Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Token Smokin' Hottie: "Malcolm Tucker"


What is it about a man swearing that is so hot? I have no fucking idea, just as I have no idea why exactly it is I fancy the hell out of Malcolm Tucker, the sweary, craggy-faced Scotsman who gets all the best lines in the brilliant TV series The Thick Of It but could not enthusiastically be deemed "conventionally attractive" by any known measure.

Probably this crush of mine hints at something disturbing, like a secret desire to be shouted at and knocked into the kitchen cabinets. Maybe I should be seeing a therapist.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things I think but do not say to the woman who sits across the aisle from me #34

I KNOW THIS TIME OF YEAR IS REALLY BUSY AND CRAZY FOR EVERYONE BUT SERIOUSLY IF I HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU DISCUSS THE PROGRESS OF YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR ANOTHER 5 FUCKING SECONDS I AM GOING TO EXPLODE. OR IMPLODE. DEFINITELY ONE OF THE TWO AND EITHER WAY IT'S GOING TO BE MESSY. I'M NOT TRYING TO BE A BITCH BUT SERIOUSLY HOW IS IT THAT I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE BUYING EACH OF YOUR NEPHEWS? THAT'S INSANE: I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I'M BUYING MY OWN NEPHEWS AND, FRANKLY, A) THE PERSONAL DEODERANT PREFERENCES OF YOUR VARIOUS RELATIVES IS INFORMATION I COULD REALLY REALLY DO WITHOUT AND B) A LYNX MULTI-PACK IS KIND OF A BULLSHIT GIFT TO BEGIN WITH.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sweet Valley... Cry?


You can’t go home again. But that doesn’t stop us trying.

Earlier this year bookstores across the world took delivery of a slim novel called Sweet Valley Confidential — a title that may mean little to many but means a great deal to women of a certain age and disposition who had the date March 29 circled on their calendars for months beforehand.

The novel in question was the long-awaited (uh, by someone I assume) follow-up to the insanely successful Sweet Valley High series of books that shaped the teenage lives of millions growing up in the 1980s and 1990s.

The series should never have worked, focused as it was on the lives of nauseatingly beautiful and irritatingly popular twin sisters growing up in California. With one twin a boring goody two-shoes (Elizabeth) and the other a thrill-seeking tramp (Jessica) many of the books culminated in preachy conclusions that had readers believing girls who rode motorbikes were doomed to wind up — at best — in a coma and — at worst — suffer an identity crisis that would have them believing they were their own twin sister. Seriously, that actually happened.

But the series was hugely successful, running to more than 150 books, spawning a TV series (god that was bad), a slew of spin-off books and leaving in its wake a generation of fans whose formative teenage years would be forever entwined with that of the Wakefield Twins.

So perhaps we should be thoroughly unsurprised that publishers wanted to cash in on the nostalgia of those fans with the release of SVC, which picks up ten years from the end of the series.

The assumption at the heart of that decision — that the girls who once gasped over Jessica’s selfishness or swooned over Elizabeth’s weirdly sexless relationship with her beige boyfriend Todd will want to know what happened next — was probably not entirely correct. But even if the book does make squillions (and, er, the jury's still out on that one) there's something a little bit gross about dipping so thoroughly into the nostalgia well.

Nostalgia itself is a positive thing — even science says so.

After a brief stint in the 17th and 18th century where nostalgia — the term comes from the Greek words for return (‘nostos’) and pain (‘algos’) — was viewed as a serious illness modern science has gone in the other direction and decided that it’s good for us. Studies have shown that reminiscing about happy times past can give us a sense of belonging, increase self esteem and boost our happiness. According to a recent study daydreaming about happy past memories can even help us deal with fears about our own mortality, imbuing our empty, pointless lives with something resembling meaning.

But — and it is a big but — there is a difference between indulging in nostalgia and trying to recreate the success of a past phenomenon whose time has come and gone.
Even the most devoted fan of the original SVH series would have to concede that the material has not aged well. Attempting to drag the Sweet Valley universe into modern times is only going to expose all the flaws that fans failed to notice as innocent teenagers: that the Wakefields were vapid brats, that Jessica might have been a sociopath and that having one sip of alcohol in the front seat of your boyfriend’s convertible will not necessarily turn you into a drunk slut who is throwing her life away.

Though it shames me to admit it, last night I finished reading SVC and it was... one of the weirder books I've ever read. I genuinely couldn't work out whether it was deadly serious (Liz cries after she orgasms? Really?) or taking the piss (I'll admit it, I laughed when the Wakefield's insufferable mother, Alice, screamed at her husband to "bring out the fucking cake, Ned" after her mother's 80th birthday party goes off the rails).

So the book didn't make me want to kill myself. But neither did it fill me with a warm glow of love for the original material. Instead it made me faintly embarassed to have SVC sitting in my bookcase alongside the likes of War and Peace. Doubly so as I've never, er, got around to reading War and Peace.

If we have learnt nothing from the travesty that was the last three Star Wars movies it is that some things are better left alone.

We need to preserve our happy memories where they belong — in the past — and where we can enjoy them through rose-tinted glasses, not try to cash in on those memories, fail, and ruin them for good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Token Smokin' Hottie: Ryan Gosling


I know what you're thinking: I'm surprised it's taken me this long too.

How is it that I've not yet tapped Ryan Gosling as a token smokin' hottie, given the extreme depth of my crush? I blame the fact that I'm quite a slow developer, having only stumbled onto Gosling in 2006 in the movie Half Nelson, a couple of years after everyone else had already fallen in love with him for his turn in the guiltiest of pleasures that was The Notebook.

Since then my crush, initially simmering on the back burner over a medium flame, has exploded into some kind of, uh, fireball? I'm going to say fireball. The reason for this is simple: suddenly Gosling is motherfucking EVERYWHERE.

He's schmoozing it up as an insanely well-dressed charmer in Crazy, Stupid, Love - the romantic comedy I loved to pieces until the last half hour. He's cruising behind the wheel in Drive, definitely one of my favourite movies of the year and the turning point at which my Gosling Love morphed into Gosling Mania. He's even storming down the halls, West Wing-style, in The Ides of March, the film I finally got around to seeing tonight and thoroughly enjoyed, not least because it poured Gosling into a delightful black winter coat I can't stop thinking about.

The thing is, in some respects Gosling is not spectacular looking: he's got nice facial symmetry, yes, and a cute smile (definitely my achilles heel when it comes to the boys) but if you look at a still photo of him you can start to see that there's nothing so spectacular about his looks. His jaw could definitely be stronger. His eyes tend towards the squinty. He even, although it pains me to say it, looks pretty fucking creepy with a goatee. Then again, doesn't everyone?

What makes Gosling work is that he has charm, oodles of it, so much charm it probably drips into his bed sheets at night and he wakes up in a puddle of it, so much charm he can afford to put it all up there on the screen and still walk away with charm to spare, so much charm that he manages to make George Clooney - George Clooney - look unappealing just by virtue of that fact that Gosling is standing next to him onscreen.

That right there is quite an achievement, in itself making him easily one of the most worthy holders of the TSH crown.

UPDATE: As Bec points out in the comments, I totally should have pointed to this.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said

As I suspect many other do, I often judge books by their covers. I'm not being metaphorical. When I'm browsing in a library or book store I'm prepared to overlook a dud cover if I've heard good things about a book or I already like the author. If, however, I'm flying blind then I'm more likely to pick up books with covers that interest me or convince me they're concealing the kind of novel I want to read.

With that in mind, I've been looking at different covers over the years used for one of my favourite Philip K Dick novels, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. The premise of the book is that insanely famous television star, Jason Taverner, wakes up one morning to find that nobody knows who he is. It's a great read and a classic of the genre but, seriously, the cover art that's been used over the years? Cracked. OUT.

Going only by the title (Dick is soooo good with the titles) and the cover art what the hell would I make of these if I stumbled across them for the first time?

A homoerotic look into the psychology of body building triplets as they struggle to get off the 'roids so they can join the police force, just like their father always wanted...

Jason Taverner was just another good looking cop who plays by his own rules until a chance encounter with the mob sends him fleeing to the Amalfi Coast where he goes deep under cover by becoming an art dealer. But he's about to find out you can't always outrun your enemies...

In which Jason Taverner is a banker hopelessly late for an important client meeting. CAN HE MAKE IT?...

Jason "Babyface" Taverner never wanted to be on the force. But when he gets sent undercover to investigate a series of attacks at the local high school and encounters the free spirited Kelly Ripper he's going to find out that some things are worth fighting for...

So I guess the police are the puppets... or are they the puppeteers? Can puppets feel pain? Let's find out...

KHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Things I like Slightly More than My Job Tonight

My (still kinda new) pair of shoes, even though they don't go with anything.

My morning Epic Espresso soy mocha, even though it costs $6.70.

My afternoon diet coke.

The new Jeffrey Eugenides novel, The Marriage Plot.

Turning off the light at night when I'm really, really tired.

Waking up on a Saturday morning with nothing much to do.

The so-so couscous salad I had for lunch today.

Taking out the recycling bin.

Cleaning out the regular kitchen bin.

The super painful cut on my foot that I managed to get while (literally) running to be on time for my haircut at the weekend.

Having my wisdom teeth removed.

Token Smokin' Hottie (by proxy): Paul Newman


So I agree with more or less everything in this charming article on the lovely Paul Newman, and this bit made me laugh -
"Racing fast things, however, added the needed counter-point to Newman’s otherwise steady image. But just in case you thought he might be getting too wild, DON’T WORRY, he’s also making salad dressing. Yes, that big, broad, smiling face on your food items? That is an aging Paul Newman, so eager for you to make a Caesar Salad so that all proceeds can help ill children go to summer camp."
(The only part I disagree with is the two second throwaway reference slagging off X-Men: First Class, which I enjoyed thanks almost entirely to all the crazy hot Ho-Yay chemistry between James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender). But, yeah, Paul Newman. Faaaawk.

Reasons why I am madly in love with the new drama/soap/trashfest show, Revenge


1. It's (supposedly, anyway) based on Alenxander Dumas' awesome (though nuts long) novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. As you might imagine from the above point, the main character is uh kind of a sociopath who pursues revenge at the expense of her own happiness.

3. Its supporting cast includes a skinny, shaggy-haired software billionaire who dresses like the preppiest prep you've ever met and utters this line - "I'm about a three on the Kinsey scale myself" - just before he totally nails some random scheming dude to get him onside/stop him from medding.

4. It's the soapiest show on TV right now and I mean that in a very good way. People scheme, other people die, mistresses get thrown off balconies and then creepily taken in to recuperate by the very people who (albeit unintentionally) were responsible for her getting thrown off the balcony in the first place. In short: IT'S AMAZING WHY AREN'T YOU WATCHING IT RIGHT NOW?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For the love of... Annie Hall


It seems like kind of a cliche to list Woody Allen's 1977 film, Annie Hall, among my favourites. It's a critically beloved film, recognised by some as one of the great American movies, so I'm hardly breaking new ground. If I was smarter I'd say I enjoyed his earlier, more screwball/insane movies. I like his old stuff better than his new stuff etc. Actually I should be doubly embarassed because the only reason I got into Woody Allen in the first place was a boy: he was smart, bespectacled, older and more or less indifferent to me - with good cause. I was a dorky teenager sporting (at various times and - for a bad year or so - all at once) glasses, braces and orthodics. But he was always sweet to me and would chat about books, music and movies while I daydreamed about what our wedding would be like. So it was because of him (he was hugely into Woody Allen... he actually kinda looked a bit like Woody Allen) that I sat down one sleepy Saturday afternoon to watch Annie Hall.

I'm not sure what I expected: this object of my affection was a lot smarter than me and seemed so serious and bookish that I guess I was bracing myself for two hours of turgid screenplay I didn't understand, no plot and certainly no laughs. Instead I found... oh man, what did I find?

1. Happiness
This sounds like an aside but it's not: Antonia Quirke, in her very good novel Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers, said something true about Woody Allen and his ability to write happiness.
"Happiness in movies is a bit like love - the camera's always cutting away. You hardly ever get to see it. All you get those ultra-casual but ever so slightly speeded-up kitchen sequences over breakfast just before Harrison Ford's wife gets murdered by a terrorist or his kid gets crushed by a hit-and-run HGV. Instead we have happy montage sequences, like the one in Manhattan where Woody Allen dangles a hand into Central Park lake and comes up with an armful of muck. Woody was the master of these sequences. So happy they've been playing on the inside of millions of skulls for twenty years."
Quirke wasn't writing about Annie Hall in particular but she was so right: is there a better scene of what a happy relationship can look like than when he and Dianne Keaton are in the kitchen with the lobsters? Or any more depressing than when he tries to recreate it with another girl?

2. A Great Hook
Movies (and indeed books) are like relationships: if they're not great at the start I have no faith that they're going to get better and no enthusiasm to see if they do. I love the start of Annie Hall: not so much the flashback stuff but just that stupid joke he tells at the start and the way he rolls it all out there. It still draws me in, even when I know how it's going to end. The only one of his movie's that did it better was Manhattan and that was, you know, pretty fucking amazing.


3. Jokes
Before I got into Woody Allen I think I had a vague feeling that movies couldn't be serious AND have jokes. But Annie Hall is a serious movie, or at least it has something serious to say, and yet it's also really funny, just packed with one-liners I mostly missed the first time around and long dopey jokes that shouldn't work but somehow do.

4. Romance
Rom-coms these days are a pretty sad bunch. For every good romantic comedy I've seen I reckon I've seen five bad ones, or maybe two truly bad ones and three that just stopped short of making me want to stick a fork in my eye. For this reason I hesitate to call Annie Hall a romantic comedy but of course it is. And unlike the vast majority of bullshit rom-coms I see these days, Annie Hall makes the stakes feel both real and high. It even kinda made a love interest out of Woody. I... might not have thought that was possible. The scene on the balcony with the subtitles still holds up, I think, pretty damn well.

5. A Perfect Ending
I won't go into details, in case someone who reads this hasn't seen the movie but this is just perfectly done. Just like the starting sequence, it gets me every time.

The Angel and Devil on my Shoulders: A Conversation


Angel: You definitely do not need this beautiful, beautiful Cambridge Satchel Company satchel.

Devil: Don't you?

Angel: No. You have plenty of bags already, including a perfectly fetching black handbag that you only bought a year ago.

Devil: But do you have any... satchels?

Angel: Satchels are for uni students or pretentious wannabe writers who sit around in coffee shops ostentatiously scribbling in a notebook or tapping away on a laptop.

Devil: YOU could be one of those pretentious wannabe writers... if only you had this satchel.

Angel: Dude, that's not a good thing.

Devil: Isn't it?

Angel: Anyway, it's leather: you don't wear leather.

Devil: But, looked at another way leather could be the environmentally responsible option. You can buy a cheap synthetic bag every year, one that falls apart and will end up in landfill, or you can buy a handmade leather beauty like this and keep it forever.

Angel: Or you can use your perfectly fine existing bags and not buy a new bag at all.

Devil: But you can have these satchels embossed...

Angel: I really don't think... did you say embossed?

Devil: With one's initials. Or...

Angel: Or?

Devil: Or one's name.

Angel: You sure are saying 'one' a lot.

Devil: That's because I own a Cambridge Satchel Company satchel. You too could talk like this. If you owned a Cambridge Satchel Company satchel.

Angel: I.. you've beaten me.

Scenes from my street

Random dude walking past: Hey, how're you going?

Me (standing next to my car, clearing out glass from the window that some dicksnaps smashed in overnight): Oh, I'm doing great, obviously.

Random dude walking past: Yeah you're really living the dream.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is it me you're looking for?

So I don't usually just post links to other blogs but this is highly amusing.

The moment that just blew my mind


Watching the (thoroughly enjoyable) 2007 sci-fi movie, Sunshine, and thinking "hey that dude looks like a hot version of Chris 'I brought my own mic' Evans" before realising that, Holy Shit, that fucking IS Chris Evans.

Hey, what can I say: I live a simple life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An open letter to my new office neighbour


Let me start by saying that I know it's not your fault that you've been kicked out of your cushy office and moved to a cubicle directly opposite mine. I'm sure that sucks for you and you're miserable about it, although I'm happy to see you've managed to bring those blown up photos of your(?) cats along with you.

Let me continue by saying, however, that things cannot go on like this. I am not a hateful person but we've been neighbours for four days and already I hate you.

I take that back: hate is a strong word and I'm sure you're not hateable. If I'm honest, instead of being nasty, you seem harmless enough, even sweet, certainly friendly and well-intentioned if kind of... dumb. No, wait, I take that back too. I'm sorry, it's just that I've honestly never heard anyone call up the Coles information line to ask them how you can order Coles groceries online before.

My real problem, when I get down to it, is not so much the cat photos or the random calls or your voice (which is WEIRD by the way, I'm sorry if nobody's ever told you that) or even your perpetual snuffling. It's... the way you drink your coffee. Okay so I know that sounds like maybe I'm the one with the problem here but hear me out. It's not that you slurp it, or that you drink a lot of it or that I hate coffee. It's just that when you drink it you, for some reason I cannot fathom, feel compelled to stand up at your desk and stare directly at me across the aisle like you're staring into my soul.

Do you... think I don't notice a grown woman staring at me from three metres away? Or do you just... not care? What are you thinking about? Are you staring into space randomnly or staring at me in particular? Do I have lipstick on my teeth?

These are the kinds of questions I just can't afford to waste time thinking about. Yet these are the questions that have been plaguing me all week.

I'm not saying that I have all the answers or that I'm a perfect neighbour myself (I know the Phoenix ringtone gets on other peoples' nerves too, it's been brought to my attention). But what I am saying is this: sit the fuck down when you drink your fucking coffee or I'll throw it in your fucking face.
Regards,

Your neighbour

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes


So I've been a very slack blogger lately because I've been distracted by very dull, very unpleasant things, most of which centres around a bit of unwanted change that has been foistered upon me. Have I mentioned how much I hate change? I hate, hate, HATE it. I hate it like I hate.. well, let me see.... what DO I hate?

Not being able to sleep

The smell of seafood

Suped up ("souped up?") cars and the people who drive them

Gin

Tonic water

Laziness, especially my own

Unrequited love (well, come on)

Cockroaches

The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul (otherwise known as Sunday evening, TM Douglas Adams)

Finishing a book you love

Calories

Needles

Pins and needles

February heat

Early nights

Not having a dishwasher

Peas

The novels of Dean Koontz

Summer TV

People who cut in line, particularly at bars

Mess

My hair

Coming home from an awful day to find no wine in the house

The dripping tap in my bathroom

People who walk across the road reaaaalllyy slowly

Drivers who don't indicate

Moths

Rudeness

The day after my birthday

Day-after drunken text remorse

And when you take all of that - the insomnia, the too-bitter drink, lying in bed trying not to hear the drip, the creepy, creepy, creepy crawling bugs and the loafing around listening to Elliot Smith and weeping in the bath - and it's still nothing compared to how much I hate change.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quiz Night Shame or Why I Should Probably Read More Thick Books

Questions I got right:
1. Recognising Eminem lyrics.
2. A question about The Sound of Music.

Questions I got wrong:
1. Flags of the world.
2. Everything else.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things I Bought Last Night or Why I Should Not Drink And Shop Online


1. The most least practical pair of heels that I have ever seen. I literally cannot imagine a single outfit that I own with which they might work and I don't even know for sure if they're going to fit. But they are very very cute. Plus, you know, who DOESN'T need a pair of green-and-cream heels with a giant red bow on the front. Am I right?

2. Lawrence Sanders' entire back catalogue. Because can you have enough comic mystery novels in your bookcase? No. No you cannot.

3. A USB port thing shaped like a robot. I... don't even know.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Token Smokin' Hottie: Cillian Murphy


How much do I love Cillian Murphy? Let me count the ways.

1. I love his eyes. Holy SHIT his eyes are amazing. If he was my boyfriend I can just imagine being mid-fight and maybe snapping something like "look at me when I'm talking to you!" and then melting instantly as soon as he glanced my way. Sure, this would probably mean that he could get away without lifting a finger around the house and, I don't know, maybe knocking me around once in awhile, but would it be worth it? Totally.

2. Every interview I've ever read with him makes him sound like a total sweetheart - neither an up-himself prick nor one of those dudes who tries to hard to be all I'm-not-Hollywood-I'm-Just-a-Regular-Guy-Like-You-Even-Though-I-Fuck-Supermodels: just nice, well-spoken and sometimes a little bit funny. He doesn't have to try to hard and I think a certain 'effortlessness' is an underrated personality trait. Obviously I'm deluding myself but I feel like maybe if we got stuck in a really long queue for, uh, the bathroom or something we could maybe have a little bit of chat.

3. I really loved 28 Days Later. That's... it. I just seriously love that movie - it's such a perfect zombie film - and him in it. And I think I quite like his taste in picking movies generally: even though he's been in some movies that weren't exactly successful in either the critical or the commercial sense I feel like they were all at least interesting failures (well, maybe not so much with Tron: Legacy but, eh, we all make mistakes).

4. According to IMDB his mother is a French teacher. This delights me because, in my mind, he is also fluent in French and flits about the house saying things like "Bonjour Mama" and... no, wait, I don't know anymore French.

5. Ye Gods, I just went back to stalk him some more on IMDB and he bloody IS fluent in French. And Gaelic. Be still my beating heart.

6. He's vegetarian, which automatically makes anyone ten times hotter. True story.

7. He's really, really, really good looking. Don't look at me like that: you know that Token Smokin' Hottie always comes back to looks in the end. If anything I almost feel like maybe he's just a little bit too pretty to seriously fancy a few flaws in someone's face usually make them much more attractive to me. That much said, if I had to be a dude I'd want to look exactly like him and it's not just the eyes. His cheekbones are, obviously, pretty freaking striking but there's also his beautiful skin, so pale you can just imagine how adorable he'd be if he blushed. Plus, looking a little bit further south (still on his FACE, get your mind out of the gutter) he also has a really cute smile and if there's one single thing about a boy that makes me go absolutely weak at the knees - forget about the skinny, forget about the eyes and the cheekbones and a decent wardrobe and a cool personality - it's definitely a cute smile.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How To Do A Remake Right (or Why I Sorta Loved The New Footloose Movie)



1. Choose a movie to remake that wasn't so great to begin with. Oh, sure, Footloose is an iconic 80s movie and all but it's also uh... not that memorable when you go back and sit through it in the cold hard light of 2011. The story, about a town that has outlawed dancing, is obviously ridiculous, the dialogue lame and there are seriously whole stretches of that movie where Nothing Happens. Repeatedly. Also barring Kevin Bacon's general awesomeness and John Lithgow, who brings it as reliably as ever, it's full of a bunch of actors who, call me crazy, probably didn't go onto bigger and better things for a good reason. (Yeah sorry, Lori Singer I'm kinda looking at you).

2. Cast a hottie hot hot hot as your star. Okay, so Kenny Wormald (ugh, Kenny, change your name already) doesn't look like much if you check him out on IMDB but I swear onscreen he's really got a certain something something. That something something may or may not include a certain resemblance to - call me crazy - James Dean and/or James Franco. Boyfriend Andy would like it on the record that he strongly disagrees but for my two cents he has the kind of gravitas onscreen that makes you want to watch him instead of anyone else. It doesn't hurt that his dancing is pretty ace. Also, despite playing a teenager in the film, he's not even jail bait so you don't have to feel creepy: dude is 27.

3. Put black people in the movie. Hmm, yeah, okay it looks like kind of a gross thing to say when I see it on the page, like the next thing I'm going to say is how black people just have a great natural sense of rhythm. But the thing is, when the original film was made there were seriously ZERO black people anywhere in the movie: maybe it didn't seem weird at the time but in hindsight it's... odd. Plus, the black chicks in the new version are about ten times better dancers than any of the white chicks, who mostly just writhe around and look like they're thinking about fucking their partner's belt buckle.

4. Recognise That You're Not Making Citizen Kane. Part way through watching the new movie I leaned across Boyfriend Andy to hiss at my friend Alex (who, God Bless Him, sat through both Burlesque and Step Up 3D with me... and secretly loves this sort of thing just as much as me) something along the lines of "Shit just got real". Onscreen the movie's first proper dance scene was just about to kick off and I was both nervous and excited: nervous because there is absolutely nothing lamer than a tasty bit of trash that takes itself too seriously and excited because I didn't think Footloose was going to fall into that category. It did not: I don't think anybody making this movie had any illusions about what kind of movie they were making and so, for the most part, the serious bits of the movie were outweighed by the deliciously ridiculous. How many movies could pull off an awesome segue from "teenage boy who just watched his mother die of cancer" to "now he's racing an on-fire school bus around a race track for no apparent reason"? Well, this one does it.

5. Inject some (desperately lacking in the original) INTENTIONAL humour into the film via a wise-cracking best friend. Okay, so I know I crapped on a bit back there about Kenny Wormald but, I must confess, I think Miles Teller is the real scene stealer of the film. From the moment he appears on screen, smacking into our hero in the school halls, this guy had my lips twitching. He does everything you want a Funny Best Friend to do: crack jokes, be awesome and make the hero look better just by being friends with him. I don't want to spoil the end of the movie or anything but in the final scene his character, Willard, and Kenny's character dance together and... I don't even know. I may never recover from seeing those glorious two minutes. And I mean that in a very good way.

Monday, October 24, 2011

An open letter to the douche outside Epic Espresso this morning,

If this (alleged, probably fake) "big deal" you're (allegedly, probably not) working on is really so fucking "top secret" (read: does not exist) then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't stand on Outram Street for 15 fucking minutes SHOUTING ABOUT IT INTO YOUR PHONE. You were wearing a very nice suit, though: I will give you that.

That awkward moment where you walk in on a male stripper getting changed at a hen's night


You (trying not to stare at his Good China): Oh, shit, sorry!

Him (trying to cover said Good China): Don't be shy...

You (by now approximately the colour of a ripe tomato): Um, you had really good comic timing out there. Seriously, good work. Um, I'll be over there.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Token Smokin' Hottie: Freddie Mercury


It's not exactly a secret to anyone who has read this blog for awhile and/or heard me crap on about the subject in person that I dig the HoYay.

So a big part of my love for the late Freddie Mercury is surely his penchant for shagging dudes, much in the same way that Zachary Quinto has weirdly become even more attractive to me since he (very recently) came out. (Then again Quinto has always been hot: he appeared in What's Your Number for approximately 2 minutes and yet he was - far and away - the sexiest thing about a movie ostensibly all about sex. It was hard to get very involved in the movie's storyline when I couldn't help but feel sorry for Anna Faris for her serious downgrade from Quinto to Chris "I wish they taught shopping in school" Evans. Who would rather watch Evans work on his fucking abs for the three hours a day he presumably spends at the gym than stay in bed with Quinto for hot vegan sex? The mind boggles.)

I'm wandering from my point. What I started to say was that there's something undeniably appealing about knowing that you can't have someone. Even assuming I could click my fingers and turn myself into some kind of Mila Kunis-meets-Charlize Theron-via-Monica Belluci sex bomb and, you know, bring Freddie back from the dead, he probably still wouldn't be into me, by virtue of my not being a dude. Seriously I don't understand why EVERYONE'S not into HoYay, unless all the chicks I know who claim to find the concept of two dudes utterly unappealing are just lying about it. It's all very weird to me. (In case there are any raging Freddie fans reading this, which uh seems unlikely, I should recognise that yeah OKAY, so he was apparently bi not gay but whatever - reality shouldn't stand in the way of a good fantasy).

Again I wander from my point. Tokin' Smokin' Hottie status is not just about being unavailable: it's also about being hot and in this respect it doesn't hurt that Freddie ticks several of my boxes (and you can insert your own 'he can tick my box any day' joke here) in that he's kinda skinny, dark-haired and decidedly snake-hipped. His face is... well it's weird, I guess is the only way to describe it. I'm not being mean but he had a very weird-looking face that really shouldn't work: I guess that's an overbite that makes his mouth so prominent but it certainly is a whole LOT of overbite. Then on top of that he has just about the poutiest pair of lips that every pouted. Seriously: dude looks like he's just snogged a bee hive. And then there's the moustache, which... no. Just no. But somehow all these ridiculous elements work together to make him, at the very least, extremely interesting to look at. (He also, now that I come to think about it, looks a very very little bit like my first boyfriend. Holy Shit, I can't believe I only just noticed that. But in the unlikely event that you're reading this, Jason, seriously: no hard feelings. I think it might just be the overbite).

Then there's the fact that Freddie was clearly uber talented and a very large part of Queen's success must be laid at his feet. If you have four free minutes I highly recommend watching the film clip for This Thing Called Love in which Freddie has never looked better. Who doesn't love a dude who can dance and, at the same time, give the impression that he wants to fuck everyone else onstage. Even the chicks. The whole film clip is one of the campiest thing I've ever see and it's also completely awesome, right down to Freddie's facial expressions, the motorbike (dear LORD, the motorbike) and the way his shirt keeps getting more and more ripped off. Dude even makes a hairy chest look like a brilliant idea.

How does he do all of this? I have no idea but it's super hot and I really wish someone else who's still around today would learn how to do it too.

Monday, October 17, 2011

In lieu of me having anything interesting to say today: a little Philip Larkin to ease me back into the week.


This Be the Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats
Who half the time were soppy stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can.
And don't have any kids yourself.

(Philip Larkin)

Monday, October 10, 2011

A question for any dude wearing this (admittedly kinda cute) T-shirt emblazoned with the cover of The Sun Also Rises....


... Soooo, you do know that book was about impotence. Right?

Songs that initially sound upbeat but are actually kinda depressing when you start to think about it

Belle and Sebastian, Jonathan David

The only thing worse than unrequited love: unrequired love when the object of your affection fancies your best mate. Got to love the understatement of "I thought she liked me but somehow I was wrong". BURN. (Also, I don't mean to be harsh but, based on this music, video, the girl made the right choice because LORD Stuart looks as good as he's ever looked).

The Cure, Boys Don't Cry
Sure, nine of ten Cure songs pretty much make me want to slit my wrists but this one lures you in with its jangly guitar and Robert Smith dance moves. Only halfway through do you get sucked into a massive downer without quite knowing why.

The Smiths, You Just Haven't Earned it yet, Baby

See above entry for The Cure's Boys Don't Cry. The perkiness of this song makes me want to dance, while the line "you must stay on your own for slightly longer" fills me with the simultaneous desire to drown myself in the bath.

Nina Simone, Love Me or Leave Me
These days you can humiliate yourself by sending a dozen crawling mails/texts/voicemails to the (indifferent) object of your affection, who will politely ignore them. On balance I think I prefer Nina's approach.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear religious leaders of the UK,

When English PM David Cameron, a conservative politician who looks and sounds like the biggest toff that ever toffed, is "emphatically" in favour of gay marriage then maybe, just maybe, you're out of touch.

Regards,
Kate

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Things I think but do not say to the security guard on reception at work #34

You're playing solitaire on your computer, really? That's the absolute best you can do?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dude of the week: Sean Maher


The delightful Sean Maher, who I will love forever for his involvement in short-lived sci-fi TV series Firefly came out in EW magazine this week and the interview gives you a nice idea about how completely balls it must be to be a gay man in Hollywood, where pretty much everyone wants you to stay in the closet ("My agent was also like, ‘It’s best if you keep your options open. Maybe bisexual?’") So naturally I'm slightly gutted that the chances I will ever get to sleep with Maher have dropped from 0.1 per cent to 0 per cent but you've got to respect a man with balls. Plus, you know, he's still kinda smoking.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Only 113?

Have I linked to this post, 113 Reasons To Lead A Barren, Childless Existence That Ends In Your Death, by the charming Tara Ariano before? I feel like I have but... fuck it, I want to do it again. From now on whenever someone asks me why I don't want kids I plan to direct them to this link and say nothing more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Token Smokin' Hottie: Milo Ventimiglia (again)




If you've never seen the short-lived TV show The Bedford Diaries then I URGE you from the bottom of my heart not to do so. Although filled with a lot of very attractive people the central concept of the show - it follows the lives of a bunch of students who all attend the same sex seminar at Bedford University - is just too super creepy to get over.

It's not just that the sex class is RIDICULOUSLY unacademic but that the Professor who runs the class and is, I'm pretty sure, supposed to be cut from the awesome-if-unconventional Dead Poets Society vein, instead comes off as a total perv who gets off on asking his super hot students to make video diaries about their sex lives. You just KNOW he's "reviewing" those homework assignments with one hand. The stupid show even tries to convince us that this class is one that simply eeeeeveryone in the entire university really wants to get into, although exactly why that would be is a complete mystery. Hilariously although the class appears to consist of about 15+ people, the show only follows the lives of the good-looking ones. Every now and again you get a shot of the rest of the class - the ugmos and fatties, basically - and it's pretty clear why those extras aren't playing a starring role.

The Bedford Diaries is a really shit show, I guess is what I'm trying to say. So why then have I just sat through the entire first (indeed only) season? Two words: Milo Ventimiglia.

Milo has appeared on this blog once or twice before because he is an extremely good looking boy and if this blog is about anything it's about extremely good looking boys and the women who ogle them (me). I loved Milo in Gilmore Girls as the tough-though-very-short rebel Jess who steals Rory away from Dull Dean and loved him even more as Peter Petrelli in Heroes, where he managed to stand out even among a cast of super hot hotties by virtue of a)being the hottest of them all, b)getting to play an adorable character with a heart of gold and, even better, Issues.

The reason Milo's cracked another mention as a Token Smokin' Hottie now is that his work in The Bedford Diaries (which predates Heroes) just goes to show how impressive he really is, and I don't just mean his delicious bone structure. Even saddled with some GODAWFUL dialogue that I really can't do justice to here, Milo is the one person onscreen you just can't take your eyes off. The plot of this show is, as I say, completely ludicrous, and yet I found myself caring what happened to Milo's character, not just because he's hot but because he's a decent actor who has, most importantly, something nobody else onscreen does: gravitas.

Also he is really, really good looking.

Songs to which you cannot listen and be sad

Belle and Sebastian: "I'm a Cuckoo"

It's no secret that I love love me some Belle and Sebastian in a way that is largely unaffected by some of their, er, more questionable output. My love for B&S can't be compared to the way I feel about other, newer, almost certainly "better" bands because it's tied up with a lot of nostalgic memories and this song is no exception. For my money it is a near perfect example of what B&S do really well and rivals some of my other B&S favourites. Also, I'm a real sucker for cute dudes who run, so this film clip hits all my buttons.

Talking Heads: "And She Was"

It's embarrassing to include a song that once appeared - I believe - in Look Who's Talking, but this is pretty fucking good. Objectively I don't think it's the band's best song but Jesus it makes me want to dance around just a little bit every time I hear it.

DJ Fresh: "Gold Dust"

This is by no means my usual taste in music this is just one of those songs that can't HELP but cheer you up. If I'm getting ready for a night out but kind of, you know, not really in the mood, this is the song that I crank up. Plus, those two girls with the afros and the pulled up socks are fairly damn rad (yeah, that's right RAD - I'm bringing it back).

The Crew Cuts: "Sh Boom"

When I was much, MUCH younger (honestly, can't put enough emphasis on the "much") I had a huge, long-running crush on an older boy. Being pretty dopey I used to spend/waste a lot of time daydreaming about this bit of buttery bit of crumpet but because I was, as I may have mentioned, somewhat young at the time, instead of daydreaming about having hot, sweaty, monkey sex with said crumpet I daydreamed about the day when we'd get married and... dance to this song at the wedding. That may not have quite worked out as planned but I still really love this song. Plus, I should mention that it makes a truly inspired appearance in one of my favourite guilty pleasure movies of all time, Clue (seriously, that movie is gold and if you don't agree you should watch this and reconsider), so what's not to like?

Noah and the Whale: "5 Years Time"

Kind of the same deal as with Talking Heads: I don't think this is Noah and the Whale's best song or anything but it's the one that make me feel happy/want to run away with Charlie Fink. Although, to be fair, most things in life make me want to run away with Charlie Fink. (Just ignore this stupid excuse for a video, for some reason the official video won't embed and I'm not tech-savvy enough to figure out a way around it).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tell someone who cares, Sweetheart...


Have you seen these ads for the Advertising Standards Bureau? I love how they've used a photo of what appears to be the prissiest little priss who ever prissed, like even the people behind said Advertising Standards Bureau think that anyone who can be bothered to complain about an ad is kind of a drag.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Look at me


You'd think that after two decades of wearing glasses, an eye exam would no longer freak me out. I have sat in that cool black chair too many times to count, alternately fumbling my way through that teensy tiny bottom line of text that I can barely see (sometimes, I'm ashamed to say, actually CHEATING: I mean really what's the point there exactly?) and judging the respective sharpness of two images that look, half the time, very very similar to me. I have gone through half a dozen pairs of glasses: the Harry Potteresque look in my early years, tragically long before Harry Potter existed; the giant blue monstrosities in late primary school for which I will never forgive my mother (she claims they were my choice - I demand proof); more recently a neat pair of black ones that I still like, even though I may well look back on them with abject horror in another decade or so. The point is, I've been wearing glasses and having dudes look at my eyes for a very long time.

And yet, both the prospect and the reality of said eye exam still freak me the fuck out. Given the choice I'd rather have a freaking pap smear and pay a licensed professional to get up close and personal with my good China (sorry for the visual, squeamish boys) than subject myself to another eye exam in the immediate future. Nevertheless, that's exactly what I did today and did facing up to my fear help cure me of it? No. No it did not.

It started badly enough when the optometrist (or was she an opthamologist? I don't know, let's just call her Ms O) asked me a simple yes-no question and I responded with a nervous 5 minute unasked for ramble of response beginning with the day I was fitted with my first pair of specs to the moment where I had walked in the door two minutes earlier. Naturally, being the kind of person who blushes when nervous/uncomfortable/embarrassed/self-conscious/running late/embarrassingly early/addressing someone on whom I have a crush/addressing someone on whom I don't have a crush/addressing shop assistants/I could go on, I was already by this stage an unappealing shade of dusky pink. And as anyone else who blushes as much as I do will know, just knowing that you're blushing makes you blush ten times worse.

Then the tests began and LORD do I hate the tests. The thing is... I never think that I can read the letters properly - I always assume that while I'm confidently reading "E... C.... H..." off the eye chart, the person monitoring my responses is snickering to him or herself and mocking my crappy vision. As a result I have developed a bad and really really pointless/actually quite destructive habit of remembering the letters when I see them with my good eye and sort of... recalling them when asked to read the same string of letters with my bad eye. I know, I know: I'm only screwing myself but my fear of having slightly-too-weak lenses is weaker than my fear of getting the answers wrong. This explains many things, including why I am a nerd and have always been a teacher's pet.

Those of you who have had an eye test before knows what comes next: a series of tests in which you're asked to distinguish between two images and say which is clearer. The nature of the image changes but this test goes on for approximately 300 years so that by the time it's finished you're desperately shouting "uh 2... no I mean 1... can I see 2 again?" If you've ever seen the episode of Arrested Development where Michael Cera's character George Michael (not the singer/songwriter) gets glasses then it's basically exactly like that.

It ended eventually, of course, and I celebrated by getting the hell out of there. I felt pretty good and having done the thing I'd been putting off for years, happily ignoring the reality that I could, in fact, see better without my glasses and the implication that CLEARLY my eyes had changed in recent years. But I was also disappointed in myself for being so lame and nervous, for blushing and sweating and stumbling over my words - most of all for pathetically trying to impress Ms O just like I did as a kid and I was more focused on getting the right answers than getting glasses that might actually help me to see the whiteboard.

Either way, I thought I deserved a little something something for my efforts so I went out with the intention of buying myself a book and returned with a celebratory (if highly unnecessary) Alannah Hill cardigan. Yes it is adorable, yes it was sort of an indulgent purchase I can't really afford right now and yes I did blush when the sales girl made a cute comment about my cute earrings. Sometimes I worry about myself.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Possibly the most joyous moment of my weekend:


When (alleged trash-hating) Boyfriend Andy defended the integrity of 2006 teen rom-com John Tucker Must Die with these immortal words: "Honey, you can't really start picking it apart."

Not mother?


No Ruprecht, she's not our mother.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This isn't supposed to be a depressing post, honest


I think that one of the terrifying things about growing up is the day you realise that life doesn't have meaning: that, unlike a novel or a film or even a bloody good computer game, there's no purpose you're put on this world to achieve and nothing left behind when you go except what gets burnt up at the crematorium.

This isn't to say that your life has to be filled with despair and depression: it's still possible to have fun even if you know you're know part of someone else's greater plan. But it's still a sobering realisation that if you want to find purpose in your daily life you're going to have to work hard to put it there yourself. Some people find meaning through having kids, creating art or helping others. Some people just do their best not to think about it and muddle on doing whatever feels good, which I think is actually not a bad strategy. (Of course if you believe in religion, which you shouldn't because it's all shit, you may well disagree with all the points made above).

It's a subject I think about quite a bit, which is why I was delighted to see it covered by Sydney Morning Herald columnist Sam de Brito in recent column, a column he claims a friend said was the closest thing to a suicide note the SMH had ever published.
"Man, I'm gonna be glad to put this year behind me; wipe it off like a putrid paste I've pushed into the porcelain. And flush. If you read this blog regularly, you've probably discerned it's been a cracker of a 12 months for me, in which my relationship dissolved and I lost daily contact with my child..."
Regular readers might have noticed I've suddenly started banging on about de Brito, of whose work I am a longtime fan, far more than usual. The reason for this is that de Brito has been going through something of a crisis over the past nine-odd months after splitting up with the mother of his child. This has presumably been a pile of shit for him but it has also thrown up some really interesting - if sometimes depressing-as-fuck columns - for the rest of us to read.

A case in point: the column linked to above is effectively a plea to readers for some suggestions about how he can get some purpose back in his life.
"I care about very little except my daughter now, and my life feels increasingly like a misty vale, pierced every couple of days by the sunlight of her visits.
Everything else? I can take it or leave it. Now, some people might say I was depressed, but I've been this way, deep down, for the better part of 10 years, and I've still found direction, meandering as it usually was.

"Now? I truly don't give a f---, except to pile up cash to provide for my daughter's education and future... Don't go telling me to "see someone" - I've done that. And no, I'm not bloody suicidal. I've taken the friggin' pills, I've talked to the shrinks and you know what? It boils down to the same question for me - what's the point?

"They all say the same thing - every book and counsellor and concerned friend and guru says the same friggin' thing: we are the architect of our own salvation, you have to give your life its own meaning. And that's where I've lost the thread, for now. Yes, the point is my daughter, but that's 19½ hours a week.
There's got to be more than that."
For once the comments left behind by readers are every bit as interesting as the column itself and well worth a read for anyone feeling a bit directionless and lacklustre of late.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The uncomfortable conversation with the woman giving me a facial that preceded me spending an obscene amount of money on various ointments and gunk


Her: So what's your skincare routine?
Me: When you say 'routine'?
Her: Do you cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise?
Me: I.. moisturise. I wear sunscreen-moisturiser during the day.
Her: Good. Anything else?
Me: Uh. I soap.
Her: (Silence).
Me: I... use soap.
Her: Right. Now, you're going to feel a slight itching sensation...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Things I plan to do on my Holiday in Perth but probably will definitely not do on my Holiday in Perth


1. Start/finish The Great Australian Novel.
2. Start/finish cleaning my car.
3. Read books to improve my mind, as opposed to loafing around with David Nicholls and copies of Vogue.
4. Renew my gym membership.
5. Get out of my pajamas.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

An Open Letter to the Hipster Couple Who (Unapologetically) Scared the Shit Out of Me On Beaufort Street Today,


You're not in a fucking BELLE AND SEBASTIAN FILM CLIP, you stupid dicks. I wasn't charmed by your boyfriend's stupid hat as he sped past, not by your girlfriend's stupid ankle socks and three-sizes-too-big cardigan as she nearly side-swiped me. If you can't or won't ride on the road maybe you should SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What My Boss Probably Meant When He Told Me I Looked "like a party girl" At Work Today


1. Your dress makes you look like a slut.
2. Your heels make you look like a slut.
3. Are you a slut?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

WeirdER, I mean


So I can't say I've ever been super tempted to have a threesome. But if this utterly adorable Swedish hipster couple were up for it... I don't know, I think I'd probably give it a whirl. Of course then I'd be forced to steal her amazing bag, his jumper and that awesome suitcase too and then things might get, you know, weird.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"I bought him a bottle of baby oil, which I could tell got used a few times, but then it just sat on the counter with the level never changing..."


It's easy to get down on our spouses and the state of our relationships sometimes. Spend enough time with anyone and they'll get on your nerves. Go out with someone long enough and, sooner or later, you'll be sitting across from them at the dinner table thinking "I hate you so much right now" and wondering whether you should jam the fork into their eye or your own. That's why I plan on keeping a copy of this letter, which featured in Dan Savage's Savage Love column this week, around for a very long time to remind myself that things could be worse. Like a lot lot lot worse.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Questions I have after reading Miranda Devine's gross column for the Daily Telegraph this week:

She wrote: You only had to see the burning streets of London last week to see the manifestation of a fatherless society.

I ask: How do you know they don't have fathers?

She wrote: Fatherless families in underprivileged boroughs of London are the norm.

I ask: No, seriously. How do you know?

She wrote: It is politically incorrect to say so, but the ideal situation for a child is to be brought up in an intact family with a father and a mother.

I ask: Why?

She wrote: Marriage is not just a private relationship: it is a social good.

I ask: Why?

She wrote: blah blah blah

I ask: HOW DOES THIS SHIT GET PUBLISHED???

Monday, August 15, 2011

Love will... tear us apart?


It's no secret around here that I am a big fan of sex advice columnist Dan Savage. I started reading his column a year or so ago and while I probably started reading it for the fetishists and the weirdos I stayed for the funny but thoughtful advice: a particular kind of advice that I've never read anywhere else. Since then I have devoured his books, raced through about five years of archived columns and I listen to his podcast every week. I'm hooked. I've also expanded my vocabulary to include words like pegging and santorum. I'll let those around me decide if that's a good or a bad thing.

Anyway, the lovely Mike recently returned from a US jaunt with a copy of the New York Times Magazine under his arm. The cover story was by reporter Mark Oppenheimer, titled "Married, With Infidelities". It's a really interesting read that kicks off with a bit of rehashing over the Anthony Weiner case but then gets into some seriously interesting stuff on marriage, monogamy and why can't all admit a bit more often that actually monogamy is really bloody hard work sometimes. It quotes Savage a lot - Oppenheimer is clearly also a fan - and without some of the snidey commentary that sometimes happens with mainstream journos write about Savage. It also points out sometime that I think a lot of Savage critics maybe don't think about: that despite being gay and only monogamish, Savage is also kinda... conservative and believes in marriage, couples staying together for the sake of the kids and lots of other things you might not expect.

The article was so interesting that I started to retype some quotes from the magazine before realising I could use my mad interweb skills to track the online version down here. Here is a taste:
Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes. We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them. In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affair, but with permission. In both cases, honesty is the best policy.

“I acknowledge the advantages of monogamy,” Savage told me, “when it comes to sexual safety, infections, emotional safety, paternity assurances. But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.”

It's really interesting stuff regardless of whether you're married, unmarried, having sex with lots of people or only thinking about how nice it would be to have sex with lots of people.

Venn Digram Monday


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dear True Blood,


It's not you, it's me. No, that's a lie: it's not me, it's you. It's so freaking you - what are you doing to yourself? Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I positively pined for you, daydreamed about you when you weren't around and a mere five minutes in your presence was enough to make me blush. Now I find myself reluctant to spend much time together and distracted when we do.

Where did it all go wrong?

Things started off so well. As a big fan of the Charlaine Harris novels on which you are based, I was thrilled with the direction in which season one seemed to be going. The world I saw onscreen was the world of the books, more or less, but with enough changes to keep things interesting. Sookie was charmingly ditzy, Bill was pompous but hot and Eric - once he got his hair cut, anyway - was, of course, a smoking piece of arse who got all the best lines.

Then there were pleasant surprises along the way: Jason Stackhouse, kind of a superfluous character in the book, managed to be sexy and stupid and funny all at the same time in the hands of Ryan Kwanten and his involvement with the religious nutjobs in season two was a delight. Lafayette, who dies early on in the first book, stuck around for some good comic relief and Sam, who bores me to tears on the page, turned out to have a certain somethin'-somethin' going on.

At your best it felt like you had something new and interesting and genuine to say about desire - desire for sex, power, immortality, meaning, love - and when you were good you were very very good.

Things started going off the rails somewhere about the second half of season two and I think we all know where the blame lies: the clusterfuck that was the fucking maenad storyline. What the FUCK? God was that bitch ever annoying. Admittedly I was pretty zoned out by the time the series finale rolled around but I woke up long enough to emit at least a half-hearted cheer when Sam finally took care of that shit, albeit approximately 300 episodes too late.

But the pain continued because by now you simply had TOO MANY CHARACTERS and instead of deciding to, say, throw the likes of Tara, Andy, Arlene, Sam's moronic brother Tommy and the entire population of Hotshot off a cliff and call it a day, you felt like you had to continue to GIVE THEM STORYLINES. Welcome to Snoozetown, population me.

Things really started to come undone for me this season, which I had been anticipating because of the subject matter. The Eric amnesia storyline in the books, although inherently silly, is also incredibly hot. One minute Eric's running down the road naked, the next he's nailing Sookie in the shower and - unlike you, dear True Blood - the books didn't feel the need to paint it as this lovely and bewdiful romance, at least not in the early stages. Once again, it's really all about the desire of two hot people to Have Hot Monkey Sex, not sit around mooning at each other about how rare and beautiful their love is. (That much said, it would be rude of me not to say that I do appreciate the Alexander Skarsgaard nudity).

In closing, I don't know if I can keep doing this. Every week I think that things will get better and go back to the way it used to be and every week you find a new way to disappoint you. I don't want it to end like this, I want to believe that we can still find a way to get through this rough patch and be happy again. I'm just not sure that's ever going to happen. Don't call me for awhile - I need to be alone.

K

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it?


Plans for a remake of eighties classic DirtyDancing appear to be inexplicably still steaming away, much to my confusion and mild concern.

But don't worry, fellow, DD fans, I'm sure the remake is in safe hands, the kind of hands that will deliver a better-than-the-original remake as was the case with, say, the brilliant Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or the charming Ocean's 11. Or at least they'll manage a so-so job along the lines of The Birdcage, The Thomas Crowne Affair or The Italian Job.

Or... maybe not, considering it's apparently been placed in the hands of High School Musical director Kenny Ortega. Zac Efron, presumably, is busy working on his lifts. No, wait, Beiber, I'm tipping Beiber to be the new Swayze. (In related news, I'm also tipping a swathe of mass suicides among children-of-the-eighties.)

In the wake of this devastating news (and coming so soon on the travesty that was The Karate Kid) I've come up with my list of the Top Five Eighties Movies I Never Want To See Remade In My Lifetime.

1. The Princess Bride. A true gem of a film that you either love or... haven't seen. In my mind an all-but perfect film that works not only in spite of its flaws (see: the slightly shoddy special effects. Rodents of unusual size anyone?) but because of them. My only hope is that studio execs realise that the film is now SO well known and loved by many that any new actors pushed into the familiar roles would seem like imposters.

2. Ladyhawke. Try and explain this film to anyone who hasn't seen it ("there's a dude who's sometimes a wolf and then Michelle Pfeiffer is, at other times, a bird...") and you sound nuts. Okay, the plot IS nuts and the film only works because of the brilliant casting and actors who seriously commit to material that could be, in lesser hands, slightly giggle-worthy. See Matthew Broderick's charm, Rutger Hauer's smoldering intensity and Pfeiffer's general, you know, hotness.

3. Bladerunner. Because no, just no.

4. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I keep expecting this one to happen. I'm sure that in a studio office somewhere it has been pitched and wisely rejected. Sure, at the moment it seems ridiculous that anyone else could step into Matthew Broderick's shoes and try to recapture the pure joy of the original but I swear it's only a matter of time. And ten bucks says they use CCI to fake the crowds in the parade scene...

5. Heathers. Luckily I really can't see this one flying in a post-Columbine world ("Wait, they wanna do WHAT?") but you never know. No, you don't, Heather, you never know...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spotted


I think many of us have probably, at some point in our lives, locked eyes with or shared a smile with a hottie on public transport or walking down the street and thought I wonder...

If you're on a bus or a train then having someone cute to stare at during an otherwise-boring trip makes the time go faster, which is nice. Plus you can always daydream that he or she has become entranced by your beauty and/or impressed by that copy of Crime and Punishment you're pretending to read. As someone who never gets hit on by charming boys in public places (I'm pretty sure that having someone scream "nice tits" out of a car window doesn't count) I find the idea of people who meet at bus stops, street corners or whatever and run off and be happy together utterly endearing.

So perhaps this story courtesy of Perth Now should make me happier than it does. If you can't be bothered clicking the link, the gist is that a British man who spotted "the girl of his dreams" on a Perth bus appealed in last week's Sunday Times to try and find his wench and now some girl has come forward, saying it might be her.

IT was the chance encounter on a crowded Perth bus that could turn into a great WA love story. Not only has British man Chris Barnes located the "girl of his dreams" but she's single and happy to be friends, at least on Facebook. After launching his search for a brunette who caught his eye on the 400 bus to Scarborough, student Vivienne Smith, 20, has come forward, believing she could be the one.

Heartwarming stuff I'm so sure but there are a few things that concern me about this story.

1. Anyone who thinks that they have found the girl/boy of his/her dreams based purely on seeing someone at a distance is potentially a little bit cracked. Looks matter and all - and I can't imagine falling for someone with a lovely personality if I didn't also want to jump them just a little bit - but, come on. Just because someone looks hot does not mean that he or she is not a dick/nazi/mouth breather. Maybe a quick conversation before you declare undying love, eh?

2. The girl involved claims that she "instantly recognised" the description the guy had used when she read the article. How did the guy describe her, you might ask?. He said: "The Glendalough girl was just such a beautiful creature." Maybe I just have low self esteem but unless you're Heidi Klum I think that anyone who reads the words "beautiful creature" and thinks "that's SO me" has some... problems.

3. So this girl has come forward but neither she - nor the guy - is quite sure if she is the right girl or not, even after pictures have been exchanged. She mentions that she looks different now because she's had her hair extensions taken out (hmmm) and at no point mentioned if she even noticed him on the bus. For his part he says he is "pretty sure" that the girl in the photo "could well be" the same girl and hopes to make it back to WA, uh, maybe later this year. Wow. I mean, just WOW. That's love, right there. If these two crazy kids can't make it work then I don't know what the world is coming to.

Make it Work


It's back: reality TV show extraordinaire and one of my all-time favourite guilty pleasures, Project Runway, has returned to our screens. I know it's the done thing to be all snoot-snooty about reality TV but, as far as I'm concerned, Project Runway is The Shit.

Much of the credit has to be laid at the feet of the judges and in particular, I suppose, Heidi Klum, who fronts the show and does her best to anchor it. The thing to understand about Heidi is that she likes to wear very very short dresses. I mean, okay, maybe that's not The Thing but that's definitely A Thing you should remember about her. Do not try to make Heidi cover up her legs or suggest she should wear something that covers The Good China or you will regreat it. No, the other thing about Heidi is that she just seems like she's having a great time. While her fellow judges fret and frown Heidi constantly seems like she's just back in town after spending a week having cocktails and hot monkey sex with Seal on a beach somewhere. Even when she's ripping into someone she keeps that beautiful smile on her face and that twinkle in her eye. Plus, you know, she's really pretty. How does she do that?

Nina Garcia is also a hot piece of arse but in a different way. She's very glossy, very serious and can basically shoot laser beams out of her eyes/cut a bitch. If you want to impress someone it's probably Nina because unlike Heidi she's not half cut on pre-show cocktails and unlike Michael Kors she hasn't spent the past hour coming up with cutting one-liners. Nina actually seems to care about the clothes. In many ways this means she has the most boring, least rewarding role on the show but the net result is that she plays a great straight woman to a) Heidi's hilarity b) The Madness of Michael Kors.

Because Michael Kors. Oh. My. God. Never let it said that the man is not talented because, yes, he's a hugely successful designer. But on Project Runway Kors shines not just like a man whose love of fake tan has reached dangerous levels (although, seriously) but like a man who has just come off his meds. This is a man who is not afraid to stick the boot in when he doesn't like what the designers have served up. The following are things Kors has actually said on the show about designs created by designers who are standing right in front of him.

“She looks like a Pole dancer in Dubai”

“She looks like an Amish Cocktail Waitress”

“She looks like a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral”

“She looks like her ass is in her front.”

“She looks like Barefoot Appalachain Lil’ Abner Barbie.”

But it's not all about the judges. The thing that makes Project Runway good and the reason that I watch it is that the contestants actually have talent. I mean oodles and oodles of talent. The things they can do with a bedsheet or a bunch of plastic cups and some thread are truly mind-boggling and some of the clothes they produce in about 24 hours are staggeringly beautiful. Yes, others manage to churn out some Red Hot Messes but that, naturally, is part of the appeal. Unlike some famewhores I can mention the vast majority of designers also appear to be there to, you know, become better designers or to have a shot at their own line, as opposed to a burning desire to Become Famous. Accordingly the editors do, thank Christ, do their best to avoid endearing backstories until the last few episodes and concentrate on the competition and the clothes, which are bloody exciting enough thankyou very much.

And acting as a bridge between the judges and the contestants, mugging for the cameras and weeping when his favourites depart is the loveable Tim Gunn, mentor/voice of reason to the contestants and silver fox, if you like that sort of thing. I know I said earlier that Heidi does her best to anchor the show but forget that, it's Tim who really holds it all together with his nods to the viewing audience and the blend of devastatingly criticism and wishful-thinking praise he doles out to the contestants. Although he appears onscreen Tim somehow manages to be that best of all things: the snide friend, sitting on our couch and drinking wine, saying what a bitch that Gretchen is and how he hopes Wendy Pepper dies in a freak yachting accident. Grab us another glass, Tim, and microwave me some popcorn while you're at it - the show's about to start.