Wednesday, 31 December 2014

All about Grease

I was just in my dressing room getting ready for my new year festivities which involves not leaving the house, obviously. Anyway, Grease blasted out and it got me thinking:

1) I've only really done one serious post about Grease on here.
2) I've not watched Grease this year.

Back in 1978, when Grease was released, there were two cassettes in my mum's car - the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and the Grease soundtrack. Life was good, it was all we needed. We listened to it all the time. Then tragedy struck, the tapes were taken to a party and never returned. I don't quite know why my mum didn't go and buy them again, we were not flush with money but times weren't desperate. She didn't and we were left without the music. Literally.

So how about I do my rundown of the Grease soundtrack in order of greatness? Why the hell not? I am going to leave out the majority of the prom songs because good as they are, they don't really count. Obviously I will include Born To Hand Jive because I am not a heathen.

In reverse order:

Hopelessly Devoted To You

Something has to come last. I am not a fan of this drippy ballad. Liv gives it her all but it's all a bit dull.

Beauty School Dropout

I want to like this more than I do and over the years it has grown on me. I love Frenchie, I love her pink hair and the bubble gum. Who doesn't love Frankie Valli? I don't know why this doesn't quite work for me but there you go.

We Go Together

This is so joyous - look at them! Nonsensical lyrics, you wonder how on earth they learned them. Also, some kick-ass dancing!


I love Sandy because of Travolta's heartfelt singing and the dancing hotdog. We're now into songs I adore: What will they say, Monday at school. It still remains one of my favourite lyrics.

Born To Hand Jive

The greatest dancing sequence with some hand moves we can all try at home.

Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee

Total genius. I love Stockard's relish as she sings this and the lyrics are hilarious. That bedroom is still my dream bedroom.

You're The One That I Want

Still one of my favourite moments in a movie when Danny first sees sexed-up Sandy. It's just marvellous. A great intro to a song that never quite lives up to the early promise. Still, I am splitting hairs.

There Are Worse Things I Could Do

One of the saddest songs ever written. Stockard really is the star of Grease.

Greased Lightnin'

I love the way Danny jumps on to the table near the beginning, the choreography, the dream silver suits, the dirty lyrics. ALL OF IT!


One of the best openings to a movie ever. From the over blown Love Is A Many Splendored Thing to the opening notes of this. It's simply perfect.

Summer Nights

This will always be my favourite, it's fun and effortless and it has the best line ever: because he sounds like a drag. Never has one person been so wrong. Danny is not a drag!

Happy 2015 readers!

Monday, 22 December 2014

2014 RIP

Way too many this year, especially of the 'too young' variety.

Mike Nichols. He made The Graduate and Working Girl. Enough said.

Harold Ramis. Who you gonna call?

Shirley Temple. Had a drink named after her. Respect.

Richard Attenborough. Darlings!

Bob Hoskins. Uniquely British.

Casey Kasem. "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Joan Rivers. There can be no replacement. "If God had wanted us to bend over, he'd have put diamonds on the floor."

Lauren Bacall. Hollywood legend.

Mickey Rooney. I was actually surprised he was still alive. RIP Mickey.

Phillips Seymour Hoffman. Tragic.

Richard Kiel. A generation grew up afraid of his teeth.

Robin Williams. Another shocking death. Love him or never forgive Mrs Doubtfire. The choice is yours.

Alicia Rhett. She played India in Gone with the Wind. Therefore, noteworthy.

Sid Caesar. Coach Calhoun in Grease.

 James Garner. Another Hollywood legend.

Many of these really had great innings but the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman truly is a tragedy. What a waste of a tremendous talent. RIP.

Sunday, 21 December 2014


I've just completed my annual Elf viewing.

This scene always makes me laugh like a drain. I love Buddy. I feel suitably Christmassy now. Apologies for the lack of posts this year, I've been very busy with work and decorating our new house. I hope to have more time in 2015 for blogging.

Happy Christmas to you all. I'll be back with my RIP list before we reach 2015.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Kylie Minogue: Abbey Rd sessions

As previously discussed, I like Kylie and have enormous goodwill towards her. However, I haven't listened to her for years. Today I went to my local coffee shop to get my lunchtime sandwich and music was playing, it was familiar yet not. It took me a while to realise it was Kylie. I asked the owner who told me it was the Abbey Rd sessions. Seeing as I am completely out of the loop on music these days, I'd not heard of this album. He raved about it (it turns out we have similar musical taste, they were playing Abba the other weekend) and I just listened to some of it on iTunes.

It's fab and I highly recommend it. He is going to give me a copy of his CD so I think it could be my soundtrack for the next month until I get throughly sick of it.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald is now the Guardian's agony aunt.  I can't think of anything more perfect. Fill your boots.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Secret Of My Success

I can't believe I've not blogged about this yet. I adore this film, it's one of my favourites from the 80s. Last night I watched it again and I still love it! Michael J Fox looks about 14 in it but he's so good. He's a great actor, I am thoroughly enjoying him in The Good Wife at the moment.

Brantley comes to New York from Kansas determined to make a success of himself. Cue big scary city montages. He has a job lined up but the company goes under before he can begin so he asks his uncle for a job who puts him in the mailroom. This is the days before emails so much of the mail is internal memos. The depiction of corporate life is totally hilarious and not always intentionally. Anyway, our hero reads a memo or two, manages to work out a genius plan, pretends to be a hot young executive - Carlton Whitfield - and leads a double life. This requires him to change into suits in the elevator and run around the building a lot.

It's wafer thin but it's charming because of MJF and Margaret Whitton who plays Vera, his aunt. She is perfect. She should have had a great career because she steals the show in this.

The weakness is Helen Slater, aka the woman who cannot act at all. She gives Andie MacDowall a run for her money. She is terrible and it is no surprise that she did not have a wonderful career. In fact, a quick search tells me she was in The Young and the Restless.

I love the New York setting, the evilness of his uncle, Howard and the pure 80sness of it all. It's marvellous and well worth 90 minutes of your time if you've not seen it.

Friday, 5 September 2014

48 Hours

Nope, I'd never seen this either. Bolstered by my Trading Places success, I settled down happily to watch it.

I am not going to sugarcoat my thoughts; it's not very good at all. It has some entertaining early turns from actors like the guy who plays Mike in Breaking Bad and the guy who was Alex's dad in Grey's Anatomy and Samantha's boyfriend in Sex and the City. That was fun. But the film itself is boring. Eddie Murphy is great of course and the scene where he is singing Roxanne in the prison is brilliant, a fab introduction of a character. Nick Nolte - I am not a fan, he's a dull actor and I've always thought so. The fistfight is tedious. The racial jokes are pretty offensive watched now. It's boring. I won't be watching Another 48 Hours that's for sure.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Trading Places

I am having something of an Eddie Murphy moment. Last week TeenBoy and I settled down to watch Trading Places since it was on Tivo and we felt like some comedy. I have a confession to make, I have never watched this film all the way through. I've seen snippets of course but somehow this passed me by. I don't know how since it has Jamie Lee Curtis in it and she is one of my favourite actresses.

Better late than never and it's a total hoot. Once you get over how young they all look that is, especially Dan Ackroyd. What a cast! Denholm Elliot is wonderful. James Belushi turns up in the train scene, this scene was stupid, sorry but it was. But I love James Belushi. Also, it has the principal from The Breakfast Club in it! Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy are both stellar, playing with lives for the fun of it. All in all, it was a perfect couple of hours and it made me want to go and do some exercise as Jamie Lee Curtis's body is unbelievable. I say want to, I didn't of course...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Axel Foley's theme

I am currently working on a project with someone called Axel. I don't know how anyone is meant to keep a straight face. Every meeting or call I have with him, the Foley theme goes through my mind.

It's brightening up my day.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Good Wife

I am still watching Breaking Bad (three episodes left and my heart can't take much more) however, I need something a little more sedate for my commute to and from work. Step up The Good Wife. This is perfect, undemanding quality television. It has a fine cast, a good script and it's all very pleasing.

I almost find it too perfect. It's extremely slick, nobody raises their voice, everyone looks immaculate. Nonetheless, it's entertaining. Plus it has Grandma from Dawson's Creek in it! In fact, it has everyone in it - Big from Sex and the City, Carol from ER, Logan from Gilmore Girls and the wonderful Christine Baranski who I've liked since Cybil. Oh, and Mr Midnight Caller himself, Gary Cole. Bonus!

Enjoyment of this show relies heavily on your tolerance for courtroom scenes. I can watch these forever so I like it but it's not fast-moving. There is no sex (although it's quite sexy) and no violence so I can watch it safely on a train and not worry that my fellow commuters wonder about me.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells

Continuing my 70s mega-album theme, we come to Tubular Bells. Anyone who grew up in the 70s knows this album. I think it was mandatory that fathers owned it. My dad did and he used to play it in the car and I loved it. I am listening to it again for the first time in years and I am not sure it's stood the test of time in the way Dark Side Of The Moon has.

I am thoroughly enjoying listening to it again as it reminds me of a very specific period in my childhood and any music that does that is always special. But, how can I say this? It's really a dull album. I was reminded of it as I watched a documentary on Mike Oldfield. I remember imagining that Oldfield was older and heavy black rimmed glasses. A bit like Roy Orbsion if you will. I'll never forget my shock when I saw him and realised he was young and didn't wear any glasses, let alone black ones. Anyway, he really suffered making this, there are many tales of him cracking up, crying a lot and generally having a meltdown. I guess when you are doing everything with no bandmates or backing players, it's all on you.

The best bit is still the last eight minutes or so. I used to love the way he introduced the instruments. Not sure why, it sounds pretentious now in his home counties accent. "Glockenspiel!" "Bass Guitar!" "Two slightly distorted guitars!" "Mandolin!" Why were we all so entranced with this? He has a lot to thank Richard Branson and The Exorcist for.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon

This week I discovered my sister doesn't like Pink Floyd. W T actual F? I was amazed for two reasons: a) that I didn't know this when we rabbit on about pretty much anything to do with music, film and TV non-stop and b) that we are related. She had no idea I liked them. It's like a massive void in our sisterhood.

Now, I am no Floyd fan girl. I can't wax lyrical about Syd Barrett and every album they made. But some albums transcend everything and DSOTM is one of them. I listened to this a lot when it was obligatory to do so (early 20s) and have always returned to it. While driving across the desert last month with TeenBoy, I was on DJ duties. As previously discussed, in a Venn diagram of what we both find bearable musically, the crossover is very small. Nonetheless, I took a punt on this because any sane person likes this album and stone me if it's not the perfect driving across the desert music! I was proclaimed a DJ genius and we both had a very happy 40 or so minutes listening to the album and then an hour dissecting every song and why we liked it so much. Being married to a fellow geek has its benefits.

My favourite song is Time: "Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day." I love that line. I also adore "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way." Poetry I tell you. The whole song is a depressing one but it's so masterfully executed, it's easy to not notice.

Basically I think Dave Gilmour is wonderful and could listen to him all day long. I don't want to be shallow but also, he was very, very cute.

Just saying.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Breaking Bad

Apologies for my absence. I've had a busy month, packing up in New York, a road trip, returning to London, flying to Nice and Madrid for work and finally back home to some normality and serious TV watching. All this jet-setting gets in the way of sitting on the sofa, drinking tea and watching some quality television. Thank goodness it's summer and I don't have a ton to catch up on.

TeenBoy and I went to New Mexico for our road trip, I spent a year there at uni and have always wanted to go back and he wanted to see the car wash from Breaking Bad. It was good enough reason to book the flight and car and hit the road. I had not viewed Breaking Bad, I wanted to but somehow it passed me by. So upon my return to West London, I decided it was time to dig in. TeenBoy is rewatching claiming it's that good.

We are on season two and I can safely say it's like nothing else I've watched. Love the Albuquerque scenery and being geeky about where I recognise. Love Jesse. Love the concept. However, the episode I watched last night was so depressing. I guess when the storyline is all about crystal meth, it's not going to be Mary Poppins but gawd. I'm hooked though, as I type this I am wondering what's going to happen next.

I fear I shall be bereft in a few short weeks when I've binged through all five seasons. It's good to be back on the sofa though, seeing the big world is exhausting!

Monday, 28 April 2014


Suits is a hoot and my new TV obsession. Grey's Anatomy left a huge void in my life and while Suits doesn't exactly fill it (there is nothing like a good hospital drama), it zips along entertainingly. It has many high points:

1) It's set in Manhattan and lovingly shows aerial shots of the city at least 10 times in every episode. I even saw my office building in one episode, very distinctive it was. That pleased me.

2) It has Donna.

Donna is a sassy secretary who knows everything and has an amusing retort for every comment. She is not in it nearly enough but when she is, the whole show just gets better.

3) It also has Louis Litt. You start off hating him but I am just beginning season three and now have a soft spot for him. He is a classic ugly bug who is deeply insecure and just wants to be liked.

4) Jessica's wardrobe is to die for. I watch it and just despair over my slovenly threads. Whoever is dressing her is having a ball. This one made me laugh - how could you possibly wear this all day and expect to get any work done?

Although she doesn't seem to do much work. She strolls around sexily and gives orders. I want to be Jessica. This is a more reasonable outfit. Divine.

5) Harvey Specter. Another actor having a lot of fun, he really feels like a corporate hot shot lawyer. 

There are also low points.

1) The premise. Mike is working at a law firm, practicing law yet isn't qualified. Yes, he is a genius but come on, no law firm would knowingly let this happen.

2) Mike and Rachel. I don't know, they are both really whiny. I don't hate them but I do wish they'd stop being so self-involved.

3) The grandmother storyline is really corny. The writers could have made a bit more of an effort.

These are minor quibbles, it's good fun and worth watching. It's very highly produced and the money is on sets, aerial shots of New York and the wardrobe. It's not on the writers.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Great music videos

I am an MTV kid of the 80s. I used to go and spend summers with my dad in Boston and while he worked, I would watch MTV for hours and hours. We didn't have it at home, there was no such thing as cable or satellite when I was a teenager let me tell you and certainly not in Essex. So I used to soak up the videos like a sponge. Some songs I swear I like because of the videos. I believe the golden age of video is behind us or maybe I think that because I am nostalgic for the 80s. There probably are some wonderful music videos being made now but they are so overly sexualised. I don't want to see tits and ass. I want creativity, innocence, humour and images that fit a song to perfection.

I've been musing on this for a while now and as such, here are some videos I think just work. They complement a song and make it sound better. They are videos that you instantly think of when you hear the song on the radio.

Michael Jackson understood the power of the video and it's hard to imagine a better video that the one for Billie Jean. The steps lighting up! It's all unmistakably 80s but it works beautifully. I much prefer it to the video for Thriller.


While I am on Jacko, Beat It. Also fantastic and so iconic with that red jacket. In fact, this video is all about the red jacket. I used to jump for joy when this came on MTV.

Lionel Richie, All Night Long. This is the perfect video. It evokes warm summer night and a party atmosphere. I love how colourful it is. I can't watch this without dancing. Also, cute kids!

A large house at night, a gothic atmosphere, a full moon, a wind machine, doors being opened dramatically, long white dresses, curtains billowing, mysterious ninja dancers, men in pants cartwheeling. It can only mean one thing. Bonnie is in the house. It's all just fantastic.

Duran Duran were a huge video band. Bands often became over ambitious as they became uber successful. Wild Boys is a ridiculous video. However, Rio is perfect. It doesn't take itself seriously. It's glam and aspirational. We all wanted to be on that yacht with a blue telephone.

Club Tropicana has a similar feel. I prefer this to Rio (much as I love Rio) because a) George Michael can actually sing b) it's a better song and c) It has Shirley and Pepsi in it! Also, I still want that lilo. Listening to this transports me to Spanish holidays of my youth.

George Michael made some great videos. I also love Careless Whisper (of course) for its utter cheesiness, Fast Love, and of course, Freedom. Supermodels! Every time I watch this I am captivated by Naomi Campbell's drop dead beauty.

Madonna. This entire post could be devoted to Madonna videos. She understands the power of video like no other. The Like A Virgin video makes an average song sound good and that's a real talent. I can't think of a single Madonna video I don't like. Obviously the pinnacle of her career is Vogue. If I had to pick my favourite video of all time, then this would be it. The dancing still looks as fresh as a daisy and the entire concept is genius.

I also love Hung Up, especially when she struts into that club. The woman knows how to dance.

Madonna's natural successor is of course, Lady Gaga. Poker Face is a beautifully looking video. That opening shot of her coming out of the pool is so cool.

Bad Romance as well. I could watch this over and over. The visuals in this are stunning. She was so good and now, meh. Whatever.

And finally, Beyonce, Crazy in Love. Utter perfection.

I shall be returning to this theme as I think of more great videos I love.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Lenny Kravitz

How have I neglected Lenny? I am ashamed of myself. Lenny was an obsession that lasted for several years and I still love him. Recently I've been listening to Lenny again for the first time in years and am delighted to report that his songs still sound good. Not all of them, some were clearly written under the influence of too many substances, however there is some greatness to be had. In a moment I shall pick out a few but let's just take a moment to appreciate the gorgeousness of Lenny.

He is ludicrously photogenic. My obsession extended to waiting for hours so I could be in the front row of a concert at Brixton Academy. Here is my photo:

I can't believe that was over 20 years ago. He threw me his plectrum and I still have it somewhere. Oh I do love a good obsession.

Anyway, to his music. I always felt he wasn't given enough credit. He wrote some fabulous songs. Here are some of my favourites.

I adore Heaven Help, it's such a cute little song.

Are You Gonna Go My Way. This still has one of my favourite introductions to a rock song. I love bouncing around to this. It's a great workout song.

Always On The Run. Another fantastic introduction. Lenny and Slash. I think my uterus just skipped a beat. I think this is possibly my favourite Lenny song. I adore it.

Except I also adore Stand By My Woman. The perfect love song.

I also have a soft spot for Believe.

Let Love Rule will always be my favourite Lenny album and the title song is still perfect. I can always listen to this.

Be. I used to listen to this over and over.

I don't have much time for later Lenny but I am enjoying his new career as an actor. He's pretty good as well. Now all he needs to do is get back together with Lisa Bonet and arrange for me to bump into them in New York and I can die happy.

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