Musicians, Vocalists, Emcee's & Beatboxers
for a new Monday night at
The Magnet
45 Hardman Street
9pm - 2am
Ingredients: Jazz, Funk, Ska, Reggae, Hip Hop, R&B, Disco & Latin Breaks
Question? When you're out and hear a groove that makes ya head nod and ya start getting ideas / inspiration from the track, wouldn't you like to freestyle over it alongside various artists / instruments with a professional DJ?
WAYNE SEELY ex nightmares on wax resident DJ
Hostess LARA ROSE vocalist with James Taylor Quartet & The New Mastersounds
If your answer to the above question is "YES" and you know how to play your specific instrument, then email us for details:
Whether you want to witness or take part, come along and check-it-out because after all, action speaks louder than words and seeing is believing...

[Went to The Magnet for the first time tonight and promised to offer this night a plug, so I've reproduced the text of their flyer verbatum. This place is a real hidden treasure, utterly different to anything else.]
Film Elizabeth Wurtzel holds court over the film version of Prozac Nation:
Some people close to the production have cited another reason for the delay. "As you should have figured out by now, it's a horrible movie," Ms. Wurtzel said. "It's just awful. If they thought it was good, they'd have released it long ago."
Straight to DVD over here then ...
Radio With the new Hitchiker's radio series I was wondering about how the tones of the new Book, William Franklyn might match up. Reader Jay Campbell was kind enough to send the link which includes a voice sample. Apart from making you shout 'It's that guy!' you'll be please to hear that he'll be just fine.

In related news, I mention in that previous post that my favourite would be Oliver Postgate. The week's issue of B3TA includes a truly touch letter he wrote declining their offer of an interview. It's at the bottom past all the usual wierd links and madness...
Film So The Matrix Revolutions may not be any good. Wired really puts the knife in here. I will of course reserve judgement. It does re-iterate the argument for me about the nature of sequels and their relationship to the initial film.

When creating a sequel in a genre such as science fiction, why is it important to include the original characters? Granted it's because the viewer wants to see a continuation of their story -- but very often the original story has been told. All we're getting are re-iterations. Why not, if a coherent world has been set up, with it's own rules and ideas can't we visit someone else who lives there and follow their story instead?

It's money, of course. There is a perception that if different characters appear in a sequel, it's a lesser piece. But looking at Men in Black II that's hardly in issue. There was a film which specifically devalued the original by re-energising the Tommy Lee Jones character. One of the themes of the first film was renewal and the possibility that you don't have to keep the hand you're dealt. In the second film, that was all swept under the carpet by the perceived need to get Jones in black. Why couldn't Will Smith have a new partner? Why weren't to new and equally compelling actors hired for a new adventure? It's almost as thought the actor is the fanchise. Which sounds very dull indeed and no way to go about making movies...
Agh! The graphics on the site seem to be a bit flakey. If you're not seeing my new banner could you email and let me know. If think my computer may be having an argument with BT Openworld's server (or something).
TV "I like that you've read my review of As, If at the IMDb, and I thought it would be easier to post this information here so that I just need to supply a link whenever anyone emails me like you have. The theme tune to the TV series As,If is 'Would you go to bed with me?' from the band Touch and Go. It's on the soundtrack albums for As,If and the Ben Affleck / Sandra Bullock film Forces of Nature. You can find ringtones and lyrics at this Google search."
Life I'm having quite a functional evening. The time between work and bedtime when you end up doing some of the usual things but you're just sort of existing through them. Raising and eyebrow and stifling a yawn. Hopefully my amazing life with resume tomorrow.
Radio Stunned to see that a third radio series of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy is going into production and everyone is back for it. It'll be a dramatisation of Life, The Universe and Everything. A fourth series covering everything else will follow. It's being produced by Dirk Maggs who's worked with Douglas before and has rejected one my scripts in the past. Not that I blame him. It was pretty awful. It's going to be odd not hearing Peter Jones as The Book, but his seat is being filled by William Franklyn. I was hoping for Oliver Postgate if anyone was going to do it. Oh well.
TV The new issue of Off The Telly has been published and features an interview with Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale and a great piece about the George Smiley sequence.
TV The on the ball tv tattle have scooped everyone with this link to a post at the BBC America website in which the writer Steven Moffat reveals that Richard Coyle won't be re-appearing as Jeff in the fourth series of Coupling. He was a strong character but for some reason it doesn't feel as much of a loss as say, someone leaving friends.

[As a side note, it good to see Steven falling for the same issues I sometimes have writing a piece in Word then posting directly to the internet with all the ' being turned into ? The trick is to copy/paste it into notepad then into wherever.]
Art One of the more embarrassing moments of my teenage years was the time I decided to substitute my initials. So for a while I would sign things SDK rather than my given SIB. These new initials stood for S(tuart) D(ebbie) K(ylie) (the second being as in Gibson the third of the Minogue). I'd print this on anything from exercise books to pencil cases. I'm telling you this because I was heartened to discover in the Rossetti retrospective at The Walker that the world renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter did much the same. He was an admirer of Dante Aligheri's poetry (he illustrated the poet's words over and over) and to honour his inspiration chose to swap his given name Gabriel Charles Dante around henceforth becoming Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and this was the name which appeared on his drawings and paintings. And presumably sketch books and the bags he'd keep his brushes in.

The exhibition is scattered with these interesting little points. It's strength is that unlike other, larger retrospectives, rather than overpowering the viewer with hundreds of facts about the artist's life, it chooses to allow the pictures to tell the story, the information on hand giving context. There isn't much for example about the artist's early life - I have no idea what his parent's names are or for that matter if he had any pets. The story begins instead as he joins The Brotherhood with his early drawings, elaborate doodles really tossing about ideas of the kind of work he is going to indulge in later. If you choose to visit I'd urge you not to dash straight into the main room for the canvases. It's really worth taking the time to follow the map provided and work your way through these drawings and watercolours which appear at the start.

Again to compare with similar exhibitions were we see a conflict of styles and ideas in the artist's early years, it's a pleasure to see here that Rossetti somewhat knew he wasn't a realist painter, his talents lay in illustrating stories from literature. The exhibition continues with a series of drawings and watercolours representing the development of a talent. The works illustrate over and over the models and friends he used over the years. His tragic wife Elizabeth Siddal appears poignantly and his other great muse Jane Morris features even more prominently. It's startling at one point to see her appear in a series of photographs, her features as striking as they are in Rossetti's paint and pencil. Of the two ladies, hers is the painter's signature face, appearing over and over, almost like a film star moving from role to role.

There are deceptively fewer canvases than you might expect, but those which are featured are the classics, the ones you'll know from the calendars and the postcards. Loans have been made from Birmingham, Manchester and The Tate and to see them mingled with The Walker's own collection gives a greater appreciation of the man's work than I've seen in some time. They're split into two sections; the Beauties of the 1860s which depict straight portraiture representing classical figures, and my favourites, his Later Work. Although 'Proserpine' herself hasn't made the trip from London, there is a very good watercolour version; pride of place goes to The Walker's own 'Dante's Dream', probably the pinnacle of his craft and a work which can be looked at for hours on end.

This isn't an exhibition which will convert the visitor if they can't stand the Pre-Raphaelites - it's not that kind of show. It's for the rest of us who have bought the postcards and calendars and admired these works in the solitary positions in collections throughout the country. It's a chance to see them to together, to see the craft of the painter develop along with his passion and obsessions and to wonder what it was really like in the heady days of The Brotherhood.
Life I now own two pairs of shoes without laces. I'm not an inherently lazy person and I did eventually learn how to knot those things but it just seems easier at the end of the day when you can kick them straight off. And they seem a bit more comfortable. Come on laces, justify yourselves.
Blogbar The new blogbar is a view from my window two years ago. And now that I'm back up here on the thirteenth floor I'm looking forward to seeing similar views again soon. Incidentally the imperfections were created by glare on the window when the picture was taken.
TV I know that some regular readers were phobic to the charms of Look Around You the series of short parodies of the Granada schools programmes broadcast during the Seventies and Eighties. Although I avoided them at school, before This Morning they were all ITV could offer me during the frequent sicknesses I had as a child. So I only really get the joke by stealth.

But this is another instance of my past following me around. In every episode, the brother of Peter Serafinowicz, one of the co-creators (and the voice of Darth Maul), appears as the sample student wearing a uniform from my old school. The black one with the blue bands. It's a joke that only a certain number of people could get, but it's presence bugs me because Serafinowicz went to rival school St. Francis Xavier (which he mentions on the audio commentary). I'll let you know when I've tried Experiment One.
Awards Or rather pointless awards ceremonies. Mtv seem to have hundreds of these a year, honouring the same people each time. Again I ask ... why do they bother?
TV The US version of Coupling has been cancelled. What was the point?
Starstruck I nearly ate in the same restaurant as ITN’s political correspondent John Sergeant last night. And I got a lesson in how I really should pay more attention sometimes. I was in Liverpool for a birthday drink with Chris and we’d decided to eat out for dinner. We weren’t looking for anything too special, just not fast food. Pre-pub grub. Something you can chug down before you chug down. Finding anywhere like that in the city, 6:30 in the evening is almost impossible. We’d already been in a few places and either they’d finished serving food an hour before or the queue was too massive and the choice too limited for it to be worth it. But we eventually found a place near the Philharmonic Hall. From the outside it looked nice but accessible.
We look at the boards outside. There is a menu and the prices seem quite reasonable. They have Pumpkin Risotto which seems apt. So we hotfoot it up the steps and walk in.
"I'll let you do the talking." Chris says. Thanks Chris.
We're inside. It’s very quiet. Perhaps too quiet.
We stand for a moment. The man behind the bar looks up from his glasses.
“I’m sorry.” I apologise. “Do we need to book?”
“You don’t have a booking?”
“Well, no. We were just passing buy and…”
“Let’s see.”
The barman flicks through what is now obviously the booking list. I wonder if pretending to be Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago (from Ferris Bueller's Day Off )might not be out of the question. It begins to dawn on me however what kind of place this is.
"Doesn't matter if you haven't got space." I say.
“I can fit you in.” He says. “But you can only really have the table until the next people arrive. About an hour and a half.”
In ninety minutes we were expecting to be sitting in The Pilgrim pub listening to Hotel California on the jukebox. The kind of food we’re looking for shouldn’t take that long to eat.
“Oh we’ll be done by then.”
”And I’ll have to stick you downstairs on your own.”
Since the place seemed mostly empty anyway I didn’t see this as much of a problem. Someone who in an Ian Fleming novel might be described as a ‘pretty waitress’ appears and leads us downstairs.
We sit at a table. It looks a lot nicer down here than upstairs. Too nice. A chill wind drifts down my back.
“Would you like anything to drink?” She asks.
Chris orders a beer. I ask for some water. Tap water.
She hands us a menu. I start to glance down the list. There aren’t any prices. Until I get to the bottom.
2 courses £19.95
3 coursees £25.95

Yes. I know that isn't too much for really nice food. And it all sounded lovely. But after my birthday splurges this had become the budget for the whole evening. I like food. I like good food. But we’re theoretically going on a pub crawl and the last thing we’re looking for is a la carte. We’re in the wrong place. At the wrong time. Like Tom Paulin at an S Club 8 concert. And we’re about to look very cheap indeed.
“This isn’t …” I try (but fail) to choose my words carefully, “I mean we weren’t expecting to pay … what about the items on the board outside?” The reasonable ones. The Pumpkin Risotto I was looking forward to.
“Well, there’s the specials board...” She says (very patiently).
I look up. This has many nice things on it. Not many prices.
“…and we can negotiate if you just want one course ….”
“I think … we’ll leave it.” I say. “Sorry … erm … well at least we know were you are …” I continue hopefully.
We leave the table. Back up the stairs. Don’t look back.
Outside we look at the menu to try and work out were we went wrong. Two words which didn’t reach an important part of our brain are now perfectly evident on the average prices: “Lunch Menu”
At that moment we look up. John Sergeant is just sitting at a table.
“It’s John Sergeant.” Chris says.
“It is John Sergeant!” I agree.
And we eat at Pizza Hut instead.