Wednesday, 23 December 2015

RIP 2015

Another year passes and we lose some more legends. Let's remember them.

Al from Happy Days. I actually can't believe he was still alive but bless him.

Edward Hermann. He died in December last year. Very upset about this. Everyone's favourite grandpa.

Leonard Nimoy.

Jackie Collins. Outpouring of grief at Teen Towers over Jackie. Look at her. Legend.

Ben E. King.

BB King. 

Christopher Lee.

Omar Sharif.

Life is short. Eat another mince pie.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Taylor Swift

I am amused by Taylor and her girl squad. Her perfect pop. Her perfect hair and her perfectly toned body. She's 26 so I guess she's allowed to be pretty perfect. I consider Blank Space to be her masterpiece. Every time I listen to it I think how clever it is and the video is hypnotic.

It's her birthday today so I thought I'd do a little post to say that I may be in my 40s but I truly am a perennial teenager because I love Taylor and my friend gave me a Taylor colouring in book (Colour me Swiftly) which is just the best thing ever. My creative work can be seen above.

Happy birthday Taylor!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Bull Durham

Bull Durham is on Netflix and I watched it again for the first time in years. A film about baseball that is most enjoyable. This is the ultimate sexy Kevin Costner film. At one point Susan Sarandon says to him "God, you're gorgeous" and one can only agree. He is divine in this.

Susan is, naturally, also wonderful and Tim Robbins is perfect as the oafish young player. I was interested to note it was rated an 18 when it came out in 1988. I think now it would barely rate a 12. 

Anyway, if you've never seen it or not seen it for a while then I am here to tell you it's still excellent.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hair in movies

An important topic that we've not discussed is hair in movies. I am specifically talking about female hair because it's hard to care about men's hair unless it's truly dire. I rarely think, wow, that actor has great/terrible hair. But I often think it about women.

Jennifer Aniston is the queen of covetable hair. She has her own haircare range for heaven's sake. Yes, I have bought it and love it. Living Proof. You won't look back, I promise. I think her hair is a little overstated, it's very nice and all but it's not hair I covet.

Our envy for hair can usually be found in our formative youth and for me, that means Meg Ryan.

Let's break this down. No way in a million years would I want her Sally hair now but at the time, I thought it was the bees knees. It's a perm for goodness sake but perfect ringlets! And I liked her wardrobe in When Harry Met Sally too. And basically I wanted to be Meg Ryan, hair and all. Sleepless in Seattle is more complicated. The point here is the lustrousness of her hair. It looks all thick and heavy, like a rope. I used to want that. Now both look very dated and quite cute for that.

The worst film for hair is Working Girl. There is no debate on this matter. Look at the evidence.

I actually don't think anybody had hair like this in the 80s. Come on! It's beyond a joke. They'd go in flames near a naked flame. At least Melanie gets a makeover but Joan's character gets married with that hair. Just say no.

You know how much I dislike Andi but her hair in Four Weddings and a Funeral is really nice and crucially, that hairstyle would work now. Hair envy happening over here. I have straight hair with an annoying kink. It's never going to look like that. Oh well.

Katherine Ross is gorgeous. She is gorgeous both in The Graduate and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My hair could feasibly do this (in my dreams) and so she is my real hair crush.

Well, after Grace of course.

Utter perfection. Even now.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

80s throwback

I pretty much live my life in the 80s so to call this a throwback is a little misleading. However, I flew to New York for two days earlier this week for work. Nothing exciting about it, I was in New Jersey in all day meetings and then back to the airport. I flew Delta. My experience of American airlines is they have terrible lounges, they give you ALL the food in the world but they have great old movies on the inflight entertainment.

I found myself idly flicking through the options and decided to watch Moonstruck. I've not seen it since it was released in 1987. I had little hope of it actually being any good and I was utterly charmed. It's a very slight story but Cher and Nicolas Cage are wonderful.

I used to have a crush on Nicolas Cage and it was 99% down to his performance in this.  He's all muscly, sweaty and cute. (1% for Wild At Heart - snakeskin jacket). The shots of New York and Cher being all mousey only to become a goddess after having sex with her fiance's brother. It's truly a delight and worth rewatching if you've not seen it for a while.

Bolstered by this success I moved on to Tootsie. A confession, I've never seen Tootsie. I have no idea how I have this gap in my key 80s film oeuvre but there it is. I've literally not even seen five minutes.

I was bowled over. I knew it was a good film but nobody told me it was awesome! Plus Bill Murray is in it. Dustin Hoffman thoroughly deserved his Oscar, he is just so good. Men dressing up as women is as old as the hills in Hollywood but his performance is genuinely very touching and not just played for laughs. I enjoyed every moment.

On my flight back, I watched Say Anything. Again, I've not seen this for a very long time. This film is all about John Cusack. Without him, not much is going on but he's marvellous. The good guy Lloyd, adored by his female friends, winning over the class goddess. It's not one of my favourite 80s films but it's thoroughly enjoyable. And it has Frasier's dad in it!

I was reminded of these movies after reading Hadley Freeman's new book, Life Moves Pretty Fast. Unsurprisingly it's about 80s movies and how good they were. It's not just a blind adoration though, she calls out the sexism, racism and other isms of 80s films but she also talks about how Dirty Dancing would simply never get made today. It's well worth a read.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

David Bowie, Let's Dance

I've mentioned this briefly when discussing Nile Rodgers (who produced this) but I don't think I've paid it enough attention. It's no exaggeration to say this is one of my favourite songs from the 80s. I know that true Bowie fans despair at how commercial it is but commerciality has never bothered me. I'm an 80s kid, a child of Thatcher, I worship at the alter of commercialisation!

I don't listen to this song much but whenever I hear it, it makes me very happy and reminds me of a very specific time at school. We all loved this and China Girl. I'd never heard of David Bowie before this came out! hey, I was 12, what did I know? My parents like Neil Diamond!

I love the lyrics: under the moonlight, the serious moonlight! Put on your red shoes and dance the blues. It's just wonderful. And it seems perfect for this lovely sunny evening.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Top Ten songs from 80s movies

Inspired by just watching the Carly Simon video for Let The River Run. I am now watching Africa by Toto which is not, to my knowledge, featured in an 80s film but god, I love it. If you feel the same way, read this.

Anyway, to my list. Oh, this is so hard. SO HARD. How can I pick just ten? Let me dive in and see how I get on.

Now, strictly speaking I am cheating from the start because this isn't really a song and it has no video to go with it. But I love this more than life itself and it's from one of my favourite movies ever (not just the 80s) and therefore I am having it. The love theme from St Elmo's Fire.

Footloose! Kenny Loggins is the king of the 80s soundtrack. This is the very definition of a 'they don't make 'em like they used to' song. It's impossible to sit still to and it really does make me want to kick off my Sunday shoes. Added bonus of Kevin Bacon dancing of course.


It would be too easy to pick What A Feeling from Flashdance and yes, I do love it. However, Maniac by Michael Sembello is also a classic.

Fame! I want to live forever. This was huge. I still love watching the video. Dancing is a big thing for me.

If you want cheese, this video delivers in spades. Carly mingling with the characters from Working Girl. It's deeply odd but what an anthem.

I could include the entire Dirty Dancing soundtrack. While I love Time of My Life, this montage is when they fall in love and I can watch it over and over again.

I could also include the whole Pretty Woman soundtrack. One of the greatest soundtracks of our time. Go West! Roxette! I've always adored this little love song though.

I can't find any video that went with Crocodile Dundee and this song. Mental As Anything - Live It Up. Best band name ever. This is perfect pop.

I hate Simple Minds but to not include this would be all kinds of wrong. And it's the one thing they did right.

The finest rom com ever made give me my final choice. Nobody else gave me a thrill, with all your faults I love you still. Another great soundtrack. 

No Top Gun songs? No room. Although the theme from Top Gun would be on my list on a different day and a different mood. Also Oh Yeah by Yello. What have I missed? Tell me your choices.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Freaky Friday

The original Freaky Friday with Jodie Foster has always been a bit of a favourite of mine. I've not seen it in years but Jodie! Anyway, this remake is a hoot. I saw it on TV the other day and laughed like a drain. It's genuinely really funny because Jamie Lee-Curtis and Lindsey Lohan are brilliant.

The academy rarely rewards comedy acting and it's a crime because these two both deserve awards for their performances in this. Jamie driving the kids to school with the dreamy Mark Harmon on the first morning they've swapped bodies is one of the funniest scenes I've watched for a long time. Lindsey is great as the prim mother trying to comfort her 'daughter' when she has a meltdown. Everyone in this is great and it has a bonus Coco from Fame appearance too. But this film is Jamie's, she is simply magnificent and it reminds me why I like her so much. She's so much fun, I bet Jamie and I would be friends. She comes across as so normal for someone who is essentially Hollywood royalty given her parents. I might kick start a JLC season and open it with Perfect.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Thank You For The Music

I have just returned from Stockholm. Sweden is famous for many things: meatballs, lingonberries, Roxette, Ikea, H&M, cool design. Whatever. It gave the world the magnificent Abba and for that, we are eternally grateful. I can forgive them for Ace of Base.

Now, we did lots of sightseeing, we hopped on boats and looked round islands, we walked miles, we drank beer, we went to a fantastic photography museum. Yes, yes but really it was all about visiting Abba, The Museum.

This has only been opened a few years which makes you wonder why it took them so long. The Swedes are a very understated nation. While we were there, they won the Eurovision Song Contest and you'd never know it. They gave the world one of the best pop groups and it's taken them 40 years to put together this museum.

It's not a typical museum, it's very immersive and fun. Outside you can stick your head through a picture wall to be one of Abba. The Americans in front of us had more fun than is surely allowed doing this, endless photos, hooting and howling with laughter. It was actually just fun watching them. After all, they'd travelled a long way to be part of Abba. And this museum is about making you feel one of the band.

You start with a short film which is one of the best short films I've ever seen played entirely in the dark and on screens surrounding you. It's very, very loud and when it launches into that famous piano bit at the start of Dancing Queen about half way through... I am not ashamed to admit I welled up. Because if ever a band sums up a childhood then Abba sums up mine. The joyfulness of Dancing Queen cannot be understated.

There is plenty dedicated to Waterloo, including the costumes they wore when they won Eurovision.

There are the original phones from Ring, Ring.

And they make a big thing out of only four people having the phone number to call you and it just might ring. I stood there for a good five minutes, nothing happened.

You can hop in the Arrival helicopter.

The actual helicopter they sat in! Nothing precious, no ropes round it, just get in. It's tiny by the way. They must have all been very small.

You can go and have a dance in a room with a glitter ball. It's every Abba fan's wet dream. There is loads of informative stuff too, Benny's diary from Eurovision for example which was very sweet. There is an Abba quiz - I did easy and it wasn't. Do you know the name of Abba's kids?!

There is an entire room devoted to their lycra costume glory. And they have recreated their dressing room, the Polar studio, Benny's summer house and much much more.

The shop is simply magnificent. Abba vinyl, CDs, DVDs, keyrings, magnets galore, postcards by the dozen, books and books and books, posters, pencil cases. You name it, Abba is on it.

TeenBoy, who rolled his eyes about going, genuinely enjoyed it.  Because Abba were perfect, a soap opera of a band. Agnetha and Anni sang like angels, Benny and Bjorn wrote masterfully and put together, they truly were magical. Even jaded punk fans can appreciate Abba.

The museum is a very upbeat experience. You don't hear The Winner Takes It All or the utter genius of The Day Before You Came. This is happy Abba, no melancholy allowed. And that's ok. I went back to our hotel (owned by Benny of course) and listened to the ballads and sighed contentedly to myself.

I will love them forever for their layered pop perfection. I read a line in a review that summed it up. "Abba were a band who were good at sounding happy but their lyrics were dark and Swedish all the way."

If you go to Stockholm (which is lovely by the way) then go and pay your respects.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Current obsessions

Hi y'all! Apologies for the absence. How have I been spending my time? Well, I've watched five season of The Vampire Diaries which is totally addictive and trashily wonderful. I even watched the first season of The Originals (VD spin-off) and am now watching Supernatural. Which is not as addictive but has Dean from Gilmore Girls in it.

Anyway, I rarely venture into current music but last weekend we had a four year old staying (with her parents, I don't 'do' babysitting) and she demanded to listen to one song.

I was aware of this song, it is so huge it had managed to impinge my Radio 4 listening consciousness. However, I had NOT seen the video.

It's totally brilliant. I can't stop watching it. The dancing, the rollers, the pink jacket, the shoe shine! It does everything a good video should do, it makes me like the song more.

Another song I can't get enough of.

Another work of genius. Not the song but the video. It's so much fun and she looks a million dollars in it. I do think Ms Swift looks a bit like an alien but she is also someone you can't stop looking at. How can anyone have a figure quite like that? How does her hair stay so perfect? I am transfixed.

Speaking of Taylor.

This video is very clever and it's fun to see her poke fun at herself. I am liking her more and more. The song is also good. Proper good pop song. Bravo Taylor!

And so six months after everyone else, I am down with the kids. Thanks to a four-year old girl.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Vampire Diaries

Have we not all had enough vampires in our lives? I thought Twilight was the nail in the coffin for vampires so to speak but no, they continue to capture our imagination. I have started watching this show as I need something to watch on my commute and I've finished Gilmore Girls.

This show is the very definition of a bad TV show we love. It's pretty awful yet I find myself compelled. It owes a tremendous amount to Charmed, a show I had a soft spot for because Aaron Spelling was behind it and it had that guy from Home & Away who married Danni Minogue playing the devil himself.

The Vampire Diaries is a show about Elena (intensely annoying and she appears to be unable to tie her hair back ever) who falls in love with Stefan who is a vampire. Stefan is boring. His brother Damon isn't and is played by a guy who looks like Rob Lowe's little brother. Damon is evil, he kills people for fun but it's only because he is tortured missing his love Katherine from over 150 years ago. Elena looks exactly like Katherine. We can all see where this is going and I am only half way through season one.

Jasmine Guy was in this playing a grandma. Now, I may be one of the few people around who instantly recognised her name in the credits. Jasmine played Whitley Gilbert in A Different World, the Cosby Show spin-off with Lisa Bonet. Now she is playing a grandma who is a witch. I don't think I've ever felt so old. I don't think I'm spoiling much to say she's just died in the show. I quite liked her too.

This is trash of the highest order. I can't believe Kevin Williamson (he of Dawson's Creek) is behind it. Obviously I shall continue to watch it.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Romancing the Stone

On Friday I found myself at Dubai airport having missed my connecting flight home (thanks for nothing BA) and had to spend five hours there. There are worse places to be stranded that Dubai airport but I was exhausted and for once, didn't want to shop. So I waited patiently and finally boarded my Emirates flight feeling very jaded with life.

I perked up because Emirates business class is delightful. Properly decadent, you get your own little bar! I sipped some champagne and casually looked at the in-flight entertainment. New films are a given on all flights, I judge an airline on the classic films. BA is woeful at this (of course). American Airlines had Gone With The Wind which made up for the fact I had to ask for my glass of champagne. Emirates had dozens and dozens of classics and I may have actually squealed when I saw it had Romancing the Stone. When you are travel-weary and your eyes hurt because you are so tired, you don't want anything worthy or new. You want your old friends to soothe you. I settled down with my lunch and wine and revisited this absolute classic.

It's never going to win any awards and it's super-cheesy but I have always loved this film because of the two leads. Kathleen Turner is quite simply, wonderful and gorgeous. Michael Douglas is sexy, funny and divine. They cavort round the Colombian jungle, running into trouble and Joan is a timid romance writer sexually awakened by Jack. Danny DeVito is after them as well as other baddies. It's all most pleasing and charming. It rattles along at a fair old pace and it still makes me laugh. The Jewel Of The Nile, its sequel was nowhere near as good but I would still happily watch it.

Michael Douglas is a bit weird these days (he is 70 which is a bit freaky to think about) but for me, this is his best film. He is charming and sexy. Watch it if you don't believe me. And Kathleen Turner is always wonderful. God bless the 80s.

ETA: I'd already blogged about this, I thought I had, I did a search and it didn't come up. Anyway, it's so good, I've talked about it twice.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Beautiful South

How have we not covered The Beautiful South? I love them and I lived next door to Paul Heaton at university. Yes, I lived on Grafton St and I pretty much only wanted to live there so I could say I'd lived on Grafton St. He used to walk past our house all the time (being as how he lived next door) and we saw him down the pub. The pub where the Housemartins filmed Happy Hour.

Anyway, I love his voice and I love A Little Time which is today's song.

If you've not listened to this for years, then trust me, it still sounds magnificent. It's such a sad little song but I love that the girl gets to tell him to basically piss off. Enjoy.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Rewatching TV shows

Happy new year. Like everyone, I dislike this time of year. There is very little to recommend it. Post Christmas podginess, grey weather, weeks until pay day, back to work blues.

May I prescribe a viewing of some of your favourite TV shows? I've always been a fan of revisiting classic TV. When TeenBoy and I first met, LA Law was being rerun. I set up a season pass on my much-missed original TiVo and we happily watched it. He had never seen it (imagine his delight) and I thoroughly enjoyed it all over again.

Recently I have been rewatching Gilmore Girls.

This has been my commute watch and I am about to start season seven tomorrow. It's actually even better than I remember. I frequently find myself guffawing on the train. The writing is so good, it's worth revisiting in case you missed any gems. When I first discovered Gilmore Girls I watched it like a woman eating her last meal. I literally couldn't get enough of it and wanted to know what happened next. Watching it again, I can enjoy the story arcs. I am particularly enjoying Lorelei and Christopher and how the writers always had him in the background. Paris is a joyful as ever. Jess seems less annoying this time. Dean is more annoying. I tell you, it's a revelation.

TeenBoy and I have also started to rewatch Friday Night Lights.

I remain convinced there is no better depiction of small-town American life than this show. We are on about episode seven of season one so early days. Since I know how annoying Julie is going to be, I am hating her already. Tami Taylor looks about 20 years younger than she does in Nashville and crikey, Tim Riggins is well moody to begin with isn't he? I am blown away by how good an actor Scott Porter (Jason Street) is. Hart of Dixie made me forget. Landry is creeping me out now after watching Breaking Bad. And those opening credits are hypnotic. It's amazing how quickly this show draws you in. It's still one of the finest TV dramas ever made.

Speaking of Breaking Bad, I raced through that back in the summer. Believe the hype if you're not indulged, it is worth every award and accolade it received. I plan to watch it again in the future. And I am considering my fourth rewatch of The West Wing.

What shows have you rewatched and loved all over again?

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