The Radio Presenter, Miranda, Gypsy Weddings and why Echo and the Bunnymen changed my life….a little

Hello again avid readers,

Apologises firstly for not updating sooner.

Anyways let’s get down to it.

Well first thing’s first, I presented my first show’s on the radio last week at 6 Towns Radio. Our usually host for Tuesdays and Thursdays Nigel Howle was unable to make it in last week, so I offered to help out.

Gotta say I was bricking it a little in the buildup, but once I was in control of the desk and the many, many buttons it went really well. On the Tuesday show we did a greatest hits of sorts of previous interviews with my musings inbetween. Also being left with the playlist was a good power trip too, although I may have gone a little overboard with my cheesy choices. I did manage to negotiate the news and a youtube song quite comfortably, which was probably the hardest part.

To be honest I love a good natter anyway, and the ability to rant is my god given gift I think, sober or not.

Anyways Thursdays show had a bit more structure to it, as I roped in Malcolm Henson to come into the studio and talk to me about his publishing company at Staffordshire University. I have done some indexing work for Malcolm over the past few months with money too tight to speak about, and he jumped at the chance of some publicity for the company. We seemed to chat forever about all things books, and even did a competition live on-air which was fun for me.

Anyways here’s the links to the interview and the competition if you fancy a listen again:

http://6towns.co.uk/blog/2011/01/win-copy-inspired-staffordshire

http://6towns.co.uk/blog/2011/01/talk-towns-paul-downey-january-20th-2011

Now while I was on the radio on Tuesday (I know I can’t stop talking about it), I did a link for the song ‘Sisters are doing it for themselves’ by the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin. This was due to a new-ish comedy I had been watching recently, Miranda which has just finished its second season over Christmas. It’s another case of ‘how did I miss it first time round?’, within the first few minutes I was crying with laughter. It’s very basic comedy, but I find that to be the most appealing as complex comedy limits its audience for me.

Anyways lo and behold the show went on to win 3 awards at the National Comedy Awards at the weekend,who said I didn’t know what I was talking about?

Another TV gem I have finally got round to watching is the Channel 4 show ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’, which is just pure genius. Just for the names alone, such as groom-to-be Swanley who after his bride is late for their wedding decides to go the local pub for some dutch courage and then some.

Having been to alot of boxing matches around the country in the past (well mainly Manchester and London really) I have found that the gypsy contingent is quite easy to spot. Basically the men have mullets, wear wifebeaters and the women are orange and basically have it all on show if you catch my drift.

Safe to say I will be tuning in for the next episode anyway.

My officially new favourite TV show is Misfits, as well. My mate had recommended it to me at Christmas, so as I have had a lot of free time I decided to give it a watch, and become totally gripped. Basically it’s the teen-drama/comedy that Skins wishes it was, with a hint of the science fiction about it (what’s not to like). But just like Miranda, I do feel that now the show has broken into the mainstream, it could suffer as so many others have in the past (Gavin and Stacey I’m looking at you).

I have seen a couple of cracking films recently of differing tastes. As you know I am bit of a horror film fan, so I finally got round to watching Dario Argento’s Sleepless, which I have had for over 2 years and never got round to seeing before now. It was truly excellent, a typical Argento style film, which didn’t hold back on the gore, had an element of murder-mystery to it and also had a great score from rockers Goblin.

Unfortunately it put me in the mood for more of the same, and I chose The Stendhal Syndrome, which I can safely say is the worst of Argento’s films by some distance.

On the flipside from horror I have watched a couple of teen drama/comedies recently and found them brilliant in different ways. The first one I saw was the 80s throwback ‘Easy A’  in which the lead character lies about having sex at school to get popular, then per the script it spectacularly backfires. ‘Easy A’ deserves to be up there with the best of the 80s teen films such as The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Class and Porky’s, and it even gives a subtle nod to them (watch it and you’ll know what I mean).

Here’s the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNbPnqyvItk

The other film in question is the suprisingly gripping ‘500 Days of Summer’ now despite one of my friend’s description as being a mirror image of his previous relationship I decided to watch with an open mind. The first thing I notice about alot of films, which I find strange by the way, is the soundtrack for it, is absolutely brilliant. We have The Smiths, The Pixies (who I now want to hear more of) and even a cheesy excerpt from Hall n Oates.

Here’s one of the standout scenes from the film, don’t worry I’m giving nothing away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tJoIaXZ0rw

Anyways the film is great, and really goes in a different direction than you would expect from a teen drama.

After the hearing some of the superb music on this soundtrack, I decided to finally check out a band people had been telling me about forever: Echo and the Bunnymen. I have heard them compared to Coldplay in the past, which I worried about (as Coldplay are boring and pretty shit).

Now there Greatest Hits is three cds long, and to be honest I haven’t listened to all of it yet, but it definitely flirts with brilliance on Rescue, Do It Clean and The Killing Moon.

I’m not get all this jump towards dub step in the music industry recently, I listened to James Blake’s album the other day and have to say wasn’t impressed in the slightest. Maybe it’s a sign of age, but I ust didn’t get it’s freshness, as to me dub was shit before and still is now. Rant over.

I haven’t ventured out to the cinema at all this month, mainly due to lack of choices. January is generally a lean month for films, and I can’t think of one film that remotely interests me at the moment. Maybe John Carpenter’s The Ward, as I am a big Carpenter fan, but the film has had bad writeups everywhere.

Book wise I finished off Stuart Macone’s superb ‘Cider with Roadies’, and I am now getting into former WWE wrestler Bret Hart’s autobiography. Myself like I’m sure alot of you, were big fans of the wrestling in the late 80s and early 90s where it dominated TV. Basically Bret doesn’t hold back in this story of his life, including some quite shocking stories, wrestling may be fake but this story is very true and has got me gripped so far. I have looked at some old wrestlers books in the past and been quite skeptical (people such as Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, The Rock etc.) as some are endorsed by the WWE themselves which basically is a good indication they have been watered down to protect the company’s image. This book though isn’t which gives it that little spark. I will keep you all posted on my thoughts of it as I go on, it is 553 pages long so you could be receiving updates for sometime yet.

In other news some of the lead roles have been announced for the Dark Knight Rises, the long-awaited third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. Anne Hathaway (currently starring in Love and Other Drugs) has been cast as Catwoman, and Tom Hardy has been cast as Bane. Some interesting choices by Nolan, which have certainly got the internet forums talking, I’m sure just as the casting of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker did.

Having re-watched The Dark Knight the other night, I have to say it will take something really special to top that, which is probably the best blockbuster of recent memory (along with maybe Transformers). But I do have faith in Nolan’s ability to deliver as he is on quite a hot streak right now after Inception’s success (another film I must get round to watching soon).

Also the diverse casting of the quite timid Hathaway may work in his favour, as her transformation from Selena Kyle to Catwoman can be all the more dramatic.

That about wraps it up for me, until next time.

Paul.

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