Sunday, April 16, 2006

Think of me, Constant Reader, and the fresh Hell I will be going through as I spend the next two two weeks in Mexico. I have just CNN Weathered and supposedly it will be 91 into the middle of week - and you think *you* got it bad!

Clicky to see my prison

Hasta Luego!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thanks for asking Constant Reader I had a lovely birthday on the 12th!

Ta for the cards, texts and e-mails.... and where were the ones that didn't show up.

You know who you are......

Monday, April 10, 2006

To the NFT Sunday afternoon with Owen and Tall Paul to see the delightful Spanish comedy REINAS (Queens) showing as part of the Lebanese and Ghoul Film Festival. The initial spur was the mouth-watering thought of three Almodovar actresses in the same film: Carmen Maura, Marisa Paredes and Veronica Forque. However the film would have been well worth a viewing whoever had been it!

It's the eve of Spain's first multiple gay wedding and the nerves of 5 of the grooms are also felt by their mothers. Nuria (Veronica Forque) is the mother of politician Narciso (Paco Leon) and she is wrestling with her compulsion to have sex with men whenever the mood takes her! Narciso is going to marry Hugo (Gustavo Salmeron) whose mother Helena (Mercedes Sampietro) is thrust into being the unwilling judge at the wedding which is taking place in the plush hotel managed by Magda (Carmen Maura) who is attempting to fend off a strike by the kitchen staff which will ruin the hotel's reputation in the eyes of the massed media. It doesn't help that the head chef who is leading the strike is also her extra-marital lover. Magda is also the mother of Miguel (Unax Ugaldo) whose stylish, fashionable apartment is suddenly occupied by Ofelia (Bettiana Blum) - and her enormous shaggy dog - having flown in from Buenos Aries to be with her son, Miguel's boyfriend Oscar (Daniel Hendler). Meanwhile film actress Reyes (Marisa Paredes) is having to confront the fact that her son Rafa (Raul Garcia) is marrying Jonas (Hugo Silva) the son of her gardener Jacinto (Lluis Homar) who despite many years of working for her has never even set foot in the house.

Confused? You will be... The fun escalates when the future partners and in-laws argue, fall out of love then back in again as their paths intersect in the hours leading up to the big day. While watching it I could almost see the film being remade by Hollywood as a vehicle for the likes of Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Jill Clayburgh and Susan Sarandon.

However the director Manuel Gomez Pereira kept the action whipping along with hardly time to remember who was related to who and the script by Yolanda Garcia Serrano and Pereira showed the deftness of plotting of classic screwball comedies allied to a great warmth and corazon. And of course there was the excellent cast, once again proving the greatness of Spanish screen actresses. I would love to have this on dvd - it's out in Spain but unsurprisingly without English subtitles.

Friday, April 07, 2006

To the Retro tonight for What's In Your Record Bag? I had been putting together a set in my mind which seemed great while in there, but it didn't seem to translate aurally! 5 minutes before Showtime I reversed the playing order and that seemed a bit better:

  • DIANA KING - Shy Guy
  • TLC - Girl Talk
  • ME'SHELL NDEGE'OCELLO - If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • PRINCE - Black Sweat

All tracks I had wanted to hear loud 'n' proud playing in the Retro and while Owen and Don bigged it up - and Rob was delighted to hear the Diana King track again - I'm still not sure. Owen did a very well-received 1973 set, Don played 5 Mariachi tracks to speed us on our journey to Mexico and Gerald did his usual eclectic mix (no Stephen or Dawn tonight). I will agree that the Morrissey track off the new album sounded good played loud. Still cannot warm to the album tho'.

Maybe I'll feel a bit more secure in my choices next time round...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is it me? I read a report that Katie Holmes, unknown ingenue of the Silver Screen who is quick with child allegedly by Tom Cruise, "plans to adhere to strict Scientology rules and give birth without screaming, crying or making loud noises".

Stupid bitch.

Gee... do you think Scientology was possibly started by a man?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

So there was I, Constant Reader, at 8:59am clicking away at the refresh button on the Ticketmaster Madonna pre-sale page - 9:01 I'm still getting a more info clicky rather than a buy tickets one. So out of Devilment I clicked the more info link and hey poncho there was the space to put the pre-sale code from Icon (M's fan club) - 2 front row seats in block B4 on the floor.

Monday, April 03, 2006

With a mind still whizzing with M's tour news this evening I went with Angela tonight to our old cinematic stomping ground of the Barbican to see the last proper Merchant Ivory production THE WHITE COUNTESS made just before producer Ismail Merchant's death.

Sadly this is no HOWARDS END or THE REMAINS OF THE DAY... in fact quite the reverse. Despite being written by Kazou Ishiguro it has the distinct whiff of a 1940s b-movie, probably starring Hedy Lamarr and John Payne. Picture if you can a beautiful Russian widow Sofia (Natasha Richardson) who lives in a 2 room flat in a Shanghai back street with her mother-in-law, sister-in-law,aunt and uncle (Lynn Redgrave, Madeleine Potter, Vanessa Redgrave, John Wood) who are totally reliant on the money brought in from her evenings spent working as a dancer/tart in a cheap dance-hall. Despite this her family look down on her morals and do all they can from preventing her 'tainting' her daughter Katya (Madeleine Daly, Potter's own daughter). Into their Chekhovian lives stumbles (literally) American Todd Jackson (Ralph Fiennes). A former diplomat, still mourning the death of his young daughter in the terrorist bombing that blinded him, whose meeting with the honey-voiced Sofia spurs him on to acting on his greatest wish... to, um, open a nightclub called THE WHITE COUNTESS. As you do. Their reticent, love-at-walking-stick's length mutual dependence is played out against a backdrop of ominous Japanese invasion.

Fiennes turns in another watery-eyed sadsack
performance - all sighs and wan smiles. Richardson is luminous and always watchable but the whole film seems to be powered on some serious low-wattage. Vanessa and John Wood have a delightful scene where against the wishes of the rest of the family they pay a call on the French Consulate to visit someone they knew in Russia in The Good Old Days and end up being driven back to their back street flat in a large shiny car much to their delight. Otherwise it drifts by like one of the boats seen sailing to Hong Kong at the end. Largely at fault is Ivory's respectful, unispired direction and Ishiguro's erratic script. No more so than when Fiennes' character asks his screamingly shady Japanese friend (Hiroyuki Sanada) to fill his club with Chinese Communists, Japanese soldiers and politicians to create a heady political mix, then later in the film tells him his club is an escape from the growing political instability.
The phoney war is over. Across the world people are going to bed with itchy fingers and hearts a-flutter. 9am Tuesday the pre-sale goes live for Madonna's European dates!

The dates have been guessed at for the past few weeks with occasional dates being leaked on various sites and for a while I was panicking they would be announced when I was on holiday.. and suddenly... all the Madonna websites changed their look today to tie-in with the Big Announcement.
So... another restless night spent dreaming of good tickets in the Wembley Arena on either August 1 or 3.