood sugar up. Need fat to stay warm.

3.50pm - my eyes will be getting tired from reading the subtitles so some chocolate to freshen them up.

4.30pm - well, that's coming up for teatime, innit? Something to munch and watch the movie. Maybe cakes. People before profiteroles!

With breaks and reveries and checking up on the blogs we'll be hitting the halfway mark about now, so a little more refreshment and more movie.

By the end we'll be wanting dinner so we'll need a meal of some description. Perhaps a light roast. (Not in the Scottish politician/English footballer sense, I hasten to add.) And a bit later something hot to keep Louise warm for the journey home. My mother used to heat a brick in the oven and shove it in a sack when I had to go out into the cold and horrid. So we can do that.

All in all, I'm expecting a fab day's entertainment.

Friday, 11 January 2008

How to Get Rich: Tony Blair calls in his debts


The wages of sin is money in the bank if you're a former Prime Minister.

I'm so incandescent I could light up north London after hearing the news that Blair has been given a $1 million per year job at JPMorgan, a US bank worth $1.5 trillion that has profited directly from the Iraq war. This blood money is on top of property deals, lecture circuits and book advances. Let's face it, it has never been in Blair's interest to jaw-jaw instead of war-war. Every cold destructive step he's taken has brought him and his greedy freeloading wife closer to the ranks of the super-rich whose lifestyles they so obviously covet.

I've been saying Blair's bought and paid for for ages. He's lied, toadied and brown-nosed his way to a fortune by way of war after war, and there are plenty of Daddy Warbucks out there grateful for overflowing coffers thanks to Tony.

Is it right that a British Labour Prime Minister should profit from his tenure in this way? He is set to become the richest PM in recent history.

The one thing that would get me cheering MP George Galloway to the rafters is if he did something useful like drag that grinning monster into court for war crimes.

To get Blair a $1 million per year job, it's cost the UK £10 billlion to date, over a thousand dead and injured British soldiers, and over a million dead Iraqis. Is it any wonder so many young people don't feel this is a world fit to live in?

STOP PRESS: JPMorgan has won the bid to run the new Trade Bank of Iraq, the consortium of 13 banks from 13 countries set up by the US in July which will have access to Iraqi oil and trade. Which countries benefit? Think of the governments that sent forces to aid the Allied war and that'll give you a clue.

How to Get Rich: Tony Blair calls in his debts


The wages of sin is money in the bank if you're a former Prime Minister.

I'm so incandescent I could light up north London after hearing the news that Blair has been given a $1 million per year job at JPMorgan, a US bank worth $1.5 trillion that has profited directly from the Iraq war. This blood money is on top of property deals, lecture circuits and book advances. Let's face it, it has never been in Blair's interest to jaw-jaw instead of war-war. Every cold destructive step he's taken has brought him and his greedy freeloading wife closer to the ranks of the super-rich whose lifestyles they so obviously covet.

I've been saying Blair's bought and paid for for ages. He's lied, toadied and brown-nosed his way to a fortune by way of war after war, and there are plenty of Daddy Warbucks out there grateful for overflowing coffers thanks to Tony.

Is it right that a British Labour Prime Minister should profit from his tenure in this way? He is set to become the richest PM in recent history.

The one thing that would get me cheering MP George Galloway to the rafters is if he did something useful like drag that grinning monster into court for war crimes.

To get Blair a $1 million per year job, it's cost the UK £10 billlion to date, over a thousand dead and injured British soldiers, and over a million dead Iraqis. Is it any wonder so many young people don't feel this is a world fit to live in?

STOP PRESS: JPMorgan has won the bid to run the new Trade Bank of Iraq, the consortium of 13 banks from 13 countries set up by the US in July which will have access to Iraqi oil and trade. Which countries benefit? Think of the governments that sent forces to aid the Allied war and that'll give you a clue.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Hollywood loses balls, actors find theirs: Golden Globes cancelled



Is that poor wee bairn, solidarity, raising its orphan head over in the City of Angels? Astoundingly, actors are refusing to cross the striking writers' picket lines, meaning no designer frocks on loan, no goody bags and no awards ceremony as this year's Golden Globes is cancelled.

Instead, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation that owns the Golden Globes Awards, will be announcing the winners at a Beverley Hilton press conference on Sunday when the event was scheduled to take place.

Being so used to posties and tube workers who defend their rights and their service against rapacious carpet-bagging privatisers being trashed in the media here in the UK, it quite brings a tear to my eye to see some fairly pampered talent sacrificing their spot in the limelight in support of the hard-working writers who think all this stuff up in the first place.

It's amazing that four lousy cents on a DVD is all it would take to make the writers happy and end the strike. But the studios seem intent on breaking the Writers Guild of America. Still, it could be worse. They could have a government bringing in draconian anti-strike legislation like Labour is attempting to do here. I still remember the slogan: only a slave may not withdraw their labour. And here's Labour demanding we call them "massa".

Call me an old romantic but I'll always be the starlet who slept with the writer - good luck guys.

Support is coming from all over as self-interest is superceded by principles. Joss Whedon, who gave the world Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is one of our generation's finest writers whose influence is felt in Britain from the Dr Who stable to Eastenders. He has many projects in the pipeline and yet he's encouraging his legion of fans to support the strike and take pizza and chocolate to the picket lines. Comfort as well as nutrients - now that's what I call a protest!

"None of the writers – or anyone – I’ve spoken to have ever heard of fans organizing and supporting a strike the way you guys have. Supporting our right not to entertain you. Seriously, that’s rare."

Jay Leno got off to a good start but lost his nerve and wrote himself a set for his TV chat show. What happened to spontaneity and improvisational skills? I hope he pickets himself.

George Clooney denies masterminding the latest militancy, but scores a labour movement hat-trick by being a member of the actors', writers' and directors' unions. Wadda guy. Shame about his taking the Nestle shilling.

It's hard to think of the equivalent happening here.

Anyone planning on hunkering down and watching their screen heroes' old exploits on DVD for the duration of what promises to be a long action, be warned if you are investing in the latest hardware. Make sure you buy Sony Blu-ray technology as the rival Toshiba HD-DVD now goes the way of Betamax with Paramount's decision to back Blu-ray.

Thankfully, this household is always a good ten years behind the current technology - I will miss the cathode ray tube - so we are never caught out buying the Wrong Stuff. I'm still hanging onto my favourite videos 'cause I don't entirely trust those shiny little discs. Assuming we survive the dystopian downturn headed our way, we'll probably be ready for our first plasma screen the day civilisation finally crumbles to dust. But at least there'll be writers to write about it.

Hollywood loses balls, actors find theirs: Golden Globes cancelled



Is that poor wee bairn, solidarity, raising its orphan head over in the City of Angels? Astoundingly, actors are refusing to cross the striking writers' picket lines, meaning no designer frocks on loan, no goody bags and no awards ceremony as this year's Golden Globes is cancelled.

Instead, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation that owns the Golden Globes Awards, will be announcing the winners at a Beverley Hilton press conference on Sunday when the event was scheduled to take place.

Being so used to posties and tube workers who defend their rights and their service against rapacious carpet-bagging privatisers being trashed in the media here in the UK, it quite brings a tear to my eye to see some fairly pampered talent sacrificing their spot in the limelight in support of the hard-working writers who think all this stuff up in the first place.

It's amazing that four lousy cents on a DVD is all it would take to make the writers happy and end the strike. But the studios seem intent on breaking the Writers Guild of America. Still, it could be worse. They could have a government bringing in draconian anti-strike legislation like Labour is attempting to do here. I still remember the slogan: only a slave may not withdraw their labour. And here's Labour demanding we call them "massa".

Call me an old romantic but I'll always be the starlet who slept with the writer - good luck guys.

Support is coming from all over as self-interest is superceded by principles. Joss Whedon, who gave the world Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is one of our generation's finest writers whose influence is felt in Britain from the Dr Who stable to Eastenders. He has many projects in the pipeline and yet he's encouraging his legion of fans to support the strike and take pizza and chocolate to the picket lines. Comfort as well as nutrients - now that's what I call a protest!

"None of the writers – or anyone – I’ve spoken to have ever heard of fans organizing and supporting a strike the way you guys have. Supporting our right not to entertain you. Seriously, that’s rare."

Jay Leno got off to a good start but lost his nerve and wrote himself a set for his TV chat show. What happened to spontaneity and improvisational skills? I hope he pickets himself.

George Clooney denies masterminding the latest militancy, but scores a labour movement hat-trick by being a member of the actors', writers' and directors' unions. Wadda guy. Shame about his taking the Nestle shilling.

It's hard to think of the equivalent happening here.

Anyone planning on hunkering down and watching their screen heroes' old exploits on DVD for the duration of what promises to be a long action, be warned if you are investing in the latest hardware. Make sure you buy Sony Blu-ray technology as the rival Toshiba HD-DVD now goes the way of Betamax with Paramount's decision to back Blu-ray.

Thankfully, this household is always a good ten years behind the current technology - I will miss the cathode ray tube - so we are never caught out buying the Wrong Stuff. I'm still hanging onto my favourite videos 'cause I don't entirely trust those shiny little discs. Assuming we survive the dystopian downturn headed our way, we'll probably be ready for our first plasma screen the day civilisation finally crumbles to dust. But at least there'll be writers to write about it.

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