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Archive for May 2011

Midget Funk To Folk You Up!

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Friday, 4pm, sitting in a car while the rain beats down all around and I ring Wallis Bird armed with a notepad and a tape recorder. That’s hardcore journalism right there! Bird is as usual chirpy, pleasant and there is a constant air of devilment in her voice. We swapped stories, my favourite of which being how she blagged her way into Witness a few years ago with a blue shopping bag masquerading as an armband for the 3 day camping event. The imp. Then the professional work began and I asked her how the tour was going so far?

Good, all good so far. We started in Kilkenny and we had Meath last night. And tonight, I’m playing the hometown, Wexford. So all good so far, I’m enjoying it.

If you had to pick, do you prefer playing solo or with the band?

 If I had to choose? Oh, god don’t ask me that. Em, I like touring solo because it gives you a chance to strip back the songs to the skin and bone. And the audience hear just the music and the lyrics. But I also really enjoy touring with my band because if you’re all there you can have the crack. And with songs, you can have long jams and they can go on forever. Solo gigs kind of restrict you and you have to keep it basic.

Hometown gig? Are you nervous, happy or indifferent?

 Well, I’m surely not indifferent! No, happy, definitely happy. I’m really looking forward to it. And my brother Edgar is opening up for me with his band, Sticky Digit. They’re doing a short set before me. He really didn’t want to do it. But I said, “Ah, go on man, just do it!” He agreed and I am going to embarrass the s*** out of him tonight. He’s in for it.

Can we expect any surprises in the set list?

 Actually a few new songs will crop up in the set tonight. But there will also be some really old stuff, from years ago. So hopefully, there’ll be a nice mix of old and new material!

You’ve been writing some stuff then. How’s that going for you?

 Yea, been recording a few tracks in different places all over the world. Some in my home place, Brixton and some wherever I can meet my producer! And we’ve been recording on laptops, tape machines and in the studio. So it’s going to be a real patchwork of an album! And it should be out next March!

As we wind down the interview, I wish Wallis well with the hometown gig and I ask her how she would feel if I branded her music “Midget Funk.” Which results in heavy laughter and permission to use it? So, you heard it here folks, Bird has created her own genre, “Midget Funk”. And it will indeed folk you up!

http://www.wallisbird.com

Written by thepanch

May 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

Posted in Music

Tagged with , , ,

Sins Of The Father

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I used to find it hilarious when my father would viciously tear apart some TV show, radio show or a character on television. “Look at him, he’s an awful eejit.” “What is that are they for real?” “I don’t know about you, but I’d say he whistles when he p***es the big eejit.” Lately, I have found myself doing the same. But in my defence, there are a load of morons polluting the television these days.

The biggest culprit is The Only Way Is Essex. (ITV2, Weekdays). This show is the epitome of all that is wrong with what people define as “reality television” these days. I strongly believe that the producers have gone out of their way to create instant hate figures in on this show. Every single one of the cast, sorry real people are odious, obnoxious, spoilt brats. Half enhanced for television, half based in whatever they class as reality. Now, I am fully aware of the use of editing on “reality television.” And sorry to burst your bubble if you are a fan, but the only real action you see on a show like this are the presenters doing the links, or the opening VT. Television has morphed from something that gave pure joy and fantasy to a box that spawns nano-celebrities and fodder for tabloid papers and middle shelf magazines.

The Only Way Is Essex goes one step further than Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity. At least those programmes had some sense of being contrived and merely used for entertainment possibilities. This show features what is effectively a really badly written soap opera that belongs on a late night slot on Channel 4. But instead it takes up prime evening schedule space that could easily have been filled by a solid drama or movie. Thank God for Sky Atlantic.

A bastion of light for people who like to watch television programmes featuring that rare commodity called “actors” rattling off snappy dialogue, acting and generally being fully aware that they are in a created situation. Not duping the viewer into believing that they were not aware of the camera over their shoulder, waiting on them to open the front door. Ridiculous. Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Blue Bloods, Big Love, The Sopranos. All of which are great shows with shining examples of how television should be done. What else do they have in common? They are American. Yes, I know all the jokes about Americans but they make damn fine television. So what have we learned?

This celebrity obsessed culture we live in has done irreparable damage to television schedules, clogging them up with Kerry Katona, The Next Chapter (Please stop writing the book, Kerry, no-one cares), Katie, The Only Way is Essex, Peter Andre, Britian’s Got More Talent With A Pop Idol In The Jungle. Surely there’s a great show waiting to be written out there. Or do we have to look forward to a winter schedule that features:

18.00

Jordan Reads Wilde

Follow glamour model Jordan as she reads Wilde for the modern generation. Hear Katie interpret such classics as Wtn 4 Godot, D End Gme, and D Importns Of Bn Ernst. Featuring text vote to see the nation’s favourite.

19.00

Peter Andre Interviews Stephen Fry

The popular singer and muscled father quizzes Stephen Fry on what his favourite brand of crisps are and whether he is a boxer or briefs man.

20.00

Your Man From Big Brother 4 Sits On A Chair For Four Hours

Sky Digital Viewers can press red for four multi angles of the chair.

Let me assure you, he definitely “whistles when he p***es…..

Written by thepanch

May 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

Posted in Thoughts, TV

Insidious Review

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Trailers can be deceptive. For example, when this writer saw the first teaser for The A Team movie, I flipped. But initial hype over, the movie itself was a sum of the best parts of the trailer wrapped around a mediocre story, laced with some impressive set pieces. Having spotted the trailer for Insidious trailer late one Sunday night while channel surfing, my horror antennae was well and truly spiked.
The film is the work of director James Wan and Leigh Wannell, respectively, the writer and director of the Saw franchise. That surpressed my interest somewhat as I feared it would be another instalment in the horror / torture porn category. And my interest in that genre peaked at the end of Saw. However they have resorted to another, recently untapped genre of horror, the haunted house. A genre indeed that can inspire greatness (The Amityville Horror, House on Haunted Hill) and pure drek (The Haunting in Conneticut, House on Haunted Hill (remake). Insidious has the misfortune of falling somewhere in the middle.
The story revolves around ever busy teacher, Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and his stay at home, composer wife Renai (Rose Byrne). They move home and their middle son, Dane goes exploring in an open attic. Uh-oh! Being a chap, he wears a cape and tries to scale a rickety ladder. He falls and the resulting wooden floor causes him to go into a coma. Then the fun starts!
Spooky noises come through the baby monitor, the bay is awaken by the noises. Shadows grow on the walls, the house goes bump in the night. And Dane’s room keeps getting mysteriously interfered with. This all happens in the first hour and is indeed the better half of the film by a mile. Wan incorporates some solid scares, with tried and tested jump reveals and clever camera work.
The terrors increase and Josh decides the best way to deal with a sick son and a terrified wife is to stay at school “marking papers.” So Renai calls in Josh’s mother, who in turn calls in a psychic investigator Elsie Rainer (Lin Shaye). It is a testament to the talent of Shaye that she delivers the plot twist and the reason for the strange goings on with such a level of seriousness. Not to give anything away, but the explanation wavers on the unintentionally hilarious.
The climax, which can be seen coming around 50 minutes into the movie, is handled like a bad 1980’s made for television horror film. No, that is not a good thing. Smoke. Check. Soft focus lens. Check. Noises. Check. The whole thing plays out like a bed dream and after a while feels like you’re being hit upside the head by a child on a bus. Annoying, but ultimately you’re powerless to stop it.
Overall, it is a film of two halves. The first half is spectacular, with a scare every eight to ten minutes. All of which, though obvious are handled beautifully by Wan. The script is also better in the first half, with the undercurrent of the weary wife begging the husband to do his duty and save his son. Wannell has improved as a writer, finally crafting well rounded characters.
However the second half veers into the science fiction / fantasy realm, and the power of the scares and tension in the house is moved and ultimately defused. The end is also overlong and could have been edited a bit tighter. That being said, the scares come thick and fast for the first hour and the talent of the cast, especially Shayle as the spirit-busting psychic save the second half from descending into a parody of itself.

3 / 5

Written by thepanch

May 14, 2011 at 8:04 am